Monthly Archives: July 2014

To List

list smallOr Not

After returning home from the grocery store, for the third time that week with out toilet paper, it occurred to me I might need a little help remembering things. By then even the KIeenex was gone. Organization has never been my thing, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

When you are a disorganized hot mess and already have a major problem with hoarding pieces of paper, making lists just seems like it is going to be one more thing to weigh you down.

I had  stacks of junk mail. Piles of greeting cards and other correspondence. Old bills tucked into desk drawers and peaking out from shelves where they were stashed. No, I  really didn’t  need to add lists to the collection.

Or did I?

After the toilet paper debacle I began to entertain the thought of keeping a grocery list. For, you know, just the important things. Like food.

The idea took over, and I began to make lists for other shopping expeditions too… the craft store and hardware.

I truly was amazed at how much time I was saving. I no longer had to run out for that one important thing that I forgot. I didn’t wander aisles aimlessly hoping for inspiration to take hold. I was on a mission! I began to save time and… taaaaaadaaaaa money! If it wasn’t on the list, I didn’t need it.

Following a frantic morning, having discovered I had no clean uniforms for work, my list making took on new proportions.  No longer just shopping lists, I now had a task list.  I organized the list by urgency. A’s –  Urgent.  B’s –  less  important. C’s – more of a when I get around to it kinda importance.

As I cross off tasks at the top of the list in the A category, items in the B’s and C’s get moved up. While I may never be a model of efficiency I am getting more done these days. As I accomplish my chores there is a certain sense of calm entering my life. I am less stressed, have more time.  And the little piles of paper? I got those cleaned up,  it was on my list.

For now, I’m just gonna keep working my A’s off.

Be Knotafrayed.


Failing Art

dragonOr Not

I failed Art in elementary school.  “How the hell do you fail ART?” My father was not amused. What do ya mean, how do you fail Art?  I was failing everything else, why not Art too? I think the thing that upset my parents the most was the apparent lack of effort.

Now I understand about the scope and sequence of a curriculum, but then I had much different ideas about Art. I expected the class to be social hour with a little bit of a fun project thrown in to pass the time.  You know.. paste, scissors. I expected bright colors and a mess!
The teacher expected us to learn something. Proportion, space, dimension. There were things to be remembered. Directions, instructions and structure.
Not the things a child who just wants to “make art” wants to hear.

I never quite got the hang of waiting for the instruction. I just dove in. I thought I was putting a great effort into it. I wanted to be an Artist!

At home I made clothes for my Barbie. My older sister made real clothes, she had a sewing machine, and all the cool things that go with it. I used scraps from her sewing and other things from around the house. I loved to design new outfits for my dolls.

After high school I  attended two semesters at what was then called Junior College.  My major was Fashion Design. At the end of the second semester my faculty adviser suggested I change my major to Fashion Merchandising.
I never went back.  I failed at Art.

I raised a family, sewed Halloween costumes and made Christmas ornaments. We did “crafty stuff” but I was afraid of “Art”

I continued to make things, create. But I didn’t show off my work. I didn’t  want to know that once again I was failing “Art”.  It became my secret pleasure. I collected chalk, watercolors, papers. I made scrapbooks. I made jewelry. But I didn’t make the mistake of inviting opinion.

If someone would inquire about a piece of jewelery I would become defensive. Why do you ask, does it look “homemade?” Oh this? I just threw some beads on a string… no big deal.
And then… I took a chance.

Being told to “Embrace Imperfection” by an Artist I admire greatly, I began to take her advice. I spent time learning with  people who overwhelm me with their talent. And I was accepted. I wasn’t mocked, no one told me I was failing at Art.

Art can be imperfectly perfect.

I am learning that Attention Deficit Disorder is common in creative people. Or creativity is common in people with Attention Deficit Disorder.. or something like that. I dunno –  I wasn’t paying attention.



She’s a little runaway

Or not

Today a teenager from NH, who has been  missing for 9 months, returned home to her family. I do not know the circumstances at this time. I do know I am rejoicing at the news.

When I was her age I was an escape artist. When ever I became unhappy I ran away. My father told my mother to handcuff me to the lally columns in the basement.  One time she took my clothes away.  I could only have what I was wearing.  I locked her in the bathroom and stole my coat back so I could leave. Sometimes  I left with friends, sometimes alone. I wasn’t the typical teenaged runaway, going to a friends house until my parents tracked me down. I hitchhiked. When I was about Abby’s age I hitchhiked from Long Island NY to Utah.

