Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 21

Part of my attempts at remaining very calm and mellow about things is that I try my best to not get too emotionally riled up either positively or negatively.  That's not to say that I don't get happy or sad, but I temper it with the knowledge that emotions are controllable and that they are temporary.  As a result, I generally find it to be somewhat silly to be proud of most things.

Take being an American for example.  If you're born in America, you didn't choose to be an American, you played no part in your being American, and in fact, you're American by sheer luck of the draw.  It's actually rather silly to be proud of something that you had nothing to do with.  I'm not talking about being proud of a sports team for their performance, but they won, not you.  It's the same way for being American.  

That being said, there is one thing that I have done, that I am responsible for that I'm proud of.  I'm proud of my willingness to try almost anything at least three times.  Why three times?  The first time you try something, you have no idea what you're doing, so you can't really trust the test results.  After the second trial, you've only got one data point that you can trust, and you can't make a decision based on a single piece of data.  After the third test, you've got two data points, and while two really isn't ideal for a decision, you can start to get a sense of a trend.  Two negatives tell you that you're probably going to continue to dislike something, two positives tell you that you're most likely to continue to like something, and one of each means you need more testing.

I tried this out last weekend.  Saturday, Katie, a couple of our friends, and I went out to a nearby town, and Katie and I learned how to spin yarn using a drop spindle.  Given that I can't knit, crochet, and generally don't understand fiber arts, I didn't really expect to get into it.  However, I gave it a shot because I'll try anything at least three times.  

I'll admit it was a bit rough at the beginning.  We were at a store that sells fiber and spinning supplies and has a spinning get together now and then.  After about five minutes of stumbling through badly, the owner of the store got fed up.  She said "Ok, this is driving me crazy, come here and I'll give you a few pointers".  After about ten minutes of impromptu lessons, I tried again, and was much better.  By the end of the day, I was doing what's called "free spinning".  This is when instead of spinning a short distance, stopping to pull out some more fiber, and then continuing, you pull out fiber while you spin.  This is the first major milestone in spinning.  

Saturday, Katie and I fell in love with spinning. Yeah, it's not exactly the "manliest" hobby that we could have picked up, but I also make my own kilts.  I think it's pretty safe to say that I don't give a damn about being manly.  I love spinning because it's soothing.  I have to concentrate, but not too much.  I have to concentrate, but not on anything that's terribly mentally taxing.  I'm developing a new skill, which I find thrilling.  There's fiber dyed fun colors from several sources.  Most importantly, you're actually making something.  You're even doing more than making something, because you're not making an end product.  When  you're making a kilt, you're done with it as soon as the kilt's actually made.  However, with spinning, when you're done making yarn, you're only halfway done with the fun.  You then get to make stuff with your yarn.  I think the best of all of these is a man who spun the thread, dyed it, wove it, and then made a kilt out of it.  

A few weeks ago, Katie and one of her coworkers were discussing post-apocalyptic survival skills and determined that we're better off than most.  We own axes and knives, which we know how to use.  We're handy at creating things, are quick to learn new things, and willing to try anything.  We can mend (and make) our own clothes, and with our new skill, we can even make the fabric that we can make our clothes out of.  How cool is that?

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