Thursday, October 13, 2011

4 years ago...

Right about now, four years ago, I was sitting in the basement making yarn when my water broke. Karl was upstairs getting ready for a marathon grading session - papers all over the dining room table, gradebook open, determination on his face... Never had he been presented with a better alibi for procrastination.

We thought for sure we'd meet our baby that day, but stubborn and slow (like um, one of his parents), he waited till after midnight to appear.

The four years since have been full. Every day Elliot has amazed me, and he continues to be the best reason *I* have to procrastinate on so many other things.

As I look into schools for next year, I can't help but feel a little sad that our time together will begin to drift away from the majority. The last year has been marked with huge leaps in his in independence, and while it's exciting to see him become an amazing little person, it's also hard to let go of my baby.

I hope to make this birthday, perhaps the first he will remember, and last I will have full control over, as happy as I possibly can for him.

For him, that means trains, trains, trains; for me, love, love, love.

happy early birthday, boo.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A day five years ago led to today...

At least the sheep are still here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Shot, in a good way?

Took myself, Elliot, and Taj Mahal to the Botanical Garden this morning to do some documentation. I kind of ambushed a friend into taking the photos, tho she was not thrilled with the idea, as she does not consider herself a photographer. I had to explain some basics, like focusing the camera, and not shaking it around too much in low light, but she started to get the hang of it pretty quick.

With Elliot, um, assisting, we had a lot of photos like this:

But we also managed to get a few pics with the shawl as the main focus:

After 120 shots or so, I let Amber get back to her regular Saturday, and took a few more detail shots just for the record:

More images up on Flickr, and soon the pattern will be up on Ravelry as well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

So much for magical thinking

As we sat at a stoplight the other day, L was telling me to make it green.
I might have told him that I could make it change by rolling forward...
Just a little. So I did, and it did, and he was thrilled.

I am working on what we will call, for now, a personal project. It is something
I have done before, but this time I have to do things a little different. So it really
made no sense to think that recording relevant data in the same notebook I used the first time
would somehow insure success this time, but well, I thought maybe I would get lucky.

Sometimes, tho, you roll forward, and all you get for it is another chance to hit the brakes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The end of a long road

Or maybe the beginning.

I burned a little midnight oir (or 4am oil) last night and finally finished writing the pattern for Taj Mahal. I'd finished the final knit a few weeks ago, and had been trying to motivate myself to take those last steps to finish off this project... what did it? The fact that I really, really need to clean the house.

So naturally I got right to work on pattern writing ;)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Learning to swim

I fell
from a cloudless blue sky
into the blue black sea

Gasping, flailing
finally treading, then swimming
to a refuge; a raft

Still tossed in the swells
soaked in the spray,
drifting, thirsty
every rise and fall
a twist in the gut

Then washed
on the shore
that now is my home

The crash of the waves
wanting destruction
now sing me to sleep

Monday, August 22, 2011


Three times around the sun
and today is just a day
like any day
and also not

You left as the sun rose
and I wasn't looking
when it set

It whispered across the sky
again today
in the everyday way
it does

east to west
and never back

your laugh still echoes
and warms my heart
and your son
(my sunshine)
glows brighter
every day

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I did something yesterday

It was not a funny thing, but while I was doing it, I kept hearing Karl laughing. I miss that sound, and it was good to be surrounded by it, if only in my head.

Maybe, if all goes well, I'll tell you about it later.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spend more, save more? Not really.

I used to tease Karl because he always tended to buy the suggested quantities of things that were on sale. If Schnuck's was running 10 for 10, guess how many items would be in our cart? He'd remind me that by buying more, we were saving more, and I'd reming him that we didn't need 10 jars of minced garlic.

That's really nothing to do with my shopping trip today, other than the fact that I did buy things because they were on sale, and I did have about 100 tiny heartbreaks browsing the racks in the kids department, just like I always do.

You'd think they wouldn't get me, what with them not saying Karl-esque things like "little professor" or "pure genius" or "Can I have a G&T in my sippy?"

But really anything with Daddy on it, well, gets me right in the gut. Even crap like this:
Eventually they outgrow the shirts, but I doubt I'll ever stop hating that I can't stand to buy him one.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Live more, Document less.

