Search This Blog

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Voices Of Women

I grew up in an all girl house. My poor daddy had more pink undershirts - which we wore all the time instead of nightgowns, and which were constantly being tossed in the wash with our red clothes and coming out just the right shade of girlie-girl pink. He had 4 pink ones for every white one. He was always such a good sport about it but then, secretly, I always thought he had a really strong feminine side. When he got enough of us girls he'd put on an army uniform and head off to a reserves meeting. Sometimes I think he went just to get away from us. We were never sorry to see him go because ....

I grew up in an all girl house.

Girl power was so potent in our house that we even swapped the words around from the old Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails rhymes. One we used to quote was "Girls are dandy, made of candy, Boys are rotten, made of cotton."  Daddy would swap it around and say that Boys were made of candy and we'd shriek with laughter and go grab A Rocket In My Pocket (the origin of that one) and prove to him that it was Boys who were Rotten! Once when a sturdy little neighbor boy was playing in our yard Daddy tried to enlist his support by asking him if Boys weren't dandy, made of candy.  Daddy would turn pink himself, with laughter, every time he'd tell that story, which was often - and admit that he knew he was lost forever when little Chris Chavisty looked at him in horror and said indignantly, while making muscles in his skinny little 6 year old arms, "Boys aren't made of candy. Boys are Tough. They're made of Iron and Steel!"

Poor Daddy.

Lucky me. I loved living in that feminine world. I loved it that nobody clomped through the house. I loved it that you never had to explain yourself to someone who asked "Why are you reading that book again?" or "What do you want white go-go boots for? They won't keep the rain out."

I mean - who the heck needs an explanation for white go-go boots?

I had enough girl friends growing up, but I never really had to look for a girlfriend because there was always some girl in the house who could be your friend, once she got over being mad at you for cutting your paper dolls out in the middle of the bedroom and blowing the little white snips over onto her side. When I was a grown woman with a guy husband and a (boy) baby and a broken down car, but no money, I had no idea why I was so unhappy till I was invited to a baby shower for a girl I didn't even know. Surrounded by all those women, in that room filled with soft feminine voices and graceful gestures - even with the laughter and excitement of a party - I realized that if I don't have girls living in my house I better be sure I have girlfriends I can go spend time with. I will forever be grateful for those sweet ladies at the Baptist Church who invited me to that baby shower. They had no idea how badly I needed them. Happily I met a soul mate woman a scant few weeks later and I was good to go for the rest of my life. We're still friends, though our lives have taken us in different directions and since that lonely year of the broken down car, I've made sure I carved out time to cultivate girlfriends and spend time with them.

Image result for tattingYesterday I took a class on tatting - a kind of lace making using thread and a shuttle and tying knots over tiny rings of thread and then joining them in a pattern. It is, so far, the only fiber art that has defeated me and it brought me to my knees again over the course of 6 hours of trying. I managed to make 3 little circles of 10 knots each - which means that it took me 12 minutes to tie the each knot successfully. (Love me some tatting math)

I have always been successful at both the mental skill of reading and following directions and the kinesthetic skill of manipulating small tools.  Even the ugly babies I made when I first began to spin were at least yarn - and I mastered the rudiments of spinning after watching the first 20 minutes of a video. Surely a class in tatting was all I needed to get the hang of this ... NOT. 

I did grasp what needed to be done to be successful, but these old eyes just couldn't see when what was happening suddenly unhappened. I still think I could learn this but it will take time and  a level of concentration I don't have to give it right now. Other things I already do well are clamoring for my attention and I can always do this next year - at Tara. 

But the beautiful gift I did bring home from yesterday's class (at the delightful Rice's Hotel-Hughlett's Tavern ) was the delicious sensation of being in a room full of women doing beautiful things with their hands in a quiet gentle atmosphere. 

Ohhhhhhhhh I love that feeling - that sound of quietness - of busy hands - that experience of feminine creativity. It was like my childhood home after Daddy went off to his mysterious DaddyWorld. It was the most restful relaxation - in spite of the utter failure of my hands. It didn't matter. It was worth it just to be there with other ladies doing something with string.

I have other girlfriends and we share books and health and exercise and family. We share time and advice and experiences and love. But I don't have any makerr friends right now - no fiber friends - no arty ones - and I have missed that. So one more thing I plan to do - someday - at Tara - will be to spend time in a room full of women who make beautiful things with their hands.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Whole Stack of Slack

Two 2 weeks ago I posted (on another blog - yes - I've been known to commit blogultry) about not holding myself to too strict a standard, exercise wise.  I thought I'd be getting in some easy cardio exercise while easing myself into strength training again. I know I need to build more muscles and to tighten up some loose (also slack) abs and arms. What I did not count on was an attack of shingles and a hurricane that would keep me indoors and indolent. Fortunately it was a mild attack, caught early after I'd already had the vaccine, so I haven't had the oozing or nerve pain that so many people have suffered. But that didn't mean I wasn't tired, cranky and on the prowl for ice cream.

To add insult to injury - this nice infectious disease struck on a 3 day weekend - I didn't even get to use sick leave - of which I have something like forty bazillion hours. Okay. That's a joke. I am glad I have had a relatively healthy life and thankful that my job has always insured that I would still be paid if I did get sick. Just - ya know. And I don't get that sick leave when I retire. There was some talk about it last year - that you could take up to X dollars of sick leave along with all your unused vacation. Well. I would rather be healthy this coming year than home on sick leave. We'll leave it at that.

Image result for pac-manThere has been a little weight gain since the first of the month but I did not go through the kitchen like a pack-man ball, gobbling everything in my path. I am better now and after Wednesday of the coming week I will be Done With Deadlines - for a while. I can indulge in some gym time and maybe some interesting autumn meal planning. I have a yearning for pumpkin soup.

Well - you just can't help it if you get sick. My Dr. said it was probably stress related and the past 6 months have been nothing but stress. I'm working on releasing it - but my skill at that is only middlin' - my success - moderate.  Fortunately time passes anyway, including the Days Of Deadlines. 

What I have been successful at is to fit a week's vacation into October and am I ever looking forward to it. I should be completely shingleless by then so I can play with daughter in law, who will be home from her own vacation. BD and I might take a little ramble into the mountains. I've signed up for a class in tatting lace. It is all good - and it's coming the week after next.

So a bit about the title of this blog. We have all used the phrase "cut myself some slack" or "Cut somebody some slack" before and if you're like me you probably thought it was an old sailing term that had to do with a loose rope - slack lines - and maybe "cut" in that phrase means to "let out" some loose rope or hold on to some loose rope. Certainly it means don't put people, including yourself, on too tight a leash.

But - have you ever heard the term cut used to mean that?

Me neither.

So a little google play brought up the possibility that it came from barrel makers - coopers - because they built two kinds of barrels. Taut ones that could hold water and slack ones that could hold dry goods. So when they cut the staves from which the barrels were made, the less precise ones could be for slack barrels - whence the term "cutting some slack" which could mean cutting shapes that didn't have to be so perfect.

Well there you have it. The kind of blog post a librarian writes.

LEFT BRAIN:  With help from a wordy left brain, that is.