Sunday, September 23, 2018

Me in the Middle

I am a middle child. 

A really, really middle child. 

Three older siblings all born two years apart, then 4 1/2 years to me.  Then another 3 1/2 years to my younger siblings who are only 14 months apart. 


Middle Child.

In the early 90s when I was struggling with situations in my family of origin I came across John Bradshaw's  work on Family Systems. 

The middle child.  The peacemaker. 


A couple of weeks ago I wrote down all the times I was 'in the middle' of family dramas. I counted eleven. I few of them I felt directly responsible for because I was the catalyst for the disagreement.  Or, at least, I thought I was. I have since come to realize that being a catalyst is not the same thing as being one of the two substances that react with each other. Often to explosive results.

Yesterday I had an epiphany. 

I wasn't in the middle by nature.  I put myself in the middle.  I took it upon myself to be a mediator, or a peace maker, or a conduit, or the one at fault.

I sometimes tried to intervene.  I sometimes tried to mediate.  I sometimes prayed for reconciliation. I often took on all the blame.

All because of my own issues with confrontation and discord. 

I want everyone to get along. I want everyone to be happy.  I want to put my hands over my ears and sing 'la la la' to block out the anger, or sadness, or disappointment. 

I wanted my family to be like the Hallmark movie of the week. Everyone around the table at Thanksgiving saying heartfelt and kind things to each other. 

I put myself there. 

Only once have I ever been asked to pass a message along from one person who was not speaking to another.  Ironically I didn't.

Once I believed a lie one person told me about another.  It made me suspicious, but still anxious that somehow it was all my fault.

I have though, repeatedly through my life, not told someone what I was doing, or who I was doing it with, if it involved mentioning someone they were in conflict with.  This has happened too with friendships where I was good friends with two people who were not friendly with each other.

I silenced myself to spare the feelings of another.  I hid parts of myself so as not to cause pain.

I believe this behaviour, in part, contributed to my struggle with depression.

I denied my experiences, my loves, my stories so as not to rock the boat. 

One example of my co-dependent behaviour.  There are others, but I am here at the moment.

Me in the Middle. 

Working with this.  Realizing that others are resilient enough to deal with their feelings and their relationships and I don't have to fix them. 

It isn't my job. 

As I often tell others (I am so wise when talking to others). 

Not my circus.  Not my monkeys. 

Pay attention Me. 

Not your circus.  Not your monkeys.

Yopping Update # 12 - Cables and cable and cables, oh my.

I finished my socks and they have been on my feet all week:

My husband likes them so much I have cast on another pair for his hobbit feet (large, not hairy).

I have finished section four of Bonnie's Wish, and I have started on the border - all 616 rows of it! 

That is a s#itload of cables!

I went to a textiles show on Friday with a friend and it was interesting and inspiring, but at this point in my life I am happy to stick with knitting and spinning and leave the quilting and sewing for others who are soooo talented and creative. 

However next weekend is KnitCity and I am sure I will be uber inspired and probably make a few purchases there.  Stay tuned. 

My son found this picture downstairs while he was visiting last week.  I think it was one my daughter took of a mural on the east side of town. 

It is now the wallpaper on my phone.  It speaks to me. Loudly.  And my son says the character with the words on her t-shirt looks like me.


I hope you can 'Let Go' this week.  It will be my mantra for some time. 

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Going Dark - Finding Light

I need to go dark.

My blog has become mostly a knitting blog because of my involvement with Year of Projects.  I do also write about my doings day to day, but mostly about my projects.

I used to write more about my feelings and struggles and I miss doing that.

My mental health misses me doing that.

I have always known that I seek the approval of others.  My colleagues, my family, my students, my friends.

I avoid confrontation at a cost.  The cost is that I don't speak my truths about things that I am afraid will cause conflict.

That wasn't so when I was on the board of my school.  I was fierce and outspoken and I like that part of me. But with family I go quiet.

This is true of this blog now.  There are things I want to write about, but then I worry there will be fall out or blow back.

