An interesting view…

So bear with me I’m posting from my phone, I sit surrounded by boxes of clothing and paperwork and trinkets sorting through and throwing away and building massive give away piles.

Sometimes something hits me, remembering a past that seems now long ago or a person even a dog that I lost along the way.  What of this do I keep and what to let go?  How many more pictures can I hang before I run out of wall?

On the one hand shedding some of this is incredibly freeing but on the other I miss a lot of the past.  I will grapple with this most likely for the rest of my life but it’s nice to know I have a few things to reflect and remember over.

Years ago in October I had a mentor pass away in a boating accident, I came across the news clipping last night along with custom tee shirts a friend made with his picture and the word “hero”, I came across a tee shirt a dear friend gave me with nothing but a picture of a chair on it.  So many things I drag around and yes I suppose it’s time to let some go.

My precious Akita’s ashes still sit by my bedside the dog I worshipped (she was amazing) various cards from the love of my life and stuffed animals, etc from my K that I hold dear.  Pictures and even funeral programs it has been an adventure.

I have charechatures from 8 years old on to a more recent 25 ish (well not all that recent I guess).  Box stamps from a former employer, hats, pens and notepads, all manner of random shit that I think we all tend to drag around.

My question is such, do I desperately cling to these pasts or move on?  Do I do a combination of both?

I think that in the coming days I might actually finally spread my pups ashes and play guitar in honor of my lost mentor.  I would view these as the best way to honor both. And my beloved Soja pup will have a bag of haribo gummy bears to keep her company (she loved gummy bears).

I will sort my paperwork and keep that which is truly dear (I have a happy one month anniversary card still) and the rest who knows.

The interesting thought is that I have gone through much of my life absolutely blind to the blessings I have been given through those around me.  My family my K my pup and many friends and customers.  

I had a good run but I don’t think I’m ready to give up yet!

Miss sojas stone
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A Positive Day

Positive action pays off

So my last post was about keeping my head up and I mentioned that I was going to pour some effort into finding a more stable career track. Shortly after firing off several resumes my work began to pay off! I got a call for an interview which I went to this morning and the interview in my opinion went very well!

For me the environment seemed quite ideal, the hours are constant and stable, and the benefits are decent. I now play the waiting game after sending my follow up email and of course am still searching as well. The interesting thing I need to keep in the forefront of my mind is that had I just sat in a semi depressive state waiting for work to pick up I would have lost this particular opportunity. It was in forcing myself to take positive action where I found the opportunity not in sitting waiting for it to just swing by my place for dinner.

Yesterday evening I started working on a new little project I’ve been thinking about for some time now and such that most of my free attention has been focused on that I’ve really not much else to post about today. I just wanted to get the thought of positive action out there.

And just because I don’t want you to feel short changed on content I highly recommend you check out DawnSeeker’s Depression Emergency Kit as it’s well written and has already helped me.

Roll on cognitive wheel,

~J

Forward Momentum

I still have plenty of fight left maybe it’s time to dream again.

Life continues…… Despite me taking my day of self reflection and avoidance of people the world does not stop just because I did for a day. In all honestly things are not that bad this morning! I could go on about all the things I don’t have or the faults that I do have but that really gets me nowhere at all. Today I think I will work to spend every minute of my time just a little more wisely.

I’m slightly annoyed and incredibly tired of trying to pick up a shift or two here or there and payday doesn’t come soon enough. Reality is, I’ve got it pretty good my kitchen is stocked and I live in a decent neighborhood. Things could be much worse so there is no sense in dwelling on any of that. After all we create our own situations is this not true? So it’s time to spend today shifting focus from past and present to the near future. We don’t naturally walk backwards it’s just not in our biology so why is it that I spent so much time trying to make that work?

Odd when I think about it, with all this self reflection I suppose I do risk dropping back into a depression again. Of course if I choose to bottle it up and ignore it how can I ever progress past this dangerous ledge that I seem to keep skirting? Nope, I don’t think I want to do that anymore so off we go! In the absence of a shift this morning I have a little bit of time to sit with a cup of good coffee and my thoughts over breakfast. The one meal I rarely miss is breakfast, it’s become the cornerstone of my mornings whether I can sleep or not.

