26 November 2009


I have a secret. Something I've never told anyone until now. I am ashamed of being lonely.
Turns out that's because I'm not and never was. I'll explain.
I was raised by quiet parents in a quiet place. We were OK with quiet. It was admittedly a boring place to grow up as a kid, it was still in the summer and wild in the winter. It is who I am.

So, why then, when I was in my early twenties, did I suffer from loneliness so gut wrenching that I wanted to die? Not die exactly, but not be alive while it was happening.
I had left home too soon, my Father and I just couldn't get along and I decided to try it alone.
I had initially moved in with a boyfriend (we lived in my school bus for a spell, but that's another story) but I eventually had to strike out again on my own.
I landed in a cottage on Shamrock Ranch in Pacifica, not far from where I grew up on the cliffs in Daly City, CA.
It should have been the ideal country getaway, but alas it leaked inside during the winter and was too close the the road to be peaceful. Plus, I was still young enough to be lured into the city for the nightlife, still trying to mate, still trying to find something that I couldn't find.
So I drove back and forth, to work and the nightlife in SF and home to the coast, to SF and back, to SF and back.
At a certain moment, I can remember the exact place..sitting on the back stairs of the good job that I had as a stock manager at a clothing store in Noe Valley..I broke down. I was overwhelmed with despair. I couldn't get a grip. I felt like the world was caving in around me. I couldn't express myself to anyone (god bless my boss who didn't fire me on the spot.)
And so it went..years of it. If there had been anti-depression meds on the market at that point I would have been a prime candidate for treatment. But to my knowledge there was nothing for it. I tried self-help books, counseling, mantras..nothing could snap me out of it. I was lonely, I thought, and I felt ashamed of how I felt. After all, a gal like me was tough, right? I could handle this.
I wanted a relationship but no one that I met wanted me. I had a good job, but it wasn't a career. I had a cottage but I wasn't comfortable there. My parents and I were close in proximity, but not in family (my mother and I have always been close but the situation with my Dad was miserable.) There was no internet, no email, not even cable TV! If I had been so inclined, I would have been a perfect candidate for pregnancy. I needed to be needed.
Then, I found my loom, which brings me to the present and the reason for this rant.
A series of events led me to a small weaving shop in SF. I had studied weaving briefly at SFSU and knew it was something I wanted to continue. I talked to the owner about an affordable table loom, but she recommended a floor loom (a Baby Wolf Schacht at $500! If you are a weaver you are swooning at the deal as they are now $1500+), recognizing that I wanted the foot peddle/shuttle throwing alpha state that can only be got with a floor loom.A friend helped me cart it home in her Fiat convertible, and that was that.
The whole process of setting up to weave was so deliciously complicated that I finally was comfortable in my skin. I won't say that it snapped me out of my depression-aka-loneliness, but it certainly gave me relief.
When Elizabeth and I set up my loom last weekend, which had sat untended for 20+ years, I had an epiphany. It wasn't that I was lonely all those years, it was that I lacked purpose in my life.
Maybe it's the calm that comes with Buddhism, maybe it's the centering that comes with age, but I was able to see that in my twenties I just didn't have a purpose for being. I wasn't lonely, I needn't be ashamed of what I've carried unspoken all these years, I just needed a plan.
The dance gave me that. Coming back to my loom returned me to the scary place. I still choose a solitary lifestyle but I can sit at home now in a house that I own, a stone's throw from the cottage in Pacifica, and finally feel like I have purpose.
Oh, and here's my new baby.

25 November 2009

this is rich

i.e., you gotta love the California DMV.

I got a renewal notice for my CA Driver's License. I said that if there is no address change, I can save time (!) and renew on-line. Oh goody!
But wait, the address is wrong. The street address and zip code are correct but the city is listed as Linderville. Linderville? I live in South San Francisco, on the Penninsula-south of San Francisco if you will.
I go to the website and find that if I change my address I have to mail in the renewal. Seems reasonable, but do I really need to change my address ... where is Linderville? Is it a charming nickname for South San Francisco that only the DMV knows about?
So I make the call, wait the requisite 10 minutes and eventually get agent 304. I introduce myself and tell her my situation.
Here is what she said:
"Well, you should change the city name, although the post office always goes by the zip code (which is correct.) When is your birthday?"
December 24th, I reply.
"Oh, you would be cutting it close if you renew by mail."
It's only November 24th I say.
"But the DMV is having some delays, and it would be risky to do the whole thing by mail. You could end up with an expired license."
This is risky for someone who travels for a living.
"Let see if we can get you an appointment at a DMV office ... Daly City-no, San Mateo-nope ... the only thing available is IN SAN FRANCISCO ON DECEMBER 24th."
Do I need to spell out how impossible it would be to get to the SF DMV on the day before Xmas? I think not.
It appears that the only option is to take a picnic and my knitting and go to the Daly City DMV and hope for a walk-in. Maybe I should take a sleeping bag as well ...

ps. I just looked up my so-called address in "Linderville" and it doesn't exist. Nor does Linderville CA exist at all. So, I have to go and spend a day at the DMV to correct a city that does not exist so my driver's license won't expire before I can get it renewed. Send wine.

22 November 2009

Happy again

The loom is warped! Thank you Elizabeth, safe travels.

21 November 2009

My first yarn

I am very happy right now.

Setting up to spin

Yes, life is perfect. Here is my new Lendrum (and see Elizabeth's
Louet on the background.)
Also, a basket of home grown cotton bolls from Liz's tree!

19 November 2009

Before ...

