Sunday, November 29, 2009

Can a blog entry change the world?

I wonder.

I bet it could. If everyone who felt the same way shared it.

Ok, here's the backstory:

Sitting in the bath tub this weekend, I was flipping through a Canadian Living magazine, and came across an article with the tagline:

Nurture your children's passion and compassion, and they will change our world forever.

My eyes glanced it over, then stopped, and went back to read it again. Hmmm...

Compassion. Change the world. Forever. I like this. I want this.

This article was an excerpt from a book called The World Needs Your Kids by Marc and Craig Kielburger and Shelley Page - siblings, who have very compassionate parents. It's about how their parents realized at one point that, when they stopped at the dollar store to buy gifts for new immigrant families in their neighbourhood, their children would shrink down into their seats in embarrassment. They realized they were raising snobs. After that, they strove to raise their children to understand the world, in all its bumps and imperfections, and to know their ability to make it better. To quote their article:

Your children are watching. If you are compassionate, they will also try to be. If you counsel compassion but are not that way yourself, there is a good chance you'll end up raising a cynic. For better - and sometimes for worse - you are the guiding force.

I worry sometimes. About the world. About how easy it is for people to stand by. Including me. I don't have children, but sometimes, it scares me to think about bringing children into this world. Into a world where 15-year old girls get gangraped while others stand by watching. Into a world where you can be bullied for not having the right phone, the right clothes, or for just trying to stay out of people's way. It's easy for me, not being a parent, to say this, but how come nobody is stopping them? Why do they think it's ok?

I think we could change the world. Don't you? If you could sit down with your children, your friends, your family, open a newspaper and have frank discussions about what is happening around the world, and what you could do to make it better, wouldn't that motivate change?

If you could hold the door open for the next person behind you...

If you could welcome a new neighbour into your neighbourhood...

If you could vocalize your disagreement with unsocial behaviour...

If you could ask your children who they are spending time with, and why they choose to...

If you could give up your next appointment, tv show, or golf game to spend time with your children or people who are lonely...

You could. And so could I.

Buddhism teaches compassion. I am not Buddhist, but I like that. Compassion so complete that you are empty- empty of all that is superfluous. Where all your anger or frustration is transformed into compassion, into an understanding that the person opposite you is engaged in some sort of battle that you have somehow stumbled into. We all are. And we are all entitled to kindness.

It frustrates me greatly to meet people who don't think of larger global issues as their own. I can understand why: it's not here. It's not in front of us every day. But it still matters. It matters more than the phone you one or the clothes you wear. It's just not immediate. And yet, it is.

And it's not just large global issues. It's the issues outside our doors. Bullying. Antisocial behaviour. Being happy to sit by, texting away while people vandalize your neighbourhood. It's not our problem.

But it is.

It's difficult to address anger, pain and struggling, but if we don't, how do we know what comfort is?

The last paragraph of this article (the introduction to their book), it says:

Our hope is that the parents of today can raise a generation of children who can stop dreaming about a better world and begin to live in one.

Ok, so what do I want? I want people to stand up for compassion. I want to remind myself that it's not all about getting ahead in life. It's ok to give an hour or two to someone who needs to talk or a few dollars for gifts for the less fortunate. And that it's important to disagree with behaviour that is hurtful. And, if I have children, I want them to know what compassion is, and why it is important.

John Mayer says,

It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change.

Please, share this blog entry. Discuss it. Argue over it, I don't mind. But we need to talk about this. It's not enough to shake our heads and sayc'est la vie.It doesn't have to be.

Nurture your children's passion and compassion, and they will change our world forever.

Begin discussion now.

As a postscript, I want to share that I was very fired up about writing this yesterday, and when I woke up this morning, it didn't seem so important. I knew that would happen. I forced myself to sit down and write this tonight. And I'm really glad I did, because I know now how easy it was for me to let it go. I'm glad I'm not.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I'm thoughtful. I'm just not organized.

Every year, I try to be organized for the Christmas holidays. I buy little things here and there, make little gifts here and there, and then then squirrel them away for later on so that I don't have to do a bunch of emergency shopping during the holiday season.

This year, I collected up a bunch of things for gifts, as early as August, in fact. I made it to September and said, "Well, all I need to get now is a gift for my dad and for my husband, and to knit the gift for my mom." And so, knowing my staff discount at work would kick in during the month of November, I sat back, looked smug, and relaxed.

