Category Archives: Random Thoughts





“Having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.”


The feeling you get when you’re in the presence of something greater than yourself.

Have you ever felt “the Hand of God” upon you?

Ever known something you shouldn’t.

Had faith without logical reason.

Felt compelled as if it meant life and breath.

Charted a path against all odds, because something called you….

I’m here to tell you that if you can believe.

If you can embrace.

If you can allow yourself to calm the noise and simply Know Thyself.

It’s worth it.

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Is time travel like crochet or like knit?

We just watched the new Terminator movie tonight.

And it got me thinking about the fabric of time.

Is it more like crochet? Or is it more like knit?

If you travel back in time, and something goes wrong and the timeline is changed… is it like a run in your pantyhose?

Something that ripples like a straight line through the entire length of knit fabric, permanently changing the landscape? Erasing an entire line of loops?

Or is it more like crochet?  In that if a loop of the fabric is damaged, its spread remains fairly localized. But the altered appearance in that area is more pronounced, leaving remants of threads and half memories?

And instead of erasing a line of loops, a little pot hole is formed, and the face of the landscape changes across multiple “lines?”

Do you think time as we know it is at risk from time moths?



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Diversify or Specialize: You Can’t Do Both – Right?

“Austin is a smaller version of New York city.”

This is what a friend of mine (from New York) told me once. I’ve heard that Austin and Seattle are similar in personalities, but I hadn’t heard it being anything like New York before.

Granted, I have not yet been to New York.  Still, I’m not sure that I can agree with her.  And certainly, it would probably be best for her to never repeat that to a native Texan who didn’t already love her. In fact, I’m not sure a native New Yorker would appreciate the comparison.

Still, if you stop and think about it, both cities are incredibly diverse in culture. Pretty much every kind of food, every kind of belief system, every kind of hobby can be found in both places. I never think about Austin’s unique nature much until I travel to other areas and suddenly realize that wait – something’s missing. Or when a friend comes to visit and comments on it.

Oddly, my friend’s comment got me thinking about competitive marketing in the Austin area.

Austin is a colorful and amazing city with a lot of talent to offer. And all of the surrounding cities take on a similar general personality. We’re laid back and friendly here.  We don’t take anything too seriously, except our food and our friendships.  And our social demographic is influenced by the fact that Austin/Round Rock is considered one of the most educated cities in the US.

There are so many diverse and interesting things that can be marketed or written about here. I figure working for Austin Monthly magazine must be a great job as a writer. Surely fun and rarely boring.

But then I was thinking about niche businesses. How marketing (and writing) changes when you specialize instead of diversify.

Austin’s happenings and culture seem like bountiful writing resources, where there’s a plethora of colorful possibilities – pretty astounding. There’s so much texture and color to explore here, all unified by the fact that is all quirky Austin.

But if I were to try to switch things up, and dedicate a specialized magazine to say – crochet in Austin – suddenly there is no diversification. Because in spite of our colorful and rich stories, Austin is still essentially a small town community.  We don’t have the kind of population you see in other cities.  Which also means that the amount of crocheters in Austin is pretty small. And hard to find. Or a least, when you need a substantial support system to justify such an endeavor.

That got me thinking.  That in marketing you can be specialized, or you can be diversified, but it’s near impossible to be both.

Unless perhaps if you walk the fine tight rope of specializing in being diverse.

Welcome to Austin Mural - Austin's Famous Street Art


Filed under Business, NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Stop Salting My Chocolate!

I’m the poster child for “Ick, that’s too sweet.”  And I love dark chocolate.

The darker the chocolate the better.

Mmmmm... Chocolate....My husband jokes that one of these days he’ll come home to find me huddled in a corner, gnawing on a bar of baker’s chocolate.


It’s that serious.

And it’s not a new thing.

I love chocolate.  But I am not a chocolate slut.

I am a chocolate snob.

Which is also why it is unlikely that my dear hubby will ever find me gnawing on baker’s chocolate.  Most of it doesn’t make the cut for that kind of treat.  And I should know.  Because making chocolate deserts is a hobby of mine.

I’ve been a fan of good dark chocolate, since childhood. I’m not sure if it started because my Grandma Leona also preferred dark chocolate, and so maybe I decided that because Grandma was cool, then I preferred it too.  Or if it was part of my ingrained <ick – I can’t stand über sweet things quirkiness> all along.

The thing is, dark chocolate wasn’t that readily available when I was a kid.  Or at least not in my area.

There was Hershey’s Special Dark, which I could sometimes get in a bar, but usually could only find in a bag of Hershey’s Miniatures.  Those Miniatures were one of the few types of candy bags my Grandma would ever indulge in.  (At least that I ever saw at her house.)  And usually only for the holidays.

