June 17, 2013
Thank you all for the amazing, supportive and kind comments on the last post. It's such a hard time here in so many ways, and I admit that there are days where it gets the best of me. Somewhere in losing someone, finishing a book, taking care of my family and training for the rally, I have to work hard to keep my perspective. I'm being as kind as I can to myself (and others) while acknowledging that there is a metric tonne of work to accomplish around here if I'm going to keep things from getting (more) crazy. This too shall pass, I tell myself, and I'm right. It's probably going to get replaced with something else that's crazy, but this is a really special time that's unlikely to be repeated. (If this is not true, don't tell me.) I'm optimistic today, and I'm all over owning this Monday.
First up, the state of the knitting. Knitting proceeds slowly around here, what with the number of things that I'm having to do that don't allow for it. Riding my bike? Nope. Driving? Apparently illegal. Typing? Oh, how I wish. Still, progress is progress, and even limping along as I am the wee jacket is almost finished - just a sleeve and a smidge of the body to go. (It is very hard to take pictures of this. The fuzziness makes all the shots look blurry.)
It's so little that I'd like to state with confidence that it will be finished tomorrow, but I learned my lesson yesterday when I said that, then sat down to ice my knees (really, really rough training ride yesterday) picked up my knitting and then promptly fell asleep after two stitches. When I haven't been working on the jacket, a pair of plainish socks has been coming of the needles.
It's my first go-round with Valley Yarns Huntington. (Pattern is my own, right out of Knitting Rules .) I bought it the last time I was at Webs, because I'm always on the lookout for good, plain, manly sock yarn. (This one is the fetchingly named "grey.") Gorgeous hand-paints are easy to find, but it can be a lot harder to get yarn that Joe likes. The price is definitely right on this, and it's knitting up just fine thank you. I'll be ordering more. (The stripes are leftovers from these socks, and are inserted because a) Joe has ginormous feet and I was making the grey go a little farther, and b) Holy cow are those socks boring without them. My sanity needed me to throw it a bone.)
I swear the knitting will get more interesting in the next few days - I know a plain sweater and plain socks really has to be boring the snot out of you, but I bought some great yarn I want to talk about and knit, and really, there's only so long I can put knitting on the back burner before I end up in prison. Later this week I'm planning on being in Colorado, and that's a long flight.
Before I go and attack my wordcount for the day, and before I go and touch base with everyone who needs me, and before I get back on my bike (Hill training today. Why aren't I thinner?) I wanted to recognize all of you for your generous donations. Thanks so very much guys. You're giving meaning to the ride for me, and it really does reassure me in the darker moments. You're all awesome. (Even the people who aren't able to donate. I love you for considering it.) A few presents maybe?
I'm going to do an abbreviated round today, and a few more later in the week. There are so many things to give away it makes my head reel. As always, to get in on the action, all you need to do is make a donation to anyone on our team:
The amount doesn't matter. Even tiny donations add up as fast as individual stitches, and we're grateful for all of them.
First up, your friend and mine, the Amazing Cat Bordhi is back with MORE giveaways of her digital books. Both Joyce R and Mary Kay C. will be lucky recipient of just about her entire collection of digital ebooks. That's a copy each of Socks Soar on Two Circular needles, Cat's Sweet Tomato Heel Socks, A Treasury of Magical Knitting, and A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting.
Judith Brodnicki, designer and longtime friend of the show, went into her stash and came up with some amazing things. This gorgeous skein of Schaefer Marjaana (merino/silk) 530 yards - is going to the welcoming home of Vicki K.
Judith also found this:
20 hanks (!!) of Noro Hana Silk (100% silk) More than enough for something gorgeous, and Elizabeth M will decide what that is.
This is from Judith's stash too (I am starting to want to see her stash):
10 Hanks of Nashua Creative Focus Bulky (75% wool, 25% alpaca) and I wonder what Belinda K will make with it.
Amber K has temporary custody of this beautiful top- hand dyed by Heather at Mad Colour fiber Arts.
It's merino, silk, nylon and aluminum for sparkle, and I hope that Lisa B. loves it.
Finally, Linda went into the stash to find things that other knitters would love to have, and she hit it out of the park too. (Also, may I draw attention to Linda's amazing carpet? Both white and clean. Boggles the mind.) Linda has a skein of Wollmeise Twin in Pesto
Anne F. is the lucky knitter for that.
Linda will be sending these two pretty skeins of STR Silkie in Turquoise to Marissa H.
and last (but certainly not least) Linda has decided to part with a dear ball, her beloved ArtbyAna Party Cake.
