April 18, 2014

But You Can Still Be Friends

Isn't it always the case that after you break up, the other party pulls it together and then you can't remember why you wanted to break up?  He gets off the couch, quits the fantasy football league, shuts off the TV, and finally starts the company that he kept talking about while you hung around offering encouragement...he loses ten pounds, he starts cooking, he goes dancing...basically he does all of the things that you had wished could happen while you were together, but he does them with someone else.

Houston is doing that to me a little bit right now.  I have been hanging around, waiting for Houston to come into its creative own, looking for signs of creative life.  Hints of it surfaced here and there, but still it has sometimes felt difficult to actually find people to do creative things with.

Last week, literally weeks before our departure, a new place opened for people to rent space and make things.  People close to me know that I have wanted to try this for sewing; every time I pack up my heavy machines that do not get daily use, I wonder why more us don't share these things.  I have even sketched out a rough idea for a business model.  But the constant moving has stopped me from actually going for it because I was terrified of having to leave it behind.  Anyway, I'm not bitter that someone else did it first; I'm happy it exists because it makes so much sense.  I'm just disappointed that it didn't happen two years ago, when I could be part of it.

Regardless, Houston, you are looking better already, and I'm sure it's not out of the question that I will be back.  Maybe we will make things together at some point in the future.  In the meantime, good luck to Houston Makerspace!







(I couldn't help but add the photo of this cool bus stop bench around the corner.)

April 09, 2014

You Have to Break Up with a Place


Living in Houston has been nothing like I imagined it would be, way back when I first realized that I would inevitably be moving here.  The last two and half years have been pleasant, relaxing (in between life curve-balls which were not Houston-specific), and a nice time of both connecting and re-connecting with friends.  Getting set up was fast and hassle-free compared to past locations.  It turns out that extricating ourselves is the tricky part.

We are in the process of selling our house, which is a pain in the patoot, as I always suspected doing such a thing would be.  The trouble is mostly due to managing baby paraphernalia and a baby schedule in the face of unpredictable periods of exile, and the fact that our first offer fell through, slowing down the process of finding the correct buyers.  Since the first offer came within days of listing the property, we were faced with wrapping up our life in Houston in a few short weeks, a prospect which left me feeling sad and slightly frazzled.

March 19, 2014

Rattled

Our baby was a month early and it still sometimes feels like I'm cramming to catch up; he's growing up fast and it's not easy to keep abreast of the changes.  I finally made him a toy rattle, and I'm pretty sure he would have enjoyed it even more a month or two ago, but he still took some time to check it out before breakfast this morning.


As our move plans remain in limbo, I'm trying to stay distracted with projects like this one, which seem to collect both in my brain and in our physical space.  It's always nice to cross something off a list, especially when I can use up leftover bits of yarn and materials.  This project is from a book of knitting projects for babies called Natural Nursery Knits.

March 15, 2014

Mini Rant

Dear Random Man Who Believes Secession is the Solution,

I frequently run past your truck while you are working in my neighborhood and your "Secede" bumper sticker gets me riled up every time I see it.

I just want you to know that Texas will run out of oil, and therefore its primary means of supporting itself, long before the rest of us will exhaust our ability to govern ourselves peacefully and without you.

I guess your expenses will remain low, since your government only convenes briefly once every two years and doesn't believe in raising taxes to maintain infrastructure.  Unfortunately though, your crumbling sidewalks will disintegrate completely, your aging highways will cease to allow the passage of vehicles from far-away ranches to urban workplaces, and your citizens who lack healthcare and education will gradually bankrupt the rest of your citizens who do not see the link between themselves and those who go regularly without.  However, I am sure you will resolve all of that whenever your leaders finally reconvene in a couple years.

Maybe the nation of Texas will have enough water, but I guess if you don't you will figure something out.  I'm sure you won't need any help recovering from any drought, hurricane or fire issues like you have in the past, or any financial aid like the $44 billion dollars you received from the United States federal government in 2010.

Anyway, it sounds like you have thought long and hard about this, and we wish you the best.

Warm regards, and we will see you at the U.N.,

The Rest of the States

March 07, 2014

Make Stuff and Carry On

Selling a house is a drag, and I can report that trying to sell a house while home alone for a month with a seven-month old is an extreme drag.  I felt pretty good for the first three weeks but this week my spirits are low, I can't lie.  While it may not be a long time in the life of a home sale, this month feels to me like it may never end.

Since my time is largely spent either alone or with a couple of sweet creatures who can't understand a word I'm saying, I have a lot of time to think.  As a result, I have wavered occasionally about our plan...too soon?  Too much?  Not the right time?  At other points, I have started to consider even more drastic options, like keeping the house and renting it out instead of selling it, or just getting an apartment in Minnesota but not really making a final decision about the house in Houston until next year.  We made the hard decision and now I just want to get started on the next phase.

In the meantime, I have stolen a few hours here and there for making things.  I can't get involved in anything too messy or complicated, in case of a sudden house-showing evacuation, so that eliminates a lot of what I was hoping to work on this year. But on the other hand, there are other projects; patterns and projects which can still provide both opportunities for learning and also just the pleasure of making.  I recently made this bag from a pattern in a cool book called Linen Wool Cotton.  It turned out that the pattern had some mistakes, but the book remains beautiful and inspiring.



February 22, 2014

A Wise Maker Said (Last Weekend On the Radio)

Last weekend I turned on the radio just in time to hear a snippet of a program to which I rarely listen, but my interest was piqued by the discussion.  The guest was an artist whose name is Ann Hamilton.  Someone asked her how being a maker (the title she prefers over artist) and a teacher and a parent inform each other, and also how she keeps the maker "alive with enough nourishment, how to not claw at the small amount of time/space in [her] head?"  And this question resonated with me, as I'm sure it does with many people who feel that they fight for bits of time in order to bring their ideas to life.

I don't know anything about this artist, so I have no idea what her work or her teaching are like, but her voice was calm and her response was soothing.  Just listening to her response made me feel instantly more relaxed about what I might be able to do in the coming days, weeks, years. I could feel my brow loosening and my shoulders unfolding as she responded to the question.

February 08, 2014

I Want the Village

We were never supposed to move to Houston.  My husband and I agreed when we got married that we would never move to Houston; we were united in our sense that it was the wrong place to build our lives, in spite of his professional opportunities there.  Geography has been a tricky puzzle for us from day one, but we believed we would eventually find a way around it.

That was seven-ish years ago.  The surprise we have felt at not hating life in Houston, and even rather enjoying it, has been noted on many occasions in this blog; and has been accompanied by multiple other surprises since moving here.