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Outside My Window

This is the magnolia tree that lives outside my window. It is in full bloom right now, with barely any petals on the ground.

Besides the gorgeous color and pleasant smell, I love how these trees rain down their petals for one or two days a year.


I think this color is destined for some sock yarn. (Wouldn’t it make a lovely shawllette?)

Pretty colors on a rainy morning are lovely
After I finish my coffee I am going to run really fast for a little while outside with all of the blossoming trees and shrubs. I am finding that the more I go do things outside, the more I enjoy it and the more I enjoy how my body feels.

Happy Spring Break!

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I Have Been Listening To a Lot of David Bowie and Other Ruminations

The song “Starman” by David Bowie has been stuck in my head for weeks now, and I have only just got around to digging up all the David Bowie files on my computer. So, my title is kind of a lie, I haven’t really been listening to David Bowie, just the facsimile of him that runs through my head.  I am not sure what took me so long, other than I just didn’t like any of my media players. I recently ordered one of the new Zune HDs (but have heard nothing from Zune about when it will be shipped, so whether I will actually be receiving this device at the marvelous sale price it was at last weekend is yet to be determined), so I downloaded the Zune software. I actually really like it. iTunes and I have never really got on, it might be because I have no patience with apple software. I know I might be in the minority here, but it is counter-intuitive to me, having always used a PC. (And I love my asus laptop with a strength of emotion that might not be healthy for a piece of equipment I will most likely have to replace in a couple of years.) All of that to say that I dug up my nearly complete David Bowie library, and after admiring the staggering amount of amazingly rockin’ live albums he has, I found the classic, original The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust in an attempt to relish in the greatness, and perhaps get that song out of my head for a little while, as great as it is. And then I listened to it. . .

And I just can’t help but apply the chorus to my life as it is right now. I am interpreting the star man being afraid of blowing our minds but knowing  it’s all worthwhile, as a little bit of a personal message for me right here right now, no matter what anybody else thinks it should be about.

One of my major goals this year was to go into business for myself. Three weeks ago, I opened my etsy store, and even though I have not made a sale just yet, I have been dyeing and promoting and slowly working to get over my internet shyness. It has been going well, I feel, and I know it is only a matter of time before I am making regular sales and am making enough money to put back into sustaining my business. I do know that I am not going to be making enough money to support myself from Etsy anytime soon, but I am working on it.

Aside from the fiber arts, my other passion is writing. It is what I am going to school and getting into major debt for. I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not writing in some way, shape, or form. And though the last couple of years have been rather tumultuous with me personally what with getting divorced and basically starting from scratch like I did when I was eighteen and moving out on my own for the first time, and I did not write as much, I am finally finding some equilibrium. The compulsion to write a lot has returned full-force. It turns out I have a lot to say.

One of the major things I have learned though all of the previously mentioned tumult is how to allow myself a voice. In other words, the things that have terrified me about writing in the past, like sending out query letters and promoting myself and *gasp* actually letting people other than the chosen few read my work do not scare me any longer. (At least not to the debilitating extent that they used to do so.)

A major factor in this is that I am fed up with my day job. It is not any worse than any other job where one works for other people and sometimes works too often. This is common, and for a lot of people, it is waaaay too much to ask, which is why they work for themselves. I am there. I fantasize daily about working from home: about working on my latest essay while the steamer is setting the dye on the yarn.

Then today, the wonderful Susan Gibbs from Juniper Moon Farm, where I am a shareholder, posted this to her blog. Go take a look, and I know the pictures of the sheep and goats and puppies are distracting, but please come back. I will wait.

……

….

….

So, like Susan, I knew exactly what that sign was talking about too. It was my message from the Star Man. Write more. Get published. Get out of this place (I was checking my reader at work, I will freely admit) and do something that doesn’t stain your fingers brown! (If you are a new reader, I manage a coffee shop.)

It just so happens that Tuesday, my first essay for my essay-writing class is due. I have had this essay in my head for a couple of months now, but had not given myself the time to just sit down and write it. But tonight, I sat down and did it. I finished my first draft. While there is a ton of work to do before it is fit to even be turned in for workshop, it feels so good to finish my first piece since November. And I know right now, that even in this rough state, this one is publishable.

I can do this.

I have no idea when I will really be able to work from home, or if I will find a job (with benefits and/or a sustainable salary) outside the coffee shop before that happens, but I do know that I can get the writing done until then. And really, after a few years of feeling really down on myself and my ability to create, that is all I need.

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I Live In Kansas

What do you think of when you think of Kansas?

The Wizard of Oz? Tornadoes? Wheat? Cows? Sunflowers?

It’s probably something rural, though, right?

It might even be something just like this:

Or is that picture too hilly?

While there are some thing I really hate about living in Kansas (mostly the politics), on days like  today I really love it.

I commute to KU, usually taking one of the two small highways between Topeka and Lawrence instead of the interstate. Not because I don’t want to pay the toll, but because it is pretty. It is a treat to myself to admire the green hilliness for three-quarters of the year, and then watch the wheat grow up for colder quarter . These little highways also offer places to stop and take pictures. In people’s driveways. Illegally.

You can tell that the seasons are turning, because all the great, tall, green cornfields are straw-brown and the late summer weeds are outgrowing the dyeing cornstalks and the freshly baled hay.

These flowers were lining the highway on my entire drive today. They were the inspiration for the trespassing. I had to share them. These lovely little weeds are also taller than I am (about 5′ 5″).  They are bent down because the wind is blowing everything over. Despite the hills we have in Eastern Kansas, we have somehow managed to hang onto the prairie winds.

I am also an absolute sucker for earth tones. Greens and browns have my heart. but there is also no denying the impact of the accenting yellow of the flowers and the blue of the sky in photographs like this.

Isn’t it funny, how when you are standing in a field, you don’t even notice the power lines, but when you pull the photo of the scene up, there they are, front and center, reminding you that you do not live in a pretty Kansan morning vacuum?

I would have liked to take more pictures, and spent more time on them, but the reality is that I was trespassing, and since I could be fined for enjoying these folks’ roadside field, I tried to make it quick.

There’s that “No Trespassing” sign.

So maybe my photographs don’t clear up any misconceptions about living in Kansas. The fact that I live in an apartment complex and work in a local coffee shop and am a students doesn’t really help either. Those things are everywhere. And I know Kansas is not the only place in the country where the city lines blur with pastureland, but it’s one of the things I appreciate most. I can drive a few miles, and be in the middle of greenery and flowers. Or I can go a few more in either direction and be smack dab in the middle of two mid- to small-sized cities with any number of opportunities at my fingertips.

I find it really difficult to remember these sorts of things when I am bogged down with school work, to which my general attitude these days is “Is it May yet?” Or when I am typing a blog post in the Union cafeteria, because I am going to be at school all day long, and there is a guy behind me smacking his food so loudly that if he were standing in that field up there, it would echo. I get so caught up in the fact that I would rather be knitting or mixing some new colors in my kitchen. I want to figure out how represent the colors in the photographs above on yarn. The catch would be to translate them into colors people want to wear and not just a true representation of the photograph. I need to remember that there is time for all that, if I don’t get in too much of a hurry.

These are just some of the things that inspire me, and make me appreciate where it is I live. It helps me to remember that I am finishing my degree for a reason, and that I shouldn’t give in to the tunnel vision, which is something I do all too often.

This is my take-along image this week. What is inspiring you?