I’m an a ‘Murican.

Sorry that I haven’t posted anything in quite some time. To be honest? I’ve been afraid to.

In the last couple of months every attempt I made to open my mouth and say something caused me some trouble on a personal level. There is no secret in saying I’m pretty much a lonely guy. I mean, out in this vast world I have made some wonderful friends through this blog of mine.  There are people out there I’ve never shaken hands with, nor hugged, that I truly love and adore….and I feel that desire is reciprocated. But, in the world, in real time….passing people on the street, or sitting at a cafe, or meeting a friend of a friend of a friend has been enormously difficult. You see, I have opinions about the world, life, love, emotions, purpose. And many of the people I come in contact with don’t care for my ideas. And so, when I go to write something here on my blog I stop myself and say, “damn…I can’t say that. I’ll get Dixie Chicked.” You remember that hullabaloo, don’t you? The Dixie Chicks were getting some rather impressive prominence, then all of a sudden they spoke their minds and SPLAT…..that was the end of them. And to be frank, I’m in no financial situation to speak frankly. One wrong blog and I’m out….shut out, condemned, and boycotted.

Now, I wouldn’t take so much of this to heart f it has not happened in real time. Its easy to lose two to five strangers you meet through encounters. Its another thing to lose thousands of people with one open and honest idea about your politics or your religious beliefs. So, I’ve been so TERRIFIED of saying anything at all….for fear the moment I do it will cost me a ton of people I’ve grown to love, but never met. You. I’ve been afraid of losing YOU.

I criticized the president and I was called a racist. I confirmed that I was a conservative and I was called a Nazi. And when I said I was gay, I was a traitor and told I ought to be “drug into the streets and shot for betrayal.” That a gay, Christian, conservative was in no way different than a “Jew helping the Nazis.” And then when they find out I’m from the South, well, then that’s all they need. I’m already a homophobic, racist, sexist, backwards, uneducated, inbred idiot. I was called a “‘Murican.” And I had to go find out what they meant. Definition is simple: someone overly patriotic…usually a homophobic, racist, sexist, backwards, uneducated, inbred idiot.

We’re not going to talk politics now. No. We can save that for some other time. I’m weary of it at the moment. I want to talk more about the strangeness of being called a traitor if you’re a patriot. I could walk the street right now, walk away from this blog in a moments notice holding an American flag, strut down Bumby Avenue holding it high saying the Pledge of Allegiance and no one in this neighborhood would applaud. They’d call me crazy, weird, suspect, extremist, a doomsday prepper, a militant….’Murican.

I want to talk about the hypocrisy that my gay brothers have fallen into. For decades we have fought for acceptance, tolerance, not to be treated special, but to treated with the same dignity as anyone else…..and yet, most of the gay organizations I tried to align myself with were adamant that conservatism, Christianity, and dislike of this current president were completely and unequivocally unwelcome. They would not tolerate it. They would not accept it. They would not treat it as another opinion thrown into the thought process. My gay brothers are forcing tolerance onto many with the idea of boycott….and I don’t like it.

So this blog post isn’t about one political idea over another. I really only like to do those discussion face to face. We can be vulnerable in front of each other….and often times patient with each other. And discuss, and get passionate and angry and agreeable, because we can look into each others eyes. And more so? When all is said and done, we can shake hands and walk away having learned something or taught something. This blog post is more about the concept of dismissal. If I don’t like your ideas……then I want to get rid of you for good. And that ain’t the ‘Murica I live in.

Funny that I can be so prone to really like someone of a liberal mindset, but they won’t allow me the time to discuss my ideas. I’m immediately dismissed. I’ve never said to anyone that I hated them. I’ve never said to anyone that I hated them for their politics. Hell, my best friend, Kara, is a socialist. I’ve never said to anyone I didn’t like them because they were gay. I never said I hated anyone because they approved of Barack Obama. But, If I HAD done any of those things, I’d be put in a shit can, shook around in social media, then tossed to the side never to sell another book or bear again.

