Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Grammar Lessons

So, this morning as I was slowly waking up and making myself cogent enough to go to work...I had a thought...a thought about grammar and sentence construction and how something as simple as a conjunction and a little bit of punctuation can completely change the meaning of...well...everything.

Back in grad school we called this rhetorical grammar.  I thought it was an amazingly powerful thing and taught it to all of my freshmen too...because we really should think about the power of our words and how we construct them and what meanings they convey to others.

So, the profound thought went like this:

The old me felt that "I am special because someone loves me."
The new me feels that "I am special; therefore, someone loves me."

Because.  Therefore.  Two simple words, to seemingly simple sentences, but oh, the differences that they make in not only the meaning but how I feel about my life and relationships.

So, let's discuss because first.  Because is an important word. It conveys a causal relationship, usually the latter bringing about the former.  Not: "I am special"...but I am special because something happens to make me special.  In my former way of thinking I could only be special because someone loved me.  The syntax of that simple sentence (and I'm using that in the literal, grammatical way: simple versus compound) conveys that one can't exist without the other.  The word because in this example is a subordinating conjunction that introduces the clause "someone loves me."  The subordinating function of the word creates an idea that the main sentence can't exist without the clause. While we may be tempted to think of the "because someone loves me" part of the original sentence to be less important (or subordinate) to the meaning, it actually is more important to the meaning of the sentence because it defines exactly how I become special--only in the presence of someone who loves me.

Now, let's move on to therefore.  Therefore is one of my favorite conjunctions.  Again, it conveys motion, causal relationships, but it is different because it is a coordinating conjunction.  Its function in a sentence (the way I've used it, Therefore has multiple meanings and grammatical abilities) is to coordinate.  To make evident that both pieces of the sentence have equal importance.  In this case I'm making a compound sentence but the use of the semi-colon creates a balance, but it also creates a connection.  I could have written.  "I am special.  Therefore, someone loves me." but that would have had a different implication.  The "I am special" part is solitary--standing along.  It means something all by itself because it's contained within its neat grammatical package.  Put that semi-colon in there, though, and the two sentences become merged into one.  Their meaning becomes blended.  They must exist together as a single idea...being special and being loved become harmonious pieces to a whole thought and way of thinking.


I hope I didn't boggle your mind with my grammar lesson.  It's been very important for me to think through this.  To put into words and the rhetoric of my former and current lives.  To make sense of, though language, something that has been gnawing at my brain for a long time--this past year...this summer in particular.

When I was married I existed through my husband.  He was the defining person of my life and the way I thought and thought about myself.  If he believed something should happen, then I made sure that it happened.  It didn't matter if I liked it or wanted it...it happened because the central driving force of our relationship determined it should be that way.

I was special, until I wasn't.  And that was a hard lesson to work though.  How could I become special ever again? How could I become defined as someone worthy when the one person who defined my specialness no longer thought I was special?  How did I learn to exist beyond what I had been?  How did I become special?


This lesson has been a hard one to learn.  To understand that I'm special because I am.  And in realizing my worth and power I can open myself up to truly being loved and appreciated.  As hard as it has been to learn, and as hard as it is some days to remember, it is the driving force of my life right now.  It's the reason I could date again.  It's the reason I could pick myself up and redefine who I am and what I do.  It's the reason, plain and simple, that I am happy.

I'm special.

Simple sentence.  Powerful discovery.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Settling in

Things really went wonky in my world after I got back from my big trip (the one to Europe...remember?). I  decided to start dating and darn if that didn't take off in a way I'd never expected.

I'm not complaining...not at all...I'm incredibly happy...I just figured there would be lots of practice along the way before I decided to stick with one person and figure the rest out.

It's good.  And I think we're settling into a routine and pattern of things.  Which I like because I've really missed knitting.

And I haven't been knitting because I've been unsettled.  (again not bad, just not settled).  I've felt antsy and when I do have time I haven't had the focus or ability to "settle" on one project...

...as a result I've started about 15 projects in the past 2 months, finished none, and made precious little progress on those that I did start.  I've run out of knitting needles, tips and cords, and have decided that I'm not buying more because I've let things get out of hand...

So I decided today after I woke up (slept late, it was wonderful) that I was going to finish some things.

First up on the finishing agenda is the Knit Night Shawl I started last week, or the week before, or whenever that was. It's so lovely and the yarn is so pretty (beautifully dyed...just gorgeous)...and there's promise of some nip in the air and it would be wonderful to wear a new shawl to work in a week or so.

