Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

Perhaps it’s going to be Spring soon. Not outside my window, but in my own heart. It’s definitely been Winter inside my head the past few months. Blizzard conditions. Caught up in a vortex that is flashes of sky as you are engulfed in a white world of snow.

When you’re in it, you don’t see that safety is Right There, or indeed, that you are standing on your front porch.
I stopped doing the things that brought joy. Most of which are free. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t depressed; in fact I intentionally spent time with my funniest coworkers because laughter is essential for survival.

But anything that required effort? Just the thought became overwhelming – or arbitrarily pointless. It wasn’t so much that I stopped giving a damn; rather that my give-a-damn stopped getting out of bed. Books sat unread, podcasts went unlistened to so long that they stopped updating, yarn porn didn’t thrill. Workouts were something I did because I had to maintain levels and a box of cookies sat on the counter so long they grew mold.

Even people fell to the wayside. Many said “if I can help, let me know.” And, ironically, the one person with whom I have no dialogue was the one person who specifically said “if you want to talk, I’ll listen.” But my own inability to reach out…to say the first word…left me more desperately isolated than ever.

Like most Springs, it started with a song –not of the Tufted Titmouse, rather of the sexy hip swiveling variety-I heard it in the background of a show and was compelled to buy it. Then a UFO began to look enticing again. How could I have forgotten the squish of a handspun Polwarth?

Next a skein of BabyBoom begged to be taken off the wall and cast on, whispering a siren song at me until I did.

So while the situation isn’t any closer to being resolved, and indeed, looks more dire than ever, I am cautiously optimistic that it’s Spring and everything will be okay.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Grateful and Tearful

For the patterning people out there, if you think this looks like Wisp, you would be correct. If you think I knit it that quickly you would be WRONG. I did cast on another one for me, but I really hate the pattern and it's been a slow slog. So it will now be ripped out and turned into something else.

This tasty little morsel came in the mail today from a sweet friend (sister from another mother). Softly scented of SOAK and gently warm.
She read the tale of the Wisp that went Will O' the. And thought that one good turn deserved another. So she ordered the crack yarn in a rich Mahogany color and must have sat at her needles like Sylvia Plath at her typewriter, banging away until done.

Even the postal service conspired to make it a perfect gift. She paid hard earned money to ship it quickly, they dawdled, which meant it arrived on the penultimate day.

I usually race around with a Kiss my Tiara type of attitude but life has been worrisome lately. Not just for my friends, but on a personal level, there's so much to think about. So much to plan, to maneuver, to weigh and balance. So despite a lovely weekend, I found myself taut to the breaking point when I drug myself home tonight. That fragile feeling that one more blow, however small would be the one that shattered me. Combine that with a feeling of isolation caused by an inability to be vulnerable to others and you might comprehend my state of mind.

I only checked the post because there had been hints to be on the look out. And there it was, a small box. Filled with love, strength, hope, and time. Everything I needed disguised as goathair tied in knots. I sort of feel bad that she spent all that time on me, when there are others who need it more. But the fact that they need it More, doesn't negate the fact that I do need it. More than I am ever willing or able to admit.

So while I wanted to write a post that had clever words to tell her how wonderful her gift is, I find that there are no words. Nothing that can say it right. There's no way to say it's perfect - except to say just's perfect.

Now, if you'll pardon me, I'm off to have a little cry with my new "blankie."

Friday, February 11, 2011

You're Invited

Last week I posted about wishing the problems of my friends were solved-for selfish reasons.
And I hurt one of the people reading it, who didn’t understand that I wasn’t bemoaning the trust people put in me by telling me their stories. I was just frustrated by the magnitude of the situation
In case anyone else read it and was hurt (but didn’t tell me), please understand, I’m grateful that we have the type of relationship that lets you tell me ALL of your story-not just the good times, but also a shared carrying of burdens.
At the same time I feel as if what I have to offer is so inadequate, and that feeling of inadequacy strikes at the core of me; touches that buried child who never did anything right or well enough, who was powerless, unable to fix anything.
I am by my nature, a DOer, and it’s so frustrating to be unable to DO anything.

When I was little I used to cling to the idea that if I could just make it through Someday It Will All Be Okay. It became that focus that carried me through so much. That sense that if I could just get through Thissomeday….
Throughout the challenges of life, that same concept has kicked in. If I would/could just make it through Today, then Someday….It will all be okay.
And while it may not be the best or most sophisticated coping mechanism, it’s stood me in good stead over the decades. It’s also proven itself true often enough that I continue to return to it as a touchstone. I find myself now soothing myself with it again in my daily life.
Tonight it’s Friday Night at Casa de TravelingKnitter. And I have plans. Not to calm my frayed nerves with a concept of the future; but with a night that is Okay Right NOW. With the lighting of the Shabbat Candles I’m declaring a moratorium on the world. I’ve got a Scotch so smooth it’s almost XXX in its pleasures. There’s an Inspector Morse disc on the TV, Twelfth Night in paperback, or a murder mystery on the Ipod. Enchilada fixins are in the fridge. The needles are filled with a cornucopia of projects to pick from, but I think the cardi from handspun Polwarth will be the tactile catnip of the evening.
What about you? What can you do to carve out a moment without baggage? To celebrate Life with no past, no future. To treat yourself gently? Because it’s a party at my place tonight and all my friends are invited.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Curse the comfort zone.

Or what was I thinking?

Let me start by saying...Wendy Bernard of Custom Knits is a Genius. I on the other hand...well, I've doubled the amount of pink in my wardrobe. Pink- and I don't mean the songtress.

It's the Updated Old Classic. And while I understand my thought process in making it the hues I did (branch out from comfort zone, try something different, saw one on rav that didn't gag me). This project almost didn't live. The pattern was lovely, the knitting easy, I even got the point where I steeked it, and then stalled out for 6 months...stumped by the color. But finally pulled it back out and finished it off. I hereby more pink, 2 pink things is all this wardrobe can handle. On the other hand, I now have a comfortable, casual 50%wool 50% alpaca sweater to toss on in place of a sweatshirt, and my dislike of the color will keep me from "saving it for good." So perhaps it has a busy future. Or perhaps someone will trade me yarn for the sweater & I'll knit a new one.

I did change the neck cord to a yarn one, but I'm too lazy to take a new photo.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Tessellating Rhomboids - in socks and in life

A previous post seems to have led some of you astray, leading you to think that I am generous and unselfish...
You would be sadly mistaken. While it is true that I sent off Wisp, I in turn picked up:
Socks for me! They are Cookie A's ubiquitous Monkeys in Lorna's Laces Amy's Vintage Office. They were a good pattern match for the stress in my life right now.

Just complicated enough to keep my brain from parsing information, not so complicated that I was obsessively hunched over a chart. They weren't gravity wells or even harder...The art of comfort.

I've had it hammered home the last few months that, while I've come a long way socially, there's ever so much more to learn.

So many of my friends are struggling right now. And somehow, I have become the receiver of their stories. But each story hurts me, makes me want to keep my own story quiet so that I don't hurt others. I find myself wallowing in a tub o'worries. I don't want to think, to think of the woman whose life is being erased by the tide of Alzheimer's. Or the short future of the young man with bone cancer and the long future of his wife who will be left behind. Or even of the gentle irony of a woman who carries her chemo pills in a tin stamped "Faith" when she hasn't any faith in the science.

I keep trying to reach through distances with mere words and fail. What good are words? They don't carry the warmth that even the briefest of touches conveys. They can't carry a burden or heat water for tea. Words aren't the sheen of a tear from a heart that hurts, or the whisper of a dimple in a compassionate smile.

At the same time, words are what I have to offer. They connect me to others over vast distances - not just geographical but more deeply than that, each part of the pattern interlocking to form a new design.

So I completed these socks in 5 weeks, because I could use them to unplug. I could take a break from the voices in my head. And in unplugging I found renewal, new words, new strength to go on listening. But I confess - I'd like all my friends problems to be solved - for selfish reasons.