~ Started the blog. ~ Posted every day. ~ Completed my 1st spinning class. ~ Practiced diligently and well, including going to knit nights at the lys. ~ Signed up for my next spinning class. ~ Worked through Chap 3 in Photoshop Elements book. ~ Gained knowledge in blogging and spinning by joining different Ravelry groups. ~ Ordered the Forest Canopy shawl pattern. ~ Started a book study on the steps. ~ Bought paint for the kitchen.
Not too shabby, at all.
This next month will be shortened more than usual because of my trip to Philly. The upside will be lots of plane time for knitting. My goals include the following:
* Gain in competence with spinning, and continue with the knit nights. * Continue learning with Photoshop Elements. (This is one slow effort. So much to learn for me, including being patient with myself for...not knowing it all yet.) * Update pix on blog. (I am stunned at what I have learned so far.) * Start the shawl. * Finish yellow cotton yarn in dishcloths. (I started one last night. The world didn’t end. And Dearest Sister wants me to teach her the how-to while in Philly. Fun!) * Read chap 2 in step book. * Paint the kitchen. * Finish the scarf. * And finish Mists of Avalon. This book might move to the bedside table. It is a good book but a slow read, probably because of everything else I am doing. I want to start Drunk/Divorced.
We got the scarf still, but it’s progressing. I think it’s about 1/3 done. I am choosing to continue the repeats without the ribbing, because I like the pattern. (No new photo because I forgot about it. Poor scarf!)
I am casting on a dishcloth tonight because if I don’t the world will end. And my next biggie project is going to be…(drum roll, please)….a Forest Canopy shawl (cymbal crash!) by Susan Lawrence, out of the Crystal Palace Crème, Vine Green that I bought on sale earlier this month. Yea! I’m excited.
Spinning last night went swimmingly. I was able to spin the remainder of the alpaca effortlessly, for the most part. Perhaps the fiber was easier to work with, or maybe I am getting the feel of it. I will ply the merino and alpaca together on Friday, and I think it will look really fun, and be knittable. I will work this red and gold wool/silk blend with Navajo plying, and maybe knit a little ‘Calorimetry’ with it. And the ‘Olive’ roving spins up like this. All this after only one short month, and several hours of practice!
Last night, while spinning, the wheel was making a funny noise, sort of a wobble sound. One of the knitting ladies suggested some oil, and showed me how to do so. That didn’t solve the problem, and in fact, the noise worsened. We determined the wheel was loose and wobbly, and she asked those in charge of the lys for tools, which she used to tighten the wheel. That fixed the noise, and caused the wheel to move much smoother. I was grateful, and made the effort when I was leaving to ask her name. I introduced myself to her, and I thanked her for her help. Doesn’t sound like much, but that is a stretch for me. Anyway, I know one of the knitter’s names now. And another of them commented on my hand knit scarf, of which I am very proud. Who knows…maybe with time…
During the marriage melt-down and the subsequent Dee-vorce, I was emotionally overwrought. I could not listen to music about relationships, or see movies about relationships, or watch TV shows about relationships, or read books about relationships.
I had known the X since my freshman year in college, and we had been married for over 25 years. We had made it through the ‘rough times’ (I thought), and the living was supposed to get easier at this point. Apparently this ‘living happily ever after’ stuff was a bunch of crap-ola, though, and I didn’t want to hear, or see, or watch, or read about a bunch of ninnies thinking they had life and love all figured out! Because if I didn’t, I was sure they didn’t either!!
Due to a series of circumstances (all of it fascinating! but for another post), the X lived with me at the house from the time he told me he thought “we should go our separate ways”, until he found another position out of state to take, almost 11 months. We did not share the same space, however. My bedroom became my sanctuary, to which I retreated nightly, especially in those early months. I read many self-helpy type books, spiritual journey type books, and did my divorce recovery homework. I journaled like a crazy woman, from which I maybe was only a few steps away. But then, exhausted, I would want to watch some TV.
What to watch that would not bring out all my cynicism and jadedness?
STAR TREK!!!! I have always enjoyed Star Trek, and here was a show almost practically relationship free. I remember on Wednesday nights, in particular, I could see re-runs at 7, 9, 10, and 11, of Next Generation twice, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine. Ahh….the ecstasy of pure escapism!
There was one episode in particular I remember. It addressed the issue about going back in our lives and changing things, doing things differently, making things better. At this point in my life, I was wishing there were a few things I could have some re-dos on. (like accepting that engagement ring…)
So anyway, we find out that Captain Picard has an artificial heart stemming from a fight he had as a young, impulsive, brash ensign. This artificial heart fails, and Picard, slipping into a void, admits, that given the opportunity, he would do things differently, meaning he would try to avoid the circumstances that led to the fight the led to the necessity of the artificial heart, which was failing and leading to his untimely demise. He is given that chance, and as the story goes, changing those circumstances changes friends and opportunities and outlooks and then he isn’t the captain that saves the galaxy on numerous occasions, but a lowly astrophysics officer that ‘doesn’t stand out’…and well, he understands why he is the man he is…uh…today, or then, or in the future. Agh!….I am so confused with these space time continuums!
So back to me. Setting aside the years my daughters were concieved, for I would go through at least those years again in a heartbeat to have my children, I have truly struggled with the time spent in that relationship, and my unhealthy behavior and reactions. Why did I do what I did, put up with what I put up with, and for so long? How did I miss the boat so completely? How could I have been so clueless?
There may be answers to those questions that will help me avoid repeating the same issues in the future and that is very good. But if I am going to use them as weapons against myself for not having done the past perfectly, then I say they do not matter.
Who I am today is because of what I have lived through. If ‘I regret the past and wish to shut the door on it’, I lose some of the best of me. Surely there were some not so good times with the X, and there were some times I am not proud to share, but those times serve a particular purpose in making me who I am today, and who I will be tomorrow. I am sure that part of the reason that Wonderful Guy and I have such a terrific relationship is directly attributable to some of the touch lessons of this previous one.
I am still working on this truth. There is still some figuring out to do here, but I am making real progress.
Sunday, we bought paint for the kitchen. Cabin Red. I hope it works as well as the colors I picked for the front room and office. Interior décor/picking out colors, etc. is not something I have a lot of confidence in my ability. The home improvement project Wonderful Guy and I carried out on the office/front room last fall turned out very nice. There is, I fear, a danger of being lulled into a false sense of…ability. We shall see how the Cabin Red kitchen works. Dearest Sister says if it doesn’t work, one can always repaint. I suppose that is true, but I prefer it to just work for me the first time!
Friday, after work, Young Co-Worker and I ventured into the countryside and found a fiber processing barn, way out in the yonder. We each made a purchase of lovely hand dyed wool roving. Looky at what I bought!
I also spent lots of time spinning in the evenings, in front of the fire, with the spindle. (The days were warm and lovely, but when the sun went down, so did the temperatures.) This is single ply. I have some more white merino on the wheel at the lys that I believe I will combine with this little yarn cake. Then, I am thinking about plying the white merino with this brown alpaca. Looking forward to spinning practice tomorrow night.
Sugar ‘n Cream cotton yarn was on sale. Bought five skeins of the variegated. Wonderful Guy, bless his heart, doesn’t understand that, I don’t think. Just one of those things I learned from Momma. When it's on sale, I gotta' buy it. I thought I did well only buying five. At a bookstore outlet, I found Thirteen Moons, by Charles Frazier for $6, and a couple of journals for cheapy cheapy. Can’t ever have too many journals, I say. No knitting books to note, or to buy.
