Deployment

Lately I’ve been blocked with my writing… but the good thing about that is I’m an artist (or maybe more accurately a wannabe artist) who likes to express myself in a multitude of pursuits. Like sewing, drawing, knitting, painting… and as of late, I’ve really connected with my paint brush.

Bleeding through paint is much like bleeding through words, maybe just a touch more literal. The piece I’m working on now is simply titled Deployment. My husband has been deployed a few months now, and loneliness starts to seep onto every little creavice of your life. It doesn’t defeat happiness, not altogether, but it tries.

Every stupid thing you do reminds you they’re not there. Reminds you that you know they’ll come home, but what if they don’t? When will they skype next? Are they okay? Are they hungry, or cold, or too hot, or feeling just as helpless as you? Do they need anything? Are they eating enough, and taking their vitamins?

You go to bed, and you squeeze his pillow so tightly against you it threatens to suffocate you, the ringer on your phone is all the way up, just in case he might call at 4 am. You wouldn’t dare miss it. You bury your face in the pillow searching out his scent like the sex deprived, stressed out bloodhound of a woman you are. And when you find it you cry. Maybe softly. Maybe so hard your entire body heaves with the emotion of it all. Eventually you go to sleep, and do it all over again.

Damsels in Demand 

I haven’t been totally gone… Sure, the cycle of self isolation has definitely taken root, but there are always pros – it’s brought back my desire to create more art than ever. 

Writing will always be my first love, and I’ve been working on that too. But the last 2 weeks drawing and painting, with a dash of knitting, have taken grasp of my heart. Knowing so many people with young children, or ones on the way, helps and has provided plenty of ideas and inspiration. 

This one is just a practice piece. My goal is give my niece a collection of princess paintings where the princess doesn’t need no stinkin’ saving. Ariel wielding a trident, Belle with her nose in a quantum mechanics book while she invents way cooler stuff than her father, Cinderella dumping that dirty mop water on her stepmother and marching out with her troop of clothed mice.

You get the general idea. Damsels in distress are so 90’s. 

The Darknesses

When I was a child I was afraid of the dark, but not just any old dark. When the lights went out I wasn’t filled with dread. Instead I was afraid of a very specific kind of darkness. That special kind of darkness that lives only beneath the bed of a child. The kind that waits, and breathes and listens.

When it was time for bed I would stand at my light switch, situated exactly 6 feet, 3.65 inches and 10 full steps from the safety of my bed. I would ready myself like an Olympic gymnast before the next event. As soon as the room went dark I bounded and vaulted with perfect grace into the waiting heap of sheets and pillows. Had the lights been on to witness my feat any present judge would be forced to have awarded me with at least a 9.5/10.

As it is well known, and stated clearly in the Handbook of Rules and Regulations Applying to Mythical Monsters and Scary Sleuths, once your feet are tucked deep inside the safety of a blanket – you’re officially safe. The Darkness, of course, is still there, but you are tucked away from its grasp. All it can do is lay in wait for another chance, maybe tomorrow, when you might fail to stick the landing quite as expertly.

But what do the Darknesses to when the children are gone? They can’t stay put while they escape to summer camps, sleep overs and family vacations. Instead they make their ways to their local meeting hall.

It’s always one of those gorgeous old Victorian homes on outskirts of every suburb. There they stand, huge and foreboding, but empty and forgotten all the same. The state of their disrepair and the thought of every utility bill makes parents shudder when they drive by and their kids point to the house and ask why no one lives there. Inside, between furniture coated in three decades of dust, corners stuffed with cobwebs and a solitary mirror stained and worn in all the right ways to make it more beautiful than it ever was in its previous life, the Darknesses gather.

There are plenty of rooms for them to pick from, but they of course prefer the master bedroom. In the middle there’s a massive four poster bed, what were once ornate and deep, velvety bed curtains hang in tattered, moth eaten shreds. The lack of electricity and pesky nightlights pleases them, now they can gather and talk.

They talk of all the children they saw grow into adults, whose own children they then saw grow. They would tell each other of all the dreams they saw over all these years, especially the ones based on a horror movie and a scary story the children snuck glances at. Of seeing little feet grow larger, and small thin limbs grow to long and shapely ones. How the toys would always eventually migrate from the room, and how nice it was each time their bed was upgraded.

The cribs were the worst, there was no storage and barely the room to lay during daytime. And you really only ever saw their parents’ feet, that were once so small. But how wonderful when a crib became a twin, a twin became a full, and if they were truly lucky, when a full become a queen. When this happened they gained room to stretch and relax, and every now and then a very interesting book would make its way down there. All the Darknesses were quite fond of H.P. Lovecraft. His childhood Darkness always had the best stories to tell at these meetings, the ones that even little Howard lost in the realm of his own dreams.

They talk about how these days’ children seemed to be much less fearful of them. This was good, in its own way, the Darknesses don’t necessarily enjoy inspiring fear in their children, but did it mean they were being forgotten? They feared, each secretly so as not to have to utter it aloud, of being relegated to the list of other creatures and tales that languished without human thoughts and fears to keep them around.

Like poor Spring-Heeled Jack. Jack once kept millions of children awake far past their bed times, staring sleepily out their windows to catch a glimpse of his storied figure run across a rooftop, or sliding down a drain pipe to fade into an alleyway. He ran from town to town, scurrying through the night with boundless abandon always knowing where he was needed.

