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26 April 2012


Someone very, very dear to me died on 10 April, and i just learned of it today. 

Please forgive me for a bit of self-pity.  The circumstances in which i learned this were difficult.  It is reminiscent of 1997 when i called to talk to a dear friend and professor of mine – we used to lunch together every two to three months – and being informed over the phone that he had died two months previous.  Ever since then my deepest dread has been that my dear Montana mom will die and no one will bother to tell me. Or that something would happen to my dearest college friend, Greg, and no one will let me know.  (In fact, i’ve not heard from him in a several months.  I need to call him.)

This is essentially the same.  The loss is something that is going to leave an enormous hole in my life.  If i don’t respond to comments or don’t comment at your blog for a while, please forgive me. 

I’m still in shock. 

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God's got a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him laughing
DEPECHE MODE/ Martin L. Gore


22 April 2012

Spring came while we were away

A week ago Saturday, i woke to this:

The official storm total was 12 inches, but we only had about 10 here, tho it was wet, heavy snow.

Due to some complications at work for Duane, we had to stay down this week until Friday night.  We got home rather late, near 10 PM.  Saturday morning this weekend i woke to this:

I went out and got some pics today.  I also found tulips, and the roses have little leaves, the lilacs are starting to have little leaves and buds, and several of the fruit trees, too.  One of the tulips i found was yellow.  I don't remember yellow tulips from other years, only the red ones.  

It was a very warm week for Big Bear.  The last couple of days have been in the low 70s.  We are suppose to get rain this week, so we hope it will be rain and not snow!

I got to attend the knit group this week.  I had a couple of people model the hat i made.  Someone i know has cancer.  I've made her a couple of hats, but warm ones.  She wears wigs when out in public, but hats at home.  As it has been so warm in OC, i thought she might like something lighter weight.  I hope she likes it.  It didn't take a lot of time, but i'm very pleased with how it came out, especially the decreases at the top.  This project was knit on size 0, 1, and 2 needles.  I used the needles to do the decreases until the last bit where i did the decreases called for by the lace pattern but not the increases that were suppose to go with it.  I got the lace pattern from the Vogue Lace knit book, but i came up with the hat myself, so i'm pleased with the result.

I also was able to give my friend her scarf last week, knit for her Birthday.  So now i can post the pics.  I'm very proud of it, too.  It ended up being something like 740 rows, knit on size 0 needles!  I know it has a few flaws, but even i would have to look hard to find them, so i'm really pleased with how well it came out.

And, as we were in OC for the whole week, i was able to visit with a dear friend on Friday.  She comes to Costa Mesa (a couple of miles away from my ILs house) on Fridays to take care of her granddaughter.  I used to take care of this baby's mama years ago while her mama, my friend, was working.  It was lovely to have the chance to visit with them.

But, lovely as it was, i don't plan to do this anytime again soon.  I was utterly, completely, totally exhausted Thursday night and the whole thing was a challenge.  Fortunately, Duane seems to have settled whatever the problem was and we don't plan to stay down long weeks any more.  Last week he brought me home on Wednesday and went back on Thursday to complete the week.  Well, and it is hard to be home for just a couple of days, too, and be pretty exhausted, and get everything done i need to before we go back again.  Originally we were to go down on Monday this week, but i convinced Duane to tell them we could not as we had other commitments.  I don't think i would have managed had we been down that long.  

I always have lots of stuff in my head that i then never get around to writing.  

So, how is your week?  Do you have warm weather?  Has spring arrived for you?


09 April 2012

Happy Easter

The Lord is risen.  He is risen indeed.  Hallelujah!

We had a very quiet Easter.  

For many years Duane's aunt and uncle have hosted an Easter potluck.  We usually go.  We gave it a miss a couple of years ago because of some family drama that we wanted to avoid, but we usually are there.  We only see most of these folks twice, or maybe three times a year, and this is one of those times.  

