So, I have been missing for a week or so. There has been stuff in the personal life that has just been crappy and I don’t really have anything positive to talk about. Except for the following bits of goodness:
I watched Thor: The Dark World. Not the greatest movie, I’ll admit, but Tom Hiddleston… I am Loki-fied.
I got a red Poang chair and foot stool at Ikea and it is amazingly comfortable.
I have been sleeping really well lately. That is a huge thing. Huge.
I had an Oreo or 2. Maybe even 3. I love Oreos.
I found my framed Mark Rothko print so I can hang it on the wall by my red chair. Woot!
I have an issue. Maybe several. I forget to do things. Not just the little things like picking up my shoes, but big stuff. Things that are on my list right now include paying the trash bill which is probably overdue and leaves me hoping that the trash and recycling get picked up today, registering and getting a license plate for a new car we bought in May whose temporary plate has expired, and confirming my son’s registration for Driver’s Ed for this Saturday. I don’t know why I do this. These are things that should be easy to get done and I just don’t do them. The husband gets so angry at me. I understand why. But it just doesn’t help. I don’t do the things I should. I even make lists of things to do and don’t do those I don’t want to.
I do it with little things too. Food burns while I am spinning or knitting because I have completely forgotten about it. Laundry goes sour in the washer because I feel like I am done with laundry. Then next time I feel like doing laundry, I have to start by rewashing the load in the washer. I start a bunch of things I never finish. My kids don’t think I am reliable all of the time. This is the part of my personal irresponsibility that hurts the most. They don’t see me as a mother who keeps her promises.
A lot of this has to do with Fibromyalgia. I hate to make excuses, but when it comes to my kids and my husband, I forget what we talked about yesterday. I have horrible pain one day that prevents me from going to the store. All I can do some nights after I get home from work is crawl into my bed and sleep until the next day. Right now, I am in one of these phases. Work is taking all of my energy to get through. My pain levels are very high and I am unable to concentrate. I don’t know what to do or where to go. I know I have an appointment with my rheumatologist coming up. The thing is, that before I started this job, I was sleeping well, had good energy, and my pain levels were very low. Do we blame the weather pattern we are stuck in, me drinking a couple of beers over the weekend, the job? All of it? It’s hell, you know. And I can’t fix it.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Worldly Encounters.” The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. What do you pick?
This is a very funny daily prompt for a blog. I know that there are people who will take it seriously and recommend the Bible, the Koran, some important work of literature. I almost chose Jane Eyre because it is my favorite book ever. The Stand would be a good one too. Love me some Steven King. But instead the book I would give the alien outside my door would be my well-worn and well loved copy of The Joy of Cooking. Everything is in that book. Humor, wit, and how to kill, clean, grow, harvest and cook or preserve your own food. There are bits in the recipes about how they were created, where they came from, their history. Not necessarily a book you read, but interesting if you just happen to pick it up. And a valuable tool for survival.
At the same time, I would invite said friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial into my house and pull up Netflix and queue up the episode of the Twilight Zone called ‘To Serve Man’. 25 minutes or so, surely he has that much time? Friendly aliens are not to be trusted. How many times have we learned that on TV, in books, in the movies? If aliens come to Earth, they are either coming with guns blazing, stealing people one at a time for horrifying scientific experiments, or … Like in To Serve Man under the guise of ‘helping’ Earth be more healthy, less war-like, more productive at food production. What is the goal of this friendly alien? Have I just handed him a cookbook that will help him serve me up on a platter? If you haven’t seen this episode of the Twilight Zone, stop everything and go watch it now. Really. It is necessary. One of the best single episodes of television ever.
After today, there are only 8 school days left in the school year. What that means is A2, who is in 5th grade, is done learning anything. They will be having field trips and doing fun stuff for the rest of the year. They are no longer allowed to check books out of the library. The Boy and A1 are in high school and are gearing up for finals. I am not too worried about A1 – she is doing well. Except for Civics. I can see the possibility of her failing the class completely and having to retake it.
The Boy? Well, he is a junior. We have been doing the college tour, take the ACT, discuss funding thing since the first of the year. He did well on the ACT so he’s got that going for him. But his grades/ grade point average? These reflect his laziness. He just doesn’t do his homework. Or he is insolent because the teacher insults something in his 17 year old sensibilities. At the end of the first semester, his GPA was sitting at 3.0. That is an okay GPA, but if you want any kind of scholarship money from the state run schools, it has to be higher than that. He really needs to get straight A’s from here on out. My expectations are low. I don’t expect him to get any scholarships.
