Monday, June 29, 2015

My brain is so full!

Last night my getting out there friend came over for dinner and games.

We played lots of games...dominoes (5 point and chicken foot), Blockus, some card game with words that I can't remember...we talked and showed each other pictures of our travels and family.  We discussed places we should go on a Sunday.

The cats loved him.  Even Zora, who came begging for attention on multiple occasions and only slapped him once and that was provoked...he pushed his luck just a little... (I honestly don't think he "gets it" how special that is! Zora, not immediately hating on somebody...ha!)

Oh, and we watched the beautiful sunset from my's really nice watching the sunset with another person.


And my brain is so full of all of this.  In the interest of chronicling finding the beauty and recovering from a really awful situation and learning to take care of myself...I want to talk about this...this faith in the higher power...this letting go of the need to control.

When I left for my trip I said that I knew this was going to be a journey TO myself.  I would find something while I was there that I didn't know existed about myself.  I found my beauty on that trip.  I found an ability to be comfortable around people and let down my prickly defenses so that others, strangers, could affirm my beauty and interact with me as well.

When I arrived in Zurich and got to my hotel room and was so very very tired, I rested for a bit before going to walk around my neighborhood and to the overlook of the city.  I talked to my HP a bit and told him that I thought I was ready to interact with men on a deeper relationship level, but that I needed to do so safely.  That it was time for me to start looking for those nice guys that were out there...that I'd really appreciate some help in that direction. the airport waiting area the next day the MOST BEAUTIFUL man I'd ever seen sat down across from me and I gawked at him because how could I not.  He made eye contact with me and smiled and I smiled back and thought "Ok..HP...let him sit next to me please"...and guess what.  When I got on the plane he was across the aisle from me.  Helped me with my bags, talked to me some, slept some, flirted some, helped me with my bags some more and then we got to the states and he went on the rest of his journey and I went on the rest of mine.  I didn't even get his name.

And I realized that beautiful Swiss man was put there to ease my mind about all of this.  HP has my back.  HP will provide for me what I need when I need it...just the THING that I need and nothing more.

So, as I get back out there and the first date I have is with a super nice guy who totally respects my boundaries, let me set the pace, is polite, smart, funny and plays a mean game of whatever game we're playing...(oh and he doesn't mind (too much) losing.)'re the bomb!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Um, wow...

I had such a good time last night...there's more tonight.  Getting out there was terrifying, but worth it once I got over the terror of it all.

How wonderful is that.

And the heat broke a little today.  We have cloud cover and it just hasn't gotten quite so hot.  This is a good thing.

And today was the first of my weekend.  How great to not only have a day to clean the apartment but to actually feel like it (I was sick the last two weekends!)

And I'm starting a new shawl today.  With Mer-Mama by Fable Fibers.  Imagine When by Joji Locatelli is the design.  Let's all sigh together.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Lies we tell ourselves

(I promise to return to St. Petersburg in a couple of days...but first there are other things to talk about!)

First, we tell ourselves lies all the time.  We try to convince ourselves that we're happy when we're not or that we like things that we don't.  Often we tell ourselves these lies so that we can fit in or survive or get by.

You know the lie I told myself for years?  That I loved the variety of weather that I experienced in the places I lived.  Tornadoes, hurricanes, rocking thunderstorms.  They brought excitement and variety to life.  You were a survivor and it was cool!  That if I lived someplace like California or Hawaii I'd get bored with the weather.  All that sunshine would surely make one crazy right?

SO WRONG.  Lies, I tell you!

Beautiful weather, sunshiny days, blue blue skies?  They make my soul happy.

Plus, I get to see sunsets like this on top of it?  Man, I'm in heaven!


Other news...I'm about to embark on a big step of recovery. I'm "getting out there" y'all.  I don't want to share too much information about this because I don't know the person well enough to know how they'd feel to know that they might be part of a blog...but I'm getting out there and meeting people and talking to boys...and I'm so excited and nervous and really unbelievably happy.

Monday, June 22, 2015


I caught a nasty bugger of a cold and am just now beginning to think clearly.  My voice is gone, though, and if I try to talk too much I start coughing.  So, it's loads of fun being me right now!