Special Dark was better than milk chocolate, but it still wasn’t all that good.  Maybe the caterpillar that I once found wrapped in a Special Dark bar is what set me seeking in a different direction.  (No kidding.)  I took it back to the drug store, showed them the worm and his little cocoon inside the wrapper and got my money back.

And maybe I’d already decided that I could wait for better chocolate.

In general, I preferred Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.  Which, by the way, I swear used to have more cacao than they do today.  I mean today, now you see semi-sweet morsels AND dark chocolate morsels for sale at the market.  Today they seem much sweeter.  And when I make the same deserts I made 18 years ago with the semi, I don’t get the same results.  Baugh.  Seems I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Then somewhere in my teens, along came Dove and the world became a little brighter.

As I grew older, I explored many brands and flavors.  Dark chocolate and chipotle, dark chocolate and green tea, dark chocolate and pomegranate.  Among my favorites?  Dark chocolate and pecan, dark chocolate and hazelnuts, dark chocolate and caramel, and the ‘ol stand by of dark chocolate and almond.

I know.  Not quite as exotic as the others.

And I learned that chocolate, like coffee, has different flavor nuances depending on where it is grown.  Guatemalan chocolate is different than Costa Rican chocolate.  And btw, I think Godiva is overrated.  Except the liquor.

But the ickiest flavor to me is salted chocolate.  The only salt that should be allowed in there is the salt in any butter used.  That’s it.

And here’s the thing.  I recognize that salt can be used to help bring out a flavor, or even to create a spark of interest that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

But today, it seems most ALL the dark chocolate sold in store is salted.  If it’s dark, then by golly let’s salt it too.  Ugh.  And most of the caramel too.  If I want dark chocolate covered caramel, I’m extra out of luck.  Either the chocolate is salted, or the caramel is.  Either one tastes bad.  Ocassionally I can find it without.

I supposed I should count my blessings.  The flooded market of ocean-water flavored chocolate keeps me from indulging most of the time.

But still, leave me some options people! Those who like salted dark chocolate will still like unsalted dark chocolate.

It’s a binary system.  Those who like salted chocolate and those who don’t.

So leave options.

It’s a win-win.  And everyone gets to have chocolate.

Hopefully one day I’ll be telling stories to my grand-kids about how all the chocolate companies used to salt dark chocolate candies all the time. Kinda like how Coca-Cola tried to replace a winning product with New Coke.

And the kids will be all like, “Ewww, Grandma, for real?”

“Yep,” I’ll say, “For real.”

“But Grandma, how did you survive it?”

And I’ll simply say, “Well kids, therein lies the lesson.  Learn to make your own.”



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Ordinary People…

Today a friend shared her experience with reuniting a lost dog with his family.

She noticed him on the side of the road on the way to the store and again on the way back.

So she stopped.

He was exhausted and dehydrated.  He’d run his pads off.

She called the local shelter, who contacted an owner looking for the very same dog.

And she stayed with him until they were reunited.

An ordinary person. Making a difference to an ordinary dog and his family.

It’s easy to think that we don’t have time.

Or to think that we have no real impact in the world.

If I were to disappear tomorrow, the world would continue without me.
So why be bothered? Why worry?

But small random acts of kindness by ordinary people can make a difference to other ordinary people.

It is such as these that make for heroes.

Because now someone’s life and reality is different.

Now that future has shifted for the better.

And they’ll never forget the experience of kindness.

This is how we teach and mold a better society.

And this is why ordinary people matter.

I know I shan’t forget my teachers.


Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts, Writing

The True Meaning Of A “Buttload…”

I try to learn something new every day.

And while today has most certainly been a weird day, it hasn’t been lacking in introducing me to new data.

I have finally been able to put to rest my un-ease about the word “buttload.”

As a kid, it always seemed like such an odd descriptor.

What the heck did it really mean?

Was it an insult to someone’s backside?

Was it related to loads carried by Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transports?

Turns out, it’s from the Roman or Greek word buttisa large cask for wine.

According to Wikipedia’s Glossary of Wine Making Terms (and a few other sources), a butt is “an old English unit of wine casks, equal to about 477 liters (126 US gallons/105 imperial gallons).”

Revealing new perspective to the word “buttload!”

I’m not sure if it’s smaller or larger than what I originally thought.

But there you go.

Go forth into the world one word wiser. :)



Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Nothing Lasts That You Don’t Feed…

Relationships. Goals. Values. Love.

It all matters. And it all requires nourishing.

I was struck last night by an article titled, “Don’t F* Up The Culture,” written by Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb.

I’m not much into use of profanity for shock value, except in distinct circumstances where it really helps illustrate a point.  And here it definitely does.

