Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, April 27, 2020

Listen and Push Back

Without detailing the current state of our wounded world ...  
a need grew in me to push back.

I have had my fair share of "hits" this spring.  The pandemic started this tsunami of hits beginning with isolation protocols (even from family) and fears of infection for ourselves and our loved ones, followed by the health decline of my cat, Wally, continuing to his death ... and finally topped off with the very serious news that a close family member is being placed on a Transplant list due to kidney failure ... well, the hits just seemed to keep coming this spring.  The last "hit" is not totally unexpected as our family has dealt the kidney disease for a long time - but it is a particularly difficult when you can't put your arms around them.  What I can do is see if I am a compatible donor - my very personal and determined way of pushing back on a personal tsunami.  For now - enough said on that. 

At the very basic level - my first "push back" is with my knitting.  

Unfortunately when I am very upset and distracted, I don't get that positive bump or settling feeling from sitting and knitting (or any other craft) during tough times like so many others.  I usually lose the desire to knit entirely.  I do better getting up and cleaning. (An aside: my condo is now cleaner than it has been in a long time.). I also like to declutter because that down feeling creates a very realistic filter to my 'pitch it out' decisions - do I care enough to keep an item in my current upset state?  It is amazing how much a down attitude crystalizes my "keep it or pitch it" decision making.  

But this week I decided that I would push myself beyond cleaning into knitting.  After all, I have a room full of yarn and it isn't getting smaller just by sitting there.

It started with a cable vest pattern for my grand daughter and even though I am almost half way through it, I kept putting it down after one row.  A little voice in my head said, "Maybe this pattern isn't the right thing for you to knit right now."

I had been thinking to work on a blanket small enough to use in a child's bed so I picked out a selection of Caron Simply Soft acrylic (my go-to acrylic when I knit for kids) and started out with an appealing crochet pattern (you know how fast crochet can be), but I found myself making the blanket wider and wider with each row. Ha!  I don't really understand the crochet stitch well enough to be any good at it and now is not the time to add complexity to anything.  I ripped it out after 4 inches.  I needed to go back to the thing I know best.  Knitting.

Looking through Ravelry at patterns and saw a bunch of beautiful blanket designs, but instead of feeling excited about them - I felt dread!!  Can you believe it?? Unbelievable. No sense starting a project with such negative emotions just by looking at the pictures.  My emotions are so mixed up right now.

Then I stumbled across Purl Soho's Super Easy Lap Blanket.  Basically, cast on a bunch of stitches, knit every row, slip the first stitch for an even edge, and if you are changing colors just knit until you finish the first skein of color and change colors.  FINALLY I found something I can do.  And no dread!

What is hysterical, there are actual instructions on the PurlSoho website for this pattern.  haha!  The instructions take up 1/2 page.  Mine took up 4 lines.  I decided to double the yarn and use 10.5 knitting needles to add speed and body to the project. I am happy with it.  I love Caron Simply Soft as an affordable acrylic and it is working up beautifully.  Something that would usually bore me to tears is now giving me peace.  And it will make a substantial dent in my yarn stash.  Win-win.

While working on it I thought about Elizabeth Zimmerman and her love of garter stitch patterns.  I have several of her books.  I need to take a second look at those projects.  I remember they were simple in design but classic in style.  In fact, I remember reading one of her books written in her own words and discovered how much fun it was to read her thoughts.  She didn't stress over anything and all things knitting were do-able. Maybe I should open one of those and read a bit.

And then I remembered the Sally Melville books:  The Knit Stitch (Book #1), The Purl Stitch (Book #2), and Color, (Book #3.). I have all 3 books - they survived the declutter purge from moving.  

I pulled them out and decided that maybe I would make an Einstein Jacket - an older pattern found in The Knit Stitch  book - I remembered a yarn in my stash that just might work for that pattern.  I got up and searched to the yarn of my memory.  Yep!  I still had it.  

Top right skeins are sock weight and will make a nice matching scarf.
The yarn band said it was bulky weight yarn best used with a #10 knitting needle!  Eureka!!  Exactly what the pattern said was needed.   And in a stunning twist of serendipity - the rust color used in the book is exactly the color of the yarn I have for this project. 