While I was at the bookstore outlet, Wonderful Guy was at the kitchen outlet. He’s been shopping for pressure cookers lately. I have a gi-nourmous one I used back in the day for canning. Still have it, even if I haven’t canned in 2 plus decades. (Hey! I might again eventually….someday….) He found one there he liked for a price he liked. I am thinking sometime this week I might be treated to something pressure-cooked!
It was great to get out this weekend. We walked the dog, and I wore only a hoodie over my turtleneck. Very nice to run around in a sweatshirt instead of bundled up in gloves, hat, scarf, and buttoned-up-to-the-neck-coat. It’s still January, and cooler weather with snow possibly, is on it’s way, but the break was nice.
...anything, or so it seems. Probably like that for most people. Look what arrived yesterday in the mail! My winnings from Crazy Aunt Purl's Sweepstakes for the daily drawing....
(Notice the Cat Who Would Be Queen, basking in the sunshine.) My only regret is that it is a bag of flavored Cheetos. Alas, I am a purist, but on the upside, I didn't scarf them down in one sitting last night.
The forecast for the weekend said warm, but windy. It has been wonderfully sunny and not breezy at all. Yesterday, Wonderful Guy got out on the Bandit. We took the Best Dog Ever for a walk after. It's suppose to get warmer today, and we are so getting out to do something. Anything!
So glad it’s Friday. It’s been an unusual week for me, and I prefer my quietude and routine!
Not so long ago, my life was crazy wild and too, too busy. And not so much in a good way. I spent all my time and energy doing everything I thought I needed to for everyone else, and I didn’t know it should be any other way. Some of it I needed to do as a mother, and I don’t regret nor resent those efforts. I suppose some of it was necessary as a wife, too. I no doubt overdid some in that wifely role. As a minister’s wife, I always claimed I defined that role for myself (very liberated!), and took on only what I choose for myself to do. Unfortunately, I had no healthy boundaries, and that leads to unhealthy choices. So mother of 3 daughters, plus working full time, plus doing the minister’s wife thing, plus being a wife the only way I knew added up to no time for me, except for an occasional soak in the tub, behind a closed door. Then again, I didn’t know there was suppose to time for me. I felt guilty about taking time for me. I was all about giving myself and time and energy to others. Until there was nothing left, except resentment and anger when no one seemed to appreciate my sacrifices.
Not anymore. I choose what I do, then I do it gladly. Like helping the Only Step-Son. Or taking food to the recovering Middle Daughter tonight! Or the Youngest Daughter with her sewing. And I take time for myself without guilt (mostly!). No more over committing. When I took a position on a service board, I gave up hand bells. Would have been easy to be involved in both, but I knew where that would lead me. This is one lesson I have learned.
So we are closing on the end of January. It has been bitter cold this past week, and even though this weekend will be unseasonably warm, the wind will blow. It won’t be enjoyable for me to be out. With the end of this month, then the short month of February, and a trip scheduled for the end, March will soon be here, and March is almost spring! (in a snowy kind of a high altitude way.) I might be rushing time, but I am getting cabin fever, itching to garden, itching to hike, itching to ride my bike.
Middle Daughter is scheduled for a routine, but immediate, outpatient procedure late this afternoon. Shouldn’t be any big deal, but I am always a bit concerned when one of the kids goes under general anesthesia. The healthcare system in our little part of the world is more than adequate, and Middle Daughter is part of that system, being an RN. I am trusting that this is a piece of the big plan some how.
Anyway, no pix, no pithy story, no deep philosophy from me today.
I am off to be Mom. Even when 28 years old, and a nurse, she needs her momma.
Before going to the lys to practice with the spinning wheel last night, I received a phone call from Only Step-Son. He needed to put together some notices for a get-together at his work, and wondered if I could help. Needed them today! Knew I was going to spin, and would wait ‘til I was done, if that would work…
I cannot say no to the boy. (Boy…heh! He is 28!) He asked if he could bring the Grand-Pup over. Again, I cannot say no!
We worked on formatting the notices for about 45 minutes. It took scanning the logo on Wonderful Guy’s computer and emailing to mine. Then tweaking the logo using Elements, and formatting the notice in Word. I have Office 2007, and the new version is just enough different to cause some effort in this. Then the printing of 30 sheets with 4 notices/sheet. He worked on the trimming. Not a super-human effort, but some work. And it was later at night than when I typically operate at a full mental capacity.
Only Step-Son was very thankful.
About the time we were finishing, Wonderful Guy got home from his meeting. The two of them enjoyed some time together, with Best Dog Ever and Grand-Pup. Best Dog Ever is very concerned about Grand-Pup presence in her house, and about the attention given said creature. Grand-Pup just wants to play with toys! Grand-Pup thinks my spindle is a toy….
After taking Only Step-Son home, Wonderful Guy mentions again how grateful Only Step-Son was for my help. Then he thanks me, too, for helping his son out. He truly appreciates the effort I made.
And, honestly, I was glad I could be of help.
It is not easy to blend two families, and of late, we have had kind of a wild ride. Wonderful Guy and I have remained true to our promise of being open and honest with each other, and I feel that has helped us weather the storm. I accept his feelings, and let his feelings be his. I try to figure out my own feelings, my own issues, where my issues come from, and what is mine to work on. Plenty there to keep me busy, as my issues are lodged pretty deeply in 50+ years of habits and patterns that I have only recognized in the last 6 years as co-dependent and unhealthy.
Our kids are all adults, the raising of them pretty much over, but fortunately, we are close emotionally, if not physically, to them all. We see or talk to them regularly and frequently, and are still a presence in their lives. My hope is to be a more positive example of healthier patterns going forward.
(This is what Eldest Daughter calls my hippie talk)
I have gained some confidence with this thing, and I think I am doing some good stuff here. I am looking forward to going to the lys tonight for some practice on the wheel. Told Wonderful Guy to fend for himself, dinner-wise, so I am all about the spinning wheel tonight! I think if I can get a quite a bit on a spool, maybe I can ply it with what I have on my spindle, and have a real knittable hank of yarn. Last Friday’s class resulted in some decent plying of some less than decent spinning – not something I am going to knit up. More like something I will use for the ‘see my first spinning attempt’ photo. Also last night, I finished Grandbebe Girl’s ‘Maple Seed Hat’ (ahknits). Now she will have a hat to match Grandmama’s scarf! I also finished the grafting for a dishcloth that has been sitting around for a week or so. Feels good to finish up some odd and ends. Next, I continue to work on ‘Alison’s Scarf’ (modeknit). And I will start into another ball of dishcloth yarn. Have to have that going….what can I say? (Note: I received an email from my step-mother-in-law yesterday telling me she has started to use the dishcloths I gave her for Christmas, and how much she likes them. That’s fun, and …ooh, I do like that approval!)
And I need to start something new…whatever shall it be? Something different and challenging, something that doesn’t need a purchase of yarn. Maybe a Forest Canopy shawl out of the green Crème I bought at Woolen Treasures? (I didn’t say I couldn’t purchase a pattern!) Maybe I should attempt my 1st pair of socks? Hmmmm…..what to do? I need to check my resources (read: Ravelry and/or books at home).
And now for something completely different. I received notice yesterday that I was, indeed, a winner in the Crazy Aunt Purl sweepstakes! The Cheetos and books (all autographed and everything) and stuff were being mailed out this week. I am one lucky pants girl, ya’ll!
In the throes of the dee-vorce, I found many things for which to be thankful. And I was genuinely grateful, from the bottom of my heart, for these blessings.
