Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer's Hurrah

I know everybody says it, but I really cannot believe that summer vacay is coming to an end.  HubBub actually took the weekend off, as things were pretty slow there.  So, he had Sat thru Mon off!  I know!!! Never happens!  The sad thing is, that on such short notice, we couldn't get our dogsitter set up.  So, we took a couple of short daytrips on Saturday and Sunday. 

On Saturday, we took a trip through Cable, Wisconsin and down to Hayward.  I had been wanting to visit the Pine Needles yarn shop in Cable all summer.  I have been very good about NOT increasing the size of LeStash, but I did score a couple of skeins.
On the trip to Cable, I finished yet another set of Fetching Gauntlets.  I've lost count, but I think I've made 4 or 5 sets of these this summer. 

I love this yarn!  It is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. Knit Picks has a new cashmere and merino blend out that I might have to try.  When I finished the gauntlets, I went back to work on the green sleeves for the HubBub sweater. 

I feel that I've been working on this sweater forever!  I guess it has been about a year, off and on.  I'm making it on size 4 needles and he's a big guy, so it is a big project. 

While we were in Hayward, we stopped by the candy store.  It was packed in there!  We got a small bag of assorted hard candy, and some fudge!


I got a half pound of maple nut fudge, my absolute favorite!  I've been carefully rationing out a small bite in the evenings. I can make a half pound of fudge last a LONG time that way!  We drove over through Danbury on the way home and came up Hwy. 61 from Hinckley. I love the drive north from Hinckley via 61.  When I was a kid, we came up that way every Sunday to see my grandparents.  The trip always feels like "we're going to Grandma's" to me.

Yesterday, we went to the County Fair.  It was hot, but enjoyable.  HubBub had never been to that fair, and he was surprised at how much there was to see.  We watched some horse racing, took in all the historical buildings, and listened to some former students play music on the stage.  I was coerced into joining the Historical Society, but it's okay because I'm into the family history and stuff. I love the animals, and I took pictures at the Petting Zoo of the babies.

There were two very tame alpaca.  Gotta say I love their fleece!

Twin fillies, this one had one blue eye.

Arguably the smartest animal in the pens. Donkey.

Zebra reaching for a carrot.

Wallaby.

Camel.  It was a one-humper.
In the end, Jack was very happy we were home each evening and that he didn't have to be left with the sitter.
All in all, it was a really nice weekend, even though we didn't get to go on a longer trip.  I wish we could have more weekends like this!

I was reading some advice for good blogging, and it said to keep to the theme of your blog.  It said that your readers should know what to expect when they visit your site.  I think about the other blogs I frequent (see blogroll on right) and in fact, those bloggers pretty much hold true to whatever their theme is.  That's got me thinking.  My blog was originally supposed to be about knitting, but like my mind, it seems to wander.  In my attempt to be fairly frequent in my blogging, I see that I resort to writing about daily life more than knitting.  In fact, it seems I write about my daily life with some knitting sprinkled in, which is pretty much how my life is.  I'm wondering now if my blog is too scattered, or if it is okay to write about life with fiber sprinkles?? 

Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Grandma's Driving

I  gave my mother a pretty good laugh today.  She recently made a visit to the eye doctor and they gave her a peripheral vision test.  She has a genetic condition that is reducing her vision as she ages.  This condition can be repaired with a bit of cosmetic surgery on her eyelids.  She's balking at the idea of cosmetic surgery.  I am encouraging her to have the surgery, because impaired vision is a safety hazard when she is driving. 

