Saturday, September 10, 2011

I need this on a loop...

Obviously I've felt this way before, as seen here:

Obviously I've gotten that stunning slap in the face from someone I truly trusted and liked.

obviously I haven't been listening to myself...

equally obviously... I will probably need to repost this again at some point...

because I just... do not want to be the person I describe in the last paragraph. That would take far too much energy and anger and I'm far too lazy for that.

But, maybe, just maybe this time? I can make it partway there and get past the cheap and easy respect, so easy you don't need to bother and find my way to 'someone worth the effort'.

I guess we'll see.

Friday, September 09, 2011

11.5 hour wedding shawl

Some years ago I posted this to the KNITTALK list and thought to retell the story here.

circa 2002

K. my eldest daugther (bless her picky heart :) ) decided on a May wedding, with very short notice and a small ceremony with just family in attendance and a come and go reception at their home.

She was very practical (and frugal ... bless her cheap heart :P) in her planning and since our weather (looking outside today and seeing snow you'll understand what I mean) has been known to be very unpredictable she made alternative plans for the ceremony; because as badly as she wanted an outside ceremony she was pretty sure it'd snow or rain or something.

Sure enough, night before the wedding, we're all crammed in her tiny little galley style kitchen, me and her sis-in-law to be bumping rear ends as we worked on our family *specialties* and K and her younger sis A (my kindred soulchild who also inherited my sense of sarcasm and wit) bustled about, K wringing her hands at the details and A quietly fixing what needed fixing and sending me telling glances that had us having to look away lest we break out in the giggles.

Now don't get me wrong, we love K but she's a pain at times and details are her forte. A and I tend to go with the flow while K is determined that things WILL be a certain way. Even K however, has yet to figure out a way to convince the weather to do her bidding. (with her sense of accomplishment and determination I'm betting on K)

So, at 9 pm she looks out the window at the gathering greyness hovering over the city and says resignedly, "guess it's an indoor ceremony." Commiserating with her disappointment we all agreed.

"Mom..." she gasped at me, "what will I wear from the car to the house?" She had chosen an off the shoulder dress, lovely in a silvery white but yes, her shoulders would decidedly be exposed to the forces of nature.

Backtracking a moment, I'd asked this kid repeatedly, "do you want a wedding shawl? I'll make one however you want it." over the past 5 or 6 years previous. The reply was always no thanks mom. (which read, knitted shawls are for old ladies and while I'll oo and aw over your socks and shawls for you I wouldn't be caught dead wearing one).

"I need a shawl." She proclaimed and I glanced at the clock. 9 pm. Wedding is at 12:30 pm the next day. 15.5 hours... oy...

We left for home (an hour's drive) at 10 pm. Arriving home at 11 pm, bundling everyone off to bed I'd been mentally assessing stash rejecting cotton immediately as I knew I wanted something lofty and halo'd but having little in my stash of the right weight or colour to match the silvery white of her dress.

As we drove into our yard it hit me. The colour wasn't totally right but if I did it very airy it wouldn't matter TOO much. Right? Right. I had some baby alpaca in raw white. Doubled up on 10 mm needles it might just do it.

By 11:15 PM everyone was in bed and I had 3 movies programmed on the satellite. Casting on I started a basic dishcloth pattern in garter, hoping that the large needles and halo would compensate for the simplicity of the design.

(for those who need to know: Cast on 4, knit 1 row, *k2 yo, knit to end of row)

The fabric looked fine and was growing quickly enough so I kept knitting. But as anyone who's used this pattern knows, it's designed to produce a square or a rather deep triangle if you don't use the decrease half. I wanted it wider quicker so I started increasing on both ends of each row. ACK, now it's widening too quickly, back to the one increase per. Better ... and so it went for 2 or 3 hours. Switching back and forth (and sorry to say randomly when it just looked right) was giving me a somewhat scalloped edge... hey it's a design feature right? Right.

