Friday, December 12, 2014

Knitters Know

Knitters know. We knitters know a hand knit item when we see one. That is just part of the trade. I see tons of hats at winter time, and I always can pick out a handmade one. Us knitters call it “spotting a handknit in the wild”. And a handmade hat can tell me a lot about the wearer of the hat. For example, I saw this guy at the bar one night. From the front, he was a big burly guy, with an out of control beard, he was doing shots, and may have been yelling a few obscenities. I was just about to write this guy off, and he turned his head. He was wearing an amazing handmade crochet tam hat. The detail was brilliant. Of course, being the shy person I am, I walked over and said “I love your hat.” He quickly replied, “Thanks, my friend made this for me.” Obviously, I already knew this, but this told me so much about burly bearded man. It first told me that he appreciates handmade things. That he sees the value in the time and effort that went into his hat. He knows that he could have bought a hat, but he wears this one because he knows that it is worth more than anything that could be bought from Target. Second of all and the point, I know that somewhere there is a knitter who loves burly bearded man. Someone out there that cares enough about him and thought enough of him to make him this hat. The hat was too awesome to make for someone you don’t care about. And if one of my “people” thought this much of him, I must have missed something in my initial assessment of him. My favorite thing about winter is seeing the pictures that I get of people wearing the things I made them. I love the idea of when these people are out in the cold world, I am keeping them warm and protecting them. These people, wearing things that I made them, are going about their daily lives without a notion. Unbeknownst to them, they come across a knitter or two. And that knitter or two, looks at them and knows that someone somewhere loves this person and finds them worthy of a handknit. That brings us to this morning, when I walked into the kitchen and saw Justin’s black hat. I made him this hat right after we got married 4 years ago. It was the 1st thing that I made, that he wore. I have seen that hat leave many a cold morning, and I always felt a little better because I knew at least his ears were warm. After 4 winters of working, wearing, and washing, it finally met its match, a little bleach spot. Just as I was about to toss this old hat in the trash, I thought about when I made it, how happy I was when he wore it, and how many times he has worn this symbol of love into the world for other knitters to know. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t throw this well-worn hat away, so I held it for a minute, shed a tear, and stuffed into a drawer. Yes, there is another black hat already on the needles...

Friday, April 4, 2014


For some reason, I have been thinking about tattoos a lot recently. Maybe it is because I am contemplating my next one. Maybe it is because Justin is in the middle of the a full back piece. I don’t know. I love tattoos. As I was driving home from lunch, with an article that I had shared on Facebook still fresh in my mind, I begin to define why I liked tattoos so much. I got my first tattoo when I was 22. I got one purple star on my right hip. I thought I looked uneven, so I went back the next month to get a matching star on the other hip. I do want to admit, that my current 27 year old self, would not get matching stars on her hips. But I still love my stars, when I notice them. (After time, tattoos just become a part of who you are, and you kind of forget them.) So no, I wouldn’t get stars today, but I did at 22 and I am okay with that. Here’s why. Whenever I look at my stars, I am instantly reminded of the 22 year old that got them. I got them in January. I had been in Atlanta for only two months. I was clueless. All of sudden, I left a small town in Alabama, and I had thrown myself into the big city. I was at a real job with real adult responsibilities. I was searching for who I could be or what I wanted to be. I knew very few people, and had no friends here. I didn’t know if I could make it, or how not to make it. I was ready for anything, and prepared for nothing. That was the 22 year old girl that got stars on her hips, and I like thinking of her when I look in the mirror. My other tattoos have similar stories. They remind me of a specific time and place in my life. And when I look at them now, I see them as a single portrait of who I was at the time. A portrait that will always stay with me, reminding me who I am and where I have come from. So you see, when I think of my tattoos as a representation of me, how can I be ashamed of them or regret them? I love fielding the question, what are you going to look like when you are 80 years old and you have all these tattoos. Well, I have seen a lot of eighty year olds, and I have never wanted to see any of them naked, tattoos or not! So for the person(s) who will have to see me naked at 80, I will go ahead and apologize to you. Not because I have tattoos, but because I will be old and wrinkly. At least, you can have some fun imagining the stories behind my tattoos.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Three things that I have learned from Running

