Imperfection for the win

You know, earlier this year, when I turned 50, I wondered if this was going to be the year I finally learned a lesson or two.  (This is a separate wish than the sort I make every night, when I go to bed swearing that in the morning when I wake up it will be the start of a whole new me. The sort of me that finally cleans closets and streamlines her life and never, ever opens the fridge and thinks holy crap what is that smell, or the sort of me who always has a salad for lunch. I like to think that’s normal – as is my inability to wake up as that other person (she says, munching peanut butter toast, again.) I speak here of my failure to learn what I’ve come to think of as The French Lesson.

It’s possible I’ve told you this before, because it’s something I still struggle with (despite it being a really powerful lesson.)  When I was in grade nine, the first year with classes in different rooms of the school – something came over me, and I skipped French. I just didn’t go. Looking back I can’t even remember what I did instead of going to french, although at the time it all seemed important. It probably involved the boy next door. I was pretty deeply in love with him and everything he said seemed right. Anyway, love and complications aside, I skipped the class, and it was the first time I’d ever done it, and I knew instantly that it was the wrong thing. I felt horrible, and guilty, and that feeling stuck.  I had no idea how I was going to face the teacher after doing that, and so… I skipped the next class too.

Now the problem was huge.  I’d skipped two french classes.  Two in a row.  That was just too horrible to face, and so I skipped a third one while I tried to figure some elegant way out. You see where this is going. The whole thing, and this is still just unbelievable to me, even though I was really, really young and stupid, the whole thing culminated in my mum going to the end of term parent-teacher interviews, and the teacher had no idea who I was.  I still remember my mum asking me not just why the hell I’d skipped an entire term of french, but why on earth hadn’t I told her before she walked into the interview.  She was going to find out – in mere moments. I could have come clean, taken a minute and been all “Hey, mum. I kinda screwed up here, you’re going to find out in 39 seconds what I’ve done, so I might as well not make it worse.” Instead, I let her walk in there and knowing it was certainly all blowing up just a few metres away from me, I sat in the hall thinking “I really could have handled this better.”

Anyway, it’s turned out that some things, some approaches are thematic. They crop up over and over again in your life – and for me, this is a big one. Getting in too deep, and then getting in deeper while I try to get out is one of them,  and it turns out that turning 50 didn’t improve it at all… so here I’ve sat for the last while trying to figure out how to write to you when it’s been so long, and it’s not that I don’t have anything to tell you, it’s that I’ve let it go on for so long that now I have too much to tell you.  I have to tell you about Spain and the baby blanket and Sam’s wedding shawl and Sam’s wedding and I knit a cowl and had a retreat and I think I might be knitting more tiny things for Christmas and I need to take a million pictures and…. I’d wake up every morning and try to think about the worlds longest blog post to dig out, and then there wouldn’t be time for that post and then… The French Lesson all over again.

Then I woke up this morning and thought “$%*^ it. Maybe I just won’t be perfect.  (This is the great message of the French Lesson.  I’m still working on it.) So, here goes. Imperfection for the win.

1. I went to Spain with Joe to celebrate his 50th birthday and my 50th birthday. Together we have a century of experience. That seemed like something worth going big for.

2. It was totally worth it, except for the part where I had 9 hours at home before flying off to the November Strung Along Retreat. I had real regrets at 4am when I was back in the airport.

3. That feeling went away pretty fast when I got to the retreat and it was great.

4. I knit a bunch of stuff I haven’t taken pictures of, and I totally finished that baby blanket, and Joe mailed it for me while I was getting on and off planes, and the recipient allegedly loves it, and when I get a snap or two I’ll post about it here. Promise.

5. I’m furiously knitting Sam’s wedding shawl – her “wedding” is on Saturday. I’ve got that in quotes because it’s not really her wedding, because (in a very Sam-like move) the kid woman already took off to Vegas and got hitched. We’re just celebrating on Saturday because if you’re going to freakin’ elope, then you have to throw you family some kind of bone.

6. I think I’m going to make it. I have one row left to go and then a rather ridiculous bind off, but it still seems doable as long as I don’t buy a new dress, get my hair done or clean the house.

7. Luckily,  I don’t care much about any of those things.

8. There’s a chance Sam comes by her temperament honestly.

9. I am thinking about knitting 25 tiny things before December 1st. I have three.

10.  Yeah.

How are you?

191 thoughts on “Imperfection for the win

  1. Well, points to you for actually having lived the nightmare I often have (though my subconscious usually settles for also not finding the exam and hasn’t yet involved my mother. Shudder). Still, when people accuse you of living the Dream, I don’t think this is the one they have in mind.

    Welcome back. We’re glad to see you.

    • I’m with Rams on this one, only my missed class in my dreams is either something complicated in math or something else complicated in philosophy, and when I do show up at the class I can’t BS my way through it. SHUDDER.

      Anyway, welcome back! It’s so nice to read your blog post and, really, no worries. (-:

    • My nightmare as well. And when I do go for the final exam, I can’t find the examination room. And this is always the last credit I need for my degree.

