Stirling Is Good

Graffiti Is Bad

For the first time since last October, I taught two classes back to back today.  It’s something I used to do with very little thought, but now it’s a huge consideration.

The classes were both amazing – such wonderful, kind and funny knitters, so eager and ready to learn, so thrilled with the tiny tips we all shared among ourselves.

The first was my Combination Class, always a good one.  This was a very smart group, though, so I was able to toss a LOT of stuff at them.

My afternoon class was supposed to be Lorilee’s Continental Knitting Class.  I felt as though I might be letting the women down a bit, not being Lorilee, but by the end of the class I felt secure that I’d given them a good time and they learned a lot.  Good times!

Today were some of the most enjoyable classes I’ve taught, and the location cannot be beat!  Stirling is an amazingly beautiful place.  Before lunch yesterday I rode around the loch, a lovely trip, and then rode around campus.

Bike at the Loch

Today I went for a nice ride into Bridge of Allan, then headed off to the Tesco in Stirling (I passed over the old stone bridge to get there)

Why am I riding?  Partly for sanity – being on a bike keeps me focused and happy.  And partly for pain.  I cannot lie, I’m aching and just sitting on the edge of a mighty flare up.

I’m being sensible, missing some of the fun stuff I’d like to engage in (the Stitch & Bitch talk tonight) and using the energy I have to do some stretching and bike riding to keep the pain levels in check.

Stormy Stirling Sky

I’m certain I’ll be dandy, the beds here are very comfy and every morning I wake up a new person, but right now I’m feeling the fibro in a HUGE way.

There are several women here who also suffer from fibromyalgia – we’ve been comparing notes on what works for us, it makes me feel less alone.  I wonder if we’ll have a chance to just sit and chat during the next few days!

While on my bike today I took some great photos, the decision to rent this was wonderful, I’m SO glad I have it!

Haggisdog - Ask For It By Name!

Photos Of Stirling So Far

Exactly What I Need To Hear (er, read) Today

Galic Caution

Financially things have been pretty stressful, but that’s true for SO many folks that it’s not even worth mentioning.  And in the thick of the worst we’ve been able to do things like our family trip to Ireland on the very cheap (house share and frequent flier miles) as an investment in memories for the future.

My lack of stamina, my unexpected flare ups, the pain visits have so sapped my confidence that I have been feeling rather low about my ability to do – anything.  Or at least do anything well enough to support the family.

So my horoscope today is right on target.  I can’t expect anyone else to believe in me if I don’t believe in myself.

Looking for – and seeing – my own strengths is an exercise I need to engage in more effectively.

Thank you once again, Rick Levine!

Sunday, August 8, 2010 By Rick Levine

Yesterday | Today | Tomorrow

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

If you are facing a stressful financial situation now, it’s time to make a serious decision about how best to spend or save your money. But this goes deeper than being a simple cash flow problem because the underlying issue is probably about your self-esteem. When you realize what you have to offer, your earning power could grow, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re worth any less than you actually are.

Change Trains?

So I’m finally here in Stirling, in my lovely room looking out onto greenery and trees, watching Antiques Road Show and recovering from 28 full hours of travel.  I felt a bit like Steve Martin/John Candy by the time my experience had ended yesterday.

It’s past noon and I should be out and about, but I really need the time to just sit (not moving) and veg a bit.

One highlight of my train trip yesterday was drinking cider and eating prawn chips while chatting with a young doctor on the train from Edinburgh to Stirling.  She seemed SO young, but so composed.  A lovely seat mate!

Bridges - Where?

The train ride up from London to Edinburgh was beautiful, a few loud revelers and children aside (the kids finally calmed down and it seems they were just hungry…  The revelers never quieted down, they were just drunk.)

It was a very comfortable ride with wifi and views worth SO much more than the price of the ticket!  I befriended a lovely little doggie (who shed, but was so cute I didn’t care) and the whole trip took much less time than I’d imagined.