I desperately want to get you guys back to St. Petersburg and all the amazing and wonderful experiences that I had there.  But that'll have to wait for tomorrow...because tonight, dear ones, I'm going to bed early and hoping for a full night's sleep.  Because I look like someone punched me right in the eyes, and that's just ain't pretty!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A year ago today

One year ago today I worked my last day in higher education.  I'd quit a job I was miserable doing to pursue my dream of working in the textile industry.  If you go back and read my posts from June 2014 you'll see that I had no idea what that meant, what exactly I'd be doing, but that I was going to London to have a vacation and then when I got home I'd start figuring things out.

Like so many of life's adventures, I had no idea that the path that opened up to me would open up to me and that I would be able to embrace it and love it and be so amazingly fulfilled doing it.

I've thought of the divorce as so many things.  It was necessary, I see that now.  It was more painful than anything I'd ever experienced.  It was heartbreaking. And honestly, I never saw it coming.

And as I approach the year anniversary of our last days together when we were supposedly celebrating a 25 year life together I can't help but be a bit melancholy...

And yet...

I go to work and I'm more fulfilled than I've ever been before.  I get to work with the nicest people.  I get to help the nicest people buy yarn and make things either for themselves or for someone they care about.

I've even started germinating design ideas in an environment that truly supports that...

And I'm doing all of this in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

The me of one year ago today wouldn't have dared to dream of working at Jimmy Beans Wool.  This me would have been too scared, too stuck.  I would have believed that I couldn't do it because of so many different reasons, so many different excuses...

And yet...

Somehow when my world was ripped in two working at Jimmy Beans Wool was the first targeted thought I had for taking care of myself.

If I ever doubt the presence of a divine spirit guiding my life, I remember that moment when I decided to write that e-mail and I know more than I know anything else that someone out there really wanted me to do this.  To be here.

To learn to love myself and be free and love life.

Monday, June 15, 2015

St. Petersburg was Gilded

And I mean gilded.  Gold leaf (or paint?) EVERYWHERE.  On domes, inside buildings, inside churches.  The more gold the better.

When we went to Catherine's Palace, they told us that the statues on the outside of the palace were gilded.  Today they're painted a golden color (not metallic, though) and the result was not quite right.

Rooms in the palaces were gilded.  Huge urns filled inlaid tables--these urns were made of malachite or amber or jade.  They were amazing.

In Catherine's Palace there was a room made entirely of amber.  Walls, ceiling, art in frames.  It fairly glowed and was so lovely.  The original room was actually "lost" during WWII...the Russians say the Germans took it, I think it was probably destroyed by a bomb (amber doesn't deal well with heat, so if they "hid" it somewhere and it got hot...bye-bye lovely amber room).

The floors were inlaid to match the plastering detail of the ceilings in the Hermitage.  It was amazing to look up, then down, then back up again.

Just a little history about SP.  It was built by Peter the Great because he fell in love with Europe and wanted a capital to impress and compete with those of he filled in a swamp, built canals to keep the river waters under control and then built gorgeous over-the-top buildings all over the city.  It looks very European.  Kind of a mix between Paris and Venice to my eye.  But clean (not like Venice) and colorful (not like Paris).

Peter fell in love with Catherine who was a serving girl and ended up marrying her.  They had a daughter Elizabeth.  Elizabeth was betrothed to Louis XIV, but he rejected her eventually because her mama wasn't blue-blooded and Elizabeth never seemed to get over it.  So, she went over the top and created gilded everything that she could.  She added onto palaces, acquired art, built buildings for the art (Catherine helped her out with that, though she did like quieter calmer looking spaces).  The story goes that Elizabeth never wore a dress twice.  Amazing to think about.


On a personal note, I'm more on a "regular" schedule in that I'm now working Tuesday to Saturday.  It was weird being off yesterday and knowing that most other people were also off...and today, to go to the grocery when no one else was there...kind of cool.

