I Think It’s Because I’m a Brunette

happy

What a difference a few hours make. Although life will still be a trial for a while, things look much brighter at 3:36 pm than they did at 1:00 am this morning.

I colored my hair again – I might need to stop doing that – thank God I have a healthy head of hair or it wouldn’t take it. I’ve been hair-color crazy this past two months. I’ve bleached it, colored it, colored it again, put more bleach on …………. and one more color. Back to where I was when I started the whole mess. I’ll start letting it go gray when I hit 75 or 80.

I called someone else about clearing out the house. This is an auction house that’s been in business for 41 years and does the auctions here in Bangor. He’s coming over next week. He also told me his daughter bought a home in Millinocket – just a bit up I-95 North – for $4500.00. With a $4500 or even a $25000 house – I could afford to heat the thing. It wouldn’t be as big as this one either, although they do tend to build big in Maine. I’ll look for a little house, 1200 square feet or less, all on one floor. No basement, maybe a cellar. A nice backyard, a porch for my swing, no neighbors as far as the eye can see. Yep. I’m going there.

He also said he has 6 up for tax auction next week. Whenever I can, as soon as I can, I’m checking out Millinocket. I don’t care where I live, I carry my life with me, so Bangor, Millinocket or whatever, I’m good. He also said these aren’t run down houses that need lots of repair, they are good houses. Oh boy. Get me to Millinocket. Then I could see Mt. Katahdin in the distance ……….

millinocket

kat

On another absolutely bright note, the realtor sent the mowers back for the house to the side and back of me. That backyard looks like it’s my backyard. It is not. It goes with a house that fronts on Broadway. So cool, 3′ high weeds, weed trees, all the nasty growing green stuff that isn’t mine, is gone. I love those guys. They’re coming back tomorrow to finish up, although they’re still out there working away.

I spent an hour chanting with KD. I decided that the iPod touch which belonged to my husband was fair game. I had to have help syncing it to my iTunes account, but it’s done and now I have the touch. It sounds way better than a Nano. I don’t have my Canadian downloads on my US iTunes account, so I will have to buy them again. I won’t get all of the chants I had because some are repetitive.

Now I have to decide just what, besides all the paintings and the other stuff I had in one post, I’m going to give him. I’m thinking about losing a leather couch, a coffee table that weighs a thousand pounds and a couple of antique dressers. Everything that isn’t nailed down is fair game. I want out of here the first moment I can and I’m going to be ready. Very ready.

I looked at the ashram that I posted earlier. Honestly. No tobacco. Well that let’s me out. I’ll quit smoking 3 or 4 days after I die. I’m not interested in going somewhere where I can’t even go hide and smoke. I worked on a tobacco-free campus for the outdoor outfitter. We all got in our cars and drove down to the nearest parking lot. It was a regular traffic jam with all of us out there. So no thanks. The non-smoking thing is hazardous to my health. I figure I have to die somehow ……. might as well enjoy the time I have left.

Another vegetarian meal is on the menu tonight. Blueberry pancakes, from scratch with fresh homemade blueberry syrup. I can get into that. I’m not making them, though I will do the syrup. I have to participate a little bit ……………….

Then knitting. I spent last night trying to concentrate on the Lipstick sweater by Joji. It’s probably me, but that pattern drives me nuts. I don’t have the patience for it now, so I’m switching my SSKAL sweater to the Worsted Boxy here:

Resize_of_a03_medium2

Suéter Magnífico

Just what I need, mindless knitting. Miles of mindless knitting. And it is definitely me. I love it.

I may even decide to visit the old man, round about October or November …………..

Handmade Tales

Automation has made it possible to produce so many objects — from bread to shoes — without the intervention of human hands (assuming that pressing a button doesn’t count). What things do you still prefer in their traditional, handmade version?

sock1

DSC_2572new-sock

Handmade anything is better than machine-made. Handmade bread – why would you want a bread machine when you have two hands? – tastes better, doesn’t have that consistency only produced by a machine and has texture and light and air all blended into its bread-ness.

But the handmade things I like best of all – are socks.

I started knitting two years ago. I knew how to cast on and bind off, knit and purl and that was the sum total of my knowledge of knitting.

