Friday, May 09, 2014

The new shawlette

New projects are always exciting. They have none of the anxiety or failed dreams that old projects have attached to them. In fact, sometimes after working on a new project for a while, you have the energy to go back to an old project you had put aside.

new shawlette

This is the veriest beginning (first 10 rows) of the Wedgewood shawlette from "Sock-Yarn Shawls." The yarn is a Lorna's Laces yarn. If I remember correctly, the color is called Wonderstone. I bought the yarn specifically with a shawlette in mind but until I got that book, I didn't see a pattern for it that I liked.


For some reason the other day (the things your mind gets into when you are invigilating exams), I got to thinking of childhood fears. I can't speak to the pre-language, pre-memory fears that kids have. But I remember two fears vividly from childhood:

1. Bees and wasps

2. "Deep" water, where "deep" was anything that I couldn't stand up in and have my head over the surface.

I don't know where #1 came from, I suppose it was having been stung in the past. (Though also the buzzing. The buzzing still bothers me even though I'm considerably less concerned about bees and wasps). When I was a kid, I'd start crying if there were a lot of bees or wasps in an area, and I would do my best not to walk past them. I remember one grade-school field trip where we had to walk past either a privet or a honeysuckle that was flowering and covered with bees, and for me, it was very frightening. (However, I didn't consider the option of just sitting down and refusing to walk past it. That didn't occur to me.)

Eventually I got over the fear of bees. Actual bees (like honeybees or bumblebees) really aren't that prone to sting unless you grab them or threaten their nest. I have stood a foot or less from bees visiting flowers (most recently, the holly bush by my front door) and they've totally ignored me.

Wasps I'm still leery of. Wasps can sting multiple times and unlike honeybees, they don't die after stinging, and I can't help but think there's some instinctive thing that stays the honeybee's hand, so to speak: "Do you really want to die on THIS hill today?" Wasps also seem more prone to pursuit.

(Granted, I have never encountered the so-called "killer bees," or at least never got near a nest of them. I've heard horror stories about them. And actually, the news reports that started coming out in the 70s about the "killer bees" moving north may have been part of what fueled my fear).

I guess I'd say I have a healthy respect for them now. I don't like hanging around in an area where a yellow jacket or something is buzzing around, but I don't start crying or run away.

The fear of deep water is easier to pinpoint. As a small kid, I took swimming lessons. The first year or so was good - I had a good teacher, it was mostly fun. But the last year I took them, the last day, they were trying to encourage the kids to jump into the deep end (I was six, that may help set the stage). They encouraged us to get up on the low dive board and jump off.

I did, I climbed up there, but once I was out on the board, I decided it was too high and the water looked too deep and empty, and I didn't want to do it.

Now, a GOOD swim teacher would have said, "That's okay, honey, just come back down. If you want to try going in the deep end, you could climb down the ladder into the pool. Or not, if you're not ready yet."

Instead, the young instructor (who was probably a college student and probably really didn't know any better, but still) picked me up and THREW me into the pool. Now, granted, I didn't sink or anything, and another instructor who was already in there grabbed me as soon as I hit the water.

But I was DONE. Never wanted anything to do with other than the shallowest end of the pool ever again. Cried over the idea of going near "deep" water. Cried going over bridges in the car (or footbridges).

It took a long time but I got over that fear too - in this case, it was thanks to a caring swim instructor at the day camp I went to a few years later. She worked with me one-on-one, and eventually I was able to swim into the deep end with her there, and then swim the width of the pool across the deep end, and then finally swim the whole length of the pool (I think that was what got me the Red Cross "Intermediate" swimmer card - they used to do tests and you got a card at the end of day camp (we had a ceremony) if you passed the test). And I wound up swimming JV in high school, and deep water doesn't bother me any more. (Bridges still kind of do, but that's more the realization that falling OFF a bridge while in my car would be much more complicated to survive than jumping or diving off a low bridge into deep water would be)

The funny thing is, a lot of more-typical childhood fears didn't get to me. I wasn't ever afraid of the dark, at least not when I was old enough to remember such fears. And even now, the dark generally doesn't bother me....I've done stuff like gone into the windowless prep rooms and if I know right where the thing I need is, I don't bother to put the light on.

And monsters. As long as I was old enough to remember, I never really believed monsters existed. Oh, there were the funny Sesame Street monsters - no one could be afraid of Cookie Monster or Grover - but also, I knew on some level that those were puppets being moved and voiced by people.

I was afraid of pain and things like shots, but I think everyone is as a kid. (I still don't like getting vaccinations and always expect it to hurt more than it does).

And I was not formerly claustrophobic, but I kind of am now, in very specific situations - cases where there is one narrow entry to a place, and it's hard to get into or out of, and if that entry is blocked there's no other exit. I can't think of going into the crawl space under my house without feeling kind of ill (I had to look away one time when a plumber had to do it to work on something). Also, going into the attic bothers me, and while I could probably use it for storage, I don't, because I don't like the thought of going up there. Elevators sometimes bother me, too - then again, I briefly got stuck in an elevator in the old Graduate Library at Michigan.

Spiders don't bother me, especially if I know it's a non-venomous one. (I find a shoe and squash any black widows I see). I've caught wolf spiders in a glass and let them go outdoors if they happen to blunder into my house. And snakes don't really bother me. I wouldn't like meeting up with a venomous one out in the field, but so far I've only ever seen clearly non-venomous ones. ("Black racers" and rough green snakes, and I have rough earth snakes that live in my yard). 


I just realized I will be at graduation during the MLP season four finale.

This is my face when I realized that:

 Yes, it will be re-run (except the Sunday re-run is while I'm in church). I don't have a dvr.

And I'd so much rather be in my nice cool house than sitting on a hard metal chair in black gabardine robes in the bright sun as the temperature climbs towards 90. But you do the things expected of you, not the things you want to do.

(We are expected to be at graduation, and have to fill out a form to request an absence. I presume this happens because they were very embarrassed one year to find the faculty seats nearly empty or something. On my dad's campus - which was much larger - there was a rota and unless you were department chair, you really only had to go to every fifth graduation or so.

This year, I don't think any of the students I worked closely with are graduating. And I admit it: while I like some of the pomp and tradition, being out on the football field really isn't desirable. It's hot, it's bright, it's uncomfortable....)

1 comment:

Joan said...

I think you should treat yourself to a dvr as a reward for having survived the trimester. They are not that expensive.