Saturday, June 23, 2012


For the last several months, I've been living under a overwhelmed with work that I simply ignored a lot of things, including current events.

So imagine my surprise and dismay when Elizabeth at Squam Art Workshops posted that California will be closing 70 of their 279 state parks. This video, The First 70, is very compelling. You can get more information about the closures at Save Our State Parks.

Parks are incredibly important to everyone's well-being. For those who use them, parks offer respite from the noise and stress of the city. Parks provide education through ranger programs. They encourage tourism, which brings money into the localities where the parks are. And parks even benefit those who don't or can't use them. The wild spaces help keep our air and water clean, and support biological diversity, which keeps the ecosystem healthy. Which keeps people healthy.

I asked Rachel Herron of Yarnagogo (who lives in California) if she had heard anything about the park closures. She had, but only in passing. She also said that California is facing major challenges...schools are closing (some kids won't be able to go to school at all) and other essential services (like police and fire) are being reduced. And that makes the park closures that much more complex.

What can you do? Let people know about the park closures. Use the parks. If you don't live in California, use the parks in your area. Go camping, visit a historical site.

Because you never know, your own parks might be at risk.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hello! It's been a while...

I find it hard to believe that my last blog post was in February. Work intruded and any kind of writing, even the fun stuff, felt So no blogging, and really, not much of anything else, except work. And that makes for a very boring blog.

However, the "all work and no play" aspect of my life is changing. I hired a technical writer at work, which will relieve me of a lot of the work I've been doing and given me time to focus on other aspects of my job. And after my husband and several friends threatened interventions, I will put boundaries around my work. I have to, to preserve my marriage, my friendships, and my health (multiple migraines a week are not fun).

So twice a week, I need to leave work early to come home and fix dinner. It will be, by necessity, simple: grilled fish and vegetables and a nice salad. Every other Thursday I leave a little early to teach a knitting class. And I will not work weekends unless it's critical.

One thing that I realized is that it's absolutely critical to have a creative outlet in my life. Yes, knitting is creative, but when you think about it, it's still kind of a left brain activity (can you say "math"?). Even with my knitting, I could feel that I was getting stuck--paralyzed by color, afraid to try new things. The knitting was just too familiar. So when I read on the Squam blog that Alena Hennessy was teaching an online art workshop, I ignored the fear and plunged in. I haven't done any painting or drawing since I was in elementary school (and that was a very long time ago!). I bought the art supplied (india inks come in such pretty colors!) and anxiously waiting for the class to start. Once the class started, I was surprised to find that I like what I was creating. And the process of creating was liberating. I was wholly engaged in making art--time stopped, my concentration was focused, and everything just flowed. The workshop didn't focus only on creating art; Alena included breathing exercises, photography, and self-care (long hot baths, tea, flower essences). The students shared their work and writings on a private Facebook group and the support from the group was amazing. Some of the art created was stunning. I enjoyed the class so much that I signed up for the next Squam online art workshop Pages and Paint. That workshop is focused more on mixed media (Alena's class was sort of mixed media) and looks like it will be fun!

Knitting News
Despite the 60-hour weeks, I did manage to get some knitting in. I started a knit-along with my 11-year old niece in April. We're knitting Clapotis, and are using the same yarn base (different colors). It will be interesting to see how our Clapotis differ.

I'm still plodding along on the Elizabeth R shawl from the Shakespeare in Lace shawl club. I think I might have enough yarn for a 6th repeat (I'm on repeat 5 now, so am almost done).

I knit two Baby Surprise Jackets for co-workers. Amazingly, even though the babies were almost four months old by the time they got their jackets, the jackets fit! I wasn't sure, since I don't have any babies laying around the house to see if the fit was good. And two more coworkers are expecting babies to come into their families, so I get to knit two more BSJs. The BSJ is a fun knit.

So before it gets too late, I'm going to post this and start knitting Elizabeth R. In my next post, I'll blog about Spring Squam...there was Shetland lace, vintage patterns, wild garter stitch, bears, loons, owls, and more. It was awesome!

Happy knitting!