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Category: family

A Slow Motion, A Mad Dash

mohair-bias-cowl-detail
Knit, knit, knit, knit.

This week, I finished a knitting project (the Mohair Bias Loop BY Churchmouse Yarns and Teas) that I started two weeks after Cora was born.  It is a fuzzy cowl of indeterminate length, knit on the bias, which can also double as a shawl.  It is the simplest of knitting patterns, with two rows that repeat until the desired length.  I usually go for intricate projects that bring me a lot of mental interest – either in their construction or the new techniques that I’ll have to learn to complete them, but with a baby in immediate view, I thought the simpler that I could go, the more likely I would be able to work on it.

I didn’t even get creative with the yarn.  I admired a friend’s cowl so much that she led me to the same booth at Rhinebeck where she had bought her yarn and I picked out a color that I liked.  In the fiber world, we call this mindless knitting — the knitting your fingers do while your mind goes elsewhere.  It’s knitting as meditation, a way to free your mind to be calmed by the simple repetitive movements of your fingers as you loop and pass the yarn from one stitch to the next, from one needle to the next.  The only challenge in the pattern was the yarn itself — it takes a brave or foolhardy knitter to commit to a large project in mohair, but I was not afraid.

mohair-bias-cowl
If you think this bears a resemblance to a certain muppet, you wouldn’t be the first to suggest it.

For the first time since Cora was born, I’ve taken my knitting with me on the train to work.  I was so close to the end of the cowl that I wanted to use the train time to sew the final seam.  I want to start other things because it’s taken me nearly five months to knit a single, simple project.  As I sat on the train this past week, I put in my headphones and plugged into my Audible account, picking up with listening to Patrick Rothfuss‘s The Name of the Wind, which I started listening to a very long time ago. Is there anything more relaxing than quietly creating while having someone read you a story?  Combined with the motion of the train as we whizzed through the suburbs of Queens, I rediscovered a place of tranquillity that I have missed over the last year.

I was so relaxed, in fact, that on Thursday night I walked off the train without my cooler of breast milk — which is perhaps the most important thing that I do all day long.  Losing it would be such a disaster that I’ve occasionally dreamt about misplacing it and woken up in a panic.  It’s taken a special significance lately, as my body seems to be steadily producing less milk, despite my many efforts to encourage it to increase.  Thursday was a good day — four bottles — and the thought of losing them threw me into a panic.

I ran.  I ran to my car and whipped out of the parking lot and down the road to catch the train.  I live two stops from the end of the line, so there was a possibility that I could catch the train before it turned around again to go back into Manhattan, but I knew I had to hurry.

It’s amazing how long four miles can seem.  Every light that turned red against me seemed to take forever, though in reality they were not red long enough for me to unlock my phone and send a message to my Beloved to let him know why the milk cow was late. The thought of delaying Cora’s last feeding as I chased her bottles was horrible, but the thought of losing them was even worse.

I got the cooler back.  I ran up and down the platform like a crazy thing until a kind MTA employee unlocked the closed cars and let me retrieve it.  Panting and sweating, I made it back to my car and raced home.  Parking as fast as I could, I walked around the corner to the sight of my Beloved and Cora standing in my doorway, waiting for me to come home.

A smile broke out across my face and my anger at my carelessness was forgotten.  My family.  My home.  My everything, right there in the doorway, waiting for me, despite my mistakes.

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She

In the last three weeks, our lives have been taken over by the presence of a tiny new creature in our household — she.

“Is she fed?  Dry?  Crying?  Safe?  Sleeping?”

Our daughter is now nineteen days old, which seems both like an impossibly short and long time.  Starting with the moment that I went to the hospital to be induced, I’ve been wandering around in a surreal time lapse, which is only interrupted by doctor appointments and house visits from friends.  These scheduled moments give me something to differentiate one day from the next, to interrupt the daily routine of feeding, eating, dressing, sleeping, soothing and scrubbing and remind me that there is a world outside of the perimeter of my house.  If it weren’t for these moments, I could so easily forget.

20150225_170844As the days have flowed into each other, my memories of labor have been receding into a series of images. IV drips in both hands that tied me to an uncomfortable bed for twenty-four hours.  Green jello and lukewarm vegetable broth, the cold feel of the epidural, the sound of my water gushing out for impossibly long moments.  The eternal minute when the baby’s heart rate dropped and my midwife called the operating room to arrange for an emergency c-section.  The stiff feel of the oxygen mask on my face, then the moment of sudden relief — as palpable as a breeze — as the machine monitoring the fetal heartbeat returned to making the right rhythm. The unbelievably hard work of pushing out a baby, as ice cubes are put in your mouth and the pain in your abdomen takes over your brain.  Then, at last, the remarkable sight of my long and slimy daughter taking her first cry, while the thick yellow tube of the umbilical cord still connected her to my undelivered placenta.  The sound of my husband being talked into cutting the line that tied us together for so long — and the feel of her warm skin on my bare chest as I carefully prodded her skull in disbelief that this was the creature that had lived so long in my body.

No labor is easy– and mine was certainly gruelling. By the time I was allowed to leave the hospital two days later, I was desperate to go home for an uninterrupted night’s sleep in a room without a light shining in my face.  Once I got home, I spent much of the next week on the couch, healing, crying through the pain of learning to breastfeed and being taken very good care of by family that swept in from overseas to make certain that all I would have to worry about was taking care of she.

She is a “good baby” — she sleeps for long periods and doesn’t cry much at all, though we are still mystified about what to do when she does.  I was worried about my skills as a mother, but aside from breastfeeding, it’s come more naturally than I ever would have imagined.  For the first week, I just stared and stared at her face and tiny body, marvelling at the impossibility that we created this small being.  Sometimes I still catch myself doing it, as she feeds from my body or finds sleep and solace in my arms.  I stare at tiny ears and little blue veins and think about the choices in my life that have led to this moment — and can do nothing but let the love for this creature and gratitude for my life flow in and overwhelm me.

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Breathing Out Again

We found out this week that this babe that we’ve been expecting to arrive at the end of January is a daughter.  This is the first time I’ve written about it, anywhere really, because we have been slowly navigating the risky phases of pregnancy.  This week’s doctor visit has relieved a lot of stress, as well as given us a name for the child.  I find that this morning, I am a lot more excited about this pregnancy than I have ever been — at last, I find myself able to drop the gates that I have held up in case it all goes wrong.

It so often does, when it comes to childbearing.

It’s a subject that we don’t talk much about as a society.  I know more than a handful of women my age that have struggled with infertility and gone through the emotional turmoil of miscarriages.  With my particular health issues, I presumed that I would be one of them.  When I got pregnant fairly easily, I held my breath, waiting for someone to pull the rug from under my feet.  I’ve been holding it for five months, as I navigated my way through my suddenly growing body.  When I was lying on the ultrasound table, with a stranger poking and pressing me in ways that I was trying to ignore, I finally heard the words that let me let it out.

“Textbook perfect.”

I held my Beloved’s hand as we watched the impossibly small fist curl up in front of our daughter’s impossibly small face on the ultrasound screen. She weighs about a pound now and is all skin and bone — quite literally.  She will spend the next three months growing the fat and muscle that will sit in between her skeleton and skin.  When she is born, she will be too weak to even lift her head.  I do not know much about babies, but it is difficult to imagine how something even weaker than a kitten is going to turn into the strong and vibrant person that we will spend the rest of our lives getting to know.  I am awed that my flawed genes have managed to combine with my Beloved’s and create something so special – and yet, something so ordinary. It is the most ordinary thing in the world, but it has taken over my entire life.

