I can hardly believe that 2012 is drawing to a close. There is this one hearty month left to embrace the last of the year.
Things changed a lot for me and although the circumstances bringing about new ways aren’t always positive, such as death or ill health, the place where I am is good. So good. I see my grandma every single day; I feel so lucky to have her. She is 89. Since March, I have been volunteering as a researcher and archivist at the local museum. The work that I do there is consuming in the best of ways. I am a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Clouseau. Living with disease is always present and while I deal with it very well, I struggle with the awkward explanation, when necessary, to other people. “I have autoimmune polyglandular failure, with primary Sjögren’s, type I diabetes, and hypothyroidism.” It is difficult to explain what that means, so I am okay with not elaborating. I am very much okay.
However, I am ready to come up with some new projects for myself. December is the month that I declare to do so. I surely don’t know what as of yet, but I think that I will focus on the house, making things, and finding some new grooves.
It might as well be stated that I sense a shift coming on in the way that I write in my journal. Over the last decade, it has happened approximately five clear times. I shifted focus from home and cooking to poetry and photos to personal journaling and photos to home and photos and now to… wherever life takes me. I’m up for the journey. And, as always, I am guided by the following quote.
The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once,
and my conviction is to report that dialogue.
— Stanley Kunitz
Type I Diabetes. Lupus. Sjögren’s Syndrome. Hypothyroidism. Arthritis. I can’t work. I don’t receive disability. I will probably always be dependent upon others.
There they are roaming around now, let out of their cages, leaving muddy footprints everywhere and chewing on my plants.
Sometimes, life seems easier when I keep these truths hidden because of the responses that they evoke. I understand questions and concern, even if it sometimes makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t know how to deal with sympathy, yet I get that it has good intention. There are other responses too, some of them really ignorant, but I don’t give that any energy at all. The most wonderful thing lately has been the friendships that I am developing where, honestly, my health is so effortlessly not an issue. This is empowering and it carries over into other parts of my life.
Without getting too wordy, because when you spend months and years thinking about things, you just want to keep it simple, I believe that I’m at a point where I can begin to accommodate a little less for these beasts, let them be themselves.
The mess that they leave? That’s not me. It’s them. It is the disease. Can you see me looking out of the window and waving? I’m still here.
[Edited to add: I want to emphasize that I’m doing great emotionally. I feel like there’s been a bit of a transcendence in my life, and that is what I’m trying to convey, clumsy as it may be. xo)
Through my blog reader, most especially, I have noticed the discernible lack of winter throughout the US this year. I don’t know about other countries and continents, although curious, and whether they too experienced the winter of less-than. It has never been a secret that the coldest season is my favorite and I rarely pick a favorite of anything. I’m too much of the mind that variety is the spice of life and I’ve spent my life trying not to ever have to select just one. That said, winter trumps the heck out of nearly everything else for me.
So, this lack of that we’ve experienced in most of the states has been rather confusing, for plant and beast alike. I mean, of all things, I find myself ready for spring. That completely shocks me. Of course, last year I was determined to find a place in my heart for summer, and I did. I am finding a balance in the seasons again, not that I don’t wish we’d had a proper winter. It’s certainly not too late, by any means.
One of my favorite variables in gardening is the structure of the cold-season garden. You can’t completely plan that. Solid structures can be counted upon to some degree, as well as trees and other plants with some heft or strong stems. The birds and bunnies might peck and pat. After that, the biggest influence upon the architecture is the weather itself. So far this season, I have been unimpressed with the display until I realized that it is nearly March and not only does the Red Russian kale grow, but the Five Color Silverbeet Swiss chard too.
I am so used to a gray scale winter garden that this shock of color nearly threw me off of my gait and onto the wet, muddy path. This isn’t the winter of my Scandinavian-heart dreams, but, oh, I will certainly take it.
Last week, during an outing with a friend and my daughter, we stopped by a favorite toy store. While there I spotted a sheet of mini puffy monkey stickers, and my husband just happens to love monkeys.
When I got home, I began putting them on his things, but in obscure places.
After he came home from work, I sang to him, to the tune of an old Sesame Street song, “Some of your things are not like they once were. Some of your things are kinda the same. Can you guess which things are not like they once were?” He went slightly insane for about a day while he tried to figure it out. Then, he began finding monkeys. Everywhere. He just called to tell me that he found one and, while on the phone, he discovered another. I have about 30 left to hide.
It’s the little things, isn’t it?!
Whew. I got back on my horse with the picture project, A Month of Craft Photos. I’m almost caught up again. It is weird how day eight with the word prompt “challenging” proved, indeed, to be quite a challenge. Just a few more snaps… tomorrow.
It has been snowing and it’s so lovely outside. The sky and the ground have been the same color most of the day. Additionally, and sweetest, I have not a place in the world to go except for my favorite chair with its just-right foot stool. My husband is out of town for the week, and when that happens, on this first night I make a super-quick supper for myself so that I can crochet and watch something fluffy on television, with little action and no loud sounds.
