Crafting Obsessions

We use crafting nowadays for leisure and a way of managing stress in our lives. In the old west, it was much more practical. Take, for instance, knitting. When  you lived a two-day ride from town, by necessity, you created your own warm garments for winter. I’ll bet socks probably took main stage, but hand-knitted scarves, sweaters, mittens and hats were often found under the Christmas tree as well.

I used to cross-stitch, I’ve quilted, and occasionally sew my own clothes.

This is a cross stitch I did back in the ’80s

But for the past several years, it’s been knitting. The problem is, I feel like if I can do it, it’s too easy. So I end up mired in impossible projects that I barely make it through in a year. But when I’m done, I have a work of art! I mostly choose Fair Isle projects, for the amazing colorwork. Here’s a few examples of things I’ve made:

Since none of those did me in (though it was sometimes a near thing), I’m venturing into new territory; designing my own.

I took a pattern:

And am adding a motif on the back –

I used this to get a color palette

I’m only about six inches in, and it is HARD! I’ll try to remember to post when it’s done, but don’t hold your breath, it’ll probably take me a year to finish! Wish me luck.

How about you? Are you crafty? What is your obsession?

Discovering the West – on Two Wheels

One of the things you may not know about me – I ride motorcycles. It’s my husband’s second love (after flying), and I learned to adore it, riding behind him for more than 100,000 miles. 

Then I learned to ride. I’ve had 5 now, and I’ve ridden probably 200,000 miles on my own. All our vacations used to be taken on motorcycles, and I’ve been from Mexico to Canada, California to Florida and most places in-between, on two wheels.

 

You may have seen them-articles about “Why I ride a Motorcycle”.  This is a subject that fascinates me. Maybe because no one ever seems able to explain it well. I thought for a while that it was because the answer couldn’t be expressed in words – that the emotion couldn’t be conveyed to someone who had never done it.  But that’s not it either.  I have another theory; that the answer is so multi-faceted that it can’t be described in a few sentences.  Yes, the experience is individual but there are points of commonality. 

In a car I never would have experienced:

  • The awesome vistas of Wyoming, where the land is so open and rolling, that from the top of a hill, you can see how the glaciers carved the land, and how time has softened its harsh effects.
  • In the badlands of Utah, the delicate multicolored striations in the crumbling ledges made me wish I knew how to dye cloth to be able to recreate it on fabric.
  • The vast open sky of the Four Corners area, with the dramatic red stone monoliths seeming to rise out of the ground in the distance.
  • The never-ending green covered prairie of Canada, with the wheat rippling in great waves in the wind.
  • Small towns in the middle of nowhere, shutting down the main highway that runs through town for a Fourth of July parade complete with tractors pulling hay wagons festooned with bunting and carrying the local beauty contest winners.
  • Real country stores with wooden floors and pot-bellied stoves surrounded by rocking chairs – not to be trendy, but because the old-timers sit there.
  • The howling aloneness of the Canadian Rockies, where the mountains stretch seemingly forever.

True, I could have traveled to all these places in a car. But on the bike, I didn’t go looking for them.  In a car we generally tend to ‘Go Somewhere’, you have a destination in mind, say a National Park.  You drive there, experience it, and drive home.  On a bike, I like to have a destination too, but the destination is not the reason for the trip. We “happened upon” most of the above places on our way to somewhere else.

Another part of my theory is that experiencing life from the seat of a motorcycle is more real and indelible than a car experience.  Follow me on this one, it’s kind of weird.  I believe we’ve been so indoctrinated by our “socialization” to be able live so closely together, that we lose the sensitivity to really experience life to the fullest.  The physical and mental rigors of riding a motorcycle scour that protective layer off, and allow the details of life to sink in to the pores of our consciousness. 

Think about it.  Imagine watching a rain storm from inside a house, and then imagine experiencing it on a motorcycle; black clouds ahead, and the straight road is leading right into them.  Before you get there, there is a temperature drop, the wind buffets you, you smell the rain in the air, but more than that, you feel the storm inside of you…it almost feels like a small electrical current humming inside your body.  An experience like this is naturally going to remain with you longer than watching rain come down outside a window. 

Food tastes best, outdoors, right?  I think life is sweetest when you’ve been on the bike long enough that your “normal life” has receded to the background, and you are truly living in the moment, happening upon the next treasured memory.

How  about you? Ever ridden a motorcycle?

Other Obsessions: Fishing!

I don’t know why I love it. I grew up in the suburbs. My mother’s idea of camping was a 4-star hotel, and my dad bought a weber to grill, and used it ONCE in my lifetime.

But there was a creek across the street from us, and I’d buy hooks at the dime store. And one memorable day, I even caught a catfish on a safety pin and a hot dog.

It wasn’t until I was grown and on my own that I fished again.

My husband and I belonged to a motorcycle club, and there was a weekend at the Kern river near Bakersfield, California, every year. We stayed at a hotel on the river. My girlfriend Pam and I were sitting on the patio with the water rushing under us, when she asked me if I liked to fish. We went across the street to a gas station and rented fishing poles, and she even caught a 5 inch trout. Then she asked me what I thought about fly fishing.

Our husbands bought us fly rods, reels, and fly fishing lessons for Christmas, and that was the beginning of my addiction.

One of the trips we made every year was to Kennedy Meadows, a remote area, high in the mountains. A river runs through it (sorry, couldn’t resist) and another friend, Chris came fishing with Pam and I. We had a blast, and returned for several summers. The die was cast. The Kennedy Meadows Hookers were born.

One of the early years

The three of us have taken a fly fishing trip somewhere, almost every year since. Yellowstone, Mammoth, Ca, Oregon, we’ve been all over, and had a blast, every time. Fishing with them is great, but the nights are even better – like high school sleepovers with your best friends – only with WINE!

We’ve got tons of stories – like the year I broke my leg (just a hairline fracture) and I insisted I wasn’t missing Jacuzzi time, so they wheeled me down on a luggage cart (wine was involved, but it was medicinal)….to the year I REALLY broke my leg on the last day of the trip, and the Sherriff’s dept had to send a boat to rescue me.

 

 

 

 

 

To THIS year, when I caught the biggest trout of my life! Had to be 10 lbs, around 28″. After the photo op, I let her go.

We’ve aged over the years, and we aren’t intrepid hikers anymore, but we still go, every year (except last year, danged Covid!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2021 Hookers

So how about you? Do you like fishing? Have you ever been?