Sunday, March 28, 2010

Inspiration For The Week

I spent an hour or so today reading some of my favorite blogs and this one by  This Is Reverb gave me my inspiration for the week.  If these children can be joyful and smiling in spite of their conditions, then certainly I can.  Enjoy and be joyful!

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Ahead

According to , spring – at least the kind that is in the air right now – is defined as a noun and is the 37th, 38th, and 39th definition of the word:

37. the season between winter and summer: in the Northern Hemisphere from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice; in the Southern Hemisphere from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice.
38. (in temperate zones) the season of the year following winter and characterized by the budding of trees, growth of plants, the onset of warmer weather, etc.
39. the first stage and freshest period

While I understand that technical definition of our weather and time of year, I think most of the definitions are appropriate for what we think of as the freshest period of the year. Even definition #1:

1. to rise, leap, move, or act suddenly and swiftly, as by a sudden dart or thrust forward or outward, or being suddenly released from a coiled or constrained position

Think about the beautiful daffodils whose bulbs have been wintering underground – sometimes even through the lingering snow, they thrust outward and we are charmed by their yellow softness. Or the Bradford Pear trees whose beauty has been hidden for months and now, it seems overnight, have thousands of blossoms that make them look like a giant snowballs.

As much as I love Georgia – and I’ve lived here long enough that I consider it my ‘home’ state – I have to say that it is ugly in the winter. All stark browns and red clay, usually muddy, nature looking dried up and shriveled. But when that first spring day hits, you can smell it in the air and the next thing you know there is new life all over giving us hope. Hope that in our lives we can also spring forth – and that is a good thing.

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Braids Aren't Just For Hair!

What a fun three days we had learning to braid and being our usual sassy Southern selves.   Kris McDermet was here from Vermont and taught us how to braid around a rug hooked piece.  Oh no ladies - it isn't like braiding hair - we had no idea what we were in for!  But Kris made it clear and easy and by the second day we were straight braiding like crazy.  But then.....and speaking of butts - yes, that was the next thing we learned.  How to identify our butt, trim our butt, and sew our butts together.  And here we thought it was only rug hooking that had terms that people would give a second glance to when they heard them!  Then there were picot and corners and that wonderful little circle with the star in the middle.

Kris brought some of her beautiful hooked and braided rugs to show us and in return we taught her Southern speak.  By the time she left, she could y'all with the best of them!  Kris - thanks so much for teaching us to braid and being patient with us.  And to my hooking buddies who took the class - thanks for being your usual fun selves - I so enjoyed the whole weekend.  Diane - remember, M&Ms and rum cake take braiding stress away and I can send you the leftovers any time.

Here are some pictures of the beautiful work done by Kris and her students.

Caroline                                      Diane                             Hollie

Jan                                             Kathie                                      Laura

Sara Mac                             Jill and Kris                             Kris - Heart Rug            

     Braidaids in the palm,                                Y'all give me an M&M!
                                   feet on the stand,
                                   relax those knees

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Willard - Dialogue in the Dark

Today my friend Nancy and I went to experience Dialogue in the Dark at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, GA. It was simply an amazing experience. Dialogue in the Dark has been presented in over 30 countries since it’s opening in 1988. In the exhibition, blind individuals lead guests through a completely dark environment through a series of ordinary situations that are suddenly experienced extraordinarily, without eyesite. Role reversal takes place as sighted people lose familiar routines while blind people facilitate mobility and confidence. Scents, sounds, temperatures, and textures help construct a sequence of places.

We left our eyeglasses and purses in a locker, chose a long cane, and went into a room where we (four of us) sat on lighted boxes and waited for the journey to begin. As the lights were dimmed and eventually went out altogether, Willard, our blind guide, introduced himself and began giving us instructions. We walked toward his voice as he led us into our first room – a park with plants, a tree, crickets, birds singing, and both grass and bark chips underfoot in various places. Our journey took us through doors, up a step, across a gangplank and dock onto a boat, into a grocery where we felt vegetables in bins, dairy products in a cooler, and the cash register. We went down steps, across bridges, along storefronts with glass doors and brick walls, across a busy street. All the way Willard was talking and guiding us so that we could experience in a new way, all of the things we had already experienced as sighted people.

At the end of the journey we went into the Dark CafĂ© to have a soda, water, or juice and sit around a table so that Willard could tell his personal story and we could ask questions. Willard had worked for both the railroad and MARTA (our Atlanta metro rail system) for years. He became diabetic, suffered a detached retina, and eventually became totally blind at the age of 54. He told us of not handling it very well at first but then Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown eventually convinced him he should get out of the house and attend the Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta because there was only so much of that kind of TV that he could listen to. I asked him if he was able to learn Braille so that he could read and unfortunately because of the diabetes, his fingertips were impaired so that he could not feel the dots. But he told us that he can use his computer and it speaks the printed words to him so there is always a way to get information.

This experience was much more emotional for me than I expected. There were times I just wanted to stand there and have someone come and get me. My thoughts were “how do people DO this? It’s a terrifying thought that you could lose your sight.” I would lose the ability to read my precious books and how would I create? I could still hook a rug but who knows what it would look like – I wouldn’t! I felt tears well up for poor Willard several times during the journey. As we learned though – Willard is anything but ‘poor Willard’! As he told us, he had two choices when he went blind. He could sit there and never go out of his house again or he could make the best of it and learn how to do things in new ways. He chose the better way.

Untie a ribbon in your life – you might find an adventure!