Monday, February 28, 2011


Dan comes from a family of planners. Around Christmas, they start planning the summer vacation. Around breakfast, they start planning for supper. Given that he also comes from a very large family, perhaps this makes sense. Yet, I suspect that they sometimes enjoy the planning more than the actual event. My family never really went anywhere or did very much as a group, so I didn't inherit the planning gene. Ever the optimist, my philosophy is that things will generally work out just fine and, as a result, my plans are usually pretty sketchy.

The calendar (if not the weather) tells me that spring is not so far off and that means I have some planning to do. Fortunately, I have had plenty of time to ruminate over our plans as I have shoveled the snow that has fallen almost daily since mid-January. My neighbors have taken to saying things like, "Happy now?" with a bitter laugh.

Ok, it is true that many of the snowbanks are taller than me and there is a growing sense of watch-what-you-wish-for, but I still get a thrill from the crisp sound of walking on frozen snow and the delicious feeling of coming in from the cold to a warm house and feeling my cheeks burn. Even as I watch our supply of dry wood grow alarmingly low, I still love it. It is a precious time and I feel the clock ticking now louder and louder.

Spring is coming! Spring is coming!

At the end of this very month, I will trade in the snow tires, which I have come to love dearly, for regular tires and head south. First stop will be a conference in Sackville, New Brunswick, called Handmade Assembly. It is a conference on art and DIY culture. I am very excited to be participating - giving a talk about my work and maybe a workshop on April 1st and I will be participating in the roundtable discussion on the opening night. It sounds very fun and you should come if you can. Plus, Sackville is a cool place with a strong art community and, perhaps, the best diner in Atlantic Canada.

From there, it is back to NYC. I have signed up to take Sharath's ashtanga primary series classes the second week of April in New York. Sharath is the grandson of Sri Pattabhi Jois, the guru behind ashtanga yoga and his heir in keeping this yoga practice alive. When I read that he was teaching in New York that week, I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity. Later, in May, I will have another amazing yogic opportunity to study with T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of Sri Krishnamacharya. I am still pinching myself over that one!

See? Without any deliberate plans, things have taken shape already. But please do not ask what is for supper. I have no idea.

A Limited Palette

Ignoring the fact that they are saturated in bad karma and that they have left an absurdly large carbon footprint, I bought some cut flowers yesterday.

The colour was irresistible.

At the moment, everywhere else the colour is this:

It is not a bad thing. Rather it is, shall we say, a limited palette.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Loving the Lace

A dear friend of mine is an expert knitter - a professional designer who makes magic (and her living) with her needles. She sent me some photographs of some her recent designs. They were all lacy and beautiful. I was so inspired. Her lace is clever lace, not romantic lace. Smart lace.

I have never felt smart enough for lace. Even the simplest pattern of yarn overs and K2togs left me feeling like I left a few too many of my brain cells in my jar of turpentine back in the day. After seeing those photographs I decided it was time to give lace another try.

I found a "simple" pattern on ravelry. I grabbed a skein of handspun that just happened to be sitting around and I cast on. My plan was to make a cowl for a friend who has been very generous with professional advice these past few months.

You know what? It was fun. I got quite addicted to the way the yarn overs moved around in relationship to the K2togs. It was just enough change and just enough regularity. A balance, you might say.

It was hard to put down, until....look! was finished! Such fun. I have already cast on for another.

Here I am in a rare self-portrait. Note the intelligent gleem in my eyes. Also the look of self-satisfaction. And also the new haircut.

A brave, new, lacy world.

Friday, February 25, 2011

On Again, Off Again

On Wednesday, Finn and I got out skiing, despite the wild weather. We were almost completely alone out on the trails. The place where we ski is at a high elevation, so the landscape is almost tundra in some places. Caribou are not unknown to these parts. Moose, hare, foxes, we all share the woods together. The building in the photograph is the biathlon cabin. I used to snigger at the very notion of a biathlon - skiing and shooting a gun, how silly! - but it is actually quite amazing. I don't know how much biathloning happens here. I suspect nearly none, but I like that they have the possibility of it.

Now and then, the snow stops and the sun comes out. We blink and wonder at that brightly glowing ball in the sky.

