Not Enough Silly

I am a very active person.  By this, I mean that I must always be engaged in something – whether it’s training, socializing, knitting, working, etc.  I have to feel like I have a purpose to my time.  The feeling of being bored or unproductive is the worst.  There are so many things on my to-do list; more than I think a lifetime could fulfill, but this ensures that I am always working on something.

The problem I am facing is this thing called a day job.  Initially, the office life was stable, consistent, and helped fund my creative and artistic endeavors.  Then I started teaching and other worlds and possibilities opened up to me, and I’m trying desperately to straddle the line between what I want to do, and what I have to do to stay alive.  And then my legs getting tired from holding myself between the gravitational pulls of the two worlds and my neck gets sore from looking back and forth, and I collapse in a fit of tears and anger because I can’t do it all, and I’m tired from trying.

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There’s a ball of yarn, neatly caked and ready to turn into a functional piece.  Sometimes, when you reach into the center, the yarn gets tangled a bit and out comes the fiber vomit.  There’s nothing you can really do but sigh and work through the tangles.  I am that ball of yarn vomit right now, working out the tangles so that the ideas that are neatly caked in my head can be turned into breathtaking works of art.

It started a few weeks ago, when someone I met at Burning Man found me on Facebook, and we started chatting and catching up.  He was telling me all about the silly things he’s been up to, and I was momentarily jealous.  I’ve got silly things going on, also, but not as much as I want.  I have a shortage of silliness in my life, and an abundance of serious.

It really struck me as a problem last week when I was sitting on the couch with Ellette.  I took the afternoon off of work to take care of doctors appointments, one for me and one for her, and it was the first solid chunk of time we’d had together for ages.  So, there we are sitting on the couch and we’re talking about what we should do with our afternoon.  And she asked if we could paint our nails because a classmate of hers was going to be spending the afternoon with her mom painting each others nails, and Ellette thought it was a wonderful mommy-daughter activity.  We didn’t paint each others nails but I did hang out with Ellette while she painted her own, and while she was busy with that, I asked what her thoughts were on how we were living – the hustle and bustle, the long days training, the short evenings together – did she mind?  Overall, she said, she liked it because no one else in her class was doing it and she felt like it was something special.  And then she mentioned, almost quietly, that she wishes we had more time together, doing special mother-daughter things, like painting our nails together.

That was a punch to the gut.  I felt instantly guilty about not sucking up my exhaustion and sitting on the floor with her.  I did promise that we will do more together; and I’m following through with some wonderful just-the-two-of-us trips for this summer.

This is what has been bouncing around my mind lately.  It’s making me a little angry and a little depressed, and a lot jittery to move on to the next adventure.  I am working and training so much now that it is no longer affecting just me.

This is the moment that I tell the world: WE NEED MORE SILLY!  And, I for one, am taking giant leaps of faith so that silly will be an every day adventure for me.

 

That Time of Year

I cast off the blanket today.  I am unsure if it needs a block or not – maybe a quick steam and pin.  So, I’m looking around now and what’s on the needles and thinking about what I want to start next, and then it hit me. 

We’re halfway through September.  I have only three months to prep for the gift-giving holidays.  And, following my 2013 resolutions – it’s all from stash, because I haven’t even cracked the surface of my hoard yet.

So, I made a spreadsheet and this afternoon began slowly filling it in.  Who is getting a knitted gift this year?  What do I want to make them?  What yarn am I going to use?

Over the next few days, I’ll put yarn with needles and pattern, and map out a schedule so I can get everything done in an orderly fashion.

And maybe, just maybe, I won’t be running around crazy at the end of the year.

Those are famous last words if I ever heard them.

Have you started holiday prep yet?

It Simply Was

I’ve been mulling over what could be said about the trip; what needs to be said, what I want to say.  I’ve been trying to think of what to write about, what to dwell on, what to remember, and what I would do again.

As I said before, when people ask me about it, I have a hard time saying anything.  How was it, really? What did I gain from it?  What did I love about it? I hesitated to answer just as I’ve been hesitating writing about it.  Then, this past weekend, I went to a wedding with my family.  As my brother and I were sitting in the car together on the way, I suddenly realized that he would enjoy going to Burning Man, and I told him such, going on to explain why I think that is true.  Some of the reasons were the same as mine – the travel, the community, the art – oh, the art!  And some were different, that we seek out different qualities in people and react differently to large groups, constant interaction, etc.

