Monday, January 27, 2014

Did you???

Such a beautiful sunset!
Did you watch the Grammy's?  I sure didn't.  Never watch any of those awards shows.  Frankly, they make me a bit ill.  I am not sure I have seen any in at least thirty years.  If it wasn't all they were talking about on the news this morning, I am fairly certain my life would have proceeded forward without even knowing they were on. 

It's not bad enough that an elite group of folks all get together to pat each other on the back and tell themselves they are amazing on live television. But evidently the world stops turning for at least twelve hours maybe longer while they revel in the joy of it all. 

When I turn on the news, I want to hear about what is truly going on in the world.  In my country.  I don't care that Queen Latifah conducted a group of weddings, or that political statements abounded, or there was a "spokesperson" for a group that doesn't speak, or... well any of that. 

I want to know about the real world.  The world where people exist daily. Where you get up, shower, eat breakfast and then scurry off to the real job that you do that puts real food on the table and a roof over your head.  That is what I am interested in hearing about.  I want to know if more jobs were created.  I want to feel empathy for the folks that are shivering in their houses and I want to experience the guilt from knowing that I have my heat set at 67, sort of comfortable, but that folks in far more bitter cold are being asked to turn theirs down to 60.  I want to have a discussion with my husband that maybe we should also turn ours down, sure I can afford to pay for it, but if it is in such short demand, then maybe we should show solidarity.

I want to know what new fairy tales are being spun by the "ruling class" in our country.  Yes I know it used to be called government, way back when it was for the people and by the people.  Now it is just a ruling class.  I want to know about the IRS targeting people.  I mean seriously?  Shouldn't the IRS simply be collecting the dollars that the government demands of us for their rules?  Not destroying people because they disagree with you politically?

Neither here nor there, I simply do not want to turn on the radio and hear a never ending rehashing of something I had managed to avoid in the first place.

Last night instead of wasting my time watching that drivel, I spent the time with a great group of folks.  People that I am proud to say I am a part of.  I spent that time celebrating a lot of hard work, that allowed us to reopen just 10 days after closing our doors to the Great Flood of 2014.  I was even more proud as we were all assembling and I realized that some folks had taken public transportation, ridden bikes or gotten rides to simply be a part of that gathering.  These people had taken time out of their lives for most of January to do something bigger than themselves and most had gathered to celebrate it.
Why yes Hubby I do believe that was a strike!
We laughed, made up our own putt-putt rules around hoards of little people, we played mini-bowling (now that is flat out hysterical), bumper cars and then laser tag (that was incredibly fun!) we ate dinner taking over most of their "diner", conversations flew back and forth over everything you could imagine.
Are we there yet?
We shared fun, laughter and fellowship. 

Start your engines...
I've had a lot of that in my life this past month, I was too busy shuffling through the chaos to notice.  Reflecting on it this weekend... I realized, I have a wonderful family that I cherish.  I got to talk to both of my kids, son and I have been doing a lot of chatting online.  Daughter and grand daughter showed up out of the blue yesterday and we enjoyed the fifty plus weather to sit outside and talk.  Hubby and I got to spend quality time together, talking, puttering around our house and simply just being.

We have found a new church, that we are both enjoying a great deal, they are kind, polite, not pushy, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.  We haven't decided yet to join, but we are thinking about it.  We've both had some less than pleasant experiences with churches in the past few years and are a bit gun shy.

I have friends that I adore, that fill my life with smiles and laughter.  People that I can count on to be there for me, and I want to be there for them.  People that make my small bit of the world a pleasure to occupy.

Grammy's... who needs them?  I don't watch the Emmy's or the Oscar's either.  In fact I couldn't really tell you what any of them are truly for.   I can tell you the small celebration that I was part of last night... tickled me to the bone.  I am fairly sure it won't be covered on any news media, but I can assure you those folks did more to color my world fabulous than any artist has ever done.

There will be more celebration today, a couple of our friends had a birthday yesterday.  Cake is baked, gift needs wrapped and then a celebration of lives being lived well...

I love living in the underbrush of society, it's where all the warm, wonderful, loving things happen!!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What a difference a day makes...


Enjoying the winter sunrise...
Just 24 hours ago I was sitting here sipping coffee, enjoying the lights on the tree that had been up far too long. 

Now I am listening to cars racing past outside, sitting in my living room that has been "spring" cleaned.  Tree down, dusting done, room rearranged, although the ever present Neeko shred is on the freshly vacuumed rug. It's so quiet and different feeling.  Didn't realize how much that glow changed perspective.

Today I will haul more boxes downstairs and finish picking up the house.  I still have laundry to tackle, unless we opt out of wearing clothing for work this week. And frankly I am afraid that would not go over well. For anyone. So after doing the laundry that will mean more ironing.  I am not a fan of ironing, really I am not, I am less a fan of wrinkly clothing.

At the start of the day yesterday

Yesterday managed to allow time for the completion of a full sock, the last set took me a full month.  I have a basic pattern that I simply adore.  It is sweet, uncomplicated, with just enough stretch and give that it is a joy to wear.  This set is in Spring Fling and yet again it is not for me.  The upside of the KAL I joined is that I am getting a lot of socks knit, the downside is that I keep deciding they would make a great gift for someone else.

Before bedtime yesterday...
I am trying to use all the sock yarns that I have in the house before buying anymore.  I have a slight addiction to pretty yarns and will often buy them when they are on sale, whether I have time to use them or not.  I might, not saying I have, but I might have bought quite a few skeins more than I realized.  So far I believe I have enough for at least ten pairs, maybe more.  There are yellows, blues, roses, browns, cheery bold colorways, soft muted colorways, I still have a full skein each of the Vintage Rose and the Spring Fling.

