Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan. 31: They're Back!

The La Romana crew is home, safe and sound, tan and tired. . . My two participants arrived around 9:30 pm yesterday, and today the whole group "was the sermon" in church. Each person spoke, movingly, honestly, without notes, about the trip, sharing a key insight. Elder's friend Neal was perhaps the most moving as he said, "Us just being there makes the people happy." Elder read the Lord's Prayer in rapid, beautifully accented Spanish, which totally blew me away. It was a moment of sheer rejoicing for the whole group.

And in the week they were gone, Younger finished my pj pants, his hooked rug (a three year effort), and made himself a knitted "Chain Chomp" hat (Ravelry link)!! Wish *I* could be that productive and crafty!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan. 25: Monday Work Day

Today was the trade-over day at school, but due to our snow day last week, many of us still have exams tomorrow (errr. . . . that would be me. AP English first thing). Still, it's great to have a chance to draw breath, clean, sort a bit, dump some things, and enter grades, and ponder, looking ahead and behind. And I did a good job today, spending about an hour visiting to start, then cleaning for two hours, then settling in to academic stuff, and some department head issues as well. Left around 3, got stamps--two 50 stamp rolls as opposed to the sheets we've been getting, which feels very secure!--and dropped six boxes of hand-me-over books from school at the library for the book sale. Settled in at home and basking in a sense of accomplishment.

It's gotten VERY warm in the past day, and we had on and off rain and mist. Now, as it gets dark, the rain is settling in, and the wind is rising. I am so very glad we had a day for the earth and snow to get used to the warmth, as we're due to get between one and two inches more precip tonight before we turn back to chillier temps tomorrow. In any case, it will be a noisy night tonight! Safe passage and warm sleeping to everyone in this weather pattern!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jan. 23: The Big Departure Day

Elder and BH left for the DR trip last night. They flew out this am at 6, so stayed overnight in Portland. Got a call this morning that they were on time to leave NYC at 11:17 for Santa Domingo! Much excitement, and it seems that Younger and I are settling down after the anticipation as well. Here's a shot of most of the group from our church prior to departure.

A few more things I like:

1. Our big sturdy new drying rack. I can fit TWO loads of laundry onto it, and that means NO DRYER USE. Yay!

2. Sun on snow. Wow.

3. The Amos Lee cd Elder gave me for Christmas. I play it all the time. He's my new Norah Jones!

4. Meals of soup, bread, and salad, sometimes, but not always, made by someone other than me.

5. Well-written British chick lit.

6. The booties that I can whip through in five-days-provided-we-have-a-long-faculty-meeting-and-a-snow-day. They're fun, very functional, and easy to make. Here's a not-very-good picture of the very pair that earned that name:

Monday, January 18, 2010

Jan. 18: And Now. . .

. . . woke up around 8:30 after a lovely night's sleep to find it snowing tiny, steady, dense flakes! Happy Monday off!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan. 17: Great ice!

In the midst of all my existential fuss and commotion and insomnia, there is much much much to enjoy and be thankful for. Skating on Eagle Lake today (me in my first ever brand new comfy high tech skates from BH) was certainly a big item on that list.

Breath taking, isn't it? What a great time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jan. 16: Thin Places

Well. Huge thanks to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for being born in January, thus giving us a three day weekend at at time when, even after a lovely nearly two week break in late December, we really need an extra pj morning. He was a gutsy and amazing man, and one who definitely adds a plus to the checkered history of organized religion, and hooray for a January b'day.

It's odd: I've been having a bit of a struggle with stress, hormones, and sleeping lately. It's the usual combo in which my inner self cooks up exactly the cocktail that will torment my outer self most effectively, because who knows how to drive me crazy better than. . . well, me? So I've been doing the right stuff--eating well, exercising, saying "no," seeing friends, making plans for fun stuff, knitting, keeping an eye on the big picture, taking a sleeping pill instead of lying awake fuming, etc.--but I'm still functioning on about 6 hours of sleep and a mildly suppressed sense of panic about that fact. I know it will pass: I have the journal entries to prove it. Whenever I think, "This is the worst round of insomnia since The First Big One in . . . 2001?" I go to my journal and hey! It's not! This happens every winter--sometimes in November, sometimes in February, often in January. It is, in an odd way, reassuring, as then my job becomes not "fixing it," but getting through it, learning from it, sitting with it. As a pragmatic fixer person, I hate that, but I think it's a good lesson.