I thought about this more, recalling the times I had felt compelled to tell someone about the trip.  I noticed it all came down to that statement: “You would have liked it.”

After writing the post about Decompressing, a friend of mine told me about Experiential Truth, that some things cannot be summed up with words.  Period.  Really, in this situation, I can’t tell you what it was like, nor do I honestly want to.  Everyone experiences Burning Man differently, and for me it was deeply emotional and intimate.  It gives to you the realizations, emotions, and entertainment that you need most.  And, what you need is not necessarily going to match what I need.  My daughter and I did almost exactly the same things that week and walked away from those instances with completely different perspectives on what happened, and a different sense of peace than each other.  She was happy to spend her afternoon in a net hanging over a dance floor inside of a giant blue whale.  I joined her for 5 or 10 minutes before growing bored and wanting to move.  She spent close to an hour content in her nest, chatting away with whoever else decided to rest there next to her as I meandered through the bowels of the whale, chatting with the bartender, finding a pile of free henna and making art on our bodies, climbing scaffolding and engaging in conversation elsewhere.

When it comes to the experiential truth, all I can say is there are good and bad, and the degree of each depends on your personal priorities.  Next time, I will have the awareness to take time to myself so I don’t shut down mentally and emotionally before the end.   Separating myself from the crowd is not only ok, but it is necessary for my experience to continue being fun.  Next time, I will adventure with Ellette for a day with the purpose being to hop on every single art car we see because for her, the art cars are what make the experience exciting.

So, how was Burning Man?  It simply was.

It was jumping on the playa with people we just met:

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It was exploring art:

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(Yes, that is a giant mustache teeter-totter.)

It was challenging ourselves:

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It was giant:

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It was illuminated:

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It was spiritual:

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It was circus:

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It was adventure:

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It was solitude:

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It was faith:

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It was making friends:

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It was community:

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It was breathtaking:

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And most importantly, it was this:

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G’bye Seattle!

I am home now, rather reluctantly.  I felt like I hardly was able to explore the city!  There is still so much I want to see and learn about.

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That just means that I am planning a return trip.

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This was the perfect time of year to go, with beautiful weather the entire weekend.

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Everything was in bloom, and the colors were mesmerizing.

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Everywhere I turned there was a beautiful view.  This one was the best.

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What I enjoyed most was the time I spent with family and friends.  There was much-needed laughter and catching up.  I miss them all!

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And of course, nice, relaxing knitting.

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Out of Focus

I have had a very quiet week thus far, and I know there are things I could be saying right now, but the words that keep coming out of my mouth sound like babbling to me.  I can’t seem to find anything of substance to say.  I have been more than wayward lately, on everything from knitting projects to temperament, as I attempt to sort things out.

There is an afghan in the works, and with the sudden cold that has taken over our area, it seems like an awfully nice thing to be working on.  Yet, there are some Christmas presents that never got finished, a new pattern in the works, and a commission or two with a quickly approaching deadline.  Yet, I continue to bounce from item to item, lacking the discipline to pummel through the more important, mostly tedious projects.

And as far as life goes – that personal life that I really don’t spend much time talking about – I am trying really hard to stick to the goals I have set myself, which is perhaps part of the reason for my recent silence.  I have been spending time with friends as much as possible, as a distraction and a comfort, and that means the things I would have to say are not entirely mine to say.  There have been game nights and tasting parties and so forth that left me very little crafting time, a large mess to clean up (but that’s ok, the making of the mess was fun), and inspired much self-reflection which I don’t feel compelled to share.

Anyway, once I trudge through the couple of new projects/patterns, I will have something delicious to share.  I have several ideas that need me to only find the time to execute.  Then, it is going to be primarily baby stuff since I am trying very hard to de-stash and there is a quickly growing god-daughter in need of cute handmade love.

Resolutions

I have had quite a bit of time for reflection over the past week.  There have already been many trials for the new year, and somehow I have kept my cool and a smile while I shovel through the mess.  This “c’est la vie” attitude has been quite refreshing, and I have found myself all around in a better mood.  It would appear that the recent life changes have been good for me and I am determined to continue rolling with the punches.

