Blog Entries, Writing

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

Today is raining… well sprinkling. It has been doing so for the past 24 hours and everything looks drenched and as tired of the rain as I am. Birds are sulking, plants are dripping, water pours from the eaves of my house. Dreary.


Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

But, watching the rain makes me think about all the things that I can create. It rejuvenates my brain as if the rain is washing away all the cobwebs and clouds I carry around inside. I feel like singing.

New ideas pop into my head: Make summer gloves and summer fingerless gloves. Make unique crocheted items and sell the patterns… not just the items. When I say unique, I mean one-of-a-kind pieces. Free form crochet. Interesting color combinations and designs.

I am not a crocheter who can sit and just crank out hat after hat to attempt to sell. I get bored with repetition. So, I making sketches of items in my little black book that I may or may not crochet eventually. The fun for me is in the planning.

Blog Entries, Writing

Design and Creativity

I was curious about where in the brain creativity is created. I looked over several articles dealing with creativity and design and the conclusions were nebulous.

An article in The Guardian from December 28, 2015 stated:

Even in the wilderness that is human thinking, creative ideas seem to be deliberately designed to defy empirical inquiry. There is something elusive, perhaps even mystical, about them – visits from the muse or lightbulbs come to mind.


Where does ‘creativity’ happen in your brain?
Arne Dietrich

A test was developed to measure creativity, like thinking up alternative uses for a common object like a garden hose, for example. Theoretically, the least thought of solution was supposed to be the most creative.

Hmmmm. Really? Does that mean if I figured out a way to use a garden hose as monster truck tire and 18 other people did, too, that I am less creative? Even if I never consulted with those other 18 individuals? Even if I came up with an ingenious solution all on my own?

Einstein (allegedly) said that the measure of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination. And isn’t imagination where creativity starts?

Blog Entries

Domination of Tasks

I am task oriented. What I mean is, I assign myself tasks and then spend the day attempting to complete them. I always have a mental check list in my brain and sometimes, I even transfer that check list to a piece of paper.

Today, for example:

  1. Make coffee and toast. Clean up the midnight snack debris while the water boils and the toast browns.
  2. Get a load of laundry started
  3. Send out a couple of email blasts, check email both business and personal and respond where necessary
  4. Read a couple of chapters in Daisy Goodwin’s Victoria — the novel the PBS Series is based upon.
  5. Start working on my summer crochet projects, which mean crocheting with thread again. My thread order FINALLY came in yesterday, so I am eager to get started on a pair of Bridal Gloves and Steampunk Gears.
  6. Hang laundry up on my little portable clothes dryer as my electric clothes dryer is kaput and my resident dryer repairman doesn’t seem interested in repairing the clothes dryer. It is his dryer, and even though I offered to pay for new parts, he hasn’t even diagnosed the problem, officially, which is likely just the selector switch.
  7. Create a blog entry.
  8. And so forth…

I could have added in, make the bed, brush the teeth, hang up yesterday’s clothes that have been casually thrown across the bedroom chair, eating lunch, ad nauseum, but I will spare you those tiny details.


Photo by STIL on Unsplash

The point to all of this is, my day is a series of tasks and by making a mental (or physical) list, I can get a lot accomplished. I have spent my life making mental lists. I seem to have the most fun when creating a list.

Does that make me organized?

No, emphatically! I am scattered and without focus. The only thing I truly focus on is list-making. Not necessarily list-following.

Such is life.

Blog Entries, crochet, Essay

7 Surprising Crochet Health Benefits

Learning how to crochet can do more than you think for your mental health and happiness.

Arts and crafts are more than just a fun pastime, they’re truly healing and restorative and are actually very therapeutic. In fact, the healing benefits of crocheting (and knitting) are numerous and range from simply calming you down and easing your stress to potentially relieving depression and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Crocheting doesn’t just help you if you’re the one who’s sick – it helps the caregivers around you, your friends and family that help you, love you and support you. It’s also a very good craft to pick up as a hobby for group therapy sessions, as you’re healing together in a group without having the focus completely on you. There are so many benefits of crocheting, so whether you’re stressed out and can’t sleep or are doing your part to help slow down Alzheimer’s, you’ll be doing yourself and your health a favor.

1. Crocheting reduces stress and anxiety

When you’re feeling stressed or anxious in your daily life, take some time for yourself, pick up some yarn and your hook (or your needles), and spend some time being creative. By crocheting and allowing yourself to be creative, you’re taking your mind off of whatever’s been nagging you. By focusing on the repetitive motions of individual stitches and counting rows, your mind is able to be more relaxed and free from anxious ideas and thoughts. 

2. Crocheting helps with insomnia

By focusing on something that’s easy, repetitive and soothing, like crochet projects, you can calm down your mind and body enough to let you fall asleep. So the next time you’re tossing and turning in the middle of the night, don’t get frustrated, just pick up a work in progress! 

3. Crocheting helps ease or relieve depression

When you do something we like, our brains release dopamine, a chemical that affects our emotions and functions like a natural anti-depressant. Scientists now believe that crafts, such as crocheting, can help stimulate that dopamine release to allow us to feel happier and better about ourselves.