Transforming the ordinary into poetry.

And making for fun for some.

The snow is back today, however.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Generation Gap

My parents were about ten years older than most of the parents of my friends in high school. They were children during the Great Depression. My father's family was very, very poor but my mother's family made it through fairly unscathed. Still, it made its mark. While some of my friends had parents who had things like liquor cabinets and who wore clothes that looked at least vaguely fashionable, my parents never went out, wore pretty much the same clothes for our entire childhoods, and used words like "suntans" for chino pants and "bushkins" for a certain type of shoe. I've have never heard anyone else call a shoe a bushkin but my mother seemed surprised when we all looked at her and said, "huh?". She saved buttons and could make a meal from next to nothing. Not a very good meal, mind you, but our stomachs were full and that was what mattered.

Given these circumstances, if there was one sure way to instantly reduce something from extremely cool to extremely uncool, it was for my mother to express her approval of it. At some point during the mid-1980s - the apex of my attempts to be cool - I remember bringing home my current boyfriend, who was about as cool as it got in suburban, northeastern Massachusetts, or at least I thought so. We were talking about music, natch. My mother was listening in and said, "Oh, I like the reggaes" and I think she even did a little dance as if imagining the reggae beat.

I don't think either of us ever really listened to reggae music the same way after that.

What brought this all to mind was that yesterday, Finnian asked me a question about some song by Lady Gaga. I was actually somewhat able to answer his question, which surprised all of us. In explanation, I confessed that sometime earlier "I looked up this Lady Gaga person. I googled her on youtube." Well, this sent Finn and Lucy into gales of laughter. Googled on youtube? Ah hahahahahaahahha! This Lady Gaga person? ah hahahahahahha!

Even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I was having an instant flashback to "the reggaes".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hair and War

Oh my, has winter gone on so long that we are reduced to cutting each other's hair off? It would seem so.

Yesterday, Lucy asked me to cut her hair in a style that she has had on several occasions. It is very easy: put hair in pony tail, cut pony tail off. On Lucy, this results in an extremely stylish look the requires only minimal trimming to finish it off.

Then, she said, "Mom, I could cut your hair...." I had been thinking about it...and since we were just hanging around inside...

Several moments later, I was calling Jannen in Cox's Cove to make an appointment for repair work. Her first opening isn't until Thursday at 3 p.m. Until then, I am exploring my collection of hats and decorative scarves.

Here is a last picture, pre-haircut, of me at The Rooms at Barb Hunt's exhibition, Toll. I am in the section devoted to her piece, antipersonnel. It consists of a series of handknit replicas of landmines made in pink yarn. I am knitting in solidarity with Barb, although I am knitting on my ugly socks, not a landmine replica.

On a more serious note, the exhibition was very, very moving. I had seen most of the work in Barb's studio at one point or another but it didn't prepare me for how it worked when presented in the galleries of The Rooms. Barb is unapologetically a pacifist and her work is all about the tragic loss and waste of war. This makes it sound kind of awful - possibly dogmatic and preachy - but it isn't like that at all. It is full of empathy for the soldiers and it is poetic and beautiful. I was so happy to imagine people visiting the show and, for a moment, being asked to consider the world through Barb's eyes.

We were technically not allowed to take photographs in the galleries, so I can't show you more of the exhibition, but look at her website if you want to see more of Barb's work.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beginner's Mind

Please take a moment to read this post from James Ford over at Monkey Mind. All I can say is that the people of Providence, RI, are pretty lucky to have such a person offering up sermons once a week in their town.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Leaving Traces

Sunday is yoga day. In addition to my own practice, I teach two classes. It all adds up to about 4 - 4.5 hrs of yoga, that is to say: doing it, talking it, demonstrating it, and trying to live it. My own practice, as I have mentioned, is the ashtanga primary series. I don't teach this to my classes because they are both "beginner" classes (not that beginners can't take up ashtanga! You can! Please do!) but these two groups have made it pretty clear that they are not interested in that version of yoga, which is rather physically demanding and is better taught one-on-one. I have found some resistance when I push the class a bit (almost had a mutiny when I took them through uttitha hasta padangustansana). In my defense, everyone had been doing really amazing work in that class AND they were standing against the wall, not in the middle of the room. I am not Attila the Hun of yoga teachers! I swear.

