Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday at Stitches

It's Sunday and I could have slept in, but instead I woke at 5 am with a heachache. I was not ever able to nap and in 30 minutes I start teaching for the afternoon. Headache is still going strong. Later I will be driving 10 hours to get home to Eric and Evan. On 5 hours of sleep. Woot!

It's going to be fine though, because teaching always makes me feel good. I will have loving goodbyes from friends, and plenty of music and audiobooks to keep me focused and awake while I drive.

Mostly, I have a really refreshing week to think back on, so I'm going to focus on that.

I drove off in our faithful 2006 Accord last Sunday and got to my pal Erin's house in the late night hours. She was up waiting for me and greeted me with a comfy, warm welcome. I feel so at home with her family and had two very happy days there, filled with, among other things, hugs, playground times, donuts, new jeans that I actually love, netflix, bike-fixing, bike riding, more hugs, and some great dinner times. I am grateful for my friends. It takes so much energy for me to find them and have the guts to get to know them, but what a blessing it becomes in the long run. It's always worth it to cultivate a friendship.
I love these boots.  And of course the kid wearing them. 

It's a good day when you can play outside with people like this. 
Early Wednesday I said goodbyes to the Tolmans and drove the other half of the miles to Atlanta. I got easily settled into my room at the new Stitches venue near the airport. It's a shame I didn't fly because this place is connected to the airport by a free skytrain. Sweet! I was tired from the drive, but first Gwen and I met up about Eduknit stuff. I should have napped first because I was grumpy, which I regret, but I managed to recover and get a fair amount done. Later Beth, Gwen and I walked into College Park and got a fantastic Barbecue dinner. 

About that grumpiness.  I worry about staying strong and fit and being able to take on all this new work, because sometimes I really do feel old and achy and grumpy an alarming number of times in a week. (The good news is that I always walk a lot at Stitches so I got more than 10,000 steps every day of the show. That will help, right?)

The rest of the weekend was pleasantly busy. I got paired up with a new roommate and she was perfect. We talked easily and had great times when we were together. It was wonderful to see my closest circle of knitting-teacher friends. I love them all so much. I am grateful to have them in my life. I don't always think I'm such a great friend because it really doesn't come naturally to me, but with practice and mindful effort, I have found more good, supportive and complementary friends than I could ever have dreamed of in the sometime isolation of my teen and young adult years. 

Great moments in the weekend included: 
  • that barbecue dinner. Perfection. 
  • 2 interviews recorded with other teachers for creating eduknit content. Amazingly talented people. 
  • A long morning walk with Beth around the convention center complex with wisteria blooming and the warmth of spring confirmed. I have renewed faith that spring will come to Maryland. 
  • Some absolutely amazing students. Thank you to Karen, Julia, Kelly, and many, many more. New Ravelry friends, yes. 
Some photos so I can remember: 

some knitting celebs. inside of my camera. amazing.
that is my name in print. 
regular take offs and landings. the iphone lens does not
show the fact that I could have reached up and touched this
plane. seriously
the pine trees probably don't love the invading wisteria, but
i am appreciative of the color and fragrance
even a convention center is lovely at sunrise
a little freeform crochet off the top of my
head. inspired by edie, of course, but I
was not looking at a book. hey, I should
be a designer or something. ha.

And so another Stitches winds up and as usual, I look at that paycheck and pinch myself that it's what I do for money. Lucky me, I tell you. 

I hope with all my heart that you're doing something you love.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Simple Things

I can't seem to make a regular blog post anymore, but here are some photos at least.

Sometimes simple things make such happy memories. Like accompanying toddling twins (and their mom) to the Maryland Science Center. They weren't still for long enough to get any great photos, but oh, was it some fun times to follow them around the children's room and watch them explore.

And seeing the sun over the harbor on a morning that wasn't freezing cold: 

And finally seeing the first daffodil. They are about 2 weeks later than usual: 

And having somebody acknowledge a lot of years of your life: 
13 seasons of wrestling are over. 
And knowing how much those years meant to your kids:

Thanks for looking. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

My Life (or Holy Cow!)