4. Crocheting reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Crocheting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%. By engaging in cognitive exercises and stimulating your mind, you can slow down or even prevent memory loss. Whether you plan on challenging your memory by learning a new stitch or technique or simply by reading and working up a pattern, by getting a little crafty, you’ll be helping preserve your memories.

5. Crochet builds your self-esteem.

We all want to feel productive and useful, and by working up a project to give as a gift or sell at a craft fair, we can do just that. Though we don’t craft just for the compliments, a little bit of external validation by someone buying your finished item or your gift recipient wearing that crochet hat you made all winter long can truly give us the self-esteem boosts we need.

6. Crocheting acts as a form of group therapy.

For those who seek therapy benefits in group settings, crocheting can be supremely beneficial. By placing the focus off of the patient and only the crochet project itself, it provides all of the previously mentioned health benefits of crocheting plus a sense of community and togetherness. By working in a craft, those in a group can immediately have some way of relating to the other group members, and it may help function as an ice breaker for more seriously conversations. Even if you aren’t actively seeking therapy, you can benefit from the sense of community that crocheting can bring.

7. Crocheting puts you in control.

Whether you feel helpless as a caregiver watching someone struggle or you’re the one struggling with your own illness or problems, crocheting is a way to put the control back into your own hands – literally. By choosing to craft, you are in full control of everything, from the type of project you’ll be making, the color and type or yarn and even the type of crochet hooks to work with, and that makes a difference in feeling like you have a say again.

 By: Julia Wiatr, Editor, AllFreeCrochet.com

Blog Entries, Essay, Writing

Not Quite a Resolution

Every year, about this time of year, I get this idea that I should do something meaningful. Maybe a lot of people do that. New year, new ideas. I don’t really make resolutions. This is more of a PLAN for the year. More precisely, projects I hope to complete.

CHESAPEAKE BAY CROCHET

Overriding everything is getting my online business, Chesapeake Bay Crochet, really moving along. I actually sell more items on eBay, but I don’t plan to close my Etsy store. Also, I am selling items on this blog, by listing my latest projects.

A Corner of My Desk. A Large Part of My LIfe

This will involve creating patterns to sell as well as finished items. I have spent time researching key words and updating my SEO knowledge to be relevant to today.

KEEPING A DIARY

No, I am not thirteen. What I mean is, I have a little pocket size notebook that I intend to take with me everywhere I go. You can get them at Amazon. They are inexpensive and small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or whatever else you carry on a regular basis. This little notebook will be the place where I write down everything: ideas, grocery lists, interesting things, funny things, sketches, things I am thankful for, reminders. One notebook for everything instead of having several locations for all of my stuff. Don’t you just love organization?

READ THE BIBLE EVERYDAY

This is not a new idea for me. This is a plan I make every year. Even if my Bible reading consists on just one or two verses, I will read a portion of the Bible daily. Yes, I am a religious person and I believe in what I read. The Bible is my source of comfort, intelligence, wisdom, ideas, knowledge and belonging. I do not read it just for the sake of running a race or for a sense of accomplishment. Over the years, I feel as if I have read the entire Bible. It doesn’t go like a novel, where you begin on page one and carry on until completion. Depending on the day, I will carefully choose what to read: a song, a prayer, practical wisdom, history, an individual’s story.

Blog Entries, Essay

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was worried about so many things that I cannot even remember, now. That is, not until I got the email from FutureMe.

FutureMe is an email servcie, where you can send an email to yourself, or anyone else, at some point in the future-a day, a week, a year, longer. I used to think it was a cool idea, but now, it is a reminder of what I did not accomplish.

I didn’t:
*Lose a bunch of weight
*Read the Bible every day
*Pray every day
*Get my finances on a better track
*Exercise regularly

Maybe, I don’t have to accomplish anything at this stage of my life. Maybe, my life is good enough right now. Maybe, some of those goals are unrealistic. Truth is, I am pretty satisfied with the way things are. The major change I would make is lowering my stress level, which is, I am very sad to say, sky high. There is a single person responsible for that. Or rather I should say that the person I stress about is not going to change what he is doing and in reality, I am responsible for my own level of stress.

So why do I worry about him so much? He has no one else to worry about him. Not really. I worry that he will die and I certainly don’t want that. I worry that he will not get better from his sickness that has been going on for nearly 3 months and he refuses to go to a doctor. Why? Because he says that anyone on earth can look at his medical records and there is a “libatard” (the term he stole from someone else for a liberal retard)–likely the janitor at the doctor’s office–that will take that information and use it against him to have him declared a menace to society and they will take away his right to buy a gun or own a knife.

I say, “That is the craziest thing I have heard in my life…”

“Just you wait and see! It will happen,” says he, interrupting.

I respond, “Like it or not, you are not that important in the grand scheme of things. Neither am I. We are both merely drops in the ocean of nearly 8 billion people. No one is going to look at your medical records to see if you went to the doctor to cure nausea.”

“That kind of thinking will get you in trouble with it all goes down. Stick your head in the sand like everyone else.” He walks away to end the discussion.