And then, this last week of November rolled around, and I realized I actually am not as organized as I thought.

I forgot about the four children that will come to visit me this year, as their family has every year, and how last year, my mom had to dig out some of her "emergency presents" to give them (now that's an organized woman).

I forgot about my friend of over 10 years that was my matron of honour at my wedding (don't worry, I'm pretty sure she doesn't know about this blog), and how she remembers my birthday, and how she always comes to visit at Christmas.

I'm hoping I haven't forgotten anyone else.

I know - I've got lots of time yet. It's just that I hate rushing around at the last minute, digging meaningless things out of bins at the shops just for the sake of having gifts. I find it quite pleasant to know that I've chosen things that people might like. And really - I hate a crowded shopping mall!

I ran down to the gift shop at work today and exercised my holiday staff discount and got a few things for the children. Nice things, actually - stuff they'll probably keep for a long time, like a height chart that doubles as a stuffed toy! Aha!

And then, on the way home, I remembered this skein of Louet Gems Sport I bought a few weeks ago when I went into the city for some yarn.

I intended to mix it with another skein to make some Norwegian-style mittens, but well, mittens, shmittens - that kind of fell by the wayside when I found a few shawl patterns I liked! But I think that this black yarn will make a lovely hooded cowl, like the Reverse Rib Neckwarmer from Sqwish. I think that would do nicely for a gift for my friend, and it should knit up relatively quickly. Besides, it'll give me an excuse to use these pretty little buttons I just got from buttonsgalore!

So that means, all I have to do is finish my current project, knit a sweater for my mom, and then knit the neckwarmer. Hmm, four weeks right? Uh oh...

In other news, I feel like I've gained a few pounds this week. Time to get my butt in gear and get exercising again. It's awful to have a couple of weeks of illness and weariness to knock me off the wagon. Besides, I've just bought a pair of boots that I hope will fit over my rather womanly calves. Yep - time to get to work in lots of ways!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Karate Kid Knitter

I'm sitting here with a bowl of chocolate cake and ice cream with my greedy little doggie next to me. I suspect he's not feeling well, but he seems to think that the chocolate cake will make him feel better. I understand completely what he means.

Hubby made this cake for me yesterday for my birthday, which was earlier last week (during my mysterious illness). It's darn good cake, albeit from a box of cake mix which I purchased and instructed him of its purpose. Hey, if you want good cake, you have to put in some checks and measures to ensure its existence.

Which brings me to the purpose of today's blog entry: sensuality.

Almost a dirty word, ain't it? But it's what makes my world worthwhile. The ability to feel, see, hear, smell and taste.

Behold the example below, of five skeins of yarn. Four of Salvia JL fingering weight merino, one of Bernat Handicrafter (did you ever see such a bright green?).

I look at that and revel in the colours. I need to see those colours, and look at them over and over again. And that Salvia merino is lovely and soft, perfect for a cowl or lacy hood for the wintertime. Or a shawl of riotous fuschia, yellow and brown. I've dreamed so many possibilities for it that I've lost track of the plans, while in the meantime, made new plans for other yarns in my basket.

Sometimes, I'll sit and gaze at my basket, hungrily drinking in the colours, reveling in the sensation of each ball. Lots of yarnies will say that yarn is "yummy," and while none of us has actually eaten any (I hope not), I'm sure that if we could, we would taste it. Some of us smell the yarn (squeakybuddha, you know who you are), and... ahem... I have to say I'm becoming one of those who smell it, too.

I'd say my motivation to knit, crochet, bead, cook come from my need for sensuality. My ambition to learn to spin is directly related to this need - to feel the yarn being made, the twist that spreads along the length of drafted roving, to watch it form the single ply that will ultimately become a strand of yarn. I yearn to know how it feels when yarn is being spun correctly.

I suspect that part of this is related to a desire to return to my instincts, and to learn to trust them. I could rely on a recipe or a pattern (and goodness knows that I do), but there's something magical that happens when you make decisions about something you are doing based on your gut, and then have those decisions work out for you. Trusting yourself to plant your garden because you can feel that the chill is gone from the breeze. Looking in at the cake in the oven, and just knowing it doesn't look right, to give it five more minutes. Knowing to keep the door closed when the person who is knocking just seems a little too urgent to get in. It's part of the meditation that occurs when you are searching for nirvana - clearing your head of all the distractions that come into it, and just letting your cells and atoms be what they are meant to be.

