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May 24, 2021

Splash Pad Party 2021: What is it, and Why I’m a Sponsor

 The Splash Pad Party is a Craft Along that runs from May 28 through July 31, 2021. The eligible crafts are knitting, crocheting, spinning, and machine knitting (though machine knitting is counted at half the grams for FOs as the other crafts). There’s a sign up form on Jen Lassonde’s Ravelry group for the host of the Down Cellar Studio Podcast or her website


I’m a sponsor for the Splash Pad Party 2021, because I want to have even more fun with the craft-along, allow folks to get to know me a bit better, and allow more folks an introduction to my patterns. I’m getting really excited about this event. 


The projects I’m planning for the Splash Pad Party 2021 include knitting some socks, knitting a gnome or two, spinning some yarn, and making some blanket squares to hopefully finish a long standing work in progress.


If you think you might enjoy the Splash Pad Party, head on over to Jen’s website or Ravelry group and sign up on the Sign Up Form. The more the merrier, for sure!


Apr 22, 2021

Open Communication

 Dear Readers,

It started innocently enough. Someone liked some of the posts I have written on here, and sent some comments to one of my social media platforms dm boxes. It's neat hearing from readers, even though I would have preferred the comments be on the posts, so everyone could participate in the conversation, if wanted. 

Then, the person read the post where I describe not standing up for the pledge of allegiance to the flag, let me remind you readers, that happened once out of my dad's 22-year career, and was an allowed response to the standing time. I remained quiet and respectful during that time. I was exercising one of the rights that I was allowed in my life as a 4th or 5th grade child in the 1980s in a way that valued the time and experience of others. They got restimulated about a time their child didn't stand for the pledge of allegiance at some fireworks demonstration, I'm being vague on purpose here, and described shaming their child into standing up by reminding them of others they know who had served. 

That shame may have worked that day for their child, but it didn't change the internal desire to love the flag, or to want to not peacefully demonstrate against it. It was just a child forcefully compiling with a parent. Just as their anger at me didn't change my history, just my willingness to have them in my space. I feel sorry for their child, whether that person is now an adult, or still under the age of majority and required to be with the person who communicated with me.

From now on, all dm communications about this blog will be deleted without being read. I'm only going to pay attention to open communication through comments on here. I delete the spam messages that occur too. 

I'm just tired of the entitlement of others to feel like they can tell me what to do with my own stuff, my own life, my memories, and so on. It has no impact on your life. Even if it reminds you of something within your history, it's not anything to do with me, not really. My life has no impact on your life, we're so far apart my ripples don't touch yours. Especially this past year and a bit, with me staying in my home and with the folks in my home, I haven't been able to ripple as much as I would like. 

If you want to express an opinion about this, reply to this post if you want me to see it, or talk with your family or friends if you don't want me to see it. I'd like to know what you think about folks dropping into others dm's, or about the flag (even though that's only a tangent here), or whatever this reminds you of here. It's alll good, in the comments.

Later,
Jen


Feb 1, 2021

Dancing through January

 Hi y'all!

I was raised my first 8 years mostly in North Carolina in and around Ft. Bragg, and even though we had neighbors with international heritages, I still have southern vocal patterns. Oh well, it is what it is. My parents are from the front range of Colorado and the midwestern part of South Dakota, so they don't really have southern ways, and their parents weren't southern either. It's just something I picked up over time. 

Anyways, I liked having the word of the season being Dancing. I had a section of my habit tracker in the bullet journal for it with the quote from myself discovery work, "Dancing the dance of life brings me joy." In that section, I also doodled some eighth-notes, a dragonfly, and a five-petal flower. I like the look of it, and it was visible every-ish day when I checked in about whether or not I had done the 22 things I was tracking for the month.

I used a lot of music through the month. There were the weekly zoom meetings with other crafters on Sunday afternoons that the local fiber store owner hosted where the first two-thirds is music jams supplied by the participants in a Spotify playlist we all listen to as we craft along where we happen to be located, then last third is us sharing our names, locations, and what we crafted that day (sometimes, since the last meeting, but not often). 

I also have been listening to the Daily Wellness on Spotify to get some music and some meditation and just have a happy start to the day. That lead to liking lots of songs, and then finding songs and artist from when I was younger and liking their music on there. Now, I listen to hip-hop women artists when I do a lot of my typing as I like the lyrics and the pace for focusing.

I've also been Dancing through my crafting. I thought I'd be lucky to craft 500 yards when the month started. Then, maybe 1,000 yards. Not even 1,500 yards would be a stretch. Nope, I Danced my way all the way to 1642.1 yards crafted, and 1478 yards out of stash through a skein of yarn that hadn't been removed when I got rid of it a while ago, so that's 3201.1 yards out of stash for the month of January. I'll do a separate post of the projects and their details later.

