Friday, February 17, 2023

The Spill/Steal Zone of Knitting and Life

Sometimes you care and sometimes you just don't.

When knitters cast on a new knitting project, we exist in a dream zone, a lull in time, the magic of the softness of the yarn, the brilliance of the design, the idea of how beautiful this will someday be. At this stage, you will be ever so careful of the baby project who needs all your attention and protection from the elements, from thieves, from mugs of tea splashing or worse. 

Just as the end approaches, this protective spirit returns, because now we are almost there and you see the value in the work that has been done, the work our very own hands did to reach this point. 


It's the in-between time, the "voyage" over which so much ink has already flowed. This is the time where, upon exiting your vehicle, you glance back at the knitting which, thus far you have either insisted be kept upon your person at all times, or you've locked in the trunk if you positively must part with it. Today, in the abject apathy stage, you shrug instead, "Let them have it, pain in the patooty anyway, over it, bored with it, stuck on a tricky bit, have to unravel and start over. It is not worth the trouble."

Life is a long, messy slog. All around us are perfect examples of ungrateful wretches having the worst day ever. The only thing on my bucket list on those days is the opportunity to crawl back under the covers.

It is worth the trouble, I know it is, all projects have value, all projects deserve a chance and a little love, but if this particular one were to disappear, would anyone notice or grieve for very long? Can I not have a do-over? Look at my mistakes, anyone can see this is a disaster. The cup of coffee hovering near no longer fills us with dread

...but if you persevere, it will.

The end will come, completion will once more be at hand. The beauty in creation wins out over the lackadaisical and ugly. Then you can start all over again. Cast and carry on. 

P.S. The analogy was just repeated in a concrete way with one of my children. This one had been feeling bogged down by the enormous amount of work to be done to complete her double major in four years. She is a junior; in "normal" American terms, this means she has just one year left after this one. However, this one was proving to be too too much. 

wahhhhh wahhhhh wahhhhh

Not nice, moms can't always be nice, just most days, and, yes, I had days in school when I was 100% certain that my TRUE future lay in hopping in the nearest sailboat and navigating the globe, right now. 

I am not a stranger to kids and their flailing motivation while getting through school. It is senioritis that can strike at any time, but mainly towards to middle to just past the mid-point. It happened in community college for one, in law school for another. My high school sophomore swears he has it now. 

Today came the news that this is looking like it will be so good. It will be excellent to finish college and next year will not be as bad as the three preceding it. Graduation may actually be a date in the near future. She's getting to the part where you know you'll be casting off soon and have a THING in hand. Hurrah!

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Note to All: BUY A FLASHLIGHT: Four-months Post-op, Still Clumsy

Because, even though you have counted yourself lucky not to have ever done this up thus far in your life, miraculously, (what are our chances, ever?)...

...dropping your phone-cum-flashlight in the toilet as you reach across to dry your clean (not for long) hands on the hand towel that for some reason has always hung on the wall right across the way, is just dumb. Dumber still when it is 3 am and now you have to look up all the NEW advice about what to do with a phone that goes under (the last time it was a bowl of green jello during a household-wide gastroenteritis crisis, most unfortunate). 

Just. Buy. a. Flashlight. Or a bathroom nightlight. Or learn to walk in the dark. Why are our phones now such a part of our anatomy that I felt like I must have injured a body part when I awoke in the half-drowsiness of dawn this morning?  I scanned my senses and then came to realize it was not a limb, it was the absent phone, SIM card ejected after numerous tries (who knew paper clips came in so many different diameters?), all drying on a crocheted coaster in the office. 


I can blame the lingering weakness of the thumb joint after surgery, which is what this post is really about, but honestly...I amaze and astonish myself too often.

Appearance of thumb: almost normal, although I can tell its angle is not yet quite kosher. All the flexibility has not returned. But I can knit again!

Pain: none unless I overuse it. And this pain is different from before. It is more like a muscle after a work-out, like strengthening is trying to happen instead of something that is broken.

Strength: gaining little by little. The pt and surgeon are both optimistic that full strength will return after about a year. I can do everything I could before, just not with as much weight as normal. In important terms for me: I can hold a baby, but a toddler is out of the question. 