    • Me too! (The dream, not the hashtag, thank goodness). I am wandering the empty high school halls after the bell rings, not knowing where my class is, and then suddenly I’ve missed the whole semester and either there’s a big paper due or an exam I haven’t studied for, and oh my goodness, my heart goes out to 9th grade Stephanie! Just getting in deeper and deeper and not knowing how to stop!
      As always you help us by sharing your imperfections.

    • I learned the phrase “walk towards the pain” for these situations, very late in life. From a Frenchman, no less.

      Not that having words for it makes it less painful.

    • me too, though whatever the class I’m dreaming I’ve missed: I am not sure what class I have which time; I don’t remember where my seat is; I really can’t do the math…

    • The first line of this blog made me spit out my coffee. I turned fifty this year as well and was hoping for such grand things. Nope, I am still the same ole me.. schedule too much, love too much and laugh maybe .. just enough.. Fifty is still pretty darn good though.

  2. I am so happy to see your post. The thought you didn’t love us did pop into my thoughts. Then I reminded myself you have things to do, family to love. Your time spent away has been good.

  3. Peanut butter toast can get you a long way when required. I find honey on top is nice. Glad you’re back and that all is well. Here in Maryland we’re about to celebrate US Thanksgiving and one of the things I am grateful for is that you grace us with your wit, wisdom and presence. Life is a journey to perfection.

  4. I really was beginning to miss you a lot, but I knew you had so much going on, and so I made myself be patient for your return. You’ve used those three weeks to their max, and then some, and I’m so happy you’re having good things happen. Wishing you a great celebration on Saturday. Congratulations to Sam and Mike, and best wishes to them. Their eloping probably saved you a ton of work. How considerate!

  5. The blog was fab. Truly. I was so glad to see it today.
    My son was planning his wedding for this December but said likely they’d get married before that because of his Navy obligations (he’s a doctor, she’s a doctor, my old age is looking more promising). I called him on a random Sunday and asked when he might legally get married and he said, oh, last Friday. I mentioned that would probably be something to call one’s mother about. And the wedding next month is postponed…..
    Children. The bigger they get, the larger (read more expensive) the surprises.
    Have a great holiday season, and I wish you excellent karma in knitting all the things.

    • Sarah, I can completely relate to your post. My husband and I have always joked that one day our son will call us to say, “Oh, by the way, I’m married and I have two kids.”

  6. “The French Lesson” – I like that. With your permission, I think I’ll start using it (for basically the same putting something off reason that you use it). I do that all the time – and now I have a name for it. Thanks!

  7. Perfect is the enemy of good, right? And you’ve been busy, with wonderful, fun things to enjoy. But welcome back – we missed you!

  8. Oh Steph, you know that we love you no matter how long between posts and no matter whether they’re “perfect” or not! We just love to hear from you.
    And also? Huge congrats to Sam! And to Joe and you on reaching 50! And on the tiny things!

  9. I have missed you this last month, but as you pointed out it has been a busy one. Best to Meg and her new husband. I too am trying to knit little things before Christmas. It’s not going well. My fingers turn into all thumbs when I attempt the wee gnomes. I haven’t given up yet but it is like the French class, If I don’t attempt I wont fail. Plus the wee children that they were intended for don’t even know they exist.

  10. Thank goodness, I’m not the only one. Reading this post feels like the running list of things in my head some days. Maybe some day i’ll be better too. 🙂

    • Moi aussi! (8-1/2 years of French. The 1/2 year was because I couldn’t stand the teacher so didn’t take the 2nd semester. Never could speak it well, and I’ve forgotten most of it.)

  11. Well you never have to worry that you’ve been away too long to write. We always like to hear from you no matter how long it’s been. I think you may be right about Sam’s temperament and that’s really wonderful. I’m doing well. A good part of the Christmas shopping is done. I got two big shawls done for Christmas knits and was considering socks. But then I wound some gorgeous yarn for a Free Your Fade that I may just keep for myself. I should be able to start it over Thanksgiving. Wishing you the very best.

  12. I have had that same thought just about every night since I turned 50 too! I’m 57 now and am still the disorganized mess who I was at 50, but now I live with chronic intractable pain so I guess it’s never going to happen! But I still have hope. Congratulations on Sam’s marriage and finishing the shawl (which I have faith you will have done on Saturday) and of course you can knit all those little things by Christmas, you have loads of time!!!

  13. Wow. You’ve been so busy you forgot to put some items on the list:

    9a. The Christmas Spreadsheet needs to be updated.

    9b. Joe mentioned he’d like handknit socks for Christmas. In black.

    9c. Fruitcake.

    Oh well.

    (P.S.: “The French Lesson” sounds vaguely naughty. And, didn’t Sam hear that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?)

  14. I am…stuck. I want to spin all the fiber in my fiber room, cotton, wool, linen, silk, but I keep sitting in front of the computer. I have 6 pairs of sock to knit, but I keep sitting in front of the computer. I have a scarf to weave for my husband. But I keep sitting in front of the computer. Now that I have read Yarn Harlot, I will get up, go upstairs, move the electric heater into the spinning room and….sit in front of the computer…..Oh Boy….

  15. I’m as behind as you are, thanks for asking. Really, though, life is for living; being a human-being instead of a human-doing. Speaking of which, you have been doing so much that I get worn out reading about it (but keep on writing about it when you feel like it). One introvert to another, I don’t know how you can keep up such a frenetic pace!