I don’t normally give in to new year’s resolutions, but with the flurry of activity this week, I think it would be beneficial to have something to look back on that will keep my head on straight.  This is also so I can keep track of my goals to prevent December arriving and bringing with it the realization that I failed to complete half of the things I had meant to do for the year.  Lastly, I may need a gentle nudge every now and then if when I begin to stray.

So, in no particular you order:

  • I want to knit a dress this year.  It is something I keep “meaning” to do, and never seem to find time for.  So, this year, it is going to happen.  I cannot decide if it is going to be a pattern by someone else, or one of the dozen in my head.
  • With the partner moving out, I need to make room for the roommates moving in.  This means I am giving up my craft room.  I know, I know – horror.  I’m managing.  Everything is getting sorted through and reorganized to optimize space and fit into my little bedroom.  There is some spillage, I admit.  My ready-to-ship items are occupying the loft in the pantry (why we have a loft in our pantry, I will never know), but the wips and materials are in my closet, a tall bookshelf, and a spare dresser in my room.  The three-drawer-dresser is currently housing my yarn, and of course the yarn is filling boxes and bags in my closet (and on my floor, actually, as I try to locate all of the renegade balls for organization – you understand).  In any case, my goal is to yarn diet until all of my wool fits into this dresser.   This will protect my wallet and the personal space of my housemates – and really, my wool as well since my cats love to sleep with it.  While filling the drawers, I organized it so the top drawer is filled with immediate projects, the second with projects I would like to do, and the third with wool that sort of has a purpose, but nothing solid.
  • On that note, I want to finish up all of my works-in-progress.  The Two Year Tech Square Afghan that really just needs finishing, the Christmas socks that never got finished, the Chess Board, the shawl I started in DC this past summer.  If it is not going to be finished, it must be frogged so that I can have a fresh start.  I will not make a rule that I cannot cast on while I am finishing (I may or may not be obsessed now with this crazy granny square afghan I may or may not have started this week….).  I am going to burn that candle at both ends, just for the fun of it.
  • I want to spend one Sunday each month to explore something new about Chicago.  I never intended to live here very long (and still don’t), but I never took the time to see the city.  I closed myself off to the possibility of liking it because I just wanted to move on.  It’s hard to say how much time we have left here, and I would like to search out friends, stories, and adventures whenever I can.
  • I am going to save up money for more intensive workshops, classes, and possibly certificates in aerial acrobatics, because that is what I love to do most right now, and I really want to pursue it as a career.  This is also going to help me move out of the Midwest.
  • I will attend the Aerial Dance Festival this summer.  Nothing will hold me back.
  • I am going to push myself to be social, even if I feel like being a hermit, because the past month has really opened my eyes as to how much I had been on my own, and how unhappy that was making me.  I need to cultivate the friendships I have and seek out new ones.
  • I will try not to be such a control freak.  The world will never bend at my will and nothing is as important as I think it is.  I must slow down, relax, and see life from different perspectives.
  • I will work hard to realize all of the beautiful designs in my head and share them with all of you knitters.

I think this is a good point from which to launch.  A diverse enough list, with physical, emotional, and mental goals to be achieved at various levels of difficulty.  I have high hopes from what lies ahead.

Dear 2012

You have been quite a rollercoaster year for me. I started the year with such high hopes for my future. There were so many things I was looking forward to, hoping to accomplish, new things to learn. I wasn’t expecting so many changes – or rather, these kinds of changes – by the time you were over.

This year turned into an exploration of love, overall. What love means, how it grows, and how it hurts us. I found myself nurturing new friendships and letting go of old ones. I started planning a future with the love of my life, only to have the relationship end abruptly – I still don’t understand what happened. Maybe it’s not really my lesson to learn, but his. Perhaps 2013 will be the year of discovery as well as healing. Today, this last day, I will let it go.

There is still much to look back on, though, and many good things to be thankful for. Many things have happened to spark creativity and inspire hope.

I did my fairs again – Janesville and Custer – as well as new ones. It was a difficult realization to make that wings just aren’t as profitable as they used to be. I blame Disney. Retiring them – except for special orders – is going to be rough, but so far I have enjoyed not worrying about them. My energy has been going toward more productive endeavors.

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Aerial, for instace. I debuted in May at the Actor’s Gymnasium’s “Circus in Progress” show. It was exhilarating, challenging, and incredibly fun.

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Again in October, we performed at the fall Circus in Progress. That was a clever trapeze act in which our characters were ones you would find in a midnight diner.