I don’t know where I was headed.  I don’t remember why I left. I couldn’t tell you how long I was gone before they caught me. I do remember seeing the cruiser turn around, I remember running and I remember the cut on my leg from the barbed wire fence. I still have the scar. The rest is kind of murky. I’ve been told that stress will do that to your memories. Blur them, like faces or license plates in pictures.

Today, I cant comprehend how a 15 year old alone made it from NY to Utah alive. I had little more with me than a change of clothes and my wits. I was seriously unprepared. Lack of Impulse Control is a major part of life when you have ADD. Seemingly there are no consequences. Everything seems like a good idea right up until it proves itself otherwise.

I remember my father asking “what were you thinking?”

When you have a thousand thoughts darting in and out of your consciousness in split second bursts it’s really hard to nail down what you were thinking.  Still. 40 years later I rarely have a clue what I am thinking.

I’ve stopped running away. Anywhere I’ve gone I’ve taken myself with me. I cant escape that.

I cant begin to imagine the horrors I could have encountered. I could have become a statistic.  Each time I see on the news another young woman has become missing I shudder. It rarely ends well.  All too frequently we are hearing of young women being freed after years of captivity. Being found brutally murdered.

But today, good news. Abby is home.

The Messy Desk

or Not

messy desk“Your desk is a mess”  I can hear Mrs. Mulvey’s voice in my head, even after all these decades. “you need to clean your desk” was a reoccurring theme throughout my education.
As I sift throught old reportcards, reading the remarks and notes I realize I was a poster child for ADD.
“she doesnt finish her work”

” capable of much more”

“unorganized. unable to follow direction”

“unprepared for class”

“Very social and cannot focus on her work”

But this was in the mid to late 60’s.. and ADD was only beginning to be recognized on any large scale.
It wasn’t even named  until 1980.
I was considered lazy, careless, unable to follow through with a task.
But I knew I was bright. I knew I wasn’t stupid. I just didn’t know what I was.
It’s difficult to develop any self worth or confidence when you have very few success’ to build on. I took some small pride on always testing well. I was generally the first one to finish, left to daydream and fidget until the rest of the class was done.  Once I had read thru the questions and determined my answers there was no going back. I was not the child who checked and double checked my answers. I was already bored with it all.
Maintaining a job was not much easier. Waitressing was a horrible experience.  Always forgetting to bring the catchup or refill the coffee.

Factory work was downright dangerous when you have trouble with detail and focus. Particularly on a tedious, repetitive task.  My mind would be in a thousand places.
Creativity has been a blessing to me.  A wandering mind is perfect for this. Jumping from one project to another leads me down paths and opens doors into some pretty incredible places.  Just don’t ask me to finish anything. Sometimes it happens.
If you can’t get to a point in 3 sentences or less you have lost me – social settings are terrifying.  I’m not rude. I just cant keep my mind from jumping around and moving past the topic. It’s not you. Really.

I have found solace in polymer clay. A playground of possibilities. It can go where ever my mind takes me.

Oh, and my desk is still a mess. But I’m okay with that.


be Knotafrayed

Picture Perfect

or Not.

I belong to a creative group. We design jewelry. Members participate in challenges, offer shameless plugs of their body of work, and we  share our learning in photographs. Often times it is in the photo that I find the flaws in my work. I’ve painted outside the lines, I’ve drilled a hole a fraction of a millimeter off center. A strand of glue teases on the side of the brass like a hair out of place.  As I look at the actual piece these imperfections blend into the beauty of the work. Once they’ve made themselves apparent in the photo it’s all I can focus on.

I’m not alone, I read the comments an artist will add after they have published a photo.  I didn’t notice such n such or the whatchamacalit until after I uploaded the photo. It was perfect until I saw the picture.

Life is like that. We enjoy the beauty of a day, or the companionship of our loved ones. We document and photograph the memory. Once the photos are examined, we notice laugh lines, or a hip bulge. Maybe someone isn’t smiling.

I find my self posing  when I see a camera, turning so those hips don’t look so wide, Tilt the head a bit, don’t forget to smile. I take all the fun and all the spontaneity right out of it.

I don’t want to be afraid. I want to stick my tongue out and make silly faces. I want to enjoy the moment and not worry about what the photo will look like. Nothing is picture perfect. Not even pictures. They are edited. They are cropped. They magnify flaws.

Embrace imperfection.

A couple months ago I spent a wonderful weekend with a group of amazing women. Some very confident, strong, talented women. They stuck their tongues out and made silly faces when the camera turned their way. They danced and laughed and had a fun, marvelous, and exciting weekend. I am drawn to the photos and video snips of sillyness. Confidence is attractive.

Life isnt  perfect

Step away. Come out from behind the lens. Enjoy the reality where the flaws blend into the natural beauty of life.

be Knotafrayed.