Maybe Cloning

Home again, home again. I wonder how many times I’ve typed that over the years.  It’s a miracle I’ve never followed it with jiggity-jig, which is absolutely what I’m thinking. (This is the exact moment when one of you scans the archives and comes up with sixty-three times I’ve followed it with exactly that, not a one of them I’ll recall.) These last few weeks, I’m bucking the feeling that as I do all the right things, I’m in all the wrong places. This feeling was summed up on Wednesday morning as I missed the Bainbridge Ferry by about 20 seconds – despite careful planning and what should have been a foolproof plan.

I stood there on the dock, watching it sail off, and thought to myself “Well, that’s about right” and sat down to knit until the next one came, mostly content. I was on my way back from Port Ludlow.  After realizing that Susan’s funeral was going to be held during the retreat we just had there, I’d decided to go anyway. Actually, I hadn’t as much decided as I’d realized that there was just no way I could be anywhere else. The retreats we host are pretty tiny, and there’s only three a year, and there’s just no way to change when they are only a few weeks out.  It was difficult to see the family load up and head for Ottawa while I got on a plane for Seattle, we all felt bad about it, but every time I felt like I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, I reminded myself that I was of service to Susan when she was alive, and that meant a lot more to her than my attendance at a service.  (It has been my experience thus far that other than in your imagination, dead people really don’t hold you to account much.)  It turns out that it’s not as much that I’m in the wrong spots – it’s more that I can’t seem to be in two places at once.

The rest of the week passed in a blur. The retreat was super busy, with Debbi welcoming a grandchild just days before we gathered there, and then it turning out that she actually was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and having to go home a little early.  (I know she wished she could be in two places as well.) I did conference calls for the Bike Rally on my lunch breaks, I answered email between class and evening events. I caught a break when a crazy winter storm whirled through Toronto on the weekend, cancelling the first training ride of the year – and relieving the feeling of being in the wrong place when I couldn’t attend it. Thursday exploded in a jet lagged blur- trying to get all caught up, and yesterday… technically I don’t remember anything about yesterday except I ran out of time to do everything on my do-do list and dinner was a salad with mint. That’s all I’ve got.

Little Elliot’s first birthday party is here tomorrow. I was in Texas two weeks back on his actual first birthday. I sort of felt like I was in the wrong place that time, but it was really the right thing to go to the fabulous DFW Fiber Fest and make up deserting the year before, though I did feel a little pang when the pictures of the birthday boy arrived on my phone.  Thankfully, our little guy is blithely unaware of the calendar, so we shifted it so I could be here for the big celebration. I’ve been pushing hard all week to get his birthday sweater finished, and I can admit today that I’m not going to make it. This hasn’t stopped me from trying, inexplicably.

Pretty, isn’t it? It’s Hearst, and the yarn is Alpha B Yarn “Kiwi B”, an Australian Polworth that she dyed just for one of the Strung Along retreats a few years ago. The colourway’s named for the co-ordinates of Port Ludlow. (If anyone’s coming out to Knot Another Fiber Festival next weekend, she’ll be there I think.  I also think there’s a few spots in one of my classes, the lecture one – Knit Smart. Fun and useful, I promise.)

Today, I should have been at the rescheduled first training ride, but I woke up with tons to do, a birthday cake to bake, a backache, and the absolute inability (emotionally speaking) to push my road bike over the snow piled up by the garden gate. Maybe if I did have a clone I’d be willing to send her out into the cold to ride, but as long as it’s me there’s just no way.  I’ll wait for the temperatures to at least be double digits before I get out there.

If you need me, I’ll be here, more or less, baking cake, answering email, looking wistfully at my bike and my knitting, thinking that this would all go a lot better if there was two of me. Peace out.

66 thoughts on “Maybe Cloning

  1. I would clone myself but then *she* would start thinking up things to do, adding to the job list. I rather suspect *your* clone would do the same… :-/

  2. Enjoy where you are and what you’re doing. Think about it enough to know if you need to make different decisions in the future, and then let it go.

    I hope you all have a great birthday party!

  3. If you can’t have a clone, you at least need a helper. Your to do list must be at least Xmas spreadsheet size. It’s been a fun year watching the little guy grow up.

  4. You’re in the right place, at least right now. You’ve honored your commitments and covered everything else as best you could. Once you’ve finished that birthday cake, relax. Put on some music, pour a glass of wine, put your feet up and knit like the wind. Maybe you’ll get that sweater done in time after all.

  5. I’ve often wished there were two of me but know that we would both be equally adept at losing track of our to-do lists. And in my family birthdays are always moved to the day and place that best allows us to be together. Enjoy your grandson’s celebration! Hope we get to see pictures with messily eaten cake. 🙂

    • Ours too. After years with a parent who worked swing shifts, it was a rare thing that even major holidays were celebrated on the ‘correct’ day.