AND. . . I am amazed how many of my friends are going through the same type of challenging time. I just got off the phone with my dearest friend, who's bedeviled by stress and worry and sadness, and my closest teaching friend is battling a migraine and generalized worry, and . . . . Suffice it to say, most of the women I know well enough for them to peel back the "Hey, I'm fine!" veneer are at a thin place right now. The earthquake just adds to it, partly as it creates guilt as we have our families around us, our houses intact, our bank accounts reasonably functional, but also as a layer of sadness and mourning.

So maybe this thin place is a part of the cycle of the year (or maybe I've been reading too many mythology-based ya novels: thanks, Terry P and Susan Cooper!), part of cleaning out, dealing with the dust bunnies of frustration with our spouses, global worries, panic about our ability to hold our worlds together. . . NOT THAT IT DOES NOT SUCK! I do not want to underestimate how much I hate the constant thinking about how I'm feeling or the loss of that blissful, freeing spin into the free fall of sleep. But. It feels like this is something female humans do. May we support ourselves and each other through it!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Jan. 9: Five Things I Like

I think I bumped into this on someone's blog lately, and it does appeal. I'll do one right now (nearly 4 pm on a Saturday afternoon; lots of good "got tos" behind me, bread rising, soup cooking, sun setting) and then repeat the process whenever I see fit. Ha!

Five Things I Like (In No Particular Order)

1. Dolly Parton. She's sassy, self-deprecating, loyal to her (musical) roots, and certainly a survivor! She also uses banjo backup often--a huge plus.

2. Sunshine on snow.

3. Busy birdfeeders.

4. The feeling I get when I put a bunch of personal letters into the mailbox, flip up the flag, and walk back to the house.

5. The Charybdis sock pattern that Glassoffashion has posted on her site. I'm making it for my sil and it is wonderful: pretty, interesting, fun, great for varigated yarn, and still very easy to remember.

Well, I have to add one that remains as a perennial favorite: well-timed traffic lights. I love the kind that operate on a pressure plate, so I'm never stuck waiting for a non-existent line of traffic to have its turn, and I marvel at the way that a well-planned set can turn a stressful, dangerous experience into a moment of Zen-like calm.

Off to get the mail.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Jan. 3, 2010: The First One!

Home and seated by the window with quiet, warm grey cat behind my head as dog races back and forth amongst us and the furnace works overtime to warm up the house. Had a wonderful, warm, rejuvenating family time with all but one sibling's family for the past four days--a time which really saved the vacation, which until then (well, after the 26th, anyway) had featured way too much of me trying to vacation and too little of me enjoying vacation. Not sure why: full moon, hormones, who knows what? But then we decided, in the teeth of dire snow forecasts, to head to Auburn early, and spent one night at Mom's rather than the hotel, and got to spend an extra evening with John and his wonderful family, and then moved to the hotel and starting visiting in earnest with everyone: Tom and Ellyn and kids, Ann, Dad and Nicci, and John and co (after their bout of illness). . . The extra day allowed Elder, Younger and me to spend a lovely time sledding at the high school and BH to go to see his dad, and that also allowed the wimmenfolk to make their annual Marden's trip, with some terrific results for me (bright green corduroy pants! A hot pink shirt!), and let Younger and BH go see "Avatar," which they'd been hoping to do. And in the muddle as well--good fun times, great simple food, lots of laughter, swimming and hot tubbing, snow watching, awesome hotel breakfasts, presents, listening to 1/2 of Hat Full of Sky, various workouts at the hotel (which always feels chic though efficient and is much fun with company) and much good stuff. What a great vacation.

And now I have two fun knitting projects, a fluff book I'm rereading and am halfway through, some great new clothes, and a lot of thank yous, good memories, and oh yes, a week of school (and food shopping to do tomorrow). But things seem good, happy, good, contented, and. . . happy. Yay!