Summer is coming soon and luckily we have farmed all of the kids out to have some kind of job. The Boy works at the Subway and has talked to his manager about upping his hours. I’d love to see him working almost full time. A1 is going to work for her cousin babysitting to save the cousin some money on daycare. She will work two or three days a week when the cousin has her daughter. And A2 is going to go to Iowa to stay with family where she will help babysit and stuff for about 2 weeks. I’m a pretty proud parent that all of the kids will be doing something to earn money for themselves. And get them out of the house for a while.
I have dreams like some horror movie. My fiber stash holds an uprising. Feeling neglected, it comes at me for revenge. I bet it could smother me with little effort. I don’t even want to count the yards of yarn, the pounds of fiber, the number of projects I am in the middle of. I don’t have any idea how many knitting needles or crochet hooks I have. And I certainly don’t want to have any idea of the amount of money I have spent accruing all of these piles of stuff and methods of storing them.
There are some yarns I am hoarding until something perfect comes up. I have this beautiful purple/gray yarn that is destined to be a top. I have some unbelievably beautiful sparkly yarn that is so dark green and purple that it looks black. That one needs to find just the right project. Then there are the 5 skeins of softness that would become a sweater, but they are in two different colors and I don’t really want a striped sweater in these colors. And so these are hoarded.
And sock yarn? Holy cow do I have sock yarn! I have two skeins specially dyed for me in deep dark red and black, a lovely lavender, a red white and blue combo that will be super cool when made into socks, a lovely spring green, and many self striping combos. But I don’t really want to make socks.
Then, there is the fiber stash. 4 pounds of raw alpaca, 6 pounds I came home from yarn school with, the multiple pounds from previous yarn schools, some silk that is too beautiful to risk screwing it up, bamboo with spins amazingly.
I work, I come home, I make dinner, and then I have to decide – what gets my attention until I am ready to fall down for the night. Do I crochet one of the 3 blankets I am working on? Do I knit this amazing shawl? Do I spin what is currently on the wheel? Sometimes, I just start something new. Like mittens or socks or washcloths. Something I could finish quickly but I don’t because by the next night I have forgotten about that.
Or I could draw. Or paint. Or sew. Or quilt. There is too much. Too much. But don’t ask me to give any of it up. It’s just not going to happen. I swear, one day, I will be done with all the things. Until then, let me keep worrying that it will attack me in my sleep.
Today, in a few short hours, I will be leaving home for the weekend. I am going alone – no husband, no kids. I made it through the birthdays of the week and the band concert without pulling out any hair. But now, I am getting ready to pack up the car and head on down the road.
Here is my conundrum: Strict diet vs. delicious Yarn School food. My strict diet is now 100% gluten free because I have found that it really does affect my Fibromyalgia and how I feel. I eat specific foods at specific times. The feeding schedule at YS is not really what anyone would call normal. Coffee is turned on by whomever is up first – usually around 6 am and is gone by 8:30. And there is no more. There is no formal breakfast – waffle batter and a waffle iron, yogurt in the fridge, bread for toast, maybe some whole fruit. Then lunch. Lunch may happen around 3. And it is usually a carb and fat laden choice of food – homemade mac-n-cheese, BLT sandwiches, etc. Delicious? Yes, but not timely or within the parameters of what I eat. And dinner? Fuggetaboutit! 9 or 10 pm if you’re lucky. BUT — the conversation and camaraderie is part of the experience.
So – am I strong enough to sit with the group of campers and watch them eat? Do I take a small plate and find food that isn’t TOO bad for me? Do I skip meals altogether and eat my own food at my own timing? Every party I have ever had at my house has been centered around the food. In fact, we almost never even leave the kitchen. In my poor little brain it seems that food and fun have been linked to one another. Part of my dieting is to sever that link and let food be food and fun be fun and ensure that I don’t have to have food in order to have a party be a party. I think this is the most difficult transition I am making in this diet. For Easter, we went to brunch and I ate too much. Next weekend, we will be heading to a family baptism and a friend’s graduation. Guaranteed eating events. It is so difficult. Even if I make ‘good eating choices’, I will probably be eating more than I normally would. And there will be desserts. I can’t be alone in this struggle. Obviously America has an obesity problem that I am trying to stop being a part of. My plan is to stay the course, eat on my schedule, and avoid the food that I should not eat. Thank goodness yogurt is on my list of things to eat, because this is the best homemade yogurt ever.