  6. I know the good feeling of being home. You are blessed with a wonderful family. Enjoy the birthday and please post pix. His face is SO cute!

  7. My clone would probably pilfer my stash, and I don’t think I could share that well. Can’t wait to see your party pics.
    I’ll be in your class at KAFF, and I’m so excited! Safe travels!

  8. Spending the weekend at KITH — Knitting in the Heartland — and remembering when you were here two years ago. Can’t agree with you more about funerals, I’ve missed a few for various reasons, don’t punish yourself if you can’t get there.

  9. Thank you for DFW and for Strung Along. Hoping Debbi’s grandson and daughter are doing well, and that your celebration for Elliot brings everyone much joy.

  10. I know that feeling! Today I would have cloned myself into threes, so that one of me could go ride my horse in the hot and dry, and another one could read Biology to my daughter, and the third could sit peaceably on the back patio and knit. Hang in there.

  11. Thank you so much for this post. I recently had to miss a dear friend’s Fab Final Farewell to attend a class out of town where I was assisting. Even though I knew she would have wanted me to attend and it was the right thing to do for my students and career, it still tore me up. Just reading how you articulated feeling not so much in the wrong place as wanting to be in two places at once just provided so much relief. I am so grateful.

  12. Welcome home. After all the travels and people met, it’s okay to just be, at home, for a little while. Happy Birthday celebrations with Elliot, and I’m glad Debbi got to go be with her new grandbaby.

    So: which one of you is going to have a new one to snuggle and interrupt things next spring?

  13. I’ve often wished for a clone, but I think the truth is that even if we had a clone, we’d be just as busy as we are with only one of us — just like if we had more hours in the day, we’d probably fill them up with to-do’s rather than with sleep or pleasurable things.

    Enjoy your time with that adorable grandson of yours.

  14. 1. Breathe …
    2. Glass of wine
    3. Relax with Elliot’s sweater and chill for half an hour
    4. Do absolute top priorities on the list
    5. Repeat (3) with possible addition of (2)
    6. Do next-to-top priorities on list
    7. Repeat (3) with … well, you decide about (2)
    8. Probably time for bed about now …

    Good luck, and late happy birthday to Elliot!!

  15. A piece of wisdom I was recently handed, which I would love to reject/resist, except that it sounds too much like sanity, was “Make peace with your limitations”….specifically because they are exactly what forces you to prioritize and focus on what is truly most important–the Good sacrificed for the sake of the Best.

    Which is not to say that the Good doesn’t leave a pang as we let it go, no?….=)

    [Hilarious: “touch the light bulb”] alrighty, then!

  16. I’ve thought long and hard about this whole cloning business, and I have decided that there is simply no way that two of me wouldn’t get into twice as much trouble, so I’m on my own.

  17. Funerals are not held for the sake of the dead, but for the sake of the living. As one of the living in question, if it’s better for you to be somewhere else, then be somewhere else and don’t feel bad about it… she says blithely, as though feelings were something that could be switched off. OK, feel however you feel, but know that you have not wronged your loved one by not being at her funeral.

  18. Hugs! You love your people and they love you! Life isn’t perfect. We do our best. You are a good, good person who gives inspiration to the rest of us. Soldier on, dear Stephanie.

  19. I have always said that i will be the first in line for cloning.
    There are just so many things to be done and so many things I would like to do and only so many hours in the day and only 1 of me soooooooo……cloning is the only answer except that I want more than one, maybe about 3 or 4 extras would be good.

  20. I was at the retreat where we got that Yarn!! It’s so lovely and that pattern is perfect! Enjoy the birthday boy and try to relax a little…the important things will get done.

  21. I come from a family of shifted holidays, birthdays, any occasion can be easily moved (except birth and death and I hear some obstetricians still try to force women to schedule birth.) With a parent in the military and the idea hot in our mind that, yes, the Soviets could attack on Christmas, we constantly time shifted important events. It makes for more resilient adults who believe in things like birthday months and other magical thinking. So time shift away and know that peace through knitting probably has a higher chance of success than peace through strength.

  22. My thought was “Even if Steph had a clone, she wouldn’t have had the heart to send her out on that ride.”

    Virtual hugs being send your way <3.

  23. I agree with everyone who says that you you and your clone would be twice as busy and there would be four places for the two of you to be, so that isn’t really the answer.
    And an extra hour in the day only works if it’s a surprise every day and no one else gets it.
    To be human is to endure limitations and to learn how to do what’s important first, since “later” may never arrive.
    Please don’t ask me how I know!
    Love you Steph, even tho’ we’ve never met. I am in awe of how many places you DO manage to be and how much you get done. And I love the new “little old man” sweater that’s in Elliot’s future.
    Now I must click or touch the PANTS! (Those BLU jeans would definitely go great with that sweater.)