    May your Christmas be a happy one, without so many late-night knitting sessions.

  16. I so love this post because it resonates so thoroughly within me. Most things I get going with, but there are certain things – and it always takes me by surprise what those things are – that get away from me. Then it’s been too long, and then, well, you know how it goes.
    I’m 7 years into the second half century of my life and by know I know that I won’t change. I’m content with that.
    Love the bullet points to catch us up and congrats to Sam and the rest of your family. I’m sure that the shawl will be finished by the weekend. You will enjoy the celebration either way.

  17. Welcome back! Just pick up and go forth from where you are. That’s good enough. Even your little summary was perfect.

    I saw your beaded shawl on Instagram. That’s going to be so beautiful, and even moreso when blocked.

    Awkwardly typing with one hand and a finger on the other hand. Car door 1, Me 0.

    Carry on!

  18. I like you just the way you are. If I want to torture myself I can read the blog of some woman who is a mother, CEO of her company AND keeps a spotless house and a perfect bod.
    I like yours better.

  19. Your French story cracks me up. In fifth grade (I think), I stopped doing my math homework. I don’t know why, but I just stopped. And kept not doing it, for MONTHS. I had hundreds of exercises to do, and of course it was too overwhelming to begin to face, and boy did it escalate out of control. Until somehow my mother found out, and to my shock I didn’t get in trouble, but she was like “Why on earth didn’t you tell me you were so far behind?” and worked something out with my teacher.

    I have not thought about this story in a long, long time. And nowadays I am fairly math-phobic and still battle with putting my head in the sand when I am overwhelmed. Huh. Funny how I never made those connections before.

    Anyway, from one who understands, good work blurting something out!

  20. Congrats to Sam on her wedding. Can’t wait to see what will certainly be a beautiful shawl (which I am sure you will have completed in time). Anxiously awaiting photos of the new baby blanket – they are always so awesome and thoughtful in your choice of patterning to reflect the new family.

    Glad to hear from you again – I was beginning to wonder that you were OK.

    Don’t worry about the small things for Christmas (presumably another Advent calendar) – remember – you knit like the wind, they are small objects, and you really only need to be one or two days ahead of the actual date!

  21. I just think of my fifth grade math teacher, Mr. Nolan standing over my desk and saying “you’re going to dig yourself into a hole so deep you aren’t going to be able to get out” when I got behind on my homework. I was terrified (still sucked at getting homework done through college). Welcome back, I have missed you but I still love you!

  22. You are incredible. How can you read my mind? I have exactly those overwhelming thoughts, exactly those “new improved me” kinds of fantasies every morning It is so comforting to read that I’m not alone. Thanks for everything and being able to express it so well

  23. I just love you, Stephanie.

    During long spells between blogs, I go back to my favorites from years past. Like the Tulip baby sweater saga. Like knitting those Pinot grape leaves socks.

    Thanks for sharing your (oh so relatable) life.

    • I do this, too. Last December I went over the last few years of the spreadsheets stories. Helpful and funny and kept my Christmas knitting on track and gave me my fix. Not as super wonderful as a fresh blog entry, but certainly still wonderful.

      I, too, thank you for sharing.

  24. Just in case you want to change things up a bit, peanut butter is allegedly great on pancakes (not my thing) and is amazing on waffles. In both cases, definitely add syrup. Note: Do not attempt to knit while consuming anything with peanut butter and syrup on it. Don’t even bring it into the same room. That way disaster lurks

  25. You made a wise choice to just take a crack at it all and post something. Now that pressure’s off, you can expand on any of those points. Nice to see this today!

  26. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I have a suspicion that if you’ve been this way for 50 years, it might be better to just accept it and get on with things. Life gets crazy for everyone, so at some point you just say screw it and pick up where you are.

  27. Ah Steph, you have so much excellent company! Many of us are rampant procrastinators and victims of serious startiteis. I’m wildly attempting (and sure I can do it, of course) to finish a poncho for my niece before Thursday when I’ll see her for Thanksgiving at the inlaws/grandparents. I have a sweater to knit for my 6 year old grandson and a Dr. Who scarf to finish for my DH. Oh, and gargoyles or dragons for my DD and DSIL, and multiple other projects that beckon from my work basket.

    DH and I both turned 60 this year and are considering a move from a house we’ve occupied for over 30 years. To say that it needs to be culled and weeded out is to put it mildly. Yikes – time to do something!

    • I’m not moving anytime soon but last week I decided that I want to see the basement walls at the end of 2019 so I’ve started tossing or donating one box/item per day. Just one. No cheating and doing two or twenty-two, only one allowed. This won’t be fast but it’ll get done. I am crap-rich. (BTW, probably very little yarn or fabric will leave the stashes during the cull. Just so no one worries.)

    • I turned 69 this summer and really need to move somewhere less expensive to live. Each activity for selling the house seems insurmountable. Guess I should quit stressing over my “French homework” and just do something.

      Still have the almost end of the semester and I’ve not gone to the class yet dreams. I’m always racing to find the office to drop the class and getting lost and then run-around when I find it.