I have several skeins of my favorite Happy Feet, that I bought for me almost two years ago and haven't found the time to use. This makes me feel insane, especially since I absolutely love the one pair that I already made, and will wear them even if they do not match my outfit of the day.

Before I cast on the next sock today, I have a small project to finish for my son, I want to get it in the mail today.  He'd requested something back at the beginning of the month, it needed modifications and with the chaos of the month, well that didn't happen yet.

I also have some mending to do.  It feels weird to say that, does anyone else "mend" things anymore?  I love the feeling of saving something, instead of trashing it.  I think it is one of the reasons that I love natural fibers so much.  They have the ability to be repaired, some of the others not so much, "fake" fibers shred.  I have some buttons to reattach - my dryer loves to eat them and then spits them up. Hubby has a couple of pairs of pants that he feels are a tad too long, so I would like to find time to get those hemmed.  And one of his work pants has developed an issue with a pocket.

I hate when you buy quality clothing, or at least it is advertised as quality and for what it costs it should last forever, and it fails.  It really makes me quite angry.

I have needed this weekend, it's been busy, my muscles are hurting badly (to the point that sleep is starting to not happen) but mentally... Mentally its been like a fine wine after a long day.  I feel a bit more centered, organized and like I can tackle the world.

I prefer slow living, that is how it feels to me.

I was sitting here working on that sock yesterday, pondering, because that is what I do when I knit. I was reflecting on conversations with people and things I have observed lately.  I am not a fan of the rush, rush, hurry, hurry, distracted world we live in.  Everyone is so "connected" that they have become disconnected.  Several times in the past week I have gotten frustrated with Hubby and others, because we are mid-conversation and they were checking their phones or computer.  Oh I am guilty too, I think most of us are. We are all so busy multitasking, that we are accomplishing less and are losing touch with actual people.

Everything is one stop shop, toss it out, no connection to anything.  Everything seems made to last a minute and be replaced.

I treasure my hand knit socks, the warmth, the softness, the beauty.  I have the first pair I made years ago.  I had not even gone to St. Louis to work yet when I made those.  So they are almost eight years old.  I wash them with care, I lay them flat to dry, I don't go running around outside without shoes on with those precious socks on my feet.  I use care, because they have value. They are simple socks, but to me they have value.

It seems that too much is losing value today.  I wonder if that is why people look at me strange when I say I need to mend things.  Why not just toss it and buy new?  I guess I simply am not made that way.  I want things that last.

Gator enjoying the simple things in life hanging out in my garden beds...

This year I am working on slowing down, I am working on giving my life and everything in it value. So I am going to keep knitting, mending, cooking, planting.  The extra work is worth the value that it gives my world. Sometimes I wonder if I am insane...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Don't judge...

Taken this morning...
Cozy in my living room.  Sitting here sipping my hot coffee and basking in the glow of my Christmas tree lights (don't judge... yet).  I am soaking up the peace and quiet.  An occasional car goes past outside, the clock is ticking away and every now and then my old boy snores a bit.  I know hubby is awake, the big boy disappeared after morning potty break and I can faintly hear the TV down in the man cave.

Enjoying this moment and feeling guilty because I really haven't had a lucid moment to write in a bit, I am considering all the things that need to be accomplished in these precious two days. Oh I know what my exhausted body wants to do.  But as I already said I am sitting here basking in the glow of my Christmas tree... 

This month has been out of control, I mean seriously out of control.  The exhaustion factor is not only physical, but mental and emotional too.  Pretty much the last three weeks have been go, go, go... don't stop and don't look back. 

Hubby and I used to eat out, a lot, but one of my new years decisions was that had to stop.  It isn't healthy, we really didn't like it and it was killing my budget.  So I have been making all meals at home again.  And while this is awesome, it only adds to my already full schedule.  I am glad it is a decision I made.  Me and my crock pot are becoming the best of friends!

With the insanity at work, the flood and the recovery, all coming at the worst possible time, I have had very little time to simply stop.  Last Sunday was our first day off in fifteen days, fifteen LONG days, and even it didn't go well.  Ended up spending it sitting in the emergency room with Hubby. 

Oh he will be okay, but the bruising from that pulled hamstring is pretty darn ugly. It completely hobbled him for the first two days of the week and limited his ability to do much. 

Ah Mom... I was trying to blend in with the sofa...
So here it is Saturday, the sun isn't up yet, it's still peaceful and magical.  Do I break the spell to get busy on my poor neglected home?  Or do I savor a few more peaceful moments?

I love the Vintage Rose and style of these... not for me...
I will admit I stole a few hours yesterday, it's the first time in weeks that I haven't come home completely wiped out, cooked dinner and gone to bed (or stayed up talking with my West Coast Boy).  In fact I didn't cook or eat dinner last night.  I came home, put on my jammies, hubby ate leftovers and I got out my knitting.  Before work yesterday I completed a pair of socks that had taken far too long due to the insanity, and I was simply dying to cast on the next pair. 

Seeing the picture of my cousin's finished sock in a similar yarn and colorway, I simply had to!  I needed that mental break, I needed to simply be.

Curled up in my chair, with a variety of shows on that I wasn't watching, I made great progress!  At nine, when my eyes were closing and my fingers tired I had already reached the gusset of the first sock.  I am fairly sure if my energy could have lasted I would be almost finished by now. 

Same pattern in Spring Fling... hmmm... is there a theme here?  Tired of snow maybe?

I think... that I am going to take the first hour or two of this quiet day and rest... knit some more...

Soon enough the tree will finally come down, the boxes will go to the basement (not having hubby to help with that will be no fun!) I will sweep, mop, do the dishes, ironing and all those other annoying daily things that I haven't had a minute to tackle... maybe make a loaf of hot homemade bread to go with the Nuremberg sausages and Pirogi's that were to be dinner last night.

January is almost gone... I am hoping that February slows down... I can't keep up...

Monday, January 20, 2014

This relationship isn't working out...