I've also been enjoying the scent of a vanilla and sugar candle. It's not Dancing exactly, and not quite hip-hop style, but it's been helping me to feel happy with the passing of the colder days of winter. There had been a mulberry colored candle that had a spicy scent, and it gave me a headache. This one is nice, and warm, and floaty, like Queen Latifah singing a mellow ballad. 

I just like all the joys of Dancing has brought to me this month. No, it's not in club, mostly in my living room, jamming as I bee bop along through life, and that's cool. It's nice to add some pep and some joy to your steps, some rhythm to your days, beyond the routines of getting up, some music to your cardio. It's all good stuff, and that's very good for my soul.

Take care, y'all, I'll write more later,
Jen

Jan 20, 2021

The Power of Yet

 Hey there, everyone!


Recently, I listened to the podcast, ADHD ReWired, and it was the episode 357 “Accept the Brain You Have with Terry Huff.” In that episode, Terry mentioned something about goals not getting done, and the host, Eric Tivers, made the distinction that a goal hadn’t been done yet. And, that small, three-letter word got stuck in my head. Yet.


We folks who have ADHD, or a sub-type, have lots of goals that haven’t been accomplished. Yet.


I am empowered by that little word. Yet gives me the hope that it will happen someday. Yet means I still have time to get the work done. Yet makes it possible for “done” to happen. 


So, how do you feel about the power of the word Yet? Is it a new thought, or, something that you’ve heard before? 


Let me know in the comments, and we can keep the conversation going.


And, with that, have a good day/night as the case may be!


Stay safe out there,

Jen


Jan 11, 2021

Thoughts on Non Attachment

 A while ago, I learned of the idea of non attachment to physical pain. I ignored that idea for a while. Then, I got ill with bacterial meningitis in 2011, and as an after effect experienced tremendously strong migraines and tension headaches, such that I thought my skull breaking open would be a blessing. 

During the midst of the bad headaches, I was trying to read Jon Kabat-Zinn's book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. I still haven't made my way through the whole thing, yet. But, I got to the part about his program for mindfulness-based stress reduction to help those with bad health outcomes reduce the badness of those outcomes through mindfulness meditation taught to them in specific ways. A big part of the program, from what I was able to understand, was accepting the pain as just a process your body is going through, that you are observing. It's about not identifying with the physical pain as a part of you.

I figured, what the heck, I have nothing to lose from trying this myself, and if it works... then I won't hurt as much. So, I started trying to meditate while going through a migraine. I didn't see immediate results, but it didn't make things worse. I tried some more. 

I remembered the studies I had read, and presented to the class about, where folks who were meditators of various times from less than a year to longer than a few decades were prodded with something like a mild heat stimuli. The ones who had been meditating for just a bit were easily distracted from the meditation by the heat thing. Those who had the most practice meditating never seemed to notice the heat thing, even when turned up a bit more. And, when asked about it, were unaware it had happened. 

I knew meditation could work, empirically, and, yet, could it work for me to modulate the pain? 

A week into my process, I decided to stop curling myself into a ball whenever the migraines struck. Instead, I would lie quietly on the bed, and not make a fuss over going through the process of the migraine. It helped a little bit more.

Eventually, I found I was able to go to my room, lie down, and be quiet for the duration of a short migraine. Taking the struggle and frustration at the situation out of the situation lessened my distress in the migraine overall. Now, I only get frustrated with the long migraines. The multiple day ones that tend to last for longer than half a month. I'm going through that now.

The stresses of the past week doesn't help. My theory as to why a lot of others and myself have migraines that last a while in January is because December is usually a stressful month. This past December was different than in years prior, which is a different kind of stress, so even though there were fewer folks to deal with, loved though they are, there was still a different set of stressors. So, January came in with it's usual migraine storm. And, now, with the stressor of the rioters in the nation's capitol, and the fear that induces, it's no wonder the migraine is continuing despite the medication that increases fears and yet breaks up migraines. 

So, now, I'm trying to recognize that even the fears are thoughts that deserve to not be attached to and so then I won't suffer because of the frustration between how things are and how things appear in my mind's eye. My mantra when going through the non-attachment to physical pain was, and still is, "Pain is just a mental event." My mantra for this non-attachment to mental pain will be, "Not going to get attached." If it needs adjusting, then tweaks will happen. The physical pain mantra without the word, "just," wasn't as effective for me. Some folks swear by the mantra, "Jesus heals all." If that works for you, so be it. It's not what works for all, and that's okay too.