I went on vacation to see new faces and to talk to new people and to get a fresh presepctive. I took the problem with me. It seems as if all I could talk about was him, my brother. I realized that I cannot hide from stress. So, a new year and a new resolution: REDUCE STRESS

Blog Entries, Road of Change, Writing

Excuses, Excuses

Okay.  So here’s what’s been going on in my life that has rendered me unable to post another chapter of my novel…

First, I sneezed a couple of times uh… caught a summer cold  uh… came down with pneumonia and then spent a couple of days, no weeks, months under the weather…

Okay, here is the real story:  An airplane fell from the sky and crashed through my office window completely destroying my laptop, my tablet, my phone, my empty journals, all my pens, a typewriter and lots of light bulbs.  Oddly enough.  *notices no one is believing that story, either. *

Fine.  You win!

I HAVE WRITER’S BLOCK!  ARE YOU HAPPY, NOW?  ARE YOU HAPPY YOU MADE ME SAY IT?  (Dramatically illustrated by the typewriter with a blank sheet of paper and a notebook with pristine white pages in the photo below

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Photo by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash

It’s just that outside is so beautiful with the bright sunshine, the pretty flowers, the brilliant green grass, the summer breezes.  Who wants to write, expressing the darker innermost thoughts of a couple in the midst of a tragedy in their marriage when the sky is so blue?  Who wants to dwell on such deep negative thoughts and ideas (even though I know how the story ends) when the house finches and chickadees are clustered around the bird feeder, feasting on the seeds I gave them?  How can the world be horrible when the tomatoes are changing from bright green to bright red even as I write?

I will wait for a rain storm or an earthquake in a faraway place or the darkness that come right before the dawn to write another chapter in my novel: The Road of Change.

In the meantime, patience, dear readers.

 

Blog Entries, Writing

My Poor Neglected Blog

I didn’t mean to neglect it.  I never set out to neglect it.  It was not a goal, an aim, an ambition.

ne·glect–verb
1. fail to care for properly.
OK.  Maybe.
fred-ohlander-679351-unsplash
Life came at me with
 the force of a hurricane and what with one thing and another, time slipped away.  Time s

eems to pass much more quickly now than it did even a few short years ago.  Breakneck speed.  Blue lights flashing.

But, what is taking up all my time?  I work, sure.  So does everyone else.  I watch Netflix just like most of the people I know.  I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner.  I work out 3 to 4 times a week.  I do laundry, clean my house… all the mundane stuff everyone else does.  So WHY do I run out of time?  Where does it all go?
 Is it a lack of commitment?  A lack of ambition?  A lack of care?  NO, I shout to myself.
Then what is it?
I wonder…
Blog Entries

A Writer

What does it mean to be a writer?

I have heard that everyone has a best-selling novel inside, just waiting for release from the prison of the brain so it can romp about on a page, happily entertaining anyone who takes the time to read it.  Uh… okay.  Maybe that’s true.

I have heard that everyone has a story.  That is true.  Most people never get their story out the for anyone else to read.  Many people never even tell their story to someone else.  Why?  Maybe fear of revealing something they deem as terrible from the past.  Maybe the answer is far simpler.  They never took the time.

Life is so busy, it is nearly impossible to find time to write.

I MAKE time to write.  Does that make me a writer?  Nah…. I am a writer because I say I am a writer.

It. Is. That. Simple.

jess-watters-485252-unsplash
Photo by Jess Watters on Unsplash

Blog Entries, Mystery Shopping, Writing

My Life

So what have I been doing?

It’s quite simple, really.  I have been working from home and writing and developing my online crochet business.  So let me break it down…

Working from Home

I have a job that I work at a few hours a day.  I am a scheduler with a Mystery Shopping company called A Closer Look.  Plus, I also still do random mystery shops on the side.  Scheduling normally takes 4 – 6 hours a day 6 days a week and consists mostly of emailing, calling and texting existing shoppers and recruiting new shoppers.

Writing

I am still working on my novel that many of you have been reading:  Road of Change.  Do not despair because more is coming soon.

Crochet Business

I have an online craft store on Etsy where I post my crochet creations for sale.  I also post them on eBay although I don’t have an eBay store front… no matter.  I can still post items for sale.

I also post on Facebook’s Trash and Treasure and on Pinterest.

Those tasks take a minimal amount of time compared to actually creating the crocheted items.

Reading and Journaling

Additionally, I still read quite a bit.  Every day.  And I write n my journal.  I make to-do lists and reminders and thoughts and ideas.

Needless to say, I have a pretty full day.  I have found I am busier now than when I was working 40 hours a week at a job I absolutely detested.  Retirement didn’t come quickly enough for me.

Now, working from my office, I have a wonderful view out of a window of a city street, my postage stamp sized back yard that has a bird feeder and bird bath, a chicken coop, rabbits living under my tool shed and a yet-to-be-planted outdoor garden.  I can watch cars, weather, people walking, wildlife, trees and the neighbor grilling his chicken every afternoon when he gets home from work.

I love watching the world go by…

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View out of my office window