Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Project, not a Resolution

  Sorry. This isn't a "best-of-2015 post"... There wasn't much "best" about the past year. I've been reviewing the things I blogged about last year and it got me thinking. This is me writing for therapy, but you're welcome to visit my life for a bit. Today I'm going to ramble on while reminiscing because I have something that I'm kicking around in my head, and I'm still working out what the right solution will be. I'm not making or sharing New Year's resolutions, because life always throws something in the way of meeting my goals. But, I do have two plans that I'm working to achieve at some point in my life: Get more done, and stop complaining. I had previously made a goal to stop worrying about everything being perfect, and just blog more.

goals, inspiration, achieve, stop complaining

  And what you guys got was... A bit of a disaster, in my opinion. On the advice of a friend, I was supposed to start sharing more about my personal life to help me with my personal "issues", and hopefully help others with the same. I hate sharing my personal life. (Probably in part because there's always something going wrong, so if I'm talking about myself, it seems like I'm always complaining.) The more I wrote about myself, the easier I found it was to spew out my details... But I don't know... In review, it doesn't feel like any of it actually helped.

  Maybe it just seems disastrous to me, because my whole life feels like a disaster sometimes. At the beginning of the year, I was excited about my Scarf of the Month program and adding my work to the World's Biggest Stocking Project. Joining the Stocking project threw off my scarf-making, so that I'm still catching up at the beginning of a new year. The Stocking project also brought me some stress, after it put me in the path of one of the worst people in the world.

crochet, World's Biggest Stocking, blankets

  However, I don't regret my work for the Stocking. Even though Bad Person put a damper on my mood, my work also put me in contact with a ton of wonderful people. I connected with other crocheters and bloggers, talked to some amazing veterans, and watched beginners gain skills with my posts. It was awesome. The only thing I regret about my work for the Stocking was not being able to be there for the reveal of the finished project. That would have made it super-awesome.

  My kids got a few mentions in posts last year, but I was complaining in some of those, too. If you're a perfect parent with perfect kids, then you wouldn't understand. But if you have a life anything like mine, then hopefully you can sympathize when I'm pulling my hair out, asking "Why? Why do they do these things?" I honestly think that at ten and twelve years old (at the time), you should know better than to cut your socks, or wait until the last minute to do your science project, or interrupt every ten minutes while mom is working, or many of the other crazy things that happen in the background but don't get blogged about. I love my kids, but even they earned complaints last year.

nature, sky, clouds

  The blog took some extra-sad turns with three deaths: First, there was my cat Nelly, who was my closest companion. It was unexpected and hit me hard. Still reeling from the pain, I got word of the loss of Wink from A Creative Being. Wink wasn't a personal friend, but I followed her blog and she was a big inspiration to me. (I'm still working on that mandala!) I think I took the news harder than I should have, but how can you ever judge that? I felt how I felt, and it still saddens me. Just when things started looking brighter, the call came that an old friend had committed suicide... And it sent me into a state of shock once again. My patterns and progress suffered through each loss, and the blog took on a darker atmosphere.

cat, Cornelius Peanutbutterus, Nelly

  Riding on the back of Dean-o's death, I was getting married. I tried to keep a stiff upper lip, but the whole situation became so stressful that I almost didn't go through with it. "Friends" that I thought were friends... Well, they aren't anymore. I learned where I can't count on the Other Half, but better to find out before than after, right? I changed my hair and hated it, but got it fixed. And the biggest thing of all: They got me in a dress. And if you liked how I looked in it, then bookmark that page. Don't ever expect to see that again, okay?

  The stress, the distractions, the obliteration of my practically-non-existent bank account because of computer problems... It all put the brakes on my last year's resolution to move forward, expand my business, and be more successful. What accelerated was my rate of complaining about how things were falling apart around me. The advice to open up about myself may have been good for my mental state, but I know there's many of you that were thinking "Omg, shut up already and share a free crochet pattern", right? Believe me, I thought that too. I keep straying farther and farther from my main goals, and it's irritating me to no end. The more irritated I get, I find it harder to reach my goals.

  The fact of the matter is, life sucks sometimes. If I'm going to blog about why I didn't finish Super-Secret Project X, then you're gonna hear about kids/pets/disasters. You're never going to hear me say I didn't finish a project "just because" (wait, there might be one of those later). When I'm not distracted by a life problem, I'm crocheting. And when I'm not being interrupted by life, I actually complete my work.

  The problem is, how do you explain your problems without complaining about them? I guess it's hard not to. I mean, I could sit here and talk about trouble with losing my internet connection (bad router), or my leaking shower (bad drain pipe), a dog that doesn't listen (bad dog), allergies that won't stop, a broken washer, people that waste my time, and WIP's that keep piling up. Talking about it won't fix any of it.

  *So, here's where I'll complain/explain about one thing, then get on with the rest of the subject... Because the situation interrupted and added to this post. I can't even write about not letting things distract me/not complaining anymore without getting interrupted and complaining about it! But, you know... If this happened to you, wouldn't you just want to ask somebody "Why do these things always happen to me"?