Brian touches on the sentiments of an investor who sees that all too often, a great thing goes wrong when it gets too big. Brian then presents his own exploration into how he could make sure that his own company did not fall into this same pit of disappointment.

And he brought it all down to culture.

While I agree that culture is the vehicle, it takes the values at the core to create a culture around.  A point he illustrated well.

Brian had some striking things to say.  Here’s what stood out to me most:

…Culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.”

“…We build culture… by upholding our core values in everything we do. Culture is a thousand things, a thousand times. It’s living the core values when you hire; when you write an email; when you are working on a project; when you are walking in the hall. We have the power, by living the values, to build the culture. We also have the power, by breaking the values, to f* up the culture. Each one of us has this opportunity, this burden.”

“The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous.”

“Ever notice how families or tribes don’t require much process? That is because there is such a strong trust and culture that it supersedes any process. In organizations (or even in a society) where culture is weak, you need an abundance of heavy, precise rules and processes.”

– Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

A thousand things, a thousand times.
It creates the foundation for the future.
When it’s strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.
When it’s weak, you need an abundance of rules and strict processes.

And it struck me how perfectly this illustrates our human need to:

  1. Hold ourselves to a life code, one that we never violate – whatever it is.
  2. Nourish the unity and relationships within our families, within our circles, within our culture as a society.
  3. And for simplicity through responsibility.

Everything in life is cycles and flow.  But it all requires nourishment and commitment to keep going.

Our relationships.  Our skills.  Our bodies.  Our money.  Our society.  Our trust.

Everything requires investment in order for it to be anchored and remain.  It requires loyalty to ideals and to each other.  It requires flexibility for flow and breathing room, while still maintaining a core of strength that is never compromised.

The perfect system.

I don’t know. Seems Brian strikes an important tone to give attention to.

Maybe you’ll agree?

Check out his article here.

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts

Squid In The Bathroom…

Yeah, no kidding!

My daughter ran right smack into a squid, left flopped over the edge of a toilet seat in the bathroom at her college.

No one seems to know where he came from.

Though I wonder if anyone checked the ceiling…

And I bet Biology has an idea…

The funny thing is, my daughter mused thus:

“Now, no matter how bad your week ends up being, whether you have tests and papers and work to do… It doesn’t matter, because you’ll end up thinking about that squid and you’ll start laughing. Because, you know – SQUID! There was a squid in the bathroom, and that’s ridiculous.”  – Jack Chambers

See you on the flip side Mr. Squiggles.

Jack Chambers saw a Squid Today - Aberrant Crochet


Filed under NaBloPoMo, Random Thoughts


“I am a leaf on the wind; watch how I soar.” – Wash, Firefly

This is me.

But not in the way you probably think.

I am the chronic overachiever.

The one who commits to too much.

Who steps out and says – sure! I can help you with that!

I can take that on! I’ll be happy to sit down and help you figure this out.

I barely realize my actions, because I’m so into the heart of it.

I catch the current and hitch a ride.

And then I’m Super Man for a while.

Soaring over Capital “T” in a single bound.

Awing even myself with what I’m capable of handling.

Of the difference I can make.

Until I can’t.

Until I’m burnt up like an offering to the gods.

What a sweet savor my smoke and ashes make.

Scattering in the wind like snow.

“You know nothing, John Snow.”

Diffused, I lie dormant for while, unable to breathe, unable to move.

Finally everyone backs off because, well… what can you ask of ashes?

Until one day I gather strength and arise reborn.

Only to repeat the cycle.

Each time I am wiser, but to what end?

The pattern reboots.


I level up, with now more zombies to overcome.

The problem is pretty simple actually.

I don’t know how to say no.

I always think I do.

But if that were true, I’d be a race car instead.

Written 11-08-2015, 11:55pm
Copyright © 2015 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

You know nothing John Snow...

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Filed under NaBloPoMo, Poetry, Random Thoughts, Writing

Social Media Is Sharing…

Life is rich.  Life is risks.

And sharing it with others, even for a brief moment on Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere online, helps remind me of that every single day.

It helps me stop and “smell the roses” as it were.

To slow the moment down and savor it just a little and celebrate it with the kindred spirits I’m blessed to know.

Some say that the virtual social world is a fake one.

I don’t think so.

In some ways, it’s a lifeline for me, in a daily schedule that even a chiropractor would not keep.

We get out of the social experience what we want, what we put in, and how we choose to see that world.

I would argue that you get an authentic experience when you invest one yourself.

But if you’re the kind of person who prefers to put on airs, to alter the tune before you let anyone hear, then that is all you’ll see in the people “around” you too.

