Sunday, January 22, 2012

Life goes along...

We got some snow this weekend!  Which made my kiddos very happy.  Our lot is very sloped, and with the right kind of snow (which this was not, sadly), we can construct an excellent sledding run.  Last year, with all the snow we had, we had an AMAZING one, full of bumps and whatnot.  Very fun.

I had meant to do a whole bunch of knitting today, but then I remembered that I had to do this certification thing for the State of MA (the CANS if anyone cares), which ended up taking 5 hours and making me so cranky.  Okay, I admit it, I've been staying up too late the last few nights, which just MAY have contributed to The Cranky.  Last night I stayed up too late looking at old pictures.  My husband resurrected our other computer that has our digital pics from 1999-August 2010 (when my little Apple laptop came to live with me), and it was SO SO fun to go through old movies and pictures.  It's so hard to remember that my guys were SO small!  I have some hysterical videos, I need to figure out softward to knit them all into a few larger home movies that I can torture entertain my friends and family with.  It brought up a lot of feelings interestingly enough.  There are some pictures and videos of the women I spent *all* my time with when I first had my oldest.  It makes me sad to know that a person I really thought would be a friend for life...won't.  It wasn't my choice to end the friendship, and it was so painful, but it now also feels firmly in the past.  I can wish her the best, hope she's doing well, and move on.  It's funny, for a long time, I was so hurt and angry, but now, I sort of think "huh, I'd like to hear from her."  Not my place to reach out though.  In any case, it is fun to remember how funny my oldest's little voice was.  He's such a BOY now, into Pokemon and karate and shouting out "That's *sick*!" when something...I don't know, entertains him?  I feel so old. :)

So, yeah, no knitting got done today.  We had church this morning - our rector left two weeks ago, and it sounds like the Vestry has made the decision to go a particular route in the search process which means we'll be getting a new rector fairly soon, it sounds, for at least a 3-year contract.  The Vestry voted unanimously for this person, hopefully it'll be a good fit.  DH and I still struggle with our commitment to this church.  It's an Episcopal church, which is some ways is a good fit for me (which, being a Christian church is bound to be imperfect, but I'm not sure what would be better), but it's not a great fit for DH.  He's committed to coming for me and for our family, but he hasn't found the community there he'd like.  I want him to get more  involved with the Habitat for Humanity programs the church does, I think that would help, and I've committed to encouraging him to go out and work on building friendships here in our own town.  It's really hard - I was going to say, for men, but maybe really for people who work full-time.  I've had the advantage of being here all the time, and being in the preschools and getting to know people there.

Anyway.  It's almost 9:30...I'm going to bed!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Four years ago today, we moved to our small town in the 'burbs of Boston (well, Cambridge, really).  It was such a leap of faith, and I can't believe it's been four years!  I've got one of my bookclubs coming over tonight, I've got two others I'm involved with.  I'm not doing any group knittng at the moment, but I'm pondering starting a craft night.  I run into people I know everywhere I go in town, I have an amazing community of friends here.  This afternoon I'm sending my oldest off to a friend's house, picking up my younger son and two friends, taking one of his friends home and picking up that friend's little sister who is my daughter's good friend, bringing those four home to play...*whew* Thank goodness for the minivan!  I feel like we have a real and rich life here.  It's harder for my husband - he's not here as much simply because of work, but it's coming together for him too.  We still have friends "in the city" that we see regularly, but so much of life is HERE now.  I remember how scary it was to move, but it was so the right decision for us.  It's funny to think that barring unforseen changes in circumstanecs, most likely this is the house we'll grow old in!

So anyway, what does that have to do with stillness?  One of my friends has a sauna in her basement, and has a sauna club once a month in the winter.  I was the first one there on Wednesday, and she was getting her kids settled, so I got changed and sat for a bit by myself.  I am a busy person, often in motion, running around, doing.  Even at work, when I am sitting and listening, I am a bit fidgety, moving my hands, shifting in my seat.  And, I'm listening, actively and intently, so that's a different thing.  This was a time, 10 minutes or so, just to sit.  There's not much to do in a sauna except sit, you know?  And I realized HOW HARD that is for me to do.  I get...anxious, I guess.  My thoughts fly all over the place, I'm looking around for something to do, I just can't sit.

I'm not sure what the point of this is, other than to take notice of how busy my head is.  No wonder I'm tired!  (Well, and that my cat stomps on my head all night, that's probably part of it too.)  I love knitting and crocheting because it gives me something to do, with both my hands and my head.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Knit All The Things!!!

If I were 1/1000th as talented as Hyperbole and a Half, I'd draw funny pictures, but I am so, so not.  But it's true, I have a *massive* case of startitis at the moment!  There's the two socks I started over my Christmas holiday.  There's the scarf I started, just a 1x1 rib, alternating black and Chroma, which has a hat and mittens planned to go with it (sadly one of my kids misplaced my other knitting needle, so I may need to get another set).  Then, it occured to me that I am co-throwing a shower for a dear friend who is having a baby girl in April, and that I simply MUST knit her something!  So I cast on a Baby Surprise Jacket, my very first!  I'm knitting it in what I hope will be a newborn size (in Blue Violet which is so pretty I just may have to get some for myself for socks).  The pattern alarms me but I am assured it all will be clear.  And, I accidently ordered the video from KnitPicks when I thought I was getting the pattern, so if I have to break it open, I will.  And there's all sorts of yarn and patterns calling to me.  It's not so much that my creative juices are flowing, but that I'm just feeling all energized and ready to get some things DONE!

