16 June 2009

On the Knitting Front

Looking back, I have been in love with the fiber arts for a very long time. I think it really started when my Oma taught me to cross-stitch that week she stayed with us while Mom and Dad were in Germany, I was 10. I still remember that first project too: screen-printed flowers on a muslin-type material, I still have it, it's still unfinished; something about my perfectionism and those pesky french knots that kept me from ever finishing that particular sampler. I have gone on to finish many more projects over the years, gave many as gifts, and I still have many languishing in a box labeled "unfinished x-stitch projects". Maybe I'll finish those one day.

Around the same time as my introduction to cross-stitch, I learned how to sew with a sewing machine. I think I had already done some hand sewing, making little things for my dollhouse or a little pillow for my dolls, I don't really remember learning how to sew that well, it's one of those things I feel like I've always done. Anyway, I ended up making both my junior and senior prom dresses in high school. I still have those, and a stack of patterns and fabric I'd like to get back to eventually.

I think it was in those same elementary years that I received my knitting knoddy from Oma, a red and white mushroom. I made yards and yards of knitted tubes with it and sewed them into various shapes, some of them ended up in my dollhouse too. I also learned how to make a crocheted chain, this was an art Mom and I worked on together. Unfortunately, I never got past the chain stage at that time.

Hurtle through those teenage years, I was content sewing and cross-stitching, really enjoyed them and excelled in those arts.

I picked crocheting back up as an adult, Joseph was a baby and I had just begun watching kids at home and I needed something to occupy my "off" time. So I started crocheting again, I learned how to make some really pretty doilies and started working on a couple afghans. The doilies got completed, the afghans are in a box labeled "unfinished crochet".

My sister is the one who introduced me to knitting. She came to visit, bearing a fuzzy blue yarn and size 8 needles. One of her friends in college had just showed her how to knit and she wanted to share her new-found knowledge with me. Thank you Becka!

We struggled with the yarn and needles that night, the yarn was too bulky for that size needles, I know that now, but neither of us understood it then. I think I must have gone out and picked up some yellow yarn, or found some in my little stash of crochet yarn, I also bought myself a book to help me out. So with Becka's first instruction and my new yarn and book, I launched myself into a new art which at times seems to overtake my life. The first thing I knit was a bright yellow acrylic square, I think it's still floating around somewhere. After mastering the knit and purl stitches, I naturally moved on to something that I wanted to knit for myself...a pair of socks! Since I had no one to tell me that socks are supposed to be difficult, I just looked for a pattern online bought the required yarn (it was acrylic, not having been introduced to the joys of knitting with natural fibers yet) and needles and launched into it. Before too long, I had my very first pair of purple socks. From there, there were no limits to what I could do.

I think the next thing I did was buy myself a sock knitting pattern book, The Sock Calendar. And then I visited my local yarn store, and I learned about knitting socks in wool...this was love!

I discovered the wonderful online community associated with the fiber arts and thus began another adventure. I originally began this blog so long ago as a way to share my arts with others (and to show off my kids). So if you scroll back through the archives, you'll see some of the many items I've knit both for myself and for others. I joined Ravelry.com, perfect for my list-making tendencies, I can organize all my list of my books, pdfs, yarns and needles, and it's all electronic!

Sadly, with graduate school and life in general, all of these loves had been put aside for a while. I am now finding the importance of carving out the time to indulge in these little pleasures again. Mom reminded me the other day how knitting seems to calm me the best, and I have now remembered that, having picked up the needles again.

I've almost finished a swiffer cover, have been working on Becka's bridal shawl (which will now be a christening shawl when the time comes) and have picked up my beautiful Clessidra socks again. I am finding peace in the repetition of the stitches, the yarn running through my hands and the occupation of my mind with the pattern.

15 June 2009

On Mondays.

Before church yesterday, while I was in the shower, I had this wonderful blog post roaming around in my head (I always mull over my writing for a while before I even begin to type it out). Anyway, too much happened after church, a massive caffeine headache that left me lying down for most of the afternoon until the Naproxin kicked in, a lengthy phone conversation that I'm still trying to figure out whether it served any purpose at all, and needless to say I never got to posting my thoughts yesterday.

Thinking about it again this morning in the shower, it is where I do my best thinking, I decided that it was a worthy topic to attempt again...of course only after I've gotten coffee in my system.

I was thinking about the calendar yesterday morning and decided that I really like how French calendars are laid out. I know a weird thing to think about, but when you teach a language these little tidbits of information always come up in the classroom, and me being the thoughtful type....well, often it turns into a blog posting.

So, the French calendar starts each week with Monday, now you Monday haters are going to wonder why this pleases me, but I happen to love Mondays. I was born on a Monday, my youngest daughter was born on a Monday, I've always had a fondness for the day. I also like to think about Monday as a fresh start for the week, it's a chance to launch into the week with a new vigor and make it a good one.

I also reason that Sunday belongs at the end of the week, no point in splitting up the weekend. I look at Sundays as my day of worship, closing out the previous week and opening the opportunity for a positive week to come. I feel this sense of worship whether I choose to attend church or not, Sunday is still my day set aside for quiet meditation and praise.

This week is monumental, my last week teaching at UF, ever, and transitioning to working full-time hours for the first time in several years, while still keeping motherhood as my top priority and carving out time to write my thesis before mid-July. I am so close to the end of this journey to my Master's degree, yet still so far to go.

