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

Five and Six: 52

52o2

 

52o

 

A pair of weeks, gone in a flash. Sickies and ickies, an entire day listening to and reading books, Snow Days, growing skills, birthday planning, Halloween planning (what? an onion?), multiplication, sitting too close to the wood stove, and gallons of honey-lemon “tea” find us in mid-February. Huh.

I’m playing catch-up after an experiment in discipline. I am now in the habit of early morning yoga instead of early morning writing, so the next step is getting up even earlier to fit in both activities. I’d like to be here at my desk more, but it’s been some other kind of wonderful to spend time in my body, even at the expense of letting other soul needs slip for a while. Here’s to a happy marriage of the two…

…and some snowshoeing before today’s early release from school. I welcome a thicker blanket.

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

yarnalong

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.

cyndi

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

52o4

52o2

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.

Yarn Along, and…

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It’s been ages since I played along with Ginny of Small Things, to share what I’m knitting and reading right now. Of course, this time of year I have several bazillion projects on the needles, but this is the one I’m most likely to finish in the next couple of days. It’s kind of a little hilarious that the last time I played, almost a year ago, I was also reading a book in the Horatio Hornblower series. Ha! This is book number 10, but I accidentally read the 11th and final book before this one. I thought it was a nice, tidy ending and wondered what would happen in the last book…until I figured out I’d just read it. Oh, well. My 19th century seafaring boyfriend is back to his madly brilliant calculating magic in this volume, so it’s no disappointment to go backwards. There have been many books in between reading the stories in this series (again), but I’m sure I’ll still feel empty when I finish this up.

Oh, and the project is my third, or maybe fourth, Ripley Hat in Manos Clasica yarn.

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And, just for the heck of it, here’s a recent off-the-needles project: the Parlor Cat. As yet, there is no face, but you can just pretend this is some typical I’m Ignoring You cat behavior.

Did I promise you a recipe? Like, two days ago? Ahem. My apologies. Here ’tis:

chiapudding

Chia Berry Awesomeness (or something like that, inspired by Pam of Never Get Eaten)

This is so easy, it’s silly, and the formula is simple to increase:

Blend this: 1 cup coconut milk, 1 cup fruit (fresh or frozen), 1 tsp of cinnamon (optional), 1 tsp vanilla (optional), and/or 1 tbsp honey (or whatever sweetener you like; also optional)

I used a hand/stick blender, but you could also use a food processor or whatever high-powered blender that will crush fruit into a puree.

Then, simply stir in 1/3 chia seeds and let set up in the fridge overnight. The texture reminds me of tapioca pudding, but the result is lighter, and I love that it’s raw and not-too-sweet.

You can easily double, triple, infinitely increase this recipe. We used strawberries and raspberries, which was delicious, but I found the little seeds annoying. Next up: mango/blueberry.

Three: 52

52o

 

52c2

 

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

 

O, this week you…

…left little bits of yourself in random places. You always do that, but for some reason, this week, it was extra comforting.

…thought Fluxx was magical when we each, in turn, won a game.

…were so into your library books that you wouldn’t set the table, put your pajamas on, or come up to bed without lots of asking and reminders and several degrees of frustration on both sides. I LOVE that you love books and I, too, wish I could sink into them and let the rest of the world slip away from my consciousness for long stretches of time…but, alas. There is always something to drag us back to reality eventually. Time for you to discover the joy of reading books by flashlight under the bedclothes when we think you’ve gone to sleep!

 

C, this week you…

…finally got to spend a day baking. I really love to watch you knead.

 

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.

gilandlil

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.