I've got some sewing to do too. I made my daughter two little plain A-line, elastic waist skirts because my husband decided that "leggings are NOT pants" and that she needs more to cover her.  This is so baffling to me, in part because she's long and lanky and always has been, so to get pants long enough, they're always baggy, even leggings.  And she's 3.  But whatever, he's an awesome co-parent so I'm going to respect his wishes.  Of course, I have *no* idea where the skirts got to!  They're somewhere in my house. *sigh*  And I've got fleece for new hats for all the kids, plus socks for me. Because I need more fleece socks.  No, really, I do.  For some reason, this year, I've gotten more into shirts with some embellishment on them, which means I don't really want to be wearing patterned socks.  So I need some plain socks!

Last night, I climbed into bed early to read, and ended up falling asleep at 9 pm and waking up at 7 this morning.  This seems like a really good thing to me, so I'm going to try and get to bed early this week. In part, I'm trying to get more exercise into my life, and sadly, the only time that really works in my schedule these days is 6 am.  I have a high school reunion, a college reunion, and a second honeymoon (WOOO!) coming up this summer, so I'd like to be in slightly better shape than I am.  We'll see.  I always have plans....

I remember college, where parties didn't start until 11:00 pm and just shake my head.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Heavy and Light

So, something really really big is happening for me tomorrow.  It's entirely positive, but I've had a much stronger emotional reaction than I anticipated.  To explain it, I need to explain some history.  When I was in college a million years ago, I had my first Real Love.  I moved 3,000 miles to live with him. It wasn't the healthiest of relationships, and ended badly.  I moved to Somerville, MA, got a cat and felt rejected and unlovable.  I was drinking too much and *deep* in throes of my eating disorder.  Living alone wasn't really all that great for me.  During this time, I met a guy.  A record store guy.  A guy who was so different from me, and who ended up hating me for everything I was, everything he felt he wasn't. A guy with a big fat monkey on his back, and that monkey's name was heroin. What should have been a 2-week fling ended up being 4 years, much of it as bad as you can imagine.  He was mean to me. He insulted me, humiliated me, lied to me, stole from me, left me with thousands of dollars of debt.  Last of all, he beat me up.  To take the rent money, to go buy drugs.  Because, I - LIKE AN IDIOT - gave him my PIN.  He'd hit me before, more than once, but this was a beating.  This later stuff all happened when I was, ironically enough, in my first year of Ph.D. program...IN COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY.  I know, it's crazy to me.  I was a feminist!  I volunteered for a rape and domestic violence crisis line!  I was going to be a therapist!  And yet, there I was, drowing in in someone else's addiction, and a victim to his rage.  There are many, many reasons as to how I ended up there.  While he bears the lion's share of the responsibility, I do take my own.  It's not just that I stayed - I went back to him.  More than once.  But, when it finally came down to that last cataclismic fight, I had what may have been the greatest epiphany of my adult life.

You get what you settle for.

I finally understood that this was never, ever going to change for the better.  It was only going to get worse, until he finally really really hurt me, or (more likely) died from an OD.  And I had that moment of absolute clarity that I can only believe came from source outside of me, that voice in my head so clear that said "GET OUT."  I felt so entangled, so responsible, so guilty.  I thought he might kill himself.  I realized I could live with that.  I called his mother, I got him out.  I had support and help, of course, but in that crucial moment, I was completely alone, and I dug deep and found what I needed to change my life.

As part of the aftermath of that experience, I had literally thousands of dollars of debt.  So I took a big extra student loan, and paid off the credit card debt.  That loan has been hanging over me since then.  As a stay at home mom for the last 10 years, and now earning, well, not much, it's been my husband's money that's been paying those loans.  My amazing, supportive, kind, generous, gentle husband - for whose presense I give thanks every single day.  It's not just payment for my mistakes - I did earn that Ph.D. too! - but that's a huge part of what those loans represent to me.  Every time I saw the note for the payment in our bank account, I cringed, and felt that remembered shame of what I let that man do to me.  I remember what it felt like to be sobbing on the phone in the Harvard Square T stop, calling my dad because I couldn't pay my rent.  Hiding my bruises.  Lying.  Covering. Apologizing.  I don't think I'll ever forget.

Because of an amazing piece of good fortune, yesterday, I scheduled the payment to pay off the rest of the loan.  I panicked before I hit send, and made my husband come over.  "You do it!" I said.  "Do you want me to?" he asked.  I thought for a moment.  "No. I want to do it." And I did. I hit send.  That payment will clear tomorrow, and it feels like it clears the last piece of that old relationship from this amazing life that I have today.  My sweetie's out of town, so (barring getting the horrible barfing flu that's been sweeping my town) tomorrow night I'm taking the kids out to dinner and then we're coming home for a family movie night. And I'm going to marvel in the basic joy my life holds.

There's something so powerful about remembering that moment in that little apartment where the guy and I lived, standing at the crossroads, making a choice without fully knowing what I was doing, but only knowing that I could not survive the way I was.  I had no idea the joy, the love, the awesomeness that was in store for me.  I feel like a weight has lifted.  You get what you settle for, so why settle for anything less than amazing?