We learned on Tuesday that they wouldn't be having it this year as they had other plans.  Our learning about it was inadvertent - had we not learned of it thru a third party we would have assumed the family had the potluck like normal but we weren't included.

Now i understand this:  "We want to do something different this year. We're going to take a trip."  I miss seeing the folks, but i totally understand.

What i don't understand is why no one bothered to tell us or Duane's parents.  By the time we learned about this on Tuesday, it was too late for us to make other arrangements like inviting folks to our house.  And for that, i'm very disappointed and a bit hurt, too.  

I guess the fact is that we need to make our own plans for a holiday, and if they coincide with the family, fine, but otherwise we won't depend on waiting on them to clue us in. 

There is more i have to say, but i think i'll stop there.  I've been struggling with anger on a lot of issues - no children, disability, limited abilities and energy, limited work, my inability to change any of these things and  i've not been well organized in what i can manage.  I think, right now, i hate myself a lot.  So i tend to be pretty angry and anything, everything seems to add fuel to the fire.  

I don't talk much, haven't blogged much, try to keep quiet because it seems that everything i think or say is so very negative.  

But, on the other hand, it is nice to just stay home.  Not going to a family potluck saved us from four or more hours (traffic could add another full hour) to a commute there and back.  

The truth is too, in my mind these family events are "fun" because that is how i want to remember them.  But if i'm honest, i don't really find them fun at all.  I struggle so much with conversation.  Sometimes, when i try to join the sisters-in-law or cousins in conversation, they stop talking when i come up.  I don't think they are "talking about me" so much as they are talking about private things and private history that i don't share with them, i'm not included.  My sister used to come some years, and that at least gave me someone to spend the time with.  The truth is, i find these things exhausting, and i'm better without them.  But i can't help but be hurt that no one thought it worth the bother to let us know.  

Jesus died and rose again to save me from myself and my sin.  So i guess that is all i need, right?


02 April 2012

Hunger Games

So, the Hunger Games movie is out.  It is attracting a lot of attention.  Someone who likes the same books/authors as i do recommended Hunger Games books to me a while ago.  I got the first one probably about a month ago, but then i heard the movie was coming out and decided to wait to read it.  In general, i dont feel that a movie does a book justice and then i am disappointed with it.  (I think the Harry Potter series is an exception, tho they did not follow the books as closely for movies 3 thru 8.)

I knew the basic premise of the books:  Young people chosen for a contest where they fight to the death.  I approached the whole thing with some trepidation.  Stephen King (one of my favorite authors) has written a couple of books with this as a basic premise.  They are among my least favorite books of his, and ones i never recommend for others to read. 

The movie was well done.  Duane enjoyed it.  I have since read the first book.  I can see where this is all going, somewhat.  I will read the other two books, but quite honestly i have far too much imagination and can vividly picture a world in which something like this becomes the norm and i'm not comfortable with that world. 

I was doing some online searching and came across a critique of someone who didn’t like it (and didnt read the book in advance).  His criticism, in part was:    
The Hunger Games asks us to buy a dystopian future where . . . societies are made to offer up two teenagers as tribute to fight for honor and glory. All but one of those 24 teenagers will die, every year. . .
Here is my very simple question: what on Earth (and we are on Earth) would ever lead to this really happening? The story wants us to believe that this is a possible future . . . but I'm not buying it for a second. . . I don't believe that killing children for sport will ever be one of them… and I'm a pretty liberal guy. It just makes zero sense. It goes against our biological nature to harm our children; there is no way that 12 districts would just say "oh, we're fine with this." Now, maybe there's some interesting history here… maybe the first Games were basically carried with the districts being at gunpoint or something… but that's history we need to know if we're meant to accept that this could actually happen.

I dont share this critics view.  Tho to a degree i agree that it is hard to think of any type of game show, etc., to have a contest to the death, it isnt hard for me to imagine that it could occur.  I dont think any of the districts just said, Oh, we’re fine with this.  They lost a war, and this is the price of that war.  What is more, this was a large part of control over the different districts.  It was exercising power, pure and simple.  To a degree the Capitol was saying, "Be thankful we only take 2 of your children each year and pray we don't change this."  

