On Friday, day 6 of my week  I felt off-balance in a major way, and as if those 6 days had lasted a month or longer, with all the stress  and intensity possible in a busy modern life filled with responsibilities. [We start our week Sunday, after our Sabbath on Saturday.] I dared to take my mechanic to small claims court, which was Monday.  Not because he’s a bully and treated me to the greatest display of misogyny [woman-hating]  I’ve ever personally experienced. No, it was because I was e-vint.com.free023convinced the repair job he’d completed with a 15% increase over the “estimate” [that I saw as a verbal contract between us] did not resolve the issue which plagued my car.

I lost. My alternate mechanic who finally fixed my car successfully, could not make it and I  had not hired a lawyer. The dramatics of the “show and tell” and the mechanic repeatedly giving my car one more year of age than it has yet earned, and his heart-rending plea of the magistrate to “please may I go wash my hands of the grease and oil?” all led to the final conclusion; I’d not proven my case, so that  I now owe him even more money.

I can’t figure it out. How do bullies live with themselves? But that’s a whole story into itself. The next day, Tuesday,  I went to work- a long day.  Wednesday; a showing of my house, now on the market for the 3rd year. Let me explain. The first 2 years the realtor had the most lackluster performance, one of those hindsight things. If I placed a notice on Craigslist of an Open House, we were besieged. If I forgot or life got in the way, we were not. Never had anything close to an offer in those 2 years. So this year for the first month and a half I employed a researched strategy to sell it myself. After that time I signed with a realtor I felt had the most positive outlook, and “can do” spirit only surpassed by one other person I’ve known in my lifetime. This showing resulted in an offer the next morning. Did I mention I’d spent 3 hours cleaning a house that has few furnishings, and routinely kept tidy? All this 5 days after it hit the Multiple Listing Service. By Friday night most forms signed, dated, and initialed.

Five days of living through an intense low spot and a most intense high spot. That’s Unravellingabout when I began experiencing a spectacular case of Unbalanced-ness or living in The Twilight Zone as has ever invaded my life. I went for an extra swim and couldn’t stay in my lane, or make my brain rest from all the thoughts swirling around, looping though, driving me batty. So much for my exercise/meditation regimen.  I sat on the sofa, watching programs and knitting — and today ripped out all that horrible knitting. I felt lethargic, left dirty dishes in the sink for some invisible person to wash and have yet to go through my work e-mails from mid-week. Yesterday Nato and I went to the movies and lost ourselves for several hours in fantasy land. We then went to the library for more escape. Today I must mow the lawn and finally read those e-mails, but I’m feeling more in tune. I’ve been able to make several pages of notes and lists for the grand process of moving our household several states away with only a month’s notice and that’s if all goes as hoped. The sun is shining, a breeze coming in through the screen door and left over birthday cake and ice cream to keep up spirits.

My recipe for Lack of Balance in my life is to take a day off, get some exercise, peace-armsfind some little treats for myself [and my son who shares my home] which includes HUGS and more HUGS, and remember above all; this too shall pass. I don’t allow myself to feel guilty for that time off, it’s as necessary for my mental health and well-being as today’s cake/ice cream. If I needed 2 days I’d tell myself; Okay, here’s a new day, if you need it for rest and renewal then take it and then GET BACK to your life.  Ultimately, for me, it’s all about balance. “Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.”   Go and read the whole of poet Mary Oliver’s The Wild Geese.

One last quote; “Not all who wander are lost.” I truly believe sometimes we can meander off path a bit in order to get back to where we need to be.

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Note; I had planned a follow up to the last post, and even had it half-written, but changed my mind. So instead here’s what I’m thinking about now.

From painter Chuck Close on creativity, on the blog BrainPickings.org. (What a great name!)  KnitTangle10-2011

“See, I think our whole society is much too problem-solving oriented. It is far more interesting to [participate in] ‘problem creation’ … You know, ask yourself an interesting enough question and your attempt to find a tailor-made solution to that question will push you to a place where, pretty soon, you’ll find yourself all by your lonesome — which I think is a more interesting place to be.”