It was like starting a small fire by rubbing 2 sticks together, getting a tiny spark, adding some kindling, blowing on it to build a small fire and finally creating something that could keep you warm! 

Nothing has changed, of course.  I am still self isolating with little family contact and will continue probably another 4 weeks, Wally is still gone forever and we are cat-less for the first time in 50 years of marriage, and my family member still needs a kidney for a quality life - a life I dearly want to preserve.  But I have found a small bit of peace in a world that seems to be spinning out of control all around me.

And maybe (a small voice in my head keeps repeating) just the act of pushing back - doing something that seems right is what you need to do now.  Maybe listening to that small voice in myself was the goal to begin with.

While not a traditionally spiritual person, I do believe in God, but I don't believe in waiting for God to save me from life.  I believe in a God who gave me two amazing gifts to handle life: a brain that sits atop of the animal kingdom in complexity and free will.  He expects me to use my gifts. I don't wait around for God to fix life for me. 

At the risk of offending someone with this cartoon, I feel it nails exactly my relationship with God and how I am handling this pandemic!

Grabbed from Facebook

Listen to the small voices and push back ... 

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Keep Your Parachute On

Found on Facebook - no idea who to really credit!
The Struggle

So, here I sit 4 1/2 weeks or so into this 'Stay at Home' thing we have been ordered to do - and I thought I was nailing it mentally.  Note - the Past Tense!

I'm not.  I'm restless.  This new antsy feeling, however, won't change a thing regarding Covid-19 protection guidelines.  I will stay home bound for as long as it takes - just like everyone else should.   I am keeping my 'parachute' on.  But ... one night I went to bed feeling fine being home bound - and the next morning I woke up and realized ...  not fine.

I tried to sort out why this is so.  I have a lot to keep me occupied - my life within these 4 walls is good.  And no job to worry about, no lack of food, no heath issues (thank God, because now is not the time to have a health issue of any kind!)

I thought the simple answer would be "gratitude."  Just be grateful.  It is sort of the new buzz word for changing your perspective on things and making you happy.  To be honest, it didn't work.  Because "gratitude" for material things (which I have in abundance) is just a way to fool your mind about what really feeds your soul.

I determined what I was missing was my kids, my grand daughter, my grand dogs, my friends, visits to public places without fear.  It is like the mountain of 'things' available to me within the four walls of this condo are just not cutting it - a diversion for sure - but not as positive and life sustaining as I thought.

I miss is seeing with my own eyes that my adult kids are happy and healthy, hugs from my grand daughter who shouts "grama" over and over again,  explosive rush of excitement and love I get from my grand dogs who run around like their pants are on fire for the first 5 minutes after I walk in the door, the laughter and the sharing in person with friends .... heck, even time spent with strangers without the constant reminders of masks and gloves that say - "Stay back!! ... you might have germs."  That is what I miss!  It is an interesting personal discovery.  And that old life I miss might be on hold for another 12 to 18 months.

What I wouldn't give to be able to just hug a complete stranger!!

Upside - Downside

On the upside - my carpet got steamed cleaned this week - looong overdue!  On the downside - the inspiration for steam cleaning is because of my cat Wally broke box training this week (almost always a sign that something is wrong.)  On the upside I got him to a vet yesterday to receive the care and meds he needed, but the downside is I spent that vet visit in the parking lot while they took care of him without me. They didn't even want my credit card - said to call when I got home. Another downside - his appetite has been way off for months and losing weight.  So in a last ditch effort to save his life, I have been force feeding him some high calorie dense nutritional value food and soon I will be manually feeding him a liquid diet - a special food on order.  Not much fun for either of us.    He has 2 ongoing medical health issues and is getting treatment for those, but his chances of making his 14th birthday in June are fading fast if he won't eat.

I think the downsides within the walls of my condo are outnumbering the upsides right now.

Other stuff:

I finally got my kitchen floor washed.  I hear that is a thing now! :-)  I won't embarrass myself with how long it has been - but it took 3 complete washings to get it clean.  I didn't choose the ugly kitchen flooring pattern - the previous owners did.  The only positive thing about it - it doesn't show dirt!  But if it takes 3 washings to come clean - I really went to a new low in the housekeeping department.