There''s something kinda Karate Kid about that, isn't there? Gimme a pair of chopsticks and let me catch that fly...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Really Shouldn't Say Such Things

It turns out that that title for my last blog post was a rather ominous one. I spent the two days after writing that post at home, battling a rather strange illness. Thankfully, it passed fairly quickly, but every time I look at that last post, I want to go and find a piece of wood to knock on.

Anyway, back to relative health and to more creative things, I finished my baby blanket, and I'm finally fairly happy with it. The stitches aren't perfect, but then, who's perfect? When I took it off the needles, I was a little worried because it looked a little too much on the long-and-skinny side rather than the nice rectangular shape that I wanted it to be. Darn it.

I looked longingly at the next project I wanted to start. I looked back at the blanket. Meh, the baby won't know, I said. But the parents will know, I said. And they are people I work with. You can't make crappy things for people you work with.

I contemplated picking out the bound-off stitches, but then figured, you know what? I'm gonna bite the bullet and block this thing into shape. It's a cotton blanket, and therefore my fear of blocking is dramatically lessened by this fact, since I knew it wasn't going to felt.

I started off by taking a piece of homemade prairie sage soap that I got at a local shop, and shaved a few flakes into some tepid water. I stirred it around to dissolve the flakes, and then I placed the blanket in. Wash, wash, wash, rinse, rinse, rinse, squeeze... and then, I put it into the dryer. Goodness, I love cotton.

When the blanket was almost dry, I took it out, gave it a few shakes, got out another blanket, moved the coffee table, and pinned my blanket into shape. Doggie was intrigued, but a look from me sent him away. (I did find him there the next morning with one paw on the edge, but he hastily retreated when I entered.)

And there you have it. My Baby Blanket for Two Palaeontologists.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Famous Last Words

Today is a repair day. I've been fixing all the things that I've been putting off for ages. I'm terrible for that, especially when I have a bunch of knitting or crochet projects I want to get my hands on. I couldn't put it off any longer, though. You can only have so many broken things sitting around.

I worked on my shoes first. They're my bargain wonders. I got them at the Salvation Army for $10, and they were almost brand new! The button that held the straps in place had popped off both shoes. I fixed one a few months ago, and lost the other button about a week ago. I ended up gluing velcro onto the straps so I could get them on and off comfortably. Shoes: check.

Next, I re-shanked the buttons on my jacket. This isn't the first time I've had to re-sew these buttons on. I think I've re-done every single button on this thing (there are 12!), and now I've lost one. I ended up taking one button off the pockets and flipped the flap over them so that you can't tell. Jacket: check.

After that, I moved a button on a long black wool coat that has been missing the middle button for a while now. I took the top button (which doesn't have a buttonhole, oddly) and moved it down, then re-sewed the bottom button on, because it looked like it was about to fall off. Coat: check.

Wow, looks like I have bad luck with buttons!

Then, I turned my attention to this cardigan which has been languishing in my closet for about a year. I made it with Amy Swenson's Mr. Greenjeans pattern.

Listen, children. This is one of those examples of why you MUST make a gauge swatch. I did not. And it's miles too big.

I remember just knitting a short little section, and thinking, "Well, it's only one stitch too large. How bad could it be?" Famous last words.

It's bad. I can't figure out one single way to wear it. There you have it - a bunch of hours of work down the tubes.

I've only just restrained myself to fixing this with my sewing machine and a pair of scissors. In short: steeking.

No way, baby. This one's going to Goodwill. Someone with a much larger bust can wear it. Not me.

Moving on: check.

I'm now daydreaming about making a version of Rambling Rose from Interweave Knits Winter 2006. I'm thinking about using the Evilla I bought from Alaska in the centre lace section, and then using a rust orange for the main body.

Problem1: The Evilla is a fingering weight yarn. The pattern calls for DK. Could I make this with such a lightweight yarn? This yarn is typical of the Fair Isle or stranded colourwork of Scandanavia. If they can knit sweaters out of this stuff, surely I could. It would just take me a hell of a long time.

Problem 2: The pattern is written for a 30" or 43" bust circumference. I am neither. That would mean I'd have to work out how to make it my size. Different yarn weight, different gauge, different size. Hmmm...

