women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Monday, April 7, 2008


"When the skies are a bright canary yellow
I forget ev'ry cloud I've ever seen,
So they called me a cockeyed optimist
Immature and incurably green."

- Rodgers and Hammerstein

I have these wine tumblers from Sur la Table. They were a Christmas gift from my father and step-mother.

I don't know how well you can see from this picture, but there is a line halfway up the glasses. Below that line is printed the Italian word, "PESSIMISTA" or pessimist. Above the line, the glasses herald, "OTTIMISTA" or optomist.

They bring new meaning to the question: Is the glass half empty? Or half full?

Now I am a half full kind of gal, as you might expect from someone who turns her face to the sun on a regular basis. Ever since fighting my way back from clinical depression some years back, I have determined to keep to the sunny side of the street, whenever possible.

Of course, into each life a little rain must fall. Otherwise nothing (including us) would grow.

This morning on the Sunflower Society boards, TreeFrog shared the following bumper sticker slogan with us: Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain. (unattributed)

How true.

Optimism serves me well in this life. It keeps my eye on the long term outlook, rather than the short term forecast. Today is cloudy? I just wait for tomorrow. Today is raining? I dance. Today is the fortieth day and fortieth night of rain? I build an ark.

Do I look like I'm stupid?

I digress...

Optimism is closely allied with its kissing cousin: hope. And hope enables us to bear what we must in this veil of tears, knowing that tomorrow "the sun'll come out."

Life according to Annie...

Hope in a better day and a better world is an essential part of a fulfilling life. It allows us to keep faith with our human potential.

Hope bears us up when we are down. It fills our common cup past the ottimista line to overflowing.

It helps us fulfill our promise.

Speaking of promises...

I hate to make promises I can't keep. And yet, I always seem to come up short with y'all.

I feel as though I am perpetually running late when it comes to my designs. I come up with ideas about 3 weeks after they would be on track for a well-scheduled release.

The crocus blooms are fading into memory and yet I still have to get Crocus Pocus through her test knit prior to release (hopefully in two weeks, if one of my volunteers is a speed demon.) Iris is already in design, but I will probably struggle to get her out in May.

Things always seem to take longer than I anticipate. Partly, it is the test knitting, which everyone assures me is an essential part of the design process. Partly, it is the fact that I learn by doing.

Which means I make a lot of, ahem, let's not call them mistakes; let's call them modifications.

I look at the pieces while I am working on them and as I progress, the yarn teaches me:

  • About the pattern.
  • About the bead placement
  • About the fiber
  • About how to translate an idea into a largely two dimensional medium, like a shawl.

Of course, I also can't leave well enough alone. Because good enough isn't, well...

Good enough. Not when it could be better.

As Crocus Pocus took shape in my hands, I began to see how I could make her better.

  • Close up the YOs in the main crocus pattern with beads to enhance and draw in the diagonal lines to a more vertical configuration.
  • Add YOs to the inner border to lighten up the points and keep them in harmony with the lace pattern.
  • Redesign the center back point to bring it into proper alignment with the diagonal points along the sides.

And once again, what I thought would be done a week ago, has taken me a week to complete.


But I didn't mean to break my promise to you. You know, the one where I said I'd have finished pictures today.

I didn't lie...

Not exactly...

I'm just overly optimistic.


Cheryl, the jungian Knitter said...

Oh Susan, don't worry about crocus being past -- for us, they haven't even come up yet!

Megan said...

As always your words convey such wisdom and inspiration. Take all the time you need and enjoy the creative process....=) Megan

Unknown said...

I enjoy your writing so much that any alterations to a schedule are enjoyable diversions. Just like my walk today. I passed several areas of pink tulips with white and maroon pansies in front. One area I hadn't walked by in a while had a diversion - one bright yellow tulip in the midst of all the pink. Made me laugh and enjoy even more.

Donna Lee said...

Those aren't promises, those are projections. And sometimes projections aren't spot on. So we change the projections. No bit deal. I am waiting for crocus pocus but I can wait. Patience is a virtue after all. And the optimist in me senses that the pattern will be all the more beautiul because of the thought and care that went into it. "shoot for the moon, if you miss, you can always grab onto a star"

skyweaver said...

Well, by the time I finish MD/AN it'll probably be time for next year's crocuses to come up, so I really wouldn't worry about missing a deadline. Unrealistic deadlines are what got me out of the computer business. Just bring out your new designs when they are ready and not a day before! As a previous commenter said, enjoy the process, because that's what it is all about.

La Cabeza Grande said...

A friend told me the other day the I'm too hard on myself - so hard, in fact, that I will always fall short. I will turn around to offer that bit of wisdom to you.

Your previous commenters have it right when they urge you to be patient with the process *and* yourself.

Lucia said...

I could do with some knitted crocuses, since the deer ate most of mine.

I too try to keep a happy spirit. It is not always easy.