I was very grateful for a supportive family of origin. The emotional support I received from them humbles me today. I was so very grateful for my daughters, who brought a joy into my life that helped eased the heartache to almost bearable. I was thankful for my health, and for a job that gave me the opportunity to pay the mortgage and the utilities, and gave me health insurance. (Even if that was about all I was able to pay!) I was grateful for my kitties, for my yard and garden, for my friends at work and in my divorce recovery group.
Indeed, I had many positive things in my life that I could be, and was sincerely full of gratitude for. In my reading, however, (and there was SO much reading and searching at this time), I discerned a thread that seemed to lead to a deeper level. And that was to being grateful for all that life brings our way, for therein lies our best lessons. I believe now it is through those lessons my higher power (God, universe, spirit, (fill in your blank)) brings me a level of wisdom and peace and serenity, providing I am open to learning.
Well, I surely didn’t want to repeat this grade. I wanted to learn whatever there was for me to learn in this sloggy, mucky mess I was in. So I was going to be grateful for everything?? All the sh*t? Well, okay... I started writing in my journal line by line…(and, honestly, weeping as I wrote)….
Thank you for him leaving me… Thank you for their relationship they built that convince him he know longer cared for me…. Thank you for loss and rejection and shame and humiliation …. Thank you for not having anyone’s hand to hold…. Thank you for them having each other and being happy…. Thank you for not having a partner to call on in an emergency…
There were about twenty five of these. And the next month, I did it again, as well as the next month, and again the month after. It just worked out that I felt I needed to repeat the exercise. There wasn’t a plan to do every month. I had an insight to put this list into a word doc, and even put some space after the individual entries (for some note making), because after the 2nd and 3rd month, I saw some of them starting to slip off the ‘painful’ list in a interesting way.
When I take an opportunity to reflect back on this list, now 6 years after making it, I am brought to my knees. There is not one item that I have listed that I am not now absolutely, 100%, completely and authentically grateful for the lesson involved, and how I have grown through it.
It is a humbling and amazing lesson to remember in my daily life, but one so very worth the effort.
The Bandit is Wonderful Guy’s motorcycle. This is no ‘mid-life crisis’ object. He has been on ‘motorbikes’ (as he calls them) since he was a little guy. This Bandit is his second Bandit, and he’s had it just about as long as I have been keeping him company.
The first time he took me for a ride, we were still ‘just friends’. I had been for rides on motorcycles before, but only little, short rides, around a couple of blocks, or a mile or two, around town. Wonderful Guy took me out for a couple of hours, into the mountains.
It. Was. Exhilarating. I had a wide open view of the mountains in September like I had not ever had before. And with the helmet on, I was alone to contemplate…whatever needed contemplating. The next time he took me for a ride, about 6 weeks later, it was October. The afternoon drew to a close sooner, and was much cooler. By the time we got back home, I was a more experienced rider where cooler temperatures were concerned. Boy, was I chilly. All I could think of was getting home and a hot shower!
We had grown closer in our friendship over the previous weeks, and had been eating dinner together regularly. After a quick mental inventory of my pantry, I offered a gourmet meal of…spaghetti ! .....after I had a chance to warm up. So we shared some spaghetti, and garlic bread, and a bottle of wine. We sat and talked about stuff….how hard it was to trust and share, and not have someone to hold hands with. Then he took my hand, and said something like ‘will mine do for now?’
Uh, yeah…..and I pretty much haven’t let go since….
I love my unscheduled Saturday mornings, when I get to sleep in just a little longer, linger over my coffee leisurely, and today I tacked on an extra cycle to my exercising. I needed it. Too many lunches out this week!
I am sitting here at the computer, doing just a little Saturday morning catch up. Wonderful Guy is sitting across on my right, at his work station. On my left is a great window looking out to the backyard. It is a cold dismal scene now, but there is always the promise of green in the heart and mind of a garderner! Out of the corner of my eye, I glimpse a movement in the backyard, and I think it is Best Dog Ever. But wait! It is too cold for her to be hanging out there this morning....
And then I see it is a red fox. In our back yard. Just cruising through....
So glad Wonderful Guy was right there. We both jumped up and ran to the front yard in time to see the fox clamber over our six foot privacy fence, pretty much like a cat! Then she? he? scooted through the front yard and down the street.
Beautiful red coat, big bushy tail, pointy curious nose...all about 8 feet from me! I'll take it!
Note: While we live in town, our home is only a couple blocks from an open space, and foxes are not unknown urban dwellers to this area. I do make sure my kitties are in at night for their own safety.
...this learning something new. And spinning has me learning on so many different levels.
There is the actually spinning technique, on drop spindle and wheel. It is challenging, and taking practice. I hear it will be relaxing and even soothing, but I am not seeing that yet. I work at it, practicing, and come to believe I am making progress. Yet when I see what others have accomplished, it is easy to feel I am not doing so well. I keep at it, because I am, if nothing else, stubborn and relentless.
Then there is the lesson of putting myself out there, as in going to the open knitting time at the lys to practice on the wheel. I didn’t go by myself, but I did go, and I worked on something I am not good at in front of a group of strangers, some of whom were very accomplished at what I was trying. Huge for me. Huge.
And what about comparing myself to others? The lesson of being content where I am at, having done the best I can. Accepting myself where I am at. That’s an ongoing lesson for me, not just here, but in many areas of my life.
After today’s spinning lesson, I had gathered data that I could finally ‘file away’, and that is always good place for me to be. I like data and facts to line up a bit. Learning something new, with some many different bits and pieces of knowledge flying at me all at once gets me….well, spinning. Got some plans for practicing on the wheel scheduled, and we have some plans for our next class, too. I am not feeling so undone.
I can learn this. I will learn all of these lessons. It will take time and it will take practice. All of it.
The first purchase Wonderful Guy and I made together when we joined households was 7 foot oak bookshelves, 1 double, 1 single. He didn’t have bookshelves, and mine were handmade by the X, mismatched at best. Wonderful Guy seemed skeptical that I could fill these bookshelves up, as his affection for books is not as passionate as mine.
Well, fill them I did. My books were the first items moved. I loaded up the back seat and trunk of my car (7 and 5 bxs, respectively) with copy paper boxes of them. I made 3 or 4 trips, unloading the boxes and loading the shelves, before he asked, ‘is this about all?’ ‘Just about!’ I said, only having my ‘basement books’ left, meaning college textbooks, school yearbooks, and a few Nancy Drew mysteries.
Yep, I pretty much saved them all. I believed for a long time if I ever got rid of a book, I would regret it. I have since moved slightly from that belief. I still keep books to reread, but am more realistic about what I expect to reread. On the other had, I still have my original paperbacks of Tolkein’s Hobbit & LOTR trilogy I bought in 9th grade (1969), all dog-eared and crumbly paged. I must have read those 8 or 9 times. I know I will read those again.
And I love to not spend lots of money on books. Whenever the X and I relocated, one of the first tasks was to get library cards. (I have had the distinct privilege of serving on a city library board for 4 years.) I have used local libraries vociferously! Where I live now, I have used the Friend’s of the Library book sales. Oh, be still my beating heart! What is not to love about table after table of books, hardly any of them more than $2 a piece! And in the afternoon of the last day of the sale….a whole bag for like $5. Excuse me a bit, I am woozy with the thought…. Now, when I am not going to re-read a book, I re-cycle it with the FOL (Friends of the Library). Win-win for everyone!
