Trying to think of a non-dramatic title…

…is that dramatic?

I have been contemplating starting to write again for quite a while now. Tried to come up with a nifty title for a new blog, but everything I thought of was either already taken (as in, really not that creative) or just embarrassingly silly. Then it occurred to me that I had a perfectly good blog that has been part of my life for ~20 years, and “Taoknitter” has become a part of me (not that I can knit the Tao any better than when I chose the name. It keeps me humble.)

So…

So…

I am still alive.

I write that for my own benefit…and holy fuck if I don’t suddenly feel tears making my eyes burn!

Not sure where to start. Just like everyone I know, life over the past 1 1/2+ years has been an unexpected, brain numbing, extremely unsettling experience. And then there is the continuing disaster that is the idiot-who-shall-not-be-named that “led” this country for 4 years. I tell ya, when Covid 19 hit, I was truly undone. I was terrified, immobilized, panic-stricken, overwhelmed, shocked and, at times, hysterical and unsure why I would want to remain on this planet. I did not actively seek to exterminate myself; instead I started drinking way too much, especially when there was no job to go to anymore because of Covid. This caused me to have an accident that required me to call an ambulance…and after being told that no, I was not in danger of dying, I sent the EMTs away and crawled into my bed in embarrassment (after I called my sister E at near midnight first). I woke up the next morning, called E, and announced that THAT was the end of THAT. No more drinking. She sighed in relief, admitting that she had resolved to tell me that herself.

That was well over a year ago now, and it really was the end of that. I can now clearly see that drinking was just a way of hiding from my extreme fear and feelings of hopelessness about not only my life, but my country. Fucking existential crisis of some magnitude (and here let me point out that I KNOW I was/am not the only one). I slept a lot. I read obsessively about quantum physics and the nature of reality. When my brain was roiling from trying to understand the incomprehensible, I compulsively read hard science fiction (mostly of the apocalyptic type) that led me back to more books on quantum physics…yes, I was trying to find a way to understand and control my concepts of the world, the universe, and my reality. Did it work? Dunno. I do know that I talked E’s ear off!

I do not know what I would do without my sister E. She is my rock, my voice of reason, my champion, my confessor, my sounding board, my collaborator, my mirror, my comedy partner, my unpaid therapist, my commiserator, my bullshit monitor, my shoulder to sob & lament upon…and I can only hope I am some of that for her. She deserves a medal for diving head first down all of those rabbit-holes with me.

There were also difficult journeys to be taken with my diva daughters: one that knocked me upside the head, one that found a new path, and one of which was absolutely terrifying and that still continues but seems to be on the upswing at the moment. I learned so much. So very, very fucking much. I am not who I was which is a damn good thing, but I also seem to have found parts of myself that I lost/ gave away/ buried/ annihilated during my marriage. (Yes, dramatic. I am trying to learn to accept the innate drama that is buried in my genetic make-up.)

There has been lots and lots and lots of therapy. And continuous reading. And I will admit to self-pitying navel gazing occasionally. I really never thought much about what my life would be like when I hit 60 years-old. It was never really something I worried much about until I got here, and then I was rather stunned by how shocking and violent its arrival actually was.

So, I find myself in a place I did not expect. I am teaching again. Not in the arts at all. I shall be tutoring 4-5 grade students in math. Full-time at the intermediate school literally around the corner. Such a wonderful, sharp turn in my life. Back in undergrad, when I chose my path in the arts over the one in the sciences, I told myself I could re-visit my passions in the sciences later in life…and here I am.

And I feel more awake than I have perhaps ever been.

Alterations Price List

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The same message post that got me going in the post below has continued and evolved into a discussion of doing alterations on ID dresses, something many of us hate to do. Certainly is not one of my favorite things to do. I send my folks to an alteration shop near here. I sought her out, showed her how the dresses should work, and she took that over for me. The shop is very fancy and rather elegant…the woman there considers alterations to be an art. Quite frankly, she is so good at it that it IS an art. Here is her website.
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So on the IDDressmaking board, Terrie posted this. Had to post it here because I thought it was hysterical…and true!

“One tailor shop that I worked in around twenty years ago had a fun sign that sometimes we all could use. I’m sure that I’m paraphrasing it, but here goes…
Thanks for the morning laugh, Terrie!
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PRICE LIST

Alterations – $30 per hour

You worked on it first? – $50 per hour

You want to watch? – $60 per hour

You worked on it first AND want to watch? – $100 per hour

You want to “explain” to me how I should do it? – You can’t afford me.”

More pictures

Finally I have a couple of pics of the two school dresses I am making now.

This is the new Dudney School of Irish Dance school dress. http://www.dudneyirishdance.com/ The design and dress pattern were developed by Susan Gowin of FeisDress. Susan does the embroidery and I do the rest. We finished the first batch for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Alexandria, VA. Now, on with the rest! (I need to get a picture of the shawl.)


Finally got a picture of the vest I made for my mother a couple of years ago. I used a pattern from Cheryl Oberle’s Folk Vests. Mom picked out the yarn…I really do not remember what we used except that it was angora, silk, rayon and metallic, and it felt wonderful. The weight of it makes it drape beautifully. I love the colors.


And here is a pic of my youngest in her pretty poncho. She picked out the yarn…Patons, I think? It has been in the washer several times…gotta love acrylic sometimes! No pattern, just started on my circulars and kept on until it was long enough. There is a hat somewhere.

This is a jacket that I originally started for Molly. She was probably 12 then. Now that she is 14 1/2 it is no longer hip, so Grandma Dolores has claimed it. Almost done…just need to finish the collar border and weave in the wavers.
So for Molly I have started the Rockstar Cardigan from Alchemy. I will post a pic soon.

 


This is a duster I made for myself (surprised to find this is one of the few things I have ever done for myself) on the knitting machine. Emerald green wool/rayon finished with a black wool crocheted edge. It hangs so nicely. I really like the collar.