Golden Fields in England from a Train


Putting together an event like the UK Knit Camp is massive, gigantic, and not everyone does it as well as we all might like.  For better or for worse, there is a learning curve when folks bite off a huge chunk.

We’ve become used to a society of perfection. We’ve come to believe that when something – unfortunately and humanly – isn’t perfect, it’s not worthwhile. Anyone who’s taken a class with me knows my feelings about perfection.  Only suckers, liars and fools think perfection is humanly possible.

The organization for the UK Knit Camp has not been perfect. There have been problems – mostly mis-communications – that are understandable given the first-time status of the main organizer. Each of us has a different threshold where we say, “Enough!” but I am far from that point with this event – I am very much looking forward to it.

I’ve been involved in a lot of knitting events, and while this is not the best organized to date, it’s certainly not the worst.

Along with the missteps I’ve been very impressed with the general scope of the event, the projected field trips, the enthusiasm of the participants, volunteers and other instructors with whom I’ve been communicating.  It’s a source of great sadness to me that one of the teachers I was most hoping to meet is now back in the states, that is a very hard pill to swallow.

Has there been drama?  Yes – but not so much for me, personally, and I can really only speak for myself.  Perhaps I’ve been lucky.  We each have different experiences with people, it’s like chemistry.

When one thing goes wrong, folks sometimes begin to pile on.  “Did you hear…”, YES!  And I ALSO heard …”

Now, I enjoy a good gossip as much as the next person, but when it causes a certain amount of panic (which directly affects a good number of folks’ bottom lines) it’s not helpful.

As far as I’m concerned, UK Knit Camp is happening, and it’s going to be great.  I’m writing this on a train from London to Stirling, so obviously I have a lot of faith in what I’m writing. And probably a little bit of hand-clapping for Tinkerbell, too…

Folks may have heard there are some work permit problems with the UK Camp, I’m happy to share what I know.

  • I was told by Jo, the UK Knit Camp Organizer, that my work permit would be in order by the time my classes started.
  • Two UK Knit Camp folks (an instructor & an author) were detained at customs today.  Whether these two women explained to the customs officials that they planned on teaching, or whether  they were on a list of instructors compiled from the Knit Camp website (which is currently down), they were both detained and one was returned to the states.  

    It’s an odd situation as one of the women who was detained ISN’T teaching, she was scheduled for a book signing.  I can only IMAGINE how upset, angry, irritated I’d be if that were me – and it easily could have been if I’d flown into Glasgow.  Actually, I WAS detained by customs in Manchester back in 1982, but that’s another story…

  • When I went through customs at Heathrow this morning I told them I intended to go to UK Knit Camp, but I didn’t mention teaching because until the work permit is in my hot little hand (or the hand of the necessary official) I won’t be teaching.

    AND, if the aforementioned permit doesn’t materialize, then I’ll ENJOY Knit Camp.  I’ll go on the field trips, I’ll see Stirling, I’ll meet lots of nice knitters and UK Yarn would have paid for a nice little vacation for me.

    But I don’t think that’s going to happen, because –

  • Jo and her attorney are scheduled to pick up the work permits on Monday (teaching starts on Tuesday) and I have no reason to believe they won’t be ready then.

Cleaning Your East Coast Train

My mother had a philosophy, which may have been foolish, which was, “Assume the Best.”

She would say, “If you assume the best, the worst that can happen is you look like a fool.  If you assume the worst, you may look like a bitch.”

A flawed philosophy, but it works for me.

So the rumors of the death of the UK Knit Camp have been greatly exaggerated.

And, loving Forensic Files as I do, I’ll be happy to jump into the post mortem when that point arises!  Until then – Camp On!

Pondering In My Heart

I’m trying to work through some stuff, directions, etc.

I thought I’d find a shining sign at TNNA: GO FORTH AND DO THIS! But I didn’t.  I did get a lot of support, though, which is excellent.