Today, thanks to social media…

My day was made because…

  • a 19 year old kid doesn’t have cancer
  • a toddler I used to babysit got married
  • a mom is getting a well deserved vacation
  • a fellow artist met her goal with selling a clever t-shirt campaign
  • and a family reports that their local water park really is the bomb

And so I’m smiling….

     Life enriched…

            And getting back to work, late as it is…

…with gratitude in my heart.


Social Media Is Sharing - article and graphic by Aberrant Crochet


Filed under Random Thoughts, Writing

Hold Coffee Dear To Your Heart And It Will Prop You Up

Aberrant Crochet Coffee - Sunshine In A Cup

Once upon a time, I used to do the right and proper thing by coffee.

Putting it in a travel mug when I needed to drive the kids to school.

But not anymore.

Coffee has tamed me enough over the years, that we can now travel together in peace.

Clutched to my heart, I ride today with my favorite morning beverage in a mere mug.

I think it tastes better that way.

What a visage I must be, pulling up to the school.

Hunched over the steering wheel.  In my plaid pajamas and winter coat.

Mug clutched to breast bone.  Crochet hook pinned back in my hair.

Thankfully neither my kids nor their friends seem to mind.

Piling out of the car I call to them.  “Have a good day!”

“I will endeavor to try,” my daughter smiles and wryly returns.

“There is no try.  There is only do!” I say.

“Ugh! Go away Mom,” she giggles.  “I love you.”

And off she goes, books in hand, chopsticks in hair.

I love you too dear.

Coffee pressed to breast, I pull away smiling.

A little more alert and with a full heart.

I’m such a geek.


Filed under Friends and Family, Random Thoughts, Writing

Aberrant Crochet’s Gratitude Challenge…

I have been nominated by my soul sister, Laurie Wheeler (a.k.a. Fearless Leader of The Crochet Liberation Front) to participate in the Gratitude Challenge for the next 5 days. Each day I am to post 3 things I am thankful for, and then nominate three friends to take on the challenge.

This started on Facebook, but I decided to share it here too.  What better way to reboot my blog than with gratitude?  Here goes….

Aberrant Crochet's Gratitude Challenge - 6,400 seconds today - Have you used one to smile?

I just fell in love with this guy! You?

1. I am grateful for social media. It sounds like some sort of modern cliché, but the fact remains, be it Facebook, Twitter or Ravelry, I would not be in touch with a whole lot of cool people (and some cool family) if it weren’t for social media. And sometimes that’s what keeps me going.  Keeps me praying for others.  Helps me to remember.

2. After years of a completely different reality, I’m grateful to now live in a well-built home that isn’t threatening my sanity every day.  And there are fish ponds! :)  I ♥♥ my house!

3. I’m grateful for work. Nearly every lick of which has been brought my way thanks to a friend and word of mouth somehow.  Because the people I know rock.  And I will give them my all for believing in me.

Now to pour myself a cup of energy, dust off some courage and get to the day….


Filed under Editorial, Random Thoughts, Writing

Memories Of Terrible Tuesday – 35 Years Later

Tomorrow, April 10th, 2014 will mark the 35th anniversary of an event that changed my life forever.

When as many as 38 confirmed tornadoes danced the Red River Valley.  More destruction from the same weather cell would spill into the next day, affecting parts of Arkansas and Missouri for a total of 59 tornadoes confirmed.

Photograph of the Seymour, TX tornado of 10 April 1979.  (Wiki commons)

Photograph of the Seymour, TX tornado of 10 April 1979. (Wiki commons)

They later called it Terrible Tuesday.  Many remember that a mile wide path was carved through Wichita Falls, TX, killing 42 people.  But another tornado also came up through the edge of my hometown of Lawton, OK a few hours before.  And we lost 3 people too.

I remember it being called an F4 or F5 long ago, but it seems that time has downgraded it in the records to an F3.

They say that particular tornado split into two, possibly three tornadoes after it hit town.

I believe it happened at my house.

I always get emotional when I remember that day.  I was 7 and a half, and I remember the day like last week’s trauma.  The jewel green look of the sky when we were at the Safeway grocery store on Ft. Sill Blvd.  The way the air tasted, tingly like a weak 9 volt battery playing in the back of your mouth.  The way everyone ignored the weather in Oklahoma and went about their business.

You gotta understand.  Tornadoes were no unusual thing.  However, usually they were small.  Maybe they take out a barn or something.  Maybe they never touch the ground.  Maybe we get a little excitement, but rarely was it that big of a deal.

People ignored tornado “warnings” all the time back then.

I remember standing at the back glass door, staring at the heavy rain when we got home.  Watching the hail come down and get louder and larger.