At Tuesday Tattoo. I have appointments set up for March 2010 with Jessie, but decided that I couldn't wait that long. So I made an appointment with Sam. She marked my legs for placement.

Jessie checks to see if the lines are identical on both legs.

Sam sets up the stencil.Sam at work.
Note the shark design on the tattoo needle gun!
The finished product. Now I need a pair of heels and a short skirt!

Thanks Sam! Here's to continued work together. Stay tuned folks..

11 November 2009

Little Buddha Studio

Here we are at Little Buddha Studios in San Rafael, CA (sorry no website!)
I was honored to play zils on a recording by my best friend, Jim Murdoch's song Heart and the Feather to be released soon on a new CD.
Not much that one can do by smashing four pieces of metal together, but it seemed to work out OK. Thanks John and Jim for letting me come along and "conducting" me.

Knit in SF-special delivery to IL

20 October 2009

17 October 2009

Problem solved

In Milwaukee last week while driving to Teacher Training Two, Kate and I were discussing what intelligent and confident women talk about...our obsessive thoughts about body image.
I said that if they could cauterize the part of my brain that chases around and around thoughts about my weight, I could be a better person for the world. I would literally have more of me to give, could be more generous.
Kate was talking about the Wii workout module and how she had to give it away because it doesn't have the option of "my period is coming and I'm bloated" for a response when it asks you why you have gained a pound.
Then it hit me-if they (engineers, start your engines!) could find a way to use the energy from our compulsive body image thoughts to burn calories-we'd solve the problem!
Then Kate chimed in that we could eat whatever we wanted because that would cause more obsessive thoughts that would then burn even more calories!
Now I'm not joking here. I am willing to give this idea away to a developer because I know that it could make the world a better place. I usually don't share my awesome ideas, thought some have been lifted from my brain (the Walkman, the GPS, the Netbook...I really did think those up long before they were developed.) But I am going to put this one out there for someone to pick up and make a million. Be my guest.
I will be your first customer.

19 September 2009

Fiber in Finland

We visited a Restoration Project in Pori, Finland. The houses are reconstructed so you can walk around and see what traditional life was like (Tiina, add any corrections here ..)
Could I get happier, finding the textile room!
Loom and spinning wheels (yes, there were several wheels!)
Doesn't this portrait of a sewing machine make you smile?
It's just so lovely.

Raddles ...
Wheels ...
...a wooden swift for winding skeins of yarn
...the loom

...and a washing machine!

13 September 2009

Shimmy on FitTV

Great show! While staying in New York City last week, we found this on the hotel TV. It was a fun workout, well presented. I was kinda amazed that they didn't go the "how to be sexy" route. It was just learn to do the moves and have fun.

Knit in New York

03 September 2009

puja for firemen

Today I was leaving the gym and three firemen were walking by.
I stopped them, as I do every fireperson that I see, to thank them for being there the morning my Father started to die.
He was old, and things were going downhill. It was OK, it was his time. He had the surge of "traveling energy" that I had heard about. When person is ready to go on their final journey, they often just get up and start walking, even if they have previously been unable to take a step.
So, on this morning, the Friday of the closing weekend of Devotion 2008, my Mother called and said, "He fell."
I was out the door and over the hill as fast as I could go. I actually thought of speeding so I would get pulled over, so I could tell the police to send the fire department.
We had called the fire department several times before, when my folks needed help. They always arrived in a flash, offered help, and left leaving courtesy and dignity intact.
This day was no different. When I arrived I saw that I was not going to be able to move Dad. He was OK, but had fallen after trying to take a few steps.
I called the fire department and they arrived in moments. Several men came in, obviously with different assignments; one took a pulse and looked in his eyes with a light, one spoke to my Father to access his breathing, two lifted him to the bed.
He was winded but made sure to thank them. I tried to stay out of the way. Then one of the firemen said, "You can watch. Do you want to know what we are doing?" Yes I did, I wanted to understand what was going on, he filled me in.
On the way out, the same man pulled me aside and said, "Do not hesitate to call us. You are going to need us."
I thanked him and several hours later my Father passed away in my arms with my Mother holding his hand.
It was OK because the firemen had put us at ease. We knew what was happening and that we could call them if we felt we needed them.
So, I have made it my puja to stop every fireperson that I see, no matter where I am, to say "Thank you."

30 August 2009

wok and roll

JFK Airport NYC:
Thank you to the man at Wok and Roll who saw the look of fear on my face when the gal started to use the meat spoon to serve the rice and vegetables I asked for. He said, "Use a clean spoon!'
"Why?" She said.
He looked over his shoulder at me:
"I'm taking the rice from the other side of the pot."
I said, "Thank you for understanding."
Pointing to my bindi, he said "You are Hindu?"
"No, I'm a Buddhist."
"But the bindi?"
"It reminds me of my God."
"OK. What kind of Buddhist are you?"
"I don't know, just a Buddhist."
"OK. Have a spring roll, no meat."
"Thank you, really. Thank you."
"No problem."

09 August 2009

On the way to Highland

it just sorta happened ...

I made this little hat (thanks Quinn for the revised pattern) and I had to ...
... pull out all my cotton stash and then go the store to buy more. I feel wealthy.

06 August 2009

Hafla! 5 Aug 09

Let the party begin!
The studio fills with guests ...
FrontJunk provides a musical interlude ...
Dancers enjoy refreshments ...
The FCBD students dance ...
The lovely Wendy and Gibson ...
Gibson Pearl performs ...
Wendy Marlatt has just finished her set ...
Leslie and Heather from Buffalo NY ...
The East Bay class ...
A great night was had by all!