But, every once in a while you have take an enormous stand. I’ve been afraid to say whats on my mind because I thought you would leave me. I am a lonely man, spending hours and hours a day alone and knitting out my teddy bears. And in those lonely hours my mind goes so fast and quick with ideas and thoughts that I can’t wait to write them down…..but wait! You could lose your supporters. So, there has been this fear that if I say something, I’m toast. And that’s the problem I have….the situation this media has made out for us….that your opinion will destroy you, if its not one we agree with. And if you’re on social media???? Well, gives new meaning to the term “social disease.”

But, I’m here….and I’ve always been a scrappy little guy. A survivor. I don’t want to see any of you leave because you disagree, I want you to stay. I want dialogue, I love it. I want us to EXERCISE the rights handed to us by the First Amendment, not cower under them, not fear them. I want us to USE them. Isn’t that some of the best conversations that come out of “sip and knits,” or “bitch and stich” gatherings? Us knitters know them well. We sit back with a group of people, work up our projects and talk….sometimes gossip, politics, sometimes technique. It all depends. But, we share.

On the knitting front, I’m pushing bears out daily, and its going well. I’m using technology (ok, the USPS website) to let people know postage has been paid, now the bear has been shipped, now the bear is one day away from your front door.

On the email front. I’m getting about 200 per day, and its gotten really REALLY hard to spend the time going through them. I know that’s not an excuse, but if I don’t respond quickly, its not because I’m not trying. And hopefully, if I start making more money I can actually hire someone (yay capitalism!) and have them help me with the administrative stuff. I can see it now:  I’m sitting, knitting and my “assistant” says, “you have an order for two more bears and Heather wants to know where hers is.” And I can easily just say, “Pull out Heather’s order and let’s see what we can do….”

So, I guess in a nutshell what I’m trying to say is I’m very sorry for not having written anything sooner. (Giovanni! I SAW YOUR EMAIL! WILL RESPOND PROMPTLY!) But, I’ve been really REALLY worried that if I embark on blog posts that mean something to me, that many of you would flee……but, I can’t see that happening anymore. I can’t. Because the more I think of it, what we share is something that transcends politics and religion. It moves higher than geographic boundaries and cultural differences. What we share, does however, move into uncharted terrains of peace, love, compassion……and above all, hope and tolerance for each and every one of us who come here to share. One topic at a time, one idea at a time…..

One stitch at a time.

God Bless ‘Murica.

Ho Ho Pho And A Knit New Year!

Christmas came on quick, didn’t it? It came along in a panic, caused hysteria. Made people do mad things they shouldn’t. This year I opted out of Christmas. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The obligation of gifts required on a certain day for certain, particular people threw me off. It really did. I guess it starts with this whole Black Friday business. Mobs of people rushing in, to bash people, trample each other for  a flat screen TV at a low price turned me off. And I made a vow right then and there. No more Christmas presents. NOPE! We’ve all lost the entire (crucial!) meaning behind Christmas.

I take this view. Thanksgiving comes along and we all wonderfully remind ourselves of how blessed our lives are. We are THANKFUL for the blessings we have. And then, a short month later, we’re given the chance to hand back those blessings, to give back the great things we’ve been handed in life. WE GIVE BACK. Not trinkets and gadgets.

I had a number of people who asked me what I wanted for Christmas. It didn’t take me long to think, “I’ve got rent ready for next month, the lights are on, and I have some food….but, I know others don’t. So, please PLEASE any dollar you might have spent on me for Christmas, please donate instead to your local Second Harvest Food Bank, or your local homeless shelter.” So that is my new tradition. No more Christmas presents. From here on out, Christmas would be about giving, REAL giving to those in need…..and not smacking each other down for the best deal on an iPhone. No more presents under the tree, but rather, watching those lights on the tree as a metaphor for the splendid beauty, the small bits of light we quietly offer the world quietly. Those lights should be reminders of little moments all brightly shining in a world that can often be dark. And the more lights…..the better!