Anyone have any thoughts or advice on this? Have you been there? Let me know. I want to know there are others on the same life raft as me.
The Boy, that is. Now, I am not sure how it happened that I have a child who will be 17 within a week, but that is not my story. My tale today is about being 16, going on 17. Do you remember 17? The Boy is going through what seems to be normal teenage angst, but it is causing me middle-aged mother angst. He isn’t drinking or doing drugs or skipping school – for that I am so grateful. He doesn’t yet have a driver’s license and can’t go anywhere without the Husband or I taking him or one of his friends picking him up. He doesn’t have a girlfriend. He took the ACT and did well enough to get into college. He is passing all of his classes (some of them just by a hair, though).
What’s the problem with this angel, you ask? Attitude. 100% Attitude. A couple of weeks ago he got in trouble for missing his curfew. The consequence was that he could not go to his favorite activity – Friday Night Magic. The level to which he got upset about this was, in our minds as parents, completely out of proportion. And it was during this conversation about consequences that he let us know that he does not believe in God and should not be forced to attend church with our family any longer.
I have spent a lot of time since that conversation thinking about when I was that age. He is very much like me when I was that age. All of the first paragraph describing him could have been used to describe me at that age. The major difference is that I had parents who were mostly not present during my teenage years. My dad worked and then ignored us and then went to bed early. My mom was an alcoholic. I had to put her to bed when I came home on weekend nights. I could tell her anything I wanted about what time I came home. I never got in any curfew trouble. And I certainly never had the balls to tell them I was suffering mentally, trying to work out God, evolution, where we come from, why are we here. But I had all of the same thoughts about going to church as the Boy. But I went to church with the family. As soon as I moved out, that was over.
I want to tell him that it gets easier. That high school sucks, college is better, and after college when you really get to be an adult – that’s when life really gets going. But I know he won’t believe me or he won’t listen to me. I know that the Husband and I are the biggest idiots on the face of the earth and our sole purpose is to torture him. So, I am trying to tell him I love him, that he is a good kid, that I am so happy to have him in my life. So that one day, when he is out on his own, he will remember that. And then he will believe it.
About 2 months ago, I wrote a post about Art and what kind of arts and crafts I participate in. I am pretty sure this is a theme I will revisit over time. So here is Part 2. Musing on Art and Creativity and the like.
I started my journey with Zentangle at my previous contract job. I get very restless in meetings – especially pointless meetings where I have about 30 seconds of participation and 29.5 minutes of listening to stuff that doesn’t pertain to me and I don’t give a crap about. I started carrying a small spiral bound notebook to these meetings and doodling away. People always comment on how talented I must be and blah, blah, blah… Really they are just scribbles to keep me awake. And keep me from stabbing someone else or myself in the eyeball with my pen. Side note: Really happy that I am no longer at that contract job!
I started trolling the interwebz for doodling methodology (don’t laugh, I know it’s a little bit compulsive!) and found Zentangle. From there, I found tanglepatterns.com which is, by far, one of the best uses of a blog format I have ever seen. I have been using this site for inspiration for almost a year now and I am on the site at least once a day. I researched Zentangle – the structure around ‘strings’ and the minimalistic use of non-representational design and black ink on white tiles or white paper. I bought a small (5×7) sketchbook and started with String 001 and have been slowly moving through them. I am now up to String 045 or something around there. I post a Tangle on my blog with almost every post and maybe someday I will catch up to current. I mostly keep this sketchbook at work and work on it during lunch and breaks in my day. Tangling returns my mind back to center and gives me back my sense of control when I feel like I am losing it. While it would seem that it is a waste of work time, it is actually the opposite. I am able to let my subconscious mind work out a problem or come up with new ideas. That is how my brain works. Tangling is actually very productive work time – I solve many problems while I have pen to paper.
At home, I have other pens, sketchbooks, paper. I work on canvas sometimes with permanent markers and go outside of the prescribed Zentangle strictures. I am now to a point where I am going to start doing some drawing in color and that excites and scares me some. Funnily – I think ‘What if I screw it up?’ I think that is what non-artist think about trying art in general. They are afraid to make a mistake or to make an ugly picture. Part of being an artist is realizing that some of your work will be more successful than others. By more successful, I mean that what I wanted the outcome to be is closer to what the outcome is. To make art is a process, a progression, an opportunity to learn. And that is why I Art. It makes me who I am.