We do live in a world in which the Christians were fed to the lions.  More recently we have had Nazi concentration camps and in Soviet Russia there were many people who simply disappeared for a variety of reasons.  I dont think that either of these cultures (German or Russian) were okay with this, but when you have no power it is not possible to stand up and say, No.  Not my child.  The protesting parent would be shot and the child taken anyway.  There are still cultures today where this happens, and in some Muslim countries women can be put to death on a whim.  Im afraid that i find it all too plausible that such a society could develop in the future. 

Another reason for my discomfort with the movie is that i simply dont like competitions.  Even competitions that are essentially innocuous bother me.   Oh, i can manage with Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune tho i don’t generally choose to watch them.  But i do not like reality TV.  It isnt too much of a stretch of my imagination to think of the type of competition shown in Hunger Games. Frankly, i see the TV show Wipeout as veering in that direction (and im surprised no one has been seriously hurt yet).  The only reason ive seen this particular show is that my ILs enjoy it.

Ive been trying to pinpoint my reason for dislike of competition, and once again, i think it originates in childhood. 

Family dynamics when i was a child were set so that only one person in the house could have whatever.  I dont know that i can share a good example.  For one thing, it seemed that praise was given to only one child for a talent.  Thus, only my youngest sister could be good at piano playing, only my second sister good at artwork, only myself good at singing.  But that praise was never given to the person praised.  I never knew my mother praised my voice, but i knew the things in which my sisters excelled.  They never heard praise for those things, either, but only the praise for the other girls.  Im sure it was because my mother wasnt comfortable in giving complements (i struggle with that myself), but this inadvertently set up a feeling of never being good enough and some competition.   My youngest sister has also told me that if there were three of something to be given as gifts, and one was slightly nicer than the other two, both of my sisters knew that item was going to me. 

Now, i think this occurred after id moved away and cut off most contact with my family.    I think, to a degree it was my mother trying to buy me, or to apologize or something.  Im tremendously sad about this for a multitude of reasons.  First, im simply sad that my sisters had to experience this.  Second, there was nothing, absolutely nothing my mother could do to buy me, my love, my consideration.  Third, frankly, in those days many times whatever my mother gave me went straight to the thrift store.  For a long time i did not want anything that came from her.  I wasnt able to appreciate what she was trying to do.

I find it sad and rather ironic that our family had this competition dynamic because our parents spaced children specifically with the intention of giving us individual attention and had only three for the same reason.  Mother herself was one of eleven and never felt much love or attention from her parents.  Sadly, too, the spacing of her children left her more freedom to abuse or at least neglect each of us in turn.  I do not for a moment believe that this was intentional, but it was an unforeseen result of the spacing of the kids. 

I, in fact, probably did receive the most attention when i was small.  She worked very hard to have me on track to read early, and even taught me some needlework when i was small.  I do think i came in for a fair amount of abuse, but the award for being most abused goes to my second sister.  There are two reasons for that, i think.  One is that my mother and second sister are the most alike.  Ive seen several instances of parents struggling the most with the child who is most like them in personality.  The other reason is that sister number two just couldnt seem to leave our mother alone.  She wanted attention (as all children do) and kept trying to get it.  

But our mother was not in a place where she could provide that.  I learned very early on to give her a wide berth and i did not seek her out.  In fact, i learned early to actively avoid her and to lie when she asked questions about my day.  (I remember my first lie about my school day was when i was 6.)  Somehow my second sister just couldnt give our mother that space.  And so, she was up front and in the way and thus most available to be abused. 

I KNOW my parents meant well.  They provided a lovely home for us, and provided all our necessities if not all our desires. 

That is not a bad thing.  I think children who have every whim met and never encounter disappointment or delay in gratification or consequences for actions are injured in an entirely different but significant way. 

