Friday, March 30, 2012

This is the scarf I was making. It is finished except that it still needs to be blocked which will enlarge it somewhat and open up the lace pattern.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bought: a yarn ball winder. This is important because before today, I had to fill two bobbins with approximately equal amounts of yarn singles (a single strand of twisted yarn) and leave the last remaining bobbin empty to ply (combine two strands by twisting together in the direction opposite their original twist) onto. In other words, I had to devote days, sometimes, to a single type of yarn, which was really starting to bug me. Now I can spin whatever I want in whatever quantity, wind it off onto the ball winder and ply directly from the center pull balls that the yarn winder will make for me....a huge advance.

I also found some silk hankies, also known as mawata silk. Will try to remember to take a picture of these, as it is hard to explain.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The despair, the pain, the feeling so small, like nothing, so mute, the hopelessness of it all, it's so overwhelming. It's drowning me, enveloping my world in a fog of inertia. I don't know what to do.

I feel so useless. They want me to progress and move forward and I don't know how to tell them that every day is a struggle, every day finished, a meaningless victory. All of my dreams are empty vapors because there is no way to achieve them, any of them, not when I am forced to choose between a life of extreme poverty and being able to get the therapy and other help that keeps me alive. What kind of choice is that?

Bah. I am sick and depressed. I have been dreaming of dead people again and you are nowhere to be found, even in my sleep.
Need to find my hard copy of Faith and Practice and contemplate the queries in it every day. It is altogether too easy to get caught up in the drama of day to day life and forget all about the principles and values that I claim to live by. :-/

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I am constantly seeing women that I perceive as being the sort you'd like, the sort who'd be worthy of you. The difference is so stark that as soon as I see them, my heart goes pale and quiet and my gut feels like stone rolling seasickly in my belly.

A few moments too late, my mind jumps to my defense, tells me that I'm smarter, that this comparison isn't fair because I still look pretty good after having six kids. How is that woman going to look six kids from now? Probably not so great. Besides, I'm interesting and sincere and down to earth. I'm multi-talented and resourceful and sensual.

But maybe these things don't matter. And maybe they don't outweigh my faults.

They glide past me with self-assurance, radiating smooth, seamless confidence. They are composed. Sophisticated. Socially adept. They are things that I cannot be.

a quiet voice speaks up from within me, tells me that someone who wants this kind of woman wouldn't be suited to me anyway....and although I see that this is true, although I wouldn't give up the things that make me myself in order to be like those women, the bitter taste of envy still sticks in my throat.

Monday, March 26, 2012

And in some mysterious way, knowing that there are people who really care about me is more motivating, in terms of trying to move forward with my life, than anything else.
I cannot believe it. I didn't think I would be able to attend the Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference, because none of the women in my meeting are going, so there is no one for me to ride with. The Planning Committee met and decided that they would miss me enough that they are willing to pay for a bus ticket for me if I can somehow come up with the small portion of expenses not covered by the scholarship.

I am humbled and overwhelmed by this....and trying really hard not to cry in the library.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ok, I'm back and still really tired, not from the work (minimal) but from being surrounded by milling crowds of people. I am not mentally organized enough right now to write a cohesive paragraph or two that would sum it all up so I'll be lazy and make a list instead:

  • I finally found an Angora goat breeder who breeds colored Angoras, who tests for CAE and Johnes, Caseous Lymphadenitis, etc. This lady has her act together and is serious about her goats and the breeding stock she offers. If I get Angora goats, I will definitely be buying from her!
  • It was interesting to me to see what stuff sold and what did not. Tanned sheep and Angora goat hides sold really well, people couldn't keep their hands off of them.
  • There wasn't a lot of variety in breeds, as far as the fleeces went. I saw Shetland, Icelandic, Targhee, Romney crosses...there may have been one or two other breeds. There was more variety in washed locks of various breeds, but still, not a LOT of variety.
  • There was a lot of roving. Huge bags of white roving didn't seem to be selling that well, but honestly, when there's a LOT of roving, the sales could be substantial without appearing to make a dent.
  • I didn't see a lot of sales in yarn.
  • Alpaca fleeces didn't sell very well, and there may have been alpaca roving, but I didn't see any. I think what would work better is to have baskets of washed alpaca fiber that a person could buy by the ounce or to have smaller quantities of washed fiber available. An alpaca fleece is very voluminous and puffy. It looks huge. I can see how the prospect of buying an entire fleece might be a little daunting...even though I would gladly do it anyway!

