when your heart is broken

When your heart is broken, it’s hard to do more than think of similes and metaphors for how you feel.

It’s like a bomb went off in your life.

The ground goes sandy under your feet.

It’s like being crushed by a piano.

Your life is suddenly riddled with termites.

It’s like he gave your his heart, and you cherished it for years; and then you opened it, only to find it was full of maggots all along. 

Everything–colors and sounds–begin to seem like they’re in a dream. Or maybe this is just wishful thinking.

This is why, I think, there are so many poems and songs about heartbreak. The only way to deal with it is through verse.

sweet gifts

It was Nick and my anniversary on Friday (5 years), and we did exactly what we wanted to do. We’ve been in a bit of a rough patch lately, what with the sudden uncertainty of our future brought on by my recent life crisis, so there was a bit of pressure (from my mom and others) to make this into a normative anniversary to show everyone that we’re a-ok. We planned on touring the art galleries open for Old City’s First Friday, then get a fancy schmancy meal at one of the expensive farm-to-table-tapas-type places in that neighborhood.

Instead, a tropical storm rolled in. We ducked into Eulogy, a Belgian beer bar, to nurse a drink (sour beer for me, imperial IPA for him) to wait for the rain to let up. It didn’t. We ran into one gallery highlighting changes in typography and graphic design in area print shops. We looked at the time–our dinner reservation would be ready soon. We looked at each other. And we ran into the rain, bought a bottle of wine, and drove up to our favorite dumpy cheap Indian byob in the one of the ugliest neighborhoods Philly has to offer, the one where you dine by the light of the streetlamp outside. It was a perfect anniversary.

Nick told me he had gotten a gift for me. We weren’t going to exchange gifts, and I pretended to be mad for about seven seconds. I could hardly wait to get home to find out what it was. I’m terrible at surprises, mostly because my brain automatically sees it as a puzzle to be worked out, and as a consequence I typically figure out the surprise long before I actually get it. My surprise bridal shower five years ago was a “surprise” to everyone else only, and everyone wondered how I knew to get so dressed up. I’d even figured out about a month ahead of time–before he knew what he was getting me–that Nick would be giving me the Seinfeld DVD box set for my birthday this year. But here was something that, even as I stared at the coffee table with a blanket draped over my gift, I could not fathom what I would be receiving.

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It was a dulcimer. An instrument I have wanted since 2009. Something I thought might be easy enough for me to learn without being discouraged. Something I could play my favorite music on. Nick was even sweet enough to offer not to play it until I told him I was ready for him to try, because Nick, with his natural musicality, has a way of inadvertently discouraging my pluckings and hawings by sounding great the instant he picks an instrument up.

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It’s old and from Craigslist. It needs strings and a new tailpiece, but I’m excited anyway. I hope to be able to tell you more about my adventures with mountain music soon.

in my time of dyeing

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Once I realized I could take control of my life, I started looking for things that would make me happy and might even generate some income eventually. One of the things I hit upon was dyeing fiber. As you can see from my blog here, I’m an avid knitter and spinner; I think of these pursuits as my valium substitutes. I am also very opinionated about yarn colors (ask my husband how many times he’s heard me exclaim “Ooooh! That’s…incredible!” and “Oh my god. Seriously? Ew.” from behind my computer screen when I’m yarn shopping online). There are some colorways I have been searching for over several years and have yet to find (i.e., a self-striping neon pink/tan–isn’t this color scheme popular enough to warrant an indie-dyer’s take yet?) I also love those hobbies that are part creativity, part chemistry (see: baking, cheese making). So why hadn’t I ever dyed my own yarn?

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Well, I did. Finally. And I love it! I’m nowhere near ready to post a how-to (let alone even think about selling the fruits of my experiments) but I’m loving the process and excited by the possibilities. Hopefully you’ll be seeing much more about this soon! For now, here are a few little tastes.

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I’m Back.

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I stopped blogging. Not because I stopped crafting, but because I stopped dreaming. I got a big-time job making big-time bucks. I thought I had it all figured out–I’d have lots of money and no dreams. I could survive, right?

Wrong. The dreams kept creeping back in. They wouldn’t die. They turned into ghosts and followed me around. They reminded me, This isn’t who you are. This isn’t who you expected to be. Where are you going? They snuck in like static on the radio until they drowned out the pretty fantasy world of things and status, and they nearly drowned me.

But I’m back. My worldview has cleared, and I can see again what is important to me. It’s not filing my life with objects to make up for the unfulfillment I feel by denying my essential self in exchange for a big paycheck. It’s about making things with my hands, and trying my damnedest to do that and only that and still survive. So I’ve got a plan–it’s a loose plan right now, but the goal is to get out of this rat race and take some time to figure shit out. Spend time learning how to take care of myself–how to cook and clean and stay warm and maybe even have fun, the important stuff that we seemed to be increasingly outsourcing–and maybe make some money off of it to save up for our next adventure.

I’m back to tell you about my struggle in “pursuit of a different nature,” and that title has even more meaning to me than it ever did. I suppose I’ll go into it later, but I’m ready to leave this hamster wheel of materiality and egoism and willful divorce from the suffering that is life behind and start anew, away. This is my pursuit of that different nature.

made yarn. made a hat.

Spun this 2-ply yarn on a Kundert 1.3 oz. spindle out of a 2 oz. of Spunky Eclectic Falkland roving in the “Jamming” colorway.  This is my very first handspun! It took a lifetime (okay, a month) of intermittent effort, but in the end, it was so worth it. Sure, it’s a little thick-and-thin. Sure, it’s only 100 yards of a worsted weight yarn. But, hey, it was enough for the most beautiful hat I’ve ever made:

Maybe it’s so beautiful because I know I made the whole thing myself, start to finish. Because I can look at it and see the work my hands did to convert from a delicate raw material into an object to keep me warm. Or maybe because it has a neat crown (I designed it and forgot to take notes, or a picture) and it striped in a fun way (unintentionally). Anyway, I love it.

confused? no, just in awe.

Illusion Knitting

I’ll be back later this week with a more substantive post, I promise!

Knitting: Darkside Cowl

The cold has returned to Brooklyn, and I needed a proper scarf. I hadn’t ever knitted one for myself, so I went ahead with it.

This Darkside Cowl was fun to knit and quick–it took less than a day. It keeps me warm quite sufficiently.

The yarn is one ball of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran in a lovely soft grey flecked with pink, green, blue, black, and white. My mom gave me several skeins for Christmas, with the instruction that I make something for myself with it, which I think is the sweetest thing. Though my mom taught me how to knit, she doesn’t know the first thing about it (a story for another day, I guess), so the fact that she sought out her local yarn shop and picked this yarn out for me is just about the most thoughtful thing ever.

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