Dear 2014...

I fear that this relationship is off to a very rocky start.  In fact, at this point I simply don't know if I have the will or desire to see it through for another 11 months.

Frankly, I don't feel that you are holding up your end of the bargain!  After a very peaceful and calm start, you have been very trying and challenging for weeks.  You are unrelenting and it's all take, take, take.

I do believe we need to re-evaluate where this relationship is going...

The beautiful, calming "great snow" was beautiful for a minute.  But 13 inches of white fluffy beauty sure made for a rough week.  And we won't even talk about the stress that caused while my children traveled across country in it.

Then just when I thought that maybe your initial tantrum was over and we could go back to the casual dating and getting to know one another in a calmer more rational way.  You decided to test me once again.

A flood through my beautiful building is not a great welcoming gift for a new year.  In fact it is probably one of the lamest I have ever received.

Nine days of battling that beast, a clearing on the horizon, a day to rest my seriously tired body, muscles and mind... Because new challenges await today... and yet another lousy gift.

I am not an ungrateful person, I am not a glass half empty kind of gal, but seriously? Did you not think I was over the top of what I could handle?

Luckily Hubs will be okay, but the next few days are gonna suck!  Thanks again. 

So... 2014... I hate to say this, but I really feel you need to up your game.  I have met all your challenges and tests, I have proven to you that I am strong enough to take what you give to me and meet your challenges.  So I have to ask when are you going to uphold your end of this relationship?  It absolutely cannot be take, take, take...

Sincerely,

a very worn out and tired me...

p.s. because of your non-stop tantrums I still have a Christmas tree to take down... uncool...

Friday, January 17, 2014

exhaustion...

Simply too exhausted for words. 

Got to spend a minute or two with my girls last night on the way home from a meeting.  Then a chat with my son once I got home.

That is pretty much the extent of my life right now.  Living in snippets.

Maybe once we reopen our building we will be able to move forward. Less hours at work, my time at having a life.  I have to work again tomorrow, although the game plan is to have Sunday off.  I hope so, I need a day.  I am tired.

I should say that my tree will come down on Sunday, I should say I will get a ton of other things done. 

I can't say it. 

I have a feeling Sunday will truly be a day of rest.  Maybe. 

It might help my mental state to get a few of these other items off my list.

We'll see....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

23 years... what a great journey so far...

all grown up now...
I can't believe it's been 23 years... After waiting and hoping for so long 23 years ago my youngest was born.  I remember the fear when his heart beat kept stopping while he was being born, I remember holding my breath because he didn't breath right away.  I remember the nervous laughter and the relief when he started to cry.  I cherish those memories. 

I remember the middle of the night call to my best friend, an hour and a half away.  She was my coach.  I remember the surreal sight of Landstuhl hospital.  It was the day of the line in the sand.  The military hospital was locked down, barricades, everything had multiple sets of security.  It was so quiet in the hospital that day. 

I always wanted a girl and a boy.  I had been blessed to have my girl almost six years before.  I hadn't ever wanted to know if I was having a boy or girl, I always figured that was part of the surprise. I remember the call to our sweet little girl, a pistolcharacter even then, at home with our neighbors on a base that was securely locked up.  I remember telling her "you have a baby brother" and her answer "of course I have a baby brother, that is what I told God I wanted and he listens to me." I remember laughing. I laugh harder now...

I remember sitting in the television lounge holding my precious baby, having just hung up from talking to my family in the US.  It was late at night, all those sweet babies and mommies should have been sleeping.  Not one baby was sleeping, not one mom, it was like everyone knew.  That line in the sand had been crossed, everything was being prepared for war.  It permeated the air, the babies knew. 

I remember that four am wake up call, snuggling my sweet little boy, so calm and good, waking up to see a doctor (at least I still tell myself that is what it was) in full chemical gear, knowing... Calling home on the payphone in the hallway, shivering, scared, the only comfort was holding that little bitty man. Using all my pfennings trying to get my ex to answer the phone, dreading that he would have to leave our baby girl with someone to come and pick us up. 

I remember the day he was born so clearly.  Like it was yesterday.  Sitting in the cafeteria waiting for the results of his tests while the entire hospital was going into full battle ready status.  Praying for those sweet babies that were in NICU, being readied for the removal to civilian hospitals.  Hearing their parents being told those sweet little ones might not make it down the hill.  Snuggling my sweet tiny guy, crying for them. 

I was blessed for the second time in my life that morning.  He was such a considerate guy, even as a newborn, he'd been kind enough to be born at 9:59 am, insuring we could go home sooner, little did we know sooner meant the next morning at 4 am.

I am so proud of my son!
 Twenty three years ago... it seems like only yesterday.  Now for the first time in those 23 years we live in different time zones, I want to make him a special birthday dinner... I hope he is having one.  I want to tell him how much I love my little man.  How much I have enjoyed the last 23 years, how I am so excited for each one yet to come.  I'd love to make him an Angel Food cake... he really didn't like any other kind growing up. 

He's a grown man now, I am so very proud of him.  I hope he knows that in my minds eye, he is now and forever that tow headed, golden eyed little cherub.  I love the man he's become, I miss the baby days, but have cherished the journey!

Happy Birthday Baby Boy all grown up!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I needed strength stronger than myself...

Sure didn't sleep the night before last.  Spent a lot of hours sitting up in the dark feeling like my world is spinning as out of balance.  Breathing was painful, thinking hurt, and my heart was feeling wrung out.  I sat there in the dark, afraid to breathe. For hours I sat there feeling lost.  I prayed.  I talked to God for hours.  I finally did what I always do when I know everything is bigger than my ability to understand and process it.

After hours, after prayerfully giving it all up to God. I went to bed.  I didn't really fall back to sleep, but I rested.  Yesterday morning, I felt better. This morning, I feel stronger.  I feel like the weight of the world is not resting on me.