Elisabeth has been in Washington, DC with the school safety patrols this weekend. They left on Friday morning at midnight and traveled through the day to arrive Friday evening. Today is their third day of touring and they return home tomorrow. I am so proud of her for taking this trip, this is such a big step for her. But I can't wait to see her tomorrow, I miss my girl when she's not here.

Joseph survived his first week of summer camp at the Y. He ended up going with me to teach on Friday because he had a fever, his comments upon leaving the classroom, "Mommy, I've never been that quiet ever." and "I've never heard a class that quiet before!" It was a test day, and apparently the silence of the classroom really impressed him. We ended up enjoying a great afternoon together, it's not often that I get one-on-one time with any of my kids, so when it happens, even if it's because they are sick, I really treasure the time together.

Margaret is, well, Margaret...she truely is her own person, unique, strong, hilarious. I love watching her grow into her personality and seeing her attempt to keep up with the big kids, and succeed, is the coolest thing. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for her, because it can be nothing short of greatness.

So, here's to Monday...and a great week ahead.

13 June 2009

no more anonymous comments

When I reactivated my blog, I inadvertently left the ability for anonymous comments as active. I have corrected this oversight, and now anyone who wishes to comment to my blog must first register. In addition, I will now be moderating comments. If I do not recognize your user name and you do not identify yourself in the first line of your comment, not only will your comment not be posted, I will not read it either.

Therefore, if you wish to make comments such as the one to my previous post, you should have the decency and fortitude to identify yourself.

12 June 2009

a dream is a wish your heart makes...

With the ups and downs in my life lately, sometimes it just seems easier to resort to dreams. I seem to go through cycles lately, passing from nights of wakefulness when I am happy to just catch two or three hours of restless sleep to nights of such deep, dreamless sleep that leave me feeling just as tired as those sleepless ones.

But my favorite nights are the dream-filled ones, ones where I awake with such a feeling of warmth from all the positive thoughts swimming around in my head, ones I emerge from and want to immediately retreat back into their cozy cocoon. I have cycled back to these dream-filled nights and I am quite happy here. These nights leave me feeling that there are good things just on the horizon, I only need to reach it.

This is probably one of the most transitional times I've experienced in my life, and also one of the most uncertain. The negativity surrounding this relocation case and the uncertainty of it is starting to take it's toll on me. I am finding I need more and more self-reassurance that it will work out according to God's will. And I find myself retreating more and more into my own dream world, an attempt to escape from the harsh reality of it all and to try to find a sliver of good in this life I live.

I have experienced many blessings along the way, and I relish each and every happy moment I have. I must, when without fail, the best days are turned sour. I long for the time when I can savor my joy for as long as I wish, and not allow it to be taken away by anyone else. Knowing that I cannot change anyone but myself, I am personally working toward this, it is a difficult road, requiring me to change thought processes that have been ingrained for more than 10 years.

In the meantime, I go through the motions: I teach, I work, I take care of my kids, I take care of myself, I dance, I write...and I dream, wishing all the while that they would only come true.

09 June 2009

Coming back to blogging...

My life has been a whirlwind this past year and many of the things I love have been put on the back burner. Things have not really begun to settle down yet, but I am making a commitment to myself to begin to enjoy those past-times that once brought so much joy to me and those that I have not had the opportunity to experience for the past 12 years: knitting, dancing, spending time with true friends, blogging...so here I am again.

I figure I will put a very brief update here for those of you who may have thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth, if anyone who ever read this little blog are still around. I am now divorced, still have 3 beautiful children, still working on that MA in French and looking to move my life forward in many ways.

I've been accepted to the French Linguistics program at Indiana University and I'm currently working on getting permission from the courts in Florida to move up there with my kids. This will mean moving in with my parents who live near enough to the university to commute daily and who will provide an awesome support system that I have been lacking for so long. I won't go into details of the case since it is pending, still waiting for the court date, all I will say is that it is proving to be more difficult than ever expected.

I have found through the experience of my divorce and this process of relocation that I have some amazing friends, old and new. Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with some of my high school friends and they have proven themselves to be true friends, providing the support of a listening ear and prayer. I have also discovered that I've been working with some really cool people for the past two years, finally having the ability to spend time with them and build true relationships, I have discovered those same listening ears and prayerful support, as well as fun people to hang out with. I only wish that I would have realized it sooner, we are all going our separate ways in a few short weeks and I will miss everyone dearly.

The kids have fared as well as can be expected through this past year. I have seen many changes in them for the positive as they are being exposed to a new environment at Mommy's house, my understanding is not the same of their behavior at Daddy's house, but I can never know for certain. They are adjusting well to the time-sharing schedule of spending about half of their nights at each house, but they are so adaptable, I feel they would adjust to whatever life throws their way and still come out on top.

They have all grown so much, it's hard to believe that Elisabeth just finished 5th grade and will be moving onto middle school next year, Joseph has completed 1st grade and was accepted into the gifted program (but is still bored in school) and Margaret is now 2 years old and shows no delays in development due to her prematurity...they are all amazing children.

These next few weeks will be a great challenge for me. I will finish teaching my last class at UF in a week and a half, I will need to focus on getting my thesis finished by the end of July and also prepare for a relocation trial around the same time as my thesis defense. Being someone who thrives on planning her life, whether the plans fall into place or not, I am finding myself struggling with the uncertainty of my life right now and leaning more and more on prayer and the support of those around me, both near and far.