May I suggest for your reading enjoyment, a few of last year's reads...(in no particular order)
Streets of Laredo, by Larry McMurtry Pope Joan, by Donna Woolfolk Cross Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden The Source, by James Michener (also Centennial) Pillars of the Earth, by James Follett Eventide, by James Harus The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver (also Prodigal Summer) The Birdcage, by Marsha Willett
Young Co-Worker and I went to the lys to practice with the spinning wheels yesterday after work.
She has been practicing industriously on her spindle and has amassed quite a bit of finely spun…stuff. I mean really nice…stuff. I, too, have been practicing, but mine does not look as nice, or is as plentiful. Our instructor, and others in the know, are all delighted, and rightly so, with her progress, where upon seeing my…stuff, they are encouraging…in patronizing sort of way. I called her 'teacher’s pet'!
This state of affairs is not without a motivating influence on me. I may be outdone by this young upstart, but not without a fight. (And some good excuse making, too! She had a head start with a lesson from an experienced spinner, and has more practice time, not being married and all.) I have all but foregone my evening knitting for the spindle. My WIP’s languish without any progress, but by golly, all I have to do is think of Young Co-Worker’s spindle full of ….stuff, Fine stuff, and I reach for the spinning bag over the knitting bag.
So back to the practice session at the wheels last night. I allowed myself an hour, and in that time I gained a lot of ground. I felt more naturally the rhythm of the pedals (read got the wheel going one direction, and maintained that direction), and I was feeling some control of the drafting. There was some overspinning, to be sure, and some underspinning. Sometimes it’s all about averaging things out in the long run. There were actual moments of brilliance, when I could believe I had IT, but then the space-time continuum would be disrupted, and I would lose the rhythm of the process.
Progress, not perfection, right?
In other news, I was one of the winners of the 'Cheetos packages' in the Crazy Aunt Purl Sweepstakes! I was so excited to see my name on the list of winners last November. That meant I could take her book off my Christmas list, as I was getting an autographed copy (an autographed copy). I have been anxiously awaiting notification, and it appears today, that maybe I have missed it somehow. Oh please oh please oh please let the powers that be do their magic and fix this somehow. I do not want to miss out on this particular little win in my life!
I received a bicycle for my 9th birthday. As fortune would have it, I have been able to keep that bicycle, and it is ride-able shape today.
It was not always so. In 2005, Wonderful Guy took it to a local bike shop, and had my antiquish bike all fixed up. Notice the white wall tires, new pedals, and bell! (We live in a very bike friendly town. There are no fewer than 14 bicycle sales and repair shops around this small city of 131,000!) This was the same year I injured my knee in a skiing accident that required surgery (another story, another post) . Suggested therapy for recovery from said surgery included, among other exercises, bicycling. This old ‘girl’s bike’, was just the ticket. The cut-away allowed easy mounting/dismounting. It was not too tall, which allowed easy and secure maneuverability. The ‘bad’ leg could go around with the pedal, or not, as needed, during the loosening up stage of exercising. We rode ever so slowly around our neighborhood in the summer evenings, loosening and strengthening the knee. It worked, and the knee is all better, even if I haven’t had the courage to try skiing again. (Maybe this season, I hope. Maybe not. But maybe. Agrh! I am so conflicted!)
The next spring, for my 51st birthday, Wonderful Guy presented me with this! He thought enough time had passed, and I deserved my next new bicycle.
I had always thought I would like to bicycle to work, but didn’t have a good bike to ride. Well, that excuse was not a viable one any longer. So how was I going to go about doing this? I needed to be prepared. What route would I follow? (I wanted to avoid the busy streets.) How long would it take me? What did I need to take with me? How would I carry it? What sort of condition would I be in when I got to work? What if I had a flat? Or an accident? Or…. STOP ALREADY! Did I want to or not? I very much did, but I was paralyzing myself with the need to be prepared for all possibilities. I elicited a promise from Wonderful Guy to rescue me if I called for help. I plotted a basic route. I packed only the bare necessities- a local bike route map, my lunch, a change of clothes, my cell phone in a (gi-nourmous) daypack (we use for dayhiking!), and a water bottle. And on a Friday late in May, I left the house for work, on my new bike. Took me about 35 minutes. It was nerve-wracking at times not being familiar with the route, but the morning weather was pristine and glorious, and I was hooked.
On seeing my effort to ride my new bicycle, for our anniversary (which falls not long after my birthday) Wonderful Guy gave me a flat repair kit, and a saddlebag in which to carry my lunch, work clothes, and other items I determined I required. The last two summers, I have averaged about 800 miles riding to and from work. Not bad for an old lady!
Even though snow is in the forecast for tonight, and the temperature will dip below 0° (Shiver. My. Timbers.), I am thinking longingly of when it will be above 50° in the morning, and I can start riding again. Oh, I know. I might be a wimp. There are those who ride no matter what. ("There is no bad weather, only bad gear"…blah blah blah….) I see them out there, but I am what I am, and that is a fair weather rider!
Eldest Daughter provided the bling for my bike….I am also 2FAST4U! (This is usually read as I am passed by others….)
After coloring my hair for 10 years, about four or five months ago I decided to stop. There are several reasons for my decision, and it is, after all is said and done, my decision. I am grow weary of the maintenance. There is the accompanying monetary cost. I am concerned about the weakening of my hair.
Mostly, at this point in my life, I want to embrace who I am. All of me. Even the grey…or silver, as it will be hopefully!
So it has been 4 or 5 months. My hair does not grow very fast, in my estimation. In fact, I would say my hair grows slowly. My stylist doesn’t seem to think so, but I am not sure I trust her. I think it the nature of the beast. She tells me she is cutting off only an inch or two, and that my hair has grown out at least three or four inches. What I see lying on the floor, and what I see in different color at the roots is the same length. I don’t think math problems are her strong suit.
Yes, that is correct. I go to a hair stylist I don’t all together believe. But we have history! That goes far in with me. I started going to her while she was still in beauty school. We say, jokingly….mostly…. that I am her ‘oldest’ customer. In the beginning, her family went to the church where the X was the minister, and our families socialized with a couple of others for a few years. She has known me through the Story of the Dee-vorce. I have followed her from salon to salon to where she now owns her own place. We have ‘cred’ with each other, and when we ask about each other’s daughters, usually we are pretty honest. Within reason, that is.
So I put up with her ‘length analysis’ issues, and she puts up with my ‘micro-trims’ and ‘going natural’.
(I must remember to take her some dishcloths and tribbles this week!)
(The photo is of Horsetooth Rock, which one can see from the street where I live. It was taken a couple years ago in May. It does not look this green now...but hope springs eternal!)
Time to wrap up another weekend. There are some things undone that I intended to do since getting off work on Friday, but rather than dwell on the negative, I will remain positive in my thinking.
I already shared about Friday evening's happenings. Laughing bebe! What I didn't mention is the added possibility of helping Youngest Daughter start sewing this week. Another of my mother's legacies I have the chance to pass on.
Saturday morning, I got all brave on myself, and emailed the blog link to my Wonderful Guy. Wonderful Guy's computer is across the big desk from mine in the office, where he works from home. When the email arrived, he was curious, and as he read, he was encouraging. All in all, very supportive, and after the fact, I am wondering why I thought he would be anything but. He is, after all, a Wonderful Guy! He said he might even start his own, but keep it all private- like. He is very computerish, and spent much of the rest of the morning tinkering, while I cleaned house. I even did some of his chores this week! Not all of them though.