So today (after breakfast of course) I will hit it hard looking for a more stable career track. I will make some calls, send some emails, fire off some resumes, and somewhere in that mess I will sit down and put together a nice list of goals and values for the next 3 months or so. Thinking too far ahead is dangerous for me, thinking too far behind buys me nothing. I’ve got to stay within a nice small window for now until I can achieve some stability. Best to keep thinking but not think too much!

I much too often wonder what life would be like today had I chosen a different track long ago? Would I be successful? What is the definition of success for me? Yes I think too much. Continuing this thought (and there I go thinking again), perhaps something I lost along the way was the ability to dream. I lost the ability to look forward and feel the wonders of excitement about the future again and have real actual goals. This is today’s task for me and I hope it keeps my direction properly aimed.

Momentum is an interesting word, a near nebulous term I think much like the word “mechanism”. Words have interested me lately as I read other bloggers and tap into some of my older books as I have unpacked them. I am currently focused on a passage from Dante’s Divine Comedy, Purgatorio (Purgatory) 25th canto line 4 “Therefore, like one who will not stop but moves along his path, no matter what he sees, if he is goaded by necessity….”.

I’m a huge fan of Dante’s works, in particular Vita Nuova (The New Life). It’s quite interesting that the opening of the 25th canto of purgatory is the start of the ascent from the 6th terrace to the 7th (Gluttony to Lust) I suppose in a way our dreams and hopes for the future could be easily connected to them both. I will re-read this canto today I think, if not for anything than to have consumed something resembling art today. I have 3 translations of this wonderful book and much like I do with the Hawaiian creation chant the Kumulipo, I will enjoy comparing the translations today.

And so this post is getting a little bit too long now, I have in fact defined two very short term goals while typing this though. I will finish breakfast, pull a few books from the shelf, and enjoy something I haven’t done in a long while. I will spend a short time comparing old writings and let myself get lost for a half hour or so in deep thought. I will then be off to action today, no more walking backwards.

Time to dream again,

~J

A Day Can Change In A Minute!

Do not discriminate against the downtrodden for often they most understand ill fate…..

I haven’t cracked my laptop in weeks, I’ve enjoyed it and I had no plans to blog at all today or for a few days even.  Then today changed, all within well… a minute or so!  I was returning home via the interstate here and on the off ramp to the road that would take me on my way home turning right when I noticed in the first left turn lane (for some reason lefty’s get two righty’s get one… hrmm) there was some young kid stalled out at the end.  Now this may seem to be just a simple bummer but we’re at the peak of rush hour and man it can get brutal.

Then something wonderful happened that changed my view of life and humanity as I have known it the last few days on it’s ass.  There are a few “regular” vagrants living under this bridge, this underpass if you will.  Well, 7 by my count over the last few weeks all the same all the time panhandling and what not.  ALL 7 of them came rushing out and set up, one flagging and the other 6 preparing to push as the light turned green.  The car in the far left lane knowingly hit his hazards so that they could cut in front of him to get to the gas station just a block away.

Not thinking, I cut over and wedged myself in front of the BMW that was trying to cut around, and shielding the car pushers as they managed to get the poor young kid up the street and to the gas station.  The only person not cheering during rush hour when everyone is trying to get home on a Tuesday evening…. the BMW driver who was instead cursing me.  I shrugged, continued to follow the car pushers and turned around to go back home.

often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered

I sacrificed a block, those on the off ramp sacrificed 15 minutes.  The so called “downtrodden vagrants” sacrificed sweat, energy, and a compassion that made my day.  Everyone hooting and hollering and giving thumbs up, it reminded me that yes there is humanity out there.  It reminded me that often the greatest of humanity lies in those that have suffered.  I know several people who have rebuilt and done great things, truth be told that’s where I am at this point in my life.  To see the “lowlife” come quickly to aid while one that is more apt to help attempt to skirt the entire issue putting others lives at risk was polarizing in my mind.

I promised myself if I ever happen into a bit of good luck and enough spare change and the same “Compassionate Seven” are still there, I will march my lucky ass right on up the street and buy each one of them dinner!  What is interesting to think of and what is on my thoughts right now is that events like this happen every day, probably every minute across the globe.  I cant help but realize how blessed I am at this point in my life.

This gives me a great appreciation for experience, a great hope for humanity and assistance, and a great reason to be a better person tomorrow.

