Sunday, February 14, 2010

When In Rome...or Greece, if you like

I procrastinated about this post. I've spent the last month thinking about blogging, what it is about, what it does for me, what my blogging might do for others. I have not led a unexamined life. In fact, I'm definitely guilty of over-examining. I don't know when it happened but sometime recently...a few years ago?...I lost my taste for over-examination. For taking stock every damn day of every damn thing. It's exhausting. I have better things to do with my time. I'm evolving into having a simply examined life. Because, let's face it, what is blogging? public. A form of exhibitionism. To paraphrase a much-maligned company's(1) catch phrase, What do you want to exhibit today?

(Why yes, today we have footnotes.)

Shall we put this into perspective? When we were smokers, DH and I would spend HOURS on the front porch talking. Smoking and examining, examining and smoking. And then analyzing ourselves and our motives, out friends and their lives and their motives. Almost daily.

We stopped doing so much of that when we stopped smoking. There was a catalyst, eh? And it didn't even hurt.

I should have made an outline to follow because, after stepping away for an hour to wind off some new yarn, have a cuppa Joe, and listen to DH explain the complexities of creating momentum against a soccer ball from within a minimum amount of space (he needed to think out loud to someone)...well, I sort of lost my place. Which is okay because there's a part two to my disjointed thoughts.

I have this friend. Let's call her Maureen. That's her name. No changing names around here to protect the innocent, and she's anything but innocent, ha ha ha. I asked Maureen why she didn't come read my blog very often. Apparently, I talk about fiber and knitting too much, two things she's not at all interested in. Ok. I hate Facebook, which is where she lives HER life, and probably wonders why I don't visit out there so much.

But this is sort of what led to a little recent self-examination; not about blogging per se but more about how we share our lives and at what point do we fall on our collective swords and follow our friends on Facebook and Twitter and their blog and the lot, as opposed to actually communicating with them on a one on one basis. But the question is more basic than that. Do I want to know the outer sheen of Maureen's life, as exposed and exhibited through Facebook where I can see that she has killed three dragons and is sending me a drink, and is going to go to bed now, or do I want to know what's going on in her heart and mind? (Answer: the latter.) I don't know if if you can really KNOW someone through Facebook. I guess it depends on what a person posts, but I dare you to have a long stream of ideas on Facebook. And don't get me started on Twitter. Life encapsulated in under 144 characters at a time. Now we can all submit our own soundbites to the world. Shit.

Lest my friends who use Facebook are offended or get defensive by my little rant: get over it. I am guilty of a little hypocrisy. "We all have our hobbies." I heard Shelley Binder(2) say that at the Hampton Roads Flute Faire yesterday and thought how wonderful a comeback it is and was determined to use it immediately.

Back to things. So here I sat, spinning quietly and thinking about whether I should expand my writing/ranting topics, or just STFU(3) and carry on. And I'm thinking about this fiber that I'm spinning that my friend Ashley gifted me. I don't know how I lucked into a friend as nice as she is but dang, she'd give you the shirt off her back if she thought you could use it. Anyway, she gave me this Superwash Merino top that she didn't care to work with. I think we have different spinning styles, her and I, so for me this was a nice, nice fiber to work with. I spun three bobbins of singles that I started plying as a sock/fingering weight 3-ply. I just wound off, a few paragraphs ago, the first 258 yards of this beautiful plied yarn.

Merino: wool from Merino sheep, very soft, not exactly cashmere but probably the most affordable of the yummy soft wools on the market.)
Superwash, or SW: a process that somehow changes the quality of the wool in such a way as to allow it to be machine washed. If you have something that is "machine washable wool" it's almost certainly been processed by what we fiber fanatics call "superwash." As a knitter there are minor trade-offs to using SW, as in: it doesn't felt so don't use it for felting projects, and don't expect to be able to join broken ends with spit.

Top: "Top" is the result of a fiber preparation that uses combs, very sharp spiky combs, to separate long yummy fibers from short not-as-yummy fibers from shorn wool. You've heard that "long-stapled cotton" is super soft. Long staples, or fibers, are soft no matter what the fiber. A basket of natural ivory colored wool top looks a little like someone's guts if they were fluffy and ivory-colored. I'm really not kidding.

And no kidding, I'm thinking about all this, including those definitions, as I'm spinning because my mind know...wanders. Not unlike this blog post. It's quiet, I'm NOT listening to the radio, DH is somewhere (doing robotics or across the room working at the computeror in the kitchen), and the only sound is the occasional screech of a YouTube video, the hum of his laptop fan, and the constant quiet swoosh of my spinning wheel. It's unbelievably pleasant.

And finally, after three bobbins of singles, I realized that spinning and knitting is such a big part of who I am right now that it would be insane for me not to talk about it. So is making jewelry and so is writing in this format. So is playing the flute, my very longest running habit. Every few years the primary focus of my obsessions changes but for now: fiber, flutes, silver, writing, pretty much in that order. There it is. For awhile, none of them had any prominence but I finally learned that taking care of myself meant engaging in these activities because they make me happy.

At the end of the day, isn't that what's important? Know thyself.


(1) no, not Toyota. Microsoft. Gosh, do they even still use it?
(2) Shelley Binder, PhD, University of Tennessee, flutist, recitalist,clinician; attended her master class at HRFF.
(3) "shut the fuck up"