I had a jade plant that had been doing a bit too much thriving, much to my delight. It had become top heavy, and having tipped over a couple times this past week, I determine it required transplanting. I accomplished that, and while watering the rest of my house plants, I discovered an african violet whose stem had begun to get mushy. I believe that is the correct botanical term. I removed it from the pot it shared with it's roommate, trimmed off the mushiness, and stuck it in fresh potting medium (my own secret recipe). I have little knowledge of african violets beyond sunlight, water, and occasional food. Mine grow as they will, and bloom when they want. I hope this treatment works for this guy. I would hate to see him croak (another technical term, I believe).
I then attended a bra party. Hmmm. I did not choose to make a purchase, even if they are Oprah's favorite. I backed up my hard drive. (How pro-active of me.)
After dinner, while watching 'Antiques Roadshow' (love that show!), I practiced with my drop spindle. Surprise! I was sort of able to draft while spinning, and the yarn was actually...yarn-like! Thin, and consistently thin. I can't wait to practice more this evening, even if there won't be Antiques Roadshow on tonight.
Today was our meeting and fellowship, and time for a drive in the foothills. The sun is shining and it is a bit warmer than it has been. Nothing like a sunny Colorado day in January! While driving, I finished up (to the grafting) a four-corners dishcloth (Abigail - 1870 Pearl) for a late x-mas gift for a friend who I will have lunch with on Wednesday.
Not a bad weekend, upon review, and maybe, when tomorrow morning rolls around, I can roll out of bed, ready for the week.
Youngest Daughter & Grandbebe Girl came for dinner last night. Having a grandbebe is proving to be a very rewarding experience. I have heard it was to be so, but honestly, I was not on pins and needles. I was excited enough, but more than ready to wait.
I hold onto some regrets regarding raising my own daughters. There are many things I see that I could have done so much better. I see, in the mire of my co-dependence with the X, that I did not do things as well as I might have as a mother, and it causes me great heartache. I have cause to make many amends to my girls. When I see in their behaviors some habit patterns they had to have learned from the way we 'practiced family', I hurt deeply. Oh...to go back....and what? To love them more? I love them more than life! To do things better? I did things the best I knew. To do what different? Leave the situation? I couldn't. I didn't know of any other way. Not until later.
So now I see my baby with her baby, and she is such a good momma. She has read much, and is up on all the important things, like immunizations and safety and childhood development. She is attentive to her child, and independent thinking with regards to the opinions of others. Her baby is a happy, healthy baby, that loves her momma (and daddy, too).
I look at them together and feel some satisfaction. I see her and I, as mother and baby, when I look at them together. I feel that I must have done some things right, as she couldn't have learned all of this know-how from a book. She had to learn some of it from how she was mothered. I know that. I take great comfort in this.
Last night, with her momma out of the room, Grandbebe and Grandmama played Peek-A-Boo. With her sitting on the bed, I ducked out of sight, then popped up. She startled a bit, then laughed in that baby giggle. I have only heard that outright laugh from her once before. It. Is. Music. Indescribable, and unbelievable in it's capacity for rendering one helpless. Guess what I did? I ducked again! And again! Then Momma came back, and Grandmama was not the most important person in the room. (Party pooper!)
But to see this baby's face light up to see her momma, I will take that as a gift.
I got the site tracker working. Yeeesssss. (For what it is worth, darned 2-edged sword.)
I practiced spinning last night. I made little bird's nests in preparation for today’s lesson with a spinning wheel, then worked with my spindle and my ‘practice’ wool. After 30 minutes of the same frustration, it seemed to go smoother. At least for yesterday evening. I cannot draft while spinning. Yet. The yarn is pretty slubby, but the spindle continued to spin, and in the same direction, both improvements. Yeeesssss. (However, see below)
Last post included a photo I actually tweaked with a Photoshop filter. Yesssss. I loved that! (Must...do.... more....)
Tonight, Middle Daughter, Youngest Daughter, and The GrandBebeGirl come to dinner. Requested menu is enchiladas, a familiar dish the daughters grew up with, comfort food, as it were. Not very authentic, or healthy, and a rather quick preparation. (No recipe will be posted!) I am looking forward to seeing them, and having their energy around…at least for an evening. I am especially looking forward to seeing The Grandbebe Girl. Now she is something!
Today’s spinning lesson was using the spinning wheel. So much for feeling the confidence of last night's progress…Spinning Teacher says ‘come into the store to practice anytime’, stating when the open knitting/spinning times are.
Now here is something I have been giving thought to for some time…going to a knitting group…and why I don’t. There are a couple of reasons, and #1 is once I get home after work, it is difficult for me to get back out, especially when it is dark early, and cold. The second, and more important reason is because I am a scaredy-cat. I don’t know those people! They might judge my knitting ability, choice of yarn, or how I do things.
I will note here that I am not a novice knitter, and have a little bit of skill and confidence in what my abilities are (and are not). I have taught a few people to knit. If I can’t get myself to shop during a time for open knitting, I don’t think practicing spinning in the middle of a lys is going to happen …at least without someone holding my hand. There is that fear of judgment again. At least I can name it!
Closing notes: I have determined to frog the unfinished hat, and to knit into a hat for The Grandbebe Girl. Note to self: get head diameter tonight. I have been very diligent in my exercise routine and healthy eating, resulting in shedding the holiday pounds. And I am going to set a date to show Wonderful Guy this little blog of mine. (I just want to tweak it a bit more.....)
Five years ago next month, Wonderful Guy surprised me with this ring. He selected it all by himself, with just a little help from Best Dog Ever. After not hearing from him all day, he called me at work to tell me he thought we should eat out that evening. I had plans right after work, but if he could wait, I was up for it. When I arrived at his place, dressed very casually (read hair twisted up, and sweatshirt with jeans), I find out he has a nice seafood restaurant in mind. No time to change, nothing to change into, and anyway it’s Colorado, and he’s okay with what I am wearing.
Over a glass of wine (I was beginning to sense something here), he starts to talk. He began with how our friendship had grown and deepened, how we had helped each other’s hearts to heal (another post for another time), how we had learned to laugh again with each other, how I had talked about ‘maybe being ready to possibly do something a little more definite committment-wise’ (almost my precise and unequivocal words!), and how, if we were going to move in together, he wanted there to be a definite promise of something permanent down the road. Or something like that!
It gets a little foggy in my memory because at that point he reached in his jacket pocket, and I thought, “He is going to bring out a ring.” And that is exactly what he did. Yep! Fogged my memories right up! And me….with my hair twisted up with a scrunchy wearing a sweatshirt.
To me, it is the most beautiful ring ever, and the relationship it symbolizes has grown and deepened in ways I never knew possible. This is the second time around for both of us, after very long first marriages where the X’s chose to leave. We have made concentrated efforts to learn new ways of doing things. We have let go of many old habits, and with the promise of an open and honest relationship above all else, we are growing a deep, unconditional love for each other I have never known.
Always, and forever, with all my heart, Wonderful Guy.
I am feeling scattered today, and trying figure out where my serenity has gone.
A friend helped me with the spinning yesterday, and suggested using some 'practice wool' rather the 75/25 wool/silk I purchased with the spindle when I signed up for the class. Now I wonder why the lys employee didn't point me to that basket on the floor, instead of the shelf with the pretty and expensive bundles? Anyway, as is my habit when learning something new that doesn't come easy, I am feeling unsettled about not doing it.....well. I watched my friend, during my remedial lesson, and it came so effortlessly to her. I want to be her! My co-worker, with whom I am taking the class, I suspect is spinning better than me, and that strikes at the core of my competitive spirit. So I am determined, more than ever, to learn this new skill, and to learn it well, and to learn it well with the drop spindle. If. It. Kills. Me.