I never ran in high school or college. Never. Like people were very shocked when I told them I started running. I even have this funny story about me involving the cops and me not running. Me telling them clearly, that I may walk away, but I won’t be running so there is no need for you to stand guard outside my car door. I started running back in 2003. I don’t remember the day exactly, but I know how it went down. I got an emailed regarding the Annual Corporate 5k challenge, and like so many other times in my life. I got excited, and made a snap decision to do it. (This happens quite often to me) Once I make a snap decision, I am committed for better or worse. I have been running off and on since then, (currently, I am on) and it is definitely a love/hate relationship. But it is a relationship that has taught some things over the years. I know everyone has a blog about what running teaches them, but I swear mine are a little different. 1. Effort counts. I am a slow runner. Like I have stopped and walked, and I can make better time walking, type of slow. When I schedule a long run into my weekend, I allow 15 per mile. Now, I am a little faster than that, but shit happens. I used to feel self conscious about how slow I am, but then this thought hit me. “At least, I am out here.” Yes, I am slow. Yes, Justin can run faster than me without a bit of training. But who ran 7 miles yesterday? I did. So what, if it took me forever to do it. I did it. And that effort counts. Real Life Example: I made my mom a birthday cake on Friday. I wanted it to be an old fashioned, southern, from scratch, 7 tiny layer cake. And it went okay, until something went wrong with the boiled frosting and all of it slid off the cake. It was a pitiful looking cake, but my mom loved it. God bless her, she even took some home. She knew the effort that went into that cake, and she was happy. See, effort counts. 2. There are different levels of suckiness. Now, we have already talked about how I am slow runner, but you know what I am getting faster. I am doing the weekly speed workouts. I am putting long runs in, and I think I am getting a little faster. And let me tell you, I feel good about that. I really do. Real life Lesson: Even if you are bad at something, do it anyway. If you are terrible cook, cook anyway. You can’t let what you suck at hold you back. You may never be good at it, but you can suck less. And trust me, that feels pretty damn good. 3. First mile always lies. I hear new runners say, “I started to run, but my legs hurt so I stopped” “I couldn’t breathe, so I stopped” That is the mistake, stopping. My 1st mile always suck, it is like my legs are like, “nope, we aren’t doing this”. And then most of the time, they shut up. Real life lesson: Don’t give up at the beginning; there is a good chance that this is the hardest part. There are more, but these are the ones that I remind myself of while I am hitting the pavement. In case any of you out there are wondering, I have ran 155 miles since January 1st. I am 30 miles ahead of my goal to run 500 miles in 2014.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

It is the end of January, and I never posted a blog about my New Year’s Resolutions.  I was listening to a podcast said that many resolutions are broken by the end of January.  So this is an update on where my resolutions are to date.

No Drink January - I am about 14 and half hours from February 1st.  Not that I am counting by any means.   But I stopped drinking at midnight on NYE, and have been sober since.   It has been an interesting month.  I have learned a few things.  I can go a month without alcohol.  Not having a hangover on Sunday feels awesome.  It is insanely cheaper not to drink. And it is much easier to lose weight when you are not drinking.

Knit New Things - Well, I am knitting socks, and I haven’t made socks in a really long time.  So I am considering this new knitting.  I also have a baby blanket started that I will need to finish.  So far so good on this one.

Stop biting my nails – I realized that I do this when I am bored or at a loss as to what to do with my hands.  I have been in this situation many times this month due to the not drinking.  But my nails are ugly, and I want to get them painted.  So my goal is to work on this is in February.  I don’t think I have broken this resolution, because I haven’t officially started it yet.

Eat more less processed foods - I am making some real progress towards this, and as with spring, summer, and fresh vegetables coming up I expect more of this to continue.

Crochet Hats for the Homeless- Haven’t started this yet, but I haven’t abandon it or forgot about it. Those hats are fast, and I have plenty of time.

Now, for the biggest resolution that I have made.

Run 500 miles in 2014 – I have 54 miles to date.  I am over 10% of the way there.  Of course, training for the half marathon has helped A LOT.  And it will provide a little cushion for me for the rest of the year.  I am excited.

I am not doing so badly, but it looks like I got my work cut out for me in February.

Happy New Year!