I’m not going to write about creativity, but about asking yourself questions and trying to figure it all out. Figure what out? Your feelings. From the same site mentioned above, a post about a book titled; Lost Cats: An Illustrated Meditation on Love, Loss and What it means to be Human. In the last chapter the author writes; “Every quest is a journey, every journey a story. Every story, in turn, has a moral.” She believes you can’t ever really know anyone, but no matter, because; “love is better.”

In the days I think of as “hectic parenting,” a year after my marriage imploded, when  I worked on Extra Chrom-Nate 2013finishing the job of raising my children alone, I went on a journey of delving in to understand myself. One of the hardest tasks in my new life; having no partner to tell the stories to at night, or to share reminisces, or to hold and be held- to be loved [and of course love right back]. The moral of my story then was; she managed, she found within herself a strength to find alternate answers, to accept her children’s love, her friends’ love, to explore with her writing and to run and swim and find nourishment in those exercises for both body and heart and mind.

It’s now many years later. My role of full-time parent has diminished as the artist/writer has bled through and now takes up more space, more energy. Yet always the task of understanding myself persists, perhaps because nothing stands still, all things change. I don’t sit back to watch the change, I immerse myself in attempting to understand. I’ve been writing stories for my children, so that they can discover who I’ve been, am and what I’ve done. Because they’ve only known me as the person who taught them things, or cooked their meals. I want them to know me as I’ve come to know me; a person both limited and limitless, full of love and flawed.

"Centered" a work by Nate and his mom.

“Centered” a work by Nate and his mom.

Last week my youngest son, who spent the longest time with me, except for his disabled brother who is 31 and still with me (as a roomie now) gave me a gift. My children gift me mostly with words, which is pretty wonderful, but I have to say this gift; words plus a tangible thing I’ve always wanted, was a sort of proof that I am appreciated for what I’ve given all these years. And that I’m loved. But already I knew that last bit because he and I have been expressing it to each other forever.

Words are important, more than gifts. Gifts break, die, get lost or returned, but words echo. I am now a confirmed bachelor- or the female equivalent, whatever the terminology. I would accept as much love as I’m given and return it happily, but do not trust myself to make a good choice. Rejection several times, by several people closest to me has left me with a desire to no longer be hurt by someone who says they love me or used to love me.

Today he and I talked by phone to catch up. We talked about meditation. For me knitting and swimming feel natural as a meditation practice, PieceBlk&Wht and sometimes when I create a collage too. I spend a lot of time in my head, I guess because I spend a lot of time alone. Good thing I like me. (Can you see my grin?) Lately a lot of garbage runs through my brain; such as why doesn’t X love you, why are you unworthy, why haven’t you accomplished more in your life, etc, etc.  I’ve been combating the negativity by employing my homegrown, “just say no” philosophy. When I catch myself caught in a relentless bad-thought loop, I tell myself to stop. Admonish myself. That’s the “just say no” part. I don’t allow myself to continue. I’m not very good at sitting cross-legged on the floor staring into the abyss of nothingness, but I find quiet in my own way. Along with the quiet I try to find love and compassion for myself. It’s the only way I can live.

Lastly, a great article on TreeHugger.com about knitting as therapy felt like confirmation, so I’ve added some pictures of pieces of my knitting- top and bottom. The middle pictures; one of middle son and one of his stitchery with my “framing” and added bits and bobs.

Thanks for visiting.

