Saturday, July 17, 2010

Welcome to My Kingdom

These past few years have been so odd. I know I've said this before but I promise, it's relevant to this post so I hope you'll forgive me for repeating myself.

I've had lots of change, some loss, lots of change, some heartbreak, lots of change, some happiness, lots of change and lots of change. And I've learned a lot of things--some very clearly and directly, some which have taken a much more metaphorical and whispery route.

I have said many times that my knitting has saved my life. When things are in turmoil and the future is so uncertain there is a tremendous amount of satisfaction in the accomplishment of a perfectly turned heel or a nicely mattress stitched seam.

But I realized today that it goes much further than that. You see I received two gifts recently. At my Thursday night knitting group, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I love old knitting needles. The brighter and clickier the better. I own a pair of acid green 10 1/2 needles that are the only things that I will knit black yarn with. (Okay I'll do it on something else but I have to really really want to). Black yarn is very hard to see for me while I'm knitting and it just pops on these needles. They just make it so much fun.

The next week when I arrived for our group, my friend R handed me this.

A whole shopping bag of just what I love. And isn't the "Party in a Bag" logo perfect. I'm wild about them. I think I've mentioned R before but if I haven't I have to tell you why she's my friend. It's because we are polar opposites. She is slim and toned in every place that I am soft and pillowy. She is older than me, has children and is married--none of which are on my resume. But it makes me smile every time I see her. She is kind hearted and friendly and, I believe, truly has the best interests of her friends and family in her heart. The fact that I made an offhand comment about the types of needles that I like and the next week she showed up with a whole bag full of them says a lot about her.

Then the next week B showed up. I only met her recently but really like her. And I got to sit right next to her that night. She's a wonderful knitter and an really talented artist and she is just super fun. When she came back from vacation she had a bag full of yarn that she bought in Europe to show us all. And in the same way that I say that R and I are opposites, B's show-and-tell made me feel like we had a little bit of the kindred spirit thing going. I love to share my new discoveries.

On the night that I am talking about, she was working on a really pretty scarf in some absolutely amazing crimson silk. It was love at first sight for me and, luckily, I was sitting next to her and she let me drape the knitted part over my lap and stroke it while she worked on it. She got to the end of the skein and the end of the row and so she gave me this.

It's just a few yards of the silk but it is so damn pretty.

So these two gifts have been sitting on my work table (otherwise known as the coffee table). And this morning, as I was getting ready for my Saturday morning knitting group, I had one of those white light moments.

You see, I have the worlds most wonderful family. We fight and we laugh and we all love each other. But we have to. We're a true family and we will always take care of each other. And we will do anything to make sure that we all have what we need.

But I was reminded this morning that I also have the worlds most wonderful friends. And to go back to the sneaky little metaphorical life lesson, I realized this morning that my friends not only provide me with the tools that I need to succeed but they also provide me with the lifelines that I need to be safe.

The red needles in the picture of R's gift are out of the bag because I will be casting something onto them tonight. And I've been wondering what to do with that beautiful little slip of crimson silk. It was so obvious to me this morning that it will be my new lifeline yarn.

I've only found knitting groups in my area within the past year or so and I've made so many new friends. But I've also gained an understanding of why, historically, women gather (with the occasional man thrown in) . I like to think of us as a royal court whose members take turns being the queen. We've all had the gathering where we had something wonderful to share with the group and the rest of us naturally morphed into ladies in waiting. But I also think that, in addition to our occasional queen-dom, we also have our natural roles in the group. We have the artists, the scientists, the mathematicians. We have the nurturers, the teachers, the mothers, the daughters, the aunts, the nieces.

I think my role is jester. And I do enjoy it so much.

And like the queen and the ladies in waiting, I think we are all the most beautiful in the kingdom.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm Ranting!

If you don't want to listen to me rant, feel free to click off right now. My feelings won't be hurt--I promise.

But really. Are they fucking kidding me. The Vatican has now announced that attempting to ordain women is the same level of sin as sexually abusing children. Really? Has the pope been reading a lot of Margaret Atwood lately because that sounds like a plot she would come up with.

Before I go any further, I think you need to know that I was raised Roman Catholic, did 12 years of Catholic school (and I have the penmanship to prove it) and I do sincerely believe in the stories of Catholicism. Key word here being stories. I believe in a "higher power" that we are all very comfortable calling God so I'll go with that.

But dudes--my God is really nice and I believe that he/she/it actually likes me. And I believe that the stories that have been passed down for centuries can actually give us some insight into what I can learn from God.

I always use the story of the wedding at Cana as a great example. So they ran out of wine. And Jesus did something and suddenly there was some more wine--really good wine. I like to believe that Jesus got out his Visa card, sent one of the apostles up to Hastings Wine and bought some more wine for his friends' wedding. No need to make a big deal about it--just enjoy the wine folks. Don't drink and drive and, hey, Simon, get your hand off the bride's ass.

In Catholic school they always told me that I had to act like Jesus. What would Jesus do? Well guess what? I can't turn water into wine. Believe me, I've tried. But I can show compassion for my friends and loved ones and do anything I can to make sure they're not embarrassed when really, all they're trying to do is celebrate. And maybe when I realize how good it feels to show compassion to my friends and loved ones, I'll learn how to show compassion for people I don't know. And for my enemies.

Isn't that the true miracle--that we are capable of compassion. I think the long term benefits of that miracle totally outweigh turning a jug of water into wine (ask me about that some time when I have no wine in the house).

Here's another example. A good friend of mine was diagnosed with HIV very early in the epidemic. But he survived for over 20 years. And he used his illness to change the world. Sound familiar--guy got a death sentence, was resurrected and is still having an impact on humankind. Hmmm--shouldn't we be looking for metaphorical resurrection for ourselves every day. Yeah--we screw up. Things go wrong. Other people do bad things to us. But we can still wake up on a Sunday morning and start a new week. And a new life. And try to leave a good footprint on the world--no matter how big or small.

So according to the Vatican, women suck. Hmmm--have they not noticed that when God decided to send his son to earth to save us all (their words--not mine) he chose to have a woman do it WITHOUT ANY HELP FROM A MAN!!!!!!!!
Are they still so pissed off because God left them out of the birth of Christ that the rest of us have to pay for it 2000 years later.

One last thing and I promise I'll stop ranting. One of the most important things that we learn from Catholicism is that God gave us free will. Well guess what? I'll be using that free will and not sharing rituals, ceremonies, celebrations or my hard earned money with an organization that does not share my values. I wouldn't join any other organization that is as exclusive as the Catholic Church is so, I'll be damned before I spend any more time with them. Rather than looking for God in an wafer and some cheap wine, I will be looking for God in the faces of the people who I love and who love me.

And I know I will find him/her/it there.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's Too Hot to Blog!

These are my flip flops.

If you find them floating in a big melted puddle on the sidewalk, you'll know it was me.

It's 100 degrees (really--not exaggerating, not kidding) in the Y.O. right now and I am DYING!

It's too hot to wear earrings.

I'm afraid my underwires are going to set my t-shirt on fire.

At 5 o'clock this morning, I had to take my sister's dog for a walk (long story--not a big deal) so we went down to the waterfront in Irvington.

This totally revived my desire to be Quince, M.E. although I can't imagine fitting my stash onto a houseboat.

Really, though, it was gorgeous. There is something so wonderful about living so close to the Hudson River. And even though it was 80 degrees at 5 a.m., there was still a lovely river breeze. The surface of the river was like silk and the bridges were shrouded in mist. Just amazingly gorgeous.

And then the sun hit the windows on the houses above Piermont across the river and took my breath away.

And then I realized that my sister has a really funny red haired Dog named Lucy and I just called her and told her she has to get a black cat and name him Ricky!