I am grateful for my faith today.  Maybe you won't find me in church every Sunday.  And I don't expect everyone to share my faith. I do hope that whatever your belief is in brings you that kind of peace and calming in your soul.


I started this yesterday, but never finished.  I do believe in evil and the devil.  I do believe that his greatest achievement is to make us take our eyes and our heart off God and good. When I was battling all of that the other night, I knew the doubt, stress and hurt were coming from the wrong place.  I could almost envision the little cartoon devil sitting on my shoulder whispering all my deepest fears to life.   I think that is why I was praying so hard.  I knew that little demon on my shoulder was giving life to F.E.A.R (False Evidence Appearing Real), and I was struggling to make him be quiet.

I can't say that I haven't felt those tinges since that night.  I have.  But they weren't as strong. The fear, the worry, that heart wrenching feeling, those are all milder now, not sneaking in and overwhelming me.

I am a realist, I do know that we are facing a huge battle getting our building and lives back to normal.  There are many possibilities that are stressful to me, the person that hates change.  But I know that something far more powerful than you or I is in control and that whatever happens is what was meant to happen.

Yesterday, once I was able to sleep for a few hours and place everything in stronger hands than I will ever have, things were better.

I spent a few hours at my building, got a few things taken care of that needed attention.  Answered a few emails, took care of banking and all those things that a few hours of insanity had shuffled to the background.  While hubby took care of the part of the building that houses his world.  His office is in boxes sitting on the floor in my office.  Everything is either soaking wet or covered in tarps.  His office took a beating.  He's feeling a bit jinxed.  His last office caught fire.  I think the water from the suppression system simply got delayed and the location a bit off.  No... but the poor guy is as beat up as I am.

He is doing better than me, maybe because I am worried about so many others that I am responsible for, or maybe I am simply a wimp?

At any rate... with the sunshine out, the roads dry, and the temperature rising, Hubby set about righting my world.  We headed back east around one and pulled that beautiful Harley out of the shed, it was time to blow some cobwebs out, to put the stress where it belonged... out of our lives. An ice cold single barrel Jack & Coke and we were off (the drink was mine, he was driving).  It's amazing how many back roads you can find never leaving the cities.  We prefer quiet country roads, but this time of year it's warmer to stay in the city.  Hubby finds so many quiet streets, full of history and beauty.

Two hours later, home for a minute, then off to buy groceries for the week.  Needed some crock-pot dinner stuff.  It's going to be a long one.

Hubby never let my J&C go empty, made me laugh, made me feel so much calmer. 


Here it is morning, the alarm is going to be going off soon, I will go and start a nice beef stew to be waiting for us when we get home.  Today... maybe a few answers...

I'm not worried... Jesus took the wheel...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

where is my sunrise?

Hello Morning, you didn't wait long to appear did you? You simply rushed the night out of the way.

Hot coffee isn't helping to make the body less sore or bringing much calm to my mind.  Luckily, the bit of sleep I had last night made it easier to think this morning.  I am clearer.  I was able to go through my email and cancel the events that were planned for the next week or so.  I was able to sit and think about the things that need my attention.

In a few minutes I will start getting ready for the meeting this morning.  I am not looking forward to it.  January is so key for us, to suffer this kind of loss is hard. I am not wanting to be strong enough to deal with the week ahead. Right now I want to sit at home in my jammies, nursing my aching muscles and arthritic joints.  I want to get this darn flare that is threatening under control.

So many things are not good for my body, yesterday encompassed so many of them. Today, I need to take it down a notch.  The stress is the hardest part, I can control the external factors to a degree. The internal... not as much.

This morning I will knit on some socks, fix some jerky for my boys and try to deal with the more normal and mundane things.  Get my head in a good place. Reset my internal voice to its usual upbeat and positive self. 

My weekend plans have changed, drastically.  It's okay.  I know the next few weeks or months are going to be outrageous, there is going to be no normal for a bit.  Hubby is going to be based out of another building.  His office was completely destroyed. Mine isn't destroyed, but it is the proud recipient of all the boxes from his office. 

I have a million things running through my mind.  Things needing done, things that could and will happen, how to move forward.  I am concerned for my staff, I am concerned for my members, and the many people that rely on us.

It's going to be an interesting run for a while...

Last night to balance out my thoughts, to make life a bit less crazy, I got the chance to talk to my boy.  Sounds like he is putting all the bits of his life in place.  The I love you's I got from half way across the country from both my babies helped. 

I am hoping Hubby slept well.  Yesterday was brutal on him as well, he spent so much time in cold water, moving things, packing boxes, in serious high stress mode.  In the middle of the night he woke up shivering, I snuggled him up with the warmest blanket I could find.  I hope he fell back asleep.  It's quiet in the man cave this morning, so I am not even going to open the door.  Just in case he fell back asleep watching television when he got up this morning.  If I open the door the boys will rush in and wake him. 

He needs to be at the same meetings I do.  He needs to rest.

Today is a new day... there is always promise with a new sunrise... even when the rain blocks out the beauty...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why?

Our girl in her youth...
Rain outside, rain inside...

Exhaustion level is off the charts.

A building that I love and have put more than my share of blood, sweat, tears and countless hours into is in really sad shape, through no fault of our own.

It's bad.

And I am reminded once again why I work where I do and with the people that I do.

It's not perfect, it has lumps and bumps... today was brutal.

And the amazing people that make up the fabric of the Y, proved to me once again what is that makes me passionate about what I do.

As water poured down on us, as we struggled to save everything that we could, as we stood in freezing cold water and worked side by side, they showed up. 

Part time staff that traveled through pouring rain, working side by side with those of us that put more hours into that place than our own homes. 

Property Managers left their buildings, some traveling more than 50 miles one way, all bearing buckets, squeegees, mops, extractors and anything else they thought would help. Staff from other buildings, all working side by side.