 


 

The weather has dipped this week, bringing the first days that I can pull out the sweaters, jeans and loafers that become my uniform through most of the year.  Of course, this year I must put away all of my precious hand-knit woollen sweaters for the thin acrylic blends that Old Navy sells in their maternity section.  I am trying to keep my chin up, but it’s a bigger blow to my vanity — and fiber snobbery — than I had been anticipating. All the extra blood flowing through my body to support our child has been keeping me warm, even as my joints have been swelling my shoes straight out of commission.  I find that I miss my normal wardrobe more than I should.

Pregnancy has been challenging for me.  I weathered the first trimester with remarkable digestive ease, given the torture that some women go through with morning sickness.  I was exhausted and nauseous and never slept through the night, but the harder part was keeping silent about it.  Gratitude overwhelmed me every time that I settled my queasy stomach with the trail mix and banana chips that became my constant companions.  What I found most difficult was accepting the limitations in my physical strength without tearing my brain apart.

I don’t usually think of myself as someone that’s athletic, but I’ve worked up to a certain level of fitness through yoga and running that I take a lot of pride in.  When the pregnancy started affecting my ability to reach, to run, to climb stairs….I took it pretty hard.  I have given up running for the rest of the pregnancy, not because I can’t run, but because my compressed lungs and slow jogs are doing my head in.  I’ve moved from the sweaty, advanced vinyasa classes to the gentle flow and prenatal yoga. I’ve discovered the real yoga lesson in all of this, which is to learn to accept what my body has to give today, without judgement.  I am not a bad person if I can’t keep to my ten minute miles.  My body is doing what it needs to in order to create a life.  Slowing down does not make me weak.

Saying it — and accepting it — are two different things, but I’m slowly getting there.  The more that I say my daughter’s name, the more I think about her face and smile and laugh — the closer I come to understanding.  This week, now that I know her name, it’s gotten so much closer and so much more real.

Take your time and grow, Cora.  We’re waiting for you.

 

 

 

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Separation

montauk_seagullJune has been sneaking away from me, the days so filled with activity that I’ve barely noticed the blooming in my garden, the hotter days and the incredibly furry cat that stares at me intently, wondering when I’ll have a heart and take her to get her fur shaved off, for the love of God.

 

That would be scheduled for Wednesday.  I’m not a monster.

My Beloved has been in Ireland for a week and a half, with no return date in sight.  His mom is not doing well at all and I am very glad that he is with her.  At the same time, the space that’s carved out in our lives by his absence is obvious — all the things he does around the house, the noises he makes, the stories he brings with him — are all suddenly absent. There’s a certain silence where I am used to hearing noise.  I am listening, as I take out the trash and cook myself dinner, do the shopping and pass off the dry cleaning.  I drive around in his massive truck and find myself fitting into the spaces that he normally inhabits, which feels good, because it feels like a service that I can do for him when he is so far away and so worried about bigger things.  It always better to be doing.

Jason-Stomps-Love My house has had a steady stream of visitors to keep me company while he’s away.  These were planned visits, as we always get busy in the summer months, but I’ve appreciated the distractions.  Last weekend, I went with friends out to the end of the island, where we visited the Montauk lighthouse, ate like kings, and found a wonderful little bookstore–the rather directly named Montauk Bookshop.  They had a fabulous collection of books, with many lesser-known titles by classic authors, and a good selection of the backlists of more contemporary writers.  I picked up Mary Shelley’s Mathilda, Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and Tana French’s Faithful Place, which I have been meaning to read for years.  Stocked with more books than time, we went to find dinner at a place called Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Cafe because they served S’mores.  Wouldn’t you?

A good trip.  My next visitor comes from the U.K. in about three hours, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time this week pretending that we live in a much neater house than we really do. I’ve come to terms with reality and put away the paint supplies that have been sitting out since I started repainting the hallway back in May.  Plaster is a look, right?  In removing all of the stuff for the half-finished construction projects which aren’t likely to progress until the return of my Beloved, I’ve discovered that we have a lot more house than I thought we had.  Now that I can see my living room again, I’m really looking forward to the arrival of the couches that we purchased on Memorial Day.  The current couch has been slowly separating — the end seat is threatening to break off, like a polar ice cap, and has been in danger of floating away for some time.  That, too, is a look.  A look that will thankfully soon be gone.