  I'm writing this post: The Other Half calls to ask me if I remember some guys that stopped and offered to buy my truck... Sure, I remember them, and how they were told it's not for sale. Months later, they've contacted him again out of the blue. Can they buy his truck, instead? And they'll show up with cash when they come to look at it!? Sure! His truck isn't really for sale, but we've been interested in getting rid of it for a while. It seemed like a great opportunity.

  He's been driving my car so he can have heat in the morning, so I went out in the cold (yes, it's Florida, but a high of 60° is cold to me), I gave up on work and gave the truck a good cleaning (because remember, it's not up for sale, this is a surprise). He spent a lot of energy getting his tools and toolbox out of it, and they showed up just before dark. Now, keep in mind, the truck needs about $400 worth of work, but it's drive-able, in good running condition, new tires, brakes, and a few other parts. It's valued is $1,500. We could get at least $1,000 for it as-is, right? So, after I put off a half-day's work and I'm half frozen, the buyers show up. They start the truck for about a minute, don't even ask to drive it, and shut it off. They say they'll take it... But they don't have the cash on them, can they come back tomorrow? Oh, yeah... And they want to give him $400 for it.

  Ack! More wasted time! So... There's another post I wanted to start when I finished this one: I was on the last row of finishing a hat pattern that I'll be selling soon. It's a two-skein combo project, and I didn't plan my yarn usage well. Halfway through the second-to-last row of the hat, I ran out of yarn. And I wanted to blog about that. I needed to be finished with this post so I could dig out the second skein and start taking pictures, but I stopped what I was doing that day to go clean the truck up. I tossed the hat on the evil pile of WIP's, and I lost the hook down inside the chair. Now I'm thinking "Stop complaining? I might as well stop blogging!"

WIP, work in progress, crochet

  Here's some better goals for me: Become more organized. (Ha ha ha, yeah right! Maybe.) Become more... Assertive? Become more... Less distracted. I can't tell you how many times a day I sit down, saying "Okay, I have to get back to work now", and I have to do something else before my butt hits the chair. Or ten seconds afterwards. I'm too nice. On the outside, I just smiled and told those guys "no sale". On the inside, I wanted to take every bit of sand I scooped out of that truck (the Other Half works with concrete. It's a lot of sand...), then I wanted to pummel those guys into the ground and feed it to 'em. Especially when one of them called me "sweetheart". My vision turned as red as their "sweet" hearts that I was about to rip out...

  Okay, so I need to find a safe medium between outside "nice me" that's smiling and inside "real me" that's thinking about bloody murder, but I have to stop being so nice. It irritated me because I knew those guys' game as soon as they shut the truck off. For those of you new readers that don't know about my past, I worked as a mechanic before I picked up yarn. Don't B.S. me about cars, and don't call me sweetheart. The Other Half's truck might not be in the best condition on the outside, but it contains a limited-edition (awesome!) engine that's not made anymore. That's what they want - not the whole truck. I could go outside and have that motor pulled out in a day, and I can sell it for just as much as the truck is worth... Then part the rest out for at least another $1,000. No way you're getting it for $400, sweetheart.

  The interruption gave me a realization mid-post: Crocheting has made me too soft. Maybe some of it's an improvement to my previous state, but I kinda miss the old me that told everybody to (pardon me) F-off so I could get my work done. The shop I used to work in allowed customers to come to the work area to inspect damaged parts, and they always made their way into my way. I would calmly answer any questions, then ask if they could please move... And stop touching that. Many times, they didn't. A more forceful "excuse me, I need to get back to work", and they'd still have their head in the transmission I was rebuilding. I'd often get a response involving the word "sweetheart". A quick zip of the impact gun as they aren't paying attention used to get the trick done... They'd walk off embarrassed that the air tool made them jump in front of the girl... But that doesn't work in crochet life. As much as I've tried, I can't figure out a good way to scare people away from my crafting. (Well, maybe the softer equivalent is when "Mom can I..." gets interrupted by "FOURTY-FIVE, FOURTY-SIX, FOURTY-SEVEN!") How do I get people (and other distractions) to stop interrupting my work?

  I don't think I can, and that's why I won't even think of making a New Year's resolution. I might complain a bit, but my motto in the end is always "Life Happens". And you can replace "Life" with another four-letter word if you like, because I often do. - It. Just. Happens. And you have to keep rolling with it, or you'll get buried by "it". So that leads me to my MAIN GOAL: Just clean out that corner full of WIP's already! It looks like... "It"!