I thought about starting another blog, an anonymous blog, but this morning I realized that if I don't want to publish a post I can not publish a post, but the thoughts will still be there for me to read and reflect on.

So here goes.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a meeting and we were talking about our reliance on the approval of others.

I sat there with my stomach alerting me that I had something to say:

In my pocket I carry my father's worry stone.  On my wrist I wear my grandmother's bracelet which has the regiment badges of the two regiments my father was in during WW II.  It also has a small gold cross.

I have my father's wallet with his university id card and other personal items in the drawer beside me.

His picture is on my bookshelf, and a cartoon of him hangs in the living room.

He is everywhere.

My father died when I was 17.  I miss him everyday.  I am now 62.  I believe that my father loved me as I loved him, although I was told once by my mother that he didn't love anyone.  That he wasn't capable of love.  I didn't believe her then, and I don't believe it now.

His anger was huge.  He could be violent and unpredictable.  I was/am afraid of that anger.

But still I believe he loved me and despite the times my behaviour made him angry I have always believed his love was unconditional.  Unconditional love is something I struggle with. I am not sure I believe it is a thing that a parent will love their child no matter what.  I do believe that a parent will feel a responsibility for and to their child, but unconditional love as an all encompassing concept is a difficult one for me to really stand behind.

So back to the worry stone.

It is ironic that I do worry that I will lose his worry stone.  Sometimes I think I should purposefully return it to the earth or place it on his headstone.

I think about it, but for now it is firmly in my pocket.

So my question at the meeting was is it co-dependent to hold on to my father as I do.  To his memory, to his things?  His dresser is my dresser.  I have his sherry keg on my mantel piece.  Downstairs I have his ice-cream maker.

Things that tie me to him inextricably.

"They are just things. Your father would tell you they are just things."  My mother told me this once when she had spilled red wine on a handmade rug of mine.  I was upset.  She had been drinking.
She knew my Achilles heel.  She was telling me my father would be disappointed in my behaviour.

It is hard to write this. I have been told not to speak ill of the dead.  But memories are memories and some are wonderful and some still hurt all these many years later.

Forgive and forget.

I am learning to forgive, but forgetting is so very hard. 

Physical things hold memory for me.  I have had to let go of physical things that hold difficult memories because if I don't I can't get past the hurt they remind me of.

My father's worry stone, his wallet and my grandmother's bracelet do not hold any such memories.  Instead they remind me that he was just a man, who had a difficult history, who worried, who loved, who had faith, who had a mother that worried about him.

Those things remind me that he was human.

So am I.

And for now, and for the foreseeable future I will continue to carry him with me.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Yopping Update #11 - Socks it is

Happy Birthday socks on the almost birthday boy!

A perfect fit.  I am so proud of my first design. He had some taxi socks he loved when he was a teenager and I tried to replicate them. 

I was in a parade last Sunday in the wind and the rain - it was so much fun as we represented the Free Store on my sister's little island. The day before had been the 40th anniversary party of the Recycling Depot.

Everything the three of us are wearing and carrying came from said Free Store.  (Except my Tilley hat.  I have had that for thirty years!)

We went camping with our son last Tuesday and miraculously avoided the rain, and the campfire ban was lifted about four hours before we arrived at our campsite.  Here is our view:

and the juvenile robin that kept coming around every time my son split open a log so it could eat all the earwig larvae.  Such a comical, brave little guy. (The robin, not my son - although he is comical and brave too - just not so little).

Yesterday we went for a rainy walk in the canyon near our house.  There is my big boy on the bigger staircase.

Being such a busy week with parades, and camping and visiting and all I decided to cast on a simple sock.  I love this colourway called Talisman from Opal yarns. 

I hope to get back to Bonnie's Wish this week - she keeps giving me sidelong accusatory looks that I am stepping out on her what with my sock knitting and all. She is right, of course, but I will get back to those cables soon (ish). 