Yesterday was the summer solstice.  In honor of the change of seasons, my yoga teacher asked us what the first thing was that came to our minds when we thought of summer.  Being in a room full of Long Islanders, nearly everyone named the beach.  Her answer, however, was time — the extra hours of sunlight in summer give us that extra hour in our day that we’re always looking for. This is the time of year that we play in the sun and spend time reconnecting with the people that matter. As I’ve slowly whiled away the weekend, napping, dreaming, writing, cleaning, I kept finding myself thinking about the gift of time that summer brings.  When my Beloved called yesterday for our evening chat, he mentioned that in Dublin, the sun didn’t go down until nearly 10 p.m.  Here, a little further south, the sun will set around 8:30 p.m.  When we were in the San Juan Islands at the beginning of the month, the evenings seemed to last forever, because we were far were as north as Ireland is. The light gave me energy and, above all, time.

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Survive and Thrive: Christmas

The last few weeks have been a delightful buzz of activity, as the weather has gotten colder and we have actually had a few snowy days.  Not snow days, mind — this is, after all, New York, where trains make it much more feasible to go to work on days that a car would never get you there.  We have been operating under a fairly fractured family schedule, with My Beloved working the night shift, and our House Teenager (who is almost not-a-teenager now, yikes) working all sorts of crazy hours since he’s working retail in December.  Yet, despite our inability to all be home simultaneously, we have managed to put up a tree, get it decorated and put some lights on the front of the house.  That even happened as I was writing my big term paper at the end of the semester, which makes me particularly proud.

Sometime in the middle of that, it struck me that this is the first Christmas season that I’ve actually just enjoyed without making an express effort to do so.  Usually this is a very challenging time of year for me, when I have to remind myself of my philosophy of conscious positivity pretty much daily.  Both the holiday season and the sudden onset of cold weather contribute to this, and I do not have a great history of dealing well with either one.  For many years, Christmas not only felt like an empty holiday for me, but almost like a personal attack as I took in all the media showing the perfect day with our perfect extended families in beautifully decorated perfect houses.  My reality was more typically a day spent with myself or a friend, because my relatives were all far away, having their Christmas celebrations together.  Before I moved to New York, I would sometimes spend it with my mom, but that had its own challenges.  She dealt with the season little better than I did, between her own conflicted feelings about family and her depression, and my time spent with her was always filled with criticism.  Christmas has always been associated with the sense that I just couldn’t do it right. I have a picture of her from my 21st Christmas, where she’s pointing at a price tag that I left on a present that I gave her.  I remember this picture better than any other picture that I have of her, because so often that is what our relationship felt like.  Look at your mistakes.

I regret so much that we didn’t have more years together, because our relationship looked like it was going to improve.  She died so young and so suddenly that I’ll never know.  And I regret that my main memory of her involvement in my adult life was that I never did things to her satisfaction. I often get feedback from even my closest friends that I do things too well — that I have a superhuman ability of life accomplishment — and I sometimes wonder how much of it stems from never being good enough for the two people who were supposed to always accept my failure.  I suspect that most overachievers have a similar understanding; that we must always be doing more because what we have done can never really be enough.  If we’ve managed to accomplish the thing, then it must have been too easy to be meaningful.  I got a 97% in the class I took this last semester — instead of being proud of that, I thought, “Well, the professor must be an easy grader.” An A, of course, was the bare minimum, but scoring so highly must have been a fluke. It is not actually very satisfying.

So I keep throwing myself against new challenges, hoping to find that one that some day will mean that I have done enough.  I’m sure you can see how the Christmas madness just feeds into that — the one thing that you’re not supposed to have on Christmas is an empty house.  To not be surrounded by your loving extended family on Christmas means you’ve failed — and I’ve only ever been around my extended family on Christmas twice in my life.

