Monday, August 16, 2010

The CROCHET Compartment of my Brain

My new habit is to post on this blog every Monday and today's thoughts, although very personal, have been calling to me since last Monday. I am a private person in many ways, but in other ways not. I am about to share some thoughts that I haven't shared with very many outside of family. I usually don't believe that my problems are other people's problems, but it is time to get this out for the therapeutic value.

My husband, Alan, is loosing his ability to speak. It has been coming on for about 5 years and is getting progressively worse. It has to do with deterioration of his cerebellum which controls coordination. His tongue, a very complex muscle, is not able to coordinate words very well. I can still understand him, as can most people; but sometimes it is tough to understand some words. It is a very long story, but after three trips to Mayo clinic and numerous dollars later, we have no diagnosis or cure. They basically told us, "We don't know what it is or what to do. Have a nice life and let us know if anything changes!"

On our drive home from Mayo, we agreed to make the most of life (everyone should, really) and we will just have to cope with what comes when it comes.

What, you ask, does this have to do with crochet? When I am crocheting or designing or promoting crochet, I am in a very happy spot. I relax and I go to a tranquil place when I crochet. My mind drifts and it is usually not to a sad place. I love to come up with fun, silly and clever ways to bring attention to crochet and I have a blast with my minions on my designer group on Ravelry: Designs

Today I posted a crochet video on YouTube. It has been two months in the making and after I saw "Wooly Bullies" which completely bashes crochet, on YouTube,I decided to fight back. It is high time we crocheters get a sense of humor and have some fun with our beloved craft. We also need to promote it to the unknowing and IGNORANT!!! I wrote the script in one day and had some of my cro-buddies critique it.

I didn't tell Alan much about it at all because I felt so conflicted by exercising my sense of humor at a time when my husband is dealing with a very serious condition. "What is wrong with me? I asked my friend over lunch. Her response helped a lot. "There is nothing wrong with laughing. Will the alternative do you or your husband any good?"

Off I went to the Crochet Conference sponsored by CGOA, script in hand and my vcr with plans to recruit actor/crocheters and stage the video shoot while there. It is the biggest captive group of crocheters I coudl think of. My roommate at the conference, Melanie, is a working actress and she agreed to direct the film. The official CGOA photographer, Alex, offered to lend his digital recorder and videographer wife, Irene, to help with the production. I am abslutely and 100% sure that this video would not have happend if it had not been for Melanie and Irene!! I would have caved in to the pressure and given up at the slightest difficulty. As it was, making the video was challenging. We had to find spots in the conference center that weren't noisy, we had to recruit perfect strangers who would risk making fools of themeselves and they had to become "instant actors" and learn their lines in a hurry. Melanie offered terrific guidance and "acting 101" on the spot and Irene was patient as "Saint Cro-alicious" with the many re-takes.

I stepped WAAAAY out of my box and may have ruined my reputation as the upstanding "Mother of CGOA" with this video, but hey, at my age, if I don't start letting my sense of humor out it may never happen. I have to credit Ravelry with the development and/or encouragement of humor. I've been a member at least 3 years and have been putting myself out there with silly avatars that change periodically and expecting nothing but fun at my Cro-Kween Designs group. There is an aura of fun at Ravelry and I have come to realize that crocheters sometimes lack sense of humor. It is high time we got some!

Enjoy the video, "Crochet Anonymous," at

and tell me what you think. Feel free to pass it on to anyone who might be interested.

Alan has been incredibly brave and continues to have a positive attitude. He still works and is a highly productive member of his team at work. Although I will give in to a momentary paroxysm of crying, I must keep a positive attitude for him also. The "crochet compartment" of my brain is where my strength is and it is where I go when I have problems.

Do you wonder why I am a crusader for crochet? It is so much more that the pretty or ugly finished products. It is a process that offers so much to so many. I want everyone to be aware of crochet even if they don't do it. I believe everyone needs to understand the positive and varied aspects of crochet. So, I will soldier on, keep my crochet AND my sense of humor; and through it all, remain strong for my husband of almost 43 years!