Members that not only understood, but asked if there was anything we needed. Offering to bring socks, dry towels, anything they could.

We are a community. We are a family.  Right now, our family is hurting. The path ahead is still uncertain and rocky. 

The one thing that is sure, the one thing that is helping me hold it all together is those amazing people.  That pulled together in a time of pure crisis to create a solid front.  A team that is unbreakable!

Now it's time to finish my beer, my popcorn, and then lay my head down on my pillow.  In the daylight of tomorrow I am sure things will be clearer.  In the daylight we will start anew. 

I belong to an amazing group of people and for that I am eternally thankful!

We are all as different as snow flakes...

I love snow... it's beautiful and has a special feel.  I love the moonscape appearance it creates.  And the way the cold winter sky looks like deep rich velvet contrasting with the brightness caused by the snow...

That being said... the best thing I have ever heard was the news forecast this morning calling for mid-forties and rain! Because I am done with the snow.  In this area either we don't know how to deal with it or folks are simply too lazy.  I am tired of impassable roads, non-shoveled side walks, sliding on floors that are covered in a salty, slushy, watery mix.  I am ready for the rain.


Last night Hubby and I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with our grand baby.  We took her to her last soccer clinic of the session.  It was so much fun!  We would have loved more time with her, but it wasn't meant to be.  She hasn't had a lot of time with Dad this past year and she was seriously eating up the attention he has been giving her.  I can't blame her.

I was so stunned watching the difference between the soccer program that my daughter has her in, and the herd ball we used to watch the twins play.  She's only seven and was being taught how to properly dribble, pass, stop and basically control the ball.  They were doing drills.  Good drills.

The coaches knew their stuff and they were working hard to insure the kids learned them in a positive, upbeat and encouraging manner.  They were gently correcting moves and encouraging the kids to pick up the tempo.  The pep rally before was positive, enforcing the belief that they alone were responsible for any improvement and skills they mastered.

They ended the same way.  It was positive, uplifting, encouraging, and at the same time it was talking about responsibility and dedication.  They were gently, firmly and lovingly encouraging these young girls to take full responsibility for their success or failure.  It was so refreshing!

Flashing back to the girls, we watched them from age 7 to about age 11, they played in a school district league.  They didn't play soccer, they played herd ball.  There was no attempt to teach skills, no desire to encourage the girls to be successful and to grow.  It was all about sameness, it was about not keeping score and everyone being the same.  There was no score keeping so that no feelings got hurt.  And no push for them to own their success or failure.  It killed me to watch it.  In their attempt to make sure no one's self-esteem got injured, they destroyed something far more valuable.

We are not all the same, each of us is unique and has wonderful treasures to share with the world.  This current mentality of sameness, is truly not designed to spare anyone's feelings, at least not in my opinion.  It is designed to keep the exceptional gifts each of us has buried.  It is more about control that it is about concern.

I am not athletic, oh not even close!  The only "sport" that I am even remotely good at is bicycling and I am never going to compete in Tour de France. Ever!  I was that kid that was always chosen last, goodness no one ever wanted me on their team, it was the kiss of death.  Did my feelings get hurt, sure... when I was younger and didn't really understand.  As I got older and was still always the last one chosen, after trying numerous sports and realizing it wasn't them it really was me, I stopped trying to be athletic.  It isn't me.

Bowling equaled my coach being injured, and me never bowling above 120 (with bumpers). Basketball was a disaster that caused my poor feet and knees so much pain for no return, I can't even make a basket.  Cheerleading was a joke for my uncoordinated self.  Gymnastics, nope, that is not even funny.  I have an issue with depth perception, so any of those great sports involving balls flying at you - tennis, softball, racquetball, etc... count me out.  Been injured too many times to count.  Swimming... yeah, no... drowning is not my strong suit. Skiing, which every small child in Europe masters by 4, resulted in misplaced thumbs and damaged bones.

I am able to own it.  No one had to coddle me and tell everyone else to lower their skills to make me feel better.  I am blessed I was a kid when it was still okay to fail.  When everyone did not have to be the same all the time.

I might not have those skills, but because I don't, and because I tried and failed I also found things that I am good at.

I love art.  I can paint, it's not my favorite creative outlet, but I am fairly good at it.  I knit, sew, crochet, spin yarns. I am good at woodworking.  I can create beautiful treasures with those skills.  Am I the best in the world at it?  No way!  I marvel at the men and women that seem to be masters, but it gives me something to shoot for.

I can garden, I can cook, I can make my own soaps and so many other things.  I excel at domestic arts.  And I love it!

I was allowed to excel at what was important to me.  I had people do for me like my grand baby's coach was doing for her.  I was taught the basics, I was made to try them and to do my best, I was encouraged and supported.  And I was never made to feel like a failure, but I was able to realize on my own what my strengths and weaknesses are.

I am grateful that I was grown before we stopped allowing our children to fail.  I am grateful that I wasn't part of this huge social experiment that has created at least one if not two generations that do not have the ability to know what makes them special, that drive to succeed and the ownership that is instilled.  The pride in your own successes, the lessons learned from your failures and the ability to be a stronger, more compassionate person because of it.

Competition is good for the human spirit.  It causes drive.  Whether it is in sports, academics, career, personal growth, economics.  It's good.  It's good to fail. It simply teaches you another way to succeed.

Watching those coaches last night... I couldn't help but wonder is the tide turning again?  There were about 75 young girls from about 4 - 11 all learning skills. Girls whose parents were paying $135 for eight weeks for their children to learn.  Being judged and guided to be better.  Forced to learn and push themselves to grow.  Are we as a nation finally realizing that we are not all the same?  Are we getting tired of mediocrity?