If a box is delivered and held out for me, I'm fine with a small book but not 18 lbs. of glue (you don't want to know). If a phone is held at the wrong angle, it drops. 

Grocery carts can be endured for a short trot around a small store, but not the double-sized Costco sort. I had to haul my bath tissue from the far, far end zone to the register today snugged up against my chest like a Flemish giant rabbit.

My therapy putty has become my best buddy. I have also graduated from a 1-lb weight to a 2-lb one, but I need to increase the number of times a day I do the exercises. 

Am I glad I had the procedure? The very small, one-member jury remains out. If I truly can live a less-limited, more productive life because of having done this, then I will declare a victory. Truth? It is still a nuisance for now.

Are you thinking about joint surgery? Which joint? Have you had one replaced? Do you have any underlying hypermobility that made it all that more interesting?

Photo credit: BrickBard on Pixabay

Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Syllabus has Been Approved, Rejoice and Enjoy

What began as a "sure, it might be great to share what I know with local students," soon became, "wait, what have I gotten myself into and how am I ever going to figure it all out in time for spring semester?" While I have been painstakingly working through foreign concepts like class calendars, grading rubrics, and a thing called Moodle (created for "education management"), I have been planning the lessons themselves and interpreting a full court and occasional conference schedule. Time for creativity has been at an all-time low. Since October, apparently, as I see the blog header still has a pumpkin barn photo.

Yesterday approval was finally granted of my opus mediocris, and my mind is free again, for two minutes, to enjoy writing, knitting, family (no, not true, they bring me joy every single day, regardless of work) and last night, a magnificent evening of breath-taking music at the symphony. It was glorious!!! This is my OFFICIAL RECOMMENDATION to go experience as many classical concerts as your remaining years, months and days allow. I even finally slept, calmed by the resounding waves of Brahms Third Symphony and the tempestuous Violin Concerto No. 1 of Shostakovich echoing through my slumber. I slept afterwards, not during, or at least, not too much during. It is fairly common to see closed eyes around one at the symphony.

My sweet girl is home for the weekend and having surpassed us all in sock-knitting after completing NINE pairs for Christmas gifts, she sat and showed me how complete a toe-up sock that I began years ago. She knows how to do a German short-row heel in her sleep! I myself had to watch the video three more times when we became separated for a bit mid-afternoon. 

It has been a rich, rich, rich year in experiences, sights and love. Our family is growing in challenging ways as we traverse trials and tribulations, but also in good ways, as we return to be together as often as we can. The fact that all of us can be in the same place at the same time for a meal is so good. And...something I did not think would feel right does; having one, two or four of them around for a trip or a weekend is also good.

This new definition of "family" as a more fluid concept is freeing and opens up more avenues to joy. I can be right here, in the moment with the ones who are present and less regretful of missing the one who may not be. This was my first Christmas ever spent away from one of my children. I missed my oldest with all my heart, but taking delight in being with family to celebrate the holiday took precedence over that bit of longing. We were in France with our French family all reunited, eating more food than required for sustenance or gluttony, and I was enveloped in a warm glow of the spirit of the season. I even went for a nice post-dinner hike with my father-in-law across the countryside, pine forest and boggy fields, tiny village and lone cottage with smoking chimney.

Interpreter Travels? Yes, indeed. As soon as I was freed to drive again post-surgery, I was back out the door and on to more courthouses and conferences. Last week was spent just in Iowa courts and I drove over 800 miles. What does this mean? This means a ton of audiobooks...and one tired interpreter at the end of certain days.

Although a typical week may have less than forty hours of actual interpreting time, a good deal of preparation goes into our work before we begin, especially for a deposition stemming from a particular industry or a conference on any topic under the sun. And then we come home and attack the invoicing.

Was this the fun end I had planned for this post? There clearly was no plan, although the photos from my birthday dinner would make a nice addition, it was a lovely day! All three of my sons were there. Never mind, the photos seem to involve me laughing uproariously with a very large sombrero on my head. If you would like photos of France and Spain (Basque Country in Spain), head over to Instagram instead. Blogger has only produced the most mediocre photographic quality from what I have uploaded lately. You can see France, the dog, kids, all of that, here instead: French Dialogues.

Bon dimanche!