My mother worked for the American Red Cross at the time.  She helped train folks in disaster preparedness.  I’d watched every film our local chapter had to offer at the time.  We knew well that the safest place in the home was as close to the center as you could get and away from windows.  And we had regular drills at school, filing into the hallways, crouching on our knees with our heads face-down towards the floor and wall, our open textbooks held to cover our necks and heads.

On Monday night before, there was a PTA meeting at Will Rogers Elementary School – the school I attended and lived across the street from.  Mom and her director gave a presentation to our school and parents about tornadoes, what to look for, where to go, what to expect. The biggest thing I remembered from that meeting was the Red Cross director talking about hail and rain.  He held strings of white beads in front of a poster to represent hail as he described the pattern progression of a storm.

He said, “It’s not the rain and hail you need to be afraid of. It’s when it suddenly stops.

It’s because a tornado sucks everything up.

I stood at our back door, watching the rain and hail get harder and larger.  Suddenly it was like a switch had been flicked and there was a stunning moment of silence against the jewel green sky.  My mom hung up the phone and yelled “Kids, hit the hallway!”

The hallway in our antique home, a house old enough that it still had some of the gas pipes for lighting in the walls, was a tiny 4-5 foot circle that our bedrooms opened to before spilling into the living room.  I grabbed my cat Taffy and my little brother’s hand and we sat down low.  There was just enough room for us and mom.  She managed to flip the breaker before the first crash.

They say a tornado sounds like a freight train….

But I never heard it.

I heard my swing set crash through my bedroom window.  Nearly every window in the house broke.  The sound of glass and boards flying through our home filled my ears.  As did the sounds of my little 5 year old brother screaming as he writhed in my hand and tried to get away to run.

“Hang on to him!”

Of course he was scared.  I tightened my grip on my brother’s wrist, and suddenly my cat bolted from my arms.

And somewhere, in the middle of all the crashing noises, there was a sudden pounding on our front door, just maybe 20 feet away.  Mom got to the door to let my friend Francis in, along with her brother and sister, from across the street.  We didn’t get to play real often, and she was a little younger than me, but Francis was one of my best friends.  Her father was in the army and her mother was at work, so the kids were home alone that afternoon.

I heard Francis’ sister say over and over, “The table fell on me.  The table fell on me!”

One of them was barefoot (or was it two?).  And somehow, they made it through the storm and across the street to our house before their home collapsed like a pile of cards.

And then, as they huddled into the tiny circle of our hallway with us, it was over.  And somehow, our home filled with debris, none of us were hurt.

“There is no tornado. There is no tornado.”

Mom had grabbed our radio.  An announcer emphatically urged the public not to panic, that reports of a tornado were false.  “There is no tornado. There is no tornado.”

Dad had seen the tornado from downtown where he worked, just a few miles away.  He raced home.  Mom said he kicked in the only undamaged door left in the house.  My grandma lived a block away.  She saw a board come at her through her hallway and managed to get into the hall closet in time.  It would be three days before I saw my cat again, thankfully alive.

Stepping out into the world after that was surreal.  Destruction and chaos surrounded our still standing home.  We lived on a corner diagonally across the street from my school.  Surveying the damage, half the school gym was peeled away and gone.  On one side across from our corner, a neighbor’s house was missing its entire roof.  Francis’ house on the other side across from our corner was a pile of rubble.  And the house across from us next to hers had completely vanished.

People used to steal our apples all the time. I guess they won’t anymore.

Trees, rubble and power-lines were everywhere.  The neighbor’s old tall tree beside us just missed crashing through my parents’ bedroom.  Our old sycamore tree looked shaved on one side.  The apple tree didn’t survive.

Bits of someone else’s swing set were in our yard.  Unbroken dishes that didn’t belong to us had miraculously shown up inside our house.  Even food had been blown around. For decades our neighbor had a saltine cracker framed that was put through their ceiling.  I heard that it finally fell out one year when her husband was fixing the roof.

The day took on an even deeper experience as it was also Passover night for our family.  We weren’t Jewish, but our church at the time kept Passover services after sundown on April 10th that year.  I forget why it was a day earlier than other Passover services.  Some sort of argument about the right way to figure the date.

Normally, children were not allowed at these solemn services.  But there would be no babysitter in our home that night.

We were late for the service, but I remember the deacons and other volunteers helping us in.  My brother went with my father and I with my mother for the foot washing ceremony.  I watched as a woman removed my mother’s shoes and washed away the mud and grass from her feet.  I watched as the symbolism impressed itself upon her.  Tears were in her eyes and suddenly everything felt raw to me.

More tornado sirens would go off that night. 

Some of our church members drove up from Texas for the service.  I heard that one of the families returned to Texas that night to find their home completely gone.  They thanked God they were at services instead.  Everyone murmured how we were all indeed “passed over.”