I bought a pattern and started in, figuring that it couldn’t be that hard. Never assert than anything will be easy unless you want God to pull the rug right out from under you. I started that sweater over at least 5 times. I had to count 390 stitches over and over. I made so many mistakes you could see them in the fabric. I doggedly pursued that sweater, willing it into existence. Then I threw it out.

Back in April I wrote a post about finding the perfect knitting needle. I had found Signature Needle Arts on the web and liked what I saw. The points were sharp, important if you want to not have to fight to do a knit two together stitch and if you don’t want split yarn. They had what looked like flexible cables with no memory. My reason for looking for new needles was the cables. My needles had stiff cables that still kept their shape even if boiled in water. They twisted and turned and made knitting hell. It was like trying to knit with a live snake – heaven forbid the thought.

I received a response to my post, telling me she loved these needles. It was knittingsarah whose blog is here http://www. knittingsarah.com and it is fantastic. I started following her, seeing she was as obsessed with knitting as I am. She had started a Sock Knit-A-Long at the beginning of the year. Even though this was sometime in April, I decided to join and make socks.

Let me explain to you how experienced I was not. I had finally finished my first sweater without so many mistakes I could actually wear it in public. Then I made another one and had the third on the needles. I looked at every blog I could on sock knitting. I saw Susan B. Anderson’s sock drawer which made me drool. I wanted to make socks.

Socks are hard to find – being all made in China or somewhere else but here. They don’t fit, they wear out within a few months and they are expensive. So I determined to make my own.

Socks can be made with circular needles, but the old-fashioned way is with four double-pointed needles. You need to hold the triangle of three needles and work the stitches from one of those needles onto your fourth needle. This means you must control 4 needles at a time, not let your needles fall out of the live stitches and make the sock look good. I whimpered. Then I got busy.

My first pair of socks was done in about two weeks. They didn’t fit even though I measured and did the pattern for my supposed size. I made another pair. They too were too big. I gave those to my son, who wears a size 10.5 wide shoe. They fit him.

Obviously, I needed to make my socks smaller. I reduced the total stitches to 60 from 64. I shortened the foot of the sock from 10″ to 7.5″. I started grafting the toes together with 12 stitches on each needle, not 6 because I don’t like pointy-toe socks.

I made two more pairs that fit and am on my third pair. I also am in the middle of two sweaters, alternating between projects. I work on my socks every day, sometimes for just an hour, sometimes longer.

The beauty of these socks you see in the picture above, is the color. I painted this yarn, which was a blank single-ply. It is my color. These socks fit, as do the blue/green pair I made using my own stitch pattern pulled from an old book for the cuffs.

Handmade socks feel like nothing on earth. They are soft, springy, they stay up, they don’t wear out in two weeks and they are beautiful. An added bonus is that I get to have the fun of knitting them. Even if I didn’t have a product to show for my time knitting socks, I so enjoy the doing that I would not care.

Socks. Handmade Socks. My favorite thing.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/handmade-tales/

Surrender

The track on this audio is Hare Ram, number 7, although you can listen to all of them.

I am ever guilty of being the healer, the bringer of good things, the General Manager of the Universe. I am also ever guilty of crashing up against a brick wall, not being in the middle of the flow, but trying to swim upstream against currents, fighting all the way.

Being psychic, you would think that I would have enormous insight into my own life. Once, while I was repeatedly shuffling the cards and laying them out, hoping for direction, my son asked me, “What if the cards are only a mirror?” Out of the mouth of babes ………. although he wasn’t a babe any longer and he’d had his psychic centers opened. Raising Kundalini energy is great if it’s gradual and intentional. When it’s forced upon you, it is like a short-circuit to the brain, a burnout of immense proportions. My son and I both came to the realization of “the gift” the hard way.

What if the cards are only a mirror? The cards, when I was reading, were only a signal for me to shut my monkey mind off and get about my real work, which was listening to my guides and those of my client, delivering the message, getting it out. If there were something I saw which I did not want to say, and if my guides intended for me to say it, they would shut down if I didn’t give the information to my client. Nothing like trying to fight stubborn guides. I had to finally surrender my inhibition against giving negative input, bad news, no hope to my clients. Whatever it was, it came out or we would sit there twiddling our thumbs for an hour ………….

When reading myself, inserting the cards between me and my guides doesn’t work. They are there all the time. I see three of them. One is a stern older man, one is younger with brown skin and one is a woman, Moira, dressed in blue and veiled. They troop around me all day long. Sometimes I have a fourth join them. He is a path walker,  whatever the hell that means, but that’s what he calls himself, so I let him.

