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Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

Learning what friendship is all about

I had sadly wiped the slate of friendship clean throughout the years, focusing all my energies on my husband, my children and my work. The few friends I had seemed to slip away like sand through my fingers, as I blatantly ignored them in favor of my family. My introverted nature didn’t help matters, and I found the only friend I really had to do things with was my husband. Luckily I did manage to keep in touch with a high school friend, Denise, who lived out of state – and I was a poor friend to her, not responding to her invitations to visit. Bless her though, she kept our friendship going even though I was such a weak participant. I found myself becoming so envious of women who had a close circle of female friends. I wanted to be one of those women.

Mistakenly, I thought that having my husband as my only friend was enough. But as our children grew older and didn’t need or want my attention so much, I saw how limited my world of connections with others really was. And I also saw that my spouse and I were really not on the same page in so many ways, and we divorced. Now I was starting over from scratch, trying to remember not only how to make friends, but how to be a good friend. And I have learned so much.

I have learned that sometimes we come together as friends, for reasons unknown, only to find ourselves drifting apart from each other. But that is the way of life at times, and even though we don’t connect with those friends like we used to, they are still a connection in our hearts. I have learned not to burn so many bridges, as life is an ebb and flow, and I may flow back to old friends.

I have learned that we may seek out friends on the basis of shared interests, and it is always a joy to share our passions with one another. When I moved to Portland, these shared interests were a great way to meet people – the book club, the knitting group, the walking group. But as I began to make closer friends from members of these different groups, I realized that sometimes it is so true that opposites attract! In my mind, I had to find friends who liked the same music as me, who followed the same spiritual practice, who had similar lifestyles. How wrong I was on all those counts! I am passionate about music; most of my Portland friends listen to talk radio. But because they do, we have some enlightening discussions. My friend Vanessa in Minnesota loves her political science classes; I haven’t read a newspaper for years now, and I only do so when it is an election year. I find that because of all our unique interests, it opens up the gateway for learning, for discussion, for discovering new possibilities for my life.

Now I realize what friendship is all about. Friendship comes on many different levels.  Some friendships have deeper bonds that allow the sharing of more intimate thoughts, and there are casual friendships that are all about sharing lunch together once a month. Each type of friendship is equally important in our lives. The bond of friendship is one that goes beyond the superficial aspect of shared interests. It is a bond that comes from connecting with the true self of each person, a resonating from soul to soul. My friends are like a beautiful bouquet of flowers – different varieties of lovely blooms that bring me joy in all their unique ways.

My friend Denise & I with the “umbrella man” in Portland

My Minnesota friend Vanessa & I

Out to lunch with the “library ladies”

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New music!

I have been searching for some new music, but nothing I have heard lately on the radio or Pandora has made me go running to my list of cds to buy and make note. But I recently found a new group, through the oddest of connections, my knitting group. The Monday knitting group at the library consists of us “older” ladies, who are able to find time every Monday afternoon for some knitting and a good deal of talking. So when one of the knitting ladies mentioned in passing that her son has a band, just as a hobby, with free music to download, I made note of that! Once I got home, I went on the band’s website and settled in for a listen. I am pretty picky about the music I listen to; I don’t easily jump on the bandwagon just because everyone else is listening, or because of the proud words of a mom telling her knitting group about her son’s band. But as I listened, I found myself going, yes! This is what I have been looking for! The name of the band is Trails and Ways, and they are from Oakland, California. I would describe their music as pop with some folk tendencies and a bit of bossa nova sprinkled in – delicious! And the lyrics are sheer poetry – they can be read on their own and enjoyed without the musical accompaniment. If you want to check them out, here is the link to their website –  http://trailsandways.com/ – Maybe you will also find some great new music there –

Finding my truth, through knitting

When I first joined the knitting group, I was a “squares only” knitter. My knitting experience through the years had yielded only that which could be knit in a square – dishcloths, blankets and the occasional scarf. I envied those who could produce rounded items, such as hats or socks or mittens – how hard could it be? I was willing to learn and the helpful, eager ladies in the knitting group at the local library were anxious to assist my branching out beyond my comfort zone of squareness. I chose a hat for my first circular venture, deciding that the toes of a sock or the thumb of a mitten would be too much for me at this stage of the game. But before I could begin, I had to make a trip to a knitting store. I found one that seemed to welcome me with open arms, with its bins of yarns in all shades and colors and textures. And the woman who was working there at the time was so helpful, as she led me through the store to acquire all that I needed – yarn that would be compatible with the beginner’s pattern she found for me, and some circular needles that looked very perplexing to me. Thirty five dollars later, I was out the door and ready to create a hat – with the guidance of the lovely knitting ladies of course!

Truth number one I learned about myself – I am inpatient. I wanted to wear my new hat, so I tried to finish it on my own at home, rather than patiently waiting for the help I needed. As I put my finished hat on my head, adjusting it to cuteness, I watched in horror as the top of it slowly unraveled. Truth number two – I get angry! And I like to throw things in my state of anger. I watched my hat, with a trail of yarn, sail across my apartment, along with the circular needles that I blamed for my knitting mishap. But once I cooled down and began another attempt at my hat, I was able to create a hat that did not unravel. Now I was ready for something a little more advanced. How about fingerless mittens? They didn’t look to be too difficult, but were a step up from a hat, as they involved using double pointed needles – a new knitting tool I had yet to use. Off to the knitting store once more!

If I had thought of the circular needles as a challenge, I found double pointed needles to be downright evil. I uttered some rather choice words during my repeated attempts to get past the first few rows, and learned how to throw those small wooden needles like spears. But I reached inside myself for a dose of patience, and knit on and on, all the while speaking words of praise to my pretty wooden needles. But alas, I got caught up in delightful conversation with my fellow knitters one day, and realized after that fact that I had twisted my needles and was knitting inside out. This led me to truth number three – I am a “squares only” knitter, and that’s okay. I realized that the thing I love most about knitting isn’t the luscious yarn or pretty patterns or even the finished product itself. What I love most about knitting is the meditative quality of it – the repetition, the clicking sound of the needles. And the knitting group is a wonderful social outing; a time to visit and share stories and laughter with others. I will always admire the others in my knitting group for their creative gifts and amazing works of roundness that they are able to knit. But I have found acceptance of the happiness I gain from knitting – and the truths it brings to me and no one else.

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