Even I was burned down by Christmas. I busted as hard as I could to get orders out in time, but I slowed SLOWWWWED down hard. Perhaps it was the stress? But, this much I’ll tell you. The minute Christmas came and went, a flood of bears left this little apartment of mine. Yep! As of 26 December I was…..a mad man knitting :) and bears were being whipped up like crazy. There was a pressure that was released the minute Christmas was over that allowed to me work diligently, comfortably, and with a sense of ease.

131122_001Christmas Day was great. I spent it alone. And Kevin Potter and his lovely bride insisted I treat myself to a wonderful Christmas Dinner. And so I did. I had a treat. Pho! If you’re not familiar with it, Google it and I promise you, if given the chance, have a bowl and enjoy yourself.

IMG_0150George gave me a little rosemary bush, about 10 inches high, which we decorated with Mardi Gras beads. BOOM! DONE! There’s my Christmas tree. It was quite the simple, little sight. I liked my little tree.

IMG_0143Then it was a touch cool, a bit chilly. (about 60 here, which can be rough on skin accustomed to the feel of a warm and friendly 80) so I cranked up the space heater. Mario even felt a bit cool and feel asleep in a contorted way under the table by the space heater. Then I had myself a little James Bond marathon. It was a great Christmas. A wonderful Christmas. It was spent thankfully with all of you.

You’ve all made this a wonderful year for me. Every single one of you. So, to say I spent Christmas alone is only half true. I spent it with you…..thinking about you, hoping you were all well, hoping you know how much you mean to me. I had yarn I worked up, thanks to you. I had food in my belly, thanks to you. And I had safety and comfort curled up with little Mario with not a care in the world for a day, thanks to YOU.

Its about 6am on the 3rd of January 2014. Its going to be a good year. Did you know tomorrow is my birthday? I’ll be 41. I plan to spend it with some fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, a few beers, and some croquet with George and Kara.

These are good days. Let’s not any one of us forget…..these are good days. Hold tight to the hand of someone you love and just squeeze as hard as you can and remember, these are good days. When simple things like a goofy laugh and a bowl of soup are just the thing to make you content, then these are good days. When a little bush with a set of beads on it reminds you that the Christmas spirit is about love and compassion, then these are good days…..and when you catch a great shot of your cat sprawled under a table and that’s all you need to make your holiday worthwhile, then you know, deep in your grinning heart that these are REALLY REALLY good days.

Happy new year!

Happiness and Confusion

I’ve gotten a lot of emails over the last few days about orders placed in October and November. First, allow me to say that I have been deluged with emails of all sorts since mid October. DELUGED. I try my best to get to all of them, but there just isn’t the time. With the last few weeks of Christmas upon us, I am spending every waking moment knitting up bears. But, the emails I wanted to make mention of are those that ask about when their orders would arrive.

I apologize if there was any confusion, but I placed on sell page for the teddy bears, with their descriptions, that because of such high demand, any of the bears ordered would not be delivered until January. This was on October 19th. I am so very VERY sorry if there was any confusion. Some of you have been incredibly kind and understand and have let me carry through with the order….some of you haven’t been, and I apologize for any disappointment.

I’m doing my best to make everyone happy, and get everyone’s bear out in time for Christmas…..but, I have to go first come first on my que. And as much as I would love to make exception, I just simply can’t without disappointing someone else. I hope you understand.

This is a one man operation. Just one guy with a set of needles and some yarn. I’m doing my best to make you all happy. I just beg you to have patience and remember that I’m working for you, for a better life for myself, and for a better bit of kindness and positivity in the world.

I’ve been able to speed up shipping by mailing from home. No more long lines at the post office, or waiting for a ride to get there. So, that’s a positive. But, please PLEASE bear with me (no pun intended), and hold tight. You will all get your bears…..but, I must go first come first serve and have them sent out in the order they were…..ordered???? Yes. It doesn’t mean I’ve blown you off, or I’ve forgotten about you, or that I don’t care. Of course I care. This matters to me. This is my life. My enjoyment. My hope.