I reminded Mom of a time when I was out driving with Grandma.  I'm thinking I was in the ten-year-old range at the time.  That would have put us in the late 1960's. Grandma had several surgeries for breast cancer, and combined with radiation of long ago; she had quite a bit of scar tissue on her chest, neck and sides of her torso.  We were making a quick trip to the Holiday station, as I remember it.  I don't know if it was a Holiday at the time; but that's what it is now.  Grandma was driving a boat of a Chrysler 300.  The vintage may have been a '64. It was white with red interior and push button transmission.  She pulled into the lot and snubbed the bow of the boat up to the side of the building.  She left me inside listening to the radio while she ran into the store.  It was busy, and lots of people were coming and going.  I was enjoying the music and not really paying much attention to what was happening around the station.  Gram wasn't in there very long, I think she just got a gallon of milk.  She hopped into the driver's seat and threw the boat into reverse.  She was gabbing away at me as the boat moved backwards.  I noticed a slight uphill grade to the parking lot that I hadn't noticed when we came in.  At the same time, I saw a guy in the store start waving his arms and generally blowing a gasket.  I glanced behind us and thought I saw a roof of a car, kinda close.  I hadn't just fallen off the turnip truck, and putting two and two together I said, "Uh, Gram?  I'm pretty sure you just backed over a car."  She said, "What?! No I didn't! Who'd park a car behind me??" She threw the boat into drive and pulled slowly forward.  As the boat came down off the crest of the sheet metal wave, there was the definite tinkling of lots of broken glass hitting the asphalt.  About the same time, the raving, red-faced guy came boiling out of the store.  He started with something like, "Are you crazy lady? You just ran over my car!"

Now, Gram could be a formidable force, and looked a good fight directly in the eye.  She was a firm believer in a strong offense, and went after him. "Why in the world would you park right behind my car?  Didn't you know I couldn't see it?  I'm an old lady, and I can't turn around like I used to!  Don't you go calling me names, Buster! It's totally your fault for parking behind me, and your toy car better not have scratched my car!....

That poor guy just couldn't believe it!  He started backing away, shaking his head,  and couldn't get a word in edgewise.  She said call my insurance man and gave him the agents name.  She got back into the boat and we headed for home.  The whole time she was grumbling, "Can you believe the nerve of that guy?  Parking right behind me and then saying it was MY fault?  What the devil kind of toy car was that he was driving anyway?  It wasn't even substantial enough to hold up to a little fender bender. I couldn't even tell I'd nudged the damn thing..."

Gram's been gone for 23 years now.  She gave the cancer the stink-eye for almost 30 years and never lost her fighting spirit.  Love you, Gram, and you gave us a good laugh today!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lifedream Procrastination

The past week and a half have been spent mostly working on school stuff.  The room is coming along.  I have one more bulletin board to go, and my number line to put up.  My classlist has changed.  Two children were moved out of my room and four were added.  The current count stands at 25, and it may stay that way until school starts.  This is good news, as I have started to put names on things and get their desks set up.  Progress!  The earliest that I may hear on the resume I have outstanding is Monday, Aug. 16.  It is difficult to be working on setting up the classroom, spending the money required to get things ready; and know that I may not be spending the year there.

Those of you who know me in person, know that this hasn't been the easiest summer for me.  Emotionally, there have been several family matters that have been taxing for me.  I was raised to be a nurturer, and nurture I must.  Even when I am not physically with my family members, I feel the worry and want to take care of things for them.  I do not feel rested, in fact, I feel less rested than I did in June when school ended.

Yesterday it was a scorcher (again) and I spent some quality time with the new Where Women Create and Studios magazines.  I LOVE these magazines, and spending time in a cushy, air-conditioned chair at Barnes and Nobel reading them is heaven on earth for me. I find them totally and completely inspiring. After enjoying them, I started some negative self-talk on the way home.  Why is it that these women can find the time to do that which I so desire?  The simple answer is that they devote time to developing their passions.  I ask myself why I have such trouble giving myself permission to play as they do.  I look back at my New Year's goals and my beginning of summer journal entries for perhaps the past eight years and I see the same thing.  I write about spending time creating, giving time to myself, dedicating time to refilling the well so that I have more to give.  Yet, here I am, at the end of another summer.  Exhausted again.  Still.

I think that there may be two important reasons why I seem unable to begin the life I crave.  The biggest reason is fear.  Whenever I sit with a blank piece of watercolor paper, or even a clean page in a sketchbook, I hear a voice in my head that says, "Your brother is the artist."  I feel simply terrified to put a mark on the page.  It is fear that the comments are right.  That I will put marks that will verify my fear.  That I will put marks on the page that will tell me that my dream of being an artist is unattainable.  I have sketchbooks that I purchased when I was a teenager that only have one or two sketches in them.  I look at them now and I see an ability to draw, but they were put aside because they met with lukewarm praise from those most influential in my life.  Perhaps they were afraid I might follow my passions toward an "unmarketable" or "frivolous" career choice?  Perhaps my brother was better than I, but my ability was never really recognized. In fact, I feel it was discouraged.

The second reason is my understanding of responsibility.  I was taught that it is my responsibility to take care of family, home, and everybody but myself.  I was taught that self-care is selfish and a waste of time.  If that is your core belief, how does one justify time spent doing something just for enjoyment?  You don't.  You can't justify it.  Not if those are your core beliefs. 

So, I understand that this is what is at the heart of my procrastination and frustration.  Where does one go from here?  I am 51 years old.  Isn't it time for me to start living the life I want to live?  Unfortunately, those around me are accustomed to me giving to them and caring for them; and they are not very happy when I express a desire to do for myself.  This has recently caused much difficulty in my home life.  I'm not sure where this will end or lead, but I do feel I am finally at a point in my life where the well is empty.  I feel that I cannot give more to those unhappy with me until I refill the well by living the life that meets my needs.

I also believe that it is this unfulfilled need that I try to fill with food.  I don't wonder, I know, that I would physically be a very different person if I made the life change I crave.  I know that my appearance is a direct result of putting myself aside, basically since I was a very young child.

I know from past experience that my resolve toward change can be manipulated by guilt and threats.  Unhappy people sometimes will do anything they can to keep change from occurring.  I really need support from others to help me stay strong in my quest.  Since those discouraging this change are closest to me, I cannot look to them for support.  I understand this now, and realize that the lack of support (and outright saboutage) has been a critical piece in changing my life.  Where does one look to find the support I need?

Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Steamy Tuesday

Today, it is my mother's 74th birthday.  It is also my parents' 53rd wedding anniversary.  My mom got married on her 21st birthday because she wanted a sunny day for her wedding.  All her life, it has only rained a handful of times on the day of her birth.  The day of their wedding was brilliantly sunny.  In the outdoor photos, everyone is painfully squinting.  She got her wish and had a beautiful wedding day.  Happy Birthday, Mom!  Happy Anniversary, too! You had yet another sunny day!

I believe today was the hottest day of the summer, and the first 90 degree day we've had in something like 2 years.  What was I doing on this steamy day?  Climbing on and off a ladder and countertops at school, putting up bulletin boards. Youza, she was a scorcher, especially at ceiling level.  I had my little fan a-chugging, but it only made it feel like somebody had a blow dryer aimed at my face.  I did get two more bulletin boards up and my alphabet is at least on the wall.  It needs tweaking, as it is still wrinkly and a bit crooked, but it is actually on the wall. 

I could have taken pictures of the bulletin boards, but my brain was fried and I forgot.  It feels good to be making progress, albeit it slow progress, in the classroom. 

Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Relaxing Sunday

Yesterday, I spent some time at school putting up a couple of bulletin boards.  The room has been gutted since mid-July, and now that the company is gone, I can start to put things back together.  Here's the start of the biggest bulletin board in my room.
That is green cotton fabric on the board.  I prefer to use fabric, as it holds up better than paper.  The blue next to the ladder will go up for the next part of the board. Here's how the green section turned out.
On I went to the next section of the big board.  By this time, I was hot and sweaty and put my fan on "high."  I had to finish cutting out all of the little animals for the next section of the board.  I'm not sure why I love farm scenes so much, but I do.  It must be the farming in my genes, put there by my great grandparents.  Here's the farm board.  I'm going to put the words "Welcome to Our Class" on the yellow sign.
After I finished this board, I went to my folks' house for a little visit.  Here's how the two look next to each other.
Today, was a relaxing day spent at home.  I did a little walking around outside and snapped some pics of the flowers in the yard. In spite of my notorious black thumb,  love having flowers around me and really miss them all winter.  This year, I went with mostly petunias.  I also have roses (which are past their prime now) and daylilies.  So, enjoy a few shots of my summer flowers.
Alyssum
Red Wave Petunia and Lobelia
Katie's Planter
Pink Daylily
Pink and White Petunias
Bright Yellow Daylily
Watering can planter
Purple veined Double Petunia

Be grateful and see the beauty in each day!