I remember sitting in a little diner that night, mom and dad talking, trying to figure out what to do.  We couldn’t go home to sleep and we didn’t really have the money to eat out or get a hotel, but there wasn’t any choice in the matter.  I remember hearing mom talk about how the mattresses would have to be replaced, that there’ve been cases of glass being embedded in mattresses by tornadoes.  The diner had those little juke boxes on the tables.  “Don’t Say Goodnight Tonight” was playing at a table nearby.  It was really popular back then, but to this day, that song feels like a haunting to me.

To my knowledge, our neighborhood and school district on the edge of town was the only part of town affected. I’ve often wondered how many people were saved thanks to mom and her director’s lecture at our school the night before.

A lot would change after that.

As the weeks would pass, our community would come together to help each other.  I remember the American Red Cross bringing relief bags with food and toiletries and the irony of it.  Grandpa came and helped my dad fix our roof.  The repairs seemed to go on forever.  And I remember how a year later, it still seemed like we’d never recover.

Our neighbor who lost his roof fixed up his house and moved away.  I can’t remember his name, but I remember that he had red hair and had been so kind.  I liked him and was angry that the tornado took him away from us.  The new neighbors never could compare.

Francis and her family also moved away and I never saw her again.  Never got an address; don’t even know her last name.  It felt like injustice and I’ve always wondered about her ever since.  I remember when the cranes came to clear away the rubble of her collapsed house.  I kept hoping she’d come back.  But it was like a curse had fallen on our neighborhood.  Her home’s lot remained empty for a long time.  And the empty lot left next to Francis’ home (where the whole house had disappeared) remained empty for the longest.

And for years, my brother and I cringed with every swirl of wind, every time the leaves blew into curls, every time a storm pounded our roof.  And for years it was hard on our parents too.  It took a long time to balance the trauma we all felt.  And the financial blow was no small thing.

I would later grow up and move on.  But every once in a while, there’s a look in the sky and a taste in the air that throws me back into the memories of a serious 7 year old child who would never forget.


Filed under Friends and Family, Random Thoughts, Writing

It was national root beer float day today…

It was national root beer float day today.

So of course homage had to be paid.

As John cleaned root beer from the kitchen floor, with me stuck in the living room with my leg elevated, a Travelocity commercial came on television.

And it dawned on me…

You could totally dub in the sound of a Swiffer Wet Jet mop for a screaming garden gnome.

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Filed under Random Thoughts

It’s All About The Overcoming… Ruminations

Maybe not #Crochet Ruminations, but ruminations nonetheless….

Everything about success in this life is about “the overcoming” of a variety of things. Overcoming is what growth is.

There are folks who seem to think that if everyone agreed, then all pain would cease to exist and everyone would be happy and successful. That somehow disagreement and a positive atmosphere cannot coexist in the same space.

However, I do not find this to be true.

Disagreement is essentially a growth opportunity to overcome something. Whether that is overcoming our own ignorance by learning new things from a dissenting point of view or overcoming the limitations of a single viewpoint by combining several points of view together into a successful bundle.  Whether it’s overcoming by standing our ground in the face of opposition, or simply overcoming the discomfort of being in disagreement itself.

Just because someone disagrees with me or I with them does not mean that harmony does not exist between us.  If anything, every opportunity to be shown another viewpoint is exactly that – an opportunity to grow.

Everything is destroyed and rebuilt every day.

Our points of view, our shedding skin cells, the food we eat.  We must take life, consume it, digest it and purge it.  Or we do not exist.  There is always some level of risk, discomfort and disagreement.

Everything in nature bears this cycle.  Every choice we make is a reformulation based on what we know and experience up to this point.  With every shift of our paradigm, so do we shift… somehow.

And the lesson?  That this moment is always about movement and evaluation.  We do not stop moving, choosing, shifting and evolving. We do not stop.

Everything is about the overcoming.

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She Will No Longer Be Ours….

The sun is shining today.  We haven’t seen sunlight the last few days and it’s been cold and dreary.  Exceptionally cold and dreary for us here in Central Texas at this time of year.

And it’s killing me that I haven’t been out doing shows.  This is the kind of weather when my crochet sells really well at the local shows.  We don’t have a lot of winter here.

One of my best outdoor shows ever occurred when a cold front moved in about mid-afternoon.  Until then, folks were milling around in shorts.  Then the cold wind came in and suddenly my booth was full of earlier admirers who now had a “reason” to buy, or at least an excuse.  They could now justify buying some yarny things.

It was awesome for me of course.  But I also noticed the sense of relief in people’s eyes as they bought what their heart smiled at.  For themselves.  People don’t generally buy for the holidays here until the first chill.  Which often isn’t until December.