You will like knowing that Linda ordered another to replace this one as soon as she decided it was leaving. Some yarns she just can't be without, but her original is going to Ellen T.
There! That's the Monday haul. I've sent everyone who got lucky an email. Thanks for playing, see you tomorrow, I hope your Monday is amazing.
June 13, 2013
Almost my Birthday
I have known for some time that I am not superwoman. I knew this of course. There's no way you can think you are superwoman while your bathroom looks like mine does, and superwoman never eats crackers for a whole day because she screwed up the grocery store thing, but it doesn't somehow stop me from trying to be. (There's a whole other blog post in there about the unrealistic expectations we have for ourselves and how we feel when we don't perform the miracles we're hoping for, but well. I'm living that now, and can't quite bring myself to write about it.)
A few weeks ago I alluded to someone I know coming to the end of their life. It's a family member, it's someone dear to us, and things have taken a turn. I'd say "a turn for the worse" but it's only worse for those of us who will be left behind. For this beloved, it's maybe a turn for the better, as a swift passing is what we all wish for in the end. I know this is vague, and I'm sorry. I really am, but I'm just not ready to put words to this, or name the person, or even slightly ready to take it out in public. You'll know when it happens, but it's too intimate and bare now.
The thing is, that when I started finding a way through this, I decided to be amazing. I thought I was the woman who could manage all of this. Training for the rally, finishing a book (oh yes- there's that happening too) and cook dinner and go to meetings and knit little angora sweaters and take out the garbage and keep being what everyone needs me to be, setting aside grief and being strong for others. It is important, I tell myself, to be effective and calm and to not count my own needs, at least not right now. Now I need to think of others, and not myself, and to spend my time doing what needs to be done, and to keep saying things like "it is what it is" and "when the time comes I will know what to do" and I have spent a great deal of time respecting the boundaries that others have set up, and being painstakingly, excruciatingly careful not to encroach on them in any way. This, I have told myself a thousand times, is not about me. This is, I assure you, who I want to be. Someone entirely in the service of others.
There's a problem though. Increasingly I find a little voice gathering strength in my belly. The voice says tiny things. It is shy, and it doesn't know how to say what it wants. The voice is saying to me that it is sort of unhappy. The voice has noticed that other people manage to be respectful, and kind, and somehow not have that mean that they practically lie down in the driveway screaming "RUN OVER ME, I LIKE IT IF THAT'S WHAT YOU NEED." The voice has noticed that other people are okay with saying that they have needs occasionally, and the voice, just as an aside, has noticed that some of these people are doing a lot less laundry. The voice wondered, late last night, if I am not about to make mistakes I will regret my entire life because I am worried about being the nicest person ever. Don't get me wrong, the voice wants to be nice, it's just thinking about all those other nice people who don't wait to be asked, and those other nice people who don't say "It's okay. Whatever you want. I'll wait." The voice is torn. The voice lacks experience. The voice possibly has been a mother too long.
This is, of course, way too intimate. This has nothing to do with knitting and I'm sorry. I know a lot of you only come here for the knitting, and I promise I am knitting (you can tell, because I am not in prison.) I'm just struggling with the line between what my family needs, what I desperately want to give them and some amazing tiny, sneaking feeling that there might be a better way to be me. I don't mind telling you that so far, 2013 has been a hot stinking pile of slag. Good things have happened, of course, but on a personal and familial level, Joe and I have gone to bed many nights thus far, holding on to each other a little, and whispered things like "we are being tested". "Be awesome" we remind each other. Be so high on the high road that your nose bleeds. Reach for compassion, especially for those who can't seem to. They need it the most. We have been (with great difficulty) very, very noble.
The thing is that as the pressure mounts, the voice has suggested that we (or maybe just me, since Joe, as usual, has more moments of clarity) are making a mistake. "Compassion?" The voice is confused about granting compassion, or rather, the voice isn't confused about compassion at all, it just wants to know why (and this question was shocking to me ) It just wants to know why we aren't putting ourselves on the list of people we are supposed to extend it to.
Tomorrow I turn 45. My mother turned 70 today, or she would have if she hadn't decided to cancel her birthday in the face of our family crisis. (It's not all bad, she points out - she gets to be in her 60's a little longer.) I'm going to cancel mine too, more or less. I just can't find it in me to celebrate another year of life when someone I know is getting robbed. I am hoping that when I wake up in the morning, a year older, and technically, well into middle age, that I will know what to say to the voice.
I'm hoping I'll be able to reconcile a love of self with a love of others, that I'll know the difference between what I want and is wanted of me, and I hope that suddenly, miraculously, fantastically, as I arise on the day of my birthday, I will know something profound, amazing and wonderful that will guide me through the maze and darkness of the days to come.
