Crazy as a Loom

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lame Brained.

Everyday is a learning experience, it seems.
I am finding out what I can do, and what I cannot do, in my present state of recovery.

I thought, oh so mistakenly, that I could thread my little Leclerc loom for dish towels.

Winding the warp was ok, and I did thread the loom, over two days, but the price was steep.
Two full days of misery ensued.

You don't know..............and I KNOW you don't pay attention, because I didn't many fine, tiny, movements you do with your cervical spine......your neck.  You lean your head in, and those vertebrae in your neck tip and slide and pivot.  Even when you yourself next time you pick up a fork, you tilt your face in. That movement is 'allowed' by your cervical spine.  C1 and C2 are responsible for all the rotating, tilting, sliding, that allows you to move your head.

Since my surgery, I have had sharp pains on occasion, in both ears.  I also have had issues opening my mouth wide enough to eat some things.  All of this was new, and a mystery.

Here is a picture of your cervical spine. Looking at it helped me to understand my limitations, at least for now...........I have two titanium rods fusing C1, C2, and C3.   It's really no wonder I still have pain, I guess.
Not to mention the hole in my head.


 Two steps forward, one step back.  Or is it one step forward, and two steps back?
Well, whatever.  The short answer is, I'm back on the couch with Roy.

I can walk, however, because that does not require me to bend my head forward.  I walk with the 'best posture in town' per DH.
So Roy gets his 3 mile hike every day of the week.

Sydney says:

Walking is highly overrated.

Someone asked about my shawls, and what the threads consisted of.
I have to confess, my shawls are pretty much like mystery soup.  There is a little bit  of everything in them.
I pull down a couple of spools off the shelf, that speak to me.......and then just keep walking around, mixing and matching, muttering to myself until I have 10 or so that I think look good with each other.

Then I take a piece of plain paper, and cut a piece from each cone, and tape them all together, to see what they will look like.
So there is chenille, there is wool, cotton, polyester, rayon, you name it.
They definitely turn out to be one of a kind, and that's the way I like it.   Sometimes the color choices surprise even me.
When it comes to the actual weaving, I change weft colors for each shawl.  On the loom right now, there is enough to do about 7-8 shawls, so I definitely have room to play with color.
One weft is midnight blue chenille, one will be purple chenille, and one turquoise chenille, one magenta.
One is a blend of many colors.

There are many more talented weavers out there than me.  I think that every weaver just needs to find what really moves them, what kindles their passion to keep weaving.
Mine is crazy color, and  a lot of spontaneity. 
Now if my head and neck would just get with the program.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Everyday gifts.

My two girls. Sporting the hats that Mimi made them.  Cousins, one year apart, but oh, how they love each other.  It's amazing, and makes my heart sing.  Gabby.  Ava.
What a gift they are.

Usually, I am gearing up right now for the Christmas in the Country event, which always happens the first weekend in December.  It is an OPEN HOUSE, and about 12-13 people participate.  Only a couple, like me, are open year round.  Most of the participants decorate and open their homes to sell their handcrafted wares.
I opted out this year, to everyone's amazement.  I didn't want to be obligated to it, committed, and worrying about not being able to do it justice.
Instead, I said, the studio will just be "OPEN", to whomever drops in.  No pressure, no stress.
I will make some Greek Honey cookies, because that is a Christmas tradition, and I will just be there weaving, or knitting, drinking tea.

If I have a couple of these mobius shawls done by then, terrific.  But if not, that's ok, too.
How ya' liking this new, laid back me???
No, I am not smoking anything.  
I am just accepting of everything in this life I am living.

I was made aware of the importance of gratitude about 20 years ago, when I found Al Anon.
I found it amazing that I had never really paid enough attention to it.

Now, of course, it takes on even a more poignant meaning to me.

Ah, gratitude.
Sometimes, when I am sitting in the sunny upstairs landing, weaving at this loom, I could cry.
With joy, that I can still do this. I can still weave, from the beginning process of warping the loom, to throwing the shuttle and watching the fabric appear.
And I can still do it well.
What a gift.

It's not all roses though.
Some mornings, like this one, I wake up and think my head is exploding.
I move slow.
I take my time.
I eat quickly so I can take Motrin.
And I wait, hopefully, for some relief.

Some times I wonder.
Is this my life, forever??
Will I always be fighting this headache, and always be living this pain?
Will I ever feel normal again?  Will I ever EVER have a day without a headache?

Then another voice, other than mine spewing forth worry and doom, is whispering in my ear.