Can you believe it's almost September already?  September, for me, is going to be dedicated to settling in.

My picture today is of a lovely sunset a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't one of the brilliant ones where the sky turns neon and the clouds burst with glory. It was just a gentle turning of color, ombre if you will.  The magpies and I settled in to view it and it was wondrous.  Tonight promises to be the same.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Saturday, one year ago

Well, one year ago Saturday I will have worked at Jimmy Beans for one whole year.  In that time I've learned to pull yarn, find yarn, pack yarn, ship yarn, count yarn, talk to customers on the phone, email customers, receive yarn, input yarn into the system, put really cool attributes into our database, conduct different kinds of audits, work with an amazing group of people.

I've met new people, been amazed by customers, felt so welcomed and part of this wonderful family that is Jimmy Beans.

I have found the space and time to look deep into myself and learn who I am and what I want from life.

I've made some wonderful friends.

I've gained some serious levels of confidence.

I'm happy in a way I've never been happy before.

When I look at that scared me that started at Jimmy Beans Saturday one year ago...I see a woman who was afraid of men, afraid to talk to someone, afraid to do much of anything but not having much choice.  A woman who dug in deep and said to herself that she mattered enough to do the hard stuff and get right.  A woman who learned that hardest of lessons (at least for me!) that you can't give of yourself until you truly love yourself and once you truly love yourself, the gifts are endless...and the gifts come back in multiples.


And something I've done a lot of this past year is start projects.  The latest on my needles is a shawl from Curls using our microbrew called Knit Night (by Sweet Fiber and it's amazing!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

So much...

There is so much in my life right now...so much happiness and gladness and contentment.  So much wonder and satisfaction.  So much pride and confidence.  Just so much.

And traveling to a new city with my new "getting out there friend" (we'll go ahead and call him Bill)...well that, too, was so much fun!

We drove to San Francisco on Saturday after I got off work, stopping for a few hands of Apples to Apples with Bill's friends and then drove into SF that night.

The next day we went to the Exploratorium where we built a cool Rue Goldberg marble track:

And then ate at Bubba Gump:

And then we met Ellen!

And let me just pause here and say that this was so cool.  Ellen and I have been following each other's blogs for years.  We know so much about each other and have never met...so it was was SO COOL to meet up with someone who I knew but didn't know.  It was like really old-time friends getting together.  Instant fun and conversation...and yeah, we had a few drinks too and bought some chocolate.

And she and Bill even had lots to talk about seeing that they work in the same industry.  Awesome day.

On Monday we slept late...heavenly...and then went to Golden Gate Park where I got us totally lost but we finally found the Botanical Gardens and saw some really cool plants:

And finally...the whole main reason I wanted to go to SF...to see the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory.  How amazing!


So, dear friends...my life is so much right now.  So much of so many wonderful and amazing things that it leaves me in wonder and deeply satisfied.  

Life is very very good.

Monday, August 24, 2015

It's been almost a year and this place is home

I moved into my apartment on August 25th last year.  Arriving in Reno at the tail end of the day on the after what felt like hell driving from Las Vegas...it isn't that long of a drive but it felt like it took the life out of me.

Anyway, I got here on the 25th last year, moved my few possessions into the apartment, did a little shopping for the necessities and crashed on my air mattress.

Then the next day I got all my boxes that had been shipped to JBW and after rolling them up the stairs by myself began the arduous task of unpacking and settling in by myself.

I spent so much time by myself this past year.  I went to work and I came home and I knitted and I wove and I watched TV and I played with the cats and I learned a good deal about who I am and what I like and got the confidence that had been sucked out of me from years in a bad relationship.

I learned that I can and do expect certain things from people...and myself of course.

I learned that I can be very happy by myself.

I learned that I can cook decent food.

I learned that I can drive in big cities without getting nervous.

I learned that I can face my fears and gobble them up and find something on the other side that looks like gorgeousness and happiness and wondrousness.

I learned, and this is a biggie, that I can love again.  That I can make myself vulnerable and precious to another person and trust that they won't hurt me.

And...I've learned that Reno is home.  We went to San Francisco this weekend (pics tomorrow, I promise) and had the best time.  But driving into the outskirts of the city, I knew I was home and it felt good...it only took me a year.

OK...one quick photo of the trip.  The Golden Gate Bridge while driving over it.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Devil is in the details--and thoughts on being happy

I saw the cover photo for the Interweave Crochet Scene and knew that I had to make that sweater.  It's gorgeous.  Lovely...and just the right amount of challenge to be something other than the garter stitch that I've been knitting.