…ok. About midnight. Back to work!

Gregory

 

 

 

Two Half Days Equals Friendsgiving

IMG_0086 IMG_0003 IMG_0013 IMG_0018 IMG_0019 IMG_0020   IMG_0092 IMG_0109Sorry I haven’t blogged more than I have lately, but at this time of year there really isn’t much to report. Wake, knit, sleep, eat, knit. Christmas is coming and I have tons and I do mean TONS of bears to knit up before then. So, there isn’t too much to say. “Hey, ya’ll….I’m knitting. KNITTING…..WORKING.”

I went a full week without shaving. Its a system I have. If it doesn’t involve me working up teddy bears, then it doesn’t belong. I wake and I work. And I love it.

So, there hasn’t been too much to write about in this strange little life of mine…..until I decided to take two half days off. I can’t take a full day off, so I decided to take two half days. And what would I do? As many of you know, those that have read this blog from the beginning, I am an avid lover of croquet. I play it every chance I get. And THAT is how I decided to spend my two half days. I played croquet with those closest to me. Kara, George (recuperating from knee surgery in the corner), and my very special friend Butch who ended up beating me at every game. DAMN! I TAUGHT them all to play! What the hell??? But, I do so enjoy it, so who cares who wins? We had two wonderful half days of croquet, fried chicken, coleslaw, a couple of beers and laughter. I couldn’t have asked for better downtime. Oh sure. There were disputes, there were feelings hurt! Its not a REAL game of croquet until it becomes vicious. OH look at Kara so PLEASED she destroyed me in that shot….. I can’t help but think of the “Knight Rider” theme song while I’m playing croquet….Nope. I take that back. Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again.” (“See the stars? They’re shining bright. Everything’s alright tonight….”)

I love playing with George’s little dog, Luke. That little dog has kept that old man safe and sound, much like Mario does for me. And I love this picture of her peeking out the window. She’s happy, content, interested.

I guess that’s all I can say right now. I’m working hard knitting teddy bears and doing my damndest to have them all out by Christmas. And if given downtime, I’m beyond thankful that I’m now at a place in my life where I can spend two half days playing croquet and being ridiculous with the people I love.

You see? Little things in life can be grand….They can energize and inspire.

To the the three friends I have at my hugging reach, and to the 6,000 that have virtually conquered my heart, never forget I love you.

Gotta run. Got teddy bears to make.

(Oh! and PS! I’m up to 132 pounds! NICE!!!)

STAND BACK!….I’m viral.

What in the world???

I never in a million, trillion, flat out gator life-span gazillion years would have thought that a simple anecdote about me and the cops at Starbucks would have taken such the ride that it has. I can’t believe it. I just simply can’t! That blog post went viral and in the process I took that next step that I needed. I NEEDED that more than you’ll ever know.

Needless to say, I’ve been quite busy. Teddy bears are being whipped up by these beautifully calloused hands, and emails are pouring in at a rate that I can’t keep up with. And you know what? I LOVE it. LOVE it. I read ALL of your emails. There have been nearly 3,000 since the blog was republished on the Huffington Post. And though I may not have the time to respond to all of them, I do read them. Its the best part of my day. Your emails encourage and inspire me. And at the end of the day, when I grab little Mario and flop into bed, I take prayers with me. I feel loved.

That little blog going viral was precisely what I needed. I’ve met new friends from across the globe, was able to stash enough rent for the next three months, I splurged and picked up a platform thing to raise my mattress off the floor, and found Mario a new cat box that wasn’t made from old cardboard. and what was left? I hope you don’t object, but I had to give some to the Rescue Mission in Orlando. They are one of the few shelters that helps men. I had to. And I’m sure you’ll understand. It just felt like the right thing to do. I know there is a man in there somewhere who just needs a moment, a second, without the world tearing him down. And that can make all the difference in a man’s survival: praise or ridicule.

