Summer 2012

Summer 2012
BibeauArt of Santa Rosa

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The revised 2005 blog entry on Knitting for Dyslexics

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Knitting for Dyslexics (revised 2010)

Forget the Prozac or your prescribed 20 minutes of 'sun time' outside each day or the damned "happy lite" - the answer is Knitting, folks! You see, as I learn the ancient art of knitting, this skill has kinda taken over my life and my home.  Wherever there's a nice sitting area on the couch you'll probably find some yummy yarns strewn around attached to a pair of 'needles'.  Don't worry, they won't bite - they are pretty dull.  Wonder why they call them 'needles' - they are more like 'chopsticks'.
For one to begin a knitting project, one must find a pattern for their skill level in order to purchase the correct yarns, the correct 'chopsticks', and any other accessories one may need for their desired item.  I noticed the 'advanced' designs, the 'moderate' designs and the 'easy' designs, but what about the 'dyslexic' designs?  You see, I'm the person in your Sunday morning Yoga class who goes left when you are to turn your body into a pretzel going 'right'.   I'm also that person in your Zumba dance/fitness class who will sashay right into you when not recalling in a split second where my 'other left' is and land on top of your manicured toes.
Even my normally very supportive husband looked at me with my new project and all it entailed and sighed, deeply.  No matter, I was determined to learn this skill of women of the frontier, women of the Victorian age, women of the craft!   Heck, men used to knit their own socks, so why couldn't I learn this?

Knitting my first project with my sister in law started out well, until I noticed that her knitting was perfect and even and mine looked like a screen shot from a bad Tetris game I had just lost.  My edges were ragged, uneven and not at all like the perfect little photo in the knitting book I had just purchased. 

"Frog it," she would say without looking up from her knitting project, meaning: unravel that horrible mess before someone sees me helping you.  And frog it I did, and fast.  I became really good at frogging and rolling up the balls of yarn for their next project while watching everyone else knit.

At the local library I found a book called 'Freeform Knitting' and my heart leaped for joy.  Just reading this book confirmed what I thought was a dyslexic defect in my learning of the skill of knitting - not everyone goes by a pattern...or maybe they start off that way, but then find their own style and let it flow into something beautiful.  There was no math in this book, no measurements, no real instructions actually - just visualise what you want to create and knit it!  I'm a creative person with a need to do something with my hands every ten seconds, so why not?  I could do this!

My first few creations were horrible and amazing creations - but I did get the hang of this Freeform Knitting thing and rather enjoy it and came up with tons of interesting ideas, some better than others.  It was the joy of the actual knitting that kept me going, and of course, the occasional item that someone would ask me for once they saw me wearing it.
Now, as I knit, I think about the ladies who write down the patterns as to what they are creating for contests, calendars and published books about how to knit.   My goodness, that sounds like torture - like an Algebra pop exam - the annual visit to the doctors - just not something that's fun to do or even remotely appealing.   But, even now, as I knit myself to sleep tonight, I think of these ladies who must count all of their stitches.  Mark their stitches, drop every fourth stitch on the alternating rows.  Picking up a stray stitch after frogging away most of their creations, using a computer to compute the most accurate pattern for their dog sweater.

I think of them AND their perfect little worlds, the clean bonus rooms, clean and polite children lined up properly at the dinner table waiting for the freshly made nutritrious and wholesome meal and the newly brushed cat sprawled out in the sun on the family welcome mat near the front door (that was knitted with recycled Safeway grocery bags) and wonder if they ever do anything 'not by the book'. 

I'm certainly not a 'by the book' kind of gal and neither is my home I keep or my knitting.  I rather like it this way, a bit backwards, thrown together with some creativity and the results are one in a million - amazing, fun and most of all, a part of me given to someone I love.
There, that's my 'pattern' for knitting and for my life. Hope you can understand it and maybe enjoy it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Every two years, needed or not...

We move every two years, I believe.  We don't like to move, but it seems that it happens to us a lot.  We move because we relocated.  We moved because we thought it would be fun to live in a converted chicken house (not kidding).  We moved because we liked the last house we were in better, and moved back.  We moved again, then again as a favor to our landlords.  This weekend, we moved because if I didn't have a garage and a larger house I was going to go nuts.  Literally.

