Category Archives: family

Decision:

We got our lease renewal in the mail today.

Up until about two weeks ago, we were thinking of potentially breaking our lease early to find a place in the wild where we could live amidst nature and barbecue our breakfast and play catch with our dog (which we would finally be allowed to have) without having to walk 3/4 of a mile to find an open space to do so. But, things change, and now it looks like we may be here another two years.

Billy is starting a nutrition studies program this semester so he can finally get out of the retail rut and do something he enjoys. While he could probably finish in a year, it’s probably best to do it in two, particularly since we sort of need his income and being in school full time and working full time is just crazy. Since the school is here in Queens, it looks like we’ll be sticking around for another couple years.

In all honesty, though, I may be disappointed, but this does give me more time to make the case for moving somewhere warmer instead of somewhere colder.

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This year’s Christmas menu

Breakfast: bagels and lox with capers and homemade scallion cream cheese

Lunch: garlic and cheese fondue with French bread and apples

Dinner: Thai pork skewers with peanut sauce, coconut rice, and improvised Thai salad

Dessert: peppermint brownies and peanut blossoms


Ho Ho Yo’ mama.

You know you have created the ultimate holiday playlist when the first song that comes on is “Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley. I know it’s arrogant of me to say so, but I honestly think that people who don’t appreciate my taste in music (and my interpretation of holiday songs) are crazy. Everyone should blare my playlist as loud as possible as often as possible AND LOVE IT.

Maybe it has something to do with denial over the utter lack of holiday cheer in my cold, black heart these days, but I have been trying to play up the Santa bit lately. I’ve created a holiday songlist that includes Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face” and pulled out glitter and glue to make holiday cards. I even plugged in the piano for the first time this year so I could try to remember how to play B-flat-maj7 in “Silent Night.” I’m knitting like mad and planning my trip to the post office to pick out this year’s letter to Santa to answer.

It’d all make me puke if I actually believed it was making me happier. I don’t want to accept that I’m unhappy. Again. Better to live in peppermint bliss and gingerbread-scented ignorance.

For brief, hazy moments, I even find myself thinking it’s actually working.


Musing

I have spent a lot of time on this blog not writing about my mom. Mostly it has been to protect her privacy. But I feel now that if I don’t get through this post, all the things that follow without it will be a fraud.

Right now, I’m pretty sure my mom and I are not speaking to one another. It’s been about three weeks since we last spoke, and when she joined Facebook a few days ago, she friended everyone in my family… except me. Having leaned on each other most of our lives – though I am only speaking for myself – it’s not exactly been the best couple of weeks in my life.

If I had to guess, it probably has less to do with the sum of money I wouldn’t lend her and more to do with the way I told her I wouldn’t lend it to her. I probably could have been gentler in telling her no. But I also think I deserved a bit more respect than I got in response.

The details of our argument are not worth getting into publicly. It’s not about taking sides, or getting in the middle. I wouldn’t expect that from anyone. But I think it’s also fair to say that we’ve both suffered a loss, here, and a significant one. And whether it’s real or only my perception, I’ve really felt quite cut adrift from the rest of my family as a result. Maybe I deserve it. I don’t personally think so, but then I’m probably a little biased.

The only thing I’ve been able to do is try to look forward and focus on my own life, the one I’ve been neglecting in my worry over my mother’s well-being. I’ve turned around and realized I’m 31 years old and hey, I’m married, too. When did that happen? To say that Billy and I are reconnecting is an understatement. It’s been wonderful and difficult all at once, and that, I suppose, is marriage.

We’ve assessed our debts and come up with a plan to pay them off in their entirety within the next 10 years. It involves sacrifice and dedication, but so far in the last two weeks, we have made incredible strides. Eating home-cooked meals has helped. Not drinking has also saved us heaps, in more ways than one. Because, yes, I am back on the wagon, and it has been great.