Recently, and always really, I have been very wrapped up in examining my habits and routines, most of which are positive, at least in intention though not always in execution. For a long time, I have believed that there can be great comfort in daily rituals. Some of the movements within our days are like a prayer, they lift us and move us and they carry us through our days.
Per usual, I started jotting down my ideal routines and thought to start implementing them, but then I realized that what I consider ideal isn’t necessarily realistic or even right for me. Sure, I’d like to get all of my exercise accomplished first thing in the morning, yet my body doesn’t allow that and so I have to do it when I feel best, when it is of greatest benefit and when I’m most likely to enjoy whatever I’m doing. Another routine that is really important to my well being revolves around the things that I do in the hour before I go to bed. Mornings are difficult, yet they are much easier to deal with if I have prepped the coffee maker, laid out my clothing, went through all the steps of my skin care routine, do a quick tidy, and ease into bed by 10pm instead of racing there.
This is all a work in progress, but I’m enjoying it so much more than usual… these observations of myself, learning what works best, living as who I truly am.
- DIY Houses by Night — My goodness, these lit-up houses charm me with their wee glow. I hope that I can remember this idea next December when I’m brightening up the house during the dark days of winter.
- Citrus Salt — I’d like to mix up a batch of this citrus salt, something fresh-like to add to all this root-cellar food.
- Seed Swap Brunch — I attended a brunch at my friend Lee’s house and we swapped seeds. Actually, I just ate and then mooched seeds since I used up almost everything last year.
- Wisconsin Recall Petitions — It is so thrilling that the petition to recall Governor Scott Walker received over one million signatures. The last year has been a politically-heated one here in Wisconsin and the likelihood of upcoming elections is somewhat of a relief. I don’t look forward to all of the attack ads, but that’s why I don’t watch television unless it is a program on DVR so that I can fast-forward through anything unnecessary.
- Very January — I have made six of these in the last year, the One Row Lace Cowl. I usually tire of a pattern quickly, needing to challenge my mind and my crocheting skills on a continual basis. When working on a long-term project, like Mister Winter, I just have to mix in some quick things to make so that I can get my finished-project fix. It’s always the best feeling when I finish something off and then fill in the details on Ravelry.
I have a slight infatuation with my local Ace Hardware store. They seem to carry a lot of items, of both cheap and good quality, that catch my eye. I am especially liking the metal clips that I found in the clearance department. First, I bought four. Several days later, I went back and purchased eight. I am looking tomorrow to see if I can just grab the last two dozen. I love that they match. I love that they aren’t made of cheap plastic. Here they clip some peppercorns as well as dried chiles, naughty treats that my husband and child purchase, and one too many bags of oyster crackers.
I adore that basket, as cheap as it is, and it absolutely beckons to be used for crochet projects.
Like so many others, I look at the new year with fresh eyes and as an opportunity to make changes. I like to evaluate myself and my life a bit, consider what I haven’t done and what I would like to do and, most importantly, who I am as a whole. I feel out how to merge the facts with the intended future.
This last year, I tried to shift my thinking about where I have to be in my life to do a variety of things. For instance, I found myself often thinking, “when I am not in pain (or have more energy), I can/will … ” I began to realize that I was banking my future on the unknown and not working toward a solution. Something that I had largely left behind in my cloud of ill health was entertaining at home. Throughout most of my adult life, I’d thrown somewhat large thrice-yearly parties, plus other get-togethers with friends or family on a regular basis. It waned over the course of the last dozen years, until it virtually stopped. In the spring of 2011, I applied a new mode of thinking to this area. I gingerly began to host friends and family. It continued straight through to the holidays and I am so glad that I just did it. True, what once took me two days now takes a week, but at least I have that knowledge and I’m gentle with myself about the fact that this is how things best work.
I look forward to hosting a great many more gatherings in the coming year.
My future in 2012 seems very open, like a blank notebook. (Oh, my fetish for new diaries and ledgers is beyond measure!) I do like this image of my new year, a fresh and clean pad of paper, a daybook just waiting to be filled with my thoughts and movements through a day, my hustled and harried adventures, the ill-begotten messes and stretches of mundane, a sampling of moments, a glimpse of any day.
I want to write about clever gifts and sparkly lights, lit candles, warm food, holiday-gathering planning, squall mittens and bulky cowls, dark days, long nights, the woods and the river, and village life.
Instead, I will just keep thinking about all of that and resting a bit. It is such a difficult thing to do, especially in December. I want boundless energy, or just a little bit of energy. I don’t like that it is so finite. I also dislike that I’m griping, though really I’m grateful for all that I do have and all that I can do, even if for the moment it’s just looking at my list of lists as well as all of those subsequent lists.
And maybe lifting my arms enough to crochet some motifs. Oh, and, hello, Friday.
(Gauntlet project HERE.)