I hope so, I hope that the days of herd ball are behind us... I pray that we are on the cusp of a new revolution.  A revolution that leads us to celebrate success to embrace it, and to learn from failure.  To finally realize once again, that we are all different and it was those differences that for generations led us to be a leader in the world.  Celebrating and encouraging each person to embrace their strengths and not their weaknesses is what allows great things to happen.

I am tired of mediocrity.  I am tired of OK being good enough.  I am tired of lazy and accepting of the way it is... I am ready for a revolution, one that will make us a proud, strong, compassionate, caring, deserving nation once again!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sock Salvation...

Enough already...
Snow, Snow and more snow... watching it come down, while looking at pictures of a beautiful California beach... somehow the two simply collide.  I have never had a desire to go to California, after all the snow this week (that we somehow don't seem to be able to get a handle on after almost a week), it is looking tempting.
Beautiful beach vs. Snow... hmmm no brainer?

This mom's heart is feeling much stronger.  The kids are having a good time, and the bits and pieces of life are falling together for my youngest.  Car - check, Apartment - check (lease gets signed today), sunshine - yep got that too... each text or phone call has me feeling better.  Even though they are so far away thanks to technology... they seem next door.

My girl and her friends on the beach
yep that's my boy avoiding the sun
Yes... he just bought his first car!

It's been a nutty week so far because of the weather, the start of the year, and simply just making it from day to day.  I wasn't feeling good earlier in the week which really put a kink on getting things going.  And here it is already Thursday... Which is good, because I am going to need a weekend this week!

My son is quiet, in fact other than asking what's for dinner, you wouldn't know he was here.  But with him gone, it's quieter, how does that happen.  I am slowly working on cleaning up the house from the holidays, doing some cleaning out, the tree and decorations will come down this weekend.  Yes I know it will be mid-January, but I wanted him to be able to enjoy it until he left. 

I have decided to challenge myself in my knitting this year.  I joined my first ever KAL, me a knit along?  I know it's insane, the ultimate in non-joiner, joining an online knitting group.  I was suckered in, that is all there was too it!  One of the dyers that I follow posted about it on Facebook, with a picture of the most delicious looking sock yarn, I was sold!  And I can get behind a knit along that simply requires you to knit something on a pair of socks each day of the year.  I love to make socks, almost as much as I love to wear them.  Seemed like a perfect win/win for me.

Soft sock yarn and beautiful German needles...
Early last week in an effort to calm my nerves, and yes creating does calm my nerves, I pulled out my beautiful needles from Germany and some sock yarn that I had fallen in love with last year and cast on... a week later, with lots of interruptions, I have one sock done and I am working on the gusset of the second.  I love this pattern, it is just fancy enough to showcase the beauty of the yarn, but it feels wonderful on the foot.  This pair in vintage rose is destined to be a gift.  Although I am fairly certain there will be another set made to add to my own sock collection.  I am just not sure it it will be in Vintage Rose, I seem to have a bit of an obsession with those colors and not much variety in my own collection.

Sock 1 waiting patiently for it's mate
I rarely make socks that do not have a short top, I am an ankle sock fan, even when I have longer socks I push them down to the ankles.  And I have found that most of the folks I gift with socks are the same.   My absolute favorite pair has the standard seven inch top, and I push them down to ankle height, so why waste time when I am simply going to do that anyhow? 

Hubby asked me the other day if I would ever sell my socks, it kind of made me sad to say no.  But I said it anyhow.  Socks require more time and concentration for me.  The yarn is pricier and honestly I just don't feel folks would pay what I would have to charge for a pair of hand knit socks.  The only way that anyone will receive a pair of my hand knit socks is as a gift of love. I give them for Christmas and birthdays, I have a nephew that loves the house socks I make him.  So much so, that a few years back he took all of his Christmas money and bought yarn so that I could make him socks for each house in the Harry Potter series.

It took me years to be brave enough to make socks, oh the complexity.  I could never manage to use four needles to make socks, yarn would slide off, I was too uncoordinated, oh yes I had an excuse for everything. Two hand surgeries later, bored out of my mind and only able to use the tips of my fingers... A passion was born.  Oh I know there are other ways to make them, not every pattern is on four needles, some use the magic needle method, there is toe up, and the two at a time method.  But I find great pleasure in top down, four needle traditional. I love the discipline that comes from keeping those stitches even as you slide from needle to needle and the beauty that comes from a perfectly grafted toe.  I am probably insane in that I love to graft the toes, but I do. 

Maybe over the course of the year I will really try a few of the other methods, more than just one pair of socks each, or maybe I won't.  I think we have established that I am a bit of a traditionalist, and I am often times quite inflexible about things.  Took me almost a decade to accept that not all quilts had to be hand quilted... I warm up to those newfangled things rather slowly...

Well, it's time to start getting ready for yet another snow commute into the city, I will knit, while Hubby drives (I love that we work in the same building!).  Tonight we will see our Grand baby and take her to soccer if it isn't cancelled due to snow.  I can't wait!  I will also check my phone a few hundred times to see the progress the kids are making.  Sis is due home this weekend, so lots of miracles will be happening over the next 48 hours... Even though I can't be there to enjoy it, I can still be part of it!

Enjoy the day... and if you are in this freezing cold... stay warm... if not... not so sure we can talk about it right now!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Frozen...

Just starting to accumulate yesterday...
Brrrr.... Wow can it get any colder?  Do not answer that! Because according to the weather, we haven't hit the coldest it is going to be yet.  It's breathtakingly beautiful outside, it really is.  But it is so brutally cold.  I have never seen this much snow, or felt it be this cold here in the mid-west.  For this area, it's pretty extreme.

I completely have to give kudos to IDot and MODot, because we drove a total of about 100 miles this morning and the roads were really good all considering.  Now that is not saying they were great, but considering the drifting snow, wind and cold.  Awesome.

So pretty... but so cold...
I will feel better when I get the text assuring me that the kids have made it to a non-snow area.  Probably a few more hours. Hubby and I will head back out in it in a few hours, we are opening late today and need to make it safely to work. I am far more concerned with the drive home at nine tonight.  Have a feeling some of that stuff is going to manage to be melted, at least for a minute and with these temps, that ice is going to be ugly.

One of my new favorite pictures of my guy & I
As we got in the car this morning the song "Let's Go" was playing.  Kind of sums up the morning and day.  It's more of a beginning, but for me it is an ending.  It's a tough day.  I hugged a little boy last night, this morning I hugged a grown man.  It's all good.

The other favorite!
I am more focused on the fact that even my windows are frozen... on the inside! I can't barely touch the door handles, simply too cold to touch. Hubby spent almost an hour making a path to the car and a potty park for our short little guy.  We never did manage to get our car back up the drive, but we got it far enough up that we were off of the road.

I promise you that if I didn't have to work today, I would not even consider going out.  It's far too cold.  My bank is closed, most of the shops around here are closed, heck even the Harley shop is closed. The city of St. Louis is closed.  Normally, I would say they were being ridiculous. Today, I have to agree.  Heater at full blast in the car for an hour and it was barely warm enough to have your coat off.  And that heater is so good that usually you end up turning it off.  Today, inside is the best place to be.

I have never seen our road completely empty at 9 am on a Monday, ever!
I am prayerful that the homeless folks agree to take shelter.  The news last night said there were many refusing shelter.  I am hoping that they rethought that decision as the temperatures dropped.

Well, I might try to take a quick nap before heading out again... Afraid I am trying to catch a cold on top of it all...

Poor little guy...
Tomorrow will be better, tomorrow I will start feeling happier... today... the cold feels perfect for my heart...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Taking bets...

Questioning their idea of blizzard conditions...
I keep looking out the window, each time I hear a snow plow go past.   I am not sure what they are plowing, but they are being diligent. The storm watch forecast on television is assuring me that the storm is still heading our way and there is a bit of snow starting to come down in St. Louis.  But here in Illinois... well... I think there is a whole inch on the deck out front.

Do you think Mother Nature heard my plea?  I am still hopeful, but starting to lose hope.  I am not as concerned as I was yesterday.  My girl rented a Suburban, that puppy is huge and heavy! We decided to not risk loading his world up in deep snow, so everything is loaded with the exception of electronics, a few blankets and a few remaining clothes, we will load that tomorrow morning when we take him to her house.  The first hour of his trip might be interesting.

I just looked outside as I went to fill my coffee.  It's starting to fall, its light and crispy, not what I like to hear.  That makes an icy glaze under that beautiful fluffy stuff.  Oh well... nothing one can do about it.  It's all survivable, it is more the folks that don't know how to deal with it that will be the problem.  And as I don't intend to go anywhere until morning...

Hubby bought some yummy Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream for our morning coffee and I think some nice cinnamon toast with cream cheese and apple slices sounds like a perfect combination to start this day.

I am in a better spot today than I was yesterday.  Not a great one, but definitely a better one.

It was odd yesterday, loading up his stuff, officially moving him out after 11 years.  For almost half of his life this has been home.  Odd.  There were just a few times that it really wrenched my heart.  I guess what is bothering me so much is the distance.  When my girl left she didn't leave alone, she went far away initially, but she didn't go solo.  It was easier.  He is going solo, and I hate it!  In my brain he is always going to be my adorable little bug, most of the time my brain still pictures my tow headed little guy, holding my fingers tightly as he learned to walk.

Today is going to be devoted to finishing up a few last little bits of stuff for him.  Watching the latest two Sherlock's with him.  And just enjoying a forced day of quality time.  It's kind of ironic actually, eleven years ago we arrived here to a snow storm, just as we were unloading the truck a heavy snow began to fall.  Now as he is moving on with his life, it will be with a heavy snow.

Hubby is waiting on my attention this morning he needs some computer back up, I already have the dog's chicken jerky in the dehydrator and I am pretty sure I am going to make up a few jars of spiced pear butter this morning.  I had promised a few folks I would do it and the morning needs to be filled with busy work that won't allow me time to think.  I may even make a few batches of soap, the holidays definitely wiped out my stash. This afternoon, while enjoying family time I will finish up the crochet hat that my boy requested and then I am working on a few pairs of socks (I love soft handmade socks - my mom and sisters all do too) birthday's are coming.... for a change I will sit inside and enjoy the snow.

Tomorrow is going to be a harder day for me.  Watching my boy leave, while exciting is going to be tough.  Dang kids, they grow into strong adults that don't need you.  I know, I know... it means that we did a great job with raising them, but still... maybe I am not ready to stop.  Okay that simply made me laugh!  I am ready for him to be who he's been destined to be, and now it is time to start planning some nice vacations.  But... I do get to be a wimp and cry a few more times before I am completely ready.

Time to sit back and enjoy the white fluffy stuff from inside my nice warm house. I might even take bets on how accurate the forecasters are, they are now claiming it will be as big as snow event as it was in 1982... How are you spending this beautiful winter day?  

p.s.  It's just snow...

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Let it... Not snow??

This mornings map... not promising...
 The weather forecast is calling for snow.  Lots of snow.  I think for the first time ever I am hoping for it to miss us.  I love snow, I love spending a weekend inside while it is cold and windy outside, all beautiful white and sparkling. Normally, I love it!

Today I am praying that the weather teams might be looking at the wrong map.  Our winters have been fairly mild for a long time now, sure we get the occasional few inches.  Sometimes it's a bit icy, but truthfully around here, it really isn't a cause for closing schools and businesses.  But with it being so rare anymore, well folks just don't know what to do when that white stuff falls.