  Maybe I'm being too metaphorical, but I've come to look at my chair full of works in progress, unfinished objects, and abandoned projects as a representation of my year of disruptions. Or, maybe I'm spot on with that one... I mean, each WIP equals a disruption! No metaphor there, right? There's that Mandala for Wink, which just means too much to me. I have to be in the right place to work on it. No disruptions allowed. That's my go-hide-in-the-bedroom-and-meditate project. Then there's July's Scarf of the Month, which was interrupted by a cat, video troubles, and a house guest. There's the fuzzy blanket project that sometimes sits there just because I don't want to have to clean up more fuzz. Okay, so that's the one that's on me... Literally.

crochet, patterns, vintage, formal gloves, WIP

  And there's the formal gloves I started for a contest, and never finished because The Troll stole the fingers. I finally found them, and restarted work on them, only to get interrupted time and time again. I stuffed it back in it's bag, and just don't have the spirit to pick it back up right now. Also unfinished is the shawlette I was working on for my wedding... But I actually did finish that one... And then hated the way I finished it and ripped it halfway out again, without blogging about my fit of rage. The pile of tangled thread I was left with would have made a great post for me to complain about how... Oh, yeah... Stop that.

crochet, patterns, shawlette, thread crochet, WIP

  There's a cardigan pattern I'll be selling, but that one's on hold, too. I was designing two cardigans, actually; for some young ladies whose family was asking for help. I dropped everything I was working on to start this project! The whole process was going quickly and successfully, until I realized that they had successfully pulled the wool over our eyes. This "family in need" got some help from a charitable source, then went about partying with their new unearned money. With their new free house and their free fancy car, they're now doing better than I am - all without lifting a finger. When I saw the pictures of all the partying, I decided I wasn't interested in helping them out anymore, and I put off the project... To finish other projects. Okay, so that one... That one, I will complain about. I mean, I dropped everything I was doing because they were crying about how their kids didn't have clothes, and winter is coming... And then they get cash money from a church, and go buy alcohol with it. That one, I will complain about.

crochet, patterns, cardigan, WIP

  But, getting back on track, if that's possible through this rambling: As I sit and confess about my pile of WIP's, I have to say at least it is diminishing every week. I have the Scarves of the Month finished for October and November (patterns coming soon!), but December's is still in progress after another redesign. I may abandon July's completely, and consider it a failure. Once I get in the right mindset, the mandala should be finished with one more session. And in between all the bigger projects, I've been finishing up some smaller random side projects. There are free patterns coming! And someday, there will be a chair again.

  And then, there will be an office! I need to downsize my projects and materials first, but changes are coming once I do. My current "office" is just part of my living room, next to a TV, the front door, and halfway between the kitchen and a bathroom. It's prime "get interrupted" space. My computer desk is a rusty file cabinet, so I have to either sit sideways or curl my legs up to fit in front of it. With only two bedrooms, I don't have an option to make an actual office. But what I do have is a weird corner in my living room where the kitchen cabinets start. And it's right next to a window, unlike the dark space I'm in now.

file cabinet, rusty, desk

*An update on that: The night before I published this, I went on a cleaning/rearranging rampage. Not because I wanted to, but because the Ethernet cable that came with my new router was too short, so I had to shuffle my whole living room around to hook it back up. Anyways... The chair is cleaned out! And now some of it is piled on my couch... Only part of the file cabinet is my desk, but now I'm all the way in the darkest corner. At least I have a nice comfy chair to sit in!

  I'm claiming that other corner, and I mean it! The Other Half was supposed to build a new desk for me two years ago, and I'm still at this horribly cold, rusty file cabinet. I'm not waiting anymore. One day soon, he's going to come home to some painting. And another day, he's going to come home to some hammering/drilling/sawing. And when I'm finally finished with my semi-built-in desk/workstation, I'm installing curtain rods around it, so I can at least hang some kind of a partition. There's just one problem... The phone jack over on that side is broken, and I don't know how to fix those. How will I get the internet over there?

  Easy. I'm gonna go get on YouTube, and look up "how to install a phone jack". I bet some kind soul has put up a tutorial for it! I'll fix that myself, and build my desk the way I want it, and paint it something other than BROWN. My whole house is either brown, or beige, or tan; or worse, yellowish any-of-those... Walls, floors, furniture... It's ALL (yellowish) BROWN and it's starting to drive me a little nuts. He can have this dark corner for his TV, and the only person I can blame for me not having an office is ME. The whole project will be great motivation to blog... But not here on the crochet blog... Over on that poor-little-forgotten second blog of mine! It's about crafting, don't ya know?

home decor, brown, gross

  Ha! I just got interrupted again, by another power outage. While it was out, I tried to check out that phone jack, and know what I found? Eww, I just realized, even the phone jacks are brownish-yellow. And dirty, too. I hate my house.

broken phone jack, home repairs

  And I'm here every day, trying to be creative. No wonder I can't get out of this funk I'm in! I need that desk; need those white walls; need to get this pile of evidence of things I don't finish out of my sight! (And by that, I mean finish them.) That's not me complaining, either. That's me saying I get what I need and I do what has to be done. I need to back off from this "softness" that crochet has instilled in me. I'm not waiting around anymore for the promised desk while I play with yarn. I know what I want, and it's not that hard to build. I have the knowledge; I have the tools. I can create it. Now all I need is the muscles and money! (I say that now... Wait for the post on the other blog titled something like "Why Cats Should Go Outside when you Paint".)

Happy Crocheting!
And thanks for putting up with the rambling while I work things out!

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