Thursday, November 26, 2009


When I read back through some of my recent blog posts I realize how negative some of them sound. (Debbie Downer reporting for duty!) I'm in an odd place in my life right now, close to completion with one phase and struggling to map out the next one. And so much of that is NOT making the blog, and that's hard too, but I'm working on a solution.

However, I am very aware of how blessed I am. I talk about how sometimes it seems like my apartment is falling apart around me - but I do have a home. I wish for new glasses and think about getting in better shape - but I do have my health.  I complain about my workplace and search for something better - but I do have a job. 

I question my relationships with the people around me.  But I have a friend who remembered I might be alone on a holiday, and I have family, both two and four-legged, who love me.

For all of these reasons and so much more I am grateful for the gift that is my life. Blessed be.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Every 16 minutes

Someone in the U.S. dies by suicide. Every 17 minutes someone else is left to make sense of it. 

This Saturday is the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention's 11th Annual National Survivors of Suicide Day. I talked about it last year, and you can learn more about the event on the AFSP site

I can't change the past. But maybe someday I can help change the future. I think I'd like that.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One part of the elephant

There's a story about blind men and an elephant.  There are many different versions out there but the gist of it is this:

A group of blind men touch an elephant to learn what is it like.

The first man touches the leg and says an elephant is like a pillar. 
The second man touches the tail and says an elephant is like a rope. 
The third man touches the trunk and says an elephant is like a branch of tree. 
The fourth man touches the ear and says an elephant is like a large hand fan. 
The fifth man touches the belly and says an elephant is like a huge wall. 
The sixth man touches the tusk and says an elephant is like a solid pipe.

Of course the men disagree because each one only touched one part of the elephant.

The moral of the story? What you believe to be true is based only on  your perspective, you cannot possibly know the absolute truth without seeing the whole picture.

I thought of this recently after a friend told me his thoughts on my qualifications (or rather lack thereof) for a certain job.  I was shocked at what he said and tried, probably rather badly, to explain how wrong he was, pointing out that his knowledge of me is limited to the time we spend together, which in itself is constricted by his own limitations.  Don't misunderstand me - I'm not really hurt anymore by what he said. In his own way, he actually meant it as a compliment. To him, that particularly skill set has less value, so in telling me I lack them, he was also saying that I can and should do better. Yeah, I get that. Being overqualified for potential jobs is nothing new to me!

But what bothers me is his steadfast belief in seeing me in just that one viewpoint - mindblowing from someone so intelligent who prides himself on being a logical thinker. I also can't help wondering how that affects our friendship. Does this mean that any support or encouragement is limited to only those endeavors he finds worthy? Because as I see it, the action of a friend is to learn what someone wants and then see what you can do to help make it happen. It's just that simple.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mystery Yarn

The other day I was approached by a local acquaintance I'll call "P".  Although she herself can knit, P is very enamored of my knitting and frequently introduces me to others as the "world's greatest knitter!" which is very embarrassing.  Because of course - I'm not. I'm just one of the few sock knitters she's every met and within in her limited circle probably one of the most proficient.  But we all know there are eleventy-bajillion knitters out there far more talented than I.

Anyway - P gets enjoyment from occasionally consulting me on knitting problems, showing me her most recent finished object, and hearing about my current work in progress and it's harmless so I roll with it. But when she stopped by my work the other day it was to share something new.

She explained that she had been gifted by another local knitter with a couple large plastic trash bags of thick and thin cotton yarn, in three colors.  P accepted it thinking she would knit up a small rug, or perhaps chair seatcovers, but found it very difficult to work with. She went on to tell me that this strange yarn was so very thick in some places that she needed large needles to work with it, but so thin in other places that it would break.  I asked her if there was any sort of label or ballband included in the bags of yarn and she said no, there definitely wasn't. P said all she knew was that the other knitter said that "it took her forever to wind it all up" and that she herself was stumped and ready to pass it on - so did I want it?

I admitted to being curious about this mystery yarn but for many reasons - time, storage space, etc. - did not want to accept this stuff sight unseen.  So the next day, P stopped by again with a small sample:

(Hand included for scale)

Okay, I agree with P, this is definitely cotton.  And the colors are nice. But the variation between the thinnest bits and thickest are so extreme, I think this perhaps verges on what some folks consider "art yarn"?  I should perhaps mention that I am 99.9% sure that there are no spinners in this town. (There was one - she moved back to the mainland earlier this year.) So the origin of this strange yarn is quite puzzling. 

(Ruler included for scale)

P said that she thought maybe the three strands could be braided together, I suggested she might try holding the three strands together and using very thick needles. She liked the idea but repeated her assurances that she was no longer interested in trying to knit something with this crazy yarn and was happy to give it to me if I wanted it.

(Wine glass include for scale)

Unless someone out there on the interwebs can quickly identify this mystery yarn and and give me a good reason why not, I think I'm going to pass on the offer. As I've mentioned recently, my time is very limited for the next couple months.  And once my time frees up a bit, I plan to put a considerable amount of it towards cleaning out my overflowing closets and cupboards, drastically reducing clutter (more on this another day) so it seems to me that the very LAST thing I need to be doing is accepting a couple of large bags of particularly odd or tricksy yarn. 

So what do you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Figuring Out Facebook

All right, so I've got a handle on the whole twitter thing.  Clearly it'd be a whole lot more fun if I was tweeting throughout the day instead of just at random moments when I happen to be home and online. I see how some folks use it for promotion, some for communication, and others (such as moi) just for venting random off-the-cuff thoughts. And in my case it is probably better that I can't tweet throughout the day while I'm at work because remember - I work in retail.  Uhunh, it's like that.

So I thought my next foray into the world of social networks should be Facebook.  I took a few baby steps - putting up a very minimal profile and sending out a few friend requests.  And then quickly realized what an idjit I was when the sparse amount of personal info I provided and lack of photo meant that some of my actual friends didn't know who I was! Problem quickly solved.

I also realized something else.  Perhaps it is because there was recently a reunion (which I did not attend) but very quickly after I added more details and a photo to my profile I started receiving friend requests from old high school classmates.  Some of these make sense, people who were actually friends during high school and it's nice to hear from them.  But others puzzle me. If you weren't my friend then, why would you want to be my "friend" now?  I mean, if you went through four years of school without ever saying one single word to me - why on earth would you even consider it? I truly do not understand.

One other discovery - a surprising number of the people who live in my tiny town on this tiny island are also on Facebook.  And this presents me with a bit of a quandary.  You see, my blog, my participation on Ravelry, other activities only started when I dropped out of the the working world and my old routine to go back to school. And out there on the interwebs I get to be myself and that is a wonderful thing. I am "Kath" and I am "just26miles" and I like those people. 

But I have another life also, a life away from the interwebs and while there is some crossover, I can count those people on the fingers of one hand and I know they understand the challenge I am facing now.  And if you lived in a town that was less than three square miles and located on an island, you might also understand the need to find a little corner in which to safely fly one's freak flag while still maintaining a more....ahem..."proper" image. (Thank you blog! Thank you Ravelry!) In this town, just about anyone I cross paths with at any moment is a potential employer or a link to a potential employer. Truly. So as I hunt for a full-time job again, I am aware of the need to present some sort of professional appearance. Facebook seems like a good place for that so I think that's how I'm going to use it.

Which is not to say that I don't want to see you there! I most definitely do want to know if some of my blogging friends could also be Facebook friends. If you're out there - let me know! I just don't want the traffic to flow in the other direction so I did not add my blog or Ravelry name. It's not a perfect solution, and I'm still thinking through how to manage this, but it's a start.