Now, if you have some good suggestions for gluten free sponge cake I'm DYING for some strawberry shortcake.  I bought the strawberries and whipped cream, but NEED the sponge cake.  I may need to make a trip to the GF bakery or to Whole Foods tomorrow...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

St. Petersburg was big

Well...everything in SP seemed big.  Big buildings, big people, big portions of food.  It was the bigness of things that was my first impression.

We rode the train in from Helsinki, which was an interesting experience by itself.  There were 4 hours and a border crossing so we had to get stamped by the Finnish border patrol and then assessed by the Russian border and customs control.  One of the things I "expected" about Russia was to be intimidated by the people with governmental authority.  I don't know if they train it or select it, but intimidation is (in my opinion) the method of controlling the masses.  I found that both on the train and at the airport, once we were past the security controls, it was relaxed, vibrant and alive.

So, riding the train in, we saw the big communist block apartment complexes.  I've been to big cities before, in Europe and America...never have I seen such large square masses of apartment complexes, such large edifices...such sad sad circumstances for passing your life.

The tour company that organized our walk on our final day in SP also does one inside these large apartment complexes. I wish we'd been able to take one of those. I would have found it fascinating...because as I found with everything in SP...once I got past my initial shock of how "different" things were I found how wonderful they are.

We went to palaces (Hermitage, Peterhof, St. Catherines), churches (Peter and Paul's, Church on the Spilled Blood, some Lutheran church who's name I don't remember, and St. Isaac's), restaurants, boat rides, bus rides, and just walked around.  Things are simply big.  The palaces and churches were built, you guess it, to intimidate.  I felt it upon entering these places for the first time.

In fact, when we went out to Peterhof, I'd already seen the Hermitage, Peter and Paul's, Church on the Spilled Blood...and I knew the moment I stepped through the entrance gate to the park WHY the revolution occurred.  People simply no longer could stand such grandeur being flaunted in their faces.  I felt it again in St. Isaac' made sense why religion was not allowed during communism.

And, for someone who has always felt larger than she should be...being in Russia made me feel on the smaller side.  People are grown bigger there. They are taller, larger, and occupy more space.  Unlike other cities in Europe the restaurants aren't tightly packed...there was breathing room, space to sit and talk with your friends.  Still it maintained an atmosphere of coziness.

I loved SP for so many reasons, which I'll go into more in the next posts...but its bigness was something that I didn't expect and don't think I adequately describe.  Just like a photograph can never really capture the size of things, my words can't adequately convey the size of things and that you know as a person walking around (tourist, citizen, government official I presume) that the bigness is intentional.  It's sending a message of just what Russia can do and how it can do it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

St. Petersburg was wow!

I have so much to say about SP.  I want to save it for a time when I'm not so tired...

As I mentioned earlier this week, I came home to 80s and it quickly went up to the 90s.  It's not air conditioned in the warehouse and today I made almost 13000 steps.  In that heat...when not being acclimated to it.

But today is my "Friday" so hopefully tomorrow I can put some words together that will somehow capture the Wow that I felt at every moment in SP.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thoughts on getting healthy (a little break from thoughts on travel...)

As loyal readers know, I've spent a lot of time and energy during this past year focusing on getting healthy, feeling good about myself, finding beauty, and learning to live alone and take care of myself.

I think I've done a pretty good job.

A few things I've come to understand:

  • Getting healthy does not mean never feeling bad or making a bad decision or doing something wrong.  Getting healthy DOES mean that whenever I do feel bad or do something hurtful or make a bad decision, I recognize that behavior and do something to fix it.
  • Getting healthy means feeling angry when appropriate.  This one is still a little hard for me.  Yesterday I had a pretty difficult situation and I was angry.  Instead of expressing it right away I shut down.  I got anxious.  I felt bad.  (see the first bullet...I talked myself through it and ended up today singing and really enjoying myself)
  • Getting healthy means that you see the positive in things.  Not in a forced way but just in general.
  • Getting healthy means that you don't need to hang around people who are not good for you.  There may be situation in which is is impossible to avoid people who are bad for you...but you need to be able to recognize that, interact with them only as much as necessary and move on.
  • Getting healthy means that you have a major positive influence on people around you.  As humans we draw energy from each other.  If it's positive energy, the vibes in the room become happy and good...and overall things "go up"...Negative energy drives itself into an icky spiral.  Stay away from negative people if you want to get healthy.
  • Getting healthy comes with responsibility.  To yourself, to those around you, to your job...but mostly to yourself.  Getting healthy to someone like myself feels selfish sometimes, but it's necessary to be self-focused to be healthy.
  • Getting healthy means that people will pay attention to you...they will find inspiration from you (remember that responsibility I mentioned just above!)...they root for you...
  • Getting healthy means that people really like to be around you.
Most importantly for me, getting healthy has meant that I am completely comfortable in my own skin.  It feels really good to be healthy and to take care of myself.