When I was young, these are some of the things I thought of being when I grew up:

  • Writer. 
  • Teacher. 
  • Movie editor (No, really. I did. I used to hook two VCRs and my stereo together and edit home movies complete with transitions, titles and music tracks.)
  • Photographer
  • Cetologist. Points for you if you know what that is without looking it up. 
Today I found myself thinking of how amazed I am at where I sit right now. In fact, I'll show you: 

Here is what I'm watching on my screen: 

If you can't tell, it's all the windows of Premier Pro, a movie-editing application. Contained therein are the guts of an instructional video I just made, being rendered into a single entity onto my hard drive so I can upload it to Vimeo, where, on Friday, it will debut as the first content for sale on the new website I am launching with my dear friend Gwen

I've been working on it full tilt for about a month, and it's good to see it be a whole piece, rather than just the bits I've been peering at all these weeks. It took endless tweaking and much moving (in tiny, tiny increments) of those Adobe sliders I know so well. The next one will be easier, as will the next one after that, and so on. 

When I consider my life so far, I can see that pretty much all the things I thought I might be good at, I've had the opportunity to at least try (though, in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that the Cetology thing has not worked out as of yet). I've used my skills at nearly all times for my family, nearly as often as a community and church volunteer, and over the years, occasionally as a professional. Gradually, I've gotten more and more comfortable saying to people that I AM a writer, a teacher, and a photographer. Now I can add that I'm an editor of movies. I don't have any ambition to be famous, but I am endlessly curious, and I've said yes to a lot of things that I didn't know how to do (plus I was probably holding a baby on my hip) but I was willing to at least try. I think that was a good plan for me.  
Now that I have the chance to do professional things more and even all the time if I want, I feel very strongly that my work at home being everything possible to 6 other people, plus all the project management and organization I've learned through PTA, boosters and church activities has actually prepared me really well for the next 45+ years that I might have left to live (My grandma is almost 92). It's neat to see from this perspective that everything has come along at the right time. 

It's exciting and terrifying to be putting stuff out there for people to see, love, hate and ignore. I know all those things will happen, and that's the price of living life in the real world. Fortunately, I have some experience with that. I've been loved, hated and ignored during my life so far. And not just by my kids, haha. It's good that I'm practiced at trying to move forward with confidence that what I'm doing is right for me. 

My little movie is not perfect, in fact every time I watch it a part of me wants to delete and start from scratch, but in the business world, especially when you're first starting out, there's this principle called "Ship It!" That means if you have even minimally viable product, get it out there, start selling your stuff, and then, as you get feedback, experience and capital, your output will move to higher levels. But you have to start. 

So there you go. Yet another new start. I can never say that I didn't have chances. 

Anyway,  never give up on your dreams, but don't be afraid to take a detour, whatever it is--family, travel, education, etc., even if everyone else thinks you're wrong. Be right for yourself. You've got time. Spend your energy on the most important things while they're the most important, and the other things will come along in their turn. 

I'm living proof. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I am enjoying my One Word. It seems to be a good approach for my brain. It has prompted me to delete lots of saved (but as yet unread) emails, links and articles about all kinds of things I might someday want to learn about but apparently don't have time for now. I am, without fear of missing out or regret, saying no to new and improved methods for living life. I have made huge progress on my out-of-control inbox because I'm focusing on what has value to me and what does not. I have been an unsubscribing ninja!

Decluttering, which is always on my mind, has become easier and more directed. Sticking to a routine has felt slightly less claustrophobic.

I know it's only been a few days, but I feel a peaceful space growing in my mind. If the input, opportunities and obligations I experience daily are like a teeming jungle with a constant cacophony of choices competing for my attention from every side, then the mental nudge to Align is like a deserted beach at sunrise. It's quiet and spare, with the calming rhythm of the tide repeating softly. It slows me down and stops me from getting whiplash trying to look at everything at once and never miss out on something (that might be) awesome.

One big thing happening is my complete rethinking of my journey as a photographer. I'm starting from scratch. I'm taking only jobs I really want which means I'm saying no to other jobs. I'm practicing photography again, rather than just producing photographs for clients. It is incredibly scary, but whenever I am more mindful about what I do with my camera, it lands me on that lovely beach in my mind, and the feeling is right.

I think most importantly of all, I'm feeling more gratitude and less longing. I'm lingering in each moment instead of wishing it away. That's a big deal for me. I generally live either in the past  or the future, and neither is actually touchable. Right now is the only tangible thing, and it's good to consciously feel the present sliding though my fingers, sparkling, then let the tide carry it away.

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