Give a man a purpose…..he’ll find his soul.

We are going to be alright. And WE (yes, you and I), are going to do marvelous things with the simple gesture of a gifted teddy bear. And that simple gesture of a knitted little thing with sad eyes and a soft hold all bring something out in all of us I’ve never seen before. The human community anxious for hope, anxious to feel love by GIVING love….by being part of a moment where a battered soul is turned back round to softness when it has someone, something, to hold, embrace, and remind: you are NEVER alone.

I can’t thank all of you enough. The only way I’ll ever be able to do that is to always remember you, to always hold you in my thoughts while I knit up your teddy bears. You’ve given me a fighting chance….and I’m going to make you proud.

I promise you.

 

I Was Questioned By The Police

I’m sitting at Starbucks, which I rarely do. Its hard to knit there. I lot of people still find it weird for a man to be knitting in public. But, for us fellas that knit, its nothing short of ordinary. There are MANY people that see us, see what we’re doing and find themselves asking us lots of questions. And they have no problem stopping to ask questions while you’re in the middle of counting.

I’ve been asked on numerous occasion in email if I ever go out to knit with groups or have knitting friends. Sadly, I don’t. I’m too busy counting. I can’t lift my head from the stitches to hear what’s being said. I’m so focused. I’m there with the rows, both knit side and purl sides facing with the work, and the rest of the world falls away into….well, nothing.

So, I’m at said Starbucks working up one of my teddy bears, roughly 8am, figured I was safe, not too many people running in and out. And as I’m working on row 10 of the body of the bear, I see three sets of Orange County Sheriffs officer’s legs approach.

I hear the clearing of a voice, “ahem….What are you doing?”

I look up and see them staring at me strangely. A trio of enormously inquisitive men in their early 30′s pulling up their belts, propping themselves in that “stance.” Authoritative, broad, forceful.

Now, you’ve seen how I look. I imagine I was mistaken for a vagrant and was going to be asked to move along. They do it at Starbucks all the time. Little known secret. You can look rough and sit outside with your coffee and yes, someone will ask you to MOVE on if they think that coffee was left behind by someone else. Even though I’ve paid for the coffee, all it takes is a yuppie couple with a baby feeling “threatened” by the unsavory looking guy outside. “Could you ask him to leave? Did he PAY for that coffee? Or is he just taking up space so we can’t sit out there with our SUV sized baby stroller? Besides he smells of….something (Old Spice) and our little one is allergic……” Happens all the time. They spent a gazillion dollars on a latte and a cappuccino and all I had was a tall coffee, with no room for milk. I’m not as important.

You know how it is. Oh, YOU KNOW how it is….

“What is that you’re doing?” One of the officer’s asked, staring me dead in the face.

“I’m making a teddy bear.”

“But, WHAT is it you’re doing? Is that needlepoint?”

“No! No, it’s knitting.”

“I KNEW IT,” he screamed to the guy to his left! “See? I told you it was knitting! I just never saw anyone do it with 4 needles before. That ain’t needlepoint! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT!!!”

“OH! Yeah! Well, its so you can work up stuff without a seam.”

“A teddy bear, you said?”

“Yea…..or socks. You can do all kinds of things if you can work double pointed needles.”

The other two were equally impressed. “I’ve never seen anyone do knitting like that before.”

Ok. So, here is where my own charm popped in. I WANTED to say, “It’s quite common. These are double pointed needles. Its basic knitting 101.”

Oh, no. A trio of hot, burly, sexy virile young deputies????

I replied, “That’s cuz I’m a master, a knitting ninja….,” I twirled one of the double pointed needles between my fingers. “Yeah. Ninja….”

They all laughed, snorting coffee out of their noses and spilling crumpet crumbs to the ground. (Funny, huh? Cops with crumpets? ha ha!) One shook my hand and said, “I’m impressed. I’ve never seen a man knit before…..but I have DEFINITELY  never met a knitting ‘ninja’ before. This your usual time?”