Your life may change a dozen more times.  TODAY, this day, headache or not, is YOURS.
Make the best of it.
The very BEST. OF. IT.
Get over yourself.

You see those clouds??  They are dark, LOOMING, full of potential storminess.
But like me, I bet what you really find yourself looking at, is the sun, the light, the promise that it will break through and light up your world.
Am I right?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Light Bulb moment.

 WARNING: Photos unrelated to text.  Just sayin.

The other day, while I was talking to Cupcake, (I lust for that name, btw) .....I realized something big.

A recent comment from a friend got me thinking about it......she said, "that headache has kind of DEFINED you for some time."
Ya think.
But seriously, that's the truth.  As it persisted, month after month, and sometimes became so severe that I could not function in my normal way, then yes, it did begin to be the guide that I structured my collapsing life around.  And it did take every single waking thought. Trying to diagnose it, trying to manage it, trying to find some relief, understand what was happening to me.
 For all of 10 months, I struggled to find some ground where I could relate, where I could find a transition to this new definition of myself,  from the old definition of who I have been all my life............yup, a workaholic.
Are ya' with me?

Then the knife.  Six hours, two surgeons, and who knows how many sharp instruments, and now I am finding that I am defined by neither of those things.

My headache is becoming  (hallelujah) manageable.   I have a bag of tricks, that actually work to diminish my headache to, medicine, massage, refraining from doing things that cause spasm, meditation.
And whether the doctors rearranged my brain, or this is just a natural conclusion to my whole experience, I find that being a workaholic just doesn't inspire much interest in me  anymore.

Stop the train. OMG.  I can't even believe I said that, much less FEEL it.
But it's true.
I am finding joy in putting balance into my days, and sometimes I feel like I have returned from a foreign place, and I am learning to live all over again.

When I was growing up, Dear Dad taught me what was important.
And if anything that you did as work, did not result in money, then it was stupid.
End of lesson.

Now why I did not take to heart  the lesson that my mother was living, instead,  I have no idea.
She slept until 9am.  After her household chores, which were not too heavy with just she and my father and I there, she was free to amuse herself.  And she did.  She was an accomplished gardener, and she loved to sew.  She did both, and she did them well.   Other than bowling on Tuesday mornings, which she did faithfully, she stayed in her own little corner of the world, and did just exactly what she wanted.  She made dinner, nothing gourmet.........she was not into it, and then on to her other addiction........TV.  She has watched a million movies and some of them multiple times.
She was never concerned about money.  My father made it, and gave it to her.
She was never concerned about work.  When she came to this country in 1946, and her new husband said he did not want her to work, she settled into that dogma like a trooper.
She had several new Toyotas back when NO ONE ELSE WE KNEW had new cars.
My father fetched her fresh popcorn from the movie theater every she could munch while glued to the television til midnight.  Not so late, when you sleep until 9.
THEN, he bought her a full size theater style popcorn machine, so she could make her own.
But she didn't.  He made it.  Big surprise.

But I did get my inclination to create from her, and for that I'm grateful. Dad had nothing to do with my addiction and passion for  fiber arts.

But what now,   now that I have discovered Dad was wrong about the money thing?  Oh, I've known it in theory for a long, long time.  But I still worked like a crazy person every day of my life.
So NOW, I have to rethink, re-plan, redo. It's not enough to just know in my head that every day is a gift, and that all of it is precious, I have to  ACT on it, accept it, and discard all that nonsense that I have dragged around, that money making,  task oriented, compulsive, driven behavior, that I've been doing since I could walk.

I am practicing just that, every day.
This is a warp I wound today, for dish towels.  Just because I wanted to.

 It is all new, this amusing yourself bit.
But I'm pretty sure I can get it.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give thanks.

I have tried to put some balance in my days.  So first thing, I walk Roy, take care of stuff at home, and then go to the studio.  I only stay at the studio for about 3-4 hours.  That's about my limit.  Anything more makes my neck start to spasm, and ache.
I do a little weaving, light stuff, no rugs.

This is a scarf I just made with some yarn I bought on the sale rack at Joann's fabric.
I just have to tie the fringe and wet finish it.
Thought you might like to see it.

 Last night, while I was making pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, and banana cream pie, I decided to make a pumpkin roll.  I have never made one in my life, but I have been wanting to, so I did.

 Let me tell you, I made a mess.

 But it was really much easier than I thought it would be.  And it was delicious.
I rolled mine in walnuts.