I think my parents simply did not have the skills to create a community in our home.  We each stood as individuals but did not know how to stand together to support one another.  Oh, we girls came in for some of that naturally.  But largely the feeling we had of being in competition with one another seems to have occurred because my parents did not know how to encourage cohesiveness. 

What i do know is that i would do just about anything to avoid competition with someone else these days.  Thus movies/TV shows with a major part of the plot being competition make me very uncomfortable. I find Hunger Games plot with competition to the death particularly is uncomfortable.  However, the movie was very well done and i do think it can stand on its own, tho the book did a better job of giving history/background/reasoning and the feeling of the protagonist, of course. 


01 April 2012

This week

This pic is from our trip off the mountain a couple of weeks ago.  

I stayed home this week.  My office was closed as the doctor was away on vacation.  It feels like i didn’t accomplish much.  I was working on some “spring cleaning” which, in my opinion, is a rather thankless job.  Somehow it is easy to just move piles around so that the end result doesn’t look much different from the start. 

I ended up having Kimmy come to complete the downstairs, largely because i learned Thursday evening that my in-laws might pop in for a while Friday afternoon.  They did, and i would have been a basket-case had it not been for Kimmy.  Even so i was pretty exhausted.  She can do more in 4 hours than i can do in 4 weeks. 

I did attend three knit groups this week and a cooking demo (oven-roasted broccoli).  I’ve finished the lace scarf i was working on.  Well, that was done a while ago, but i blocked it to lie flat and worked the ends in. (Usually i’m pretty clear on lay vs. lie, but this time i had to look it up.  I lay out the scarf that is stretched to lie flat!) I’ve taken it everywhere to show off because i’m so proud of it.  It is the most delicate, complicated thing i’ve ever made, even tho it is just a scarf.  I think it is very beautiful. I’ll take pics and post them soon.   

As an aside, i know my finished scarf has a few mistakes in it, but i think even i would have to look hard to find them.  I’ve heard that in olden times people creating something would sometimes make a deliberate mistake because having something “perfect” was considered an offense to God.

I’ve started a new scarf that isn’t as intricate, but is very pretty and an easy lace pattern. This is the new scarf i'm starting:  Rivulet.  I had about 8 inches of it done and frogged the whole thing.  I had not used their cast on method (it is a pain), but decided to us it because it looks better.  I added an extra stitch to the edges and changed the double decrease so it loops differently, and i'm knitting on size 0 needles (i'd started with 2s before). 

This has been a week for movies, too.  I’ve watched quite a few while trying to get caught up with laundry and while knitting.  I watched Ordinary People, among others.  I remember the movie so very vividly, tho i don’t think i’d seen it since it first came out, tho i did read the book after seeing the movie.  One thing that i remember about the movie was that it was the first time i remember hearing Pachelbel’s Canon in D.  I thought it so very beautiful and haunting.  I’ve loved it since, and own many different versions of it.  I walked to it in our wedding, and only learned much later that it is considered a “wedding” staple.  The organist did decide to do her own variation of it, which i didn’t care for because i like the original, or variations close to the original.  I think she should have consulted with me first, but, oh well. 

That movie made a strong impression on me for its storyline, too.  My own family was different from the one described, and our issues were different too.  But i so recognized the part that Mary Tyler Moore played.  My mother was equally obsessed with making sure we “looked good” and created the “right impression” on everyone.  She worked very hard at this and evidently succeeded in creating that illusion as i’ve had several people tell me that they saw my family as “The Brady Bunch” in real life except we were not a blended family.  Our family was a real life version of “As far as anyone knows, we’re a nice normal family!” from The Simpsons.  In fact, i bought this poster when i was in college:

Duane and i also saw The Hunger Games, but i think i’ll save that for another time. 

This is an amaryllis, i think.  I was given the bulb for Christmas 2010.  Our house is too cold for it to do well, so i took it to Duane’s parents’ place and his dad took over it.  It didn’t do anything last year.  This is the first time it has bloomed and his dad is very proud of it.