It was about 8am. “Yeah….yeah, it is.”

“Ok, we’ll see you next time…..and if you have any trouble you let us know. Even ninjas need back up.”

Thanks, fellas. I will…..The next time I’m there, I’ll complain about a yuppie couple with a stroller giving me a hard time :)

Adopt a teddy bear!  PLEASE!!!!  Mario and I need groceries and such.

It’s Me and Mr. Bean, Ya’ll.

mr-bean-bear-collageSo, a few weeks back I was approached by this delightful young lady who asked me if I wouldn’t mind doing an interview for her blog. Its a very simple premise, but unique. TRULY unique. She finds patterns, works them up and writes about the experience, the author of the pattern and her feelings on the finished piece. I thought, “Sure! Sounds fun!” She sent me some interesting questions that I had never even THOUGHT of answering. But, I tell ya, I had the best time. I thoroughly enjoyed answering her questions and thinking deeply about what I wanted to say about my little teddy bears. Today, Lorna Watt sent me the link to the interview on her blog and I just died with laughter. Her whole desire for Mr. Bean’s little bear (you remember Mr. Bean, don’t you????), combined with my little teddy bear pattern made for a great mix, and a wonderful article. I was honored to be grouped in some interesting way with Rowan Atkinson. I urge you to read the article and interview here. And I’ve been naturally PUSHING my teddy bear pattern like CRAZY over the last week because I want any knitter who wants to have a teddy bear to make one of their own. And then send me the pics! I love seeing what your bears look like when they’re done. And speaking of! I’ve added tons of pics to my gallery page. So, be sure to check those out to. Some of your bears are in there, mixed with a few of my own that were adopted into new homes. (My favorite pics? Watching the bears I made for people beings SQUEEZED to death. I love those). And over the last few blogs I’ve gotten some really kind comments about my writing, its poignancy, and its appeal. And I truly appreciate that. I fancy this is the best expression I have, these words and I. But, if you want to help keep this blog alive, if you enjoy my writing and want to support it, you can always throw a few dollars in my yarn bowl. It helps to pay the monthly bill to keep it up (the internet company), and helps to take care of supplies (yarn, boxes, the electric bill, the rent…..and the occasional boiled peanuts). Oh! and if you need some help with the pattern, write to me! OR! There are some tutorial videos to help shape the face and things like that in my VIDEO section. So! Check out Lorna’s really great article, snag a pattern and get to work on your teddy bears while I’m over here working up mine, or toss a few into the yarn fund. There’s only a few more weeks to order a teddy bear for Christmas. So get one now! Keep me working and employed! Have an awesome walk through an autumn breeze and keep those pics coming!

The Intentionally Poor

Yesterday I was running across the news headlines and I found an article that I thought was pretty interesting. Basically, a story about a man who pretty much walked away from modern trappings, dug himself a little “hobbit hole” and lives on no more than $5,000 a year. The article really did pursue people who decided upon stripping themselves of the current material status quo, but it really didn’t go into a discussion about people who were FORCED into that lifestyle and had to learn to cope, deal, and move on. (If you want, you can read the article here.)

I think we first have to recognize that poverty is pretty much someone else’s standard. The man in the hole doesn’t consider himself poor. Neither do I. What I mean is, although I only live on $8,000 a year, I don’t consider myself poor. I’m broke, yes, but I would never call myself poor. I found myself falling quickly into this situation two years ago and it has been a struggle to get out. I went from a $1,000 a month apartment to being on the streets…..in a matter of days. It happens, and when it does, it happens fast.

Obviously, there is a VERY serious problem with poverty in America. But, we have to be honest. Being poor in America is a helluva lot easier than it is in many MANY other places in the world. Services, and generosity aside, opportunities to get OUT of poverty are prevalent here. We may have a problem with poverty in America, but I often think the bigger problem in our country is self worth.

