Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

28 May 2008

Know More about Me

1. What was I doing ten years ago?

I was working full-time at an office furniture company, doing incredibly tedious things to their database. I had finally gotten hired after doing the same job as a temp for nearly five years.

My husband, on the other hand, had just quit his job. So what the heck, we paid off our mortgage, because we could.

Then my mom got an unexpected windfall and decided she wanted to go to the Netherlands, and my husband and I went, too. When we came home, I finally got pregnant after six long angst-y years of trying.

So when my husband went to a retirement party for someone he used to work with, and they delicately asked what he was doing now that he had no job, he could airily and truthfully say, "Oh, we paid off our house, took a trip to Europe, and now we're expecting." (Can you see him sticking his tongue out, "Nyah!" there? Almost.)

2. What are five non-work things on my to-do list, today?

Non-work? Take a walk, hand-trim the grass around the perennials, knit, read a bit, and stare off into space.

3. Three snacks I enjoy:

Oh, wow. Chocolate-covered gingerbread, which my husband and our son brought me from the Polish section of the grocery store. Fresh homemade bread, still hot, with butter (and get that yellow margarine grease away from me right now!) Chocolate chip cookies with cold milk.

4. Four things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Probably not much different from things I do right now, only more so.

We would travel more overseas. (We're already planning and saving for our next Netherlands trip.)

Probably completely re-build our house. (Yuck! And I thought "move" was a four-letter word. "Construction" ought to be an expletive, too!)

This is really hard, to think of four things that I can't or don't already do . . .

One thing I've always wanted to do, which would be much easier if I were a billionaire, is to call up an NPR fundraiser and give them the balance of their goal, but ONLY if they would shut up about the fundraiser RIGHT NOW. No five weeks of talking about meeting the goal, either.

5. Five places I have lived:

I don't think there have been five places, and they've all been in Michigan.

In the ranger's residence of a Boy Scout camp in a tiny bedroom suburb north of Grand Rapids, which probably shows up on Google Earth, but you've never heard of it unless you lived there, too.

Grand Rapids, Michigan. The west side, which was a Polish immigrant neighborhood fifty years ago and was a Polish/Hispanic immigrant neighborhood when I lived there.

East Lansing, Michigan, when I was in college.

When I look at it this way, I can see why all the local wildlife comes here. We own the east half, plus a weird slice at the south end, for a total of twelve acres. Most of the little gray "L" at the top of the picture is our driveway.

Then, do you see the thing at the foot of the L that looks vaguely like a sheep? The body of the sheep is our house. The head is our geodesic dome addition. The front leg (tiny gray dot) is our picnic table. The back leg is either the LP gas tank, before we had the big one removed, or else the concrete pad it used to sit on.

And there's me! I'm waving!

ETA: Oops, I totally forgot about #6.

6) Jobs I have had:

I worked in a garment factory before all that work moved out of the US and into places like Honduras, Bangladesh, and eventually China. A place where they laid out the fabric sixty layers deep and cut it with what looked like a band saw. Where women sat a sewing machines, "Bzzzt! Brrrt!" sewing the same seam over and over, five dozen to a bundle, and clipping off their little piece-work tag. Where we stood at tables doing what was called "Turn & inspect". If you opened a baby garment in the mid-1980's and took out cardboard stamped "12" on the back, that was me.

I worked as a mower for a road crew, mowing steep, not-quite-vertical highway embankments. Sometimes I ran the weed whip (easiest way to mow grass that is knee-cap height on a 45-degree slope), sometimes I let my mower down with a rope tied to the handle and pulled it back up again. That's where (and how) I learned to mow grass. Mowing 1/4-mile of mostly-flat nature path, even twice around, even at twice as old, is easy-peasy compared to that job.

After college, I worked for a plant store, driving around and watering office and restaurant plants. This would have been the perfect job for me if I had not had to drive a Chevette (which lost its steering gearbox, thankfully without injuring me), and if the boss had been, hm, let's just say less mental.

After we were married, I worked at a temp., mostly doing what were labelled "data entry" jobs, but which had a surprising variety. Everything from a place where they made peel-and-stick vinyl lettering to the water department of a local town. Some terribly boring, others fascinating and relatively fun. (That's how I ended up at the place in #1 and getting hired on.)



Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

Oh, great post! I love hearing little details like that about people -- it's such fun, and proves my point that people are continually interesting and do such neat stuff. And there's your house tucked away there in all that green -- cool :)

3:56 PM  
Blogger amy said...

Twelve acres! That's my idea of bliss. Look how there are no other houses around you! I'm so jealous. If we could afford it here, we would. My goal is to not be able to see or hear any neighbors from my home. (I'm NOT anti-social, really. I'm not. Much.)

7:24 PM  
Blogger Bells said...

Every time you mention the trip the netherlands and conceiving, I get an urge to tell Sean's we're going there....

10:45 PM  
Blogger Rose Red said...

*waves back* how cool that your house is a sheep (sort of). And that you own your house too. I just realised today when I checked my bank accounts that we've only got my annual salary to pay off our mortgage. That's pretty neat, I reckon. Not quite sure how we did it, but glad that we're almost there!

1:38 AM  
Blogger Carat said...

I agree with you 100% about the NPR Fundraisers. I love NPR, and I know the fundraisers are necessary, but they are really frustrating when I'm trying to listen to my programs!

2:03 AM  
Blogger Donna Lee said...

I had so much fun trying to spend a billion dollars. Now if only it were real. Maybe we could fund NPR so there would never be another fund raiser. What a blessing that would be!

6:08 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

If we gave NPR all the money they are asking for, then next year they would want to do more and do it better and they would need another fundraiser. It's the nature of the beast.

What a chunk of sylvan paradise you live in. A real nature preserve. Hope the folks that own the other half of the greenspace don't decide to go all condo on you.

Having the house paid off feels like such a big, soid safety net, doesn't it?

9:38 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Fascinating. I am so with you on the NPR station. PBS would work too. A few years ago I would have offered to double it if they would never, ever show or mention the name of Elmo again. Except they would have taken the path of least resistance and just never run Sesame Street, which imho was much better when it was random and had fun little bits like "8 balls of fur" and the water-music machine and (I am severely dating myself here) the klutzy chef. Now it's severely structured, which they say is better for little kids, and they're probably right, but all the joy seems to have leaked out of it too.

8:57 PM  

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