Shrug En Route & "B" Twist

I’m finishing up my Lace Bootcamp and Twisted Float Shrug Online Classes, which start on July 1.  I always feel doubtful about a class the first time I run it, and this time is no exception.  Time to just keep plugging away and try to make it as comprehensible as possible.

If you’d care to sign up for either of my new classes, please use the code “july” for a 25% discount. I feel better discounting the first run of a class, I figure I learn as much from you as you do from me, and this allows me to give a break to folks who are willing to be guinea pigs!

Wavy Lace Wrong SideAside from working on the classes, there’s not a lot going on.  I’m mentally and physically preparing for UK Knit Camp in Stirling (I’ll be teaching a few classes) and on the horizon is that magnificent Italian adventure in September (I’ll be teaching, it should be – how you say – amazing!)

But mostly I’m just – mentally – trying to find my place right now.

Calm Mississippi Dog Run

I need to find a peaceful, calm place to roost, a place where I can do what I love, pay the mortgage, and not feel encumbered by this fibro crap / pain that crops up at the most inconsistent times.

Mentally, the fibro is wearing me down, I have to say it.  When I was first diagnosed I was not aware of how much this would affect me.  This renewed awareness is almost more of a boulder in my path than the fibro itself.

I’m sorry I’m not more – me? – today.  Funny?  Joyful?  Deep down I’m all those things, really!

But right now the part of me that’s rising to the top is the scared and hurt part.  Obviously I need to knit more.  Or maybe I need to stir things up?  Or maybe I need some dispersant? However you spin it, this fibro-depression is lurking just under my surface like a 300 foot plume.


Why am I really so low today?  I had a bad doctor’s appointment.  Not a bad appointment, a bad DOCTOR who just went off on healthcare, political stuff, etc. with no encouragement from me.  Honest.  None at all.  And I know from encouraging folks to go off, it’s a real skill of mine.  This time, it wasn’t me.  He was going off on folks before we even arrived (we heard him explaining some of his views as we passed another exam room.)

This picture has nothing to do with the text. I just wanted to show that we'd been to see the Dead Sea Scrolls for Father's Day.

It was bizarre.  If Gerry hadn’t been with me (and if I hadn’t seen the look on the Physician’s Assistants face, who was in the room with us and was trying to keep it together) I would have thought I was nuts.

Well, maybe I am – but this guy was NUTSIER.

He tried, belatedly, to apologize for going off on  – me? the world? – I don’t really know who his anger/frustration was directed toward.  But he was angry.

He said so at one point – “I’m angry.” Very odd.

So that was my last visit, not so much because he’s a freakazoid (and I know from freakazoid docs, this was the fellow who delivered Hannah in Oct 1996, the same month as the carving incident) It was our last visit because our insurance runs out in 10 days.

See, a silver lining already!

The kids will have to be uninsured for 4 months before they’re eligible for MN care, Gerry will be on SSDI Medicare.  But I’ll be floating along like a dandelion seed, wafting away on a breath blown by an asthmatic kid.

Twisted Float Detail

And me? I will knit. I’m putting the resume together, looking into temp type work, but I just don’t think I have the physical stamina to work a full 8 hours in a day without resting, or coming home in severe pain.

Obviously the work a bit, rest a bit schedule is great – but since January I can’t seem to produce enough to keep it going.

How can I be terribly upset, though, when I have such amazing yarn to work with?  This is a swatch using Lorna’s Laces Shepherd’s Worsted (Zombie BBQ) and a tiny piece of Pico Accuardi merino as waste yarn.  The Pico was used above in the lace swatch.

This is excellent therapy.

Monday, June 21, 2010 By Rick Levine

Yesterday | Today | Tomorrow

(Aug 23 – Sep 22)

You may long for a resting place in your ongoing struggle to hold on to recent gains while still embracing the future. Inevitable change seems to be knocking at your front door, but just as you think it’s okay to let it in, something happens that makes you question your assumptions. Don’t be attached to your expectations. Instead, be ready to flow with the shifting tides until they settle back down.