So Mr. BMW, you will be forgotten probably by the time I publish this.  To the “Compassionate Seven” I can only hope that my memory of your selflessness lives on throughout my life and actions and may you have touched the lives of all those others cheering out their windows at you as you assisted someone more fortunate.  I spent almost an hour coming up with the top quote for this article but I cannot take credit for it inexplicably belongs to you.

Be a better person regardless of where you are in life, people are changed by the strangest of things!

~J

Wow I actually did it! Well some of it.

I told myself I was going to take it easy this weekend I needed to for my health and sanity.  This move and everything else going on has me wound tight I’m tired and everything hurts and yet I’m wound.

I suppose I would not be fair to myself to call it a fail, I’ll just say “redirected goal setting”.

Yesterday I didn’t fare well on the take it easy goal but I’m happy with what I accomplished.  I suppose I would not be fair to myself to call it a fail, I’ll just say “redirected goal setting”.  After all I accomplished a lot just not my original intended goal!

Today I still started out on Much the same way, moving this and that and running back and forth from storage.  Then, and don’t laugh I spent 3 hours sanding a small plank of wood by hand!  This was my me time I was absolutely in heaven!

I sanded it tediously with a block to hold my sandpaper all the way up to 1000 grit!  14 different cycles and I was happy! In my own little world giving “life” to this project.  I probably would have gone even farther except the rain came.

Okay, I’ve got boxes to go through anyway.  What I found funny is I rushed around to find the softest towel I could find so I could lean the piece against the wall.  Not for fear of damaging the wall but for fear of damaging the piece!  Then back to move mode.

I was in auto pilot, not void of thought but void of introspection.

As I sit here over dinner I keep thinking about the day and how my overall mood changed at each step.  Going through boxes of my past there’s a lot of steps hence a lot of mood swings.  For the greater part of the day I was in auto pilot, not void of thought but void of introspection.

When I started sanding the wood I figured I would just start and let the project take a few weeks.  Honestly I have no idea what I’m going to make it into a bench?? A nightstand?? The fact is I was so focused I felt the rest of the world didn’t exist.  It didn’t need to.

I had my place, I was comfortable truly comfortable.  I talked to the wood, gently feeling for any imperfections as I worked.  Wow reading that last bit to myself it sounds a bit uhm sick.  I was focused and yes, there were some imperfections that I could not fix. Strangely I accepted incapability rather than considering it failure.

For anyone interested lol the plank is a slab of “beetle kill” pine, the dark stripe up the outer edges are caused by a fungus that the beetles carry but yes the featured pic is my buddy!

When life gets rough like sandpaper let it make you smooth!

~Joe 

Feeling a Bit More Free

Sometimes you need to let go of some things.

If you’ve been reading any of my prior posts you will know that I am preparing for a move to a new apartment on the first.  I have also filled two storage units with items from the home I lived in about 3 years ago and have “stuff” scattered about two other family homes.  While I’m not exactly a hoarder, I must admit that uhm…. well….

*My Name is Joe and I’m a Packrat…*

Rather than my normal morning ritual of reading the paper over my coffee I began going through old CD’s and DVD’s that I have kept for the better part of 18 years.  Old backups, outdated software, just stacks and stacks of plain “old”.  Boxes filled with cd books stuffed fat, thousands!!

It took about an hour and a half before I decided anything labeled “backup June 2002” needed to just be dumped.  I haven’t had access to these CD’s in 3 years, and god only knows the last time I’ve pulled anything from them if ever.  So what was going to be a several day project quickly turned into another hour and I was done.  I pared two file boxes worth of CD/DVD books to one single book.  Yes from thousands to less than a hundred.

Being one with severe ADHD I’ve had a million hobbies over the long haul and the amount of stuff I have been dragging around since I achieved self consciousness as a child reflects that.

Oddly enough, I found the entire process rather enjoyable!  I feel a bit more free right now, dumping old files from a company long gone and a career I’m hoping to never return to felt like removing a pair of handcuffs.  In fact, dumping a lot of the things I’ve made decisions on yesterday and this morning has made me feel just a little bit lighter.

Why is it that we tend to hold on to some things that serve no utility and often really have no emotional value either?  Being one with severe ADHD I’ve had a million hobbies over the long haul and the amount of stuff I have been dragging around since I achieved self consciousness as a child reflects that.  Do I really need that electric motor from the remote control car I had when I was 12, or that sucker in the shape of a bear that someone gave me when I was 16?  Hah, not so much no.