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Yopping Update #10 - Better late than never

Well, I truly was a monogamous knitter this week and the socks are done, finished today, and I am a day late posting because I was on the little island enjoying the company of my sister and nephew and participating in the Fall Fair and a 40th anniversary party - but you will have to wait for next week to see photos of those events. 


These are done and this is my first ever sock design.

Now I can get back to Bonnie's Wish.  I have coloured in the cable chart and am ready to forge ahead. Well, that is after laundry!

This is my shortest post ever I think.  Expect more from me next time. 

Blessings on your week. 

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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Yopping Update #9 - Taxi!

Well I told you I was destined for monogamous knitting this week but of course it wasn't on Bonnie's Wish, was it?   Nooooo.

I realized my son would be arriving in two weeks and I had birthday socks to knit......ack!

So here is my progress to date:

That is it on the crafting front.

I spent two days 220 km from home for a new part-time job I have taken for the fall term mentoring a new teacher in her grade one class. 

I did do a painting:

and today I am organizing my mentoring papers (so many papers) with some new stationery items.  Ah, I love the new beginnings of the school year.

I missed the deadline for my August spinning challenge - I decided to let this challenge go for the rest of the year.  It was stressing me out to stay on top of the challenge and that isn't what knitting and spinning is all about for me. 

So, that is my week - a little teaching, a little painting, and a little sock knitting.  There was walking and swimming and for some odd reason quite a lot of sleeping and napping.

September is here.  The leaves are turning and falling.  The nights are much cooler, and the air has that certain nip of Autumn during the day. 

I do love this time of year. 

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Yopping Update #8 - Bonnie's Wish

This week has been all about one project, and one project only.

Wait.  What?

That's right folks - Bonnie's Wish is full speed ahead.  I finished the wingspan border - and then went right onto chart number two.  I am currently almost half way through chart number three.  I have to stop every four or six rows to colour in the next four or six rows on the chart to keep all the different cables separate and organized in my oh so dyslexic brain. So far I have only had to go back and fix one cable that was stubbornly crossing the wrong direction.

My husband commented last night that he hasn't seen me this focused on a project before.

I am definitely going to be a monogamous knitter on this one until she is finished  (and if you believe that I think I have a bridge to sell you....).

On the painting front I have completed another still life - painting, my almost blooming cactus.

I also got a book out of the library and it has painting exercises  that I am working on as well but they are meant only for me - so no reveals here.

However, I can show you the set of 18 watercolour paints I scored for only $7.99 at Winners!

The concert I went to last Sunday was amazing. My friend and I rocked it from 3:30 until 10pm and I bought this t-shirt which perfectly sums up my attitude these days.

I also was made an honourary slug by one of my brother's bandmates -

Can you see my name written on the slug!  How cool is that!

I am also working hard on learning Croatian.  I have about 3 1/2 months until I go there to meet my grandchild so I am practising with simple books from the library.

So it has been a busy week - adding in a few walks, a couple of Aquafit classes, a swim and some meet-ups with friends.

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And now it is time to go snack on an apple from our tree.  I love this time of year.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Yopping Update #7 - All about a baby

Good Morning dear Readers!

This week has been all about the baby knitting.

I finished all the pieces for the sleeper - and after I purchase a 12 inch zipper it will be ready to put together.

I finally knit the matching pair of baby booties.  If you recall I had knit the first pair on two different size needles - so I had to make another pair just the same.

Last week I forgot to post my finished Miette:  Here she is:

Last night while watching the latest Outlander season on netflix I did two more repeats on Bonnie's Wish.   I actually did three repeats, but one of them was done twice because I found a mistake in a cable and had to rip back - Damn that Jamie and his bare bum!!

I did another painting this week - my first time starting with a wash of blue to begin:

It was a good week on the health front - no more stomach pains, lots of swimming and walking and I got ALL my errands done on my to-do list - including a new smart phone.

I spent all Friday night downloading photos off my old phone and learning my new phone.  Phew - old dog, new tricks and all.