People with childhood backgrounds like mine have to make their own families.  We make them from friends, largely, though I’ve been blessed to be able to get to know both sides of my family better now that I’m an adult.  Neither of my parents made it much of a priority for me to spend time with my relations, who all lived at least half a country away, and I didn’t have the sort of growing up experiences with my cousins and grandparents that so many people do.  Christmas, of course, enhanced that isolation, as I was often shuttled from my mom’s house to my dad’s house to have two different lonely celebrations.  Yet some of my fondest memories of my mom are from when I was little and we would prepare for Christmas.  I remember making ornaments out of construction paper, decorating the tree, baking cookies for Santa.  I still put out the Yule log every year that we bought when I was fourteen — and each time I pull it out of its storage box, I think about that day in the mall, trying to convince her that we needed it– and then the glee when she decided that she would buy it for me.  I put up her miniature tree and put on the reindeer antlers that belonged to her.  All of these memories, at last, have no sting at all, because now I have made my own family, which is now just an augmentation to my blood family that I have come to get to know.

This year my house will not be perfect.  Our decorations aren’t as nice as they’ve been in some years past.  I won’t have cookies baked, punch made or carols sung.  But I will take my little family to two different households of friends on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day and celebrate the connections that I’ve created in my life, which are giving this holiday new meaning.  It took a long time to drop my baggage, but I think I could maybe even come to love Christmas.

But we’ll just leave that one for next year.

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The Writer’s Birthday

My birthday snuck up on me this year, hiding behind the projects that I have going on this month. Somewhere around the halfway point of the month, people started asking me what I would like for a present. Each time, I was taken by surprise, because I’ve been so distracted writing for Camp Nanowrimo. Real world details like birthdays and dates and obligations have had very little impact on my consciousness, because they don’t have anything to do with medieval Iceland and the people that live in my head.

I had set my birthday as a loose target for having the first draft of my manuscript finished, but I am not there and will not be by the end of my 50,000 word goal target for Camp Nanowrimo.  That’s a little disappointing, but it is because the story has expanded in ways that I couldn’t have predicted at the beginning of April.  It’s going to be for the best, I think.  I hope.  We’ll find out in draft two.

There’s a point in each yoga class when I am reaching the end of my energy and I have to reach deep within to do what my teacher is asking me to do next.  I breathe, reaching into my body for some hidden reserves of strength and then move into the next pose.  I’m at that point with the first draft – I am so close to being complete and I have been working so intensively on it for the last month that I am running out of reserves, but I know that if I keep pushing and looking for more strength and creativity within myself, I will find it.  I will finish it and, and as a (belated) birthday present to myself, I will at long last have a finished first draft of a novel.  It’s an achievement I’ve been dreaming about for years, but this year, I will have done it.

It’ll feel so good, if I can just get there.  Camp Nanowrimo is winding down to a close and I have a few thousand words left to write to reach my goal, which feels like it shouldn’t be hard at all at this point, because I’m in good practice.  Even if I didn’t finish the first draft, I have doubled the length of my manuscript in a month, so it’s been a worthy task.  I can walk away proud of that.

As for my birthday, it was a quiet and lovely day, capped off with a fabulous evening out with my family.  We went to a restaurant called Akbar in Garden City that has some seriously delicious cuisine. It doubles as a banquet hall, so the facilities are top notch, which appealed to my inner Taurus. Since it was my birthday, I decided that I would ignore the food preferences prejudices of my family. The Kid turned into a fan of Indian cuisine seconds after the chicken lollipops arrived, which was just an added birthday present.  A good day all around, with good work done (both at work and outside of it), good people, good phone calls and good food.  That’s what it’s all about.

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Happy St. Paddy’s

Now that I’m married to an Irishman, people keep asking me what I’m doing for St. Patrick’s Day.  I admit that my plans are modest, since I tend to spend most of this part of the year hiding from all the Americans that take one look at my green winter coat and feel the need to explain their ancestry to me and inquire after mine.