Granted there are a few trinkets with great emotional value, and I plan on assembling a few “memory” boxes.  I see no need for a 5X10 “memory” storage unit anymore though!!  So today it is onward, hoping to do at least one more load of boxes though I don’t think I’m going to go as hard as I did yesterday.  I’ve got to help a friend figure out some technical things in preparation to a function he has tomorrow and lets face it, I’m in a good mood but holy hell I’m tired!

Keep the candy not the wrapper,

~Joe

Life does get better if you work!

Exciting past 24 hours!

So as I type this I am chomping on a particularly darn good egg sandwich (I love my toaster with the egg poacher sidecar) and waiting for another exciting moment.

Let me rewind, in my last post I mentioned that I was looking forward to obtaining a new apartment as well as hopefully a new career in woodworking.  Later yesterday I received word…. the apartment went through!!!  Come the first I will have my own little space in the world for the first time in a long time, I almost couldn’t sleep I was so excited!  While it was slightly difficult to wait patiently to find out though I made it through.

I’m not going to say wish me luck, I’m going to say wish me positivity!

So fast forward this morning, I set my alarm for 6:30 and popped  out of bed at 5:00 with sheer excitement.  In less than an hour I will take to the road on my way to interview for this woodworking position.  I am currently well dressed wearing one of my best shirts and my Italian silk vest and I’m absolutely pumped.  I have a sneaking suspicion that if I maintain a positive attitude this morning I can clinch this thing.

I’m not going to say wish me luck, I’m going to say wish me positivity!  If there is anything that is going to get me this position it’s going to be a positive attitude, confidence, and honesty during my interview.  Very little “just happens” we have to be the catalyst and make things happen.  I will update you on how it goes later.

Be the catalyst to change for the better,

~Joe

Cleaning House

Realizing How Much Baggage I Carry

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Sometimes it’s good to take out the trash!

Like most people during a transitional period I have been recently going through my possessions, boxes and tubs of things I have pack ratted away over a period of time. Granted not all of my stuff is with me and is stored at another location and I must wait to go through that, I am still able to go through what I do have with me. I started this process on a whim as something to pass the days as I wait to hear back from potential employers and it’s becoming an incredible experience thus far.

I’ve always had two habits when it comes to “stuff”:

  1. I collect it
  2. I randomly jam it in tubs and boxes and forget about it

 

 

Sometimes I’ll need something and start going through tub after tub looking for what I needed (often never finding it) and pulling out other trinkets and baubles along the way to mess with “later”. This cycle results in things lying around in stacks until eventually I shift it to…. You guessed it another tub, hah!!! Going through every so often and actually discarding items that I do not, and will not ever need is one thing. Going through and realizing that the cost of keeping something around that I may need sometime in the distant future is a whole new ballgame altogether!

our emotional well-being is often impacted negatively by clutter, disorganization, confusion, and the sense of being overwhelmed when trying to clean up

I suppose I should explain what I am intending to relay when I mention the word cost; from my experience in various warehouse and business settings I have come to learn that inventory has costs that are not directly tied to the purchase price of an item. These costs are the time to move items from one shelf to another, the time spent finding an item, and of course the cost of space where the item resides. Add to those an emotional cost that is often connected to the negative aspects of clutter and disorganization as it relates to personal possessions. Quite simply, our emotional well-being is often impacted negatively by clutter, disorganization, confusion, and the sense of being overwhelmed when trying to clean up.

Initially I had no idea where to start, the first tub had me pulling things out willy-nilly thinking “wow I forgot about this!!” and slipping into my cycle of pulling things out only to create more clutter and disorganization. Eventually I started looking at the items I had spread out over the floor; I stood up and grabbed a trash bag. Quietly and thoughtfully taking each item and focusing my thoughts on the cost of each item and how important it really was to me. As I began judging each item carefully and deciding whether to keep it, throw it away, or give it away things slowly began to change for me emotionally.

I began to feel a strange freedom from a lot of possessions that ordinarily I would never part with. I began to feel more at peace in my surroundings and lighter overall. The idea that when I am done I will know what I have and where it is has overcome my annoyance with how time consuming and tedious this process has become in comparison to my original “tub stuffing” method.   I will wholeheartedly admit however, I had to force myself the first few hours to think slowly and carefully about each item and what to do with it and this was no easy task at first.

