Monday, April 5, 2021

Lost

Driving home from my middle daughter's house the other day, I got lost.   GPS???    Well, I decided the GPS didn't know what she was talking about, so I ignored her.   I saw the route signs, and thought that was where I wanted to be, except that I wanted north, and I was headed south.  In the city of Troy, NY, getting turned around was easy.  While there were some impressive old homes and factories along the river, most of it was depressing, and a little scary.  But mostly, I was so annoyed with myself, for missing my turn that would have taken me north along the Hudson,  through the countryside, home.




It happened because I was deep in thought about the process of getting older, and being separate from the children who had taken up most of my life.  I'm not sure why it hit me the way it did,  but it surely did.
For years and years, I was at the center of their existence, and at the same time, at the center of my mother's, and now.............well, I'm not.  Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly proud of my three daughters.  They are beautiful girls, they all have a great work ethic (no surprise there), they are all great moms, and are settled at work and at home.   I know that I did a pretty good job raising them, and for that I am pleased.
But as time goes on, and they and I get older, I am occasionally blindsided by the fact that they now have their own families, and that their priorities have changed, as of course they should.
Most times, this would not bother me, for it is the proper and anticipated outcome of life.

But on occasion, when I find myself overwhelmed............yes, by too much physical pain, and by the nagging feeling of something missed, something lost.  

  DH is distracted, distant, often fairly blank, certainly not of his own choosing, but there it is.

There was a time when he logged on to this blog every day, because he didn't want to miss a word or thought that I might have.  Now, I'm not sure he could find my blog online, and for certain, there is no interest in discovering anything about anyone.   So other than pick up after him, check up on him, worry about him, it is a solitary life I live.   I try not to resent the responsibility, but there are days when it seems like if you live alone, you should be free from all of that.  I try daily to be a better person, some days I struggle.



So after my minor emotional episode, all experienced on my own in my Subaru Forester, I came home and lost myself in a good book..........The Innocents, by Michael Crummey. (little book recommendation there)

Then the next morning, I got up and got busy.......put myself squarely back in the middle of my own life, which pretty much keeps me occupied enough on a daily basis.   I totally get what happened.  Sometimes, when I'm tired, or not feeling so great......or as they say in Al Anon....H.A.L.T..........hungry, angry, lonely, tired........it's often easy to go down a  rabbit hole.
Memories, feelings, regrets, and more, can sneak right up and slap you hard.  How does that go?????  The unexamined life is not worth living".....had to look it up, I didn't know that Socrates said that at this trial, when he chose death rather than exile.
And I think I have troubles.




So I'm not entirely sure I agree with Socrates, because examining what you cannot change, isn't something I want to spend too much time on.  I think I am leaning more to the mundane......you know???   Doing the dishes, warping the loom, dyeing some yarn, walking the dogs, collecting eggs,  all those things I do on a daily basis that make up a life......why do I need to turn it all upside down to figure it out.  
It's just life, that's all.  Just life.


Addendum:   

Photos of all my towels are now here on my blog, just click on the tab "Towels" on the top of the page.




Monday, March 22, 2021

Is it Spring yet?

Today sure felt like spring, but I'm not convinced.   Too many years I have seen spring snow storms that appeared out of nowhere.
So I'm hopeful, but definitely not convinced.

April 1st, I wash and dry my winter coat, and put it away, no matter what.


Maybe it's the last year in isolation, or getting older, but whatever it is, I am often nostalgic for days gone by.   Lately, I've been missing my old friend.   Going through boxes of old pictures really took me back.

Here we are, about 13.   Not sure what was up with Gayle's bright red lipstick.  I think it was a phase she went through for a short time.





Here we are many moons later.........



Do we ever stop missing those old friends???  Family???   All those who leave us behind?


Life, however, continues on, and gives us other people to love, like these two.


Baking bread at Mimi's house..........





Having a tea party in the middle of the living room, with two attentive guests waiting for a cookie.




Weaving continues........I am committed to NOT buying any more thread, but using up all the thread I have.   It requires me to concentrate and think about what is possible, and not go for the first thing that pops into my head.




I am trying to stay positive, but the news every day is almost too much to bear.   The mobs in Florida, people not taking this virus seriously, our everyday world so changed, so alien, immigrants and their children suffering, with no clear solutions....the ongoing battle between the two political parties, long gone any hope that we could mend this vast difference between us.
All very dismal.   I know I won't live long enough to see some of the devastating results to the planet, but I grieve for my children, and more, for my grandchildren, innocent in all of it.
I am so grateful that I grew up when I did, and where I did.  I was so fortunate.   I don't remember the world looking so scary.

