Monday, October 29, 2007
Have you ever had one of those days where something clicks into place in your psyche, actually, in the very depths of hope itself? I have just had one of those experiences. Previous to this experience I was much like the little bunny above counting in preparation for hide-and-go-seek with my criminal law quiz.
Today I found out that most people have extremely low scores. Myself included, but not because of studying. It is a hard course to begin with, and adding in the fact we are taking it as an on-line course just helps to explain how everything can completely get out of control.
A few moments ago I took a quiz independently of my study group. There was much trepidation. I got an 85%! I can do this, people! I can do this!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Tai chi has kept me going, though, and a few other qigong techniques I've learned over time. Physically I could be doing better. Emotionally? Well, I think I just am beginning the winter blahs just a little earlier than normal. It is probably because I am out and about with people. At the same time, one aspect of the winter blahs hasn't hit yet, and I don't expect it to really: the anxiety of not having anything to do. Yeah, that one is TOTALLY covered this year. Who knows, when the rain stops and all of the winter clothes are unpacked (including some socks) the winter blahs may only be the "winter hinderance" than anything else.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Here's my latest update:
mountainlaurel: How does this wrk?
So, what are you doing?
- mountainlaurel (via Twitter)
"Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app."
- TIME Magazine
"It's one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet."
- New York Times
"Suddenly, it seems as though all the world's a-twitter."
Currently at school. Currently quite tired with still loads of work to be done. Tomorrow is yet another day and more homework, but I have come to the decision this is now my life and, despite occasional grumbles, it is indeed one enjoyed.
Last night I frogged (unraveled) the sock I was working on and started over. Now I have a nicely begun project that continues to give me encouragement to finish it, and the other one. A "pair" of socks means two. I know my brain knows this, and my head, and I seriously don't want to be one of those knitters that wears different socks because they want to use up their yarn (which, of course, gives you reason to purchase more) and get bored of one particular color and simply don't go on to finish the second sock. The A part of my personality demands things finished. Complete. To the best of my ability. Socks are going to be the true testing ground for my knitting determination. Another added incentive is the fact I really need some socks. My feet are getting colder as the days progress and the temperatures drop. A pair of socks could come in quite handy right now, as well as in the future.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Every day I go to my favorite rabbit page and sit and smile. Even when the day is horrible there is something about seeing all the disapproval present that makes the day not quite so bad. This photo is of today's disapproving rabbit, and how can I not smile? This little cutie is giving the world the perfect look, and, if I was, say another rabbit, or even a cat, I might just run myself! I can also remember my own pet rabbits and how they could leave a nice bruise or three from kicking when someone new or different picked them up.
So, I give you bunnies today. I thought it was appropriate since it is Monday.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Why am I doing this now, when so much is ahead of me calling for my attention in ten thousand different directions? Because there are ten thousand different directions my head is being pulled, as well as my time and energy. It has been so difficult to sit down and decide on one specific thing to focus my concentration toward. So, I am breathing and taking time to just be here, in the Now. And, joy of joys, I can actually see what needs to be done most (criminal law) and the things that can be left alone for a little while (legal writing) and those things that need to be taken home with me (math).
This is quite surprising. I mean, everything has a path. Finding the path to the one of the better answers is the difficult thing. Tai chi, knitting, and spinning, along with a double helping of prayer, has indeed begun to teach me something about myself and how to handle...all this...stuff. And, it makes me smile.
People have said over and over again that if you can just give yourself a few minutes throughout the day just for yourself, everything is a little better. When I can remember to do this, things actually do get better. Things become more clear, paths are more easily chosen. Yep, I'm doing this more often.
Monday, October 15, 2007
I am new at spinning and not so new at living, or so it feels sometimes.
I look back over my life and see many horrible things, many "rough" patches that would have been far better not to have experienced. This time, I am not just talking about the death of my parents and family members, but about how hard handling the pain and the confusion of the pain and just trying to live and not just exist while in the midst of the pain itself.
In learning to spin I am making what is called "slub yarn." Yarn that is sometimes extremely thin in spots, or sections; or perhaps quite thick. As with all things you learn, there are also sections that are absolutely perfect. This is a lot like life.
There are parts of our life where we are pulled so thin we are in danger of breaking and never being able to mend ourselves back together. Sometimes our lives are so full, so bloated with things to do or work to complete, we can't see how we've come past the thin section. The sections that are absolutely perfect surprise us, but only in hindsight, because we can't see we have had perfect sections until the thin or thick parts hit as we wind the yarn of our lives back onto the spindle of time to create more yarn and we see them and we wonder, perhaps only sometimes, perhaps a lot, why we hadn't noticed them before.
My faith teaches me that the Theotokos, the Virgin Mary, spun. We have an icon on the Holy Doors at Church that shows the Annunciation when the Angel Gabriel comes to tell her she can be with child. She is sitting quietly with a spindle and a long piece of beautiful blue thread. Startled by the appearance of the angel, the spindle is unwound some, but it is still one beautiful strand of consistent thread. The Theotokos tells the Angel Gabriel, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." (Luke 1:26 - 38) And Christ enters her womb.
She accepts. She is not forced.
You can't force the yarn into perfection. It just moves into it's shape and consistency with all of the wonder of every fiber falling perfectly into place. The Theotokos was human, just like me, but she was willing to let all of the fibers of her Soul, her mind, her body, and her heart fall into that perfect unison so that Christ could be born of her.
My fibers aren't perfectly falling into place. I still let life pull me so taut, so thin, I am in danger of breaking and never mending. I still let life fill me up until I am just one single blob of imperfect fibers trying very hard to spin into perfection. I still can't see all of the times when my life is in perfection, order, stretching out before me until they are past me. But I am trying. And, the more I try, the more I see the dangers, the pitfalls and the sorrows ahead, and know, through faith and love and steadfastness I will get through them. My one hope is that I don't hurt the people I love while getting through them.
Spinning has begun teaching me about life. Perhaps, by the time my yarn is in a perfect section, I will be able to see life a little differently, and thus keep all of the fibers running through and making the most beautiful of thread.
Maybe Jesse Stuart had it right in his novel The Thread that Runs So True when he tells stories of his life and how every single thread means something to someone, and when it is all woven, it shows us a tapestry of our lives. Isn't that such a wonderful legacy to leave behind and to create?
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Ah, spinning. It encourages me in ways I didn't quite expect. Last night while watching television I couldn't keep my hands off of the beautiful purple wool that was beginning to turn into beautiful purple yarn. Before it was time to go to bed there was an obvious difference in the product at the beginning of the entire spinning experiment, and the yarn I put down in order to go to bed. It was a better product, even though there were still lumps here and there and a few thin places. Lucky for me I can see when this is beginning to happen now, and if I can catch it early there is even a chance of correcting the problem with adding just a little more wool. Even if it isn't perfect yarn, the hat the yarn will make is going to be absolutely splendid and much loved.
Since the spinning experiment is going so well there is the possibility of combining different colors of wool so the yarn made will be different. My own creation. It may not be different, but each time I have said, "I would like this color mixed with this color--now where do I find it?" there hasn't been a place to locate such color combinations. Now there is: Me. This is a giggly thought on my part. Absolutely joyous!
See what I mean about the brain knowing when it is time to concentrate on other matters for a little while? It would be nice just to sit and spin for about thirty minutes before having to go to work or doing more homework. Is there a way to transport some yarn and a set of knitting needles? If I am extra careful perhaps I can transport the sock yarn, needles, and pattern with me. Surely socks wouldn't take up so much room they couldn't be placed in my school bag.... Hmmm, this means thinking and arranging. Who knows, next week may see me transporting yarn to school and some quiet time just to knit amid the craziness of studying almost relentlessly!
Monday, October 08, 2007
The wool I chose for my first attempt is of a vibrant purple. It is almost a royal purple. The thread, string it makes is just as vibrant and eye-catching as the wool itself. The idea I had, when I picked this particular wool for my first time spinning was to knit a warm winter hat for myself and I wanted something that made me smile.
Beth, of Stone's Throw Artisans in Georgetown, gave me a quick demonstration with a drop spindle. It was amazing to watch as thread seemed to magically fall from her hands. Perfect thread with no bumps or lumps. It was amazing to watch. Beth concluded with, "And that's it. You'll do fine!"
So, yesterday I took her simple instructions and tried. It isn't perfect like Beth's. There are lumps and thin spots, but watching the thread magically appear as the whirl spins there is a different sort of peace than knitting gives. It is peaceful. Quiet. The quiet like a peaceful prayer. Perhaps this is why I chose, quite spontaneously, to begin my spinning experiment at the Church festival this Sunday. Was it only just yesterday?
The first ten minutes had me spinning. The thread and string forming. It called to people. A friend, a very manly man at that, sat down and tried his hand at spinning. He is from Ethiopia and he told me how they would sit and make their yarn and thread out of cotton. He was excited at seeing something that reminded him of his own culture and people. Kids appeared and stood off about five feet because they were afraid of "bothering" me or making the thread not appear. Although I encouraged them, they still remained five feet away, their eyes wide and, after a few minutes, they began smiling broadly with each time I paused to wind the new thread around the pole of the spindle.
Even our priest came up to where I was sitting to watch me at our labors and others came forward to tell me of icons they had seen of the Theotokos, The Virgin Mary, with a spindle, just like the one I was using (the same type of spindle) and that they had never seen anyone using one before. Lucky for me I had researched spindles and spinning quite a lot before I decided to try my hand at it, and was able to tell them that the drop spindle is one of the oldest forms of spinning tools in the world and that it is in almost every culture that has textiles. It is just a natural progress of need and figuring out how to provide that need.
In nearly every culture that has a spindle and produces thread, the spider is a representative and usually stories follow of how people learned to spin and knit from a spider. I have a horrible fear of the creatures naturally, but Saturday, during tai chi, I did a movement, and there was a spider dangling from my left hand on a virtually invisible silk thread. Normally I would have screamed and flailed frantically to get it away from me, but the thread was so calm and still and the spider didn't move (I think it was the spider not moving that made me less afraid) that caused me to just relax. I gave my hand a good shake to remove the spider and went into the next movement. It was still there as my hand came up into a ward off position. It wasn't swaying or bobbing with my movement (maybe I was doing something else right?). It was perfectly still, dangling from my hand. For a moment my mind stilled even further and suddenly I accepted the spider and managed to get it free from my hand in some type of peace.
If I was one to believe in omens I would call the spider an omen. One of peace and stillness. These are two traits quite useful in spinning, or knitting, or living.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
On more pleasant notes, however, I discovered a writing prompt that made me actually sit for a moment and think about it. (It would be nice to be able to write about it, but legal writing class and a paper due in it keeps my mind firmly on legal writing issues at the moment.) So, I thought I would pass it along to you, Dear Readers, for your perusal as well as perhaps prompting your own creativity. A genie just pops into the room where you are and offers you three wishes. What do you ask for? You may send them to me to post here, or you can post at the Writer's Digest site itself. I would really like to know what you came up with.
As I said earlier, there was a math test I missed yesterday because of the ickiness. I had nightmares about it for a good portion of last night and it was first thing on my mind this morning when I woke up. When I got to school I actually had to wait on my instructor to finish a call before asking for the test. She smiled at me in this pleased, almost surprised sort of way, and agreed. If she had not agreed, as my brain was trying to tell me, I would have pleaded! After taking the exam I feel more confident. I believe I actually did quite well, especially since we were permitted one sheet of handwritten notes to have with us during the exam. Since we are beginning to use formulas you can imagine what was pretty much on my sheet. I only needed the sheet twice!
However, something that happened just prior to taking the test, and then directly before my math class began, that made me sit quiet for a moment and take issue at what I do as in comparison to what some students do (actually a lot more than I would like to admit, even to myself). A girl in my math class, as well as in my program field, came strolling into the building--and I do mean strolling. She is a very pretty young woman, probably in her early twenties, but she always has an angry, aggravated look on her face which takes away from her beauty. This girl also carries, almost radiates an aloofness and arrogance that keeps many people away from her and she drops it rarely (usually when she is in need of something, like notes). I asked her if she had taken the test and she said, "No, I wasn't here yesterday." She then proceeded past me with determination as if I had stopped her from reaching the finish line of an important race in the Olympics.
This girl, though young and beautiful, does not take higher education seriously. If she can get by with doing the very least she can she is happy and complains when she is challenged, even in the smallest bit. It makes me sad that there are so many students here who do this. Sometimes I think I try so hard because I always have had something to prove, to show that I could keep up somewhere with all of the rest of the "normal" people. Now I am beginning to accept I genuinely enjoy learning, as well as it is a field on which I am just as equal as everyone else. When I see someone so young, who has everything ahead of them practically pissing away their education because they seem lazy and don't want to be bothered with it, I almost get angry, then disappointed, and finally sad because they have so much before them and they just can't see it. Not really. Sometimes, when I see this, I think it is also my age: I am a lot older than this girl, but now I'm not so sure this is the reason a reaction like this makes me feel this way.
Please don't misunderstand: there are a lot of young people here trying their very best to do what they need, to succeed with the best grades possible. They have great outlooks, and high dreams and hopes. However, they are not the norm for the majority of students. Their number is quite small compared to the others who act arrogantly and as if education, school doesn't really matter for their futures and are, basically, forced to go to school by parents, spouses, or because they have children who need things and thus they need an education in order to get the better job to care for them.
It is just sad how some of them act. It also makes me think, what are they going to be like once they get into the work force? Are they going to be the same way? I believe the answer is pretty close to an affirmative. Lord help us all.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
I guess I am just tired with all of the studying I am having to do. I mean, let's face it, places with "accelerated learning" as part of their title or credentials don't let you take too many breaks. You learn to get in there and get it done. So, we go at it (I am not alone in this, there are hundreds of us, probably a couple of thousand at the very least) and we work hard at what we are doing. If it had not been for the things I have learned from tai chi and the book The Healer Within it is pretty fair to say, I think, I wouldn't have made it through yesterday.
I can do this. There are just two more days to my school week and I have Friday, sweet Friday, to relax and, hopefully, sleep.
Today has not been as horrible as yesterday, or as hectic as last week. There have been moments where I could actually look up at a clock and feel a sense of peace rather than anxiety, and my dear friend Sniffles was able to come and have a late lunch with me. Both of us needed it, thinks I. However, once she was gone I began working on math and got it finished for the test tomorrow, made notes for said test, and organized my notebook a little better than it was before.
Cheyenne said I hadn't hit my stride yet this quarter. Perhaps he is right. I feel off, somehow, with everything I need to do. It is as if I haven't been able to prepare for this quarter as I did last quarter. True, there was a lot of stress during my time off. The opportunity to rest was, well, not as readily available as I had hoped it was going to be. Yeah, I need to find that stride and go. I may not be an "jogger" where this educational field is concerned.