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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Celtic Horoscope...

You Are A Fir Tree

You love anything beautiful, and you have extraordinary taste.
And while it's hard for you to trust, you care deeply for those close to you.
You are a social butterfly, and you have many friends.
You handle stress well - and you are a master at relaxing after a hard day.
Overall, you are modest, talented, unselfish, and very reliable.

I'll agree with most of this...but "You handle stress well?" Um...yeah, that's why I had a heart attack, right?

Monday, September 25, 2006

What Stirs My Muse?

Melanie was querying her readers on what they do to inspire their creative muses, and it got me to thinking about my own relatively feeble attempts at writing creatively or introspectively: Just what is it that moves me, causes me to 'pick up my pen?'

I try to write every day. I find that even just jotting notes about the events of the day in a journal (even just "it was 74 degrees and humid; new fabrics arrived" types of notes) helps me maintain a routine of writing. I keep a notebook (spiral bound, nothing fancy) for this purpose and I have a lot of them.

My "creative" writing really only takes a couple of forms. I'm not trying to write a novel, for example, tho' I'll admit I've had one bouncing around the edges of my brain for a number of years. It will no doubt stay there...because essentially, I am an essayist.

I've been known to write the occasional piece for our newspaper's commentary section, but those have to be penned when I'm incensed and agitated about a subject. Firey, opinion-swaying language just doesn't seem to flow unless I'm inspired by some injustice. I cannot force myself into "change the world" mode at a moment's notice, and I really do try hard not to raise my blood pressure, so you will not find me earning my living as a op-ed journalist anytime soon!

Mostly though, I try to write my thoughts, jumbled and chaotic as they sometimes are. And I try to do that every day. Discipline, I learned when I was training in ballet, makes a world of difference creatively. Most of what I write is bunk and gets trashed. Sometimes it shows up here (some of it still bunk!). Occasionally something with substance stays on my computer for later.

But I can tell you (and Melanie) that the things I've found that nurture my muse are really rather simple: any creative activity (like knitting or sewing, especially involving fully saturated colors!), moments of meditation and yoga (it used to be walking meditation), physical or emotional pain, a moment's sudden natural beauty (such as a shaft of sunlight through the cloudy, gray gloom or the sight of a male cardinal in the snow), and any feeling of love, be it romantic or not: seeing my grandsons' unfettered delight in something is equally as effective as watching The Meezer chase after her tearstrip with total abandon, or gazing into the eyes of my beloved or hearing his voice on the phone.

Often, I'll step from the sewing machine or my knitting chair to the computer to toss a line or two down, so I can remember it for later. I suspect, if I had less pain in my hands I'd write with a fountain pen in a lovely book. Either way the purpose is to get it down, especially as the older I get the more quickly I forget! The benefit to the computer, too, is the speed at which I can jot my thoughts, as I type much faster than I could ever write.

Then the only other way to get my creative juices flowing is to read: be it blogs or my favorite authors. Seeing what others are thinking about sparks my own thinking. Which makes you, my fellow bloggers, my muse!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Belated Eye Candy - Sunday?

The fading glory of my lovely geraniums from the balcony garden...Sorry to be so late with this...but I am up to my eyeballs in bag orders, so Friday after work was spent searching for and finding coordinating fabrics for all the National Capital Cat Show orders (Thanks, SIL for your - always - wonderful help!)

I'm surprised (and not just a little dismayed) at how long it's taking me to bounce back from the two solid months of preparation for that show. But then I try to remind myself that I had spent at least a month in almost solid preparation for the Star City Cat Show prior to that, as well, so I suppose 3 months of almost non-stop sewing is taking it's toll? lololol...I somehow thought two weeks break would easily make up for it! And I am sewing again, just more slowly...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Finally, My Muse Begins to Return!

Finally, life is calming down and my brain seems to be returning from it's stuporous, exhausted fog. How lucky it was to find this morning, that my bloglines showed my pal Birdsong had updated with another thought-provoking essay, this time on spinning as "the new yoga!" Well, perhaps that's not where she was going and it certainly isn't a direct quote (she says she missed the "knitting is the new yoga" bandwagon), but my dear friend did provide a few reasons as to just why, now, she's decided to try her hand again at spinning (spindling?), and why it looks as if she's going to continue with it. Her last reason, specifically, gave me pause...

"There are great wooden spindles...and there is the challenge of learning the be successful in using them. This keeps my mind alert and ever-learning, and keeps me from aging!"

Hmm....that last sentence: Keeps her mind alert, keeps her from aging - ALWAYS an important issue for me, especially when I also endure the brain-fog of fibromyalgia and SLE.

But spinning? I think I'd love it, and I envy my friends who use both spindles and wheels. I can imagine the hypnotic pull of a spindle in my hands, the soothing whir of the wheel. But in my case, this is an activity I'll have to forego, and it's not just the time involved, or the issue of painful joints holding heavy objects or treddling a wheel, it's also the cost.

I'm always trying to find room in the budget to buy the lovely yarns I'd like to use, and I don't think there's a spare penny for roving, or spindles, or a wheel. There's certainly no room in my apartment for a wheel.

And fortunately, there are a lot of activities that help keep the mind sharp. I think knitting lace qualifies. And lace is certainly my addiction, no question about that. Birdsong says she used to feel that spinning took too much time from her knitting, and since I seldom have the chance to complete even one lace shawl, I still feel that way. I don't want to add another activity - no matter what it is - that will take away from that.

Thankfully, for me, knitting IS my yoga, my meditation, my method for centering myself. Knitting is my dharma, my Way, the Path I follow.

The fiber way offers so many options for finding our niche, for satisfying the need for peace in our lives. Whether you spin, knit, crochet, sew, quilt, or any combination of the many options available, I don't really think it matters.

The brain is challenged to quiet itself as we center on the fiber craft of our choice. We become one with the needles, hooks, and spindles, our eyes focussed on the single stitch or each twist and turn, our breathing slows and deepens unconsiously, the heart rate calms, and time falls away.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Me? NOT a Diva??? DD Would NOT Agree!

You Aren't A Diva

You don't like to cause a fuss or draw attention to yourself.
You're easygoing, and you can even put up with diva behavior from others.
This makes you everyone's favorite trusty companion.
But watch out - it could also make you their favorite doormat.

But it sounds about right to me...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eye Candy Friday!

A nice shot of one of the two Peaks of Otter - a lovely spot in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia. We'll be driving along the Blue Ridge today and will see the Peaks at a distance, as we head to the National Capital Cat Show in Chantilly, VA! Hope to see you tomorrow or Sunday - I'll sure have lots of Nana Sadie Rose bags as Eye Candy for you!