Today is a 2 handkerchief day! This “enhanced cold” that I have is in my sinuses and driving me batty.                The snow has stopped so I should be outside shoveling the walks, to say nothing of the driveway to get my car out. While all the work is great exercise our weather this winter here on the American prairie has been so very cold since  November- longer and fiercer than any winter since I’ve been here. It’s colder here than in my daughter’s western Montana town this winter. She says they have no snow on the ground there, an oddity for them. Go figure. elf house

During lunch I read another few pages from a very inspiring little book,*  yet somehow it has taken me weeks to get this far. Perhaps similar to savoring a good taste? Then there’s the advice my daughter gave during a phone call this morning.   She recommends I try something called oil pulling, to clear out the infection. Swish your mouth with coconut oil, she told me, and get it all around your teeth and as far back to your tonsils as you can. Keep it rolling around your mouth for a long time. Don’t swallow it, but spit it out when you’re done… Oh yeah, like that’s going to happen. Just the thought of it makes me gag.

So it has been a “mixed-bag” day already. What I want to do is sit on the sofa and knit to the accompaniment of another installment in one of the 3 shows*  I’m currently watching. Not that any are current, but a good mystery is good no matter when it was filmed or shown. I don’t want to feel guilty for being “lazy” this afternoon- a continuation of half of yesterday’s activity [knitting while watching television shows over Internet]. So I’m calling it; preserving my energy for when it is needed. I told my other daughter yesterday in a phone call,when she pronounced her guilt for being out of touch with someone dear, who has died in the last week— guilt is useless. It is a negative. It doesn’t make anything change. It doesn’t make you feel better. I told her instead to take what she feels/felt toward her second mom, and give it to others in her life. A type of “paying it forward.” Unravelling

The house is quiet since my son left for about 4 hours; lunch, movie and browsing the book store with a caregiver. His leaving was loud; he yelled about not having his house key and unfortunately I yelled back that I knew it was upstairs [in his lair]. He yelled he’d left his fanny pack at Katie’s house [another caregiver], and I yelled back, well you know. So it went. I threw up my hands and told him to find a way into the house later. Of course that will be me opening the door. Sigh. He is 31 and aging fast, almost catching up to me with his forgetfulness and getting off topic so frequently. Folks with Down syndrome age faster than non-Downs population. I’m told to consider him 31 + about 15 to 20 years. If that isn’t weird, I don’t know what is. We’re like 2 turtles in their slow pokey way making it to a finish line that holds no reward because it was forgotten during the lengthy journey.

Here is where I stop. Off to my afternoon entertainment. Enjoy your day! Lauren

**Okay, okay, here’s the info: The book I’m reading is called 365 Thank Yous by John Kralik, the tv shows are Hercule Poirot [Agatha Christie], A Touch of Frost, and Jack Taylor. The saying on card is this; Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. By Oliver Wendell Holmes.

An article I just read moved me to write. Read it here. This week I was told I have a bacterial infection that can only be extinguished by medication. When I went to retrieve the prescription from a pharmacy I was asked what other medications I take. I was also asked several times to give them my insurance info. I replied; none, none, none, and it didn’t satisfy them. Oh well, too bad.

I have no health insurance. OrangeKnitMat2013 I go once a year for a female exam. I rarely purchase tests, though this year I had my thyroid tested, and resolved the issue of “running on empty” on my own, by getting lots more sleep each night. Mostly, this is how I live; eat as healthy as possible with bread I make of whole grains, brown rice, beans and veggies, fruits, nuts, yogurt, seaweed etc. Exercise as much as I can. Due to my age I now do lots of stretching each day. I think positive, I day dream. I create my art. And I love; my children, grandchildren, friends, our cat, nature, writing and creating and living.

The other article I read this morning, about a free application [app] you can get for your phone to reduce stress. Here’s part of my comment on the article; Do you really need another application? Go to Huff Post and READ from their GPS for the Soul page. Or better yet, sit on a pile of snow, a grassy hill, a bean bag chair or an exercise ball and let it all go, gaze into Inner Space… Really, life is short- put down the phone.”

I’m adding a picture here; if you skim down a couple OrangeKnit2013posts you’ll see some yarn and threads in shades of orange. I’ve finished the project and here is a picture of some of it. This color is probably the one I like least in the spectrum, but I DO enjoy knitting – and if the piece is to become a finished product someone might purchase, then it behooves me to create in all colors, not just the ones I like. For me knitting is a meditation. So I get two for the price of one. Even ripping out a piece feels good. And even better when I take the yarn from the ripping and use it again. What do you do that feels good, leaves you refreshed or rested or relaxed?