      Congrats on the auspicious birthdays, new SIL, baby, and trip. Thanks for the French story. It’s inspired me to do something even if it’s a little something.

  28. So glad to see your post… your writing helps me feel like I can handle adulting which I have doubts about after almost 45 years practicing. Congratulations to your daughter on her wedding.

  29. I have that exact same problem with a particular thing that husbands and wives do and that sometimes, because life is crazy and we have teenagers and I struggle with depression…. it’s a while before we “reconnect” and by that time I’m all wound up about it and it’s like I’ve forgotten how. Forgotten. How.

    I’ve found the best remedy, despite how hard it seems, is to just jump in and see what happens. So far, I’ve always managed to remember what to do. 😉

    Also? How is it possible that Sam is married?! She’s still in high school!! 😉

  30. Oooh! Is Sam going to tell us more about the elopement? That’s so sweet! I kinda thought eloping to Vegas was something only folks closer-in did; I mean, it’s only about a four-hour plane ride from here! I guess you told her how beautiful Nevada is and she had to go almost all the way across the continent to see it!

  31. Well if we were all just a little bit perfect life would be so boring… I’m way past 50 and I’m still learning that ‘French Lesson’. I love the whole story. Just start from where you are and go forward. We don’t judge! Congrats on the marriages and babies and well, all that LIFE that you’re living. You go, girl.

  32. A ten minute walk counts as exercise. You don’t need to lift weights for hours.
    Thanks for posting! And congratulations to Sam.

  33. You are loved! You were missed by the blog-ees. I /we are SO glad you had a wonderful vacation and birthday celebration with your dear Joe. Thank you for coming back to us. We do want to see everthing you’ve knit, and all your plans for more. You most certainly deserve to have wondrous things in your life. Thank you for being OUR friend, mentor, confidant; and letting us share your world and all its pain and glory. Kiss Elliott, give the bride our best wishes, and keep a hug or two for yourself!!
    Your devoted readers

  34. Sounds hectic. I won’t ask for the the 25 small things so I can knit them too because that would be ONE MORE THING to have to do, but I am inspired to check out Christmas decorations on Ravelry. I’m kinda liking the Vegas thing, too, with a reception after. What’s not to like? The essentials are done after all. I’m glad that you surfaced. Be well.

  35. Thanks for the update! Life is busy and full and imperfect. Good luck with the next Advent Calendar! Every year you do this I think I should make one for my kids. Haven’t even started… Maybe my grandkids will get one in 20-30 years! Hope you get to be home for a bit! Blessings to Sam and her husband and your family on this new union!

  36. You sound so much like your old self again and I am soooooooo pleased ( for you, for me, and for the whole world where you spread such good energy). Welcome back!

  37. Steph, Steph, Steph. Sure, we missed you. Did we think anything of it? Hell no. You’re busy, right? Life happens. You don’t have to win all the battles just the war. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do what you can when you can. Take a deep breath and relax. Enjoy the “wedding” and that new grandbaby.

  38. It is SO good to hear from you. You have been missed! And you know what? It’s great that you aren’t perfect. I think you have your priorities right.

  39. Your take on imperfection is, well, perfect! As usual. And that feeling of being overwhelmed and just going off to hide and make things worse is one of those near-universal monsters. It’s mine, anyway.
    Of course we missed you–and we’re dying to see pictures and hear updates–but I for one am just relieved that you haven’t abandoned us for Instagram! I’ll happily follow you on there, and I do, but nothing matches that Harlot voice.

  40. The joy your notes bring far outweigh anything you may think is imperfect. I love hearing from you and I’m glad glad you are back!

  41. I found myself holding my breath as I read your post, so afraid that you were going to announce an end to the blog. Thank all things woolly that it was not the case. Spain is lovely! So glad you got to enjoy it. Thank you for catching us up.

  42. Inigo Montoya: “Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” It’s totally OK if you do this once in a while. We get it!

  43. I would PAY my kids to elope, then just show up at the house for a cake-and-fruit reception. I hate ceremonies, and I assume that a child’s wedding would be one of those ceremonies I can’t knit during.

    In other news, I’m apparently some sort of monster. I’m sorry.

  44. There is no perfection. (Well, OK, babies are perfection.) (And maybe a couple other things I can’t think of right at this moment.) End of story.

    Glad you’re back and telling us your tales of adventure.

    Chris S in Canada

  45. Steph, I Love You! I really do!

    Looks like most of the peeps on your list are going to get hats made out of worsted! Right? Make it a nice blend with some cashmere and the recipients will be ever so grateful.

    Best Wishes to Sam and her new Husband and also to You and Joe and all the rest of the crew!

    Maureen

    ps: Skipped French for a whole semester? Girl you live on the edge. Damn!

  46. See, I’ve looked forward to a post for so long, it’s pretty perfect just by being here.
    I skipped PE once. The trauma of possibly being discovered scarred me for life. You’re a badass!

  47. Our next door neighbor has you beat. He skipped an entire semester of college, all while living at home with his parents. They suspected nothing because he got up each morning, got himself out of the house and pretended to go. They only found out when they questioned the school about why his grades never showed up in the mail. I cannot fathom the follow through required to pull that off, or the amount of stress he must have been feeling!

