Yesterday was one of those days for connecting with the spirit. It was not in a church or other house of worship, but at a restaurant on College Ave, in Oakland. We gathered as a bunch of old friends, touching base again, 6 months after our big hectic and crazy Reunion party weekend. (when you are one of the organizers, you never get to relax and have fun with everyone.) The reason for this party/gathering was the celebration of life and birthdays with three of our lot and most importantly for one of us, whose coming birthday was the excuse. You see, he is in a gentle battle with a disease that is taking his health and strength most days but yesterday he gathered that strength and came to feel our love and energy coursing through him as we shared a meal together, sang Happy Birthday (x3) and passed around the miraculously funny Singing Birthday Hat. Our friend has been one of those magical Kindergarten teachers that you always remember, as well as someone who would rather sleep under the stars, in a sleeping bag. Now, he spends most days in bed. The organizer of the lunch was worried when there was a "turn for the worse" and our friend might not be strong enough to join us. I told her that Rod and I were coming, and that was that. We could gather and take pictures and blow out his candles for him, if he could not gather his strength. Lo and behold, it was a Good Day and our friend Robert's weak body could not hide the Big Spirit shining through his eyes as he arrived in a beautiful Squash Blossom colored shirt, to be kissed and gently hugged.
We gave him our love and Energy, laughter and funny stories. We brought him a copy of the reunion souvenir book because he was not strong enough to come, last October (it would have been Too Much). He can look through the book and wonder who all of these Old People are. There were no Old People at this luncheon; just decades-long friendships with the souls shining through our eyes. It was a Good Day for everyone and one that some of us verbalized, at our end of the long table. Life can be short and the important things are friends and learning that you have to DO things, while you can, grabbing hold of Good Days, taking advantage of them when you can. You don't want to end up in your bed, wondering what you did with your life, other than work like a drone, chasing the almighty dollar. I think that it is all about sliding into home with the body that you were given, creased and wrinkled from experiences, laughter and tears, slivers, bug bites, dog slobber, baby kisses and wonderment.
Robert has promised to drink the Chinese herb tea that has kept one of our Aunties alive 8 years after she was pronounced "hopeless" by a Western Doctor. What the hell, why not? Our friends, who grew up in Oakland's Chinese Community are tight like a family, knowing each others families and history but I'll tell you what, they have stuck together. Rod and I feel so happy to be a part of this family, after all of these years. The faces that sat along this long long table were the same faces that you could see in the candid high school photos from the late '60's. We have been cops, teachers, engineers, artists and myriad other professions but we gather again and again, thanks to the traditions of the majority of us, to celebrate this, that and the other, over a plate of food.
I thank Patty Go for getting us all together yesterday. She has become a big part of our lives again and Rod and I just love her. Robert...drink your tea. xoxo
So, yes, I have taken this time, with no show this Spring, to enjoy feeling my lovely Dyakcraft Needles sliding between my fingers with various and sundry yarns, creating some fun things. I used to knit strictly for Others, when I made all of those original one-offs, years ago. Now, I knit for me but mostly for the booth display, simply because I don't want to fuzz up the knitting, by actually WEARING something. Weird, eh?
There have been a lot of wonderful patterns out there, lately, and I have been drawn to online sources like Knitty, Twist Collective and Ravelry. The level of designing is getting SO much better and it is exciting when a new "issue" comes out. Oh, speaking of new issues, I am going to be advertising with Entangled Magazine, beginning with the next issue, which goes live next month.
Knitting? Yes, I have, thank you. I cheated on Leaving for awhile (this is a BIG project with size 4 US needles!) when I met Stephen West and
fell in love with what "everybody was knitting", which is his Earth & Sky that had been one of those Mystery Knit things. I made mine with three colors of Baby Alpaca Silk Petite because it is still my all-time favorite yarn to knit. Three colors: Mulberry, Peacock and Cameroon.
After blocking this little thing, I decided that I needed to Be Good and pick up the size 4's and Leaving's Monte Verde Hardtwist again and so I finished the back, front and part of the sleeves before I got a roving eye again. Sigh, I have ALWAYS been an monogamous knitter and now, at this stage in my life, I am a damned cheater! Who could blame me, when Brenda Patipa's Satsuma was published in the latest Twist! That Vixen whispered in my ear, "Lisa, it would be GREAT in Timaru", and so, I chose two skeins of a not yet "published" colorway called Jambalaya, and the rest is history. I am smitten.
So, now that I am a damned Cheater, I have lined up Fiona Ellis' Paisley and another by StephenWest called Chadwick. I just don't recognize myself anymore but boy, is it fun. I used to have to knit and finish a project, simply because I was trying to focus on creating something and now, I am just having fun with the puzzles that other people are making for me. Perhaps, the next time that you see me at a show, I will have all sorts of new things, in the booth, but of course, you will have to Go Online to buy the patterns, just like me.
Well, it was Deb's comment on the post about Tank's arthritis that made me think that I should give you an update on his progress. We changed his diet, eliminating wet food ( just because Ms Trixie has such a delicate digestive system) added cottage cheese and Glucosamine/Chondroitin for humans, upped his fish oil to 8 a day and also added the SamE. He has dropped the extra weight and they both have very glossy coats.
Now then, the other news is that I bought retractable leashes for our walks (as opposed to the heavy six foot static kind). He is getting used to being on a leash now, every time we go outside with two dogs, even when we "go to work", across the driveway, to the studio. It got to the point that when I took them out to "just pee", they would egg each other on and run off. The last time, Tank came home after an hour On The Lam, to a LOT of joint pain, which had to be addressed with a dose of meds. I realized that I was not doing him any favors and now, he is used to being on the 16 foot "tether" and can run a little bit, before coming back in.
Our hikes are much more fun now, with him being able to run a little, stop for grass, run, grass, repeat, while Trixie runs up and down the hills, crashing through the bushes for HER amount of exercise.
The point is that we decided against radical surgery and as long as he does not push himself by running for an hour on a naughty "walk-about", he is much more comfortable.
I think that the vet will be amazed and if it gets to the point where he is having trouble, Deb's wheels sound like a great non-surgical solution.
Trixie has been so good for him (and us) and while the issue of his arthritis came to the surface, in a big way, we also found out how to keep him comfortable while getting him more exercise. He likes the lightness and 16 foot freedom of the new leash and does not fight with me over getting "hooked up", any more. Trixie gets leashed when we walk in areas where we need to get both of them under control right away and then she gets to go off leash when we are up in our hills. She gets to run amock but will always follow us, as long as Tank is tethered. It seems to be working. I guess that means that WE are learning how to be better dog parents, eh?
I got choked up last night, even though I had known that his death was imminent, thanks to the warning from his family. When I read the news that Levon Helm had slipped the skin, yesterday afternoon, i was both happy and sad. Happy, simply because my belief is that our souls leave our heavy earthly flesh suits and go Home to the energy source, which means (to me) that this go-around has been accomplished for the soul. The sadness is the knowing that his family will not have the body to pet and tend to, through the ending. Relief comes, when the mortal suffering is over and the spirit unzips the suit and travels, weightlessly to the source.
All of that philosphical stuff is all well and good but his passing got to me more than most, lately. I told Rod that I didn't understand why I was so touched by Levon's passing and he simply said that it was because I met him. Yes, I did meet him, so very long ago, when I was a twenty-something singer/songwriter, struggling to find myself within one band or another. I was in one particularly loathsome band, when I had the privilege of being in the opening act for Levon's small club tour as a solo act, not long after The Last Waltz signaled the end of an iconic entity, known as The Band. Keystone Berkeley was a beer soaked dance club where all of the young, struggling SF Bay Area musicians would aspire to take to the stage, simply because their heros had trod those boards. Anybody that was Cool would come to Keystone Berkeley and I had the privilege of singing there, twice.
I don't know what it was about the sound coming from that odd mix of characters who found themselves together in Woodstock, New York but the melange was heady, like the music from a caliope. They had roots from the Deep South and yet The Professor tied the pieces together with his mighty Hammond Wurlitzer. The Band's Big Pink was an album that I played over and over again, because it was just so odd and wonderful and the voice of Levon Helm, with the sound of the South came through to me and grabbed me. Nowhere in rock music was a singer encouraged to sound like they were from anywhere other than Mainstream USA but here was Levon with his twang, singing up there, behind the drum kit.
I mourned the end of The Band but celebrated the Greatest Living Wake Ever, when Scorcese captured the magnificent Last Waltz on the night that those men put an end to their collaboration, with the help of a few of their fabulous friends (including the devine Joanie Mitchell). What a party.
I hope that there is going to be a fabulous Party for Levon. I am a big believer in the Wake, where people gather to celebrate the life that was lived, swap stories and sing songs.
I guess that in the passing of this particular man, I felt another tug at the fabric of my own mortality, letting go of that bit of my own history. I hear him singing and remember the joy of being in art school with that album as a sort of soundtrack to my naive and blissful first year.
Happy Graduation, Levon. Bon Voyage. I couldn't have done it without you and didn't know it until I heard that you were leaving. Thank you for the music.
It is April 19th and for the first time in four years, I am not greeting my lovely Southern Regulars in a booth at the Cobb Galleria! While people seemed grumpy about the idea, I am just sure that they will assuage their sadness with the wares of some of my colleagues. While it feels a bit odd, NOT being there, this year I decided to listen to my inner voice and not be on the road, with a trailer, with big storms popping up on the radar. My inner voice told me to stay home and lo and behold, it was my friendly Muse whispering in my ear that if I DID hang out with her, in the workshop, she would channel some luscious new colorways to me.
Have you seen THIS yet? Franklin Habit asked me for yarn, a year ago, January and just when I had forgotten all about it, his Big Damn Pineapple Purse was published (no, I can't say that, three times, fast.). It was kind of an Oh, Crap moment, when I had to order yarn in a hurry, only to find out that the purveyor had changed the put-up of Sylvie. I freaked out for a few minutes and then, after talking to Franklin, realized that while the put-up is perfect (p-p-p) for the Pineapple, it would impact some of the projects that had come to rely on the generous 750 skeins. Such is life. I am just happy that these colors have come into the repertoire, thanks to that request, so long ago.
Now then, what has happened around here, thanks to the fun dye technique that was started, with the original Glory, I decided to riff on that and have created some beautiful new subtle brushwork handpaints.
Here is Water Gardens
How about some Hyacinth?
For my grandson's ride on a Merry-go-round at the Sacrament Zoo, I created Praying Mantis.
Then, yesterday, I saw a photo of this
I stared and stared and stared at it and came up with this. Just for fun. Orion Nebula.
Now, I am going to go walk the dogs and get ready for Rod to Make Dinner/AKA go get pizza. It seems fitting for a day like this.
Oh yes, all of that teal stuff, up there, is Ka'anapali in lots of different yarns.
Yesterday was the second time that Easter fell on Lauren's birthday and we could not have asked for a more beautiful day to celebrate with her. It was as if the ancient Pagan, deep in my dna, had her prayers answered, for this day. (A three-fer, with our Erik & Vicki celebrating their 6th wedding anniversary!)
I have been cold for weeks and yesterday, as I went out to cut some Jonquils for a vase, I knew that I could change into a T shirt and pull the patio cushions out of storage. Thank you, Mother Nature!
We went outside and Lauren turned into a proper puddle, in the sun. It was her day to relax and just soak in the great outdoors. It took us all back to the precious times that we all spent on Kauai, to be sure. We have a lot of tan to build back up...
We get to have our big grandson, Jakey The Schnickle up here today and so, while not together, both kids will enjoy the beautiful land, a day apart. We saved Birthday cake for him so that he will be a part of it, at least gastronimcally.
Everybody got in on the act, as the relaxation began, including Trixie.
Syd got her first lapful of Boopie and that is a LOT of cat and 9 months of atmosphere, for Syd!
When Mama opened her gifts, the most fun thing was the silly card that had some happy Hawaiian banter, involving a Humuhumu...FISH. She played with this thing over and over and over, grinning from ear to ear. You know, you have to buy a card for the mama that will delight the kids, right? I think that Papa Brian kind of liked it, too...
Grampy has gone "down the hill" to get Jakey for a day in the country, while school is still in recess. Schnickle can help Grampy go to the dump, which was always one of his mama's favorite activities, as a kid (except in those days, the dump was STINKY!)