flash poem: winter (1)

A little journaling exercise: write a poem. Now.

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fragile

every breath like a needle-shard of crystal

some days

 

on other days

i turn upwards to the falling snow and let the chill wash over my face like a baptism

i am renewed

in a lonely sort of way

 

there is strength in numbers, the grey hairs tell me

as i watch them gather together in a growing mass

soon they will be a great force

maybe then, i will feel like one, too

perhaps not even in a lonely sort of way

 

in the meantime

they live under my hat

philosophizing and generally doing nothing of use

 

unlike the cleansing kiss of the snow, which gives me a useful red glow

swirling dream-like vision

and a cold I feel deep in my bones

the kind that aches

and lets me know that i am alive

fragile

but alive

Yarn Along: 2 (and shop news! and a class! and another class!)

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I’m still working on a Christmas present, and I can see in the photo where I need to tighten up a join, but both of those things are okay. 12 stripes down, 7 to go, and the boy can probably wear it without dragging it on the ground in about…6 years. Even so, I’m determined to finish it this weekend just to have one more project down so I can start something else. Now that the sock yarn club is up and rolling and I’m saving at least one skein for myself every month, I think we can all safely guess I’ll be obsessed with knitting socks for the remainder of the year.

The January colorway, btw, is now available as dyed-to-order, and there are a few ready-to-ship on a delightful bamboo blend sock yarn (and handspun and fiber, as well) available in the shop.

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Clicking the pic will transport you to the listing.

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February’s colorway found its way into a sweet tutorial I wrote up for this week’s installment of Sparkle Craft on the Sparkle Stories blog, and will soon also be available as a regular dyed-to-order colorway. In the meantime, club members are enjoying it first, and a few extras found their way to Madison Wool.

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Speaking of Madison Wool, I’ll be the instructor/MC at this year’s Snowball…a spinning technique/80s dance party/costume shindig where we’ll spin up some neon shoelaces, cut up fabric scraps and spin them while watching Pretty in Pink, and corespin our way to a pair of mismatched fingerless gloves. You in? Call Dayna at MadWool for details and to sign up!

And since this post seems to be all business, I’m scouting out spots to teach on a whirlwind trip late Spring/early Summer…Austin, Denver, Bay Area, Portland…please be in touch if we can make it happen for my new one-day workshop, Spinning Your Story (details soon…keeping it mysterious for now). If you have an idea for a venue or just want to say, YES, I’d love to take your class, drop me a note!

I pretty much derailed my own Yarn Along post with news and such, but I think the book stack speaks for itself. A little Spring planning, a little for-pleasure, a little oooh-the-new-Granta-just-came-in-the-mail, and a little psychology about raising boys. Oh, and Jane Austen knitting patterns. A pretty accurate slice of mid-Winter life, right there, I guess…if you add a cup of chai and the fact that I have really no time to read any of this right now, but try to manage a couple pages here and there in odd moments of breathing space.

Happy Thursday!

xoxo

Four: 52

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52o

the 52 project.
Portraits of my main squeeze(s) every week.

Suddenly, you are aware of making an impression. Perhaps, it is because you understand that I don’t just keep images for you and for myself. I share them. Or, I could be reading too much into it, and you are simply maturing more quickly than I can keep up. You would rather share your truth than a silly tongue-out face to cover it up. It’s hard to get a candid shot of you, anymore. I have hardly any time to line up my trigger finger, and you will turn, beaming in my direction.

How you’ve put up with me this week (and last), I do not know. I did everything I could to fend it off this year, but the winter melancholy was overpowering. Your smile and your laughter have gone a long way to prevent me from going completely under.

It’s almost embarrassing to be so predictable. Mid-to-late January gets me every year. It tells me I’m aiming to jump too high, that I’m investing too many of my hopes and dreams into a shiny new year, and that I’m just setting myself up for a crushing disappointment. I don’t know why I fall for it. I don’t have to listen.