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I was the lonely old lady – a character I had much fun concocting.

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I have been pushing my levels of endurance and my threshold for pain as I train for this. I am hoping to turn it into a career – and that is what I hope the end result of 2013 will be.

In September, I started teaching beginning aerial arts, and in January, my daughter will begin learning.  This has been a wonderful experience, albeit stressful at times.  My students are amazing and talented, and I am excited to be the one inspiring them to push themselves farther, and even more so to be able to give them skills and confidence to do that.

Ellette in Lyra

I made a big push in the knitting world.  I participated in two challenges.  I did not succeed in one, but the other was fantastic.  The Ravellenic Games were a bit hard on me – I had too much going on at the time. The other was NaKniSweMo, and I adore the end product.

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I attended Stitches Midwest and took some wonderful classes, met amazing people, and bought too much yarn.

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I also released three new patterns.  The Tetris Afghan, Dragon Slayer Gauntlets, and Cascading Leaves Cowl:

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In June, we acquired our little Pygmalian.  He has been a fabulous addition to our household – goofy and loving and adorable.

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He is about three times that size now, and I still haven’t trained him to leave my yarn alone.  What a rascal!

There are more little things, here and there, that shine for me.  I run into bits and pieces as I walk through my house and go about my day.  With the recent relationship change, I have been working hard to clean my house and cleanse my soul.  Many things have resurfaced with this purge and my thoughts are filled with reflections.

This next year is going to be wonderful, if a little difficult and nerve wracking.  I am going to do some adventurous, dangerous, and hopefully clever things that shall be revealed throughout the coming months.  But that is in the realm of 2013.

For now, I am putting on a party dress and going to see friends to bring in this brand new year among people I love dearly, and who love me in return.

Goodbye, 2012.  I won’t be seeing you.

No longer yours,

Pixie

 

 

Baby Charm

This past weekend we went to see the baby and her happy, exhausted parents.  She worked her infant charm on everyone, as babies do.  I had her model the atrociously small number of hand knits i have been able to make her so far, and vowed to make her many more in the coming months.  (It did snow last night, after all).

The blanket is Doily with a Spiral, knit on US 6 needles in Knit Picks Comfy Worsted, colorway Fairytale.  I like this yarn overall – a good heavy non-wool that washes easily.  My first choice when picking something for the baby.

Now I have to start making the sweaters and rompers and other cute baby necessities.

 

(The bonnet, by the way, is from Jane Austin Knits Fall 2012).

 

A Leif

This is Leif.  I have to weave in ends and block, but I wanted to figure it out before I continue.  I kind of don’t like it.

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I have been assured it looks great.  And, looking at these pictures, it kind of does look nice.  But when I look at myself in the mirror wearing it, I hate it.  I think it’s unflattering.  Or rather, not flattering in the way I want my clothes to be flattering.  I suppose I can be kind of picky about what I wear.

We decided to try it on others in the house to see if it looked good on anyone.

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We like the almost Peter Pan look here on Ellette.  I am half contemplating tearing out the hood and reknitting it smaller, or just doing a collar, and gifting it to her this season.  She looks pretty cute in it.

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Odin, on the other hand, not so much. Sorry babe – truth is harsh.

Friday

Odin and I took the day off to celebrate his birthday.  Last night we drove to Milwaukee and went dancing with our old crew.  We played bar dice and stayed out really late and woke up this morning with a full amount of sleep and found this amazing diner for breakfast.  I had an amazing vegetarian eggs benedict that had curried tofu, fried bananas, and came on naan instead of an English muffin.  We are staying at the house we used to live in with the coolest roommate we have ever had, chatting in the backyard and drinking La Fin du Monde.  The sun is shining and there is a refreshing breeze coming off the lake.  We are talking about polarized lenses and knitting and we’re celebrating this guy:

 

Happy birthday, darling.

As for knitting, I am still cranking away at the pawns.  I have this many:

The one that is on the needles has since been finished.

12 pieces completed.

20 pieces to go.

38% complete.

Day 8 of the Olympics and Ravellenic games.

9 days to go.

Average production rate of  1.5 pieces per day.  Need to complete 2.5 pieces per day to realize my goal.

Diminishing probability of having enough yarn and enough time to complete the board.  Next week I am hoping to make a big push, since our social calendar will not be as full.  Wish me luck.

 

 

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