I love seeing my children, and their children.  Everyone is busy, so holidays are special when we all get together.  I also love feeding them, especially their favorite pies.
It is a particular joy to have them devoured each time.

  News Bulletin:
The Kingsbury General Store was burglarized.  Apparently, they were looking for jewelry, and when they didn't find any, they at least had the decency to not destroy property.
Since I really can't afford a security system, I thought I would do the next most obvious thing.
I left them a note.


DH says that won't work, but hey, you never know. 

I finally got my next shawl warp on the loom upstairs, and I am ready to weave.
It is so beautiful, and it will kill me to only weave a little bit every day.

But today is a day of gratitude.
Like every day should be, really.

 I AM grateful:
 to HAVE this lovely studio... have a good friend to help me get this warp on, when I can't bend over long enough to do it myself  (thanks L)..................
....for a fantastic family who loves my pies...........
...............that I am able to MAKE those pies.........
..that my pumpkin roll was a success..............
.....for this incredible weaving experience waiting for me, even if I  can't weave all day long......

 for warm, sunny, November walks with my buddy boy, Roy....

and for all of you, my faithful blogging friends, who come back here day after day, offering your support, encouragement, and concern.
I am blessed in so many ways.

 Sometimes, it's just good to count those things that you're grateful for.  While you're busy counting, it's easy to forget the things that don't make the list.
That's what I'm talking about.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Change is good.

My days are sure different than they were a year ago.  I am not the workaholic that I once was.
It's a drastic change.
Truth be told, I thought nothing would ever slow me down, nothing short of the end of my life.
But then, I didn't plan on brain surgery.

I found some old pictures of weaving from back when I actually was productive.  I know I will weave rugs again, just not like I used to.

I will always be attracted to the color and texture of rag rugs.

Amazingly, I see the value of slowing down.    Suddenly, I will be paying attention, savoring the moments, not pushing myself to produce.   I will be mindful of every throw of the shuttle.
Grateful in fact.
As I find myself getting better every day, I find myself thinking a lot about what I want to do with the rest of my life.
I have been on a strange journey this past year, and it has had a huge effect.

I have been contemplating my bucket list.  I think everyone should have one.  It's just that as you get older, and experience life changing events,  you are more inclined to pay attention to it.
Aren't there things that you love, things that you wish you had in your life,  things you could be doing if you wanted to?  Things that you put off, for one reason or another, thinking that you will do it.........later?
When is later?  
That's what I'm asking myself.

I'm making a list.  And it's not my Christmas list, either.

But a list should just be a reminder, nothing more.  Just a whisper in your ear.


We live our lives on so many different levels.   One thing I've noticed is that I live a lot of my life in my head, in the future.  When today, really, is all that I have.

And today is good enough.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sunshine everywhere.

 What a beautiful day out there.  Roy and I were down by the river walking early, so early that there was no one else around.  That is perfect if you ask me.
It always feels good to get our walk done as soon as I get up.  I don't always do that.  For a long time, mornings have been iffy, at best.  I would get up because my head hurt so bad, then I would sit on my end of the couch, with a cuppa tea, quietly, waiting for the Motrin to kick in, or for whatever was unhappy in my head, to settle down and let me function.

Today I feel more normal, and more like myself, than I have in a very long time.  Headache just a dull background noise. 
Doable, totally doable.

Then I went to the studio.  I am going to try to keep the studio open  10-4 on Saturdays and 10-3 on Sundays, until Christmas,  then I will take days off during the week.
It will be good for me in other ways.  I don't get much quiet at home, and being at the studio with the cats is good therapy.
L put the sectional beam on my Schacht for me.
It is ready to rock.
Don't get me wrong.  I have warping boards, and I have put on many a warp that way.
I teach it that way.

But once you have experienced a sectional warp beam, and realized how much less stressful it is, it's tough to love that board.
Yes, this is a Leclerc sectional beam I used, but I prefer them, because the threads don't hang up on those metal pieces shaped like a U.

Here are two of the Mobius shawls I have made recently.....I say recently...the truth of the matter is that I would weave about 10 inches at a time.....PER DAY.......they took forever, but it was the best I could do under the circumstances.
I made three, but one was purchased yesterday, when two ladies popped in to see what I was up to.

 Same warp, different weft.
I put the warp on using the warping board, and a I only had enough for three of these......which prompted me to ask L to help me with the sectional beam which has been sitting on the floor next to the loom for some time.

  Picking out the colors for my warps is probably one of the things I LOVE the most.
Gets me pumped to weave.
Here is what's going on next.

