accepting adjustments

I’m beginning to realize that this part of my life is going to be require a constant acceptance of adjustments. These days I’m making adjustments to articles of clothing that I made, specifically this, which originally blogged about here

I need to add pieces down the front so that I can button in. I’ve gotten a little wider. Heh. And I am almost finished lining it so that the ugly yellow sweatshirt-base inside is hidden, finally.

There are other adjustments too — medications and expectations. I just don’t have the energy and stamina to do what I used to do. That’s the downside of aging, unless you are wealthy enough to afford massages and personal trainers and hot tubs.

And now I have to adjust my budget to adjust to the fact that I’ve spent whatever cushion I’ve had for fun stuff for me and my family. Many college classmates of mine, as well as relatives my age, have homes both here in the Northeast and in the South, and they enjoy the best of both worlds with plenty of resources to spare. I’m envious. But then again, there are college classmates and relatives of mine who are no longer alive.

I guess I fall somewhere in the middle, and that has to be OK; I will keep adjusting to a simpler life.

Although if we add a puppy to this family, life will not be that simple for a while — but it will be more fun and more work. My grandson, an only and often lonely child, needs a dog who will be more than a pet — more like another sibling.

I like the idea of having a dog. Maybe she (I want to get a female) will encourage me to get out and walk more.

2 skills, 1 talent

I figure that a skill is something you learn and a talent is something you are born with.

Over my employed years, I developed all sorts of skills, but I still maintain that the two most practical and useful skills — ones that I learned more than a half-century ago — are sewing and typing.

At one time or another I have earned money because I was able to do each, and, as years went by, both skills became essential to fulfilling various creative urges.

My writing has always been dependent on my typing, since I think too fast to write things down by hand. I wind up not being able to read my writing. And editing?! Well, why use anything but a computer?

Tonight, I finished lining one of my crocheted bags so that I can use it as a purse. While crocheting is also one of my skills, it’s not nearly as useful as sewing. Mostly, these days, I fix clothes that I have to make them fit, taking them in, letting them out, shortening etc. depending on what I see as my style du jour.

I like to experiment combining fabric with yarn — hence my crocheted bag with a lining that includes two side pockets — one for my iphone and one for my hearing aids (odd pairing, no?)

Ultimately, improvised products like my new bag are the result of the one talent I have that I find most useful. In my closet is a denim jacket with knitting sleeves that began as a XXL woman’s denim short sleeved button-down-the-front dress that I bought for $3. I took off the sleeves, cut off the skirt part of the dress, sewed on knitted sleeves, a knitted pocket, and a ribbed jacket bottom — and now I have one-of-a-kind denim jacket.

I improvise when I cook, I improvise songs, and I’ve pretty much come to see that I improvise my life in general these days.

It will be interesting to find out how that works for me now that I have no schedule, no purpose/task, no expectations.

One indication is that I’ve joined a fitness club so that I can take water aerobics for my aching back and also use their 30 minute exercise circuit. There won’t be much chance for improvising there. I hope I don’t go and improvise a reason not go.

I am good at improvising. I don’t need patterns or anything but the most rudimentary of instructions. Give me a creative project with a useful goal and I’ll improvise a way to get there. Give me a goal, and I’ll improvise a project to get there.

Tomorrow I will have a new one-of-a-kind bag. Photo to follow.

a father’s words
a daughter’s pictures

After the death of her father, Melissa Volker discovered some uncanny similarities between her photos and the poems in a collected, unpublished work of his.

As a tribute and a tether, she brings them together here — a poignant sharing meaningful to parents, children, those who have lost, those who love.

Word and pictures. Together a common vision.

The above is the description of my daughter’s book, which she is publishing online through
The title of this book of her dad’s poetry and her photos is the title he gave his collections of poems: “Seeworld: visions from the wonderground,” and you can get a preview of it here.
The poems are as much for children as for adults. They are filled with unique images that reflect the simple wonders of nature. The photographs visually capture that simplicity and that wonder, adding to the delight of the poems themselves.
“Seeworld” would make a great holiday gift for any family that treasures the special relationship that a daughter can have with her father.
(Of course, this proud mama just can’t resist plugging the publication.)

a father’s words, a…
By W.A. Frankonis an…

Busy Happy Hands

While this is going to sound contrary to my strong feminist persuasions, I have been known to admit that the two most useful skills I ever learned are typing and sewing. I can type as fast as I think. That’s why I blog so much. I am fleet fingered, and, in my previous career as a writer faced with constant deadlines, I have found the typing skills I learned in high school to be invaluable.

In my role as mother, in my interests in costume construction, in my obsession with wearing clothes that fit well, in my years of gaining and losing a few pounds here and there, knowing how to sew has come in very handy as well.

I like to make something out of nothing, to take an old idea and give it a new spin. I like to work with color and texture, form and function.

That’s why I also knit and crochet. When I retired, I officially registered as a small business so that I could sell what I make. I thought I would do a few craft fairs every year, and the first year I did. But I learned that what I really like is designing and making stuff. What I hate is the record keeping and the hard physical work of setting up and taking down a craft booth and all of the tedium that goes along with standing around all day waiting for someone to buy something. This October, I’ll be doing my last big craft fair. At least I think that will be my last.

So, what exactly to I make and sell, you wonder.

One night several years ago, while I was still employed full-time, I saw Ally McBeal wearing a kind of short, snug-fitting lacey poncho. It looked like a circular shawl that you could slip over your head and it wouldn’t fall off your shoulders. After a few false starts, I designed and made one of my own and wore it to work. That very day, two people asked me to make one for them. And so I did, and the next thing I knew I was getting more and more orders. So, I made a whole bunch of them and started a little craft business to sell my “spiral shawls.” This is an example of one.


Last winter, in an effort to use up leftover yarn, I made a washable rolled brim hat that is adjustable. Then I made several and gave them away to my friends — who wore them to work. Yup. People asked them where they got them etc. etc. Over the past several months, I’ve completed two dozen of my Indestructible Adjustable Hat, which I also will sell at the October craft fair.

I’m one of those people who can’t just sit and watch the world go by. I have to keep my hands busy. If I don’t, I eat.

Now I’m crocheting a Winnie the Pooh bear for my grandson and a sweater vest for my mother. I suppose I could clean the bathroom or weed out my books or organize my pantry. But those things don’t make my hands happy.