Archive for September, 2009

So, what have I been up to?

September 20, 2009

Good question. Between work and grieving and doctors visits over the mountains and taking care of the beasties, I have actually found time to be at least a little creative.

When my daughter passed I happened to have 3 pounds of white sock yarn hanging out at my house. My daughter’s motto in life was “Dance like no-one is watching”, so I dyed all 3 pounds and I have started knitting socks for all the important  folks in her life. Same colorway, different pattern every pair (don’t need any more crazy!) Dance Like No One Is WatchingMakes me happy every time I work on the socks, and kind of works up like confetti. Love it.

I also dyed several other colors of sock yarn for sale. Each colorway is named for someone important to Jo, and has a story behind it.

Coffee Run skeinsWish this showed truer to the real colors. It is “Liz’s Coffee Run”, a mixture of browns to creams (deep espresso to cafe au lait). Named for Jo’s honorary big sister, and based on all those times in high school when they would tell their teacher that they were going for supplies, but really went on a coffee run.

Flying Pig skeinsThis is “Sarah’s Flying Pigs”. Sarah and Jo decided to join 4-H together, and decided that they would do pigs. Sarah’s family lived deep in suburbia, so the pigs got to live at our house. They joined a wonderful group, the Boss Hogs. A play day was scheduled for one meeting, where the kids would all bring their pigs and practice showing them. We dutifully loaded 2 of the 3 pigs in the back of our pickup and headed to the meeting. The girls were supposed to keep an eye on the pigs while I drove, since the shell we had could not be locked. We had just gotten to the end of our road and I was getting up to speed (45 mph) when the girls, in unison, said “oh no!”. I looked in the rear view mirror in time to see one round little pig rear disappear out the back of the truck. I pulled over and ran back to the pig, who had somehow managed to survive the attempt at flight, but was badly shaken by the experience. There was no way to lift her back in to the truck, so I handed Sarah her pig cane, a jug of water and gave her instructions to start walking back to the house (about 1.5 miles). Jo and I drove back to the house, unloaded her pig and started walking back to Sarah. I grabbed a donut as we dashed through the house. When we got back to Sarah she had made it exactly across the street from where we had left her. According to her, the pig kept stopping and laying down, and when Sarah sat by her the pig would put her head in Sarah’s lap! A little donut enticement got her up and walking, at least for a while. We made it about 1 mile before the poor beast decided that she’d had enough and wanted to turn back. It took some major persuasion before I got her to turn the corner. She then recognized where she was and RAN back to her pen. We loaded us, but not the pigs, back in the truck and headed off to the meeting, where the girls borrowed other kids pigs to work with, and they won the “Flying Pig” award for the day! This yarn is pink and white with a dash of silver (for wings)

Doffodil skeins“Chelsea’s Daffodils”. Much more yellow than this picture shows, with a bit of orange and apricot, and green. My mom is actually knitting herself a pair of socks out of this, so I’ll try to snag a picture. Chelsea and Jo were friends and basketball team mates. On a visit to our house one fall day, Chelsea was totally amazed to see me planting daffodil bulbs in anticipation of the next springTequila Sunrise skeinsJo’s favorite 2 colors were pink and orange, so here they are together – this is “Elaine’s Tequila Sunrise”. Named for my mom.

More pics soon. This wasn’t all I got done…

This is Not the Life I Ordered

September 16, 2009

It has been way too long since I posted last. Life sometimes has a way of sneaking up on you and biting you in the butt, and in the last 2 years it has done that way too many times.

When I started this blog it was just my youngest daughter and I that were running the farm. My oldest child had moved out with his girlfriend, my middle child was studying abroad in Paris, My boyfriend was staying with his parents, helping his mom take care of his dad after a major stroke. I was looking for a job, which in this area can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you need something that actually pays a living wage.

First the good news – I got a job (which I am still at). It is stressful, but the pay is decent, and I have benefits. So even on a bad day, I am thankful.

The bad news, however, has been rather overwhelming.  July of ’07, my boyfriend’s father passed on. It was not unexpected, and he went peacefully at home, but it was still a major loss. Then, a few months later his mom died also. Again, not unexpected but I still miss her horribly. She accepted and loved me unconditionally, and I loved dropping in unannounced, just to see how she lit up when she saw it was me.

My boyfriend moved back home, and that was a hard adjustment to make. I have always been self sufficient and set in my ways, and several years of doing things my way had not made me more open to unrequested suggestions on how to manage my sheep or my life.

April 25 2008 was the worst day of my life. At approximately 9 pm there was a knock on the door. I answered it, to find a state trooper there. He asked if he could come in. I said no. He told me that my daughter had been in an accident. Both of my daughters were on trips that day, so I needed more information. My older daughter, Jo, her boyfriend Brady, and Brady’s twin brother had been driving to visit the boys parents for the weekend. Brady was driving, with his brother in the passenger seat. Jo was in the back. Apparently, Brady drifted into oncoming traffic but pulled back to the right at the last second. That move saved his brother’s life, but both Jo and Brady were killed. I am still in shock, and it hurts so much to think about it and to write this.

Shortly after Jo’s accident, my boyfriend went to the doctor to get a swelling on his knee drained. In June ’08 he was diagnosed with fibrosarcoma, a rare cancer. His proved to be very aggressive, and despite chemo, radiation and multiple surgeries he passed away on May 14 2009

In all of this I still find things to be thankful for. The outpouring of love and support that washed over me after Jo’s death was amazing. Her memorial was actually a joyful thing, a true celebration of her life and all she stood for. Her friends have adopted me as an extra mom, and continue to stay in touch with me. I am amazed at the number of people who my daughter knew and influenced and who loved her. I am thankful that she went quickly, on her way to have fun with a man she loved, and that there was no fear or hate or violence involved in her death. I know where she is (she was cremated, and her remains are mostly in my craft room, but I also created wire wrapped vials, and when I need her close I can take her to work with me, as can others). I was with my boyfriend when he passed, and he too went peacefully.

My youngest has had a hard time with all of this too. She had been accepted to the same college that her sister went to, and managed to do her freshman year there. But there were too many reminders, and she finally admitted it was too hard being there. “But I promised Jo I’d go there” were her exact words to me. I informed her that Jo had extracted that promise from her because she wanted her little sister there with her, and obviously Jo was not living up to her end of the bargain. So she has transferred to a closer school, where hopefully she will have smoother sailing.

At one point while we were dealing with multiple journeys over the mountains for cancer treatments,  my mother suggested that I get rid of all the sheep “since they are so much work”. I informed her that there are days that the beasties are the only thing that get me out of bed in the morning. I can wake up wanting nothing more than to curl up in a ball, but the sheep are outside hollering for breakfast. I get up and feed and water them, and then I go on with the rest of my day. Maybe not willing, but at least outwardly functional.

There are many things I need and want to do.

  • I have to find a way to get the beasties to pay for themselves, so I need to figure out a better way to market them and their wool. I can no longer afford to keep them as an expensive hobby. I have cut back the number of sheep I have, but I have some more hard decisions to make in regards to them. I love having them, but they have to pay for themselves.
  • I want to post more frequently (I could hardly do it less frequently)
  • I need to work harder at staying in touch with the people who matter to me. I tend to isolate myself and wait for others to reach out to me, and get hurt feelings when they don’t
  • I need to get the house organized so that I can find the things I want and need, so I have time to weave and spin and knit like I need to

Stay tuned for the new and improved me!