I got three code red weather warnings yesterday, over 24 hours before it is supposed to hit.  Unbelievable really.  I am hoping it is like all the hoopla last year over "snowmeggedon" that had the media in a complete fit, predicting a foot of snow and blinding white outs.  The reality... less than two inches of snow and you barely saw it falling.

I am hoping.

I am hoping because on Monday my kids are set to embark on another grand adventure.  My youngest is moving.  My oldest is helping him get there.  Mom is going to be left at home, feeling lost and helpless.  I wish I could go, I would love the security that would come from seeing him settled in and knowing he was safe (by my standards).  I also know that at some point Mom has to let go and realize she has raised two amazing children that are more than ready to spread their wings and fly.

I will console, yeah that's it, myself spoiling my precious grand daughter rotten!

They had originally thought about leaving today, it isn't completely off the table.  Depending on what the weather decides to do.  Both of them are still comfortable with leaving Monday, we need time to pack and organize his world.  They have to leave Monday at the latest though.  That only gives them a week to make a 27 hour drive, find an apartment, buy a car, and get him comfortable driving to his new work location before he starts work a week from Monday.

As most of their drive will be through the south, where it is generally more mild and easier driving, I am a bit more at ease.  Although the weather patterns have been super crazy this year, I mean they've had snow and ice in Dallas.  And if I don't think they handle winter weather in the Midwest, where it has been known to happen with great regularity, imagine how they handle it further south.

I am struggling with this change.  I can barely sleep and I am worried.  Oh not that they won't be fine, not that we won't have a fantastic - if busy week with our baby.  I am worried because for the first time in his life, my all grown up baby, is going to be too far from me for my heart.  He will be fine.  Will I?

Yes, I know I will, but just like him... I don't like change.  He is so much like me, its easy for me to understand things he says.  This month will be a difficult change for me.  I am fairly sure that each trip to the grocery store will involve me looking for Amp, and that I will look for him each time I go in to take care of his turtle.  The turtle (Picasso) will likely miss him too, I know you wouldn't think that, but he is the only human that silly thing responds to and he spends a great deal of time sitting on his rock watching his human.

They are his spoiled babies...
The cats are going to go nuts!  They are really his and they have loved having him here at home since he graduated.  He's made the difficult decision to not take them with him.  They both turn 12 this year and 11 of those years have been here at our house.  Like he said this is their home.  His Snug will take it the hardest, he's had her since she was six weeks old, although he claimed her when she was barely a week old. Zorro thinks he's mine, or maybe I am his, so he will miss him, but will simply migrate back to allowing me to provide his human comfort.

I hope the snow decides to stop just north of us.  The stress of his moving does not need to be complicated by the stress of knowing they are out there driving through horrid weather on their journey.

Life changes... I am not a fan... I like the comfort and security that comes with consistency.  Maybe it's because I am a military brat, I simply don't like change and I hate my children being far from me.  This new normal is gonna take some getting use to!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014!

it's beginning...
Hard to believe a year has gone by, last New Years Day I was scheming, planning, setting goals and dreaming bigger dreams than I had ever dared to dream.  A year ago I was still plotting this blog, still gathering my courage.  I am not your typical Leo, I tend to hide in the shadows not dance in the limelight.  Last year was the start of a lot of changes for me.

This January 1, has found me feeling quieter and more reflective.  I find I am looking back more than I am looking forward.  It's the first time since I moved here in 2003 that I was able to simply enjoy the day.  Hubby and I spent most of the day resting, refocusing, watching a bit of television, working on small projects and simply being.

I am sure a lot of my reflective feelings have to do with those guys down the hall, my son and his best friend are in his room, laughing, talking, gaming and simply being young men.  It sounds so much like it has for years.  Their friendship goes back to when we moved here, and I am sure it will continue for a lifetime.  I love to hear them laugh and being silly, I know these days are slipping away.  Saturday will find his bud back east, he's in the Navy now and only home on break.  Monday will find my boy heading far west. 

The days of boyhood laughter will fade into Mom's memory.  They are both grown now, and starting their adult lives.  I have been enjoying the past few hours, filling up my heart.

This past year has been one of such extremes for me, that I feel this year needs to be more grounding.  I need to center a bit more. 

About 930 tonight the snow started falling, its the blowing windy kind.  I didn't expect it, so I sure am enjoying it.  Just as I was getting ready to start unwinding and climb into bed, those silly boys decided they were hungry.  Being the absolutely crazy Mom that I am, I offered to go out back and grill some burgers.  They both enjoy them and like I said... soon they won't be here every day for me to spoil. 

Even though my silly guy was concerned that it might be cold, I think he was pretty grateful that Mom was willing to go out and make him burgers.  I can't remember the last time I stood outside at 10:00 pm in a blowing snow grilling burgers.  I can remember my Dad, decades ago, on a snowy night in upstate New York making us omelets in the middle of the night.  I hope those burgers are something he will remember years from now.  I know he knows he is loved.  Sometimes that love is all you need to wrap your heart in when you find yourself lonely and far from home.

I haven't planned my journey through 2014... I know Hubby and I will spend as many hours as possible riding.  I will quilt, spin, knit, crochet, teach and all the other things that I have found heal my soul and center me.  I will miss my son as he moves so far away to start his adult life, I will wish my girls were closer - 45 minutes doesn't seem like much... but it is.  And I will treasure each moment.

I have so many friends that 2013 did not end the way they planned.  As I stood out back and enjoyed the snow while grilling, I looked over at our neighbors house.  I don't believe she's been home much since her husband passed a few weeks ago.  They didn't have children, I can't imagine how her heart is hurting, it's not something I can comprehend.  I thought about their moments, and I said a prayer that they filled them with love and memories. 

We all need to focus on the moments, after all our life is about living the dash... I need to learn that lesson this year.  Because it is about the dash...

Sweet dreams...
Time to interrupt my fur boys ...