But maybe I just didn't know.  Maybe it was.  I like to believe, though, that it was different, that we were different.



Later............



Sunday, February 28, 2021

Hello March

Today is the last day of February, and I am not sad to see it go.  It's not just that I am  officially a year older, but it seems like I have had too many doctor appointments this month, and no end in sight.
Is this the deal???   Every year older, something else falls apart???   Oh, the horrors.

My knee still hurts a lot, it actually doesn't feel much better than it did right after I tore my meniscus.   The ortho I've been seeing says I should get on his "list" for a total knee.  I don't know why I am feeling so uneasy about it.  I've had arthritis in both knees for so long.  But this feels different, and I am just not comfortable with what I am being told.  So in late April, I have an appointment with another ortho, one who has stellar recommendations.  If he says I need a total knee, I will accept that.

In the studio, I had an issue with the AVL, when a cable just snapped while I was weaving.

I managed to find one at the local hardware store, with the ferrules I needed to close the ends, and the store even lent me the tool to squeeze the ferrules together.  They didn't have them to sell, but they were very nice about letting me take theirs home.



So with Lois' help, the cable got replaced, with a lot of cursing on my part.

But then, the e-lift didn't work, because when the cable snapped,  the harnesses crashed down, and both cables came unwound.  I tried to put them back on, but really didn't know what I was doing, even after reading the manual...........again.  I swear I've read the whole thing through about 15 times.

Anyway, I was finally able to SKYPE with Bob from AVL in CA.  It took two separate sessions, but the e-lift is now working.
And I am yet more educated about this loom.  Amazing.



Lois and I put a 20 yard warp on it, and I'm weaving again.

 

 More circles.   I still love them.




Since before Christmas, I have been a little obsessed about the basement in this old house.  It was still cluttered with debris and old lumber and minutia that has been there for years.  In addition, the sill was not sealed against the outside, it was cold, and easy access to critters.
So last week, Northeast Spray Foam was here for two days, and they completely sealed the walls down there.  It's amazing.



Then today, I hired a young guy to clean it out.   Everything went, the only thing down there now is the furnace, the fuel tank, and the water heater.


It's a good feeling, the cellar is sealed, it's bare, clean (as clean as it can be with a dirt floor)
and EMPTY.   I feel like I've accomplished this amazing feat!   Maybe that's what getting old is all about.  Getting excited about pretty mundane things.


On another front, I had a new floor put down in the 1/2 bath/walk in closet downstairs.


All the floors in the house are wood, but it was too hard to get a sander in that small room, so we had just painted the floor, and it was crummy.
This is much nicer.



While I was waiting for the AVL to be back on line, I decided to make a blanket out of some of my hand woven scraps.  It turned out to be 60" x 70", and it's pretty heavy.


I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I am kind of inspired to try more patchwork type throws, all with bits of hand woven fabric.




I'm scheduled for my first vaccine tomorrow just 3 miles from my house.  I suppose it's a necessary evil.

In spite of everything on my mind, I still find myself exploring gratitude.  Mornings when it's still dark, the fire is on, Syd and Naya and Willie are asleep nearby, sitting here with my cuppa coffee and just my own thoughts, I look at the clock, and wish it to slow down.  I want to keep this peaceful, quiet, few moments of serenity for as long as I can.  I want to think about my plans for the day, I want to do the NY Times crossword on my laptop, I want to close my eyes and just be here.
 
Soon enough I will be putting my boots on, trudging out to the chicken coop in my bathrobe, feeding chickens, hearing about their night.  I will be starting my day.



Sometimes, I just want to be like Syd.







Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Patience







For a long time, I've been wanting to play with this technique of laying threads in the shed, to make a tapestry type of design in the weave.   I put a linen warp on, but for some reason, the linen kept stretching and giving me fits, and my patience was sorely tried.
So much so, that I cut it off, before I got very far.

I plan on doing more of it, on a cotton warp.





I woke up this morning thinking that "this too shall pass", and my next thought was, "when?"

It's definitely exhausting, this world of ours.  I see it in the faces of family and friends, I hear it in their voices.  We do what we can, and what we are supposed to do, and we wonder if we will see out way clear of it.  I try to imagine a world where we don't wear masks, and it's not easy.

I find myself being more and more a hermit.  I put off going to the store, I find every excuse not to go.
When I finally am almost forced out the door, I combine errands, so I don't have to go again for a while.  It's beginning to worry me. :)
I miss those day trips, rides through the country, eating lunch out,  good conversation.   They seem so long ago.