But then one day all the children’s children’s children grew up, and he was slowly forgotten about. Children no longer gathered in schoolyards in circles to whisper his name in broad daylight. For a long time, he still wandered the sleepy towns and cities, but no one looked for him. Slowly he grew thin and tired, his eyes that once glowed (though they glowed a deep blue, not the rumored red), burned out aand went dull. Eventually he ceased his wandering and another day was simply gone. And there was no one to tell them to where he went.

“But surely you can’t be rid of all the Darknesses?”

“Can we be sure?” A Darkness that sat on the dusty bed asked nervously. The thought that they could vanish, too, silenced the room.

“But who then will watch over them?” One said.

With that the sun began to break the horizon and many went home, hoping to see those little feet.

Relocation Rumination

My stars! Time flies, doesn’t it?

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for what feels like a small eternity. (There’s a new oxymoron.) The absence is mostly explained by moving several states South, and getting back into the sync of married life after 14 months of military separation.

Both of those things are far more easily said than done. It’s something like getting your best friend back, but there’s something not quite right about them, or perhaps it’s you, people change after all, or during time apart you simply forget all the things that drive you absolutely insane about each other, and there’s a few more annoying habits tacked on. Or, more likely, it’s all of those things and now you get to navigate how to actually deal with it. Sure, we had our month in Korea together, but that was a month full of distraction. It was being reunited with a big buffer of rice, tourism and booze. It might have been my favorite buffer of all time.

Within a week of returning stateside from Korea we were packing our little Focus to bursting, and making the drive 14 hours South to North Carolina. Then it took months for all of the furniture put away in storage in Las Vegas to arrive. Which was everything – the couch, chairs, tables, bed frame, dresser, mattress, pots, pans, dishes… all of it. For those two months I got to revisit the lavish life of a broke college student eating dinner on lawn chairs and sleeping first on an air mattress, and eventually a cheap futon.

Now the challenge of adjusting to small town, Southern living is most prevalent. Every now and then you’ll hear people from other countries comment on America’s lack of a collective culture, and that’s an unfair thing to say. Especially when you compare the size of America to basically any European one. Every European country can fit into America on map with room to spare. We have culture, but it’s spread out. You’ve got the midwest, the good ol’ wild west, the east coast, the west coast, the South and of course, Texas. And that’s not even counting Alaska and Hawaii. That’s a whole lot of space.

As a girl who’s spent most of her life in Michigan and Nevada, I melded very well with the respective cultures there. But I’ve never been South of Washington D.C., and that was only for a week. The South is undeniably different from the North, and I don’t say that out of some still remaining Civil-War-winner hubris. It just is. They fry their pickles here! In fact, a lot of things are fried in the town we’re in, a practice not as popular in places like Michigan. We’re big on baking and grilling things, and the bubbly stuff we drink is called ‘pop.’ Only Coke is called Coke.

One thing’s for sure, North Carolina isn’t where we planned on ending up, but the military doesn’t care what your plans are, and life is about the journey and the journey is what you make it… or something like that.

Lost in South Korea

On Wednesday morning I boarded a plane and 13 hours, and a few awkward conversations with my seatmate later I landed in Seoul, ending a 13 month military separation between my husband and myself. I’ll be here for the next month exploring, attempting to like kimchi and enjoying a once in a lifetime cultural experience that I’ll be sure to bore my grandchildren to death with.

A trip to Gongguksa Temple in Gunsan, South Korea was first up on our travel itinerary, the temple is a small relic of the Japanese Colonial period of Korea’s history so it’s not technically a Korean temple, but we’ll get around to those later.

That would be my husband standing awkwardly off to the side.

That would be my husband standing awkwardly off to the side

I found myself a little preoccupied with the temple's dog

I found myself a little preoccupied with the temple’s dog

The Naughty Knitting Box

Spring has finally come! Gone are the 15 foot high snowbanks, and icy death traps! Now the sun has started to stay a little longer each day, drawing out the plant and animal life. Aside from all the roadkill, it’s fantastic.

Puppy feet make the world go 'round.

Puppy feet make the world go ’round.

All this new growth (and a desire to use up my wool before it’s 95 degrees outside) has encouraged me to work my way through my knitting WIP (work in progress) box. I mostly refer to it as the Naughty Knitting Box. It’s filled with things that I lost interest in, dropped a stitch on, or the things that simply had to think about what they had done for a few months.

One of those projects was Inga Hat by Sheila MacDonald.

Mmm cashmere.

Mmm cashmere.

The entire color chart was well put together and easy to follow, but Christmas 2012 (yeah, I just said 2012) I made a mistake on the 40th or so round, and didn’t notice it for 23 more rounds, on top of that it had about a million and one ends to weave in. So it was put away, moved from Las Vegas to West Michigan, and after a lengthy and painful surgery with a rug hook (the unsung hero of knitting repairs) it was finished, washed, slightly felted and blocked two days ago.

hat

It was just chilly enough to put to good use this afternoon when my dog demanded a play session. But now I have some more knitting to get through, the sooner all my wool disappears the sooner my husband will look past a new fiber purchase.

The Psychology of Spinning

It’s my birthday today! Rather, it was. It’s past midnight for some of you, or an entirely new day. In my book, a new day doesn’t start until after I’ve gone to sleep and woken back up

My absence over the last month hasn’t been due to a lack of things to talk about. April was a challenge that put getting through a record setting winter to shame. On the 2nd I was in my first car accident. I’ve sat down several times to write this post, working out a paragraph or two before ripping out the page or trashing the document. The words never felt right.

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