In the meantime, other things lay unattended.
I have a room of scrapbooking supplies, with new stamps received for Christmas, laying untested. Scrapbooking is one of those things I learned, picked up, and flew with. There isn't so much more to it for me. And it's more than the guilt of feeling like I should be doing something with all those supplies. I want to have a hands-on record of some parts of my life. I think the challenge there this year could be in the photo editing part. Yeah...maybe that's the ticket.
And there is a leftover goal for this year. The photoediting program I got for my birthday last year lies unlearned. I have played some with it, but the depths of the program are unmined. I have a fun camera, and the editing program is a good one. It just takes time. And knowledge. Sometimeswhen I am reading the manuals I overload pretty quickly. Just makes me more determined. (See above 'drop spindle')
I am knitting a hat without enough yarn to finish. I am about ready to start the decreases, and am debating what to do. I have a another bit of nice leftover yarn that will probably finish it up (definitely different colors), but the question I ask myself is....'why'? Why, when I have lots of other yarn that I would not have to make piecemeal with, do I insist on using up a partial skein? I know why. I am my mother's daughter, and can't see almost a whole skein of very nice wool/silk blend not be something useful. (Same reason I keep scraps and pieces of scrapbook paper & card stock, I suppose.) Maybe I should frog the hat and make it smaller for the Grand Bebe. There would probably be enough for that. Her 1st birthday is coming up, and I was beginning to think of an appropriate handmade article.
After 3 tries, I believe I may have successfully installed a sitecounter. Of course, I won't know for another 24 hours! No help from anyone either. I won't ask for help. I will lurk and read anonymously. I will seek out the help and FAQ sections. But to put myself out there, with my name and face to ask a question? Shock horror! There might be judgment. That's one conclusion I have come to with the help of my program over the last several years. So I still fear judgment. At least I know what my fear is! Anyway, I think I might have figured out the counter, and now I can see for sure that no one is reading what I write. I will be equally disappointed (because secretly down deep, I want be discovered!), and freed (to write what I want without fear that anyone is reading any of my tripe!).
I haven't told anyone of this blog, and that is ok for now. However, I must tell Wonderful Guy soon. The foundation of our relationship is true openness and honesty, and I won't hide things from him intentionally. I will wait a bit longer until I figure a bit more of it out, so I can answer the questions I know he will have. And until I have it looking nice, and working smoothly. And until I figure out if this is even something that is going to last past Valentine's Day (which we are going to celebrate at the Melting Pot!). So when???? This might be a Big part of the scattered serenity thing. Really.
I have had the opportunity recently to be in touch with several old friends that I have not had much contact with lately, for one reason or another. I have lived in several states through my adult years and have kept up with friends met along the way, and with childhood and college friends, too. When I married Wonderful Guy, he stared at my Christmas card list and asked 'who are these people?' An old Sunday school teacher, folks from Kentucky, good friends from college, people I knew from Missouri, a childhood friend from Kansas...The dee-vorce gave a chance to grow very close with a few more.
Some I have only kept up with by Christmas cards/letters some years, but opportunities have presented themselves to stay in closer touch sometimes. Some have just drifted away, and that is the way of some friendships. A very few were riven completely by the dee-vorce. I have heard that people enter our lives 'for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime.' I like that view. It provides me the choice of a lesson from these relationships.
Sometimes events provide the impetus to renew friendships. One Saturday, when Wonderful Guy and I stopped to get a donut before hiking, my oldest friend in the world (besides Dearest Sister) parked next to us! Sometimes it takes effort. This year I googled the name of a college friend, and had to email a couple times before I made it through her university's spam filters. Sometimes it means breaking through my personal fears of making of phone call and wondering if they want to reconnect. Sometimes I have to let them go.
Reconnecting has let me make amends where needed. There is a good chance this month that I will get to talk to a college friend that lives too close by for us to not have been in closer contact. I was such a shallow and vacuous boy-chaser, with a great deal of potential, but with no earthly direction except where the males were back then. I just shake my head at my younger self...anyway...I hope to be able to share with her on a healthy level now, and perhaps apologize for some of my bumbles of the past.
Some old friends leave me in awe, like my oldest friend in the world who holds me in such high regard that she considers me like a sister. Do I deserve it? I am not sure, but I am highly complimented. I had the chance to say hello to her elderly mother not long ago, probably 30 years since I last saw her. She recognized me right off, and my friend and I had to assured her that we weren't going to ask to spend the night!
Some aren't around anymore. I lost one two years ago last Christmas to alcoholism. I knew she was struggling, and felt moved to call her one night about 6-8 weeks before she went. I am so glad I listened to my intuition on that one.
I value those I have had the privelege to know through my life, and I appreciate the lessons I have to learn from each person. I am going to try follow through on those nudges my intuition gives me to get in contact, to look people up this year. And when it isn't right, to let it go.
I was notified today that one of the lys has a very nice yarn, Crystal Palace Creme (60% wool/40% silk), on sale through the month. I have used this before for a special project, and love this stuff. I thought to myself this must be checked out! This afternoon at work, we had a power outage, and after about 30 minutes, I decided my destiny must be to leave work early and....go to the yarn shop, of course. It wouldn't do to head to the house too early where my Wonderful Guy works from home. Why...I might disturb him! When I arrived, the proprietor was helping someone, so I wondered around looking for the brand, and found one bin, with only 3 or 4 odd colors. Oh well, probably why the sale...but I decided to stay around and ask to be sure. Eventually, when asked if I was finding what I was looking for, I told her what I was seeking, and was pointed to another bin, this full of delicious colors, whereupon I picked out 4 skeins each of 3 different colors. My mind was racing with the possibilities and the savings! Wait...the savings? How much must I spend to save....how much??? Get out the calculator....OMG....I cannot go home with $114.00 of yarn, I don't care how delicious looking or yummy feeling. He is a Wonderful Guy, but does not quite get the concept of yarn 'to die for' when it rings up over...(fill in the blank).
I re-gathered my sanity, selected a very nice forest-y green, bought 5 skeins (500 yards) which should be enough for something very nice, and left feeling very fulfilled. And it is to die for!
I learned to knit from my mother. I remember growing up that she had an exciting array of knitting needles, of varying sizes, lengths, and types, but mostly I remember her using aluminum needles, 10" or 14". I wanted to see her use the other, more 'exotic' types, but in the '60's the aluminum were the new, modern ones. The old wooden and plastics stayed in her carrying case for the most part. Momma knitted quite a variety of articles, among them Barbie doll clothing. We had very little , and could not afford store-bought Barbie clothes. (Heck, we could barely afford the Barbie Dolls!) Observe the fashion sense of my 'bubble hair-cut' Barbie. She may have lost her shoes, but she is still stylin' in her hand knitted roll neck top and peg legs! Ooooh baby!