I find myself thinking and dreaming of people long gone,  people I have loved who are no longer in my life.   I guess as you get older you have to get used to that, at least that's what my mother told me.  But somehow I guess I never believed it.

I thought my parents would always be here.  I thought my friends would always be at the other end of the phone.  I find myself being very pensive about it all, and sad.   
I don't have to like it, and sometimes I just find myself being really angry about it.





Believe it or not, I am still finding things to get rid of.  I evicted nearly 20 items yesterday, and they 
were well received by someone who needed them, wanted them, when I didn't.



My last flock of chickens are laying up a storm.......I gather a dozen, or more, eggs every day.  I have so many eggs, that some days I have no idea what I am going to do with them all.

I suppose I could get rid of some of the hens, but I really love them all, and I am pretty sure that this will be the last time I raise chicks.........  I've raised them twice now, and it's very time consuming, and I was worried about them for the first 12 weeks of their lives.




I just ordered some "scary tape" recommended to me by a fellow chicken lover.......to scare off the hawks, I hope it works.  I really don't want to chase another one out of the run with a stick.


Today it snowed almost all day, but late afternoon, it finally cleared, and the sun shone.

It does make one hopeful.


Monday, February 1, 2021

February doldrums


I know, I've been a lax blogger of late.   I'm trying not to go down the rabbit hole here.

Weaving at a snail's pace.  Not too inspired, I have to admit.

I can't take credit for these gorgeous pinwheel towels.  Other than wind the warp, these are totally Lois' work.




I need to have a vision of something I really want to weave, and then I need to get busy doing it.
But not today.

The steroid injection lasted full tilt about a week, and then began to disappear rapidly.  Now it just hurts, so I guess I'm on to the Viscous gel injection next.
I'm resigned.



As I promised, I dumped my web site.  I got sick of being annoyed, spending money, and always feeling like I wasn't doing enough.   These are selling on my FB page, and it doesn't make me anxious.

My 30 (actually 31) day challenge is done.....I got rid of over 500 items out of this house.   Then I put it all on FB Marketplace for FREE.......and two very nice ladies came and fetched it right off my back porch.  Guess they are planning on a spring garage sale, either that or they just needed something to do.
One of them said, "we'll have fun going through it"......so maybe that's pandemic entertainment these days.
Anyway, it's gone, and it felt SO GOOD.

Even though I finished, today I got rid of more.  I gave a long LL Bean coat to a treasured friend, and I know she will rock it.
Then another good friend came and picked up these canning jars, to make candles in.






I even pulled this old gumball machine out of the cupboard, and I'll be giving it to my grandson, who thinks he needs it.




I dug out these two books, because I need to keep sorting and deep cleaning out.  I will read them and pass them on to another friend, who is currently in sunny Fla.




Keeping it real here, I ended up in the ER the other night, with atrial fibrillation...which lasted about an hour and a half.   I think....for what it's worth......that it's thyroid related, but I had to see a cardiologist, and now I have to have an echocardiogram.  And the doctor told me I need to lose this extra 20 lbs I'm carrying around.   So, yup, back to WW.  I did it before, and it looks like I will be doing it again.   You think I would get it.

My son in law is always calling Miss Dale, mini Mimi.
She doesn't like to wear clothes, she has  the same haircut, and the look on the face, well, maybe Daddy is right.



Snow storm tomorrow...........I need to get motivated to do something productive.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Start again.

The more I thought about the 30 day minimalist challenge, the more intrigued I was.  Could I really do it????
Doing the math, it amounts to giving up/throwing out almost 500 items in 30 days.

I didn't want to wait until February 1st,  I was afraid I would lose the wild inspiration that I felt.  So I decided to catch up to the date.  For two days I filled boxes with stuff that I didn't need, didn't really want, forgot I had.  I am now up to the 25th, and I have divested myself, and this house, of about 300 items.  I am amazed, excited, and a little afraid.



By my calculations, I have about 200 more things to find in this house that are not going to stay.  This is going to get much harder, I think.  My middle daughter asked why I just didn't get rid of 4 or 5 things a day.   I answered her this:   increasing the number on a daily basis pushes you to really, really dig deep, in your home, in all the little corners that you stuff junk, but also in your head.......asking those questions that really reverberate.....how many cups do we really need?  how many towels?  how many pairs of socks?