I'll have more to say on this later....have to track down my crocheting project.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More specifically, I'm helping my sheep shearer friend, who's selling wool, spinning wheels and I have no idea what else, at this event. Because growing and selling wool (and maybe shearing sheep, but that is starting to look less likely) is one of the things I've seriously considered getting into, this is an excellent opportunity for me. I get to shadow an experienced person and get a feel for whether this is something I could do, and something that I could make enough money to live on with.

Meanwhile....I am still pretty intrigued by alpacas. I inter-library loaned a serious alpaca book, one that's almost like a textbook. The alpaca that grew the fleece I chose (because it was one of the softest!) is in danger of being made into dog food (because his very soft fleece won't card up well on mechanical carders)! I really, really wish that I had a place to keep him. The thought of an animal with such a luscious fleece turning into dog food breaks my heart. But this lady uses big carding machines, so if the fleece doesn't work well in that context, I guess he's sort of worthless to her. :-(

If I hurried and found a rural place to live.....get real. That is not likely. :-(

So, soon the work part of this adventure begins.....nice!
It's a good day. On my way to the Fiber shindig this evening. :-)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This has been such a hard week. The main thing that's kept me going, all week, is that tomorrow and this weekend, I get to go to a fiber arts event with newfound friends.

I don't think of myself as social, but I have a lot of friends and acquaintances. I don't know if this is because I have a distinct aversion to rejecting people who makes overtures of friendship towards me or because I frequent places where people with similar interests are to be found or maybe precisely because I don't usually go out of my way to seek friends. I'm sort of like a cat who, if picked up or given attention, will happily purr or at least tolerate the attention and in the future, may walk up and rub up against a leg if the impression was favorable....or maybe just sit there and not run away if approached.

Maybe my social skills don't suck as badly as I thought they did.
Thought my son and I were going to die today...and we could have. As it was, we only spun off the road and into the ditch, missing the rock face by a couple of feet. And I realized: I don't really want to die. I want to not be in pain, to not feel humiliated and ashamed and rejected. Nobody wants to feel those things and it's not the same as not wanting to live.

Got a lot done last night, washed a lot of fleece, including some lovely Wensleydale.

Am making a lacy crocheted scarf with the wool silk blend, having found patterns that use only a skein (about 220 yards) of yarn or less. The 6-8" that I've made so far is really nice. :-)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I was thinking today about the time you referred to me as a single mother and how that bugged me, how it felt kind of insulting. That I am a single mother made it more irritating. I don't like the way this term feels, but it's entirely true.

I don't mind being called single. There is freedom to being single and being called single doesn't feel negative at all.

I don't mind being called a mother. I'm proud of being a mother; I love my kids and view parenting them as a privilege...even if it is stressful and tiring at times. I am the mom that my own mother was not, and that feels good.

So either part of this term, on its own, isn't offensive to me. Why does "single mother" sound so degrading? Here are things I think of when I hear that term:

desperate for a man, pretty much any man will do.
low class
OK to fuck, but not to keep
stressed out

The connotations are definitely insulting, but I'm not sure whether these are an echo of my fairly privileged Republican childhood or if they're shared by most other people as well. I think of the single mothers I know. Some of them have matched up with all of these words. Some of them haven't met any of them. Some meet some of it, especially "stressed out".

For comparison, words I think of in association with "single father":

jilted, unfairly
committed to family
How much of this is just me and how much is societal?
Blue. So depressed.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I think I am going to scream if I see one more man that resembles you in some very remote way, and is not.

And: wtf? Turbo Tax didn't save the wage info?? Forget it. I'll just file the paper version and skip the fees.

I got a lot done last night: washed half of the brown Icelandic fleece and a piece of white Icelandic, all of the alpaca leg and neck wool, finished spinning 4 oz of mohair/wool/bamboo yarn and then set the twist on it, the mohair yarn and two others.

Found some laceweight crochet scarf patterns today and am looking forward to giving this a try. I know that knitting is classier, but knitting isn't fun in the same way crochet is. I should learn it anyway (then I could make my own lovely wool socks) but until then....