I think it is this dance between finding places to push the student's limits and acknowledging that the physical part of yoga is just that - a part not the whole of it - that makes it such a wonderful challenge to teach. As I was teaching people to spin, I was thinking about how different it is. For one thing, spinning is a skill and a rather simple one at that. Children learned to spin as young as age three or four in them olden days. I say this with some reluctance because I think there is a spiritual aspect to spinning. I have been told that St. Teresa of Avila said that, next to praying, spinning was the only thing worth doing.

Of course, it is quite possible to spin yarn without having spiritual revelations, just as I suppose it might be possible to go through a series of yoga asana-s like one might any physical exercise routine and not engage in any of the other aspects of it. But I wonder about that. One of the last things that was said to us before we were let loose into the world as newly minted teacher trainees, was that we were teaching people something very powerful and to treat it as such - with care and respect. That really took me aback, not because I was unaware of how yoga can be powerful, but I wondered how it would work with people who come to it strictly as a fitness routine. Does it catch them unawares? Sneak up and bite them on the rear end? How is it powerful for someone who says they aren't interested in the other seven limbs?*

Most of the people I have taught have started out saying that they are not interested in the rest of it. Sure, who doesn't want to be slim, calm and sexy? But interested in attaining a state of samadhi? Samadhi who?

To be honest, I am not so sure how much beyond asana practice can really be conveyed in a group class. There is only so much I can do with 15 different bodies, lives, personalities. I guess the goal becomes to hope that people will feel something. Something that is a little different from a workout at the gym, something that just might make further investigation worthwhile, something that might mean looking into this thing on their own. Having a teacher is important but a huge amount of it needs to come from the individual.

There is a saying around the Zen center, "leave no traces". Usually, one sees it in the kitchen and bathroom where it means, clean up after yourself! But once I heard our teacher describe it in terms of how they teach newcomers zazen (sitting meditation). He reflected that, if the person giving instruction had lots of issues with pain, for example, they might emphasize that in their instruction, leaving the newcomers with a sense that zazen is this really painful thing. I had always thought about traces as being a fork left in the sink, not the invisible but very real traces one leaves in people's minds.

What kind of traces do I leave every Sunday? What kind of traces do you leave?

* According to Patanajli's Yoga Sutra, yoga consists of eight limbs (ashto = eight, anga = limbs, thus ashtanga yoga). Asana practice is only one of the eight. The eight limbs are: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Click the link for a full explanation.

** If this topic is of interest to you, I recommend reading some of the comments from my previous post. A juicy conversation!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spun Right Around

The weather gods smiled upon us. Both of our trips across the island were done in lovely weather, with clear roads. It was a little crazy to commit to anything in St. John's in February, as the weather on all the other days when we were there revealed, but we lucked out and made record time.

Here is the requisite photograph of the houses in downtown St. John's, taken in the fading daylight when we arrived on Monday afternoon. There are very pretty. I think what I especially love about them is that everyone participates in the whole colourful thing, even the houses that are more run down. And I love that there are run down houses. Not that it is so great if one is living in that particular house, but that St. John's isn't just a cutesy place. It has rough edges.

The roughest edge we discovered on this particular trip was that no one shovels their sidewalk. We spent the first whole day there in disbelief, asking every local what the deal was. I mean, even in NYC, people (for the most part) shovel their bit of sidewalk. We never really got an answer although everyone complained. Our B&B host, who grew up outside of St. John in Bay Bulls said it was "lazy Townies". But I noticed that she didn't shovel either! The result of it all was that everyone has to walk in the street, which was rather dangerous considering that the streets were quite icy and are famously hilly.

Ok, enough clutching of the handbag and fanning the delicate self with a hankie about those ruffians in the big, bad city. I was there to teach people to spin, and that is what I did.

This is part of the Thursday group. I totally did not photograph the Tuesday group, being busy, as it were, teaching.