I am pretty sure I can do ONE day in my sock drawer.  I know I have a day's worth in the toy box that I keep for my grands.  Another in the cupboard in the bathroom, and another in my yarn (knitting) stash.  Then there's my fabric scraps.  And on and on.  You get the drift.
It also makes me think a lot about stuff that I bring in to the house....stuff that I buy.
DH is really, really bad about buying things that he doesn't need, and never uses after he opens the package.  Some of those things will disappear soon.   

You may  wonder where all this stuff is going.   A big bag went right in the trash.   New bestselling books went to the library....they were happy to get them.   Clothes to the thrift shop.   A couple of friends took single items that they wanted.   Weaving books are getting sold on FB, as well as Handweaving magazines.   Knitting books gifted to someone I don't even know, just for the price of shipping.
Boxes of miscellaneous are being picked up later today ..........free.........to someone that contacted me on Marketplace.
The key is:   IT'S ALL GOING.

I feel strangely liberated, and I'm not even halfway through.  

I am saving the attic space over the studio for last.......that will be my ACE in the hole.

Maybe this is just another way to get through these times.  I wonder.  My world feels small, confined mostly to my house, the studio, the chickens, dog walks and occasional trips out for necessities.


My day starts like this, soft light through the windows, fire in the stove.  Cuppa coffee.  The NY Times Crossword.   I'm a addict for it, I'm afraid.


Then there's these two, taking their morning snooze, next to me on the sofa.  They are such creatures of habit.  I really don't know what I would do without them.


The good news is that the steroid injection worked, and I have relief, even if it's only for a while.  I am grateful, and hopeful, in spite of the evidence.  Isn't life just like that sometimes.  I always want to look towards the sunny side of things.  Maybe I can push this  surgery ahead to a non Covid world.  That would be nice.

I did walk the dogs with L yesterday, and it was nice.  So far, so good.  I'm trying to do a few days a week, not pushing my luck.



I am doing a little weaving, here and there.  No pressure, really, to produce, so I'm just (for once) doing 
what I want.
To say I am relieved that 2020 is over would be such an undertatement.  And maybe I'm foolish to imagine that 2021 will be better, but I have to imagine that, or go crazy.


When I think about all the negatives, I could lose myself in the pity pot.  Life is just 
damn hard sometimes.  Harder for some, than others, that's for sure.
But always, I come back to gratitude.
I have so much to be thankful for.   I just have to stop, and remind
myself.



I have also come to the conclusion, that in many ways I am way too hard on myself.  Lately, when I realize that I am wallowing just a wee bit, I curl up on the couch and take a little nap.  Naya and Willie are all too willing to take one with me.   It's probably a comical sight to see the three of us cozied up on the sofa together.   I sleep deeply for 30-60 minutes, and when I wake up, the world looks different to me.  So I have to conclude that maybe, just maybe, I have worn myself out.

So for now, I will just keep plugging away, doing my best to do what I do......weaving, reading, making soup, walking dogs.  Whatever is right in front of me.


Moroccan Lentil Chick Pea


If I begin to feel overwhelmed, I ask myself............"can you get through this day?"

Well, of course I can.


And I"m hopeful.   New beginnings.   Change.   So very welcome.


 
















Wednesday, January 13, 2021

No surprises.

I've been listening to the arguments in the HOUSE regarding impeachment of YOU KNOW WHO, and to be honest, none of the insipid, pandering support of those same Congressmen who have been on his side for the last four years, surprises me one bit.  I had to turn it off.  My head was about to explode.
I doubt that the results will be a shock to anyone.
Now I'm on the sofa, with a roaring fire, two sleeping dogs, and a cuppa tea.  So there.




On the other hand, I went to ortho today about my knee.  

Seems removing part of my meniscus, caused the already narrow space in my knee joint to get rather "bone on bone".  Basically, my knee is on fire, in lay terms.   They did surgery on a knee that was already a train wreck.  I knew that.   I don't blame them.

So now, I do need a total knee replacement......and yes, that little voice in my head says why didn't we just do that in the first place?

Well, there's Covid, so they can't do it now, and they prefer not to do it too soon.  So I got a steroid shot in my knee, and in the weeks to come, we can try the "viscous" injection, all in the attempt to put this surgery off until some normalcy prevails.   Am I surprised?  Not at all.  I knew from the level of pain, that it was not good.

Truth is, I wrecked my knees when, in my forties, I decided I wanted to be a runner.   And run I did, 3-5 times a week, 3-5 miles every time.  I kept a calendar.  You're not surprised???  Oh, yeah, I kept track of the miles like weaving yardage off a loom, like pretty much everything I have ever done in my life....full board.  My knees, unfortunately, took the brunt of it.
At the time, I was married to an emotionally abusive alcoholic, and that's how I coped.
I remember one day, with half a load on, he commented as I jogged down the driveway, that I had the calves of  Russian weightlifter.   For a moment, I was hurt, and then..............I smiled.
It  actually made me run more.