I am not Irish.  I have some Scots-Irish heritage, which is a bizarrely named ethnic group which managed very little Irish influx before emigrating to America, and quite a bit of Cornish, so I look like a Celt, despite my generations of German forebears and that splash of native ancestry that all good American mutts have.  So I get mistaken for Irish all the time, particularly with the mister with the brogue on my arm.  So sometime around the 14th of March each year, I concede defeat and change my favorite coat out for a different one that is not green.

Clearly I need to move to the tropics, where I don’t need a coat at all and can neatly side-step this problem.

All the same, I felt a need to properly take care of my Irishman on International Irish Day, so last night I made my first attempt at soda bread.  The soda bread we buy here is quite different than the soda bread my mother-in-law makes, so The Man has been asking me to learn how to make it for years.  Given the high risk of failing expectations, I keep insisting that he’s of a better ethnic heritage to attempt such a thing, but today I gave in.  The important distinction is that it is pan-fried in a cast iron griddle, not baked.  I followed this recipe to make the farls and let them sit overnight.  This morning I fried them up and ended up with one very happy husband.  It’s a quick recipe, if you’ve got buttermilk to hand.

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Honoring the Dead

A few years back, my mother died quite suddenly of MRSA, in part of an epidemic that killed several children in the D.C. area. She was the only adult to die from it and, being a teacher, her death got national attention. Peter Jennings ran a report that featured her. The night she died, I went home to her empty house and was greeted by news crews. Very few people get to honor their parents in such a public way, so I talked to every media outlet that wanted an interview and ended up on TV, in the Washington Post and on some radio show somewhere. It was a great gift to be able to say nice things about her to such a wide audience.

Last week I was contacted by her church, who are starting up a scholarship in her name. They asked me to write an academic biography, as the recipients of the scholarship are high school seniors from her church that are carrying 4.0 GPAs. There’s really no better role model than my mom for academic excellence. We come from a family of academic overachievers; I am at least third in a direct line of women who believed in education above all things. My mother takes the cake, though, so it’s been fun going through her records and realizing that while I may be an unbelievable prat, she was even more so. My favorite part has been finding a letter from her to my grandmother in which she was worried that her average in military language school could drop from a 98% to a 95%. Mom, we are too much alike.

I am beyond honored at the scholarship and will be supporting it. I can think of no greater tribute. My mother was the classic case of a student that was overqualified to go to college, but had no money for it, but wasn’t going to let reality stop her. She joined the Army for the tuition benefits and started her first university classes while eight months pregnant with me and working full-time. This was after she had graduated from military linguist school, where she learned Russian well enough to be commended repeatedly for her contributions in translating military radio transmissions. By the time she was twenty-three, she was separated from my father, my primary caretaker and a sophomore in college. She went on to graduate Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Psychology and then a Masters in Education, all while being a single parent. In other words, my mother was a badass.

Writing her biography has reminded me of all the way I grew up on the University of Maryland campus, going to the library with her and helping her Xerox papers. I learned to read books and roam the library stacks to entertain myself while she was in classes. (True fact: university library stacks still give me shivers of absolute delight.) I sat by her night after night as she read textbooks and wrote papers on her electric typewriter that she bought for $295 in 1980. She’d had to put it on credit, but she paid it off month after month. Even when it was extremely difficult, my mother pursued her education. In doing so, she made me an unbelievable prat with the same curiosity for the world that she had. Writing about her has been an awful lot like finding myself. It has been a great deal of fun.

So, hey, thanks Mom. Thanks for it all.

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2011 Holidays

Christmas was a quiet affair filled with good friends and family, which is what it’s all about. I made out with some very thoughtful loot and ate slightly more than my body weight in cookies.

But I have prevailed; the cookies are all dead. In my belly.