Problem 3: The pattern is written for the sweater to be made in pieces. I hate making things in pieces. I'd rather change the pattern to knit it from the bottom-up in one piece. Different yarn weight, different gauge, different size, different way of knitting.

Problem 4: I don't even have the pattern yet, and I'd have to find an old copy of the magazine to purchase.

Well... how bad could it be?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Presenting: My First Reverse-Engineered Project

Here it is: The Sears Copycat Cardigan.

For a quick recap, I wanted to make something that looked like this:
And I ended up making this:

I won't pretend that it was easy. In fact, it was a lot of work, and a lot of thinking went into everything I did with it. I've never had a project that required so much ripping out of stitches and re-knitting of sections. First time making pockets, first time knitting a cardigan from the bottom up with cables.

And I love it.

The blocking process was really important in this case. It relaxed the seed stitch sufficiently to give me the extra length I was looking for, as well as to reduce the "bunched up" look of the stitches. Seed stitch is really just a type of ribbing, and tends to pull up on itself. Blocking really helped to settle it down.

I may steam block this a bit further, but for now, I'm happy with the result. Happy, and exhausted. Sure, the buttonholes could be better, the buttons could be lighter, the collar could be longer. But it's finished. I've declared it.

And yeah, I still love it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Living this Knittery Life

I've officially finished my Sears Copycat Cardigan, but have not yet taken any photos of it, because all natural light seems to be extinguished by the time I get around to getting my camera set up. I'm very proud of it, and taking them pictures in anything other than natural light would do it a real injustice, in my humble opinion.

I'm now working on a baby blanket for someone at work, and I'm making quick progress on it. Worsted weight cotton knitting with size 10 needles, in combo of stockinette and garter stitch - a breeze compared to what I have been working on. I need to get it done fairly quickly, and so the lace scarf that has been languishing in my knitting basket must wait. It's killing me. That's what I get for breaking my one-WIP-at-a-time rule. It bothers me when my knitting projects are unfinished.

Working on things like baby blankets often invites speculation on the state of my womb. Surely, I must be pregnant if I'm working on baby things. Sigh. Really, no. I would think that, if I were expecting a child, someone out there would make me something.

This is often a discussion that comes up in the Selfish Knitters Group on Ravelry, this question of motivation for knitting. It's either, "You must have a lot of children, that's why you knit" or "I see you love knitting. I'm sure you'd love to make something for me" or "Why would you spend all the time knitting if you can buy it for $10 at Walmart?"

TECHknitter wrote an excellent essay about the "Work-to-glory ratio" vs the "product-plus-product" ratio recently. It's a fantastic essay, and I encourage everyone to read it. In basic synopsis, sometimes you knit quick, amazing things, and sometimes you get all sorts of joy from the process. Until you make something with your own two hands, it's hard to understand.

I'm still exploring my motivations for knitting. I marvel at the creation of a fabric, and the challenge of fixing problems. It's a part of me, of who I am as a person. And thus, I'm very sensitive to the intrusion of unwanted criticisms of my projects, innocent as they may be. I would go so far as to say that, as cliche as it sounds, these projects are an extension of myself - a great investment of my concentration, my brainwaves, my muscles, my breath.

To a new knitter, here is what I would beg you to remember:

1) To knit, or to create whatever it is you make, gives you power. You can manipulate matter to your will. Believe it or not, this power is a difficult one to wield, as the order you create will often return to chaos. Therefore, don't take your errors too seriously. Accept that you are learning to control your new-found abilities.

2) Sometimes, your projects will disappoint you. It can be hard to take. You make something too big, too small, the yarn doesn't work, you accidentally felt your sweater. But here's the thing: without you, this object would not have existed. If you never had been born, the possibility of this thing existing would be zero. And that is an awesome thought.

3) It's alright to take breaks, and to say no when you just don't want to make something. You might think this just applies to people asking you to make something for them, but this actually applies to your own desires that go awry. You'll invest hours, days, weeks into something that just doesn't inspire you anymore. It's alright to say, "I'm not liking this anymore. I think I'll stop, and maybe I'll finish it one day, or maybe I'll rip it all out and use the yarn for something else."

4) When you receive compliments on your work, say thank you. It's not just etiquette. Believe it or not, people can find it scary to compliment your handiwork, because so often, the creators of this handiwork come back with some self-deprecating remark. Those remarks negate the compliment. And that's not nice.

