Sunday, September 30, 2018

Yopping Update #13 - Retail Therapy

It has been a whole week of Bonnie's Wish.  The border is a wide one and I realized after finishing the first of four balls of yarn I have left that I wasn't going to make it.  Ack! 

So thank goodness for my uber math skills.  I figured out that for every 40 rows I need to pick up 25 stitches and not 20.  So every fourth stitch I pick up two stitches instead of one.  I have finished the second ball and it looks fine - no one will ever know my fudge.

(Well, you readers will because I have just confessed all here!)

Knit City was yesterday and I went with the intention of just looking - hahahahahaha

I started out slow - just buying a few buttons.  And of course I had to buy hemp, like I do every year, because I always make a few doubleknit zodiac potholders/kitchen cloths. 

Then I saw the wooden sock blockers.  I have three pairs of sock blockers that my Grandfather made for my Grandmother - but they are for giant men's feet!  I have always wanted a pair for my socks so I bought them.  I love the etching on the back.

I can so picture myself knitting on that bench with the fall leaves tumbling around me.

The same booth (Burning Impressions) had this handy dandy sock measurer thingey for when you are making socks for someone who isn't close by to try on the said socks as they are in progress.  So ya, I treated myself to that because the one I have been using is one I made out of cardboard.

Look at the cute etching on the other side.

On the way out of KnitCity my friend wanted to stop at one last booth.  Ancient Arts is my favourite yarn company.  As I was waiting for her I spotted a sale basket 30-50% off. 

I dug through and found the last skein that was 50% off.  How could I say no?  150 grams, 525 meters - enough for a shawl of some sort I think.  Or a couple of pairs of socks.  I think it was on sale because it was a mistake colourway - it was suppose to be just red and white - but then that one end was dipped in blue.  I am calling it Oh Canada (red and white like our flag) and blue for the sea to sea to sea of my dear country. 

Or it could be a shout out to my American friends. 

Either way I am very happy. 

On the life front I have had a low week.  One of my children is struggling right now and I am trying to hold them in the light from afar.  Being a parent of grown up children is not for the faint of heart I always say. 

 I went to my 12 step meeting yesterday and it stirred up some emotions.  Today I had a good talk with my dh, and many tears flowed.   I still feel low, but I think there is some momentum for things to shift.  Plus I get to hang out with my honourary grand-daughters tomorrow and that always makes me feel great.

It is rainy today - really rainy - but I will go to the pool, or maybe the gym, and work off some of my anxiety.  It always helps - at least in the moment. 

Tomorrow I head to work - about 120 km from home - and I will listen to the audio book, Fellowship of the Ring, that I have in the car.  I take heart in the journey of those hobbits.  We are all on a perilous journey it seems.  We all have something to let go of, that doesn't want to be abandoned.  When I work there I spend the night at a lovely old ski lodge that overlooks a lake.  It is very peaceful there.

But for today, after the packing and the gym ,I will get back to Bonnie's Wish.  I am half way there - only 308 rows of 46 stitches to go (she says optimistically).

Oh, and then there are the socks for my dh's hobbity feet.  Yesterday I met the designer of this sock pattern - Kate Atherley.  I was wearing socks I had knit for myself of this same design.  She is lovely.  She said there is a special place for knitters who knit socks for the men in their life.  I hope she is right!

Blessings to all of you on whatever journey you are on.

May you find some peace.

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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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