Mother and her sister, Favorite Aunt, learned to knit a circular, doily-like dishcloth about 30 years ago. I think she liked knitting them because the yarn was inexpensive, came in a variety of colors, was a portable project, and a project that was initially a challenge, then became one she could do by rote. It provided her something to sell at the craft bazaar at her church, and she gave them as gifts. They were always admired and appreciated, which she liked. Sometimes her dishclothes never made it to the kitchen sink, but were used as doilies. She knitted STACKS of them(on sz 8 dpns, no less), like pancakes, each identical to the one before, and the one after. I think Momma might have knit thousands of them. The cotton yarn would be found on sale, or bought on-line in bulk, eventually. When I would come home for a visit, she would always ask, 'do you need any dishclothes?', and I would always say yes, thus enlarging my stash. I used them for gifts for my girl's school teachers, sunday school teachers, piano teachers, fellow employees, and anyone else. I could give them outright as dishclothes/doilies, or I would thread a ribbon through the 'eyelet' portion of the outside scallops, pulling it up to make a pouch, and fill it with candy. With the years, Momma's short term memory started to fail, yet she continued to knit the dishclothes, not missing a stitch. It was the most remarkable thing. My sisters and I knew the dishclothes would become a thing of the past eventually. While I had a copy of the instructions from years back, and had gone over them once with her, I wanted to make sure this knowledge wasn't going to slip away from us. I traveled back one weekend, and spent the afternoon with her in the assisted living facility where she lived. I took my needles, my yarn, and my copy of her hand-written directions, and parked myself on her couch, across from where she sat in her chair. I cast on, and we began. She watched, then questioned if I had dropped a stitch. I counted, and replied, 'no', and continued. Pretty soon she came over to sit beside me, and again questioned whether I had done something correctly. I started to bristle, just like a child, thinking, 'gosh, Mom, I know how to knit'. Then I saw what an opportunity, what a gift, I was being given. I relaxed, and settled in next to my mother, and let her teach me all over again. We spent the afternoon, on her couch, knitting, and I had a second chance to enjoy her company, and her lessons, and her talent like I never really did as a child. I hold that afternoon close to my heart as such a treasure. Mom's memory continued to erode, and pretty soon, the dishclothes were not so identical, or stacking 'like pancakes', and then she quit knitting. We knew we had crossed another bridge on her journey. The dishclothes no longer were given as gifts, as there would be no more from her. Momma passed away almost three years ago, and now, as Precious Niece has put it, we guard our personal hoards of Momma's dishclothes like 'hissing dragons'. We knit our own, but personally, I have found another dishcloth pattern I like to knit. I can't do Momma's pattern as well as she could, so I don't even try for now. Her's was her's, and I can leave it like that. But I learned that one must....MUST....knit dishclothes, and when Sugar 'n Cream is on sale.....buy it!
The new year's winter can sometimes stretch out a little long in front of me, after the holidays. Here in the higher altitudes, with a bit of a shorter growing season, it is even harder for someone who yearns for warm days and green shoots in the yard. Lately, the weather has warmed slightly, and I have had to remind myself that "It is not yet the spring! Do Not Be Fooled!"
So it is with definite delight that I look forward to travel plans!
First, before Christmas, I bought tickets to fly to Philadelphia to see Eldest Daughter the end of February. It certainly was easier to say good-bye to her after the holidays knowing I was going to see her in a few weeks. Dearest Sister will be joining me, and perhaps Precious Niece, too. We plan to visit DC, and see the sites! We will also take in the Philadelphia Flower Show, which is a spectacular event. This weekend, Wonderful Guy and I reserved a cabin at Yellowstone for part of a week in July. I love Yellowstone. It might be one of my most favorite places ever! We have been there a couple of times, and it has a special hold for me. I read a lot in preparation for our first visit, and it helped us to understand the geology, wildlife, and ecology of the area better. We hope to get off the beaten path and do some hiking in the days we are there. We will be staying in the Lake Yellowstone area, which is such a beautiful place. I am excited!
So I have something to look forward to, and hold me over, while winter continues to hold Colorado in her grip. Bring it on!
...and there is nothing more humbling than struggling through learning something new. It is a good reminder to have patience myself with others! This little effort may take way too much coordination and thinking all at once for these old-ish brain cells to adapt to...I was exhausted by the time the lesson was over, and it was only an hour! I would get into the flow of spinning, and think "oh yeah, I am doing it now...." only to completely lose it, and struggle for the next 15 minutes, totally lost. I am taking the class during my lunch hour with a co-worker, who is about the same age as Youngest Daughter, over the next three weeks. I was very good student, and practiced last night at home, then followed up with some knitting. I felt it important to go to end the day with a sense of accomplishment rather than a sense of frustration! So WIP photos...first the Maple Seed Hat:
And the Alison's Scarf:Improving photography and photo editing skills are on the list of goals for the year. Note I said goals, not resolutions. Let's see, that makes the blog, acceptance of self (body-wise), photography and editing, spinning...so far a good list. I am pleased with the way the blog is going so far. I am learning a lot, and that, after all, is what it is suppose to be all about. One more photo...I have two orchids, and this is the only time I have ever had one rebloom. What a gift!
During the year of the Dee-vorce, I lost weight. I was pleased with this. I have always been thin. I have always been very, very thin, as a child, and after having 3 children. Being small and thin has been a part of my identity. When I did put on a few pounds (and I mean only a few), this caused consternation. I can see now this frayed the edges of my identity. Then some stress would enter my life and pounds would fall away, and I would be back to my usual. Ahhh….all was right with the world.
So now, six years after I received those final dee-vorce papers in the mail (in the mail!), and my lowest weight since high school, I now weigh more than I did when I was pregnant. And yet, AND YET! I am eating much healthier, nutrition and calorie-wise, than I have in my entire life (thanks to the Wonderful Guy), and I exercise diligently and properly. What gives? It began when I got happy (no, really!), I started gaining some poundage, but that was okay…because, after all, I was way too thin….at least that is what I said, but down deep, I liked wearing those size 2 jeans. But size 4 was okay, too, I guessed. But I kept gaining, and Middle Daughter’s wedding was coming up, and the X was going to be there with the new, younger version he had married very shortly after that fateful mail day. What I was concerned about was nothing to be concerned about. Really. It was in my mind, comparing myself to others expectations, to my own ideas about what I should be, about what I had always been. I was concerned about 117lbs.
But it continued, and I was outgrowing clothes, and I kept approaching limits, then bypassing them. Youngest Daughter’s wedding was approaching. I took a new approach. With the Wonderful Guy, I had been eating and cooking healthier, but I never had to count calories. My research told me it was important to be informed about exactly what one’s caloric intake was. The internet has wonderful tools for this information, and I start using some of them, along with a journal. I kept track of everything for several months, even using one website to enter my own recipes so I could see exactly what calorie count my tuna noodle casserole (for example) was carrying. I logged intake faithfully, and kept to about 1600-1900 calories/day. This was coupled with maintaining exercise my exercise 5-6 days/week. I quit gaining, and even dropped a couple of pounds the first few weeks. I believed I was going to be able to be down to 120lbs by the wedding.
Uhhhh...wrong answer. Nothing else happened. Wedding came and went, and I wore a ….size 6! Shock!! Horror!!!! I look at the photos and I think I have such a roll around my middle. Really. I think that. My sisters have no sympathy for me, and if by chance anyone is reading this, you may not either. That’s ok. That’s not my point to all this.For my next birthday, Wonderful Guy gave me a new bicycle, and I started riding to work a few times a week. It is approximately a 16.5 miles round trip, and that first summer, I rode an estimated 900 miles. Those handy dandy little internet tools I talked about previously told me I was exercising very vigorously, burning up all sorts of calories, and not taking in outrageous amounts of calories. I should have been dropping poundage like crazy, if the math was right. Well, I didn’t. Nothing budged…not weight, not pants size, not nothing! Now I was enjoying myself and feeling good, and found the morning ride exhilarating, and evening ride bearable, but geez! Somebody, throw me a bone here!