So, this time it's all my fault and I'm so happy about it!  Now, I have a two car garage for my 'studio' for my artwork.  Thank the Lord in heaven!  Now I have my own bathroom - well, I must share with the hubby, but no more KIDS and visitors in my freaking bathroom.  I can leave out things - like makeup, drying bras, etc.  I don't have to hide everything each time I'm using the bathroom for fear that the neighbor's kids may see something and report it to their parents.  "MOM!  Did you know that JP's mom has three RED BRAS and one has flowers on it?"  Yeah, that's all I need.

My son has his OWN bathroom, toilet, bathtub/shower and HUGE sink and vanity area.  That's enough for me to jump up and down in pure joy!  Amen!!!

My hubby and I have our own den (he works at home a lot and needs it) so I'm not shuffling my papers and PC all over the house each time someone wants to eat at the kitchen table.  The best part is that my room is upstairs - away from the horrible television.  Can't get rid of that TV, but I can banish it to another part of the house - another reason for JOY!

So, even though I'm surrounded by boxes, turned over boxes, stuff everywhere and more waiting for me in the garage, I'm happy sitting on my floor in my room tonight typing this.  I will miss my heirloom tomatoes that I planted months ago, but I'm sure the new neighbors at my 'old' place will share. 

Back to it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

End of Summer Swappie Poo!

AUGUST 22ND from 6-8pm is our end of Summer-beginning of Fall clothing swap!  It's my little mission to help every chicky poo look FABOO for NO MONEY DOWN or NEEDED type of thing.  Girl Power!

Yes, we're at it again, same place (490 Mendocino Avenue, SR at the Serendipity Studio) and hopefully some new and some newer friends to make.  Each time we do these swappie poos, we get a surprise.  Either people 're meet' up here, find a new style with our blessing or bring faboo wines and snacks to munch on.

Of course it's about the clothes, but with some encouragement, these unwanted faboo clothes just instantly find new homes!   Each of us turn into stylists and pitch in to help someone who just lost a TON of weight - or a new mom in need of stepping up her style a bit.  Career chicks like me love new pieces to fit into my ensemble.   Although the clothes (sometimes) are NOT new, we all know 'it's new to YOU'...our mantra!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fireworks and Freedom! Well, sorta.

It's the birthday party to end all birthday parties - the Fourth of July celebrations that go on all weekend long and especially the fireworks that hit the black skies when evening hits.  America sure knows how to party - and boy, do we do that well.  Whew!

This year, we were invited along with some new and some dear friends from the neighborhood to go see the fireworks with them at the fairgrounds.  Sounds good since our city puts on one HELL of a show around here.  Then they include their RV, a BBQ, beer, chips, dips and another truck full of chairs - hey, it's a tailgate party now!  We're there!

We pack up everything around dinnertime.  We have kids with us, they are hungry.  We figure that we all get there early, eat, clean up, stroll around the fairgrounds for the jumpy rides, etc. for the kiddos and then settle in later on for the main event - fireworks.  Yes, we'd be in the parking lot all this time.  No, we are not going inside with the crowds.

They have done this for years, apparently, to great acclaim.  We're not a rowdy group either - just fun, with kids and a football flying around for fun.

The second we unload the vehicle after paying for our spots, we are told that we cannot tailgate although the gate staff said it was 'cool'.  Awesome!  Let's celebrate America, freedom and...wait a second...we have visitors.

Some 'event' services staff in bright yellow shirts come by.  Two burly looking dudes.  Guess what?  We can't be on this side of the fence in the parking lot doing this tailgating stuff.  What?  We have to move?  We pack up everything and move to the other side of the fence.  Okay, unload and PARTY ON!  The BBQ comes out, we light it, start the hot dogs, use the truck tailgate as a 'table' - unload the beers...Happy FOURTH of...oh, wait a minute - it's the police.

Apparently we can't be on THIS side of the parking lot if we paid to get into the OTHER side.  Need to move as soon as the embers in the BBQ are gone and cleaned up.  Yes officer, whatever.  We eat, move to the other side of the damn fence where we started.

OKAY!  We set up again, minus the BBQ now cooling off, with stuffed tummies and beverages for all!  LET FREEDOM RING - are we ready for fun?  Um, no, sorry, more event personnel coming up to us now.

NOW we can't drink out of glass anything - including the Coke or Beer bottles.  Okay, we understand, no problem.  We pull out the red and gold tumbler cups.  Problem solved! 

God Bless America! Happy Birthday America!!!  But wait...motorcycle cops show up...

Yeah, we can't DRINK beer OUTSIDE the vehicles.  Oh, and in order not to look like we are tailgating, we must be in the RV or in the truck with the tailgate UP.  All of us.