Monday, August 9, 2010


August 9,2010: Now that my mother is gone and I am left with just my dad, I am beginning to realize that dads are a different breed! I think that my dad is also finding out all that a mom/wife is and how much that we do is taken for granted by all of us. Moms keep track of all the social aspects of life and they know just when to send a birthday card and time it so it arrives just at the proper time! Moms know what is going on in the extended family because they don't mind talking on the phone and keeping in touch. They go shopping and run into people too and keep up with the neighbors and the friends from church. Moms plan meals and shop once a week to get everything that is needed. Moms know what to do with leftovers!
I think Mom would be holding Chloe if she were here, just because.....

It has been seven months since Mom left us and Dad is learning. He's doing a fine job of trying to make a life for himself alone. The winter was very rough and lonely and cold for him. Spring brought a new outlook with him being able to get out and walk the dog, Jack, and enjoy being out in the car more. He works in the yard and runs errands for my brother. He has kept up with his three social groups, one that meets at Atz's Ice Cream shop on Wed. afternoon and the Friday morning coffee group and his weekly dinner at the American Legion with another widower.

There are tales to tell about the coffee old guy had the propensity of lingering bhind as they were leaving and lifting the tip from the table. Not only the group's table but he would also sashay around and collect from other tables. Finally, he was asked by management to not darken the door any more! They also thrown in a quarter to a "pot" and someone wins it each week. Another guy is currently trying to rig the pot somehow so he can win it because it is a REALLY LARGE SUM of about two dollars!

Jack, the dog, was a blessing for my mother and has proved to be a constant companion to my dad as well. Jack wakes my dad up most nights at 3 AM and jumps on his bed. It's annoying, yes, but dad says Jack is "well worth the trouble."

I feel very fortunate to have my brother and sister-in-law's watchful eye on dad as they live as neighbors in the next lot. They include him in many activities and have him for dinner and go out to dinner with him weekly. They look for jobs to give him to help him keep busy. At 90 years old, sometimes the energy level is just not there and dad has periods where he isolates himself a bit, but he bounces back and is most happy when he does have something to do, even if it is make-work or fake errands!

Dad is learning to talk to me whereas before, he was always more than happy to let mom do all the talking. Yes, he is a bit shy, but I think it was just a guy thing. He kept one ear on the phone and the other on the tv while we talked on the phone and would often say, "Oh, mom knows about this or that." I haven't really changed the way I talk; it is the same news and the same updates. It is different though, talking to dad. Just something we both have to get used to!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Covering My World In Crochet

Crochet is my life; crochet is my world. I want to see crochet everywhere, so I started covering thngs in crochet! Rocks are my current favorite to cover. Artists who use crochet as their medium are my passion and years and years ago, I was inspired by fiber artist, Claire Zeisler in a photo of her covered rocks in Fiberarts Magazine.

My latest creations are here at the top. To see my first covered rock, inspired by Claire Zeisler, see below. It is a little worse for the wear and probably 15 years old! To see other things I've covered as "yarn-bombing," go to the post: "Hooka, Please"

The Rocky Shores of Maine, Northern IL Chapter Challenge, "Summer", 2009

Rock for Alan, 2008
Hard As A Rock

Hard As A Rock for the Nipple Project, 2008

Rock Garden, front (R) and back (L),2008

Heartrock Hotel(2006): Northern IL Chapter Challenge, "Heart," 2008, 3rd place; 1st Place Art Category, CGOA, 2009

Rocky Trio, 2008

Mossy Zen Rock Garden in Kooky Crochet by Lark Books, 2007

Rock painted by Bethany in 2nd grade, 1988, and embellished with crochet in 2007

Rock for Nicole, 2007

Love Rocks, 2004

Covered rock paperweight, white thread; inspired by Claire Zeisler