5) Rejoice in your abilities. You may not have them forever. Love your hands, take care of them. Massage your aching muscles. What you do is not easy. Be thankful that you can do what you do.

You know, I never plan these blog posts. So often, I open the editor, and just start typing. I'm glad this came out today - it's been a good mediation. I hope it helps someone out there. It sure has helped me today.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Like I Needed More...

We made a trip into Calgary yesterday. We hadn't really planned it, since I had to work on Saturday, but the schedule changed, and I ended up only needing to be at work for an hour in the morning. Since I needed another ball of Cascade to finish my Copycat Sears Cardigan, and we needed a few things for the house that we can't find here, we packed up the car (mostly with food and with our doggie's supplies) and hubby, doggie and I drove into the big city.

I must say, it was a WINDY day in Calgary yesterday. I'm really bad for just jumping into the car in a t-shirt and jacket and hoping for the best, but I immediately regretted it when we reached Airdrie, and found I couldn't even open the door to put gas into the car. But, more on that later...

I made a stop at Make One Yarns (I'm actually planning to go in again next week, but a preview is always nice) and picked up one more skein of Cascade 220. And heck, while I was there, I had a little stroll around. I have this little seed of an idea to make a hat, mitts and scarflette set in different tones of red (I love red, I can't help it), and I thought I'd take a quick cruise around to see what was there. I wanted a worsted weight yarn, one that would knit up relatively quickly, but that was just... different.

It was then that I discovered Lamb's Pride Worsted, in wool and mohair (*snicker) in the Cranberries colourway. It is PERFECT. I did my usual, "Don't get too excited, it might not work" routine, where I pick up a skein, turn it around and around in my hands, read the label, and then put it back down again. Then, I make another tour around the shop to look at absolutely anything remotely close to it, then eventually make my way back to fill my arms with stuff.

And lovely stuff it is. The pictures don't really do it justice. They have such a nice mixture of cranberry, red, and almost pink. I have to confess, I've carried a skein of it around the house today, even into the bathroom to admire it. I'm sure there are detractors of it out there, but for the price I paid for that sort of yardage and for such lovely colours, how could I resist?

I did resist, however, making some impulse buys from the sale bin. Don't get me wrong - I love a good bargain, but I'm on a budget, darn it. Doesn't mean that I won't have a look in there when I go back in next week, though.

We also met some friends for dinner, and we had lots of time to kill until then. We walked the doggie at Eau Claire, visited a few parks, and then decided to find a Chapters to settle down with a coffee and some magazines. We hit our old stomping grounds at Signal Hill (we didn't live there, but I worked at the Michaels there for a short time), and I took a quick run into Zellers, because darn it, I was cold!

Now, I will refrain from describing the confusion and frustration that ensued, but I will just say that a little organization in a store can save a heck of a lot of running around. I eventually did find a sweater that I thought would work, disregarded the price, and rushed to the till to pay for it. And hey, who knew? It was on sale for $12. Sold! I paid, went and stood next to the kiddie rides and candy machines, pulled off the tag, and put it on.

I felt pretty good about it, until I sat down with my coffee later and saw that the jersey-knit stitches on the left sleeve at the shoulder were running. Shoot. No big deal, but highly annoying. As soon as I got it home, I pulled out a tiny crochet needle and fixed it. Aha! Victory! I love it when I win over the throw-away culture!

Today, I knitted the button band onto one side of my cardigan, and am now pondering how to make the buttonholes... another victory in the making, I hope!

*As for the snicker, the word mohair makes me giggle, but that's a story you'll just have to ask me about!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Second Most Scary Thing About Knitting

I've got my Copycat Sears Cardigan blocking on a towel on the floor of my living room. I knew I had to block it. I mean, it's just what you're supposed to do.

I really didn't want to do it. I'll happily block scarves, hats, shawls, blankets, but sweaters... oh my goodness. It's scary. Think about it: you spend all these hours knitting away, carefully following (or, in this case, reverse-engineering) a pattern, measuring, trying it on... and then, you're supposed to give it a bath??? I think not. All I can imagine is a big pile of wet, squishy wool, slowly turning into a pile of wet sheep.

I've run out of wool for this project (again), but I've only got the button bands and one pocket border left to do, and I figured that it would be a good idea to block it before I put the button band on. I reasoned with myself, talked quietly to myself while I did it. "People do this all the time. You need to do this. The seed stitch will relax if you do this, and you'll get that extra length you need. You wanted that extra length, didn't you?"