I thought we were in America, now it's sounding like another country with too many freaking rules.  Keep in mind that we are with the following people:  Firefighters, retired firefighters, Army infantry and upstanding citizens of the area.  We are not hoodlums or have a ton of people scattered all over the place, causing trouble.  We are families with KIDS, properly dressed, with nice stuff.

More event staff visit us with smiles on their faces.  We all roll our eyes at this point and wait for the next demand.  Now we must pay to get into the event in order to watch the fireworks.  Didn't we just pay for parking and have we not just brought our kids inside (they were free, we had to pay to get in) the event area?  Yes, we are told, but that's the rules. 

Oh, and can they swing by for a beer afterwards?


The police keep coming by asking us to do this, do that, not to do whatever...we feel like third graders all evening.  Third graders with beer, anyways.

Finally, the sun goes down a bit and LOADS of folks show up, all tailgating, all drinking bottled beer, etc.  We FINALLY get to enjoy the Fourth of July while watching the beautiful fireworks that we waited so long to see.  I had an idea that night - for the fairgrounds and the city to sell permits for $20 each parking spot for RV's for tailgating with a list of rules - no glass bottles, no underage drinking, no fireworks near cars, etc. to go along with it. 

I believe that THIS way we can all have fun and nobody has to go around policing normal families trying to have a good time on the Fourth of July - you know, to actually enjoy their freedoms on that day.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

virtual orange flower from jo...

Miss Faboo Jo gave me this award for my blog although I have NO idea how to post it properly on my page.  I likey it - it's like the fakey colored daisies at my desk at work.  Pretty and bright!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Poses I won't be doing anytime soon...

This pose isn't something I can do...yet.  I'm no spring chicken, but with practice and more practice and possibly some serious stretching in a hot sauna, I can do this someday.   I cannot promise you that I will be able to get OUT of this position, but we'll deal with that later.

Yoga makes my body sing.  I wish someone would have told me about this when I was in college all those years ago.  I always loved ballet and dance, but yoga is all that and so much more.  I used to love fencing, it was graceful and powerful all at the same time, but there was an element missing.  Yoga has all of it - including the missing element, which for me was breathing.

I never learned how to breathe.  I mean, I BREATHE but never learned HOW to properly breathe.  Shallow breaths are what I do, normally and I notice that most people do this too.  Getting into those slow, methodical deep breaths are quite the skill to learn and not as natural as one might think.  It takes practice in this American fast food multitasking society to re-learn how to breathe.

On my desk there is a reminder for me called the Breath Ratio Chart.  It literally tells me how many seconds for inhalation, then to hold (one or two count) and how long to exhale, hold, repeat.  The effects can be relaxing, recharging, balancing, energizing or even good for calming down for sleep.  I'm no expert in breathing in this manner, but I try, I really do.  A good yoga breathing book I purchased recently is by my bedside to help me breathe through allergies, pain and sleep.  It works.  Well.

So, I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks while they're doing a downward dog!  Woof!

Breathing for me is now a source of power - it can change my mood, energy, ability, everything.  I'm a believer!  It even helps me with my yoga poses.  No, I don't do difficult yoga poses, I'm still a yoga baby, but it's all about the breathing.  All of it.  If you can't control your lungs, you can't do anything or if you can do a pose, it will hurt.

Having asthma, I'm well aware of my breathing and the precious resource that it is.  This year has been an awful allergy year and my house is surrounded by oak trees and you can SEE the pollen in the air when any wind kicks in.  My dark grey car has a powdery yellow layer on it each morning and each morning, I'm armed with my inhaler.  Normally, this lasts through March.  This year thanks to El Nino, it's still going strong.  It's hard to breathe and sometimes bronchitis creeps in and I must jump all over it because I don't have time for not breathing and being sick.

With yoga, which I do three times a week now, my breath is like gold - very, very valuable.  Even if I don't do any poses at all, I can still do breathing drills and get benefits!

Of course, with poses like the one above, pictured, we watch our instructor toss in an impossible pose (just because she can, beautifully) and laugh when we stare at one another in amazement!  I think she does this to get us to BREATHE a bit more than we do when we strain during poses.  Us yoga babies are not quite used to the breathing techniques and laughing during practices often helps open those passages up and loosens up our bodies a bit.  Smart Yogi!

When I actually CAN do this pose (above), I will rejoice that I made it and be happy that my breath is the power behind it all.  Then, my yoga friend, Amber, can undo me from the pose and help me stand straight up again as I reach for the Ben Gay!