  48. Just pick up where you are is the best advice ever. I just turned 69, so another almost twenty years of experience gets you to exactly the same place. Also, peanut butter toast…I’ll go make myself some right now…

  49. There is some saying (which I am no doubt about to butcher) about good friends being the ones you just pick up with where you left off regardless of the time between contact. So glad to see you back!

  50. Ah yes, I know the story of the French Lesson — in my case it was Chemistry Homework, which I think I didn’t do for a year or so … I vividly remember opening the chemistry textbook for the very first time the night before my O level exam (unfairly, I got a B. No idea how.). Pattern of my life ever since. I’m so pleased you’re back (on the blog, that is), and think you found the perfect way to do it. Much luck with all the craziness, can’t wait to hear more — when you have a moment!!! Also I feel quite jealous about the peanut butter toast, I’m trying to lose weight …. VALUE THAT PEANUT BUTTER TOAST! Eat it for me!!

    • I did the exact same thing in Grade 13 – no homework until the final exam. I spent two days going over the work, with my brother’s notes, and got through 2 semesters. I never did get to the organic chemistry part, and it showed on the exam.

  51. Are you familiar with the cartoon “Calvin and Hobbes”? Sometime your posts make it sound like your life is a great big game of Calvinball! I’m glad you’ve got so many wonderful things going on at the same time. (And I can’t believe Sam is old enough to get married.)

  52. I’m 63 and still learning that lesson. Mine includes asking for help, especially when that help is more like a rescue. If only I admitted it early on but then early on I am still dealing with the previous current thing. I’m so glad that all of this news was good news. What a delightful way to start the day!

  53. I was going to elope to Jamaica, but made the mistake of telling one of my sisters. She called me back 15 minutes later and said she was coming, along with her boyfriend, our mom, our other two sisters, and our two brothers. I was mortified! That defeated the purpose of eloping AND meant they would all be on my honeymoon with me! ACK! Instead, we got married by the mayor, had a small party at the house and went off to honeymoon alone! Good times.

  54. Showing up imperfectly is better than perfection every time congratulations to Sam, enjoy the celebrations, and welcome back! ❤️

  55. I have likewise been hoping that wonder woman will wake up some freaking morning and surprise the hell out of me… and yeah… almost 58 and still waiting on that bitch!

    I say imperfection acceptance FTW! XO

  56. “If you’re going to freaking elope you have to throw your family some kind of bone”, I love that line. Congratulations to Sam! And all of you!

    I’m happy that you and Joe were able to have a lovely trip to Spain.

    Great hearing from you! I also re-read old posts when there isn’t a new post.

    In 10th grade, the day before we moved to a different state, in December, I decided that no one would notice if I skipped my classes and went to class with my best friend. They noticed.

  57. Frankly I’m amazed you weren’t hauled down to the office to explain skipping french long before that got out of hand. Had taking attendance become a thing of the past?. We were all wondering where you were but rather than being angry I think we leaned towards the worried… you seemed to be OK…are you tired of us? The things 50 changes are, shit starts to hurt, you notice you don’t bounce back like you used too and your word recovery system starts to break down. A better person? no such luck. I think you’re fine the way you are. Famous last words from Some Like It Hot “nobodies perfect”

  58. So glad you let us know what is going on. Thought maybe you got kidnapped by a Spaniard offering wool for years or something!!

  59. welcome back! Sometimes catching up is overrated… just start where you are and go forward… living a good life is the best excuse for not being accountable to the world. You do you better than anyone I know. Onward!

    PS Congrats to Sam!
    PPS pro tip to other blog readers – her instagram posts were wonderful fill-in’s with the blog silent 🙂

  60. Oh, honey, no one will judge. We’ve all done stuff that makes us cringe, faded out and then had to scramble to catch up. I say drop the past and go from here. I begin every morning swearing I’ll eat right to start re-losing 10#. So far the ice cream’s winning. But I have hope. I’m 67, btw. I suspect that I have to love me the way I am. I love you the way you are, always have, always will. Congrats, Sam, you wily minx!

  61. I was pleased to check my blog feeds this morning and see a post from you. You know, you don’t really “owe” us anything, and you do have a right to a life. But I do want you to know that when you don’t post, you are missed. Looking forward to photos of the baby and wedding shawls!

  62. Welcome back, dearest Stephanie, and much happiness to Sam and her new husband. Your blog post is perfect.

    My “French lesson” was actually a “report lesson.” Growing up in the wilderness, I didn’t attend a real school until 4th grade and was ignorant of many customs and much terminology. In 5th grade I was assigned to give a report. What was a report? I had no idea, and I was scared to ask. The day came. I was called to the front. I had nothing to say and was sent back to my seat in disgrace.

    I’m still uneasy about admitting ignorance of any new stuff, until I remember the report lesson.

  63. So glad to have you back! Happy birthday to you and Joe and best wishes to Samantha! And don’t worry, we all have nightmares about our “French” lessons that we fail to adequately learn the first time. We empathize!