The rest of the Thursday group. As you can see, we had a full house (both evenings) and I came away feeling like almost everyone was going to keep going. Several people had that look in their eye that suggested they might quit their day job and sell all their posessions so as to be able to spin fleece for the rest of their lives. Note to those participants: such measures are not actually necessary. It is enough to mildly neglect your children and grossly neglect housework. As someone from the Tuesday group warned the Thursday group on the ravelry page, "You might want to prepare some meals ahead of time."

Here is Bessie. Bessie belongs to Jenny who is the owner of A Good Yarn, where the workshops took place. It is a lovely, friendly yarn shop. And Bessie will greet you at the door and welcome you in a very quiet, sweet way. You should go there and spend a lot of money so Jenny can keep this gem of a place going.

One especially nice thing about the workshops was that several of the people who attended were people I had met when I came through town to kick-off Knitting Sprawl back in September 2009. It was very nice to see them again and feel like I had made some real connections. St. John's has a very enthusiastic and welcoming group of knitters (and now spinners), so anyone traveling through there should make a point of dropping in on one of their many knit nights. You will feel welcomed.

Another especially nice thing that happened was that I received some encouragement to plan a summer workshop here on the west coast on natural dyeing and spinning (including the wheel). Such a thing had been brewing in my mind anyway so it was really exciting to hear people say they would make the trek across to attend. Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Plug Ugly?

Last week, I was casting about for something easy and portable to knit. I found a skein of sock yarn that I purchased in St. John's on sale in the fall of '09. The first hint should have been the large bin of the yarn on huge discount. There is usually a reason for that. The second hint might of been that I felt slightly ashamed to pull it out at knit night last week. I didn't want to have to explain it.

Despite these warning signs, I cast on and started knitting. Maybe it will be "interesting". Who needs all those fancy yarns with their subtle colours? I am not a yarn snob! Plus, sometimes it is fun to knit something out of the ordinary, from a colour perspective. I quickly started thinking "Flags of the World".

But which one?

South Africa?

No, there is no green in this yarn. It turns out that many, many countries have a bit of green in their flag. So my search for a country for which I could feel I was engaging in some patriotic sock knitting failed. In my search, however, I did find this flag, which turns out to be the Buddhist World Flag. I had no idea such a thing existed until I visited the blog of the Sri Lankan community in Saskatoon (As an aside, don't you think they are very, very homesick?).

The Buddhist World Flag.

The formerly plug ugly socks. Now I feel a sense of pride with my Buddhist brothers and sisters worldwide when I knit them. No more slinking about at knit night! I proudly hold up my sock yarn in solidarity with those following the dharma. Ashamed? Never!

The experience did cause me to dig deep into my stash and find two other balls of sock yarn that, for a brief moment, looked far more inviting.

Yes, I had succumbed to the Zuckerball craze somewhere along the way. It is awfully pretty, you have to admit.

And, yum, look at those great colours.

But no. I shall stand strong and knit on. Om mani padme hum.

We leave (in theory) for St. John's tomorrow. At the moment it looks like this out our window:

But things change quickly around here so I am not panicking yet about the nine-hour drive. The forecast is ok, so I assume all will be well and the curtain of whiteness will be somewhat cleared by tomorrow morning. While we are there, I will be teaching two spindle spinning workshops at A Good Yarn (they are full but you can be put on a waiting list). And Dan will be meeting us. We will be celebrating our 20th anniversary. So the motivation is strong to make our way across this large island.

Alright, alright. One more cute cat pic. A box of raw fleece arrived yesterday (icelandic!) in this box. Finn immediately set about to make a little shelter for Minky to cover her fine selection of cat scratch pads. We think she likes it. It does suit her rather well.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Yoga-centric Post

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that there has been a bit of a hoo-ha in the yoga world about an article in the NY Times about a woman who opened a yoga studio in Manhattan. Big news, right? I guess she gets a NY Times article because she is a former model and the person behind "Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga". And who doesn't want to read about former models who promote being slim, calm and sexy? Also, she claims to teach "real" yoga, not that uptight, tradition-bound yoga that uses all those Sanskrit terms and everything. Further, she disses her yoga teacher training as being really inadequate and pointless. She opened her studio in reaction against all that stuffy stuff, generally thumbing her nose at the yoga establishment, at least the New York City version.

