Friday, January 1, 2016


Happy New Year!
How fun to see the blog's Archive start counting at a new beginning:
2016 (1)
January (1).

The number of posts last year is a nice number: 313. It's an uneven number that looks round---I like that.

The winter holidays lasted a little long for me---yesterday I felt adrift . . . alone, though I talked with several friends.

Even feeling low, however, I managed to put my jumbled sewing supplies in order and to set up a working sewing area, where I patched a ripped jacket > 
for another regular here at the coffee shop.
(That's the coffee shop's brick wall behind me.)

I've been editing here  on my laptop for four months, and it's become kind of a sweet refuge. I'm so glad it's open this morning.

The patch doesn't match the jacket's fabric exactly, as you can see, but it covers a gaping hole, and the guy who owns this jacket works in maintenance and had said he didn't care if it matched. 
When I gave it back to him this morning, he said he liked the contrasting fabric. So---I've had sewing success with a breathing creature, not a stuffed animal.

Beings That Breathe

Laura and her boyfriend from Germany, Lutz, came over for dinner the other night, and I asked him what "stuffed animal" is in German. 
It's Plüschtier = "plush animal".

I was so confused: how does "Tier" relate to the English word, "animal"?

Well--so cool! You find the connection at the etymology of "deer"; "Tier" comes into English as "deer"--(the German t is like the English d)-- the idea being that the deer is the main wild animal humans hunted.
And "Tier" comes from Gothic dius "wild animal," --from PIE *dheusom "creature that breathes";
as "animal" comes from anima, Latin for "breath".

So pleasing! We are things that breathe, as opposed to rocks.

Loving Foolish Things in Public

I'd brought Red Bear to the coffee shop this morning too, to sew buttons on its coat; but I forgot to bring the buttons.
I left my backpack open so Red Bear can peek out. 
Another regular stopped to say she has her childhood stuffed animal on a shelf at home, because it's too beat-up to sleep with.

I've been uncertain how foolish my stuffed animal rescue project appears to other people, but it turns out a lot of people think it's great.

Do I care if I appear foolish in public?

In some areas, I don't. 

For instance, I like to wear certain sweaters inside out, so the selvage shows---I think the exposed edges are attractive.

[I didn't think of this on my own--I read about it when I was writing about the French and Indian War: the Iroquois liked the selvages to be visible as part of their clothing design, and I thought that was neat.]

Sometimes people let me know, "Your sweater's inside out,"
and I tell them I like it that way. 
Sometimes people look upset about this. It must offend their sense of order in the universe, which is an uncomfortable feeling, but harmless in this case. 

But in other areas, I don't like to appear foolish.
I think the difference is whether I feel, not foolish, but stupid in public. 
I'm not proud of this; 
it's a hangover from my family, who valued intelligence above all, which can be stupid in its own way. 
[I kind of hate the Forrest Gumpish identification of lack-of-intelligence with Edenic innocence (a popular view in the USA); but intelligence isn't inherently Good either.]

Anyway, in my mind, clothing has nothing to do with intelligence.
But stuffed animals can seem daft.
I went through this with Star Trek too. Luckily, Love rescued me: I loved Star Trek more than I feared appearing stupid.

Coming out as a Trekkie was good anti-aversion therapy [what's the term for this?]. In my experience, the general public thinks Star Trek is stupider than stuffed animals. But either way, I don't worry as much about appearing stupid in public anymore. 
Still, I don't actually carry Red Bear when I go out, like a little kid would. But I've gotten over my fear to the extent that I will sit in a coffee shop where people know me with Red Bear on view.
And Red Bear likes this a lot.


Do you make New Year's resolutions?
I don't, but I do reflect on where my life is, at New Year, as I also do on my birthday and at other time markers.

I felt a little adrift this week, as I said, partly because I am wrapping up my editing work and don't know what will come next, or even what I want, as usual.
Every so often, I have to decide all over again if something I'm doing is worth the discomfort I feel doing it.

Mostly what I do in my life that causes me discomfort, besides loving Star Trek and stuffed animals, is Choosing to Do Nothing Much.

The other night Marz said, "Your father was a professor, your brother is a lawyer, your sister is a professional---and you . . . you rescue stuffed animals."

Hearing it put that way was a little unsettling. 
Do I want or need to Do Something More? 

I don't know. . . 
It doesn't actively hurt anyone, me living this way, so far as I can ascertain, and sometimes it actively helps people, even if only in little ways, like a patched jacket.
I really don't know. Sometimes my life feels like it's fueled by grace, sometimes by laziness. 
And sometimes I think, maybe laziness is my grace.


Zhoen said...

You live your own life, full of kindness and eccentricity. Sounds fine to me.

But then, I was thinking today that I would much rather be an embarrassing old lady than an embarrassed one. With success so far.

Pat Red Bear for me, wouldja? He's a good bear.

Frex said...

Thanks Zhoen.
Red Bear is bouncing happily (inside) to be noticed by you. :)

Krista said...

I respectfully disagree with Marz. I've always thought of you as a Wordsmith and Philosopher, and more lately also as a Maker. All of which were entirely respectable professions in centuries past. You're just living in an era where these things are thought of as avocations rather than vocations, and that's not your problem.

ArtSparker said...

[I kind of hate the Forrest Gumpish identification of lack-of-intelligence with Edenic innocence (a popular view in the USA); but intelligence isn't inherently Good either.]

Americans sometimes practice ignorance as a quasireligion, in order to maintain their innocence, in the belief that innocence is in itself a virtue- it's not, it's merely a lack of experience.

As for the way you have been feeling, I've been in much the same place. Some people don't feel the need to ask these questions.

Fresca said...

KRISTA: Thanks for that reality check.
In fact, what you say describes the family member who isn't on the list of Productive Professionals:
my mother (when she was well).

ARTSPARKER: Yes, the misidentification of Ignorance with Innocence is, as you say, practically a national quasireligion.
A dangerous one.
"Ignorance of the law is no excuse." [Ignorantia juris non excusat]