  64. For the first time I find myself totally disagreeing with most of the other comments, which are well-meant, but…. It’s not a nightmare, it’s very funny. Did you ever talk to your mom about the French Lesson? I expect that she was first furious, later accepting, and much later, highly amused. My Most Difficult of Three son, who has now passed his 50th birthday, has told me about things that he screwed up royally that I’m actually glad I didn’t know (but suspected) at the time. They crack me up now but still distress him. Life is definitely not a journey to perfection, but a journey toward accepting imperfection.
    For some, convention is the best choice; for others, not so much. My daughter was married in a mayor’s office in a medieval town in Italy, where she still lives; the rest of us watched on Skype in my living room in Illinois and drank champagne at 10AM.
    Best wishes to Sam for a wonderful, wacky life! and for you and Joe, to continue happily and much longer on your own.

  65. Welcome back. I eat a lot of peanut butter toast, my closets look like they have exploded, and I’m 62. Have a great celebration Saturday. It’s supposed to warm up, a little, by then. And you have oodles of time to knit tiny things, especially if you don’t have to deliver them ALL before the first.

  66. Thank you for being you. I totally appreciate how you manage to share an incredibly rich life and still tell the moments that are so universal. I too skipped classes and still today can’t say why. Here is to the child in every 50 year old!

  67. Wonderful to hear from you. I myself keep thinking the giant, drifting wads of dog fur are going to vacuum themselves up, and until they do, I shall knit or read.

  68. It’s so good to hear from you with a lovely rundown of the highlights. I, too, have a French lesson type of story or three. So I feel you. 🙂

  69. There may be a lot to talk about, but just jump in where you are & fill us in on the back stories as you feel like it. 🙂 If you include a link to your Instagram account in the next post, those w/o IG can use their computers to look back on the lovely pictures you took in Spain. 🙂

    Haha, my father tried so hard to get me to elope, so he wouldn’t have to wear a suit/tux or travel cross-country to the wedding. Cheap & practical & fun… & I hope you will share a picture with us of Sam in her shawl anyway & enjoy the celebration. 🙂

  70. So happy for Sam. Dave and I eloped — and I had almost 30 wonderful years with my best friend till death did us part. If it helps, 90% of my friends who had Vegas or courthouse weddings are still married, while the vast majority of those joined in elaborate nuptials are now divorced. I think it’s good luck for her. Looking forward to when you can catch uqp.

  71. Wait – Sam got married in Vegas?! (Tell her congrats, by the way.) (She doesn’t know me from Eve.) Does getting married in a foreign country even count? Do they have to do it all over again in Canada? Also, I think you should spend all of 2020 knitting adorable little things for grandkids, because somehow I suspect you’re going to have a bunch of them over the next few years.

  72. Congratulations Sam and Mike. Wishing them all the happiness in the world. The shawl will be gorgeous. Hope the reception/party on Saturday will be fantastic.
    Missed your blogs – glad you are back – Instagram gave us your lovely photographs and updates.
    Glad you and Joe had a fantastic trip to Spain, etc. you both deserved it.
    Hope all is well and that your thumb and wrist have recovered. Don’t forget to breathe and have a fantastic Saturday. Your blog family.

  73. Happy birthdays, welcome back, and welcome home. Your theme resonated in me. (As in, my bones vibrated with recognition of exactly what kind of imperfect life I’ve lived.) I hope you will get a chance to write about the last adventure-filled while, because your words and thoughts give me so much pleasure.

  74. Congratulations to you and Joe on your milestone birthdays! I’m glad you had a great trip together.
    More congratulations to the two of you on Sam’s nuptials! And all the good luck to her and her new spouse – how very exciting!

  75. I had no idea you were such a bad girl in your younger days! Rebellious, even. Must be where Sam gets it. Congratulations to Sam and her husband, and every good wish for a long, happy life together. How wonderful she has learned to live her life on her own terms at such a young age.

    Very glad your absence has been happy and busy. Enjoy, and when you have time, please let us have a peek at what you’ve been doing.

  76. Seriously love you. Your posts always resonate, if only because I can say someone else does this, too!
    Congrats to Sam et al, to all the little things that need doing, and to celebrating the half-centuries.
    It’s our Thanksgiving tomorrow, so wishing you health and happiness, and many, many things to be thankful for.Joa

  77. Sam is married!?! I remember when I became a member of the Blog about 9 years ago, and I had to backtrack several years to start reading at the beginning (sometimes perfectionism is fun.) All your girls really were kids then. Congrats to Sam and her spouse! Hope the celebration is wonderful!

  78. So thankful to have you back – I really missed you but was hoping you and Joe had a wonderful time and you were just busy catching up on things… Congratulations to Sam ! You’ll have to tell us all about the party!

  79. I needed this post – as a reminder that I’m not the only one who gets caught up in that cycle of shame and procrastination. I have the misfortune to be married to someone who never suffers from this, so of course I have to bury my flaws away. But – flaws or being human? I’ll take the latter. And as with all good friendships, everyone is just happy to see you. All the best with the wedding!

  80. I can’t tell you how relieved I am that your stuck point wasn’t “How do I tell The Blog that I’m not going to be writing any more…?” Everything else fades into insignificance if that’s not your French Lesson. Welcome back. You must be making more Advent Calendars? I made two (simultaneously) a few years ago and called it quits. The grands love them, and I’m done.