 Only on this warp I will have enough to do SEVEN shawls.
Now that's what I'm talking about.
And no two will be exactly alike.

That's the Schacht, and where I will be weaving these shawls, a little at a time for sure.
Can you think of a sweeter spot to spend a morning?
The sun makes the floors just glow.
 I love this old house.

Have I told you lately how precious life is??  Every minute of every day??
Well, it is.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The good, the bad, and no ugly.

 For a couple of weeks now, I have been having issues with my Mac Book Pro........and it has been very disturbing.
I am in LOVE with this laptop, and I've had it almost two years now.
So to suddenly have it be uncooperative, slow, and troublesome, was upsetting.
I have enough things in my life that are annoying, and I count on a calm experience when I sit down to blog, or work on my web site, or whatever.
So the other day, I called APPLE.  I had to pay $19 for their advice.  The girl I talked to was very nice, and clueless.   After a wasted hour, I was no further ahead.

Finally, just a while ago, I called my son in law.  He immediately said, "well, I noticed that you were using Safari."
OK.     "You should download Firefox, and FORGET Safari.  It has issues."
So I promptly downloaded that little red fox, and then went to every web page that would not open for me with Safari, and yup, you guessed it, they all load immediately, and it is FIXED.
Don't ya love it when things come together, even more so when they have dogged you for a while???
Thank you, A.

At recent shower with my 3 daughters and adopted daughter:  from left,  Holly, ME( first picture post brain surgery) Johanna, Morgan, Brooke, and my mom.
I still look a little pale, but upright, and that's a good thing.
I am grateful for that.

It was a beautiful day today.  Not too warm, not too cold, sunny.  There was a golden hue over everything.
My headache has diminished with Flexeril, massage, more rest, more acceptance.
Just when you thought you had that 'acceptance' thing whipped, you find out that more is required.

Can I just tell you, that when my headache is only a THREE, I  am happy to be alive.
I'm blessed, I tell ya.

Roy, not so much.
It's bath time.
But as pained as he looks, he was totally cooperative.  I wouldn't have expected less.

But once dried, he snuggled down into 'one' of his fave spots.
He does look a little disgusted.
 And since DH gave him the bath, and used the body wash he found on the edge of the tub, now Roy smells like my mother.
Life is so unfair sometimes.

While I am convinced that I cannot weave much yet, nor can I do anything that requires me to bend my head forward for any length of time, I can still KNIT.

And it is appreciated, which makes it all the better.

I know that it is quite possible that my life may never be the same.
Strangely enough, and I can hardly believe it myself, I am ok with that premise.

I am here.  I am functional, still for the most part together.

Life has never been more precious.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A few of you mentioned that you would have no problem "relaxing" in that spot overlooking the lake.
Unfortunately, that was a place I visited, not where I live.
If I did live there, I would never leave.
You can bet that next spring I will be kayaking there.

Pictures to follow!

These photos are just ones I took along the way.
I take a lot of pictures, of anything that moves me.
Like this little trailer.  Why the heck fix the roof?
We'll just build this over the top.

I have always loved old barns.  My old barn had a roof like this.  I loved the way it looked, unfortunately the water ran through it like a sieve.

Some people prefer this.  Newly made, purchased as a package, and constructed on your site.

This is more my style.
A barn with history.  Personality.

The house is for sale,  and it is right on the brook, as well as right on the road. Problem is, the brook is about 60 ft straight down an embankment behind the house.
I now look at everything that could cause a fall.   Not so long ago, I would have just been scrambling down there, thinking I was invincible.
I know better now.

There were a few places that looked like they were straight out of the movie "Deliverance".
Please stay in your car.

Speaking of cars..........this one caught my eye.  It has seen better days, but I love it.

Several of you asked about the doctor.  Did I call him?
Well, actually, I had his email address.  He told me to email him with any concern.
So I did.  And he said, "it's too soon to panic.  Give it some more time.   If the intense headache persists, we will do an MRI, but I think it will resolve on its own."

After a sluggo day yesterday, and not much more today, keeping a VERY low profile, my headache does seem to have lessened considerably.
I did try massaging my head, (thanks Susan and Bruce) but I have to do it very carefully.  The back of my head is still incredibly sensitive.

 So I am heeding the message, even though it has been 11 weeks, that just may be too darn soon to expect a full recovery from a very traumatic surgery.
I have to back up, and pay attention.  When I do, what I see is truly marvelous.

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:
on purpose,
in the present moment,
and nonjudgmentally.

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts