Friday, February 28, 2014

On address labels

I have lived in my house in Ohio since the end of May last year. One would think that by now, nine months later, that I would have procured return address labels. I had plenty when I lived in Florida. However, each time I go on line and begin the process of purchasing labels I find that I have too many choices and can't decide on a set of 125 stickers for less than $10. One would think this would be easy.  I'm a knitter and there are several yarn or knitting designs to choose from. Or perhaps I want to express myself as a writer, so I pick one of several pens or quills.  I also read and there are book address labels. I like blue and flowers. Several of those are available.  What about cooking?  There are chef hats, spoons, pots and pans, bread, cake, and pie designs. Flowers of all kinds. But no. I can't decide how I would like to express myself on a 3/4"x2" paper sticker that will go in the upper left hand corner of the very few pieces of mail I send out each week. Mostly I write letters to my friend Naomi. So in reality she would be the only person who would actually see or even pay any attention to the labels.  She has labels. She has just fine dandy labels. They have her name and address on them and if, for whatever reason, her letter didn't reach me the postal service would know where to return the letter and when I get her letters I know they are from her. That is all this piece of paper needs to do.

I don't have this issue with other things. I can easily plop down $20 or $30 for a skein of yarn without thinking twice about it. I've purchased fabric with no thought as to what it will become that is $9 a yard. Sits in my fabric bins sometimes for months or years before being cut. I buy cards and stationary with almost reckless abandon. (I have more stationary than I have pen pals.) You do not want to see how much tea I have in my cupboards. Or how many teacups I have. It's almost embarrassing. I can name characters in my stories without too much thought. When I needed the name of a quiet confidant-lacking college student within minutes she was named Danielle. I buy books based on the cover (yes, I really do sometimes), or a two-paragraph synopsis on the back, or because it is written by a favorite author and I have no idea what it is about, but I like that person's writing. (Shameless plug for a friend: Rachael Herron's next book is due out on Tuesday, so go buy it. I have no idea what the plot is, but I have two copies on order. Don't ask why. I don't know myself. But here's a link where you can order it:
Pack up the Moon by Rachael Herron I'm sure it is available through other sources, but this is my preference for online ordering. If you want to support a more independent source you can go here to Powell's.)

I've brought cats home with less thought than I have trying to pick out a set of stickers for my envelopes. There is something wrong with this whole picture. I love living in Ohio. I love my house. I love the street on which I live. I refuse to ever move back to Florida. So why can't I find a set of labels that appeals to me? Labels for Pete's sake. This is not a big decision. This is not like choosing a car (also spent less time on that decision), or whether to go to Disney World on vacation or go try something new. I even have a window open at this very minute at Vista Print where I am once again going through all (and they have many) their labels trying to pick just one set. That's all. I just need one set of labels. this indecision shouldn't be happening. I shouldn't be writing an entire blog post about address labels. I should just go and pick one out.

I'll let you know if I decide something. Meanwhile, go order Rachael's book.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Oh my poor sad neglected little blog

I'm almost embarrassed enough to not post this and pretend that I've never even had a blog. Almost. But then I'm reckless enough to also pretend that I can pick this blog back up, shake it off, and reconstruct it somehow.  I intend to blog. I think about blogging often. I find some little witticism that I think would make a nice blog post and thinking about it is as far as it gets. I haven't been idle in the past nearly eighteen months. My life certainly hasn't been stagnant. I could perhaps even delude myself that I have been too busy to blog. The truth is that I've simply been lazy.

So a quick recap of what has happened in the past year and a half. I wrote and edited some on my books. A few are even to the polished enough state to submit for querying. I've done a bit (but not enough) querying as well. I've cooked a bunch of new recipes. Some I've enjoyed. Some had their leftovers become their own little ecosystems in the back of the refrigerator. I've knit a bunch. Socks, shawls, scarves, more shawls, cowls, mittens, and a sweater. The sweater is back to a WIP (that's Work In Progress for you non-crafters) status as I decided I didn't like the yoke. I've since reknit the yoke, taken out the button bands and then promptly ignored it because I ran into a math issue. Actually it's more of a counting issue and I don't have my friend Julie here to count stitches for me. Or tell me to do it myself. And I moved a thousand miles.

Yep. I moved to the state of Ohio. Northern Ohio. I am in the midst of my first real winter in 20 years. I'm living in a hundred year old bungalow with creaky wood floors, a spider-riddled basement, and a finished attic which is my office and creation space. It's a light and airy loft and I can sit here and write, spin, knit, sew, and muse. It's also where I can give guests a room of their own when they come visit me. (So come and visit me.) This house also comes with its own ghost. I've yet to meet her. She tends to stay just out of sight, but she likes to giggle. She also calls me Mama and when I turn to see who is talking to me I hear a lilting giggle move through the room.

I am loving Ohio. It has four distinct seasons with a summer that isn't too unbearable. Which is a good thing as there is no air conditioning in this one hundred year old house. Oh and no air conditioning or heat in the attic which is why I am now the owner of box fans and a personal heater. Both make this space comfortable enough to return to. There are hiking trails all over the place and tons of green spaces to enjoy. I have my library card and am a Friend of the Highland Square Library. I was able to transfer to the bookstore here, but wasn't able to retain my children's lead position. (Did I ever blog that I became the children's lead at my old store? Oh, well, I did and I loved it.)  I don't mind not having a full time job as there is so much to do here outside of work, but I will freely admit that I love my employee discount. It isn't my ideal job. Ideally I would own a yarn shop and host all kinds of fun fiber adventures, but that is for a future time.

I have a new knitting group. They adopted me (or perhaps they stole me) before I even moved up here. As soon as I put out feelers for knitting groups in the area I was felt up and accosted by three of the sweetest women I have ever known. Sadly, one of those women, Donna-Marie, recently passed away and I miss her something fierce, but I knit on. We've had some great adventures going to fiber festivals, yarn crawls, and getting together just as friends to eat, knit, and go to movies. They are there for you and that's what everyone needs in their lives. Friends that are there for you.

My grandmother also died this past fall. I was sad, but I think that Granny died for me quite some time ago when she started forgetting me. I'm the oldest grandchild. The first. And she would forget who I was. How I was related to her. Who my children were. I think I mourned the loss of her years before she actually died. I think the thing that I am saddest about is that I still can't make biscuits like her biscuits. I've come close, but mostly I end up with pale little lumps. I've made them exactly like she taught me, even using my left hand to stir the dough. It's how her mother taught her and how she taught me. "Don't over stir it and always stir it with your left hand counter clockwise." Still they turn out hard or lumpy or flat. I'll still persevere to make them though. For Granny. She was the one who supplied me with books, secretly letting me read shocking romance novels far beyond my maturity. Although looking back at them, they were far less shocking than today's genre of erotic romance novels. She also was the one who taught me to crochet, thus leading my mother to finally relent and teach me to knit. So, thank you, Granny, for stirring my passions.

So, that's a small wrap up of what has been going on the past year or so. Ch-ch-ch-changes. And they are good. I like change. I live fresh things, new ideas, and attempting the previously unattempted. In fact I recently bought a Zoom Loom, a 4x4 pin loom to try a little weaving. I like the idea of a small portable weaving project and my Younger Daughter has suggested that it would be the perfect little project to use up leftover yarn from projects. She even has me thinking about using the squares made to create an afghan. Something that is added to as a sort of memory throw of all my projects.  I like this idea. My friend, Donna-Marie, had the same sort of afghan going that she knit on using mitered squares from leftover bits and pieces. That may be something that I can manage. And I could stay true to my vow to never knit an afghan because it would be woven.

Hopefully, I won't neglect this blog so badly again. If you haven't seen me post in a while give me a nudge through a comment or on Facebook or Twitter if you follow me on those. And keep on knitting or writing or cooking or just reading.