Tomorrow, though,…tomorrow January’s voice will stop. The gentle encouragement of February will release me. We’ll really plan the garden, the sap will start to flow, the days will continue to grow longer, and I will still have my hopes and dreams. I may forget them when I feel smothered under January’s dark cloak, but I’ll still be clutching the whole lot of them when I come around and find myself in the light.

Today, on repeat: It’s okay. It’s all okay.

Try, Try Again

Ah, the best laid plans.

A meltdown or two, plus a murderous cat, can go a long way towards derailing the relaxation train. A good many of the nice things on our list actually happened: bread was baked, projects saw progress, sketches were sketched, “the best lentil soup I ever had” was consumed, and biscuits were baked in the shapes of hearts and teddy bears. So, there was a decent enough balance. I just think we’ll have to try again for a true day of Retreat.

The hike, well that was the kicker, really. It ended up being a funeral procession for our little friend Gillian Gilfeather, known by his loved ones as “Gil,” who we found deceased in his tank late yesterday morning. I had spent the last month and a half researching and rehabilitating him from a sick critter into a once again vibrant, interactive and funny little (well, if little is being at least as long as my forearm) aquatic friend. We’ve had him around for quite some time and when he got sick, I was sure there was nothing I could do for him. I mean, it’s hard to even just describe what the heck he is, let alone doctor him. The details probably aren’t interesting if you don’t have an axolotl amongst your family members, but he made a most remarkable recovery and we were very fond of him.

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I don’t know why it took so long, now that I think about it, but a few days ago, one of the cats discovered that there is a gap in the aquarium lid, right next to the filter, and that this gap is just big enough for him to fit his paw through. He had his arm in up to the shoulder when I caught him in the act. At the time, I didn’t know he’d done damage, and we placed a rock over the opening in the tank lid. I’m sure I don’t need to tell the rest of the tale, but Gil (the guy on the left…Li’l, on the right, had passed some time ago) is now buried under a mound of snow by a stream and the cat is in my lap, licking my chin. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue with calling him the cat but he’s in the mushpot right now, as far as I’m concerned, even though he likely thought Gil existed solely for his sport and potential sustenance. And yes, I know it’s not as heartbreakingly tragic as losing a…different kind of pet, but it was a bummer, especially after making him well again, and it just sort of set a somber tone for the rest of the weekend.

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The Murderer. The handsome, purring murderer, rubbing all up on my fiber. I forgive him.

O was sad, surely, but is already wondering when we’ll get a new axolotl. So it goes.

After the burial, we did make quite a bit of progress with planning for this year’s garden. We can probably get by with a minimal seed order this year, as we have quite a bit of seed leftover from last year and we’re going to try starts for some of the longer season veggies like onions, tomatoes, peppers, and melons. We just don’t get enough light up in these dark woods to start everything from seed and with the greenhouse demolished, we have a lot less space for growing our own starts this year, anyway. Point: Spring dreaming is in full effect.

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So, this morning, it’s hearts for breakfast and warm tea as we get ready for another wicked cold snap to set in. A slow start today, hopefully starting our week on a positive note.

I’ll save up the chia recipe for tomorrow. We weren’t really feeling like photographing comfort food yesterday…we just wanted to be comforted.

Hibernating…

…with Heather over at Beauty that Moves.

Inspired by the Hibernate workshop, my little family is going to enjoy a sweet Midwinter Retreat tomorrow. Our weekends are always filled with demanding projects after a hectic work week. We are like ships passing. Quickly. And before we know it, we’re starting the madness all over again. There’s always time to rest next weekend, right? No, not usually. Not unless we enforce a law of rest upon it. So, here I am. Enforcing it.

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There is really nothing extraordinary happening, and that is the beauty of it. We talked about how we would like to spend our time had we no commitments or time-sensitive projects to attend to. It was almost laughable how simple the answers were. There will be bread baking, journaling, knitting, hiking, and Lego building. There will be board games and hot cocoa, yoga and lentil soup. The flow of our day is structured, yet free.

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And yes, poring over seed catalogs and garden planning is written in somewhere.

Pancake batter is already made, lentils soaked, and berry chia pudding (recipe Monday!) is heading into the fridge for midday enjoyment. Tonight we’ll clean, bring wood in, and generally try to create an environment that is extra super especially easy to live in for a quiet day of indulging in joyful rest. We’ll revel in the warmth of a predicted 31 degree high before temps plummet in a couple of days.

Do you need to force yourself to rest, or does it come naturally to you?

 

Five Senses Friday

A journey through the sensory experiences of the week. Link if you join in!

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Seeing: The snow slipping from branches and rooftops and the dusk lingering a little longer. Hello, January Thaw. I’ll do my best to embrace you.

Hearing: Bubbling. The tea kettle, soup, duck bills in now un-frozen water.

Touching: what emerges, and piecing it together. I shared instructions for creating Ice Ornaments on the Sparkle Stories blog this week.

Smelling: Whoa, the paperwhites starting to bloom on the kitchen table. I kinda feel like them the way I do about lilacs.

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Tasting: The last of our parsnips from the garden. Conditions aren’t ideal in our basement, so we lost many of them, but the remaining decent ‘snips were delicious with carrot, coconut milk and pumpkin pie spices for a creamy, warming soup.

What did you sense in your world this week?

Sparkling, and the return of Five Senses Friday

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Just a reminder: you can find me every Thursday on the Sparkle Stories Blog with a new craft project! This week, I shared our Animal Tracks Journal. Japanese stab binding is fun and easy, and a great way to use up your leftover sock yarn. Now, I just need a project for all the punched-out circles.

In other news, I’m feeling inspired to revive some old friends, like Five Senses Friday. I do hope some of you will join me! If you’re new here, or don’t remember, Five Senses Friday is a wee journey through the sensory experiences of the week. Here’s an archive of FSFs past.

And for this week, I’m…

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Seeing: My little world blanketed in snow…but from a distance and mostly through panes of glass. The high today is 1 degree with -20something windchill. Not the day for a long run or hours of sledding, but we’ll keep busy.

Hearing: The silence of the winter landscape. I love the crunch, crunch, crunch of stepping out into the deep snow, but then I pause, and it’s as if all the sound in the world just got sucked away. A deep, momentary meditation.

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Touching: Silky fur. Now that the cold has really set in, I am constantly covered in cats. As I type, Beezer sits in my lap and Pollyanna on my shoulder. I don’t mind.

Smelling: Woodsmoke, all around. I love to walk along the road and note the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the way everyone’s wood fires smell. They all smell like comfort and fill me with gratitude for my own shelter and warmth.

Tasting: Experiments. I wasn’t able to get to the Co-op before the storm this week, and so there have been a few unexpected meals. What was meant to be spinach and feta hand pies for dinner last night turned into mushroom and pumpkin. They were surprisingly delicious and I’ll share the recipe with you tomorrow!

What’s happening in your world?

Eleven: 52

52o

 

smoldering

 

the 52 project
Portraits of my main squeezes, every Sunday.

O, this week you…

…were a total wildman. The picture above was taken at bedtime, and represents the Energy That Would Not Quit which has possessed you for several days straight, and well into the night. Am wondering if you have a secret stash of chocolate-covered espresso beans, or something just as magical, that I should know about.*

…could summon the calm in those moments when Papa and I struggled with very hard news and powerful feelings of sadness. Thank you for that.

…made a huge leap in your reading. It was exciting and you were so proud of yourself!

…were excited about the signs of Spring popping up in our little world, even though the temperatures have reverted back to Winter chill. You couldn’t help running outdoors without enough clothes on because it just looks so warm and inviting. I have to admit, just seeing the sun out after so many weeks of cloud cover made me feel warm from the inside out, too.

C, this week you…

…were smoldering in the maple steam.

…couldn’t resist filling the whole kitchen with more and more seed trays. I wish you could get paid to create the bountiful garden you envision. You would be so happy.

*And if you do, can I have some? I need an infusion of your seemingly boundless energy right about now.