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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Perspective

Well, you’re alive and can be thankful for that. Then you can worry about finding any job.

~ Overheard while walking through a park in Ireland

The Irish seem to have remarkable perspective. For instance, while walking around in a park, I overheard a grandfatherly gentleman tell his young female companion the statement above. I can only guess about the backstory. Was she ill? Was he ill? Was this just the sharing of a lesson learned through many decades of living? Does the backstory even matter or is the lesson enough?

While traveling around Ireland, I was amazed by how everyone we met was friendly, engaging, and happy, and not in a superficial way. When I talked with someone, I felt as if the person listened to what I was saying instead of thinking of what he or she was going to say next. People seemed truly interested in the conversation and the shared story we were creating together. A thread of genuine curiosity underpinned every conversation, and each person seemed to embrace the advice of the grandfatherly gentleman who extolled the importance of appreciating life. It was exhilarating!

I also marveled at the public art we saw and the stories we heard. Walking around Dublin, you will see statues and architecture devoted to writing, music, and wit. I don’t recall seeing a single object honoring or glorifying war or military might or victors who forcably conquered others. Instead, the culture appears to place other things on a higher pedestal, and I love this the most about Ireland. Heck, their national symbol is a harp! Again, the Irish seem to know what to value and have the right perspective about life.

I miss Ireland, and the re-entry into the United States didn’t supply a soothing balm. Instead, I was jarred by the crass abrasiveness of the very loud, very obnoxious American in the airport lounge. He had not kissed the Blarney Stone in his life and was not given the gift of gab. Instead, his story telling was self focused and more of an assault on one’s ears than a tender lithe tale of ones adventures. Nope, it was a litany of “accomplishments” and what I can only assume to be “sharing of wisdom through his awesomeness.” Maybe I’m being too harsh on the poor guy, or maybe we could all use a bit more of the Irish perspective in ours. If an Irish cabbie can curse you from a place of love and make you laugh at the same time, then maybe we can be more welcoming and opening in our general interactions.

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Yes, it’s been awhile.

I’ve been a touch busy for the last few years. The Little Bear grew into a Teenage Bear, and I was flummoxed by the amount of time it takes to cultivate a teen into a functioning facsimile of an adult. His entry into high school with the very real, very quickly approaching deadline, burned into my conscientious just how little time I had left with him. Instead of writing or fishing or knitting, I spent what time I could with him, trying desperately to cram every last bit of adult knowledge I could into his teenage brain. I’m pretty sure I failed and left him with huge gaping gaps in knowledge, but I tried.

I still have much to say, and now I have time. I’m determined to fill the time and prove to myself I am not boring. I can survive life after direct parenting as I shift to indirect parenting and maybe, just maybe as a guide and student of the Teenager’s learnings. Until then, I will write.

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Spoiler Alert!!!

Italian: What are you watching?
Me:
Italian: Ah, your British soap opera.
Me: Shhh. It’s not a soap opera. It’s a drama.
Italian: Hm, right.
Me: It’s not like they brought anyone back from the dead with amnesia or anything.

Then I saw Downton Abbey, Episode 5 of season 2 when yes, indeed, there was a character brought back from the dead, with amnesia. I’m still going to watch season 3 and pretend it is more drama than soap opera, because, to me at least, it isn’t the soap opera it seems to be, but is instead a complex drama of post World War 1 societal strife and upheaval. Just like my current WIP isn’t what it seems to be.

Untitled

This oddly shaped blob of a garment isn’t a doggie sweater, but is a sweater vest. It will continue to defy American knitting convention when I cut it. It may seem as if I’ve had a lapse in sanity, but a lot of knitters out there are absolutely adamant that taking scissors to knitted yarn is not only perfectly ok, but results in a lovely sweater. The stockpile of wine continues to grow and I’ve added tissues just in case. Wish me luck.

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It has been brought to my attention, by more than a few readers, that my blog has been silent.  I apologize for the lapse.  I could regale you with tales of our adventures over the last few moths, but I think it would be better if we pretended I’ve been in training for the Olympics and move on.  So…

Let the games begin!

Despite the best efforts of the USOC, I will be knitting in the event formerly known as Ravelympics.  Taking a note from Nike, I am looking for my greatness in the form of a steeked sweater.

July2012_0010

This is my first attempt at steeking, the act of taking a pair of scissors to a physical representation of hours upon hours of one’s time in the hopes the yarn holds and you magically end up with a sweater.  I’ve already begun stocking up on wine as I knit away.

Little Clover has also been striving to find his greatness.  He’s looking for his, not in yarn, but in something much, much harder – ice.

July2012_0007

He began hockey earlier this year, and not only does he really enjoy it, but it’s something he can see himself doing for a few years.  Being a bit behind the eight ball compared to other kids his age who have had years on the ice by know, he decided to attend a couple of hockey camps.  I love watching his determination and grit while on the ice.  He’s a joy to watch and he continues to amaze me with each feat he tackles.

Granted, the Olympics doesn’t include any knitting or hockey this go round, but that hasn’t stopped our little home from setting our own personal challenges and striving to prove to ourselves that, yes, we can succeed.

Carry on.

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Missing

I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed it terribly. Looking at my last post, it’s hard to imagine what could have kept me from writing for over a month. Occasionally, our lives hit a certain level of activity, and we as a family enter into survival mode. Imagine mountains of laundry needing to be washed or folded, dinners pulled from pre-packaged freezer containers instead of cooked each night, food brought in from restaurants, piles of mail waiting to be sorted, etc. February, even with the extra day this year, carried the same level of commitments and actions, but with fewer days.

Little Clover had a basketball season to finish out with games twice a week and practices three times a week. He also competed as a Mathlete at the Regional Math Counts competition. If that wasn’t enough, we added in hockey lessons, and he still manages to keep his grades up.

Italian decided he wanted to up his physical activity, so he started P90X and somehow convinced me to do it with him. I’m still trying to figure out what mystical powers he used because I don’t like to sweat. We are now in Phase 2 of P90X, having completed 5 weeks. I don’t hate sweating as much as I used to, and I’ve picked out my reward bikini. Yes, I’m going to wear a bikini, and by golly, I’m going to a beach this year.

So what have I missed in my life? I’ve missed writing on the blog. There have been many things I’ve wanted to post and share but sleep and laundry have really gotten in the way.

I’ve missed cooking and the farmers market and fresh vegetables. I’ve missed thinking about food and reading cookbooks and looking at recipes. I’ve missed browsing the produce aisle at the grocery store and spending time in the kitchen. We still eat, but I miss tasting food I’ve prepared at home.

I’ve missed photography. This amazed me. I’ve always known I enjoyed taking pictures, but I didn’t realize how much I miss taking pictures, organizing my pictures, and looking back on our photo albums. In the midst of activity, I managed to snap one photo of a finished object, still waiting to be blocked.

LadyCircularShawlFO
Lady’s Circular Shawl

Now that I know what I miss, the challenge will be fitting it all back in and finding time to play a bit more. We don’t really need clean clothes do we?

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Accomplishments

Italian has been fishing the same stretch of river in the Arkansas Ozarks since high school. He introduced me to it in college and I loved the river so much, I married him. Naturally, we didn’t think twice about taking Little Clover there, in utero and post. The river has been a part of Little Clover’s entire life. Therefore, his accomplishment last weekend shouldn’t be a surprise, but it is still amazing. He achieved a Norfork Grand Slam – twice. On each of the two days we spent on the river this weekend, he caught a rainbow trout, a cutthroat, a brown trout, and the elusive brook trout. Many an angler has attempted this feat and failed. My little guy not only did it once, but repeated it the second day! He also caught the fifth species of trout, the cut-bow, as well, just for good measure. He caught them all on his own, with his own fly rod, with the fly he tied. I swear, he continues to amaze me.

The elusive Norfork brookie

One note regarding the brook trout: After catching the brook to solidify the grand slam, Little Clover, in his excitement, exclaimed, “All right! Let’s go get a grown-up brookie!” To which Italian laughed and replied, “There’s aren’t any grown-up brookies.” Part of the brook’s elusiveness is due to it’s small size and juvenile stage. They are often gobbled up by the more aggressive browns before they can make it to a significant size.

My accomplishment on the river was much less impressive. I managed to hike down river a little less than a quarter of a mile, then back up the river on the opposite bank a bit, to retrieve my fly box which had decided to go for a bit of swim down a fast paced riffle. I now join a long (very, very long) list of fly fishers who have chased a floating box downstream. Even though it was a lovely hike, I hope I never have to repeat it. I did still have a great weekend on the river, catching my own variety of trout specimens. I came up a couple of species shy of a Grand Slam, but I had fun nonetheless.

My knitting and organizational attempts have been a bit more successful. I’ve managed to organize my desk, transfer everything to the new Mac, organize Little Clover’s art box, and declutter my bookshelf. The office still holds much more for me to do, but I’m making progress in cleaning out my life. The knitting is also coming along and the knitting Fates smile upon me, I might just have a finished shawl by the end of this month. Even if I don’t, I’m making excellent progress in knitting down my stash.

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Where I am an idiot

In spite of what I may have put on my Apple customer survey, I am an idiot. For the last few years, adding photos to a blog post worked best if I followed a series of steps:
1. Take picture
2. Find camera transfer cable
3. Attach camera to laptop via transfer cable
4. Transfer photos
5. Upload photo to an Picasa Web
6. Add photo to blog

That’s a lot of steps, but they didn’t feel like a lot of steps for a long time. Today, they seem like way too many steps because I realized with my new blog, I can just upload the photos straight from my laptop, and since my laptop can read my photo memory card, I don’t have to hunt for my cable any more. Zip! My photo can just appear on the blog! Trust me when I say I’m an idiot because it took me this long to figure it out. To celebrate my sudden realization of my idiocy, here is a gratuitously cute picture of children.

Gratuitously cute children

Little Clover and the Princess spent some quality time together during our Christmas break. The Princess is modeling the Whirligig I knit for her. Being afraid it might be too small, I forced it on her and Little Clover made her smile while we took the photo.

And just because I can, here’s another picture:

Full Irish Breakfast


We had to modify our New Year’s tradition this year, so instead of heading to the river on New Year’s Eve and cooking a big meal at midnight to ring in the year, we stayed home and cooked a big breakfast instead, a full Irish. Well, it is sorta a full Irish. We couldn’t find blood sausage, so we just had bangers, Canadian bacon, fried eggs, fried tomatoes, baked beans, and sautéed mushrooms. Honestly, it was an excellent first meal, and possibly a new tradition.

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