Along about 4 or 5 am I woke with the blunt end of a needle pressing into the crook of my elbow but a darned good start on a shawl. I appear to have knitted in my sleep. I can't swear to it and no one was awake to see me do it, but that shawl had grown.

After a shower, and shove out the door to the rest of the family (knitting all the while during breakfast, arguing with children about what they COULD NOT wear to a wedding and hubby's doubting thomas questions we set out to drive the hour's trip.

I'd count furiously then decide it wasn't wide enough so I'd knit knit knit. Hubby asked if I was having any mother of the bride nervousness, "shssshh," I snapped, "I'm counting." Being the quietly sarcastic sort he tossed back, "obviously..." "No time to be nervous." I answered after yet another stitch count.

Now I was close enough to start obsessing about the cast off. Gotta be seriously stretchy for this to work as the shorty triangle stole I was seeing on the needles. My hands were aching, wrists swollen. Finally the brain kicked in and I went for a sl k1, psso *YO, k1, pass previous stitch over both the YO and second stitch, leaving YO on the needle ) Yep, stretchy.

A came out to the van to see how I was doing and her reaction startled me "Holy batcrap mom...When did you start this?" I told her and she started to do the math as I finished the last of the cast off and suprisingly the last of the yarn. Two balls, ending evenly with only a 2 in tail ? ... can we say Meant To Be? Approximately 11.5 hours from cast on to shoulders.

K was upstairs so I quickly stretched this out on her couch, spritzed it lightly and tugged it into a semiblocked state. She came down and again with the gasp.

I stood there, rubbing my hands trying to get the ache to quiet as she gazed at it. "Oh mom...." she looked at me, tears welling in those about to be a bride's eyes and my aches went away.

She wore the shawl all through the day, even after she changed out of her wedding dress. Sometimes she wore it upside down, the ends spiraling (I can only guess from the scalloping of the shaping and the extra stretchy cast off) off her arms, the tip of the triangle folded down at the nape of her neck like a little collar.

A doesn't want a wedding shawl either. I have the Forest Path entrelac lace phenomenon 1/3 done... SHHHHH, don't tell her.

(sadly, that Forest Path went in the fire we had. However, I'm seeking the pattern and a similar yarn to start it again)

Friday, March 18, 2011

When? Why?

I believe in vaccinating my children. To keep them safe and because there hasn't been a reported case of said disease in X years is not a valid reason not to vaccinate. If anything It's even more of a reason because as we have less and less exposure to these germs our ability to fend them off when confronted with them is limited.

If we are going to make something mandatory but then say Oh but you can choose not to, why bother?

If the lady down the street doesn't vaccinate her children and they become ill, they potentially endanger my children; even though my children have been vaccinated. Even though I've taken every reasonable, educated precaution I'm comfortable with doing, my children are still at risk because of someone else's decision. Note: Where I live that is how it is, it's suggested but it's not 100% mandatory.

IF you, I and everyone else who seems to be thinking along the right minded way of thinking I'm reading about teach our children about their bodies and masturbation and they understand about private and public touch and 'strangers' and the like but 'Mz I dun wanna be talking to my babies about sex and nobody else should be either' over across the way doesn't... and her little Johnny or Jenny comes along and starts touching my kids or yours ... all she has to do is say at the moment "I didn't believe in teaching a young child about sex." and she's off the hook. Unless it's a rather major event where the police are immediately called; or you, I or another parent wants to make a big deal of it and potentially undo the right-minded thinking we've started to instill in our children then whoever little J / J touched inappropriately is left without a solution. Afterall, they have still been touched.

There are other situations and laws out there where this somewhat skewed logic applies. Just because 3 out of 10 people I know, can drive at 140 mph and do so in a safe and courteous manner (and yes, there are people who can and do so on a regular basis) doesn't mean that I am going to be out there lobbying that the speed limit should be upped to 140. Speeding limits are set up to enable the most amount of people to drive the most amount of miles in the safest possible way. Sometimes there are just plain stupid zones though, just saying...