Today I am off to a concert with a friend - to see a number of 80s bands at an outdoor festival.  The skies are still pretty smokey, but I think that will be better than sitting in the hot sun and heat all day.

To see what my other yopping friends are up to check out their progress here.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Yopping Update #6 - Just when you think it is safe to come out of the woods.....

Good Mornings fellow Yoppers and dear Readers. 

On the knitting front this past week I finished the cross-over sweater:

and I LOVE it.

I cast on a zippered sleeper that has knit-in booties and mitts - perfect for keeping a baby warm in winter. :

I just started the first leg last night.

No spinning this week - but I did another painting:

So it was a good week - I got a one month rec pass and swam Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  On Friday I went for a walk - but it was so hot and I spent the rest of the day drinking water. 

My dh had cataract surgery Thursday morning so I was in caretaker mode (as much as he would let me) Thursday and Friday.

Saturday started off very well - I was at my twelve step group meeting and then just before the break I started to get a stomach ache. 

Within five minutes I knew I had to leave at the break and thankfully it was a short drive home. 
The pain was unbearable for the next three hours and I finally relented and went to Emergency. 
Long story short - once admitted, and within about thirty minutes, the pain was gone.

Wait.  What?

They ran some blood tests (some?  like six vials worth), I had to pee in a cup and they did an ultrasound and ECG but everything came back normal.  So I was discharged within two hours. 

So that was the end of my week that had been going so - swimmingly!

It started to pour rain last night, and my plants and I are very happy.  It is soooo much cooler today and everything outside smells so fresh. 

I will take it very easy today - lots of knitting, and checking out blogs, and, of course, Netflix!

To check out other yoppers you can go here.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Yopping Update #5 - Being Brave

Hello to all from Beautiful British Columbia!  Today is BC Day here in my home Province and I intend to sit on the porch in the sun and enjoy a doing nothing kind of day.  (Well, except for going to the pool for either a long swim, or an aquafit class if it is on this afternoon.)

On the knitting front I did get my sweater blocked, and the buttons will be sewn on sometime this week.  I promise.

I unpicked the cast off on the cuffs so that if they weren't long enough after blocking I could add a bit more length.  I think they are actually long enough, but I might add a couple more rows because I have the wool left over and I really want long sleeves to cover past my wrists.

I finished the baby pants (just needed sewing up and a crocheted drawstring for the waistband.

How cute are they?  So I immediately cast on the matching cross-over sweater. 

We went to a friend's 50th birthday party on Saturday and the normal three hour drive took four and a half due to traffic tie ups so I got a lot of knitting done on this sweater.  Should be finished in a couple of days. 

I finished the birthday present for my friend. I so love making these double-knit hemp pot-holders.This one is the symbol for the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Rat.

I finished my 4 ply - and it needs a wash but I am super please with it. 100 gms of sport weight - now what to knit with it?

Now, on the being brave front I have promised myself between now and the end of the year I am going to do 100 brave things. 

Here is my first brave thing - a side shave - something I have wanted to do for quite some time.

And then I attempted a second watercolour on my own.  I bought some brushes (cheap dollar store so it kept losing bristles) and here she is:

I copied the image of the poster from the class I took.  I have bought another set of brushes so next week I will show you my next piece( hopefully without the frustration of little hairs that need to be removed!)

I did get some more repeats done on my Bonnie's Wish shawl.  I am enjoying this pattern so far:

My Hoya is out in full bloom (which always reminds me of my mom because she had one always blooming in the dining room window).

AND my cactus looks like she is about to bloom!

On a final not I purchased a desk organizer on facebook marketplace for only ten bucks and I am sooooo excited to be organized and have a place to paint because I finally cleared off my desk.  

NB:  there is the poster image I copied on my latest water colour attempt.

Ok, so that is it for my week. I got a long swim in on Monday and a long walk on Friday and a sleepover in our camper on Saturday. 

All in all it has been a good week. 

To see what kind of week the other yoppers are having go here.