I food shop by myself now.  Most people do normally - but it is one of the things my husband enjoyed doing over the years and we always did it together.  Now that he is blind in a pandemic living in a world with many government imposed restrictions (in this area only 1 family member at a time allowed in the store)  - he doesn't even get to that simple trip.  He is the one who enjoys food shopping, but I am the one forced to do it.

We are getting out for a walk several days a week.  It is for mental health more than anything.  But my legs are feeling better with exercise.  And I started taking Eggshell Membrane capsules daily and they may also be contributing to the improvement.  While this is not meant to be medical advice for anyone, it was worth an experiment for me.  Thank you, Michelle of Boulderneigh Blog.

And what to say about knitting!  I have spent the last 25 years preparing for this moment.  A time when I have an enormous stash of yarn and unlimited time to sit and knit!  But focusing on any craft right now is really hard.  I probably do about 5 rows in my latest project - done while I watch TV.  But I often find myself sitting staring at the screen with my knitting in my lap - idle.  It is like my entire life - down to the littlest actions - has been interrupted and getting back on track is not on my radar either.

There is a saying that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  I used to bristle at that statement feeling in minimized senior adaptability.  Everyone can learn new tricks.  But when you have to learn new tricks for every single action in your life - that is when the truth of that saying begins to make sense.

To Conclude

Keeping my parachute on,
missing my loved ones,
refusing to let my cat die,
cleaning stuff I can't stand to look at any more,
forcing myself into a grocery store,
watching TV

Just the same as everyone else,
I guess!

Stay Well Everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2020

Another Week - Upside Down

Change is the only Constant in the Pandemic!

On March 30 our Governor decided that too many of the population were not taking the pandemic restrictions seriously and our numbers of deaths and infections are rising quickly.  So he has locked down all but the most essential activities - "Stay At Home" restriction enforced now by law and punishable.  Our Governor has just lost patience with these stupid citizens and now has put some consequences in place.

Amazing really.  Must be an American "thing."  Some people just can't be told what to do no matter what the consequences! If they aren't careful, they could be fined or see the inside of a jail - where, by the way, the Covid-19 virus has made an entrance! Have fun, you ridiculous humans - sitting in jail AND feeling as sick as a dog!!

Although it won't mean much difference to me and my out-of-condo activities (which has been limited to groceries for 3 weeks,) my life has turned upside-down once again.  My grand daughter will be staying home with her parents until the "Stay-at-Home" order is lifted. I suspect that will hold for some number of weeks until we hit our high point on the illness curve and begin to slow on new infections.

First thought ... What does that mean for me!

With a startling awareness, weeks just magically opened up completely with no child sitting­čś×, no family ­čś×, no dog sitting­čś×, no social engagements, no company, no meetings, no nothing!  It has been decades (literally many decades) since I have had a spell like this when I wasn't recovering from surgery or some such thing!  Just think on it ... it took a world pandemic for that to happen in my life!!

When the kids left on the evening of March 30 - and I finished picking up the toys and food and various other stuff - my mind starting churning.

Oh My God!  
You have weeks of total uninterrupted time
to do all the stuff you have kept on the back burner
for YEARS!! 

I used to keep a long term list of big stuff - nice to do stuff - stuff you do every 10 years so (maybe) - if the time is ever right (or not! and it is usually not.)  It was such a 'long time list' that I long ago tucked it away somewhere and now it cannot be found!  Ha!  What are all those things? Think, think.

With out much trouble a list of stuff to do began to develop - and it is becoming very impressive.  Over ambitious, of course, but what the heck.  If some of it doesn't get done in the next 3 or 4 weeks, it isn't the end of the world.  It didn't get done for more than 10 years and nothing bad happened.  

Oh wait ... there is this pandemic!!  You don't suppose ...

