Sunday, April 03, 2011

Rewards for Diligence

Yesterday, I went to pick Iris up from her Chinese lesson and the director of the Confucius Institute at MTSU gave her this as a "reward for diligence" because she worked so hard and is learning so fast and this got me to thinking about this concept in general. There are many rewards for diligence if you are willing to, well, be diligent.

Here's Bubby working extra hard to clean her room. She managed to get herself grounded for telling me she'd done what she hadn't done and since she was really putting forth all the effort her nine-year-old self could muster, she got herself un-grounded. With any luck, she'll take the lesson of "hard work pays off" into adulthood. A mom can only hope. This photo, by the way, was totally kinneared. Bubby will either hide or pose in front of a camera, so getting a good candid of her is darn near impossible. I do not give up easily.

Someone on Facebook said something about the "fruits of Islam." I assure you it wasn't a nice thing to say, but I did think about the fruits of one's faith and have decided that, in my experience, the fruits of Islam is hummus and those little cookies with dates in. Sometimes the fruits of Islam is baklava.  It's a plot to increase my waistline, I'm certain.

The fruits of Paganism, however, is fruit. Okay, so the picture is of lettuces (not vinca as the tag says), but I assure you that there will be fruits of some kind in the summer, just not from my balcony. Integral to what drew me to Paganism and my practice is the growing of things. Growing food is slow and difficult. It's easier just to go to the grocery store and buy a lettuce, but I don't grow things to eat because it's easy. I grow things because even in this city life of mine, I want to have a relationship with the Earth. I want to put my hands in dirt and bring out something made of sun, water, dirt, effort, and love. When I've eaten something I've grown, I know in the core of me that I've been blessed by my gods. I can't wait 'til the berries start coming in because I know no greater blessing than a strawberry grown in dirt I've walked on and still warm from the same patch of sun that shines on my face. I put love in, I get good food out. I can't think of a better deal than that.

Today, I finished making tea from last year's mint, hyssop, and catnip. These are the fruits of last year's labor and it's got me all excited about Thargelia. It's almost "clean out your pantries to make way for the new harvest" time. We'll share the last bits of last year's harvest and then we'll be up before Helios to pounce on any berries that might be at the Farmer's market. Then there will be dancing and a maypole and then planting. I am deliriously excited about this in the way that only one who eats seasonally can get.

And then there's the llama. 
The llama can only be described as a "hot mess," as the young people say. I washed it as best as I could, which wasn't very well, in a feeble attempt to get at least some of the dirt out and reduce the dust I was inhaling as I carded it.

I'll give you three guesses where the only cat-free space big enough to dry it was.

My car smells of llama.

Even though I've managed to spin some of it into singles, I'm not sure what the finished product is going to be like. It's a bit of an adventure and something of a mystery. I feel like I'm never going to get through this fleece, but I will persevere. I will be diligent and in the end I will have some sort of yarn.

The alpaca, on the other hand, is twelve ounces of camelid goodness. I managed to get a really nice picture this week that shows its lovely chocolate brown. I want to take it to the Market to show the nice people that sold me the fiber in the hopes that maybe they'd trade me for more fiber, but see above re: Chinese classes. Bubby's class happens to be at the same time as when the Farmer's market is open on Saturday, so I haven't been able to go as much as I'd like. I miss it. 

This is what I get for wanting to help the offspring get the most out of her brain doing something she enjoys and is good at.

The things I do for love...

There's a better picture of the Inachis io hanky, too, and I've finally finished the pink star one. I'm not in love with it and it's not my best design, but I like the border and I learned some new techniques.

I've been making progress in my weaving as well. I think it helps that I put down days that are for weaving on my calendar.
I'm thinking that one of these days, I'd like to weave a considerably larger project for a blanket or sommat (maybe with the llama?) but for now, this narrow little thing is doing up pretty nicely. It's certainly working the math portions of my brain. I'm still not great at warping, but again, I'm going to keep trying at it. I tend to learn best by a lot of trial, a lot of error, and a fair amount of observing others. With fiber arts, anyway, I'm not the kind to read and research before doing like some people. I just jump in and mess up a lot until I learn.

Extreme close up! Extreme close up!
That said, my selvedges are looking much better and I did a fair job of warping. With continued diligence, I'm certain I can become more skilled at this.

You wanna know something I haven't been doing much of?


This is what my Lotus Tank looks like right now - a pattern and yarn. At least the swatch has gone through the wash and lay flat to dry stage. Now, if I'd only figure out if I've got gauge and cast on, I might eventually have a tank top some day before I retire.

Don't even talk to me about the lace. I had comps this week and it completely short-circuited my brain for logic and lace knitting. I've been a babbling idiot ever since. I suppose that my last lesson in diligence for the week is the ongoing lesson of my thesis. Maybe when I'm done, someone will draw me a pretty picture of a panda.

I am hopeful and I shall remain diligent.
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