I've been following a blogger in Wales, who is big on minimalism.  I got interested in the 30 day challenge that she is doing.  I wanted to find someone to do it with me, on a bet, so to speak.  I'm not having any luck.

But I think I'm going to start it February 1st, with or without another person to compete against.
I think it will be good for me.

I have places like this..........with drawers full of MINUTIAE.......



I am sure it will be difficult towards the end......but I still think it is doable.




The doctor said I can start walking, apparently it is too late to worry about doing any harm........so there's that.
Even though I am enjoying playing with all the color I've got going on the AVL, I still miss getting out with L and the dogs every day.  I'm going to work my way back into it, and pray I get some relief from the steroid injection.   

Oh, and by the way......since I have dumped my aggravating, time sucking web site, I have put my towels on FB, and they are available at the top of the page, here, under the tab  AVAILABLE TOWELS.  I will add them as they come off the loom.



I read something the other day, about finding meaning in our lives.   The upshot of it was, there really isn't any.   All there really is, says the writer, is what we do every day, no matter how menial or insignificant it seems.  It's about the structure and the integrity of our days.

There's something very freeing about that, and something that stops me in my tracks.  I may have spent way too much time trying to figure out what the meaning of my life was, when maybe, it's just as simple as having a cuppa tea while talking to you all.
Who knew?




Sunday, January 10, 2021

For the record

I don't often get into the political scene here  on my blog......it's not my thing.  But for the record, I have to say this.
When the POTUS goes on camera, and says in all seriousness, to the crowd taking over the Capitol Building, "I love you.  You're special."...........well, that's seriously the most egregious and disgusting thing that I have ever heard.
I do not say this being uninformed.  I watch the news, I read the NY Times faithfully every morning.....I listen to the radio most days in the studio.  I DO know what is happening in politics.  I DO pay attention.
And in my 73 years here on this earth, I have never, ever experienced anything that has made me feel this sad, and disenfranchised, and angry.  
That being said, I have no idea why Joe Biden wouldn't rather retire on the beach somewhere.  He's walking into the worst mess........can I say "shit show" here??............on the planet.  I do not envy him the job that he has to do.  
I hope that he gets the vaccine out in massive quantities.........I hope that he restores to us the normalcy that we used to take for granted.

I know one thing.......I will not miss the craziness coming out of the White House.  I will not miss his face, his lies, his total lack of caring.   I hate all of this, as so many of you do.   The pandemic has torn all our lives apart, and it didn't have to, it could have been handled so differently from the beginning.  As a nurse for 30 years, I am pretty positive that had we known about this virus when HE knew, we would be in a very different place right now.  You may ask yourself how one man can impact so MANY lives.   Well, google Adolf Hitler, and  see how easily it can happen.

I have tried, very hard for some time to "self soothe".......doing things that make me happy......attempting to take myself far from all that is going on.  It doesn't always work.  Sometimes it does.



On the subject of my knee....well, it is not good news.  The pain level is increasing...on the inside of my knee, where the meniscus tore....so I don't know if it has torn again, or it's just not healing.   Advil/Tylenol.....nothing......helps anymore.  I am still not walking the dogs, thank God for L and friends.
I see ortho this week.....I'm sure they will want to do another MRI.....$$$$$$$.......and go from there.

I want to be able to walk.....it's one of the things in my life I am not ready to give up.
It's funny, because back in October, I was worried about a total knee replacement, which they said I don't need.  But if I had gotten a new knee back then, I would probably be much better by now.  Ironic.

Life has a way of changing, and taking away stuff, whether you are ready or not.  I hope that is not the case now.  It seems like 2020 is seeping on over to 2021.........we are all ready for something better.

I audibly sigh here, because it's hard to see it right now.

Driving to the store today, I remembered my friend, Gayle.  She died last summer, and I miss her still.
Every now and then I reach for my phone, thinking of something I want to tell her.  Today I was thinking about how when we were 13, we discovered that we could send each other messages in the dark, with flashlights in the windows. We didn't know Morse code, so not sure how we thought we were going to manage that.
She lived quite a ways away, but there was a clear shot from her house to mine, over the fields.   It's gone now, people have built houses.  It's like so many things that are just so different.

I have to remind myself that today is all we have.......just today.   We can make it better, any way we can.
Or not.

Back to my tea, and my book.  I'm trying.











Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts