Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Grief, Continued

Isn't it odd, that moments of grief seem to occur out of the blue?  I think it's similar to the way children progress through developmental stages, in that a jump from one stage to the next is usually preceded by a perceived regression, if that makes sense.  All this is to say that although I am doing so very well these days, I sometimes stumble into moments of grief.  Yesterday, I drove up to Baltimore, to visit a couple who are preparing to move to Barcelona for the first stage of their retirement, and to pick up a framed print I was buying from them.  I should have expected this to be difficult for a number of reasons, and it was.  Firstly, I only know this couple as a result of being married to Steve, as he went to school with the wife.  But what made the trip even harder was the city itself, as it was full of good memories from when we were happy together.  All of my knowledge of Baltimore comes from visiting there multiple times with Steve, as it is his hometown, and we spent quite a few weekends there, exploring the city together, over the past eleven years.  And this was my first trip back alone.  Even harder, was hearing that he'll be up there next weekend for her going away party with a "plus one".  Someone new, taking my place.  So hard.  

But.  Today is a new day, and I'll be back on track in no time.  I know that I'm grieving for what it used to be, and for what I wanted it to be, rather than what it really was. In other words, I'm grieving for an illusion, and I have to let that go.  And most of the time I do.  But once in awhile, grief catches me by surprise.  


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Simple Pleasures

I have spent the last six months or so adjusting to my new status of living alone, and while there have been days that were difficult, it has been a positive experience for the most part. At first, it felt important to make some obvious changes, like cleaning out stuff Steve left behind, and rearranging some furniture, but lately I feel like I've started to make changes that go a little deeper than surface level. It's hard to explain, but one example is my kitchen junk drawer.  It was full of miscellaneous odds and ends and one day I decided to dump everything that wasn't recognizeable or useful to me.  My kitchen has very little storage space as it is, and I was allowing one drawer to be completely wasted just because it had always been designated the junk drawer!  That may seem like a small thing, but it seems symbolic to me in the sense that I allowed myself to decide how to use the space, instead of just maintaining the status quo.   I also took down the dark burgundy bedroom curtains that we had had since we married and bought new white ones, which led to me buying a new pink and white quilt.  Now I've decided that I want to paint my bedroom pink, so I picked out some paint chips last Sunday.  I haven't had a pink bedroom since I was twelve years old, but it is exactly the color I want.   The yard is another area where I feel as if I'm flexing my decision making muscles.  I cut down the tree that was making the back of the garage a mess, had someone in to grind it down and clear out the rest of the debris that had accumulated back there, and now I'm planning to have a load of pea gravel delivered to put around it as a solution to the weedy dead zone it has been ever since I've lived here. I've also been pruning things that have been left overgrown, and created a new flower bed by the front porch, so that now when I come home, I feel a sense of pride in the way it all looks.    
This is one of my cherry tomato plants that is already producing!  I'm not sure how to tell when they're ripe though.
I received my copy of Making in the mail today; it is loaded with gorgeous projects and patterns.  If you think $24 is too expensive, just know that it's well worth it for the knitting patterns alone, and they're only a portion of what's included.  I also ordered a circular Lykke needle, as I've been interested in the idea of a driftwood needle ever since they came out.  I'll let you know how I like knitting with it, as I'm planning on using it with my Playground Shawl.  
I think I mentioned last time that Gracie and I are really enjoying the knitting/yarn room, now that I've finally organized it.  This week it's been so soothing to listen to the rain while I knit, with her either on the chair beside me or behind me, purring away.   
She doesn't really like the camera pointed at her; look at this side-eye!
I can't believe I only have three weeks left of school.  I feel like I have so many ideas I still want to do with my students but I'm running out of time.  I always feel like I need to be a better planner but after twenty years, I don't see much chance of changing, but I can always hope, can't I?    

