Update Overdue, 2

I’ve missed you so, dear reader!

I suppose I’ve been going through an unhealthy bout where I felt that I had nothing good enough to say. Only one thing has changed since I last wrote, and that is the commencement of the Girls’ visit home. It upsets me that they have to ‘visit’ home, and so I delayed putting it into words. I wonder if my behavior is cowardly, since I refuse to dwell on things that upset me, but it seems somewhat healthy as I can’t change them. I don’t know what I would do if I let myself actually react to what’s going on, so like in a dream I just roll with it. I don’t know if I’m communicating this clearly now, but I’ve actually been trying to really capture it in words for a few years.

I’m reminded by their visit that I’m not the parent I wish I could be, but I have seen improvement in myself. I credit that to having the opportunity to spend one on one time with Guinevere and help her grow. She’s taught me a lot about children in general, as only children can do.

Another thing that has changed is that I’ve actually considered talking to my mother again. Genuinely considered it. Almost sent a text in the middle of the night, except I was too tired to remember where I left my phone and too groggy to look for it, which told me it was a bad idea to make any communications with anyone with my mentality that fuzzy.

When day came, I went on a walk and considered how I would start communications again. I’ve wondered how I would address my sister, also. She hasn’t said much to me, before or after the trial, except a sappy poem. (Though having a baby has made me more emotional, it has not made me more sentimental.) Thinking about it, I drew a blank.

And of course when I think of my mother, I think of how she trusted Chris so much to confide in him about her suspicions of my relationship, and how he advised her to inform my father (who’s in jail after that event), and how he showed up to the trial. Though he didn’t testify, the attorney referenced things that I’d discussed with Chris and the times that I went out with him with the intention of maintaining a friendship with him. The things done or said with him were used as ammunition to drive my family apart.

So while I pondered this on my walk, I wondered if I should take advantage of being listened to while I had her attention and explaining to my mother where she went wrong and all the ways I’d been betrayed by her and Chris, to justify my mistrust in her that she may not be able to earn back, to explain to her how she was wrong and became the evil she wanted to protect me from. I imagined telling her that I forgave her for making me feel so inept when I was growing up, and the problems that it had caused me in my relationship and how I struggle as a parent because of it.

It angered me so much to think on this, I said to myself, “screw it. I’m clearly not ready yet.”

According to Corinthians 13:5, Love “does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I still need to work on forgiving my mother before I try to talk to her, and before I can talk to her, I need to create boundaries. It should be easy for her to understand that I don’t want to be judged when I talk to her, as that is what her mother did on visits and why she stopped talking to her. To avoid her falling into that habit again, I refuse to discuss my finances or my possessions. I want to be able to talk about my family, but based off of where we left off, I don’t know how to reach that place. It was Ed’s idea that I create boundaries for when I reestablish communications with her (he supports me talking to her again, though he says himself that he understands why I wouldn’t want to). Bailey doesn’t understand my reluctance. “You just talk to her,” she advised. As bitter as I became just thinking about it, I feel like that is a careless way to start.

Dear reader, if you have any advice for me on this matter, I will honestly consider it. In the meantime, I am working on healing and cherishing the time that my Girls are here. Regularly we have no idea what we’re doing for holidays until the very last minute, in which case we do something spontaneous and memorable, so those are my ‘plans’ for the day. Happy holiday!

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Coffee for Two .01

Good morning! I hope you have a warm cup of coffee/tea to enjoy. Mine is the “classic” roast from my local grocery store, brewed in a French press, with a dash of half-and-half but no sweetener. L (my best friend) and I would spend hours at Starbucks and let our Frappuccinos (mine often, though not always, caramel, hers strawberry) melt while we talked. Between us our conversations would often shift to the Bible. We find it to be really interesting, especially with our modern perspective trying to understand the perspective of a person who’d never seen a glowing screen or even a penguin. Our perspectives differ from each other in that I used to practice witchcraft and she used to be Mormon, so she was exposed to it through the filter of her church and I was not exposed at all. I’m self-motivated to read the book myself and come to my own conclusions rather than have someone else create their own context. (Example I had someone say that the Bible condemned my lifestyle, when on the contrary it actually condones it. Nowhere in there did it say that woman cannot lie with woman like she lies with man, just that man cannot lie with man like he lies with woman, in the same book that tells you that you can’t wear blended fabrics. Shame on you for your polyester blend, ya heathen. But that’s okay, because New Commandment, y’all.)

Okay, fine, I’ll stop now. My point was supposed to be that L and I will usually talk about that topic over coffee but I wasn’t going to go there with you. (A little late now, I know.)

For Mother’s Day the Girls came home for the weekend. I was concerned about what that would look like because when I get home from work I will do laundry and dishes and dinner straight away and still have work unfinished. What was that going to look like with 4 more that don’t yet clean up after themselves?

I am relieved to tell you that it was much better than I anticipated. We didn’t have to have everything prepared for the obligatory, court appointed Skype call by 6pm, so that pressure was lifted. And it felt peaceful having all the girls home where they belong, so much that when I went back to work the next day it felt like I was coming back from a weekend break. I finally gave the girls the Pink and Purple Princess Gloves I’d made them. Only Geraldine was enthused, especially because it matched her entirely pink wardrobe.

Guinevere was at first wary of all these new faces in her home, like she is with all strangers, except this wariness melted very quickly, and she enjoyed having all these other girls to play with and enjoyed sharing her toys and drinks with them. Geraldine especially loved making her laugh.

I was doing dishes when behind me I turned to witness Grace squeezing Guinevere’s cheeks together so hard it knocked her on her bum. Guinevere cried and Geraldine was there immediately, kneeling swiftly on the floor behind her. “Oh, come here, baby!” and she YANKED Guinevere into her lap, who willingly curled like a kitten to be consoled, no longer crying. Our children have such kind hearts; it’s stunning.

I’ve wanted to do a #weekendcoffeeshare but limited myself to making the post on the weekend. My weekends are Sundays Mondays, so I need to stop placing this limit on myself or it won’t get done, as you can tell by the layer of dust in this place. I hope you had a great weekend, yourself.

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French Espresso

Yarnivore

Court cases are awful. Almost as uncomfortable as attending court is waiting to attend court. While waiting for the next step I try to boost morality with minor accomplishments to keep up my esteem. Lately I have been knitting up products for the Ladies’ Etsy shop, which lately is full of my products because I can whip stuff up relatively quickly, compared to Bailey’s products which are an investment in time and treasures. Just like writers don’t feel authorized to call themselves authors because they’re not published or famous, it can be hard to brag about a store that has made no sales, but it is a carefully maintained shop nonetheless, and so I will continue to pride in our little store.

In addition to stocking digital ‘display cases’ with arm warmers and such, I made a pair for each of the Girls for when they come home to visit.

 

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Vancouver Fog

 

In the meantime, I research patterns by making products for myself that I’m not afraid of frogging so I can learn the investment in certain patterns, which birthed my Mermaid Gloves I’ve been wanting for literally years. So far I think this will be the only pair I make in this pattern, but maybe I’ll swoon once it’s actually finished.

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Mermaid Gloves

 

I’ve made several pairs in Vancouver Fog because it’s a versatile pattern that works for many materials in a common weight, and I have memorized the pattern and haven’t tired of it quite yet.

I also adore the Traveling Cable Gloves, though because of the lighter weight they take longer to make compared to Vancouver Fog. They are more elaborate, and the yarn I have in sport weight is also higher quality, which makes up for the effort that goes into them and truly make them shine. I like this Swedish yarn that was purchased for me, made with a bamboo blend and in the color of classic bubble gum.

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Traveling Cable Hand Warmers

 

I’ve been very blessed in that I pray for quality yarn and then will have large quantities given to me, which would make other yarnivores jealous. I’ve also found a set of knitting needles and DPNs for Gary, since he had asked me to teach him. I have also saved some acrylic yarn for him so I can teach him how to make a cable scarf or Seamus.

My Children Have a Price Tag

The Power Ball has been increased to half a billion dollars. I don’t know about you, but I’m not acquainted with holding more than a few hundred in my hand at a time and can’t fathom how much that is, and am too lazy to count the zeros.

At the news, I turned to Ed. “If we did win the Power Ball, then the argument that Alice’s parents are more fit to raise our children because they have more money becomes invalid, right? So then what other argument do they have?”

“They don’t.” The case was brought on by their false accusations that the children were neglected and abused and has since been cleared by CPS twice and by a court appointed psychiatrist, and though she had some discriminatory things to say about our family structure, she too admitted that there were no signs of abuse or neglect. It is literally about money now.

My next question was would I have to work. Nope, absolutely not. I will say, though, that I would not leave my position in the charity that Ed and I work for. If that was what I could do now, that would be a higher focus, but serving the needy makes a modest living and it takes a separate income to keep that up.

Attention shifted back to the case. Hire the best of the best and get our case to the Supreme Court so that other families like us will not be discriminated against via abuse of the system. It is strange to me that the only factor in bringing my children home is money. If we have enough money, this stops being a problem.

Once that was done and the children back in our home, we could afford to donate to charity regularly. Besides funding our charity, I started going down a mental checklist of the other charities that have helped us to make it where we are and how we can give back.

I also thought of how money changes people and what that would do to our kids. We can afford to put each of them in the best schools, and they won’t hear whispers in the halls about how their parents live off of the government, as is being said about us now (untrue, by the way). I thought of all the high quality yarn that I could buy, and how I don’t have to worry about things on Etsy actually selling, just hosting a pretty shop where you could buy things I made but where I’m not desperate for sales. I also remembered that Gary wanted to learn how to knit. We could buy materials for the kids to teach them skills. Think very vaguely about that. We could buy musical instruments, since all our children seem to be musically inclined (Guinevere beats at her children’s battery operated piano, which has dead batteries, and looks at me to tell me she’s the next famous pianist waiting for the opportunity), yarn and fabric for creating clothing, materials for building so they can help design the tree house that came with the property, etc. We could afford to make the business property environmental, all this while pouring money regularly into the charity to help kids with terminal illnesses.

Of course, I’m thinking small, because I cannot fathom how much half a billion really is. Bailey, on the other hand, jumped straight to travelling. And I think back on how that benefits the children, which is exposing them to other cultures, which itself helps contribute to teaching them politics. This is relating to outside of the country; inside the country, while our charity drives around to all the hospitals, our family would be tagging along in a bus of a sort. Edward says it’s more economic to drive a school bus, I think that if we don’t have to sweat about expenses go for the luxury of a tour bus we can sleep in. And if we are so comfortable financially, contribute to the betterment of technology by investing in mods that make a vehicle more resourceful and environmentally sound.

I don’t know how many people feel this way, but I’m almost afraid that if we won the lottery, we would become too comfortable. Things would be too easy, though I’m sure that when you ‘level up’ in class, there’s a different set of challenges. But I think more about my relationship with God. If I have everything I need, will I still be asking the Lord to bless me and my ways? Or alternatively, without possessing any need to stress about material things, would I feel unhindered and be willing to dedicate myself more to meditating on Him and the bigger picture?

I don’t know, what would you do with half a billion dollars?

Blogiversary

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I’m so glad today is a leisurely day, and I get to share with you that it’s Ch4rl13Sm1th’s anniversary! Steve nicknamed it a blogiversary, hence the title of this post. As for the title of the blog itself, I haven’t come up with a better name for it yet, but at the same time don’t think I mind it either. A year ago today I reflected on the way I live my life and wondered how to do more. An introvert with a story to tell, I have enjoyed writing for years after somehow not associating it with the chore of doing school assignments. Starting a blog and not having it backfire on me gave me courage to write the rough draft of a novel, and accomplishing such a task in 30 days has led me to feel invincible and most of all like I matter. That might be a big leap and hard to explain, so just take my word that I feel like a better person because of having the courage to write.

Initially I signed into my account to do a little post about all the knitting I was able to accomplish and what that looks like. I was inspired by Kristin’s post about how she did presents last year and wanted to show off how I managed my time well enough to squeeze in some pretty knots.

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Edward wants me to call them Bags of Holding and I can’t think of a cooler name for it. I made one for each of the kids that would be home for the holidays except for two, who both have a pair of knit baby booties.

The pattern for the bags is available here, though I give more details on my experiences on my Ravelry account. I was raving to Ed about my accomplishments when I knit four for the Girls and Guinevere tried to snatch them all up, so I understood she would appreciate one as well and made hers in turquoise. I put a Baoding ball in since she isn’t quite old enough to find something better to put in it herself and made a longer string so that when she’s older she can practice her dexterity tying and untying it. She loves shaking it around for the music. Knowing that the first thing the Girls would do was sniff the fake flowers, I sprayed rose perfume into them. Geraldine was the first to catch it, as I expected.

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I knit some for the grown-ups as well, matching Edward’s to his two sets of die and increasing the size accordingly. Mine being the first it has the most mistakes, but I still love having a customized, hand-made pouch to show off.

Daisy was kind enough to share her yarn with me earlier last year, which gave birth to Seamus and ALL THE BABY BOOTIES I made. Every day at work I had a booty to knit and became somewhat famous for it.

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And for myself, I really wanted pretty fingerless gloves. My mother had given me a few skeins of brown acrylic yarn a few years ago. I feel like brown is her color, and if I knit it into certain shapes my artwork gets called certain things I would rather not associate with my craft. I tried using it up to make fingerless gloves, borrowing patterns from Google to get the size and adding in a cable stitch to make it pretty. Then I learned from my mistakes and made a shorter set in ribbed, and the day after I mended one of the gloves I lost the other and became rather depressed about gloves. I gave it another go this year to play with an amethyst wool yarn Danielle got for me and am pretty satisfied. The left one is too small, but it was painstakingly made and so I’m going to show it off anyway.

I think I did pretty good with my timing, since Christmas presents were all finished before Christmas, meaning I completely bypassed the last minute shopping that the holiday is famous for. Some were done during the month that I wrote over 50,000 words. I didn’t include a picture of the little basket thing I knit up for Danielle to hold the miniature spa kit I assembled for her because it is embarrassingly ugly, but what I can take away from the experience is that it is interesting knitting with strips cut from T-shirts and pillow cases.

Update Overdue

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I never wanted to be the one to apologize for not posting on my own blog.
On another note, I finished the rough draft of my novel! I’d written something around 50,100 words in 30 days, and didn’t know how the story would end until I was writing the ending (which I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with). Though I’ve had the names of my characters for eight years, I feel like I didn’t get to meet them until November. I would rave to my family about how my characters surprised me, and Bailey responded that she didn’t understand how I could credit them with so much when I was the author. Fortunately the forums for NaNoWriMo was so supportive and well constructed that I could find like minded people who wrote entire threads about how their characters rebelled against the author’s will.
Aside from NaNoWriMo, we’ve also had two babies born to us, and Steve and Daisy had a baby boy as well (notice how everyone gets pregnant at the same time? Okay, much of the women is what I mean). I also hand knit presents for the girls who will be home and over a year old, which is five. All the while I’m working two jobs and pitching in with chores. Now you’re caught up with what’s going on with me, as long as I didn’t forget something.

Taratabong

My attention was stolen by the musical notes dancing in step with the golden character hiding behind a striped protrusion that resembled that of a formation in Dr. Seuss’s world. “Hello, Trumpy!” the narrator greeted the animated trumpet. I hadn’t noticed that I was watching wide eyed, glued in place, frozen in an unnatural position leaning towards the kitchen but attention paid elsewhere.

There is something about children’s cartoons that I am not immune to. I think they’re designed to appeal to some primal instinct so kids might actually hold still, allowing parents a precious moment to do other things, like dishes, which I think I was going for until this phenomenon happened. Trumpy’s brother Snarey came on the screen, and his animated walk was captivating. “I love how they made the snare drum move,” I remarked to Alice. She might word a few observations to the Girls as the story progressed, but aside from my one remark I was stuck. Just as I was able to pry myself from the world of Taratabong and turn back to my task, a new character was introduced. First the mom, then Pino, then my thoughts drifted back to the dishes and my feet finally managed to turn away and take a few steps in the right direction.

Then, Trumpy’s dad was introduced. I turned back slowly, and my eyes met Alice, who also looked away slowly from the screen to me and whispered my thoughts, “what was his name?”

Do we have dirty minds? Was there a poor translation from the Italian version? Maybe there’s a few letters that our ears are just not picking up; I must know how it is spelled. I combed through the interwebs, even doing searches on Wiki, and when that failed, putting every combination of key words I could in Google to get what I was searching for. I could not find the name of that trombone, and so, I wonder.