My road to financial recovery has never had ANYTHING at all to do with stuff, things, televisions and cars, designer jeans and finicky diets. It had to do with food, clothing, shelter….and purpose. AND THAT to me is the measure of a man’s wealth: his desire for a purpose. Food, clothing, and shelter are the basic requirements we all need for physical survival, but PURPOSE moves one into a glowing moment of self acceptance and existence that no touchable, tangible item that you can buy will ever equal. THAT is wealth.

I’m lucky that my knitting gave me a purpose, my hand scribbling daily in a diary gave me a purpose. I was also fortunate enough to see, when I no longer owned anything other than books and a skein of yarn, that I could live sparingly. I didn’t need validation from the things I owned. I didn’t need other people to see me in the nicest, flashiest car to make me feel as if I belonged to society. But, it was society that tried to remind me that I was poor, I was below poverty level, I wasn’t a successful man….because I didn’t have things.

But, it seemed the less I had, the more valuable I became to myself. I was no longer focused on gaining, acquiring, buying, having….I was more concerned about being, existing, experiencing, affecting, giving something back to this world, rather than find things to take.

So, being poor is simply a state of mind. Poverty is in the eye of the beholder. So, I don’t have very much. I tell you this much, the thousands of friends I’ve met because of this blog all around the world is more valuable to me than anything. That makes me a wealthy man.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to be able to afford a bike right now. But, its just not possible. And I will admit, that there are some days I really would rather not buy my clothes from Goodwill. But, despite how much money I may ever have (or not have), I imagine I’d still live pretty close to how I do now. I’d still live in a small 15×20 space, I’d still find my clothes at Goodwill, and I’d still make a feast out of rice and beans. If I were financially wealthy, and didn’t have to worry about feeding myself, or losing my apartment, I’d still live like I do. But, these teddy bears of mine wouldn’t cost a penny. They’d all be donated. And I wouldn’t BUY stuff with my money, I’d DO stuff with my money. I’d pay forward all the beauty that this life has generously blessed me with…one little teddy bear at a time. And maybe one day that will happen.

So, am I intentionally poor? No. I’m intentionally wealthy.

Adopt a bear!

 

Cozy With Beans

DSC_1215So, I won’t be able to do a limited edition Christmas Bear this year. Time simply won’t allow it. But, that’s perfectly fine. TOTALLY fine. But if you’re a knitter and would like to knit up one of your own, here’s the pattern. He’s downright adorable, I think, with his cute little hat and scarf. And like I mentioned before, one skein of Lionbrand’s Fisherman’s Wool is enough to make 3 teddy bears, so its a rather economical and practical pattern.

Its going to be a long weekend of knitting up teddy bears on my end. I didn’t realize Monday was a holiday (Columbus Day), so that’s one extra day to bust out some teddy bears before the post office reopens.

So, I’ve got a rather simple weekend planned. To begin with, autumn is slowly beginning to wind its way down here to Florida…..well, OUR version of autumn. So, its still 85, but the humidity is pretty much gone, and the temperature drops to the 60′s at night. The air changes from sticky and wet to crisp and clean. Its a great time of year here. People are finally walking about, little festivals and fairs are going on (Last weekend was the Festival of Bacon!). We start dining outside again, riding bikes again, opening windows.

I, however, will not be attending any festival or fair, or biking anywhere. I’ll be right here knitting my teddy bears, making a big pot of black eyed peas and rice, and watching “I, Claudius.” I’ve been wanting to see the BBC production from the 1970′s for such a long while and BOOM! Some put up the whole miniseries on youtube, the whole 12 hours. I’m so looking forward to it. I’ve read the book and seen clips of the television version and I’ve wanted to see it for so long. So, that’ll be my weekend, knitting with a cool breeze, a pot full of beans, and a miniseries about Roman treachery. Sounds fun, don’t it???? :)

And this is the last day I’m offering the bear I met along the way.

So get him while you can!

Do You Remember Silence?