When your child reaches a certain age, either the one determined by the law of your land or if you're like most people I know, in a field long before they would be allowed on the road because you know yourself that exposure to something in a controlled and supervised manner is a good way to learn; you teach your children to drive safely. At a younger age (hopefully though given some of the pedestrians I've encountered maybe not so much) you also teach them how to cross the street safely. You teach them how to work the stove, use a knife, light a fire, you know, how to do any number of mundane tasks. You do this because at some point in their lives they are going to cross a road without you there to tell them how, turn on a stove or even drive to work complaining about pedestrians who don't know how to cross a road safely. Ahem.

If your child takes up sports, you're going to buy them the right equipment for it aren't you? To protect them from bumps, bruises, perhaps even serious or life threatening injuries considered connected to that particular sport. Before strenuous physical activity you're going to either teach them how to prepare their bodies and minds, or get right upset with a coach who doesn't promote preparation when your little darling pulls a muscle because they went into the game cold.

You're going to do this and other preparatory things because you want to protect your children, being a right-minded parent. As a result, most of the kids participating in said activity are going to do so in safe manner, with everyone enjoying themselves. They'll even learn to relax (because they are protected, knowing that a particular piece of safety equipment will do its job when needed) and by doing so will probably enjoy the activity even more.

Sex has never been nor never will be 'safe' to some, because there have always been inherent risks to either the self esteem or psyche by indulging or denying without even getting into the STD's, moral and/or legal issues of then and now. And yes, I'm glossing over these but not because I believe they are not crucial, but because most of them are based on beliefs, traditions and moral views that I may or may not adhere to, or hold personally.

But let's face it, people, at some point in their lives, your child is going to indulge, partake, or even *gasp* enjoy sex.

Why would you not want to prepare them? Why wouldn't you want them to be aware of and even feel comfortable using safety equipment (hint: condoms do more than just provide a barrier to conception).

I just can't ignore the age-old question... do you really want your child out there getting an inpromptu and probably very confused and inaccurate information session on sex from their friends?

I just don't get why we have to turn into blithering idiots instead of right-minded parents who work hard to protect and nurture their children the very second SEX is mentioned.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Merry Christmas, despite being a little late...

So this past year hasn’t been one of my favourites. To hit the high(?) lights, we’ve had a house fire that destroyed our house, two deaths in the family, money issues (who hasn’t) and I’ve finally quit a job that was sucking out my very soul.
There’ve been some up moments, (see the part about quitting that job?) and all the helpful, compassionate people who came to our assistance after the fire. People coming out of nowhere and being kind to us. Balanced as always by the (so - called) neighbour who informed me in front of the still smoking ashes of our home, that if we lived in an old house like that, what could we expect? I’ve always said it takes all kinds, so nice to be proven right O.o

Anyhoo, given all these rollercoaster moments I’ve been looking forward to December 31st with more anticipation than usual. Today is December 24th and I had planned all along to go shopping at Costco for the last minute gifts. I’d gotten into this habit a few years ago when certain children had reached the age of snooping and paying off the younger ones to do it for them.

Over the past few years I’ve become more than a little bit jaded with Christmas and the holidays in general. It’s been harder and harder to get excited about it and hold onto that wonderment. I suppose that’s a symptom of growing older but I was letting things slide for the kids, and that has been bothering me. Sure, they had presents and a nice turkey spread. We put up lights and went to the town hall for the school concert. We even do the family game night Christmas eve, unplugged if you will, a marathon evening of board games, most often Monopoly or Life and lately Scrabble and Risk have been making an appearance. Little traditions have been kept but there’s been something missing…something of the anticipation and joy of the season.