Into the water it went (along with some wool wash). Gently dunked it. The wool sucked up all the water in the basin. I added more tepid water, little by little, until it was completely saturated. I gently turned it over in the water, lifted the sleeves, repositioned it without swishing or agitating... breathe... breathe... Then, after a couple of minutes of it soaking, I dunked it into the water again.... more breathing... please don't felt...

I found the neck and did the snake squeeze - hand under hand, squeezing water out without letting any part of sweater dangle. I rested each freshly squeezed part on the sink. Squeezed each sleeve, then down the body.

I got out a big towel and carefully laid the big, soggy lump of wool in the middle of it. I rolled my neck and my shoulders. So far so good. Carefully arranged the soggy wool into something that looked like a sweater. Took the short edge of the towel and started rolling it all into a jelly-roll. Hubby walked by. I waved him away... this is not for the faint-hearted. I knelt onto the jelly-roll to squeeze out more water, reposition, knelt again.

Hubby let my doggie out for his evening commune with the trees. I went into the living room with another towel, my wet jelly-roll and a pin cushion.

And there it lies. My doggie keeps eyeing it, like he'd like to go and rub his whiskers all over it. He knows better. It's mine. Hopefully, it'll dry enough overnight so that I don't have to worry about it. I've already threatened hubby that I will hold him personally responsible if anything happens to it.

Of course, if my doggie decides to sleep on it, I suppose it won't be the end of the world. I can always re-block it.

Besides, who could stay angry at this face?

Oh, as for the MOST Scary Thing About Knitting, well... it's steeking. I can't talk about it, though. It makes me faint and woozy, and it's far too late for that sort of thing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Know What'd Be Cool?

I'm thinking that, now that I've hit my 30s (ok, I've been in my 30s for a decent while), it's natural for me to go through a third-life crisis at least once a week. Where should I be? What should I be doing? What more is there to life? What's it all about, anyway?

I have to say that I have never been especially ambitious in life. I've never needed to be the top of the heap, never yearned for fame. Money, well... who doesn't want that? This lack of ambition, however, is a double-edged sword, as I've never had anything pushing me in a certain direction.

What do I know? Well, I've never been afraid to explore and move around, although, the older I get, the more I think I really ought to settle down. I can't help but think, though, that all this moving around has done me good. It's made me very open-minded about new situations. The only problem is that I yearn for something different all the time.

I also know that I've always liked solving problems, organizing events, writing articles, and meeting people. I've also always liked technology. Pushing buttons - woohoo! That's me. Show me a big red button, and I want to know immediately what it does. And I'm always the one who wants to know how it all works, and when it breaks, I'm the one hollering for it to be fixed. I have very little patience for people who don't need to have everything working all of the time.

So what am I saying? Well, I think it'd be cool if we could just meet people and trade jobs for a day. Like, constant secondment, a little of this and that here and there. I suppose that would mean that long-term projects would need to be put on hold, and I'd never want to leave anyone hanging. I just like change now and then.

Some countries give you the opportunity to take a career break to try something else. Sometimes, these breaks last a couple of years. I'd take that. My only problem is that I'd want a break every few years. I'm sure there would be a limit.

At this point in my life, I think I'd like to try:

* working in a tv studio, maybe behind the scenes in the control room
* test-knitting for a magazine
* bringing a project from sheep to sweater
* running a B&B
* writing for a knitting or crochet website
* a travel writer, but for countryside retreats
* an event planner with a team of people

Of course, one of the main pressures is my family. My parents paid for an education for me. Surely, I should be using it. My parents want me to be secure and safe. How could I go against those kinds of wishes?

I suppose life takes its own turns, and I should just wait and see what happens. The more proactive thing would be for me to find a goal and work towards it, but that, grasshopper, is the problem. My only goals in life are peace, mental stimulation, and a good laugh daily. Believe it or not, it's the last requirement I have the hardest time with. It's really easy to slip into melancholy.

The rub - wanting what I have right now. In Soak Up the Sun, Sheryl Crow said,

It's not getting what you want
It's wanting what you've got.

Which reminds me of something else - I wish I knew how to look as good on a surfboard as she does!

So, struggle on I will, but not without wistful gazes into the past and into the future.