And now I really need to get offline and work on those color studies, washing laundry, checking on the washed fiber which is now drying, etc.
I seem to be allergic to the lovely soft kid mohair yarn. Not sure why. It would suit my daughter really well though, so will still make a nice soft scarf. She loves soft things, it'll be a nice surprise.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The psychologist who was doing my neuro-psych eval just died, very unexpectedly. I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around this and bringing it from the world of abstraction to that of reality.

I hadn't been working with her for very long, only for the purpose of the neuro psych eval... but I felt close to her because she was an aspie, too. She understood me in a way that other therapists usually do not. There was so much that I did not have to explain or waste time on, because it was already understood. Even when people are informed about Asperger's, they don't truly understand it from the inside; it just is not the same.

And I guess....that even though you're not aspie, there's this element with you as well. I felt understood in a way that other people can work at for years and never really achieve. It was the difference in playing chess with someone who's never played before, and someone who sees 6 moves ahead, if one were to look at a chess game as a type of communication rather than as civilized warfare. It's the kind of thing that can't be faked or replaced or substituted for. When I communicate with other people, it's like talking to someone who speaks another language. It's so much work, there's so much that gets lost in translation, so much that doesn't get said. Even when both parties are trying their best, I still typically end up feeling misunderstood or only partly understood. No doubt the other person feels that way too. It leaves me feeling so lonely and that's nobody's fault, it's just the way it is.

It's such an empty world.

She was just here last week. Now she's gone. People die all the time. All the time, every second of every day, irreparable, unfillable holes are being left in lives from one side of the world to the other. What are we to make of this?

I always say that people don't really die, that they always live on in our hearts and in the ways that they've changed our lives, through their influence on the world and those around them. But I think maybe this is something I just say because it sounds good and is an easy sort of denial. :-/

Please don't ever die. Even if I never see or speak to you again, I don't think I could live in a world without you in it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I have to somehow get a grip and try to get on with my life. I'm always behind on things that need to be done. For example, I haven't finished doing my taxes or applying for financial aid. I have to move in June and have no leads on housing. It's mid March and I haven't germinated a single vegetable seed, because I don't know where to plant the transplants once the weather warms up.

I don't know how to explain to people that planning anything a month or two or even a few weeks in advance is abstract and almost surreal when you cannot see to the end of the week. I've been trying to plan little things here and there to look forward to....things like helping my friend (is she my friend? I really don't know. How many people are there who I think of as friends who don't think of me the same way??) shear her sheep. This weekend I'll be helping her out with another fiber/hand spinning related endeavor.

I have the books back that I wanted to do color studies from, so I'll try to work on that tomorrow, along with going to the Quaker meeting. Finish spinning the kid mohair tonight, ply it and start crocheting the shawl pattern I selected for it. This is a wide mobius strip shawl. With the lovely soft mohair, it will drape really nicely and feel very luxurious, soft and comforting. :-)

This is the trick: to make small goals, small things to look forward to.

And by the way: despite failing the (only) test due to internet outage mid-test, I am still getting a B in my Abnormal Psychology class. With the remaining tests and research papers (I can do more for extra credit), I'll be able to bring it up to an A fairly easily. :-)
In the general theme of the day... (and because a Facebook friend brought it to my attention)

The real Irish American story

The history of the Irish Potato Famine

I haven't heard of the "lazy bed" method of planting potatoes before, but not only does it not sounds all that lazy (peeling up and turning sod over is a lot of work!), but it sounds efficient and clever.

I've heard people say that the potato famine was due not only to monoculture (I have no idea how they managed to plant only potatoes in the same soil for so long without running into major problems before this- even in home gardens, you're not supposed to replant in the same ground twice in a row) not only of a crop but of the variety, the Lumper potato. Details on this topic While I would agree wholeheartedly that monoculture is dangerous, particularly when we're talking about a single variety, and that biodiversity is crucial to food security and sustainability, I am unconvinced that planting even ten different varieties of potato would have prevented the famine. Other varieties may or may not have been susceptible to the blight, and even the ones that were not would not have been sufficient to prevent widespread catastrophe, considering the degree to which the people were being oppressed by the English. These people could have survived and done far better they they did, had they been allowed to eat the grains they were producing.

All in all, a pretty horrible story....and a lesson in why food production and security need to be both diverse and localized...
Still reading on the topic. This was a fucking holocaust! Why do we not hear the full story about this in school? This was about so much more than a potato disease.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Things are getting better. I'm making friends and acquaintances. And even if it's only part time, I have a job.

I still feel broken. I still don't ever want to let anyone close to me again. I will always miss you.

But on the bright side, this probably is not going to happen to me again, because I cannot take the risk of this sort of thing reoccurring. So the worst is already over with.

Why does that sound so dead?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I hate anxiety. It makes me feel scared and vulnerable and in need of things that I cannot have, like reassurance and hugs. It sucks the courage and any self assurance right out of me, makes me long to feel safe when the only safety I have is that which I create for myself.

To be fair, it also keeps me from doing all sorts of idiotic, embarrassing and generally unwise things. :-/

This is the yarn I've been talking about. The skein of gray yarn is the laceweight Shetland. The large skein of russet is wool/mohair blend. The small rich reddish brown-charcoal skein is the wool-silk blend that I just couldn't resist buying. I started on the kid mohair last night, but am going to re-spin it to get a finer yarn. I purposely spun it thicker and it is luscious, but I'm concerned about it shedding. Besides, this is the nicest mohair I've ever seen. I want it to go as far as possible!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I have nothing positive to say and am trying really hard not to make this site look like a litany of pity parties...because that would be pathetic...and I've humiliated myself enough already.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I feel really sad and hopeless and just depressed over the general trend of my life. Sometimes I wonder if they're right, if I don't deserve better than this.
A little bummed....I meant to do some color studies today in my sketchbook, exploring different palettes and color combinations. Particularly inspired by the work of Wolf Kahn and Mark Rothko, I took books of these artists out from the library...and forgot to bring them with me. This was dispiriting, but since nature has other examples to work from, I thought that this could still be done. Until I turned to pick up my (new! just waiting to be christened!) sketchbook and it was not there beside me as I thought it was. Apparently I left that behind, too. Sigh. I do have colored, acid free cardstock, colored pencils, and nice sketching pens and pencils, but at this point my enthusiasm has been a bit deflated. :-/

Was wrong. Found the sketchbook. :-)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Watched half of a movie, Boys Don't Cry for an paper that I have to write for the abnormal psychology class. There were a number of movies on the list and I just picked this one at random because I'd already seen several of the other more popular movies and like to stretch my horizons when possible. I sort of lucked out with this movie but there is a rape scene and I got triggered. I'm still shaken....had to stop and save the rest of the movie for another time.

I hate the cruelty of the world we live in, that we're surrounded by people who have that kind of potential. It makes life seem so unpredictable, uncertain and unsafe.

All my life I've been taught that brutality is not only excusable, it's normal. That if I had a problem with that, my expectations were unreasonable and unrealistic. Still I always knew and hoped that it was possible for things to be different, that there must be men who were gentle not because they had to be to get what they wanted, nor as a pretense, but because gentleness was an integral part of their being. They told me I was wrong, that I didn't want "a real man", that what I was asking for was a woman. I told them that real men don't have to be cruel to assert their masculinity...but inwardly, there were so many times when I wondered if they were right. Because of you, I know they're wrong. Because of you, I will never again settle for or tolerate a man for whom kindness is only a veneer.
Warping the little homemade inkle loom with the Blue Faced Leicester yarn to make a scarf.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The neuro-psych eval is now finished.

I do have a math learning disability, which is such a relief to know for sure. It isn't that I'm stupid or that I wasn't trying hard enough or due to a simple lack of interest (people have suggested all these things in relation to my lack of success with math). I am probably not going to be able to go to medical school (not a big surprise at this point).

On the other hand, I got all of my points back plus a few on the IQ test. :-) It is nice to have a self esteem/ego boost at a time like this.

And she is officially diagnosing me with ADHD (I would suspect the inattentive type, but not sure?) along with reaffirming the Asperger's dx. Again, it is nice to know that the attention issues were not due to laziness or any number of other character flaws, as people have repeatedly, persistently pounded into me (sometimes in a literal sense) over the years.

Also she recommends a therapy dog. I have reluctantly decided to rehome the dog that I have (Bebe) with my neighbor, because she is constantly running off to be with that neighbor. While I love her, the bond between us has never been quite what I would have liked for it to be. She and my neighbor adore one another and I'm tired of fighting that.

So...I'll be looking for a dog that's a better match. I've had a lot of Border Collie-Australian Shepherd crosses and have never had one that I was unhappy with. Except for one purebred Border Collie female and Bebe, my dogs have always been male, so probably the dog will be male. Newfoundlands are another breed whose personality (calm, gentle, loyal, quiet) also appeals to me. I really like German Shepherds when they have been correctly bred and raised for a well balanced possibly some German Shepherd blood would be OK in a cross, probably not a purebred though. The Aussie/Border Collie cross would still be my first choice if I can find one though.

There are other details from the whole neuro-psych eval thing....don't feel like going into it all right now though, particularly online and in public.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

There is only year old (and older) work on my Fine Art America page. Clearly, that needs to be updated...and I should start working on more stuff.
Back from helping with shearing. Actually, I mostly helped feed animals and skirt fleeces this time....and helped with gates. Think I am falling in love with alpacas...even though one spit at me. They make this endearing noise, like a sort of sad hummy whining sound. In exchange for helping (I guess- I don't think I really helped very much) she (the lady I was helping) gave me an alpaca fleece. I picked one that's a nice milk chocolate brown color; not only is this fleece a really nice color, it's also very soft, softer than many of the other fleeces. She said that it is too soft for her taste, because it doesn't card well in the machines she has. I hand card, so this isn't an issue for me and I love the extra softness.

It isn't that the other animals aren't nice to be around....the angora goats, the sheep, the dogs, cats, llama, etc....but there's something about those alpacas.

I have enough wool to keep me busy for months now. :-)
I get to go help shear sheep again today! Looking forward especially to the inquisitive, sensitive faces of the alpacas. They aren't playful like goats, but they're very appealing in their own way.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Just watched And The Band Played On. I've read the book more than once (think I have it actually), but this is one case where the movie is better than the book, if only because it puts human faces on what otherwise would only be statistics or at best, names.

As far as I know, I've never personally known anyone who died of AIDS. And although I'm attracted to women, have been since I was a child, it's equally true that I could be perfectly happy with a man for the rest of my life, too. I could live in the closet and nobody would know, just as they seem to have been unaware all along anyway. So when people want to know why this sort of thing matters to me, it's hard for me to put it into words. Maybe it's because I know the horror of not belonging, of being shunned, disliked for being different. Of finding a word for that difference and being simultaneously relieved and overwhelmed by the implications of this definition....struggling to accept this, only to find that other people don't want to know, don't want to acknowledge that difference, don't want to admit that there's a real reason for why you're different. No, they only demand silence and self loathing. Life in the closet isn't only for gay people. When you have a "hidden" disability, society virtually demands that the closet is the only acceptable place for you; otherwise you're just a needy drama queen demanding attention and acceptance.

But I hate it and won't stand for it. I've lost dear friends over a label, lost custody of my children over a label, jobs, a job promotion. I know what it's like to be marginalized based on a single word. I always say that if people are going to drop me because of a diagnosis, they were only fairweather friends to begin with....but it hurts, and to be honest, the more it hurts, the less compromising I become about it.

Most of all though, love is hard to find and nobody should be shamed for who they love. Nobody has the authority or the right to tell anyone else who they can or cannot love or to try to force them into silence.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Wool skirtings: are the part of the fleece that is usually thrown away, including all of the belly wool, and the wool from the face, head, lower legs and britch (crotch) area. This wool is either too short, uneven in quality or too dirty to be used as easily or in the same ways as the rest of the fleece.

It was headed to a landfill, so I salvaged it. and am now trying to think of uses for it. Bird nesting material. Mulch. Organic, biodegradable landscape fabric. Or felt. Hmmm.
Laughing in spite of the ache in my heart....because Lee Ryan is almost as hot as you are. Too bad he's such a pig.

Edited to add: Watched it again; you have a better jawline, a more distinguished nose, bluer eyes, paler, more refined. His smile doesn't crease all down the side of his face from his eyes like yours does. Still...

It doesn't matter what I do. Nobody else is going to be able to fill your place. :-(

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Managed to spin and ply all of the violet merino silk blend on the wheel, then started in on the toasty beige wool/mohair blend. This is much nicer to work with, although it does have some vegetative matter that has to be picked out from time to time.