Some history.... If you like history, read on. If, like me, you slept through history class, skip this. You may or may not fall asleep. This is as Readers Digest as it gets I'm afraid.
I was born in the South in the 50's. It's a part of who I am. It's a culture, a heritage, an identity. I have not lived in the South since I was 13. Never mind that small detail. If you were born in the South, it never leaves you. When my father came home that fateful day, and announced we were moving above the Mason-Dixon line, I was panic stricken. "There are Yankees there", I quivered. I was sure my life was over.
I am part Irish. Scots-Irish like everyone else in the US. Most people are not aware that there is very little pure Irish left. That has to do with a lot of clan wars, and the British not liking the Gaelic folks, and a Famine, and Scottish border guards, and a lot of other history stuff that will put you to sleep. If you aren't already. I have all the recessive genes that come with the race. So does my son, even though his dad is a dark skinned, dark eyed German. My hubs calls the recessives the "Beauty" genes.
I heard recently that red hair is becoming extinct from the gene pool. I felt sad. Not that I have anything against the dark skinned, dark eyed, tan people, who never get a sunburn at the beach. Hubs never wears sunscreen. He looks like a telephone pole in the summer. HIS dad looks like pitch tar. I go to the mailbox on a sunny day and blister. My kid's dermatologist told me the best thing I ever did for him, was to marry a dark skinned person. I wouldn't last 5 seconds in the desert.
Ireland was always just a place on the globe to me. The little piece of land next to England. Then I went there. It rocked my world. Suddenly, I understood some of my Grandmother's behavior. She always acted like she was from high society although clearly poor. Hard to shake off, the poverty legacy. When she died we almost had to take up a collection to bury her. That's poor. She did one very memorable thing for me when I was about 10 or 11 years old. She taught me to crochet. I will come back to that.
I grew up, went to college, got a degree in Geology, got married. We moved to Syracuse. Not the Deep South. Not by a long shot. When our realtor informed us the average snowfall in Syracuse was 120 inches, I had an anxiety attack. Couldn't find a job in my field, so I did what I could. Our son was born, I learned to cross country ski, took voice lessons, fixed up two old houses, moved three times and adapted. For five years. Five long, cold, dark years. Then we got out.
We moved to Lancaster. It was so bright here I needed sunglasses in the house. I had turned into a vole. The kid started school, I took more voice lessons and went to work. As a Geologist. Finally. Then I was in a head-on car accident. It was summer of 1991 and I was 34.
Some forks in the road are hardly noticeable. Some are a welcome change from the grind. Some take you into uncharted territory. This thing stunk. I wanted to go back....It wasn't going to happen. I am going to skip the gory details and just say I became partially paralyzed in all 4 limbs, and my back is a mess. And there is pain. Really bad pain.
So, here I sat on the couch, no job, no avocational stuff to do, bored out of my mind. I don't do couch potato. I go bonkers.
I found the local university art department. I took loads of classes. I discovered Sundance (that place right next to Heaven in the Utah Mountains), and their little art program there, which was very new back then. I had them all to myself. I soaked it in. They were very nurturing. It changed me. I worked my butt off to learn something worthwhile. I discovered I could draw, paint, make pots, and sculpt. I always loved art. It fit.
The problem with having the injuries I do is that things can go wrong. I was in the hospital for something in about 2006 and had a long recovery. I was stuck on the couch again and going bonkers again. The hubs took me to Barnes and Noble and I bought some magazines. One of them was CROCHET! I hadn't done any crochet since the kid was a baby. I thought it might fill the couch time, so I didn't lose my sanity.
Well heck. I liked it too much to put it aside after the couch ride was over. I learned to read patterns. You have to just jump sometimes. Fake it. Pretend you know what you are doing. I already knew how to sew. Well. How hard could this be? I discovered that having Irish ancestry and crochet were inextricably linked. It was in my genes. I read a ton of books on the subject. I looked for some kindred spirits in the local yarnie community, but didn't find any. What I found was Ravelry.
I could go on and on about what Ravelry has done for me. Ravelry is everything Facebook is not. It is a group of millions of people who all share the same bond. They love fiber arts. I found the CGOA on Ravelry. (Crochet Guild of America). I jump started the Ravelry Chapter of the CGOA. I made friends from total strangers. I found out about the CGOA conferences. I attended two, and took 24 hours of classes at each. I grew. I made real friends, and found a mentor who cares about me. I am becoming a designer because of Ravelry and the CGOA. I am becoming the person I always wanted to be. How cool is that? [ETA: I've now attended an annual CGOA conference every year since the first, and racked up tons of classes. I wouldn't dream of not going!]
So, now I am to the part of the story where I sum everything up. Trouble is it doesn't fit into a nice little package. I have trouble with the summation. I truly hate saccharin endings too. I will just say that I love what I am doing. I have grown through it. You can't always bargain your way around things. There are no If's and Then's when the car coming in the other direction is in your lane. You take stock of the damage and move on. If you don't, you risk being stuck and life goes on without you. Many people have "Stuff" happen to them. The choice I made was to not let it define me.
If you want to find me on Ravelry, I am tk-arts. I am the president of the "Cyber Crochet of cgoa" Chapter. We are an approved, all internet, chapter of the guild. We have some very cool people in our group. We like almost everyone and don't care if you are a member of the CGOA. We just ask that you play nice. We will try to make a crocheter of you.