Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Patch it with whimsy

"It is a good time to work toward your dreams, but allow room for whimsy. Whimsy sometimes requires extra time [f]or a rebuild. - Satori
whimsy, a noun
a whim. 
a thing that is fanciful or odd.

I'm doing a lot of mending. Maybe, it's the season. The rain and cold sends me inside and the need to be doing consolidates, ends up in my fingers. I'm grateful to be flexible yet with my fingertips and give thanks for the glasses that finally (after six months of off-gassing) perch on my bridgeless button nose with little ill-effect, and work. With concentration I can thread the needle. A warm grey and black-trimmed alpaca vest was handed down to Pete last winter. He has used it, putting it on to keep himself warm as he does his work on winter fix-it's and general putterings. The vest was wearing through. "I can mend that put some patches on it. Teach myself to darn." That was a summer statement. I figured I'd have time to get to it before the weather shouted loudly for a vest without holes to let winter too close to the bone. My sister-in-law and I were chatting on the phone yesterday. I told her about embroidering patches, doing mending. She thought maybe that was an uncommon thing, something the younger generation wasn't taught, and didn't do. "Maybe," I said, "but, isn't Richie doing some awesome design and sewing projects?" She said that's right. My nephew's wife has recently graduated with a degree in design (fabric and costume) and I've seen her crocheting, and Halloween costumes. Our phone conversation went on to remember that embroidering was something included in our home ec (home economics) classes. The basic tools for a 'home-maker.'   It's odd that certain labels go in and out of favor over time, over a lifetime. When I was a girl growing up, my mom and many of the neighborhood aunties were home-makers. The one woman slightly younger than the aunties who did have a career was seen as different ... they didn't judge that as wrong, but even as a girl I felt the difference. Jo was well-loved, and Ma did her ironing and baby-sat her kids. This was the '50's and early '60's the age of Feminism had not yet firmly set it's course. I did learn to sew, and got good at it. I embroidered, but like playing the ukulele, I learned and practiced only a few stitches (as I did with the ukulele chords) but can and do use the stitches frequently. Hand-stitching is comforting and practical. No need for a sewing machine, and I can do it anywhere.

I used a simple running stitch of wool crewel yarn for two large patches over many 'potholes' in the alpaca vest. Pete asked for a bit of design, he's not a straight line guy. I cut in a few dips. The patch is a remnant of cotton knit from the thrift store, washed (so it will not shrink when the vest is washed) and hung in the summer heat to rid it of any lingering laundry scents. 
One of the first warm clothes I bought when we began to safety pin our lives together, and dream up a new way of being, was a pair of L.L. Bean tights. Thick, stretchy and warm. I wore and wore those tights for seven years. Last winter I noticed the pouchy knees, and vanity stopped me from wearing them except as an out-of-sight layer of warmth for winter. There's something wonderful about favorite clothes that just kicks in my thrift-genes, the ones that say, "I can mend that." Add to those genes the ones that love whimsy and practical, common magic of mending finds a way to make something beautiful out of something you have long loved anyway!

I cut the baggy pouch from the knees into large eggs and fit the holes with a thick remnant of purple wide wale corduroy. I hand stitched two rows of running stitches to hold the corduroy in place, and then had the impulse to finish the hole off with a blanket or button-hole stich. The embroidery threads are thrift store 'grab-bag' purchases that I also air out for a time to free the lingering scents of whatever gets into them while in the shop.
One egg done, the other yet to be. Weather motivates me; I need those warm pants. Being a Capricorn Moon, my knees need to be warm. I love how whimsy does make herself known to me over and over again. "Patch Adams" comes to mind!

This post began with inspiration from one of my favorite astrologers, Satori. She wrote about the present astrology of a Capricorn Moon in her (the moon's) alignment with other heavenly bodies. Her post "Building Dreams" was something I read before going to sleep last night. It surely fed my dreams along with events from my everyday: a conversation with my sister-in-law and wife of my brother who passed in May. I think of her, of him, my family, Hawaii. I remember. The energy of the heavens affects me ... I am a dreamer, always have been. We watched a movie as we do most nights, and this one was called Like Stars on Earth. A Hindu/Indian movie about a boy who did not fit into the traditional schools, the story pressed old buttons for me. I thought of something my brother used to say about himself when as kids he would get a report card. He used to call himself, "the smartest of the dumbest." Oh my god! What influence a teacher and schools can have on us. That was a very long time ago. The memory remains as fresh as when I first heard David say it. The movie depicts an exceptionally brilliant eight or nine year old on the edge of falling into the crack of lost children. A temporary teacher spots the patterns of dyslexia and pulls the boy, and his family, into a different reality.
I was sent to tears as I watched. And then, the movie wove its way into my dreams and the dream stitched the mending of patches together. As dreams are the soul's wishes playing out as potential, I woke and recorded my dreams. I re-read Satori's astrology for the day and wrote a comment to thank her for her style. I love her style!
I promised to send my sister-in-law some photos of the mending and embroidering I'm doing. Maybe this post will satisfy that promise, and add a story to the inventory of the Calizar Family Catalog. One last thought as I wrap this up. About Whimsy. When I was at the edge of my corporate teaching career, you might recognize the edge-dweller's clues: after more than twenty years in human resources training and development the bug of whimsy and delight took a bite out of me. Clown college came to town, and I signed up. Two friends joined me and from that adventure the first clown character a goofy fun loving white-face with polka dot tights showed up. Her name was Whimsy. She did truly open a long-lasting rebuilt engine that continues to fuel me with joy when I find myself far too serious for my own good.
To patches, and whimsy: hip, hip hurray!
P.S. this one's for Lynette and Les, too.

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