I enjoy the week between Christmas and New Years an awful lot because it is so quiet. After all the hustle and bustle of lights, tree, cooking, family, etc., it becomes almost necessary downtime. The trains are quiet, nearly everyone is gone from the office, and I have no excuses for not getting a great deal done. As a productivity nut and worker bee, this makes me very happy. As a person with an exciting life to write about, well, not so much. But it’s been a nice quiet. I’ve been able to conquer the world in Civilization get some writing projects done, master some Bach and finish some big projects that have been hanging over my head at work. It’s a nice feeling.

I see other bloggers out there doing lists of what they’d like to do next year. It’s made me think about some of the highlights of this year. This year, I:

– got engaged to the love of my life (this is a celebration, not an accomplishment)
– actually managed to get good enough at the piano to be able to sight read stuff where the left hand does more than play chords. Slowly, mind.
– learned how to fox trot, to rhumba, to merengue
– learned that if fox trotting, rhumbaing or merenguing with a 6’3″ man, heels are a good idea. Otherwise, neck injury occurs.
– (self)published a knitting pattern
– had the realization that not being my skinniest weight ever does not, in fact, make me a bad person
– watched my ward pull in grades higher than he thought possible on his report card, despite having skipped most of two years of school a few years back.
– adopted a house hippy. Everyone should have one.
– learned to rip up carpet and stained all the wood for a new staircase in a weekend
– went to a spinning convention and actually learned how to spin yarn that looks like yarn
– fell in love with the mountains of eastern Oregon and took some awesome pictures
– bought a cowboy hat
– knit multiple sweaters, learned to not hate knitting socks and designed a few more things on my own
– have actually done a little bit of wedding planning, despite hating it like you wouldn’t believe
– actually genuinely enjoyed the holidays for a third year running

It has, all in all, been a good year. We are all safe and happy and the family grew again this year (see the house hippy aspect). I am filled with gratitude and can only marvel at my good luck. Life is good; my only goal for next year is to keep it good.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s make 2012 even more filled with light than 2011.

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Waiting for the rain

We are due, within minutes, another epic flash-flood rainstorm here on Long Island, which will be the second in as many weeks. Last week’s rainstorm rained ten inches in one day, which is an awful lot of rain, but particularly when you live four feet above sea level, as it has absolutely nowhere to go. Also much of what is dropping down on your head just came from the ocean. Some of it straight into my dining room, which was unfortunate.

But fortunately I live with someone who knows what to do about that. In fact, at this point, *I* know what to do about it. The house has been filled with drips and leaks that we’ve been slowly plugging up as we go, which is probably what I get for buying a 90 year old house.

So I’ve taken measures to keep the rain on the outside of the house and we’ll see how it goes.

It’s otherwise been a very quiet weekend, which was just what the doctor ordered. I’ve watched three entire movies while not actually doing something with my hands, which is a serious indication of how exhausted I’ve been lately. We went on Friday and saw One Day (likable, not challenging, lame ending). Then, as our hippy rightfully is fed up with movies that always have to end with a romantic ending, he picked out a couple to watch that were not uplifting, but were very, very good. We started with Boys Don’t Cry, which….just has to be seen, but not with children. Then we followed up with Skin, which at least ended with some happy music. Also very good. Go see it. In fact, skip right past basically anything in the movie theaters to see it.

I mean, it was One Day or Conan the Barbarian.

I did pick up the kid from the airport today, so my little family is almost nearly reunited. Himself is still in Ireland for another week, but the house is slowly filling up. On Tuesday, I’ll be picking up a cousin from the airport (I really should have priority parking at JFK by now, as this will be my fifth visit in a month), which I’m really looking forward to. This is the last visit for the summer, which must mean that things are winding down. The season change is upon us, so I grabbed up all the tomatoes I could handle and made sauce to freeze. That’s what August is, isn’t it? Frozen tomato sauce?

The rain has finally hit us, which is a great relief for the humidity and my sinuses, which have been awaiting this storm via giant headache. It is now the absolute best kind of summer day, as I never feel as fantastic as I do the day *after* a killer sinus headache. Nothing but blue skies tomorrow.

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