I don’t panic much. I did panic yesterday. I finally looked at the situation at the nursing home and one or the other of my guides said “Get out of here.” I got. He didn’t have to tell me twice.

Along with all the input from the spirit world, I have thousands of years of ancestors chattering in my soul. You know, those things your parents would say to you that you can still hear them say. The learning of what is right and what is wrong, the requirements for living in your birth family, things you did not do if you wanted to live in peace. Or having no peace, your primal instinct to make peace in the family, no matter the cost to you.

I was one of the last kind. The peacemaker, the pacifier, the giver-in, the one who tried to calm everyone down as they are screaming and bouncing off the walls. It is that hard to live in a birth family with two women who 1) are exactly alike 2) hate each other’s guts 3) blame everyone else for their unhappiness. And then the male of the house, a laid back soul who laughed everything off and only lost his temper when he just couldn’t stand it anymore. When he lost it, not being in the room with him was a good idea.

I bent over backwards so many times to placate my mother, I could have kissed my own ass. It was an excruciating way to live. If I called needing her support, I got instead her condemnation. If I talked about ways for her to cope with her marriage (which she was always nattering on about, even though it was MY father she was married to) she would hang up on me. I learned not to reach out to her any longer. I learned to let it go in one ear and out the other. But I still hear her telling me I’m worthless, I’m crazy or I’m such a disappointment to her. She’s been dead now for 18 years and it’s like she never left ………….. so I go meditate to shut off the words, shut her up. Get back to being me, the me who doesn’t placate any longer and won’t lift a finger to stick it in someone else’s peace or lack of peace.

Yesterday, recognizing that I, as me, as Jennifer, cannot go to visit my husband regularly at all if I want to be sane. I saw myself slipping into Jenny the peacemaker, Jenny the I’ll make it all better, Jenny the person who has no boundaries, Jenny the controller.

Letting go of 62 years of learned behavior patterns is like having a tooth removed without any novacaine. Sitting in the chair while the dentist cracks the tooth and pulls it out in pieces. Letting go of learned behavior is hard, in other words. It is hard, but it is necessary.

I received a comment last night from someone I just started following. He said:

“It’s not in your hands, Jennifer. It never has been. In love and for your personal peace try to find serenity in surrendering to a Higher Power. This is not selfish; it’s extreme self-care.” His blog is here http://www. tonningsen.wordpress.com and I’d follow him if I were you – I do.

You know, I needed someone to say that to me. I only found Eric yesterday, through another friend, Juan, whose blog you should follow too and is here: http://www.yeseventhistoowillpas.wordpress.com – wiser words you will not read.

I looked at Eric’s posts and I read some of them. And then he has this marvelously simple comment that he leaves for me. This comment made it possible for me to shut down, shut my racing thoughts off, quit feeling sorry for myself and yes – surrender all present and future trials to the Cosmic Consciousness. To put those voices, those voices who tell me I’m worthless, I’m not a good person, I don’t deserve to take time out to actually live – to put them back into the Cosmic Consciousness and let this whole situation be dealt with by the Higher Power. Recognizing that I am not indispensable, that my husband will die when it is his time, that he will live whether I am there or not and also recognizing clearly that I cannot be there. Not now, maybe not again.

My visits to him were a way of assuaging the guilt I felt for “abandoning” him to his life in the nursing home. Having been abandoned at the age of 2 and then not being claimed by his mother until the age of 9, abandonment scarred him for life. I did not want to repeat that lesson to him, but I had to. In order to make up for that, and to make myself feel less guilty, I doggedly visited him when going there was killing me. When I couldn’t stand the sight of 50 people trapped in bodies with no minds. When I had to deal with other residents picking fights with each other and me, if I came to their attention. When I had to deal with old men walking down the corridor taking off all their clothes. When I had to deal with people constantly talking, making no sense, talking to themselves or whoever they saw in their fog of dementia. My guilt – not my husband’s need to see me, but my need to perform as a “good” person.

This dancing bear is putting up the ballet shoes, backing off fixing everything in this world that is ugly, pulling back into my snail-shell, back to being aimless. Blessedly, lovingly and beautifully aimless. Not being there then, but being here now.