AND...finally...getting healthy involves learning, and to learn one must take chances.  I'm taking chances...I'm not ready yet to share what they are, but trust me...I'm taking chances and I don't feel the least bit anxious about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Thoughts on Hellsinki

Hellsinki is a lovely city.  We walked around and saw some churches, shopping districts, parks, and lots of water.  Because Hellsinki is made up of several hundred islands, there are bridges and waterways everywhere.

I have to say that the city didn't wow me like the others that we visited though.  It felt kind of "flat" though I don't really mean that.  It just wasn't as "wow" as the others and our local tour guide was "eh"...

That said, I did have a lovely time in Hellsinki but I don't see much need to return.

Though seeing the ice breaker boats was enough to make me realize that I'm not hardy enough to live there :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thoughts on Tallin

Well...I absolutely loved Tallin.  I want to move there, except for the whole "really cold in winter" thing.  But other than that I think I'd love it.  Love the people, the culture, the atmosphere, the city.  It was simply, purely charming.

What did I do in Tallin?  Walked around.  That's it.  I did some shopping, hung out with the tour group, got over jet lag, but mostly just walked around.

And around every corner, up every stair case, inside each alleyway, I was once again reminded of how wonderful European cities can be.  How much fun the people, and how interesting it is to see different ways of living.

Tallin, well Estonia in general, has been under the rule of other countries for most of its existence.  The Russians, then the Finns, then the Russians again.  In 1991 Tallin was finally independent through a series of demonstrations called the Singing Revolution.  Russia pulled out, other countries began to recognize them as independent, and Tallin as a city and the capital began the hard work of reenergizing itself.

Much of the medieval part of the city is still in tact and well preserved.  The alley ways that can only be walked, the areas that are laid out for parks, the steep inclines, the sudden squares.  Churches abound.  Little amber shops and souvenir places around every corner.

And still, in all of that, there's a charm and a pleasantness that make it Estonian.

Being a crafter, knitter in particular, I'm very interested in the folk traditions of the hand-made goods.  I wish I'd had many more days to gain my bearings a little better and explore a bit deeper.

But as it was, I was left with a strong desire to return, to live, to prosper in this tiny country on the Baltic Sea.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Home again

This beautiful sunset welcomed me home last night.  I slept, I woke up, went grocery shopping, and then went to pick up the kitties who are so very happy to be home.

Report is that the kitties did well...though Zora is a bit of a "snob" Sheila says.  Anyway, they did fine, ate and did all their business and got out of their cage when it was their turn.  Pearl was lovey dovey (no surprise there).  I'm very happy to have found the boarding place...They'll be staying again at the end of July when I go on a driving trip to Texas to get my things.

When I left Reno it was chilly--50s raining.  I spent 2 weeks in chilly, sunny weather...and came 80s!  Sunshine!  Gorgeous clouds in the sky.

Work resumes tomorrow and with it, hopefully, a more normal schedule.  I'll have a few more thoughts on my travels.  It truly was an amazing trip and I'm so glad that I took it.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

St. Petersburg

A short review of one of the most amazing cities in the world.  If you've ever thought of going to SP get there, explore, take a guided tour, and meet some Russian people.

It was spectacular.  Not enough room in a single post to show pics, so I'll put them through out the next few days.  Today's pics are the things that made my breath catch.  Also so much mental processing to many lessons learned...

I'm in Austin, TX, now, waiting for the 23rd Thornton Thimblers Quilt Bee to get underway, so I should have regular data access.