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Just glanced at a list I made for a recent trip:


legal pad of joy


That pretty much sums it up except I forgot the checkbooks, I knit perhaps 3 rows the entire weekend and the legal pad had a few more worry lines added to it. Par for the course. Perhaps I was knitting my brow more than the blanket I can’t quite finish. But I did enjoy the margaritas on a deck in St. Michael’s with old friends and the massage at the nearby inn. It cracked me up that when I told the masseuse my last massage had been 2 years ago, she tsked tsked and said, “We recommend one once a month.” I’m sure you do!  I think I’ll start doing that with my food tour customers: When was your last tour?!  Oh, dear. You’re going to have to do better than that.

Robert Henri, painter and teacher, told his art students something along the lines of–You can do anything you want to do. What is rare is wanting to do just one thing.  Not a direct quote and he goes on, but pretty close.

Decades ago at a lecture in Cambridge, Mass., Annie Dillard mentioned Henri and the book The Art Spirit and some version of that quote that is more of a paraphrase, and it has stuck with me since. Read the book a couple of times. Haven’t become a mono-anything as a result.

I’m ok with that. I can sometimes envy people who do one thing–overcome by the need to make pottery or chairs or write, obsessed with perfecting something or at least unable not to keep digging in the dirt of whatever it is that they must keep doing. I also get annoyed by such people–especially the version of them who seem to avoid doing the multitude of good citizen/family member/going to the grocery store duties. Lots of famous male writers and artists fit that bill.

I’m not a fan of multi-tasking to the point where you text at the dinner table, but I do like doing all sorts of things–or rather having done all sorts of things. I suspect I’ve learned as much of the ways of the world, me, and human nature by doing the things I don’t want to do or don’t have much interest in as the ones that make me go all Zen. I’m talking to you, financial crapola.

Robert Henri never said what’s rare is wanting to eat Cherry Garcia, knit, read, and write at the same time. Perhaps because it isn’t rare at all.

It’s December 1st and the pressure is on. I’m not talking about my recent book deal and impending deadlines, or my annual stupid caroling party and its attendant insanity, or the pressure of buying things for people who don’t need anything.  No, two people less than a year old will have me working my fingers to the bone this month.  Max and Ruby need their Christmas stockings pronto, and I need to knit them NOW.

My pals Max and Ruby aren’t bunnies, but I bet they are as cute as Rosemary Wells’ sibling characters. In real life they are cousins to each other, born a few months apart, just kissin’ cousins to me, but trust me when I say this, in my family, that’s close enough. Though I haven’t met them yet, I do groove on the fact that once I’ve knitted their Christmas stockings, Max and Ruby are stuck with me. Every December for the rest of their lives they will be forced to think of me–not exactly the founder of the feast, but the knitter of the sock. And they might even think I’m sweet, thoughtful, and kind, no matter what their parents and grandparents (who know me much better)  say to the contrary.  Knitting speaks louder than words, thank goodness.

Here’s a link to the first thing the Christian Science Monitor published of mine,

badly edited, I must say, that underscores the point that not all who knit are nice. We’re all nuts though, especially at this time of year. If only I could type and knit at the same time.

I’m back!