The Reckoning

on 10 November 2014

Remember how 2014 was supposed to be the year I knit for myself?  I had 3 sweaters planned (a heavily cabled aran pullover, a traditional fair isle cardigan, and a plain and simple cardigan).  It was also supposed to be the year that I lost weight and gained perspective.  Turns out that was a little too much to ask of myself.

Yeah, the sweaters?  Not one of them happened.  NONE.  Zip.  Zero.
I lost weight...and then gained a baby!  I'm not sad about that.  (I'm halfway through the pregnancy and will be even happier when our wee one is here.)
I gained a lot more perspective than I think I wanted.  Turns out perspective is highly overrated.

I have been trying to think about what I got done this year, in knitting terms, and I'm kind of drawing a blank.  I made a pink sweater for the Girl...and several baby sweaters for friends.  I made the Girl a pair of socks...and a hat.  And I think I may have finished a single pair of socks for me.  And I did my yoke sweater last winter, I think.  But that's it.

2014 was the year that kicked my butt all over North Carolina.  And I shall not be sorry to see the back side of it.

I'm also starting to rethink the value of resolutions of any kind.  When you don't know what's coming down the pipeline of the year ahead, how dumb is it to make all of these ambitious goals?!

I'm working on the second mitt for my sister in law.  The second one is a lot less sad than the first one was, so that's nice.  But I haven't even started Chris' Christmas socks, and he wants cables so they're going to take a while...

And while I have become a thoroughly unimpressive knitter, you should hear my Boy recite Shakespeare!  He can do Puck's epilogue from A Midsummer Night's Dream, the tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow speech from MacBeth, the 7 ages of man speech from All's Well that End's Well, and the witches speech from MacBeth.  We're working on Prospero's epilogue from the Tempest and then I'll need to do some more videos.

Meanwhile the Girl still isn't really potty trained.  She stays dry when she's awake and in undies...but refuses to sit on the potty and find any kind of relief. 

What can I say, my life is a treadmill of 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

But at least the company is good!

Back to It

on 29 October 2014

This time last year, my Grandma got sick.  It was the beginning of the process of her dying, and while we were all hoping for her sake that it would be swift, it wasn't.  It was very hard to watch.

I learned to knit 5 years ago, partly because I wanted to be able to make clothes for me and my family, but also because I wanted to make my Grandma proud of me.  I always thought that she loved my sisters more than me.  And in our last conversation, she told me that she knew I thought that, but that really it was just that she had had more time with them than she had with me.  Yes, it was heartbreaking, but also good because it gave us both the chance to tell each other that we loved each other now and it was ok.

My knitting this time last year was all fairly simple and it was such a painful thing to go and see her so changed from what I was used to, that I need a MUCH more distracting project, something that required my total concentration.  So I started an intricate pair of Latvian mittens for my sister-in-law.  I made it through the cuff before my Grandma passed away, and then I was just too sad to face them.

They languished in my Bin of Unfinished Business through the Spring, in the storage unit, through the Summer, and just last week I got them out again.  We're going to Savannah for Thanksgiving and I'm determined to finish them before we leave.

They are intricate and pretty.  The colors that Kristi chose play in interesting ways off of each other.  But looking at them makes me sad.  I shall be glad to give them a home where they will be looked at and worn, and make the receiver happy instead.

The Small Things

on 24 October 2014

Time has been making a fool of me again.  I should just surrender any hope I have of carrying on a dignified relationship with such a fickle creature, but alas, I cannot.  And so, he plays the fool with me and I'm left looking like a dolt wondering what just happened.

Life carries on, in this hamster wheel of school and work and life, and accelerated by the nonsense of applications for medical schools.  (Am I the only one who thinks it's ridiculous to ask 22 and 23 year olds to write essays about "life changing" experiences?  They haven't LIVED enough to have any life changing experiences!  Luckily for us, we aren't 22 or 23 any more.)

Have I mentioned that we're having another wee girl?  I went in for the truly terrifying genetic counseling session, but the reward for surviving their laundry list of Everything that Could go Wrong with Your Child because You are SO OLD, is a high resolution ultrasound.  The techs didn't know if she would cooperate enough to let us check her out, but she was very amenable and also very beautiful, but I am her mother and so probably biased. 

The Boy is still sulking about it.  It breaks my heart a bit, but then, this is the kid that breaks my heart without even trying, so I'm also a little used to it by now.

I've been thinking about the small things and how they make the difference in times of remarkable stress between and happy marriage and a lonely marriage.

Chris made brownie brittle this morning for one of the physicians who wrote a recommendation letter for him.  She's also pregnant and he knows that she never bakes herself and that the recommendation letter was a greater hassle for her, than perhaps for the other physicians.  And while he was making brownie brittle, he made me vanilla pudding.  He knows that I love it and that I don't usually make it for myself (because my children hoover it obsessively until it is gone).  So he made up a pot of warm, comforting vanilla pudding.  And after lunch I sat down to have a cup.

There is this wonderful story by Isaac Babel, probably the last truly great short story-ist to live.  He wrote of a daughter who had gotten married and left her widowed father's house.  She returned once a year, and when she came back she always made him meatballs, and she used the recipe that her paternal grandmother had used.  So that when she gave the meatballs to her father, he would look at her and say that the meatballs tasted like a happy childhood.  I've always loved that idea.  That certain foods can evoke, not just a time, but an emotion within that time.

I love vanilla pudding, plain though it may be.  And when my mother makes it for me, it absolutely tastes like a happy childhood.  But today, knowing that Chris chose to make pudding for me instead of taking a shower before work, or working on his med school applications, it tasted rather like a happy marriage.

He really is a prince.  Not your traditional, white horse and shining armor and all that nonsense.  Those are hardly fit for holidays and special occasions.  He's much more your every day, work boots and clutter, inside jokes, Any Time I Want One Hugs, and vanilla pudding on a Thursday kind of prince.

There are a lot of people who think we're crazy for trying to go to med school this late in the game.  And they can think that.  They are absolutely entitled to their opinions.  But if they knew the Chris that I know, they would probably still think that we're crazy, but I can't imagine they would question why I stand behind him.  They might even join with me as I smack him on the bum and say, "Nothin' but strikes."