I’ve found an amazing goldmine of items (some still sealed in the box!) that I will be in need of in a couple of months when I make my move to a new home. I also managed to consolidate and empty two tubs within just half a day! Two tubs!! Overall I haven’t put much of a dent in all of the stuff I have collected throughout my adult life but I have made a good dent in the possessions that I have with me during this transition. I have also found a number of items I didn’t realize I had that I will need soon thus avoiding additional unnecessary cost, and of course a few items of great emotional value to put in my little treasure boxes (I use cigar boxes for my treasures).

I feel featherweight right now emotionally, light and agile, no longer encumbered

Today’s start was a good one and I hope to keep the momentum, I didn’t think it would feel so good and expected it to be more of a tedious task that I would drop only an hour or so in. I’m actually excited to go and get a few more tubs and continue the process, it’s been rewarding knowing I can let go of a lot of things I no longer need to drag around. Almost like dumping emotional baggage at times! I feel featherweight right now emotionally, light and agile, no longer encumbered by so much stuff.

Chang Tsu once told of a story about a deaf, mute man whom many went to see to learn. (I’m going to paraphrase this as I do not remember the actual text) The student was confused as to how such a man could be so sought a teacher to which Chang Tsu replied “heaven and earth could collapse and he will not be moved, to this man losing his speech and awareness of trivial external things is like throwing away so much dirt”. I used to try and wrap my head around this thought and now I think I might have a little bit more understanding.

It’s invigorating to realize that I can part with things I no longer need or want, and to know that if I need or want something I still have the ability to put in the efforts to achieve should I simply decide to. Today was a good day!

Happy housecleaning,

~Joe

Dust Yourself Off and Go For

Where do you see yourself in five years?

me1
The author, 22 years ago

I simply want to enjoy what I do and who I work with

This question was asked of me during a job interview today for a job that I could be considered well overqualified for in a different sector than I have been in during the bulk of my working life. A long while ago I realized that if I did not change my career, I would most likely never be generally happy. While my first choice was culinary arts, the environment at entry level would grant me a level of exposure to alcohol cravings that I do not feel I am ready for presently. I decided to stretch and focus on the employer’s environment rather than actual career track as I am certain I can learn anything I wish to should I make the decision to put the effort in. To put it in a one liner “I simply want to enjoy what I do and who I work with”.

This is bound to be a decision that will have far reaching effects, a lower wage translating to a change in lifestyle as the most obvious. What of a lower wage? Perhaps a lot of my prior excessive spending (and yes alcoholism and depression) is a symptom of a much more sinister problem? If I am incredibly unhappy with what I do and no longer wish to do it, what good does it do me to make more money that is bound to get spent in other areas simply to seek some form of satisfaction with life? If I can achieve satisfaction through my work and seek positivity and joy through those I surround myself with there may not be a financial issue at all!

This interview rates as perhaps the best interview I have ever experienced in my life as I met with the owner, and each and every employee (including the company dog!). The environment appears incredibly dynamic with employees that are very close and tight knit, supporting each other and generally enjoying life. The tasks for the position are diverse as the company is small employee wise (only a handful) and in environments like that people generally have to wear many hats dependent on what the workload is at any particular time. As an ADHD adult with a touch of OCD and a consistent thirst for knowledge , this interview has done nothing but change my thought from “I need a job” to “I ABSOLUTELY NEED THIS job”

Naturally, after reviewing my resume and seeing 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field to include several years running my own corporation which I eventually sold the President hit me with the zinger: “Where do you satta-boyee yourself in five years?” oooh boy. I’m usually very quick in thinking and responding to most questions and having interviewed others myself many times through the years, I generally know what to expect during an interview whether it’s a panel or one on one. I had to think at this point as I had come to the conclusion that bombing this interview was not an option. “Truth be told sir, I just want to be able to make a living wage and wake up every morning excited to go to work; I want an environment where I can learn new things and surround myself with dynamic people whom I enjoy being around”. Not sure if I aced that answer but a few of the other team members were smiling and nodding.

 

Yes, I think I have answered that question well! Reality strikes that perhaps I answered that question more for myself to solidify what it is I really want out of my life for the next construction of myself. I have been musing over that question for years now and I can honestly say as I write this that I am content, albeit incredibly excited about my decision. I no longer care about monetary wealth, don’t get me wrong there are benefits to having a few extra greenbacks and I do have debts that I will be struggling to pay off.