  81. I’m wondering if you try to read all of these comments, in addition to everything else you are doing. No wonder you are feeling so stressed. Nine hours at home…that’s incredible. I would have been way too worried that I’d miss a flight or that there would have been some sort a delay. You don’t have to tell us and show us everything. All of your work is just gorgeous. I hope you get some time to relax and recharge. (I’m one of those people who makes a salad every day, but now I have to do it in the morning. At 54 I don’t have the motivation or the energy to make elaborate meals at night.) I think it’s all habit. Having a lettuce patch in your front potager garden makes it much easier.

  82. Thank You Stephanie. Your blog almost always makes me smile. I don’t mind waiting for a new post. I never skip any of my classes. My mother worked at both the junior high and the high school I attended. Yes, I think she did that on purpose. I do however have a similar problem. I start writing letters to people, then I have not much t say. Then I put the letter aside, forget about it and when I find I have to much to say. I am looking forward to seeing the pictures and hearing about your next adventure. Thank You for the laughter and the tears. I love your work,both the writing and the knitting. Darci

  83. (: I’ve been missing you but see you have your hands full so carry on and get to us when you can. We are on standby…!

    Have fun at the wedding celebration!!!!

  84. I’m so glad you’re back! I really missed you and I was worried something horrible had happened. Have a wonderful time at the “wedding”. Can’t wait to see pics.

  85. I was a university French professor and when I left the field, my recurring nightmare was realizing at the end of the term that I had never showed up to teach one of my classes.

    • Somehow, this situation feels worse if one is a psychologist. I’ve had recurring dreams that it was the end of the semester, and I was given several class rosters to fill in final grades. I then realize I had forgotten to show up to teach my classes. Cold sweat panic !!! Guilt !!! Dare I give an impromptu essay final exam? (Would ANY students show up after a semester of no professor? Give “A” to anyone who shows up, and the rest get “C”?)

  86. Daughters and weddings… my daughter wanted my sister to preform her ceremony. My sister wasn’t a minister, a justice of the peace or a ship’s captain, she’s just my sister, who cleans dorms at the college, and very funny.
    This did not stop my daughter. She scheduled the museum (she got married in what used to be a church but is now part of the museum complex), sent out invitations, invited 250 people or so, got bridesmaids, groomsmen, got a pot luck list going (for the reception), got me to make her wedding dress, and got the license.
    Then, the day before the “wedding”, while in the midst of getting the reception together and getting the wedding dress pressed (and sewing on a couple of appliques I’d only tacked down and had missed) and getting ready for the bachelorette party (being held at our house) she texted “Mom! You and Dad have to meet us at the Courthouse at 2″… I dropped the dress off at the cleaners, and picked up my husband from work and met them at the courthouse, where the justice of the peace preformed the actual, legal ceremony… and the next day, my sister performed the “real” ceremony and it was funny and sweet and touching and made everyone cry.
    Now my sister is an ordained minister (from the internet) and can preform legal as well as “real” ceremonies and has done so several times.
    And my daughter gets parent-teacher reviews that say “Your oldest daughter is very smart, very funny, very determined, really sweet and incredibly disorganized.”
    I know that feeling.

  87. Really have missed the blog; then got worried that something awful had happened. But no, you’re just human and really really busy, and all the news is good.
    Congratulations for your daughter, and much joy to the newlyweds, and many years to you and Joe.
    Welcome back!

  88. Wow, I did pretty much this exact thing, except it was two classes, in my sophomore year of college. How did I imagine my parents wouldn’t find out???? Happy ending that I did pull my GPA up, but only through herculean effort over the next three years. Expensive life lesson! Has served me well at work and in life.

  89. Really, are Las Vegas weddings legal in Canada? My parents eloped to Tijuana, Mexico to be married so I guess out-of-country marriages must be OK.

  90. In the beginning of grade four I skipped about a week of school, hiding in the basement. It felt like a month. I couldn’t do a math problem and all my confidence left me. My teacher (who is a saint) must have called my dad who convinced me to go back. She never brought it up. She showed me how to do the problem, and never brought up the skipping. never, ever skipped again. Now I am desperately knitting all the things for Christmas. Slippers for everyone!

    • In Third grade I brought some candy to school in a little tin in my pocket. In class I raised my hand to go to the rest room. In the rest room I climbed up on the big wide and deep windowsill (old 1930s brick school building, and I was a tiny thing). I basked in the sun eating my candy, enjoying the time alone. After a while, the teacher came in and angrily dragged me back to class. I was so annoyed with her for interrupting my lovely quiet break in the warm sun! Here I am at 54, reading your post and thinking maybe I haven’t learned my “French Lesson”… :-))

  91. I have read all your books and just recently found your blog. While you have been silent, I am reading from the beginning and trying (somewhat unsuccessfully) to NOT BINGE on your posts while ignoring all the chaos surrounding me. I am up to Sep 12, 2007…so it’s like you haven’t been silent at all. Life goes on at different paces and it’s all good.
    PS. I miss my mother, too. I still talk to her, always and forever.

  92. Oh welcome back! I’m rather anxiously awaiting your annual Christmas panic that I have come to appreciate. Mostly because I think this Christmas I have bitten off too much to chew. I’ve ordered the yarn, bought the patterns, and have decided to knit my husband a sweater and my child knee high socks in less than 30 days….I can do it. At least I think I can. Well I hope I can.