Plus crochet is so much faster than knitting so I knew I'd have this beauty finished in no time flat, relatively speaking.

I picked out my yarn--new color from Shibui called Tango.  Such a rich red and perfect in every way.  Bought it and brought it home.  No second thoughts.

Erika came over that night for "knit night" and I even swatched. Much to my dismay I messed up, but once I realize I'd messed up I was at a point that I knew the pattern and felt confident that my gauge was going to be ok...couldn't measure it because I'd messed up.  It was complicated, so just trust me on this one.  The drape of the fabric was nice...besides I was impatient to get going.

So I ripped out the swatch and started the little shoulder pieces and crocheted it.  Then I started the second shoulder piece, joined the two together and made the front bit.  I was a tad concerned that it was as short as it was but I figured that the lace would block out a bit so I would be ok.

Then as I got to the next bit of instructions I realized that I didn't know which was the right side or the wrong side of the fabric.  This was rather important as I needed to start on the "right shoulder" to start the back bits...but I didn't know which shoulder was the "right" one.

So I brought it in to work and showed it to Erika and she said, "this one's the right side because it's prettier"...no better options available, I marked it and went to work. (work, work, not crochet)

About 30 minutes into work I realized something horrible.

I'd picked out and crocheted with the entirely wrong yarn.  Right color, wrong yarn.  I couldn't believe my mistake so I checked the pattern, then I checked inventory...I'd mis-pulled the yarn.  And I'd even started crocheting with it...spent a lot of time with it actually and never even once realized my mistake.

That is until I was in some Zen moment entering invoices and realized what had happened.

I was heart broken.  What to do???

Initially I decided that since I like the fabric I'd continue with the wrong yarn, but after thinking on it over night I realized that was a terrible error and brought back the wrong yarn, made the appropriate exchange and brought home the right yarn...and today I started crocheting with it.

Man, what a difference the right yarn makes.  I was seriously thinking that that original yarn was awfully futzy.  Now I know...it was and for a reason.

Here's my mistake.  I'm almost to this point with the right yarn.  Pics later...

At therapy last week I mentioned that I haven't been writing on the blog much and that I think that's pretty telling.  I'm still ridiculously happy with my new man...I'm still ridiculously happy with my job and with life.  It feels like everything is just going along so wonderfully.

And I'm incredibly busy and have had hardly any time to stop and really think about things.  So writing for the blog hasn't been something I've been doing.

I could see it going something like this:

Monday--very happy
Tuesday--still crazy happy
Wednesday--loving life
Thursday--Fun time planned for the weekend

you get the drift.  It's amazing.  I honestly feel like I came through the fire.

Which is pretty interesting considering I wrote this in February:

In the beginning there was me

Me. Alone. Lonely. Shattered.
Humiliated. Unbelieving.



The passion burned so hot.  It scorched the outer layer that had protected me for so many years and left me naked and exposed.

It burned the falseness away and exposed you for what you are. A hateful cruel man who could only be satisfied with ownership, mastery, control.

The outer layer fertilized and germinated the kernel that is me...the heat broke open the shell.  The light allowed me to shine forth.

The residual heat kept me warm and glowing and allowed my roots to dig deep, hold tight, open up, stretch out.  My leaves reached to the sky and my soul was lifted.

My faith made me strong, kept me going, let me become the me that is here for you.

You. Who sees my soul and are amazed, in wonder, impressed.  The you who nourishes me with your faith. The you who gives me the gift of your love.  The you who notices the me that has come through the fire.

The me that is the beginning.

Me.  Alone.  Together.
Happy. Proud.



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

That place where you go

...when you go somewhere new.

I don't really know how to describe the place that I've gone.

It's so very different than any place I've been before.  It's comfortable and affirming and wonderful.

It's amazing and creative.

It's a place that now that I'm there I never want to leave.

It's a place that has provided a foundation for growth and astounding creativity.

It's a place where patience exists.

It's a place where I'm incredibly happy.  More happy than I knew possible and definitely happier than I've ever been before.

(and you know what's even better???)

I'm here in this amazing place with an amazing person by my side.

A person who has shown me that slowing down is a good thing, and that laughing and playing and being silly are part of life.  A person who has made me feel cherished and special and so very happy to be in the place where I am because I was able to find him.

A person who has taught me what patience really is and what beautiful things can come when that patience is nurtured.

A person who has helped me to understand that being in the moment is a gift. That sometimes all one needs is to be in the moment.

And that, my dear friends, is the place where I've gone.  And where I hope to be for a long time :)