The fact remains that so long as I am able to maintain my happiness and positivity, I have plenty of options to increase my income through a second job or continuing to consult in the IT sector. Coincidentally, one of the other questions asked was “One of the reasons we were very interested in you is your networking knowledge, we have some network issues. If we were to ask you to help in that area would you feel that it would be beneath you?” uhm, not at all sir I would absolutely love to help!

I’m flat broke…. and I couldn’t be happier

So my dear handful of readers I will keep you updated on how it goes. Upon getting home I immediately sent a follow up email which received a good response so I am of high spirits!! I’m flat broke, with little entertainment options where I currently am living (no TV or internet save my phone as a hot spot), and I couldn’t be happier!!! I have food in my belly, a warm place to sleep, an amazing opportunity on the horizon, and even a blog that I can use to sound off in a positive manner.

Time to make the doughnuts,

~Joe

 

The Value of Self Determination

Accomplishments despite contrary influence

Authors note: Today is Saturday, I have decided to try and make Saturday a two post day (because it’s my blog and I can!).  Be sure and scroll down to read todays other post “Coping with Societal Negativity” and of course input is always welcome! ~J

So interestingly, the last two days have given themselves up to a very excellent stream of positive consciousness for me as well as an awareness of how strong people can be. I have two stories to relay in this article, both popping up over the last couple of days and both I have found to be quite inspirational to me. The first story had me in such a good mood I can only classify it as an emotional high even though the achievement in the story had absolutely no impact on me directly. The second story while, not actually so much of a “feel good” tale illustrates a long-term determination to succeed and how our failures might assist us over the long term. So, let’s dig in:

Story one comes from a member of my favorite HipChat group (I have mentioned them in prior posts) A Farewell to Recovery. I will note that any stories that I relay in my articles are done with permission and unless requested otherwise I keep the person anonymous.

Our subject recently had a very big announcement, the achievement of a GED or General Education Diploma which is an alternative to a high school diploma here in the United States. You might think “well what’s so special about that many people have GED’s or high school diploma’s, heck that Joe guy has his GED”. What makes this story so positively refreshing to me is that this person was told throughout life that it could never be done! In fact, some of the exact words were harsh enough to include the term “retarded”. Imagine going through your early life being told what you can’t do at every turn and not hearing much about what you can accomplish.

Over the course of about a year and a half this person exhibited the drive and perseverance that most people rarely tap. A fundamentally raw persistence to accomplish what according to the surrounding environment could not be done. What I find even more inspirational about this is that a year and a half is not a particularly long time to study for a GED. Add to that the continuing conversations about the next steps, aspirations to possibly become a Veterinarian Technician or possibly something else. Someone who had nothing but “bound to fail” reinforced over and over, and now quite successfully on a forward track that many “normal” people lack the stones to achieve. This story made my day, and inspired me to work just a little harder on my aspirations as well, thank you for that!

wow must be some socks!

Story two is a little bit different and close to home it involves a family member, my mother who is an avid weaver (don’t ask). She apparently has a “sock machine” which is some strange loom used for weaving circular deal for knitting socks (again don’t ask) which from our conversations is incredibly difficult to use. I had a conversation with her very recently about a pair of socks she was trying to make, in her words she calls them her “F***ety F*** F*** socks” wow must be some socks!

In my mind, mistakes are nothing more than learning opportunities that begin with a negative consequence.

She has been trying to make this pair of socks for what I think is several weeks now (just go buy socks!) at one point having finished the pair but not being happy with them taking the pair apart back to yarn and starting over. Something happens here or there with the loom…. Tear down and start over…. Full moon…. Tear down and start over. At the time of this article posting, the socks are not complete and I’m willing to bet are either in a state of tear down or a state of start over. The endgame is decided in this case, there will be socks! While the idea of toiling so much for a simple pair of socks might not be a positive thought, the side effects are of a very positive nature. With the continued use of the machine, and the continued identification and fixing of mistakes my mother has been able to better master the use of her beloved sock machine! In my mind, mistakes are nothing more than learning opportunities that begin with a negative consequence. (you can quote that).

May your feet stay warm,

~Joe