Jan 7, 2021

Church, My Way

 Growing up, I lived on Army bases in the United States of America. My dad was an enlisted soldier, now he is a retired veteran. The Army had us living in homes around the country from North Carolina, to Alaska, to Virginia, to Colorado. I liked it so much, I even signed up for an enlistment, but I didn't make it very far in the attrition process. Anyways, recent events in our nation's capitol have me feeling jumbled up inside.

Recently, Joe Biden has called the Capitol Building the Citadel of Democracy, and Nancy Pelosi called it the Temple of our Democracy as well. I got to thinking about how seeing churches broken up in the past has made me deeply saddened, and yet, not felt like it was my church that got attacked. This does.

Growing up, we heard Reveille played by bugles at 7 in the morning as the flag was raised over the base headquarters every single day. Then, we heard Taps every single day at 6 in the evening as the flag was lowered. These songs bookended our days. They were the songs that opened our services and closed our services. Life on the posts for a school child started with Reveille and ended with Taps. One woke you. One told you to go inside for the end of the day.

Then, when the Mayor of the District of Columbia announced a curfew at 6 in the evening on the day white supremacists tried to dismantle the big church of my churches? That reminded me of the curfews that were enacted on the Army bases during the fighting in Kuwait and folks being angry at the military and soldiers and we had to be on base every single night during that time by 6 in the evening. It was just how it was. 

So, folks being mean to those fighting for liberty and the American way in the Capitol Building, and a 6 pm curfew enacted? It was a bit much to be reminded of tough times. 

Then, today, when Joe Biden was announcing his nominees to head the Justice Department, and Nancy Pelosi when responding to questions of what next because our incumbent president had instigated the domestic rioters and white supremacists that attacked the Capitol Building referred to the Capitol Building as the Church of Democracy, essentially. And, it came together for me.

We didn't go to any churches on post, or off post in the surrounding communities, when I was growing up. I like to say that my folks are hippies who raised us, their four children, on military communes. It confuses folks, but once they get to know my history a bit, it makes sense too. The post was everything for us. It was extended family, friends were made hard and fast, you never knew when someone might move (either them or you), and it was where you got your food, medicine, clothes, just everything on the post. 

This was how it was designed to be. The military brass wanted the soldiers to be dependent on the post for everything from necessities to fun, so that the soldiers could be a more cohesive unit. And, if the soldiers were cohesive, then the families could be too. 

That's why yesterday's attack is visceral and felt like an attack on my church. Even though we didn't do church. I only went to church as a social experiment with friends and later other family. But, my family of origin, nature is our church, and nature is always on the post. Of course, it's always everywhere. 

I'm still broken up by the feelings in my chest and my eyes. I am trying to be comfortable with these feelings, as all feelings are valid. It's what you do with them that matters. What the white supremacists did yesterday is not moral and not awesome and not a cool way to treat other people. I am upset, but I'm not going to go be physically stringent with any incumbent residents of any addresses on Pennsylvania Avenue. That's not my way, that's not what my church taught me.

My church values Loyalty to the Constitution and the Nation (meaning all the others here), Duty to do what we say we will, Respect for others by treating them as they should be treated, Selfless Service putting the needs of the nation above your own (which those white supremacists didn't do, and their instigator hasn't ever seemed to do in his public persona), Honor to live your values daily no matter whether you're being watched or not, Integrity to do what's right legally and morally, and, Personal Courage to face fear, danger, or adversity and still do the right things.  

A while ago, I was asked why I didn't like the incumbent president. I couldn't put into words at the time why because I was upset at the time. It's because he's disrespectful of those that are lower in station than himself, he's not loyal to our nation and prefers the company of our international adversaries, he's never shown a bit of selfless service and only seems to be selfish, he doesn't show much integrity in his dealings with the law of man or in relation to women, and, he doesn't have personal courage to led others in dangerous situations, but has to have peaceful protestors cleared for photo ops with symbols of religious power that he doesn't even pretend to care enough about to hold the right way up. He doesn't fulfill the values of my church.

I hope he gets what he doesn't deserve. By that I mean, more love, and I mean honest, soul deep love, than he's given most people. I can't do that right now for him, but surely someone, somewhere can give him the love he needs. I can at least, wish him to not hurt himself, and not hurt the rest of us in the process.

Edited on 13 January to change the language from "terrorists" to "white supremacists" as I've learned from Black folx on various social media that calling the ones that defiled the Capitol of the United States on 6 January 2021 terrorists only increases attacks and racial profiling on those who are Black, Brown, or Indigenous Peoples of Color, and that they will bear the burden of a word choice that can be made more clear in this post. Words matter. Clarity matters. Black lives matter because life matters.