Wool help me, I hope tomorrow I wake up fully adult, and that when I do, I know what to say to the voice.
(PS. I did say I was mostly cancelling my birthday. If however, you cannot help yourself, I would like nothing more than the gift of helping others. I am going to do a hard thing to help other people doing a hard thing and to help me, I hope you do a good thing. It makes hard things easier. If you are unable to drop a a bottle of wine by my house, a donation to the rally would be the next best thing. I'm going to go for a training ride in the morning, try and watch the sun come over the lake, and hear the voice of my 45 year old self. I hope she knows what she's doing. She's in deep water.)
June 10, 2013
Like a Willie Nelson Song
I'm writing this to you from a hotel room, and in almost exactly ten minutes I am going to get in the car and drive the remaining six hours home. Squam is fabulous, but cell and internet coverage are spotty, and so last night I talked with everyone at home, caught up, and realized that I am going to be hip deep in it when I get there. I know it's all doable, I'm just going to have to keep things really planned, organized, calm and beautiful to keep everyone (mostly me) moving though it all without losing it. The drive here, I let go of Squam, worked through everything I'd learned and who I'd seen and what I thought, and last night I caught up with home, and today I'm going to use this time on the road to make a really great plan for how I'm going to accomplish everything that I am over the next two weeks, and still be a smiling gracious mother who doesn't scream "are you freakin' kidding me" while smashing her forehead repeatedly off of the left side of her steering wheel.
I slept forever last night, to bed early and up a little late - for me anyway, and that was a good step one. There's something about Squam that leaves me feeling like I got hit by a truck. I don't know if it's how busy it is, or how much energy it is, or if it's the five years that I took off my life with the decision to swim in Squam Lake yesterday morning, but I was so tired that I couldn't even see straight. (The swimming in the lake thing? I swim in Squam Lake every year. Our little cabin of Canadians always does, and this year, since I ended up representing solely, I was determined. As a general rule, I don't mind swimming in cold water. I sort of feel like the only time that I might object to the temperature is if I had fallen through the ice. I was wrong. I don't know what made me think that it would be a good idea to swim in the lake after such a late spring, but I think I just about gave myself a heart attack. It wasn't the kind of cold where you get in and you can't believe it but after a minute or two you get used to the idea. This was so cold that after about two minutes in there I couldn't feel my thighs. I talked Amanda (she was my room-mate this year) into going in with me, and she was such a good sport, but after a few minutes - trying to be really cheerful and pretend everything was okay, she sort of said "This really kinda hurts, doesn't it?" and I called the game. We got out, and we'll see if she ever forgives me.)
I had a wonderful Squam, but I'm getting on the road, and turning my car and head for home. I'll have it all figured when I get there. Here's a few last looks at Squam.
Amanda on the dock. Note the sweater. Why did we go in?
Knitting teachers, spotted resting in the wild. (Franklin and John) Careful not to startle them.
A little spot I claimed for writing in our cabin.
Amanda and I enjoyed a really cozy evening in our cabin, happily knitting our own handspun bu the fire while enjoying a really decent bottle of wine. We both took versions of this picture and then realized that this is exactly how rumours get started.
(As an aside, it turns out that if you put two bloggers together at the same event, and they mostly go places together, at the end of the day they will have pretty much the same roll of pictures.)
Anne and Erica. And yarn. Which I got.
Happy knitters that I was happy to see.
Let's not even try to explain Stephen West.
It was great. I can't wait to go back.
PS. A big shout-out to Casey and Jess for finding Amanda and I when we were lost in the woods. All those trees look the same.
June 7, 2013
There's some top notch yarnbombing going on here at Squam. It's the best kind - welcome, invited and put up with a commitment to remove it all when the yarn people go - which is lovely, because this is not our place and I'd hate for us to be thought of as people doing some sort of unwelcome yarn graffiti that pissed anyone off.
I'm glad there's respect for property in this, but on some level, I just can't believe that all of this will be taken down...
because if I owned this joint...
I'd want it all forever.
Everywhere you look, another wee bit of knitter art peeks out at you.
Things you don't think are yarn at first.
I love it.
You know what else I love? These stitch markers.
Amy in Michigan sent them to me, to be Karmic Balancing gifts. I've paired them with lovely yarn from my stash, and I have them with me at Squam. To save shipping, here's how I'm going to give them away. I'll be at the Art Fair tomorrow night (it's open to the public) and the first five people who find me and tell me they're a bike rally donor - they get a present. Code phrase "the knitter casts off at midnight."
(I'm just kidding about the code phrase. Sort of.)