My job is blossoming into a career, and although most days when I get home I need an hour or two to lay in bed and recover from the mountains of stress I encounter at the office, I have to say that it’s a job I do truly enjoy. It’s challenging, and always pushing the bar, and I feel like what I do makes a difference. And, it helps to pay our debts. Right now, I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Billy and I are considering a move in the next year or so. New York City is one of the best places in the whole world, no doubt. But it has a way of churning our souls, and after nearly 15 years, our souls are ready to sit back on our porch in the country and watch bees buzz amid the daisies. Right now, it’s hard to say what we will be able to afford, both financially and emotionally, but a front-runner is Ithaca, NY. We are also looking a bit closer to home, but nowhere specific. It’s nice to finally start seeing plans take shape, though, and to know that we have choices.

And as I think of the family I have lost and potentially lost, between my father’s death and my mother’s illness, I can’t help but think of the possibility of starting anew with a family of our own. It doesn’t seem as farfetched as it did several years ago, somehow.

Even with all these developments on the horizon of my own life, I can’t help but resist the change a bit. It’s always been my affliction – wanting my world to change, but being afraid to actually change it. But, now is the time. As they say, when a door closes, a window is opening. And maybe I’m ready to seize the moment after all.


The post where I bore you with my knitting projects.

I totally want to tell you about that time we went tubing down the Esopus (you know, last week), but I think I know better than to post something good here on a Friday night. You people all go and do things Friday night and then get busy over the weekend and by the time Monday comes around, you’re all frazzled from your busy weekend and the shock of having to get back to work and suddenly my cool story isn’t that interesting any more. Look for it on Tuesday. If I still have time to write it by then.

For tonight, I’ll share with you some knitting projects I recently completed. I’ve become what can only be described as obsessed with knitting. I’ll admit that my vacation in the wilderness with no time for knitting did slow me down a bit, but I assure you that my plans after writing this post most definitely include picking up a set of double pointed needles.

Let’s see… I think I already mentioned my first pair of socks.


They were fun to make, and I got a LOT of unsolicited commentary on them from people who saw me knitting them. One woman sitting next to me on the subway couldn’t believe I was knitting with such tiny needles. One guy on an airplane thought that hand-knitted socks were just the COOLEST thing he had ever seen. Most people were just amazed at how small the stitching was. Mostly I worried about whether these things would fit on my feet. And they do. Mostly. If I never wash them (the socks, not my feet).

I made a phone sock for my friend Kathy.


This is something I designed myself, and I surprised myself by actually liking it! There is lots of cabling in it (obviously), and it was a bit annoying using that cable needle so much, but I finished the knitting of it in an afternoon and still had time for other knitting in the same day. I think what makes this one nice, though, is the lining on the inside. I had this really cute pink flowery fabric that was just dying to be made into a phone sock, and it’s such a pleasant surprise to peek inside and see it there with the green knitting on the outside. I wish I had more of that fabric to make another one, but alas, I will have to just find something else to love.

For Siggi’s birthday and going away dinner, I wanted to make something extra-special, so I made her this (if I say so myself) adorable owl sweater.


This sweater was incredibly quick and fun to knit, and when those owls started knitting up, I couldn’t help but smile. The worst part was sewing all those little buttons on for eyes, but all in all it came out nice! Unfortunately I guessed on the measurements and it didn’t fit Siggi (it just about fits me), so I am going to have to make another one. Alas! Another fun knitting project on my agenda!

Since I had anticipated the sweater possibly not fitting, I wanted to make something else for Siggi to actually be able to take with her to Oregon. So I made this scarf.


I used a simple entrelac pattern and this one knitted up in about a week. That’s with me knitting in every spare moment, including once or twice on the toilet. OK, maybe not on the toilet. But I was definitely knitting everywhere and all the time to get it done in time. I really like the yarn. The colors are really pretty. I’m making another one in red and purple.