But we actually had freezes the last two days! Freezes!  We don’t usually see those until like… February!

And now…

The sun is streaming through my kitchen window, as I sit here and type, my coffee steaming nearby.  I’m using Grandma Leona’s coffee mug today.  All the letters have long since washed off, but it still sports the little waving alligator from the blood bank she regularly volunteered for.  She was O-.

I look out the window at the bird feeder, hear her little chuckle and I feel blessed.

This is my favorite time of day in this room.

The sun is uninhibited.  My kitchen is alight with a warm glow.  It only happens during this morning window of about an hour, as the sun peeks between the oak and pecan branches just right and streams through the windows.  Even my cats know this time of day in this room.  They surround me.  The glow has always made me smile.  It even makes the dirty dishes look a tad romantic.

Dear son is feeling better but still home sick and restless today.  As he flips on some rock music to do his homework by, I am reminded that I have a lot to do.  But I want to hang onto this moment a bit longer.

Today is the last day I am owner of this house.

I wonder what mornings will be like in the new house?  I’ll have lots of time to find out.  But my time here is running out… like a slow drip, falling slower… or is it faster?  But nonetheless winding down to the last drop.

“Good to the last drop….”

Sixteen and a half years….  It’s a long time.  I glance around.  The height chart on the door frame long since erased so we could show the house.  All trace of little fingers gone.  Scribbles on the walls, long since cleaned and painted over.  We do get to lease back this home for another month until we close on the new place.

But tomorrow it is done.

She will no longer be ours.

But I suppose in a way she already isn’t.

I’ll hang on to her today…
Just a bit longer.

I don’t want this day to end too quickly, or to end without thought.


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Talents and Weaknesses – Crochet Ruminations

Something to keep in mind is that talents and weaknesses often go hand in hand. Sometimes if you look hard at a weakness, a talent (part of the solution) will show its face.

Not everything is completely as it seems. There are hidden gems and opportunities everywhere. We have but to look.

What about you? 

Meditation for the day:  What weaknesses do you see in yourself or in the world that can be turned upside down to find a strength or talent? 

Share your experience below!

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I Never Set Out To Sell Crochet – Crochet Ruminations

It wasn’t in the plan.  Really.  I crochet because I can’t help but do it.  It’s very meditative for me.  Like playing piano, or writing, it’s something that helps me stay that nice person most folks like. 

We neeeeeds it, gollum! 

And even when the whole family has been gifted out of their minds, I still crochet. It’s just one of many ways that I express my inner geekery. 

I say we all have a madness in Life and crochet is just one of mine.  Which stands out just a little in a climate that’s rarely cold.

There’s always a new idea in my head somewhere and I never tire of thinking on a different angle for this or that when it’s crochet.  I have about 40 different unfinished projects going at a time, so there’s always something I can work on.  If I’m feeling less than benevolent to a particular project (and some projects do end up in the “dog house” for awhile), I put it aside and switch to something else so I can come back with a fresh attitude another time.

When it comes to conversations, even then I can’t shut up about crochet.  I find myself drawing analogies to the artistic process involved with crochet design, or industry quirks, marketing tools or a myriad of other crochet related micro-conversations that I find myself tying to more common life scenarios.  And there I’ll be, with folks staring at me going – did you really just relate that to crochet?

Uh, yep. Yep I just did.

It’s more perfect than you think.  Like “Zen And The Art Of Crochet” and “What Crochet Taught Me About Popularity” kind of material.  That’s the way it is for me.  And I’ll argue there’s nothing wrong with it either.  Substitute “cooking” in place of crochet and most folks would hardly blink an eye.  We all have our ways to explore the inner workings of self, business, relationships and world.  There’s nothing wrong with mine.  Whatever gets your attention.

But selling crochet?  That started out because I’d crochet while waiting on my kids.  People started noticing what I was making and wanted one too.  Before I knew it, “I want one! I want one!” and I was in business.  The fact that anyone wants to pay money for my expertise is just awesome.  It helps pay for my madness!

How about you?  How did you get into crochet related business?  And if you’re not yet, what do you think might get you to or why would you not want to?


Filed under Crochet Ruminations, Editorial, Random Thoughts

When Dreams Are More – A Story About Gratitude – NaBloPoMo

It’s the month of November, the month we celebrate Thanksgiving.  The month we supposedly deeply feel, express and show gratitude in all its forms.  And yet, right out of the gates, I have felt like complaining this first week.  I’ve read things that have gotten under my skin, been irritated with tasks I’ve been volunteered for (ahem, voluntold for), there are things I want to get done and haven’t been able to, and there’s my struggling to be and do everything, everywhere, all at once.  Plus there are very real and unfair things taking place at this time in my life.  Things I can’t control and just have to deal with or ignore.  If anyone has a right to complain just a little, it’s me.

