In the twinkling of an eye

Picture me, merrily quilting away, when suddenly, BANG! Snapped needle! 

Top section still in the machine, pointy eye end still on the thread…midsection flying past my eye at high speed.

Not a very nice sensation at all. 

 It’s far from the first time I’ve broken a needle, and once again I’m considering wearing safety glasses while i quilt.

However, if I’m honest, ALL my broken needles have come from my own unforced actions or neglect of good machine use. This time I’d recently changed to the quilting foot (lower left picture) and hadn’t tightened the locating screw enough. The screw loosened, foot moved sideways meaning the hole in the clear plastic was no longer in the right place for the needle to pass through into the quilt. So the needle attempted to make a new hole…

It’s a bit of a dilemma. If i get safety glasses, i have to remember (choose) to wear them. Or I can remember (choose) to take care *every* time I touch the machine.  

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Baby Librarian lessons

Once upon a time, when I was a baby Librarian, I was terribly shy and afraid that someone would ask me a question.

Those if you who know me in latter days may find this hard to believe, but it’s true. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find an answer, and that I’d make a fool of myself. Two separate fears.

  My librarianly mentors helped with both of these. They taught me the Ways of Discovering the Real Question, and of Seeking and Recognising Worthy Answers. With plenty of practice that took care of the first worry.

The second worry took a little more work. And a certain amount of actually Making A Fool Of Myself – and realising  that it actually doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think it does. 

One great lesson here was Putting On Your Library Face. I had a job to do, regardless of how scared I felt. If I focused on the job, not the scaredness, I could do it. One of the best life lessons ever and I gratefully acknowledge my colleague Miriam who shared it.
Do you put on your “library face”?

KNOWING / notKNOWING

Hey, you friends and readers who are older than me. Younger people too probably. A question.

How do you KNOW?

You all seem to know your own hearts, your own desires. To have gained or found or created your peace and confidence with who you are and where you’re going.

Maybe you think that’s true of me too.

Afraid not. I remember realising on my 25th birthday that I had never imagined being older than 24. In the 20+ years that have passed, I have only rarely felt that I knew simply and wholeheartedly who I am, and where I want to be.

There are really good things about this.

I believe I’ve thought more about what matters, about who I admire and why, more about my choices, than if I had an autopilot managing my course. I’ve felt more deeply each decision that comes my way. I like to think I’ve been more open to hear others’ thoughts and ideas.

I’ve come to be comfortable with that uncertainty. Maybe I do KNOW.
Maybe I’m The Woman Who Makes It Up As She Goes Along And It Works Out Just Fine.

Saying "Yes!"

This week I am dusting off and reusing a strategy that has served me well in the past.

It’s the YES model. Here’s why:

My permanent, serious mental health condition has had a lot of influence on my life. I take it seriously, and have learned a lot about managing my condition and reducing its impact on me, and on the people around me. This is very good, but it’s all too easy for diligence in self-care to become fear-driven obsessiveness.  I find myself in a pattern of conscientiously saying “No” to risks and challenges.

It sounds responsible, but when overdone becomes a way of hiding from the world, of opting out from development and accountability. Living small.

The YES model means saying YES! to every opportunity that comes my way. Taking risks, trying things out, committing to new actions.  It also means deliberately assessing new things first in the light of their benefits (maybe look at risks later) and in general having a lot more fun.

It sounds a little scary, but so far I have not been offered anything that would do me any actual harm. Most things don’t. Here are a few I can share:

  • swapped a seat with a stranger on a plane (karma points)
  • made a date with a stranger (great conversation)
  • tasted something extremely spicy (yum!)
  • tasted something weird of unknown composition (so-so but now I know)
  • went to a sports game in a foreign city (fun)
  • shared a cigarette with a new colleague (1 won’t kill me)
  • tasted wine (negotiated self-imposed alcohol ban)

The downside to the YES strategy is that I get very busy, and sometimes a little tired. Moderation returns in time, and I have a more sunny and relaxed disposition and some new stories. Rinse and repeat.

The deep end of the Exhibits Hall

Today was my first ever session as a sales person on “booth duty” in the conference exhibition hall.  I went as a training exercise, to “observe and learn from the best”

That was the theory. And I did. For a while. After that, it got kinda busy, and there were customers waiting, and a spare demo station, so…

…I joined in.

Scary? yes. Educational? definitely. Fun? hell, yeah!

finding the beat

Between singing lessons and vocal coaching at choir, I think I’m on the path to bettering that part of my musicianship.

There’s plenty of other room for improvement. I’m a woeful time-keeper, especially with offbeat rhythms, and through long rests.

Just as I decide I need to do something about this, along comes the opportunity to participate in a 3-day workshop of the TaKeTiNa rhythm learning process. More about the method in this youtube video

Having had a taste of the method a while ago, I had little hesitation in signing up. Even managed to convince the guitarist in the household to come along too.

I’m very glad I did. It was the first time I’ve got comfortable with off-beat, 5-beat, 9-beat, 3-in-4 rhythms to the point of real pleasure and confidence.  Much more importantly, I also experienced falling out of those rhythms with humour and recovering them with grace.

That’s a little bit less fear to carry around, a bit more joy to offer back.

Good news for Kiwis – there will be another TaKeTiNa workshop in Auckland early next year. Contact http://www.newworldrhythm.com for more information and tell them I sent you

learning to sing at last

so… singing lessons.

After all that angst, lessons didn’t start for another month, because the teacher was too busy to fit me in! By the time we got our schedules aligned, I was used to the idea and walked in to my first lesson only slightly nervous.

It was all much more enjoyable and satisfying than I had imagined.

Several weeks later, I am happy to report that I have a good sense of where I’m going and how to get there. Some aspects of my voice are slowly improving. In other areas it’s all challenge. But that’s OK.

Of course I am doing more practice than I used to…which is delivering a real improvement in my performance in Auckland Choral. Singing our current Bach, Haydn, Tavener and McMillan fearlessly and fairly accurately. Even with some interpretation and feeling! Who would have guessed that practice would help?