I was giving myself a talking to while driving to Costco. About how, this coming year I’d start my stocking-stuffer buying in January like I used to do, little odds and tidbits some to be wrapped some to be just discovered; and make some gifts, another habit that has gone by the wayside as the pressure of putting on Christmas became less and less interesting. I’ve long ago given up on knitted gifts for all but most Christmas mornings had someone exclaiming over something hand made by mom. An afghan, a sweater, a pair of much wanted wristees or even just a plain old scarf in just the right color had been unwrapped with anticipation on my part to see how the recipient would respond. That hasn’t happened in more than few years if I’m honest.

I spent a rather pleasant couple of hours at Costco as the crowds weren’t overly so and there were plenty of items I’d been looking forward to checking out without tipping my hand to the nosy children that usually accompanied me on shopping trips. I’d found everything I had planned on getting, a few things besides and reluctantly put back others with the hopes that on another trip with more extra available they’d still be there for purchase. DD#3’s new camera was in there, the navigational GPS thingie for hubby, more than couple blu-ray disks and books, always books for Christmas at our house as well as new pyjamas to wear Christmas Eve and most if not all of Christmas Day. Noting to myself that not all of our Christmas traditions had died I wandered to the checkout line.

I noticed a lady letting people go in front of her in line. She had one of those trolley platforms and while it was full it was mostly larger boxes. She’d waved at least two others through as I got up to her and was telling me to go on ahead too. I responded that she should go ahead as it was Christmas Eve and everyone wanted to be home. At her question about why I wasn’t in a hurry I told her that since hubby is a truck driver subject to the whim of a dispatcher and road conditions, Christmas at our house didn’t start till he got home anyway and that I had all day as he wasn’t expected till later than evening.

She smiled and got in line. As we waited our turns at the register we chatted. I often strike up conversations in line-ups and have passed an otherwise tedious time exchanging opinions on politics, current events and the weather with equal vigour. Hey, I am Canadian after all, and weather is an important topic of discussion. Especially interesting to me when I find someone who ‘remembers the big one of 19…aught something. *grin*.

During this chat we exchanged sentiments about how seeing the backside of 2010 would not be a bad thing. As I’ve mentioned we’ve had enough. She told me of a 50 year marriage ending in divorce and we both commiserated with the other that 2011 didn’t have to do much to be better. She paid for her purchases and was fiddling with her purse as the cashier started running mine through.

I turned to her and smiled, about to wish her a Merry Christmas when felt I needed to say something more. “You know, your ex probably just needed to get out of your life to make room for someone who really loves you. Or maybe you’re just one of those lucky people who loves themselves enough they don’t need that affirmation from someone.” She clasped my hand and holding it asked my name. I told her and she said, “Well my name is ******** and guess what, I’m your secret Santa and I’m going to pay for your order today.”

“You can’t,” was my immediate response, my mental tally had rang up near 750 or so and the thought of a stranger giving me nearly a thousand dollars shocked me. She was adamant and firm, telling me she’d said she was doing it and that was that. As she headed over to the ATM to get out cash the cashier remarked about how nice it was that my friend was doing that for me. When I told him and his packer person that I’d never laid eyes on this woman before in my life they both welled up with tears. I, too, was crying by now.

I did insist that we exchange information so we could talk again. Turns out she lives in a town I used to, and her dad had spent his last years in the town I now live in. When I asked her why she’d done this, she said that a little voice had told her she should when we’d been speaking in the line-up. She figured it was her Dad telling her to do a good deed.

When I got out to my vehicle I just sat there for a few minutes, somewhat overwhelmed. That’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve really felt the Christmas Spirit filling me so fully. I called my eldest daughter when I got home and told her about this. We have some ‘extra’ money coming in January with one thing or another. We’ve decided we’re going to go stake out a grocery store and have some fun. I think we’ll know the right person to pay this forward to when we see them.

P.S. I started writing this when I got home that evening, but for some reason it didn’t seem right to post it till now. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas season and that the best of 2011 finds its way to your home.

P.P.S I’ve been behind in my blog reading and just got to the Yarn Harlot's recent entries today. I wish I’d read her post about the traditions for New Year’s Eve in time, I’d have done them all.