And yet there are blessings too.  And there are times I think, when the only way to deal with things is to shift our state and be reminded of our blessings.

And so I often find inspiration comes in unusual forms in my life, if I’ll just but listen.

I am a dreamer.  It is part of who I am.  I have always dreamed dreams of significance.  As such, it is really interesting sometimes the things that come out as wonderful experiences and lessons that often only the dream world can provide.  I keep saying I’ll write a book about my dreams.  Maybe someday.

One night I had an opportunity to reflect within during my sleep.  There were all sorts of things dreaming through my head that night, but at one point, I suddenly became aware of a single state of being – Gratitude.

In my dream, all the people of my childhood began to flow before my eyes, like a river of stories.  But they weren’t the major figures that are easy to look back upon and remember.  The people I was reminded of were those who played small but important roles, whether I was aware of them as a child or not.  Some of them had faces and others, I did not know them, but I was shown stories of the roles they played that at some point made way into my life.

The grade school principal who I rarely saw or was aware of, but who depended heavily upon my mother as PTA president, the parent volunteers who put together the carnival I bought my first jewelry at, the mother who part-time coached my basketball and volleyball team one year, the grandmother from church who rode the bus with my brother to make sure he got to basketball tournaments without mishap, the friends of my parents who were great about supporting their role as parents and sometimes took us kids to give them a break, the lady at the concession stand who always had a smile, the mothers who volunteered to cook in that hot cabin kitchen at summer camp whose faces I can’t even see, the teenagers who listened to my stories as a kid, the girl who taught me to make mud pies.  And there were so many more.  Such small and even tiny events in my life throughout my childhood and then on into my adulthood.

So many people who had indirect and yet important positive influence upon my life.  And it was time for every one of them to be told “Thank You.”  Thank you for who you were then and who you are now.  Thank you for the small roles you have played, even if you didn’t think it mattered or anyone noticed.  Thank you for doing things the best you could or stepping out to do a small thing that had a trickle down effect upon the Soul that I AM.  Thank you for taking the time to Smile and to Listen.  Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t know you.  Thank you for playing chase with a couple of bored kids stuck at an adult gathering. Thank you for loving my parents and believing that their job was important enough to support, even when you did not have children of your own.  Thank you for judging and encouraging me at the science fair. Thank you for sending my teacher that info on volunteer opportunities for young kids. Thank you for taking the time at the grocery store to tell me that a bag of apples can help you make a long drive better than gallons of coffee.  It’s saved me time and again!

Yes – those carnivals you slaved over meant something and positively affected us as kids.  Yes, taking the time to laugh at our jokes and look at our creations made a difference.  Yes, that piggyback ride at the church picnic made for a positive reference point in my sense of community. Yes, that handful of change you gave me at the store, when you didn’t even know me, touched my heart. Yes, that heart-felt talk you had at the city council meeting changed my life for the better, even if you weren’t sure what you were going to say or who would agree with you.

Your insecurities don’t matter.  What does matter is what you did in spite of them and I thank you.

Thank you for the sense of community you fostered and gave me as an internal foundation to return to time and time again.  You have been a great teacher to me, even if you don’t remember me and we pass unknowingly on the street today.

We have connected, you and I.  And I am so very grateful!


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What You Like About Me Is Owed To Grandma Dot (Advice That Changed Me) – Crochet Ruminations

As far as advice that changed me?

The first thing that comes to mind for me are words from my Grandmother when I was a child, after I showed her a crochet sculpted hockey puck I made.

You see, a thought occurred to me as I was learning to crochet: that I could do more than what everyone around me was doing. That I didn’t have to just make doilies and afghans. That I could use a hook and yarn to sculpt, kind of like clay. So I set about to prove my theory.

As silly as it might sound, showing Grandma and hearing her words was a pivotal and freeing moment I have never forgotten.

“Well look at that clever thing! See there’s nothing you can’t do and bring into reality when you set your mind to it. If you want it, and work for it, you can do it.”

That was all I needed.  I’ve never been the same since.

As an adult, I realize those words may seem clichéd, but that tiny young moment contained so much power for me. Something huge shifted inside of me. I have since heard stories from others who were criticized for not doing things “correctly,” even having their hands smacked with rulers when they messed up, and other stories!  And no wonder as a result they never really picked up the art of crochet. None of my family ever did something like that to me.  And Grandma Dot always took time and marveled at my ideas.  She made me believe.

You never know what it is that will make a difference for someone.  How about you?  What piece of advice changed your life?  Who was it in crochet that made a difference for you?

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