Have a great day – and a good night’s sleep!

*Bottom photo of my “enhanced” orange knitting; orange, yellows, a bit of pink and orangey-red.

This morning on the radio a therapist said; a house is a place, a home is about emotions. This is a paraphrase. But I wonder why we feel the need to make a distinction. I have some slight expertise, having lived in several places, several homes over the years of adulthood, beginning with sharing an apartment with a roommate I’d only met once before. Was that a home?
I’m in the midst of sorting through my things, boxing some up in preparation for selling this “home” and moving, again. Each time I’ve moved I had good reasons, and each time I settle in I make the place my home. Putting out my books and little portable memories; seashells, photographs of my children, hanging up art I’ve collected or made and also whatever I make [curtains?] or buy [perhaps new wind chimes] that sets that house apart in my memories of all the places I’ve made home.
A great story on the ‘net recently about 2 women in Maryland who have taken their knitting skills into a local prison. If you’ve been here you know I knit. It’s soothing, meditative, and I love it. What a great honor these women are doing the men in their “home” behind bars. Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bus-52/knitting-behind-bars_b_1528598.html?ref=good-news

And another story of Bus 52; the temporary home for 5 newly graduated young people who are spending 52 weeks touring 48 states and recording incredible stories of good deeds wherever they go. You can visit at http://www.Bus52.com.
Seems to me, wherever we live we are home by the fact that we are there. It’s not necessary that there be curtains on the windows fluttering in a breeze. What there is, is a person with skills and ideals and hope and dreams and that’s a good beginning to a story.
Here’s a Bus 52 stop in Tennessee that I loved;
*Photos; 1) Through our front door, lovely climbing roses, and one of Nato’s designs-the star, and 2) my newest knitting project of bright colors. Yarn; 100% recycled thrift find.

Sunday afternoon
I am in the midst of a knitting project. It is actually similar to a patchwork quilt, but knitted. The one thing I’ve learned from knitting is that I can live up to my standards alone and the results leave me quite satisfied. Yet I dislike being in a knitting group, because for the most part I only knit straight things that I can create without instructions. Within a group I’ve found there are hierarchies and competition all of which I don’t enjoy or wish to indulge. For me knitting is contemplative. A quiet activity I enjoy; hands moving, creating while my mind wanders.
Currently I’m reading the newest SARK book: Glad No Matter What; Transforming Loss and Change into Gift and Opportunity. Wonderful title don’t you think? I’ve found a few quotes within the first few pages that I want to use, including this one by William James; Believe that life is worth living and your belief will create that fact. Be not afraid to live. She writes about not glad at all. “Even 1 to 5 seconds of acknowledging a not glad feeling will cause this energy to be able to shift and change.
The first craft show of the year this weekend. Difficult to get back into the swing; lots on my mind weighing me down. That said; the cards I’ve created recently have been beautiful. The one pictured in this post is part of the newest batch. I had some envelopes with small Native American pictures on them, and used that to develop a group of 4 cards with sayings by Native Americans, and collages reflecting the spirit of the sayings.
Last: about my frustration with my son at the show. Sometimes when we are too much together one of us will start the “Sweetheart” game. One calls the other sweetheart, and the other must respond with a sugary sweet endearment. I used to call my babies and toddlers; honey pie. So I’ll use that in the game which of course takes me back in time. What a great game. Lasts a few minutes, but raises the ‘glad quotient’ immediately and higher. What a great feeling. One last quote, by Robert Evans, from SARK’s book dedicated to my younger sister. “There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently.”
The images in this post are (1) a bit of my knitting [one of the patchwork “squares”] attached to a tree branch with buttons and other embellishments, (2) the Native American card and (3) a tiny portion of my watercolor painting and ribbon on a journal cover.
A reminder of sunshine, of hope and love.