You can imagine how the established yoga world reacted to all that. It was like when Christine O'Donnell won the Republican primary in Delaware. Karl Rove was all over the place distancing himself from her while secretly watching to see if he should quickly embrace her (if she looked like she would win) or to totally trash her (if she looked like she would lose). She ain't one of us! Unless she wait....she ain't! Definitely, ain't.

As much as I admire people who dare to speak out against the establishment and go against the tide to create something new my sense is that this person, like Christine O'Donnell, has the flaw of being wrong-headed at least in one important way (and it is here that the metaphor ends because i think Christine O'Donnell is wrong in far more ways than one). I think it is a mistake to take some minimal training, teach for a couple of years, and think that you know better. Even if she is a brilliant teacher, she is displaying a kind hubris that is indicative that she has seriously missed the point in living a life of yoga.

I agree with her that a lot of teacher training programs are not adequate. I feel lucky to have participated in one that was pretty comprehensive and that had the clout to pull in some amazing scholars and yogis as guest lecturers. I learned an enormous amount. Yet, in almost every class I teach, I see places where I could know more, know better. I suspect that isn't a reflection of my training but a reflection of how yoga is a life-long path that is infinitely complex. How can 200-hours of training really prepare anyone for meeting the huge range of bodies and personalities that one meets even in one class? YTT offers a skeleton of ideas that the teacher has to flesh out through their own experience and continued training. In my training, they were pretty open about this. After teaching a bit for the past two years, I feel like I mostly know how much I don't know. In other words, I feel damned humble about what it means to share information about yoga with people.

This morning I read a post by Anusara yoga instructor, Christina Sell, where she had this to say, not in reaction to the NY Times piece but after teaching an immersion class in Copenhagen. I think she gets to the heart of it quite nicely. (As an aside, I cleaned up a couple of typos.)

One of the recurring themes for me this week was the importance of really having an aim as a yogi. It seems more and more obvious to me that practices and lifestyle recommendations in yoga are NOT about a list of outer do's and don'ts designed to make us into some kind of "ideal yogi". Really, how we chose to evolve our practice and our studentship (I am not tallking here aout "yoga class studentship" but the larger consideration of being a student of Life, discipleship to the flow, sadhana, etc.) is really all about what we want from the yoga. If what we want is a health-based hobby, then the yoga is not going to ask that much of us or require that we relinquish a lot of our comforts, preferences, and so forth. But if we are looking for deeper outcomes from yoga than a hobby provides we might be asked to turn up the heat in our practices.

Mind you, I am not criticizing the different aims. I am not someone who has an issue with "yoga for a cuter butt" despite what people might think. Nope, that's not my axe to grind. I could care less why people do yoga in a way and have no interest AT ALL in convincing people with an athletic orientation to be more "spiritual" about it, for instance. That, to me,is a very boring discussion. Who cares? I repeat - not me. What I am interested in is that each of us know our personal reasons for practice and that we feel empowered by them and that we make intelligent choices in our lives based on those reasons. And, I feel no need to see the reasons- while all great reasons, in general- as the same. So things can be different and still be valid. We have to be grown ups about that, you know?

When I read that it makes me think that she could be telling me to not be so judgmental about the person who was featured in the article and/or she could be saying that there is room for all of us to be living our yoga (or not). I guess you can decide.

Here is the link to the Times article.

Here is an interesting article that, perhaps, explains a bit about why we were even reading about this person,

And another one that touches on the "Slim, Calm, Sexy" part.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Spinning Weeds

Weeds have many metaphorical meanings. "In the weeds" in the restaurant business means you are behind on your orders. Weeds are symbols of delusion in Buddhist literature. And of course, there are many stories about Weed aka marahoochie.

Being a fibre-y kind of person, I am always on the lookout for new things to spin and transform into something else. How about some weeds?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Newfoundland Weather Report

One promise I made to myself when I started this blog was that I would not succumb to talking about the weather. I mean, ho-hum.

I might as well post pictures of our cat. I would never do that.

Look! It's Minky with a little crown on her head! She looks so pleased, doesn't she?

What can I say? Weather is big about now. Yesterday, Finn and I went skiing. On our first venture on the trails, it was sunny and bright. We took a little break for lunch and went out again. This time, the wind had picked up and it started to snow.

The temperature dropped and it became clear we needed to get home before the roads got too greasy, as they say around here. The wind continued all night - so strongly that our basement door blew open in the night. And it was locked, mind you. I had a rather cold surprise this morning when I went down to collect some firewood. A snow bank had moved into the basement. I'm afraid I had to evict it.

Today, the snow continues.

I know there is a revolution happening in Egypt. There is a big hoo-ha in the yoga world about the recent NY Times article about Tara Stiles and her Slim, Calm Sexy version of yoga. The world is turning, changing, living, dying.

But, the weather! The weather!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011


On Sunday, we had about two feet of snow fall. The weather report persisted in telling us that it was 5 - 10 cm, but the sky said different. By the time I shoveled out the little patch of ground that serves as a driveway, the path to house needed re-shoveling. It was that kind of snow storm.

As you know by now, I love that kind of snow storm. But I must confess that as I stood in waist-deep snow yesterday and tried to scrape huge, icy drifts off our roof (using a thing that looks like an inverted shovel with a long handle), the shine of my love began to pale ever so slightly. Our neighbor, who was shifting his snow banks so there would be room for new snow banks, looked over and said, "Snow is work." Not with anger or emotion but just plainly stating the fact. Snow is work.

But I like snow and I like work, so my enthusiasm is back up as we expect a bit more today and tomorrow.

By way of contrast, I spun up this bit of colour.

As I was plying it, I had a moment or two where I thought I had made a mistake in choosing to make it a two ply (where it is impossible to know how the colours will combine) instead of a chain-plied yarn (where the colours stay together in a more predictable way). As it plied onto the bobbin, my heart began to sink. It wasn't what I imagined and I feared the dreaded muddy yarn. But when I wound it off onto my niddy noddy, something else happened and it became bright as a berry.

Will the wonders of spinning never cease? I hope not!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Vitamin D

Everyone, including Mrs. Twinkletoes here, crept out of hiding yesterday. The sun was brilliant and we turned our faces upward.

Today, however, is another story. Another big snowstorm bringing everything to a halt.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Blues

I don't have them. No mid-winter blahs for me. It is a glorious season!

It all feels as it should be. Like the winter landscape, things are spare right now - not a lot of extra stuff around the edges. I am trying to appreciate that and not fill in the empty space. But it is so tempting! I try to use up that energy shoveling out the driveway but somehow I did manage to agree to write for an artist networking website and apply for a grant for a new project this week. Hmmmmm.

Some blue yarn to match the mood. Spun from two handpainted fleeces from Widdershins Woolworks, then plied to make a fingering weight two-ply. BFL and silk, 370 yds.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Of A Friday

Our white, wintery world. Can you see our house? It is the little, light blue one just about right in the center of the photograph.

By Friday, Lucy is grumbling about how much she hates school. It happens each week now. It is a tough position for me to be in since I can see that 99% of what she is doing is either a complete waste of time or actually destructive if the goal is to foster a love of learning. But there is something to sticking with a decision and making it work, so I remind her to get what she can out of it and let the rest go. The real down side is that she is learning about the gossipy hierarchy of school life: the divisions between the in crowd and the out crowd and between the teachers and students. I have less patience with that stuff than with, say, an English teacher that picks apart her punctuation while totally ignoring the content of her essay. Although, as an aside, is there any better way to kill a love of writing in a person? I think not. After her second week of school, Lucy came home and said, "it's good that I have been homeschooled until now or I might believe some of this stuff!"

Those are my Friday morning thoughts. Now for some Thursday afternoon photographs. The sun came out.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Red Sky in the Morning

A pink glow this morning as the sun rises over the hills.

Finn comes in last night with a helmet of snow. The snow banks are high enough now for them to create caves and tunnels. Making snow caves and tunnels is one of my fondest childhood memories and I have been waiting for Finn and Lucy to discover this brand of fun and mystery. I didn't dare say a word lest my interest render the idea unattractive.

No worries, however. They came in last night full of excitement and purpose, planning for a complex web of tunnels. A secret world of snow.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


For how could anything white be distinct
from or divided from whiteness?
Meister Eckhart

PS. I have been trying to upload short videos without success. Can anyone advise me? Thanks!