Wednesday, February 25, 2015

My New Craft

I got this idea for an article about a month ago. It was learning how to crochet rag rugs. I've been wanting to learn ever since the month after we moved here. We moved here in August of 2012 and in September I attended the local arts and crafts fair. My table was next to this wonderful lady named Anna. We chatted the afternoon away and then I left with one of her amazing rag rugs and a new friend. 

This isn't the one I left with. It's just one of her best that she has at her home.

She and her husband Ed live right across the creek from us. She's quite a character and full of pep even though she's in her late 80's. Ed is 90. They're just the cutest couple. Anna is in a wheel chair and has oxygen but that doesn't really slow her down. She just navigates her sewing room and if she rolls over her oxygen tube she just looks down and says no wonder I was turning blue.

Anna is right out of the pages of the Foxfire books. Those were the books edited by Eliot Wigginton that were all about saving old timey knowledge of the hand crafted life in Kentucky and Tennessee. I have all 4 books. Are there any more? Because if there are I want them! Anyway one day recently when I was motivated to write I just up and called Anna and asked her would she teach me and she said why sure just bring a big crochet needle and 10 yards of fabric and we'll do it.

I had so much fun learning from Anna and, of course, she and Ed told Marty and me many stories about the old days here and in Santa Barbara county where Anna grew up. She's a Gabrileno-Tongva native american. She was raised on a ranch and they had cattle and dairy cows and everything. This is a picture of Anna and me having fun. Don't you love that flower in her hair? She wears it all the time. So adorable!

So now I have 4 practice rugs under my belt and I'm thinking that when I get really good I'm going to engage in some Shameless Commerce and start selling them.

Here's my first try. Isn't it hilarious? Georgia O'Keefe said no one is ever good in the beginning and she sure was right! I use it in my bathroom. It makes a good bath mat.

My second one wasn't much better. I couldn't even get my sister to take it. I don't blame her. Maybe it's the colors. Ugh. But my cat likes it.

By the time I was on to my third try I think I was starting to get it.

Here is the beginning of number 4 and it's really starting to come together. Both sides are straight. Woo hoo! The milkbone dog biscuit effect is phasing out.

So just get ready. One of these days I'm going to start a Shameless Commerce Division and my little ole rugs will be the first inventory. I really like doing them. It's kind of diverting my attention away from my Hat Portraits but not totally so the hats are safe. Right now rugs make a perfect TV craft. I can sit with the Boob Tube yabberin' away in the background and actually be productive. Nothin' wrong with that!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Choosing Heaven or Hell

A Golden Eagle sitting in a blue oak tree at the edge of our lake.

I'm re-posting this from another blogger who calls herself BeeHappee. "Bee" has very interesting insights on life. I really liked this parable she posted on January 22, 2015. 

I like how the parable teaches that we are all intertwined and in the best possible way can support each other. It reminds me of the teaching of the Maharishi years ago when he said, "When two people meet to give each gets 100%. When two people meet to get no one gets anything."

The Parable of the Long Spoons

Rabbi Haim, an itinerant preacher, is granted permission to visit both Heaven and Hell. With an angel for his guide, the Rabbi is first ushered through the gates of Hell, which, he is surprised to find, are made of finely wrought gold. The gates are exquisitely lovely, as is the lush green landscape that lies beyond them. He looks at his angelic guide in disbelief. “It’s all so beautiful,” he says. “The sight of the meadows and mountains, the sounds of the birds singing in the trees, the scent of thousands of flowers.” 

And then the tantalizing aroma of a gourmet meal catches his attention. Entering a large dining hall, he sees row after row of tables laden with platters of sumptuous food yet the people seated around the tables are pale and emaciated, moaning in hunger. Coming closer, he sees that each man is holding a long spoon, but that both his arms are splinted with wooden slats so that he cannot bend either elbow to bring the food to his mouth.

