Saturday, August 16, 2014

August Winter Knitting

Last Winter saw record-low temperatures here in Virginia. Nu spends about 1-1/2 hours outside at school in the mornings and she always complained that her face was cold. 

 She loves this cowl I made for her in hopes of not suffering from a cold face again this Winter. We do love our Winters - especially snow days! 

 Yarn: Koigu American Merino

 I love these beautiful coconut shell buttons. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Writing My Grief

Over the past week or so, I have been sharing little bits of writing. The pieces were all written in the Spring of this year during an online writing workshop led by Megan over at Refuge in Grief. It's a course that I can highly recommend. And Megan is just great. (I knew this before I signed up, but it doesn't hurt to mention it, right.) --- I was actually hesitant to sign up at first. It had been so long. I should be "over it by now" - right? I'm a terrible writer... Those types of things swirled through my head. Turns out giving myself 20- 30 minutes a day to reflect on the daily prompt was a creative, healing time - albeit not always easy emotionally. I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot about myself. I don't wish Grief upon anyone, but if you do find yourself there... Yeah. I can recommend doing this!

Here's one more piece:

"I fell asleep on the couch just after we had that long conversation about our future. I told you that I would never leave you. A door opened and I found myself crossing a threshold. I hesitated maybe for a moment, but I knew I could keep my promise from the other side of that door. I knew you would be lonely, but I also knew it was the right time for me to walk through that door. My journey had come to an end, yet I felt you would be okay as I was leaving a part of me behind. 

There's a different sense of time on this side of the door. People come up from their lives and people go down to their lives. Nu and I met here for a while. I enjoyed spending time with her. I know that life is often sad and difficult for you. I know I brought some happiness to your life. I'm sorry it was short-lived. I want you to know that I enjoyed spending the last year of my life with you. As I wrote in that April letter, there are so many things I admire about you. I knew this spunky lil' soul would keep on working some of that magic. I know that it's hard for you to be alone, but I also know that you have a deep intuition and that you know certain things just aren't meant for our lives. 

Enjoy our girl. I couldn't have left a bigger part of me..."

This Summer

I'm not much a fan of summer weather - too hot & humid, but I do love spending time with the family (my children) and the opportunity to catch up on knitting. The teenagers spend most of their summer at their Dad's house. I'm looking forward to having them home on Monday. Here's what Nu and I have been up to...

This is the Snow Shadow Fingerless Gloves pattern by Anniki Leppik. I fell in love with the pattern & I'm knitting the fourth pair. Looks like some people will be happy with Santa this year. 

The flowers from the garden are sparse this year, but every now & then we do manage a wee bit of beauty for the vase on the mantle. 

I knitted these, using yarn leftovers, one night when I couldn't sleep. The pattern is the Incredible Expanding Gnome Cap. Anyone having twins? (No. Not me.)

Sleep. Yes, sometimes. 

Yet another knit. I've made a few of these over the year. The one Nu is modeling is for a friend of hers. It's the Olivia Kerchief pattern. 

Nu dipped a random pencil in her drinking water. It was an Aquarell one. Thus started an hour of creativity.

Since there's no one in my life who gifts me flowers, I buy them myself and then put them in lil' vases all over the house. It makes me happy. 

Nu's Autumn Dreamcoat. Noro Silk Garden. It's lovely, but I can already see the playground mulch getting stuck on it... I wanted a simple pattern as the yarn is so colorful & found Flary Cardigan
{I posted a few lil' pieces of writing. They are from a writing workshop I took in the spring. Unless I fall off the blogging wagon again (I'm trying to hang on!), I'll have a post about that tomorrow.}
Happy Summer!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Good Grief

Grief is the "black sheep of the family." He shows up at my door, uninvited and drunk, at the most inconvenient times, usually in the middle of the night. Politely, I try to convince him to leave, but next thing I know he's passing by me and plopping himself down on my couch. 

He smells. No, he stinks! The smell of his burps makes me nauseous. By golly! I've just given the living-room a good cleaning and there he is, sweaty, drunk, filthy, on my couch. Ughh. Not him again! He used to live with me twenty-four-seven a few years ago, but eventually I kicked him to the curb. He still shows up now and then, though. He makes me wonder why I have to have a family member like that, why my family can't just be normal. 

As I come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to get rid of him tonight, I try to get in touch with compassionate side. I mean, it must be hard to be Grief... Unwanted, unloved. I nurture him a bit. Talk to him. Where have you been? How are things going? And such. I cook him some food. As he sobers up, he shares a bit of wisdom from his journey. I prepare the guest room for him and he goes to bed. When I check on him in the morning, he's gone. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Redwood Heart

"The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. [...] The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time." - John Steinbeck.
As I was thinking about a fitting image for my heart, I remembered a book that has long been a favorite reader of mine for fifth grade Botany: "Big Tree" by Mary and Conrad Buff.
It tells the story of a Redwood tree through time; from its humble beginning as a tender sapling; through wind and weather; scorched by wild fires; scarred; always growing up and up; housing a pair of eagles; hosting a prospector in a hole in the bottom of the trunk; eventually marked to be cut down, Big Tree escapes that fate because of a group of committed environmentalists. It's a fictional story, of course, but the tree still stands today - in all its scarred beauty.
And I thought it to be a fitting image for my heart. There's a tenderness in the plant kingdom, but as I reflected, my heart is not a tender violet or a beautiful rose. It's a strong heart. It's weathered storms. It's been burned and scarred. There are prettier hearts for sure, but man, this heart has been on a journey!
(April 18th, 2014)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Thunder Cake

Nu loves Patricia Polacco's book "Thunder Cake." Nu also loves to bake. She's been asking about making a Thunder Cake for some time, and - although there was no storm in sight - we made one today. I had so much fun with my daughter. Too bad I often feel too stressed to take the time to do something like this during the school year. We made a chocolate ganache for the cake. It was so tasty! {Nu's Mustard Dress from LolliBugBoutique}

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's a muddy, complicated, daily world.
Allow yourself to walk in darkness
with grace.

Think deeply and creatively.
Continue to love.

Feel comfortable in your humanity.
Treasure that you have feelings.
Pain and joy can coexist.


 Sweet girl with her crown... I just love Mayfaire so much. The weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold. Lovely entertainment with songs and poetry as well as the play The Adventures of Robin Hood.

 Sweetest lil' crown with some special sage that's 5 years old now...

 Perfect weaving! I love all the beautiful ribbon colors!

More Mayfaire~ing tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Rose Window

This beautiful stained glass rose window was made by my 6th grade students and now adorns a window in my home.


Grief is where the memories are
Where loneliness dwells.

Grief is in all the places 
we visited together.
The burlesque statue at the museum
The coffee shop
New York City.

Grief is in the theater
where we watched The Great Gatsby.
Grief is thus in all things 
Great Gatsby
and in all things theater. 

Grief is in all things
one enjoys in company.
A bottle of wine.
- Good grief!
The holidays!

Grief is in airports.
No more smiles
beyond the sliding doors.

Grief is in feeling
failure as a parent.
If only this damn grief would go away...

Grief is in wives' complaining about
their husbands not taking 
the trash out. 

And grief is in stupid comments.
Of course you know exactly how it is
to be in my shoes
because your husband
is on a two-day business trip
and you miss him

Grief is everywhere.