Autumn has arrived… kind of. 80 degrees isn’t exactly what I consider fall weather, but it didn’t stop me from wearing my plaid flannel to go pick apples at the annual festival at the local orchard. Normally we wait until after the festival to get the apples at a discounted price, but when you have toddlers you have to compromise – and the idea of a $5/per adult admission for the Little Mr to get to see goats, play in corn mazes, take a trip on the hay ride, etc seemed more worth it than not. We had such a great afternoon that he fell asleep in the less than 10 minute ride home, so we drove around and around looking at houses for nearly 45 minutes just to let him get his nap out. And now I’m left with probably 20-25 pounds of apples that I need to figure out what to do with. Canning probably won’t happen this year, so I’m thinking lots and lots of baked pies and crisps over the next few weeks.
This changing of seasons is marred, however, by the hole in my heart that is my dog, Molly. After months and months of the decision being in the back of my mind, the last month has really taken it from something I needed to consider to something I had to make a final decision on. Her quality of life just wasn’t there anymore, and it killed me to have to make that call, but ultimately she was suffering and it was selfish of me to let her continue as she was. She was 13 years old and a wonderful companion to me for half of that time. My routines are all messed up – there isn’t anyone to let outside in the mornings or before bed, no one cleaning up food behind the toddler, no one following me around from room to room while I try to clean. Coming home from the vet felt… depressingly lonely. She wasn’t there to greet me at the door. Just emptiness. Sigh. I’m going to miss that furry, sweet thing.
Today I turned 32. I feel older than that. I probably look older than that, to be honest. I have more gray hairs than I imagined I’d have at 32, and it gets worse by the week, and sometimes I worry I look like I’m mid 30s going on 60. Especially when I’m knitting in public. But eh, what are you going to do? The silver strands don’t take dye well at all, so even attempting to hide it just leaves me with some other color hair mixed with silver. So the only thing to do is just embrace it and hope that I can make natural grey look cute, I guess.
Anyway. 32. Most years I bake myself my own cake. This is a long-running tradition for me, and while it started out as a bit of a bitter project because no one got me cake… it has turned out to be a thing I very much enjoy doing. There’s something nice about making a special treat just for yourself, as a celebration of yourself and the one year older you became. This year, though, I took things a different direction. I had that new pie plate… and fresh raspberries in the yard… and we had nectarines in the fridge… Pie it is!
The thing about pie, in this household, is that I’m the only one who eats it. (Well, the little Mr does, too, but he’s easy to hide it from). So literally there is no one else in this house that I have to share it with. My pie crust skills needs serious work, so it’s a bit messy, but OMG is it GOOD. Summer in a pie, right here. Maybe birthday pie is going to end up being the thing I do, instead of cake. After all, pie has fruit so it’s instantly healthy, right? No? Oh well. Worth a shot.
So after all the pie making, I spent today locked up in my craft room to sew. First up, I finished my sister’s wedding quilt (and I’m hoping my sister doesn’t know about this blog, or if she does she has sense enough to just avert her eyes and move on to another website so there aren’t spoilers… consider yourself warned, sis!)
I’m so excited to have it finished! And… I kind of don’t want to give it away. It was a LOT of work. Do you see how small my sewing machine is? Do you know how hard it was to roll that quilt and get it shoved through that small hole so I could quilt it? SO. MUCH. WORK. But… I’m pretty sure I’m going to make another one so I can have one for myself. Different fabrics, of course, though I do love the black/white/gold combo so much. But, alas, without a gift quilt to gift I’d have to come up with something else and chances are slim to none that I’d get something made before Saturday. I decided to machine the binding, and I thought I might regret it but I don’t at all. It looks fine. It’s still handmade, regardless of how the binding is done. And it was way less stressful to machine it.
After the quilt was done, I decided I needed a new shirt. The thing with having a uniform for work is that I don’t need near as many clothes as I have. So I need a new shirt like I need another hole in the head… but I can make myself a new shirt to replace one of my commercially bought ones that is nearly worn out, so it’s a compromise. I’ve had this Akita pattern in my library since it was released, but never got around to it. The fabric is some mystery fabric I found for $1 at the Goodwill (score!) that was more than enough to make this shirt. I’m nearly done with it – all I have left to do is hem the bottom and sew on the neck binding. If all goes well, I’ll get it finished tomorrow morning and be able to wear it. It’s purely coincidence that it’s red and tomorrow is the 4th of July. I’m not exactly the most patriotic of people. Mostly, I just like the BBQs and the pie. :) But more on the shirt tomorrow when it’s done – I added a special little detail that I want tho tell you about when I have more time (and when birthday pie isn’t still lingering, begging for me to eat it).
My 95 year old grandfather passed away over the weekend. I can’t say it was unexpected – his quality of life deteriorated significantly this last year or so, but these last weeks it all became much worse and much harder on him. His mind was sharp, but his body was starting to give out on him. Which, of course, bodies do when they’ve been on this earth for 95 years. Tuesday he told my uncle he was “done”, and by Saturday morning my dad was rushing in to spend time with him in his last moments. I’m told he hadn’t moved from the couch in several days and kept his eyes closed and was not engaging in conversation.
I’ve cried a fair bit, I admit. Despite knowing it was coming, and being “okay” with it (meaning that it was for the best that his suffering and pain ended), it’s still hard to not cry when I think of him. We have a photo ornament of my grandfather holding the baby when he was 2 weeks old. We’ve been working with the kiddo to point to me when we say “mama” and to the husband for “dada” and to himself for “Declan.” He never points to himself. Except yesterday, he pointed to the ornament of grandpa holding him and did it. And I about lost it.
My natural urge, when it comes to grief, is to bake and craft. I seek out those things that comfort me. Maybe there’s some symbolism there in the fact that life is varied and full of change and, generally, baking means the same results with the same recipe (and, similarly, the same knit stitch will produce the same stitch result). There’s a bit of meditation in the kitchen or behind the needles. It’s where I go when I need to think. To take some “me” time and reset.
But there’s no time to grieve when you have a one year old under foot. They neither know or understand what is going on outside of their little bubble. They don’t care that mommy needs to be in the kitchen alone to bake and cry. Or to sit in a corner with some yarn and knit and think. Which makes this whole grief thing impossible. How do I take time to grieve when I’m catering to a toddler? How do I take care of myself and my own needs?
I’m sneaking in knitting every chance I can get. 5 stitches here, 10 minutes there… whatever I can squeeze in to be that comfort I need right now. It’s not ideal, of course, but it kind of works.
Today I’m listening to my feelings. Today I’m following my heart and quitting a good portion of the internet.
I’ve just deactivated Facebook. I uninstalled Instagram. I removed GoodReads. I’m close to closing G+, too.
For far too long I have held onto these places. Any time I vented my frustrations with social media I was met with a chorus of praises for it. It helps me keep in touch with family, they’d cry. And while that’s probably true for many, it often felt like I was being told my feelings were wrong. It felt like everyone thought I was crazy for disliking it so much. And, so, I stuck around and let the feelings of others dictate my actions.
But not today, and not anymore. Today I’m going off my own wishes and making changes in my life for my own happiness rather than those of others. The internet is a great place to hide from real life, but we all have to face it eventually.
And, it turns out, you can be a quitter and win after all.