So, after a simple bit of outrage at the end of last week, I took this internet and shut it down. Walked away. Spent the weekend in a self imposed lock down away from the interwebs. Went over to George’s to do laundry, took my knitting, and popped in a nice chair in his back yard so I could sit in the sun and knit. Usually when I go over, I sit in that chair and work up teddy bears and George wanders around his back yard pruning plants, and somewhere in that time, we chit chat back and forth and visit with each other while some nice little Caribbean music gets played from the radio. Two hours later, my laundry is done and I head back home. But, this last trip was a little different. Not long after I arrived, George mentioned he had an errand to run, wouldn’t be long and to just go ahead and get my laundry started. So, I did my usual. Laundry, big chair, sun, knit……for only about 5 minutes. I put the needles down for a moment and just looked around his back yard. Then I could hear the simple rustle of the breeze kiss the leaves of the trees in a hushed, faded whisper. There was no music to be heard other than the birds  musicly aligned with each other’s chorus of quiet chirping. I put my needles in my lap and sat there for an hour in that near silence. Nothing to stimulate, nothing to entertain, nothing to ponder. I didn’t want to read a book, I didn’t want to play a game, I didn’t want to talk or be heard. I wanted to sit and listen carefully to nothing.

I think we get so wrapped up in constantly being plugged in that we forget about the importance of nourishing the soul with silence, with quiet alone time. We seek the council and advice on the nutrition needed for a clean, healthy body, or games and puzzle that keep the mind sharp and alive, but I think we forget sometimes how important it is to let quiet come in sometimes. The soul gets agitated sometimes, I think, because it needs as much attention as the rest of our being, but we fill our heads with so much stimulation and noise, that the soul can’t be heard. It can only be heard in silence. And what does it tell us? Nothing that we know in words, only a feeling of truth, completeness, realness. Absolute realness.

I’m thankful I had that time. I remembered something about emotions and connections, about pointed fingers and blame, about assumptions that aren’t true.

I posted this video last week and I was clearly emotional. And see, that’s hard for me because my emotions were going two fold at the moment.

I was angry that I had ALLOWED myself to get angry. I tend to think of myself as patient and understanding, and that was put to the test. I saw the spinning wheels in my head clearly lean towards the more cut throat…..and I in no way wish to live in that mind set….EVER. The other part of my emotional thank you was reading all of the emails of support that came in. I am fully aware of how blessed a man I am. People from all over the globe sent me emails to remind me of truth, wisdom, and….the patience and tolerance that I was tested on. And you’re all so right. We meet adversity, we deal with it, we pick up our skeins of yarn, and knit on. We don’t harbor ill will, and we don’t challenge adversity with aggression. We learn, we grow, we remember to be silent sometimes and to just listen to the soul.

green bear2Now, there is a special order I just finished up and included was a request for a green bear. That is the third time someone asked me if I would do a green bear. And then a couple of posts back, I thought I’d ask what sort of bear you would all like to see and there was an overwhelming desire to see a green bear. So, here he is.

I named him, “I Found A Bear Along the Way,” because of all my trials and tribulations, I found a bear along the way that comforted me, fed me, gave me shelter and taught me an awful lot about the world that I had yet to learn from books and people. I found a bear on this path of mine that has given me so much more than anything I’ve ever received in life thus far. He gave me a world of friendships all over the planet. He taught me to love again, to not be afraid. He taught me to listen more, and speak less. He taught me that the value in life is not in its possessions, but in its actions.

I think in order for all my bears to be where the ought to be for Christmas, that I’ll stop taking orders in the next few weeks. I think somewhere around mid November. I don’t think I’ll do a special Christmas bear this year like I did last year, but would rather concentrate on making sure these little guys get under trees well before Christmas Eve.

green bear1So, thank you all again for reminding me, that I wouldn’t have had the great privilege and pleasure of having all of you in my life had I not found a bear along the way…..

I do so hope you’ll adopt him while he’s available. There’s something precious in this bear.