  24. I have been wishing for years that you could send an agent in your place in the bike rally. It takes so much out of you, and you could raise as much money if you spent the time knitting small items and auctioned them. We all suffer with you, my dear.

    • I heartily agree with this. You cannot be everywhere at once and you can still do so much good on the steering committee and fundraising. It is not a requirement to ride when you’ve done it for so many years already. It takes so much out of you, and we all feel it.

  25. First of all, you’re amazing, and I just don’t know how you handle all you do with such poise and graciousness.

    Second, more selfishly, I thought over the concept of cloning– as, you know, I’d just blown my writing deadline spectacularly out of the water. But I think probably I’d just be stuck with two of us with writer’s block instead of just me…

  26. You’ve described my entire career. When I’m home I feel as though I should be out, and when I’m out, I long for home. My son went off to college this past fall, and I thought that inner conflict would subside with the transition. It has, a bit. I’ve had to own that despite my job as a business traveler, I’m a homebody at heart. I blame the Virgo moon of my natal chart. ;0)

  27. Yes, “Peace out.” You’ve beautifully articulated that mind/heart struggle of wanting to be more than you are. Fortunately, what you ARE is truly enough. Thank you for sharing your generous heart with us and with so many.
    Sending you warm thoughts of peace … with a side of completeness.

  28. I hope you pushed out next year’s retreat to give yourself and your retreat Cohorts time to do grandbaby birthdays and recoup between fiber festivals and retreats. You might even miss out on those last winter surprise storms.
    There is always too much to be done and we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that if our house was cleaner and our life more organized, we will have accomplished more and be considered fine examples to others. When I find myself falling down that rabbit hole my mantra is….”Even Martha Stewart employs a team of professionals to get and keep her life together”. Then I find my needles and yarn and giant cup of coffee and daydream about hiring a household staff.

  29. I’ve been following the terrible events in Toronto. I’m hoping that you and yours are safe. And my prayers for those souls lost today.

  30. If there were two of you, would there be two blogs? Twice the fun reading the posts you put up?

    …just wondering…


  31. I’m a long time reader and I don’t remember ever having commented before, but today I want to say thank you – thank you for taking us along through your life. The way you express the joys and pains of life, both large and small, and all mixed up together, is just beautiful.

  32. Port Ludlow sounds wonderful. Maybe I’ll make it someday… You were with Susan when she needed you and could most appreciate your presence. That’s what is most important. Elliot’s new sweater looks super!

  33. Today we are all Canadians. So sorry about the attack. Hope your loved ones and friends are safe as your community heals.

  34. We have a big family and have had lots of funerals. Not everyone makes it to all and the rest make room for that. Except for my brother-in-law who goes to impress someone or if it is convienient for him. Not at his mother’s, sister’s or three brothers. He gave a speech about life insurance at his father’s. He’s an insurance salesman. In other words, he is everyone’s favorite and we keep track.

  35. I was going to make a joke about the “do-do list” you were working on “yesterday” (Friday) but then I saw the comments about the tragedy in Toronto

    Sincerely hoping you and yours are okay, and feeling devastated for the families of those lost and injured. Everyone hug as many people as you can today – small acts of kindness can add up, and hopefully make us more connected as humans.

  36. Periodically I’ll dreamily contemplate a relocation to Canada (the immensely complicated logistics of emigration notwithstanding), and then I’ll read one of your posts and find a tiny throwaway phrase that I’m sure you don’t even see in the same context as me. “…snow piled up by the garden gate…. I’ll wait for the temperatures to at least be double digits before I get out there.” At the end of April. In one of the less extreme areas of Canada’s weather.

    Nope. I’m suddenly feeling less cranky about the summer heat that will soon arrive here in the southeast US. I think I’ll stay put (at least until I get another bout of “I never get to wear my sweaters”-itis).

  37. My standard answer to “what would you choose as your superpower?” is “to be in 2 (or more) places at the same time.” But you seem to have made the best choices available to you. Hugs and kisses to Elliot, can’t believe it’s been a year already!

  38. Women will forever need more time, more hands or more help. LOVE that yarn. Thinking I’ll see if my friendly knitter person can find something like that for hubby socks. Yummy.

  39. Sometimes I wish there were 2 of me… And sometimes I wish I had 4 arms and 2 sets of eyes. I think my brain could handle that kind of multitasking just that the body can’t knit and type at the same time, while reading and working.

  40. Sorry that you missed your ferry. You sound so incredibly busy. We are spoiled in California with the weather. When I read about your cold winters, I can see why Canadians are such accomplished knitters. Every time I visit your blog, I start drinking more coffee, knitting, and avoiding housework! You are such a talented writer.

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