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This Week

After my legal event last week, plus a minor outpatient surgical procedure that required two days off work, I felt like I was playing catchup all week.  The thing about teaching is that when you aren't there, you have to work extra to prepare, then you work extra when you return.  It's why most teachers accrue so much leave: it's such a pain to be out.  But now that it's Friday, I feel like I have finally caught up, or at least as much as I ever can catch up, if that makes sense.

There was a faculty happy hour function Friday that I attended, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay very long, as a cool weather front coming in gave me a rather severe headache.  I came home and had some coffee, medication, and spent most of the evening knitting quietly in my lovely yarn room, with Gracie nearby.  Luckily, it eased quite a bit.  Maybe I need to spend more time knitting quietly?  I know Gracie enjoyed it.  Here she is after climbing into an empty basket.




 I'm working on a Playground Shawl, using two skeins of stash yarn, Frolicking Feet, and Fiber Company Canopy.  It's an easy pattern, but I have had to start over a few times for one reason or another.  No matter, I'm quite happy with it anyway.




I bought more mulch this week, in the hopes of doing some more yard work, but the weather might not cooperate this weekend.  I want to extend the flower bed by my front porch to include some bulbs my parents gave me from their yard, an azalea my sister gave me, and a butterfly bush that I need to move, before I kill it by dragging the garden hose over it.


The shells I've placed around this bed make me think of the book, Roxaboxen, I used to read to the girls.



I spent today doing everything but gardening however.  I took my mom to the Hermitage Museum, consignment store shopping, and lunch, to celebrate Mother's Day, since last weekend was my dad's birthday.  Then I met a friend at the Norfolk Greek Fest for dinner, so all in all it was a lovely Saturday. 


Now Gracie is ready to curl up and snooze. 


Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Official

My divorce was finalized on May 10 and I have to say, it's a relief to have it over and done with.  Other than a few glitches every so often, my life is in a really good place.  My health has improved, my house and yard are looking better than they ever have, and summer is not too far off.
Aren't these pictures of the beach beautiful?
Gracie loves to hang out on the back of the couch and sometimes, she falls asleep in the most interesting poses.
I don't know why she loves to do this but she does.  So cute.
I finally reorganized my yarn room; I moved some furniture around, moved some out, and this time, I think it'll stay this way for awhile.
I still have some odds and ends to sort, but I enjoy being in there now.
I really love my fairy lights; can you see them?
This was taken in there as well, after Gracie crawled up on the back of the pink chair to get closer to me.  Such a face!
It's been busy and hectic and stressful, but I think it'll be a bit calmer now.  I hope you all enjoyed Mother's Day, no matter how you celebrated it.  Back again soon!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Still Here

Gracie and I are still here, going through our days.  She loves her window perch in the kitchen.  Work is going really well, which helps a lot.  I can't believe I only have about seven weeks left, although I probably say that every year.  

When the weather is good, I'm in the yard as much as possible, and as a result, I think it's really shaping up.  I had a small setback last weekend when I ran over my electric cord with the lawn mower but thankfully my dad repaired it for me, so I didn't have to replace it.  The 100 ft cords are not cheap.  I'll have to be more cautious from now on, especially since it seems it did blow out the circuit.  But those are only around $10-$15 to replace as opposed to $50-$60.  I stopped by Home Depot on the way home today and bought ten bags of mulch and put them down tonight.  I can't remember how many bags I bought over spring break, but it was at least that many.  I could easily use another ten, but as it's supposed to rain on Friday, I think I'll wait.


I feel as if I'm at a different doctor every time I turn around these days and I'm healthy!  I saw the dermatologist on Monday, and had something taken off my knee, I go to a hand surgeon tomorrow to have something removed from my finger (yard injury), and next week I'm having some outpatient surgery on my eyelids, which of course requires a pre-op visit.  Not the best time to be missing time from work but I don't have a lot of choice.  I'm also having bunion surgery on one foot this summer, as well as some oral surgery!  Being over 55 years old definitely requires serious upkeep!  

I thought about going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, but decided I have too much to do around here.  My plans are to clear out some more clutter and take care of some paperwork I've been procrastinating.   But hopefully there will also be time for a little of this: