Getting Real

I know the feeling all too well. Joints aching. Tired. Tears puddling just behind puffy eyelids. Feet almost too leaden to drag across chilled morning floors. Get up. Feed the dog. Brush hair and teeth and lint from shirt. Drag to work. Late again.

burgerThis is a day after gluten and sugar – an evening burger and a soda is all it takes for the food hangover. You’d think it would be easy to remember how it turns me into a puddle – all wishy-washy and frail-edged and snarled up inside.  You’d think after the infinite number of times I’ve managed to feel fabulous after NOT going there, that I would never want to go there again.

But the days drag on – too many little pokes and prods and irritations and issues and the evenings roll around with the need for something – anything – that doesn’t chafe. Too tired to cook, to clean-up after. Just need to get home and eat something and go to bed in time to get up and do it all again.

What would make a difference? What could change to make the change? Something must because, as they say, if nothing changes – nothing changes. The changes needed here are too big. A new job and a cross-country move. I hear a lot of talk about being brave – living the life you want to live – just doing it – what’s stopping you – and on and on. Sounds good when you’re twenty, or thirty, or even forty. In fact, I did just that at fifty. It’s a little more complicated these days. A little more important not to walk away from a good job and an affordable home. Insurance. Family not so far away.  It’s a little more complicated these days to wander off to a whole new place and take on the unknown.

And yet. . . . . . . .  This place hasn’t been healthy for me. As a matter of fact this place has been really hard. There have been so many traumatic events in the last decade that no matter how I look at it, I can’t separate them from this place.  Not that moving here was the cause of anything – but maybe because here can no longer be separated from those things.  Deaths. Divorces. Critical Illness. Financial disaster. Terrifying weather. Serious depression. It’s been a lot on all our plates – my children and mine.

My entire life I’ve been an advocate of fresh starts. I’ve never seen a flaw in beginning again in a new place. Sometimes you need to brush off the cobwebs and move on. Not like running away, but more like running toward. I’m ready for a fresh start and a new place, but for now I need to hang on. I need to push through every day and try everyday not to give in to the exhaustion that drives the things that make it worse. Eat right. Exercise. Take vitamins. Do the right things and hang on, because it’s never about just choosing the wrong foods – it’s about peeling the onion layers, one after another, till you can find the heart of the problem, then layer by layer working back to a healthier, happier space. In a little while I’ll be up for it, and will start again.  It’s what we do, right?


A Little Knit Here, A Little Knit There

I’ve been knitting again!  I’ve been pulling out the single skeins and waving my tiny magic wands around, turning those strings into some fun littles.

There’s a hat. (Rowan Cashsoft, in my own make-it-up-as-I-go pattern.)phone-photos-276

A pair of mitts. (Pagewood Farms in a camel/silk blend, pattern: Dashing)phone-photos-274

Another pair of mitts. (Also Pagewood Farms camel/silk, pattern: Treads, minus the fingers)phone-photos-272


The beginnings of a

The scarf is interesting because every time I pick it up, the dye rubs off on my hands – not unusual with hand-dyed fibers. When the scarf is done, it will get a good wash and soak  with a teaspoon of vinegar added to help set the dye. It’s going to be so, so soft.  This also is Pagewood Farms –  100% Blue Faced Leicester in the Charcoal color, using a Bee Stitch pattern.So far nothing here has been washed or blocked so it’s just piling up into a tidy little satisfying stack. Christmas is coming, after all. This yarn, like those above, has been in the stash for at least five years. I have some yarn that has been waiting nearly twenty.

I used to buy a lot of singles. With single skeins I could try different fibers and different brands and dyers. I made a lot of socks and mitts and hats because, let’s face it, there aren’t too many sweaters or blankets you can make from one skein of yarn. Now I’m on a stash-busting mission to downsize into one small antique

It’s a matter of  space but it feels like a very small quantity of yarn for a knitter despite the fact that this wee trunk holds a lot more than one would think. On the other hand, enough is plenty.

I wonder sometimes about this tendency to pile up possessions. I’ve always done it and would think I was a bit of a hoarder if it weren’t for the fact that I can just as easily let go of things.  I used to have the idea that if one was good two were better, but over the years I’ve realized that’s not necessarily true. Now I feel that if one is good – then it must be good enough to be pretty special.  Maybe that explains the single skein phenomenon.

Knitters are stashers. We gather our fibers together – sometimes with a project in mind, but not always.  It’s a thing about being prepared – always having yarn on hand for when inspiration hits.  There is a T-shirt that shows a ball of yarn with two knitting needles stuck into it declaring “It’s not a hobby, it’s a post-apocalyptic life skill!” . I think of it the same way that I think of writers with pens and paper, or artists with paint. One has to have the tools of the trade or there is no trade; but artists will always find a way. Novels scribbled on napkins, pictures scratched into rock walls, fiber knitted, woven, or pounded into felt. We gather our supplies and scratch that itch to create something, no matter how small. And as for downsizing, well – there will always be yarn, albeit not as much.

What are the tools of your trade? Do you have enough?






I watched the candidates go at each other the other night at the “town meeting.”

downloadCan we please just start over? I’ve never felt so discouraged. For years it’s seemed like it’s made little difference beyond the cost of gas and groceries who was elected. In my quiet little middle class life the days go on pretty much as usual. I know! I know! In the bigger picture who we elect has a profound impact –  but honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever really felt like serious damage is about to happen, and I’m worried for my children and grandchildren.  But that’s enough. I don’t really want his to be a political space.

In the meantime – I’m happy to say that my Youngest Child got away with a near miss from Hurricane Matthew. She lives just two blocks off the beach in Jacksonville Beach, Florida. We spent a tense weekend waiting to find out just what the damage would be. The YC had evacuated inland a bit and after watching the news and some powerful videos,

Photo from ABC News

we were both pretty convinced her house had been flooded. Happily for her, by late Saturday she discovered that though the water had come close and the streets were a mess, she was one of the lucky ones.  The same good news came from nephews and a niece, and various friends. Many prayers of gratitude.

20161006_073656Here in the Middle we are on our usual Autumn roller coaster. (Is it Summer? Is it Fall? Is it Summer?) Today I wore a sweater for the first time this season.  Yesterday it poured down rain and the temperatures dropped into the 40’s and 50’s. In another day they will zoom back up into the 80’s, only to drop again a couple days after that. This is Fall In The Midwest.  As you all probably know by now, I’m a lover of cold weather, so each chilly day is a smile-maker for me.

Hope you’re having a good week, too, filled with lots of blessings!



Autumn Signs


A time of quiet moons and baring branches. A transition into the chill months.  Here in the middle the days are pleasant and slowly cooling off. In my beloved mountains in the West, the snow is clinging to the town hill, as you can see in this photo sent by my friend Lorrie:img_26981

At home the white pumpkins have come out of hiding again and the orange cloth has made it’s annual appearance.



I love Autumn best of all the seasons. It’s full of anticipation.

Flying By

Wow!  This month has gotten away from me. One day turned into two weeks in no time.

I went to visit my grandson who turned 12 this month.  We had planned on dinner and a movie and roller skating, but on my way there the Oldest Child called to inform me that the little guys had just won a football tournament against the “Unbeatable Team!”  All was excitement and plans were changed to an impromptu barbecue at the coach’s house.  Good times while the boys played and ran and hollered all afternoon and into the evening with the boundless energy that defines twelve-year olds. Next morning we were off to church and lunch and then I headed home. A quick turn-around, but always fun.

On a sadder note, on the way home I got word that my ex-husband had passed away. This was sad because although he was an “ex” for very good reasons, I have always thought of him in connection with some of the best parts of my life. Wyoming – ranching – horses – river rafting – golf – good friends and lots of good times. We parted on good terms, and though I never did, I always knew he was someone I could call if I needed anything.  Where do you mourn when you’re an “ex”?  In truth, we haven’t talked in at least 5 years, but it was a very sad moment, none the less.

20160926_181924After that I filled some time with a surprise root canal – always good for a few laughs and a day at home on the couch. I managed a little knitting and put buttons on the reworked red baby sweater, wrote to a friend or two and spent part of another weekend watching the just-released new season of Longmire on Netflix.  Yes. It’s true. I’m a groupie.  I’ve been a fan of Craig Johnson’s Longmire Mysteries for many years now and they have been turned into a TV show, first on A&E and then picked up by Netflix. Let me just put in a plug here – Johnson’s writing style is beyond excellent and I highly recommend the books if you haven’t tried them yet.20160926_182812

20160926_182011On the home front, the bird feeders are not emptying out like they were. See? Late afternoon and not a single bird. Seems we’ve hit the time when many of the little feather people are leaving for their winter homes.  Bye-Bye, Birdies. I haven’t seen a robin in weeks, and even the cardinals have slowed their feeding frenzies. They actually stay for the winter, as do the chickadees and a few others, but where do the robins go on their annual migration? Does anybody know?


Last week marked the first official day of Autumn on the 22nd, but to me, Autumn always starts on September 1st. If it’s September, it must be fall, right? Unless you live on the other side – then it’s Spring.  I say let’s get the pumpkins out, light a few candles, and run outside to jump into some leaf piles!   Who’s with me???




September 11th.  Autumn has drifted in again, taking its time to present us with the brilliant yellows and reds of leaves instead of flames as it did fifteen years ago. Not quite deciding, the days go from warm to rainy, back to warm and then turn chilly until we are grateful for each pleasant day. Snow has already fallen on the high peaks of the Rockies.

Fifteen years ago the change in weather came as a great relief. After the events of that awful day people moved about with strain and sorrow in their faces. The change in weather gave validation to churning emotions and thoughts. “You’re right,” it said. “Things are different.”world-trade-center

The leaves fall all around us like the bright confetti of a ticker-tape parade. They surround us with color and joy and the promise of new life to come. It’s hard to imagine that the gray, lifeless debris that fell from the towers that day could possibly hold the same promise for the souls of the departed, but perhaps it did.

Fifteen years is enough time for the babies to become active teens. It’s enough time for the teens to become fully functioning adults and perhaps have babies of their own. It’s enough time for not only our own lives to change, but our nation and world as well.

But it’s not enough time to forget.oneworldtradecenter

Falling things, be they leaves or debris, mark endings and beginnings. We’ve all changed, but let’s remember our promise not to forget. Let’s make all our fresh starts count.