I also made an emergency hat and bootie set for a colleague who was having a baby, but because I had to finish them up in about a day, I didn’t have a chance to snap a photo of them to save for posterity. It’s really kind of a shame, because they were absolutely adorable. Oh well.

Right now I’m making a baby sweater for a little one-year-old girl, but haven’t quite decided yet who to give it to. I would like to take a picture for you, but my camera battery is completely dead. (8/14/10: Updated to add the photo):
I know a few little girl babies and at least one or two potential little girl babies, but to be honest, I kind of like this one a lot too, so I may keep it for myself on the off chance I have a little girl myself someday. I also want to finish that red and purple scarf and get that second owl sweater done and then I have some great yarn that a certain best friend got for me that is just aching to be knit up into something special. I guess I could start thinking about Christmas presents, but dude. Christmas in August? Just how productive can one knitter be? Sheesh.


Hiking Mount Beacon

Lots going on this week. Can’t keep up!

Sunday we went hiking with my stepsister, her husband, and their daughter up Mount Beacon. I’ve never hiked up Mount Beacon before, and it was awesome! The weather was perfect – overcast and only one intermittent sprinkle and not too hot. We had some lunch at the reservoir, and Jim even pulled out his harmonica, much to little Caroline’s enjoyment. The view at the top of the mountain (if it can really be called a mountain at 1,600 feet?) was incredible. I felt like I could get a real sense of what the Hudson Valley must have looked like to the people who discovered it 400 years ago. I was so enthralled with the views and the smells and the physical exertion that I only took nine photos, and they were all terrible. This almost never happens. By the time we reached the bottom, I was in such a zen-like state, I felt as though I’d just spent four hours at the spa instead of hiking up (and back down) a small mountain. And it was far cheaper.

Billy and I got to break in our new hiking shoes, and I am happy to say they definitely did the job. We should be pretty good when we get to the Grand Canyon. (Which, by the way, we are SOOO excited about. Foaming at the mouth, actually.)

Now I want to hike everywhere. Alas. It is not a very relaxing hike to my office downtown.


Stuff. And Things.

I haven’t been writing much due to a combination of the following (taking my lead from Neilochka’s tweets):

Laziness: 36%
Being too busy: 7%
Having nothing interesting to say: 42%
Withholding secrets from the internet: 15%

But the truth is, there have been some items of interest to write about lately. For instance, on Tuesday night, I went to the theater. And you know that when you say that, you’re supposed to say it all airy and breezy and haughty-like, pronouncing every letter as its own syllable – I was at the theahhtahh. Yes, the internet is wonderful for this kind of descriptive jewel of a moment.

Anyway, my aunt, uncle, and cousin came to meet us to see Chicago, which was a lot of fun! I can’t believe it took me this long to go see it, but I’m glad I did. The night was perfect, honestly, despite the fact that it poured like the dickens the whole night, and the restaurant where we were supposed to go to dinner had been completely gutted while I wasn’t looking. I guess I’ll have to find somewhere else to dance on the table with my tambourine in hand while I’m eating my spaghetti and meatballs. Sigh. It’s the end of an era.

But, yes, it was a fun night.

Other things? I have been knitting like crazy. I’ve been a bit obsessed with some things going on in my life and have been in desperate need of a portable distraction. Knitting seems to be just the trick. So I’ve got three incredibly cool projects started. I can only tell you about two of them, though.

#1, my socks. The first sock is finished, and I tried it on, and it fits, and I like it! I’ve also started sock 2, and at this rate I should have a pair by the time it gets cold again next winter.

#2, an entrelac scarf. I have never done entrelac before, but I have recently decided to knit fearlessly, and it is paying off! This is a fun one to work with, partly because I love the colors and the texture of the yarn, but also because the pattern is a) easy, and b) slightly challenging. Meaning, I have to concentrate, but it doesn’t make my head hurt. It’s perfect work for someone who is avoiding thinking about something ridiculous.

And, that’s about it. For now, anyway. The good news is, life is good. And it is.