What did I do with my days last week - the week with all the free and open time?  I started cleaning.  Yes, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, sanitizing, etc.  In my mind I wanted to be ready.  Ready to be sick.  Ready to step back and do nothing.  I just couldn't do that if my house needed cleaning and picking up.  I would probably drag myself around the condo still doing stuff while coughing and filled with Covid-19 germs - because I can't be sick when there is disorder around me.  I.JUST.CAN'T.  I think I am ready now.  The house is picked up and clean.  The pantry is packed, the fridge and freezer are bursting.  I can now get sick with a clear conscious.  Ha!

And because of that - all that prep - I probably won't get sick!  But I swear to you, if I didn't do all that stuff, I would probably be on a ventilator somewhere struggling to breathe and worrying about the mess I left behind.

Signing off for now from this upside down world!  Hope you all continue to be well in your little space on this earth.  Just stay away from everyone and you will be fine! (Oh ... and for double protection clean your house!)

PS - I love the free unstructured time but I hate, hate, hate not seeing my family ... my kids, my grand daughter, my grand dogs!!  


Thursday, April 2, 2020

2:00 AM Conversations

2:00 AM

BLADDER:      Yoo Hoo.  Yoo Hoo. Yoo Hoo!!

BRAIN:             Ugh!  EYES, check the clock!

EYES:                Do I have to open up to check the clock?  Its 2:00 AM.  2:00 AM!! What am I
                           doing open at 2:00 am!!??!!

BLADDER:       Well, see, I have this little problem.  I am full.

BRAIN:              Ok, ok. ok. LEGS, wake up. Get moving!

LEGS:                Ugh!  BRAIN, do you know what time it is??

BRAIN:              Yes.  In fact I do.  I gave an order and you are supposed to obey!!

LEGS:                Ok, ok, ok.  Give me a minute.

BLADDER:       Hey, like soon guys ...

LEGS:                Ok we are upright.  Hmm ... but walking .... I am not sure ...

BRAIN:              Get moving!

BLADDER:       Great - now gravity is in play.  You heard the order, LEGS, get moving!!!

LEGS:                BLADDER - Don't be so bossy!! All you have to do is "hold it."  I have to put one
                            foot in front of the other - without falling!!!

BLADDER:       Your lazy feet are going to be all wet - and not in a nice way - if you don't get

EYES:                 Can I close my eyes now?  Wet feet won't be a problem for me.  I really really
                             want to close my eyes now.

BRAIN:              ALL OF YOU STOP YOUR YAMMERING!  We can do two things at one time.

LEGS:                (murmuring) Says the 'mighty brain' who just has to give orders!

BLADDER:       Time is running out, folks.  Just don't say I didn't warn you.

LEGS:                Seriously, I think I need to engage ARMS with a cane!

BRAIN:              hmmm ... now where did I put that cane two years ago?

BLADDER:       NOW?  NOW you are trying to find the cane?? NOW???

LEGS:                Ok, ok.  *sigh*. You guys are such whiners.  I am moving.

BLADDER:       LEGS you are slower than dirt!!  Faster.

(a minute or two later)

BLADDER:       Finally, relief!  Thank you all for the team effort.

EYES:                Right, right.  Let's just all get back into bed so I can close.

LEGS:                On it!!

BRAIN:             I think that cane is in ...

EYES:                Later!!  For gosh sakes you can do that later, BRAIN.

LEGS:               Here we are all!  Back at the bed.  Everyone get comfy.

EYES:               Thank God! Eyes closing now.

BRAIN:             Yes, thank God!  Shutting down operations now!

BLADDER:      (no sounds - fell asleep even before leaving the bathroom)

(silence - for all of 20 seconds)

LEGS:               ZAP!!  Yikes!!  PAIN.  CRAMP!

BRAIN:            You are f*cking kidding me!


True story! 
 I blame it all on Covid-19!
  Much more sitting now and less moving around 
- so LEGS have gotten a bit unreliable.  

This morning my husband and I took a walk outside.
  We will do that every day until this virus recedes and I can return to my normally active life style.


LEGS;               Seriously??  BLADDER no longer functions normally and this is MY problem.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Cancel, Unsubscribe ... Practice!!

From Facebook

Yes, I had better expectations for 2020!  

But this made me smile when I saw it - so I thought I would share!

We could all use a smile right about now.