The angel then took the rabbi to Heaven, where he encounters the same beauty he had witnessed in Hell. Entering the dining hall there, he saw the same scene, except in contrast to Hell, the people seated at the tables who had their arms splintered with wooden slates were sitting contentedly, cheerfully talking with each other, as they enjoyed their sumptuous meal.

The rabbi comes closer and is amazed to watch how each person at a table would feed the person sitting across from him. The recipient of this kindness would express gratitude and then return the favor by leaning across the table to feed his benefactor.
The rabbi urged his angel to bring him back to Hell so he could share this solution with the poor souls trapped there. Racing into the dining hall, he shouted to the first starving man he saw, “You do not have to go hungry. Use your spoon to feed your neighbor, and he will surely return the favor and feed you.”

“You expect me to feed the detestable man sitting across the table?"  the man said angrily. "I would rather starve than give him the pleasure of eating!”

It was then that the rabbi understood.

Heaven and Hell offer the same circumstances and conditions. The only difference is in the way that people treat each other.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Traffic Wave - Country Style

Full Hand - Off Steering Wheel
In the city and surrounding suburban areas they have what is known as the "traffic wave". It's a little gesture that means "your turn" or "go ahead". It's like the person who came to the stop sign before you is performing "noblesse oblige" to allow you to move forward before they do. I think the traffic wave evolved because people began to not know what to do when they came to junctures in the road. The understanding that the person on the right side had the right of way got lost and reasonable people didn't know what to do. I say reasonable because there are a lot of unreasonable people out there who do whatever they can get away with and they don't care even if they know the correct procedure. They're the ones who are driving zombie -like and droning "Must get ahead. Must go fast." 

Out here in the country we have a different "traffic wave". It's not a matter of noblesse oblige. It's a matter of friendliness or acknowledgement. You see it when two trucks or pick-ups approach each other as they speed down the road toward each other. At a precise moment not adequately described but somewhat intuitive each driver raises their fingers from the steering wheel and acknowledges the other driver. As in "Hey buddy nice day howya doin'". Pick up drivers, truck drivers, especially drivers hauling stock trailers are seen to do this. 

It's not just an outback California thing. I come from Iowa which is a rural area as everyone knows. We did this traffic wave out there and when I came to suburban Kensington I did this wave. Especially when I was meeting a person coming down a narrow road and they would give way for me. But after a while I quit. No one would ever wave back.  It's most definitely a country thing. I thought "man these people sure are unfriendly". But it wasn't that. It just wasn't the custom.
But out here it's the custom. Now if I am deep in thought and forget to wave I feel bad. I don't want them to think I'm snooty or that I don't like them. Well, I usually don't even know them so it's not a matter of like. It's just a matter of doing what's friendly and customary. And I'm new. I've only been here 3 years. Most of the other people driving have been here for years or maybe even grew up here so they do know the other driver. 

The other thing I notice is that it's definitely a truck thing. Waving to a passenger car is optional. As a matter of fact it's rare that a pick-up driver waves at a passenger car or vice versa. I think it's matter of understanding that truck or pick-up drivers are most assuredly in The Club. It's the rancher or farmer club. It's a special existence that people in passenger cars might not necessarily understand.

Drivers in The Club will sometimes discuss the different personalities as evidenced by how the other person waves. You have the whole hand wave lifted off the steering wheel. (very friendly. You know them.) You have the four fingers lifted up still grasping the wheel. (a little less friendly or you're balancing a cuppa coffee in the other hand and you can't let go.) You have the two fingers and the one lone finger. (Decreasing levels of friendly engagement or higher levels of distraction).  And on the one lone finger I don't mean the middle finger. This is G rated blog after all. And besides only city people (commuters especially) do that. (sorry, but it's the truth).

Marty demonstrates the various waves. (Editor's Note: In the interest of safety we did not perform this demo while driving. It would not have been beneficial to this writer to be standing in front of a speeding F250 in order to capture a wave in real time. We artificially set this up in the driveway. It still accurately depicts "The Wave".)

Full Hand - Resting on Steering Wheel
Four Fingers - Resting on Steering Wheel
One (polite) Finger - Resting on Steering Wheel