Where am I going with this? It's that I think I need to be thrown a bone. I weigh 130-135lbs on any given day. I have kept track of my diet and eating patterns to know that I am eating healthy and nutritious foods most of the time in proper amounts. I exercise pretty darn well, especially for a middle-aged woman. There is absolutely nothing unhealthy in any of that. And I am in the middle of all the charts for weight and BMI. I am normal, finally average. Why is it so hard for me to accept me this way, at this stage of my life?
Because it’s hard not to be caught up in what I used to be, thinking something is wrong if I am not looking the same way, the same size I was way back when. There is a roll over my jeans when I sit that didn’t use to be there, and I don’t see me as being skinny. I have always been prideful of that, and if I am not skinny anymore, maybe I have lost a part of my identity. That is not sound thinking.
I am going to work very hard this year to continue to eat well, exercise regularly, and accept my body just as it is. This is something I have struggled with for a couple of years, and it is really time to lay this one down. I‘ve become educated to know what’s healthy eating and what’s not, what is good to do and what’s not, and I am free to make those choices. I want to be okay with my body because it is really is OKAY.
My mother's family homesteaded just a few miles southeast of Greensburg, Kansas at the turn of the last century. I was born in the local hospital, and spent my grade school years there. All my family, from my grandfather's generation through my older siblings, graduated from Greensburg High School. I learned to ride a bike around the Big Well Park. I won a Grand Champion ribbon for a sewing project in 4-H at the County Fair one year. Momma taught knitting classes in the back room of the Ben Franklin 'Five&Dime' on Main Street. (That's where I learned to knit.)
On May 4, 2007, a EF-5 tornado all but destroyed this town where I was born and raised.
Just the night before, my sibs and I had been discussing the possibilities of meeting in Greensburg to inter my mother's ashes around Memorial Day. She passed away 2 years before, and her memorial service took place elsewhere. We siblings are a spread out crew, and hadn't managed a time to get back to our hometown to bury Momma's ashes with Daddy. Now it looked promising with certain travel plans and arrangements that we could all be there over Memorial Day.
Friday night, while watching TV, I got a phone call from my brother saying it looked like Greensburg was getting hit by a tornado. Being raised in southwestern Kansas, my experiences with tornadoes were of those skinny little funnels that dip and touch and raise and hit and miss. As the events were unfolding real-time, it was very difficult that night to get any definite news, but as the story developed, it appeared this tornado didn't miss much. Almost two miles wide, it covered pretty much the entire town.
When I woke Saturday morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee, and turned on the national news. I was stunned. As the weekend developed, Dearest Sister and I spent time on the phone, each on our own computer, looking at the aerial photographs, trying to identify landmarks. It seemed in each photo the house where we grew up was just outside the shot. (We found out later the back part of the house was damaged, with the roof, and later had to be demolished.)
We were able to take care of Momma over Memorial Day weekend,burying her ashes 48 years to the day after my father died. It was going to be just Mom's kids, a couple of nieces and nephew, and some grandkids at the cemetary, but word had gotten out. Others started showing up, and kept coming. When it was time for us to say our good-byes, there were twenty or so other people there, some who had lost a good deal, who had a lot of unanswered questions about what they were going to do. Nevertheless, they came to say good-bye to this woman who had been a part of their community years before.
I read an article today that the residents of Greensburg have been named Distinguished Kansans of the Year. Some left after the tornado, but many stayed, and are determined to rebuild, whatever it takes, and to do it up right. And that is right, and good, and I am so proud.
I read yesterday about site counters, and have been thinking about the implications of such regarding my philosophy of blogging. Do I care how many might read it? When being honest with myself, I know when I see how many times my Ravelry projects get viewed, I get a charge out of it. And undoubtably, the Ravelry linkage opens the blog up to others. While I might not mention it to those who know me, certainly some can see there that I have one, unless I remove the address, which I could. What a conundrum!
Today, on the Needles of Iron…as usual, a Four-Corners Dishcloth (1870 Pearl), a Maple Seed Hat (Angela Hahn), and Alison’s Scarf (Annie Modesitt). My history with dishclothes will be for another post. I have developed a process to determining what my current WIPs are at any given time, and this has kept me challenged, yet also let me have some mindless knitting. I keep about 3 projects going, one being the ubiquitous dishcloth, one a project using a little bit more concentration and technique, and the last requiring new technique and skill levels. When some knitting time rolls around, I can pick up whatever is called for. The hat is using leftover yarn from my Cinnabar Scarf (another Angela Hahn), and I hope there is enough. I am using some Paton's Decor for the scarf, sturdy enough for some learning of new technique with the requisite frogging. The scarf's I-cord cast-on is very interesting, and I think I like it alot.
I have knitted a lot this past year, and really it has only been since June when the group at work started knitting the squares for the Greensburg project (again, another post). FO’s are listed on Ravelry and I count 25 projects, plus dishcloths. For half a year! I have honed some old skills, and picked up new ones, too. I have come to look at knitting as one of my Momma’s legacies. I value the lessons from my mother, teaching me the basics as a young girl. As I have taught others, I’ve come to appreciate her patience. Well, at least now I do!
Other crafty accomplishments this past year: I completed the quilt for the grandbebe girl, the eldest daughter’s lifetime scrapbook, and the dearest sister’s 50th birthday scrapbook.
I put up all the holiday décor yesterday, and today the regular routine of winter living starts once again. The kids have gone home, the house is quiet and empty (equally pleasant and saddening), and with the tree down, the front room seems absolutely spacious. It was a very rewarding holiday season, though, and I have started off the New Year in fine style. I exercised, started the blog, and put the house in order, and went to a meeting. v.g.
Part of my holiday décor includes Star Trek ornaments. They plug into the string of lights, lighting up themselves, and some of them talk when the lights are initially plugged in. I have 9 or 10, all ships, from all the series. They have been gifts from a special friend who shares a similar like, from the X, and even from my mother (who is now gone, and I seriously laugh to think of my mom in Hallmark picking out a Klingon Bird of Prey!). The year of the dee-vorce, when celebrating the holidays was something I was going to skip, the oldest daughter literally forced me to purchase a fake tree from a local craft store, already lighted. When getting out the Christmas cards, I saw the Star Trek ornaments. They were in an easily identifiable box, and easily reached. Having gone as far as to get a tree, I decided a few ornaments were not out of line, seeing as how those were the ones I found. We are still enjoying that memory of a particularly bleak time. I love those ornaments on so many different levels.
Here goes nothing! Or maybe everything. My space, my thing, and maybe no one will ever know about it. One more level of creativity, of learning, of soaring. Remember that? Stretch out and reach. That is one thing I want to include in this journal...bit and pieces of my walk over the last few years. I remembered this morning that 7 years ago I was celebrating my 25th anniversary with the X. At the time, I thought that was IT! And yet, I was in so much pain.... In the last 7 years, I have grown to see myself more honestly than ever, and understand unconditional love, peace, and serenity in deep ways. These avenues of growth likely would not have happened if the old way of living had continued. I am truly grateful for the opportunity, as grimly painful and traumatic as the X choosing to leave was. And as I face new challenges, I am reminded they are only new opportunities for deeper lessons about me and love and trusting my higher power. I am now married to a wonderful man that I consider my best friend. I am committed to him, and understand and trust his love and committment to me. Seems silly to have to spell it out, but you see, that was not part of my belief system before. Enough of that....in addition to lessons of my recovery, I want to include knitting, hiking, family, sewing and quilting, travel, gardening, photography, and maybe some homemaking and cooking, too. That ought to be a broad enough scope for this little New Year's challenge!