Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Growing up with Harry Potter

The unique experience of growing up alongside a character in a book is something I often take for granted. I mean Harry Potter, of course. Let me explain.

I read the first three books when I was 12. The much-celebrated fourth book came out when I was 13, and I was at the local bookstore the minute it opened on July 8th, 2000. (That date is forever etched in my memory.) I awaited each successive book with a mixture of eagerness and anxiety - eager because I knew the next one would be great, anxious because I was terrified of which characters would die next.

You could say that those books punctuated my teenage years. I grew up alongside Harry. I experienced so many transitions - many, I think, even compared to most people's teenage years. Friendships and relationships came and went, of course. I went from a public junior high to a private boarding school. I experienced the deaths of several people I loved very much. It's interesting that death is such a prominent theme in the Harry Potter books, because in my late teens it became prominent in my life as well. And I can't neglect to mention that through that loss I became a Dharma practitioner. But through everything, the books were there for me.

When the seventh and final installment, the Deathly Hallows, came out in summer of 2007, I was 20 years old. It was a rough summer, as it involved the death of someone I loved and the most painful breakup I hope I'll ever have to experience. (It was like a death, slow and painful, but then I was reborn.) The book encapsulated every emotion I was having at that time - the pain, the loss, the grief, but also the courage, the humor, the affirmation of life that comes when you've endured so much and realized you were stronger than you ever knew. I took all that to heart.

Now, more than ten years after the first book came into my hands, all that is still with me. Those formative years are so important. What those books gave me will be with me the rest of my life - I have no doubt about that.

My fiance and I both bemoan the fact that our children won't experience the Harry Potter books as we did. It can't be helped. We belong to that lucky bunch of now-20-somethings who grew up with Harry. I can't speak for all of us, but I know that those books have influenced my life and my self more than I can ever know.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Featured on Soul Reader blog!

I'm very excited to be featured as a Scorpio craft artist on the Soul Reader blog - have a look!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Art Doll 1

And it's Friday again. A lot of my work this week has been devoted to a couple of new patchwork cat blankets to replace the one that sold last week (only one week after I posted it - that's the fastest I've ever sold anything!), as well as the design and creation of this amigurumi art doll. I've been experimenting with knitted and crocheted doll designs lately, and on Tuesday I finally drafted one I'm pretty satisfied with. She's leaning more towards simple amigurumi than art at the moment, but I'm working on a knitted skirt and I want to add some more to make her a real mixed-media piece. I'm calling her the Green Lady, and I hope to make some more like her to sell in the near future.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Monday is crash day for me. This is the day I usually recuperate after the weekend's work at the group home and indulge in my current knitting projects. I usually really enjoy Mondays. Today, however, I am still so completely wiped out that I don't feel like doing much of anything, except maybe writing about yesterday's highlights.

Yesterday I wound up drinking five cups of coffee over the course of the day, even though my usual workday limit is three. My excuse is that most of it was fairly weak coffee and one cup was decaf (I think). It did give me enough energy to do all the necessary housework, but I don't think I got to sleep until one or two hours after I got home at midnight.

The guys spent most of the afternoon watching two of their favorite shows, which they fondly refer to as "the witch" (Bewitched) and "Andy" (The Andy Griffith Show). The best part is the way one of them responds to every joke as if it's the funniest thing he's ever heard in his life. He just howls with laughter, and when you hear him, there's no way you can keep from laughing with him, even if you're in the middle of scrubbing the toilet.

Sunday afternoon found me donning disposable rubber gloves and wrestling with a Saran-wrapped piece of smelly cow flesh in order to make Hamburger Helper for my clients' dinner. (I don't know if normal people wear rubber gloves to handle raw meat, but I do. I don't eat meat and I don't want to touch it either. Call me wimpy if you like.) I was actually feeling quite proud of myself, since I had successfully learned to cook ground beef the weekend before without A) making myself sick or B) making any of my clients sick from eating it. In the end I felt the disgust on my part was well worth it, because the guys all asked for second helpings.

Inspired by one of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's recent blog posts, I started trying to design The Perfect Sweater in my head, and made some sketches in between tasks. A future project, I think.

Another four weekends to go, and then I hope I'll have some idea of where my fiance and I will be living once we're married. I'll have to quit my job before the wedding in July. I hope I will never again have to work 16-hour shifts - but I hope I'll get to see my clients again. I'm going to miss them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

BBC News: Buddhist kung fu nuns

This week I've been working fanatically on my chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy - I'm making a quilt), and I don't know where the time has gone. I can't believe it's almost the weekend again - and back to my job. So I'm cutting corners tonight and sharing this article from BBC News, which I found particularly interesting as a woman, Buddhist practitioner, and martial arts student - Buddhist nuns in Nepal are studying kung fu to promote self-confidence as well as concentration. As the article explains, Buddhist nuns have never enjoyed the same degree of respect that monks have, but new opportunities like this give me hope that the future will be better for them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More Fair Isle

I finished not one but TWO Fair Isle hats today - one men's beanie and one tam. I'm very happy with myself. Now, though, I have to devote the next couple of days - at least, tomorrow and some spare moments at work this weekend - to cat blankets, since I'm almost sold out of them.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Two Scarflettes

A quick post before I go to bed: here are two woolen "scarflettes" I finished a couple of weeks ago. I ought to have listed them by now, but I'm still deciding how I feel about these photos of me modeling them. The sun is kind of bright and the background might be too busy; also, I think I look pretty dorky, even without the glasses. Would makeup help? What if I cut out most of my face and focused only on the scarf? I always have this debate with myself when I'm modeling one of my own pieces, since I don't think I photograph particularly well. I do happen to have a glamorous model on hand, but unfortunately, she's a feline and can only model cat blankets and not clothing.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Branching out

Men are often very picky about what colors and patterns they'll wear, which is why I've stuck to solid, neutral colors in my hats so far. However, since colorwork is more interesting, I'm experimenting with the hat you see here - dark green with a band of Fair Isle. It's still on the needles, but I should have it up early next week. Wish I could stay home and finish it tomorrow instead of going to work.