    • I really need/want to finish a sweater for my 9-year-old great nephew, but it appears the way I have chosen to do it is to commit to knitting hats for 2 of his cousins – life was so much simpler when I was a committed one-project-at-a-time knitter! (But fun)

  93. I’m a teacher and a kid in my class did just that this term. Fortunately I already knew him, so he only managed two lessons before I cottoned on, but the fear of how to fix things is real and totally understandable. Our headteacher gave a talk to all the kids a couple of weeks ago to tell them that perfection is a huge myth, our imperfections are what make us unique and irreplaceable, and sometimes “good enough is good enough”. Honestly the most powerful message he could have given, and one most adults seriously need too.

  94. I just finished your book, while visiting my new home (the final move is not happening for another 6 months). It was perfect: empty house of my dream, camping chairs, your book about knitting, and, of course, knitting…Some passages will be written down in my diary, once I run around catching up with work and stuff upon return. Thanks for capturing what we feel about this knitting thing so well.

  95. Wow, did I need this! After retiring almost 2 years ago I thought I would magically stay on top of this. Of course, I also occasionally take care of an 8 year old girl – especially summers, plus picked up a part-time job at a bookstore – which means I read a lot, plus am involved with two charity knitting groups, plus church, and on-and on-and on. Perfection is a huge myth. I’m going to remember that!

  96. I don’t know what to tell you Steph. At 62 I still have those nagging issues, and those what the hell do I want to be when I grow up, realizing I’m in deep, because if I haven’t grown up by now, its just too late. 62. Crap. How long do I think I have to get it right? I have a huge stash I will never ever have the energy to knit (but I’m so far in now, I have to try) and I’m so bored at work, but I don’t want to hurt my co-workers feelings and quit. Again, the revert back to our younger self who just ‘fades’ away slowly. By the time he realizes I’m gone, he won’t know what happened. But all things are linked, and it’s making me crazy. Welcome aboard my crazy train. (what this means is we’re all screw-ups in our own way…)

  97. Huge hugs!
    Sorry I missed your post on the day. I was-have been busy. Too busy to knit, too busy to relax, too busy for me.
    Sighs.
    Love you and your beloved family so much through your writing.

    That said, I get it. It’s hard. It’s going to be so. Thank You for reminding me to just pick up my needles and be me.

    Huge hugs from the US.

  98. Good choice.

    Congratulationsto Sam and all the family.

    Good luck with all the knitting deadlines.

    Continue to focus on what is most important.

  99. Glad you’re back!
    I thought I was the only one who got caught up in that particular brand of nonsense, glad to know I’m not!
    Pics of the knitting asap, please!!

  100. sounds good, and congratulations to you as mother of the bride and congrats to Sam!
    Me, my whole new me would go cold sheep and work through the problems that are blocking me from using up the materials I have. So far so good today.

  101. Hoorah, you’re alive! Happy to hear from you. That’s a big couple of weeks. I hope Saturday is awesome (congrats, Sam!) For the record, my Mum pulled the shifty elopement on me, which I reckon was payback for me trying a range of things during my teens. You too could plan some sort of mad caper to surprise the girls (and entertain the blog), Steph. Just to remind them who the Queen is and where they got their genes from. We’ll enable you to the hilt!

  102. Many congratulations to Sam and Mr Sam!

    Thank you for the inspiration. I hadn’t realized I was also living the French Lesson, but you pointed it out and taught me something. It helped me get started on tackling my own ‘French homework’ and I’m grateful. Welcome back.

  103. Thank you, this is the perfect thing for me to read today. Letting go of perfection and not getting deeper into messes – it’s a lesson I have to keep on learning. Thank you! 🙂

  104. I’ve been avoiding catching up with you because I knew it would bring up my feelings about losing my mom too, but I’m glad I did. It is still helpful to hear that you still miss your mum a lot. That I’m not “behind schedule” in my grief, because there is no schedule.

    Congrats to your Sam, and to you!

  105. Speaking of imperfection (I can’t believe I’m writing this), every year I reread some of your past posts on knitting for Christmas, and every year I resolve that I, too, should join in that festive holiday chaos known as Knitting For Christmas. I haven’t started anything yet (if you don’t count the two sweaters and one shawl I just cast on for me), and I haven’t a clue what I should make for anyone, but … here I am, contemplating Pretty Things and sparkly star garlands and surely my 90-year-old dad would appreciate a pair of handknit socks (never mind the fact I haven’t knit a pair of socks in 25 years) and you know? Mix wool fumes with twinkly lights and the smell of gingerbread, and I bet I’m not the only one getting giddy around here.

  106. when i type in your blog url and i see a new post, its like a little christmas explodes in my heart. everytime.

    it’s a nice feeling.

    thank you

  107. My niece sent me a placard that was perfect for me and maybe your situation: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” When I feel like an absolute mess, I go read this ( it’s in the bathroom) and I feel better.

  108. Why did I think Christmas Stockings would be lovely gifts for newlyweds? Because now I have to knit them for all the children these people are having. I will only be knitting these for the next several reproductive years these people are having.

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