It's not that I mean to live by that philosophy, but lately I seem to be doing more, but taking fewer photos and writing fewer entries about all our fun. Maybe I'm finally sure I have nothing to prove to anybody, or perhaps I'm just getting lazy, but the pressing need to document every moment has been sliding.

Today we went to MOBOT, and had a lovely time. I didn't bring a camera, and the few shots I took on the phone really don't serve to do anything but say "we were there."

So I'll just say there are interesting things afoot that I may never tell you about, and we are having as much fun as we can while we have time to have it. I'll let you know if anything is earth shattering, but then, i suspect you'll notice if the earth shatters, and won't likely be running to my blog for details.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nearly Three Years

Here it is August again.

I haven't been sleeping well. Two nights ago I dreamed Karl kept coming back to life, only to die again. It was funeral after funeral, but we kept having them in different places - you know - to keep it fresh. Or something. We were maybe in south america for one, and the locals figured us for tourists and kept trying to sell us really cheap shoes.

Last night it was a road trip with El, and there was a roadside park in a little town, and a music festival starting. We pulled in and waited for things to start, and he fell asleep on a bench. I wondered a few feet away, then fell asleep against a tree. When I awoke there were people and cars everywhere, and I couldn't find El. Everybody just looked at me like I was crazy as I frantically searched for him. The police wouldn't answer the phone, and the information center for the fair, located in a funhouse type building on a strange hill, admitted they had found a blond headed kid, but since I had no proof he was mine, they were in no hurry to get him to me. "If the police said he was yours, sure, we'd hand him over..." Eventually they returned him, but not before some strange talk about cloning...

12 days till the anniversary, and my mind is clearly stressed. I haven't felt rested since returning from the trip up north, and I can't help but worry about the next two weeks.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why yes, it has been a while!

We're doing well.

Summers are always hectic, and this one has been no different. We've traveled, we've worked, we've played - the usual, really. Facebook has made me lazy about the blog tho - it's so easy to post a quick pic or blurb that I keep tel
ling myself I'll expand on later, but later doesn't happen.

Highlights of the last 3 months -

Planting stuff in the yard
Alpaca Shearing Day
Big Storm felling tree by Mom's house
Visiting Matt and Vanessa
Steam Train visit by UP 844
Riding Miniature Train in Wildwood
Arkansas - Diamond Mine, Clinton Museum, Family Fun
Circus Flora
Four Square at Third Degree
Florida - Meeting Rory!
Falling down stairs (ROUS)
Finishing first glass trains
Wisconsin - H&D Farm & Uncle Phil's
Steam Train Ride - Lumberjack Express
Giving up on Garden
Finishing Taj Mahal
Block Party
Other TBA stuff...

So it isn't for lack of material that I haven't written, but more a lack of time.

I have learned something tho:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

B-B-B Bee!

On our way to school yesterday, I gave Elliot a book to look at in the car. He sat in the back seat pointing to pictures and naming them, then, looked thoughtfully at the book.

"B - B - B - Book." he said. Then "B - B - B - Bee!"

This is the first time he's actually figured out a letter phonetically, so I was pretty excited. "Yes!" I said. "Book starts with 'b'. B - O - O - K. Book."

He looked at me skeptically. "No. That's not enough 'o's." he said, very seriously.

"Oh. Should it be B - O - O - O - O - O - O - O - O - K?" I asked.

He grinned as I said "Booooooooook?"

"Yeah." he said. "That's right."

We are not who we were...

Tonight I went to see Matt Logelin at his book signing. I've been following his blog since shortly after Karl died, and have always admired his strength and generosity.

I have to say, my less than positive experiences (which I'm certain now are oversight, not ill intent) with the shawl are behind me, and I'm sold.

Matt dresses his daughter beautifully. No, she wasn't there tonight, but I point it out only to say that perhaps, one day, she will return the favor. That or not let him drop her off within 10 blocks of school... Karl would have loved Matt's thrift store fashion sensibility, and it is clearly a point of pride for the 'wouldn't be' author.

He read the forward, then one of my favorite chapters from the book - in which he explains why he dresses Maddy the way he does. As I listened and watched, I wondered about who he was before. During the talk, and afterwards at the 'groupie' dinner I invited myself along to, I felt a definite affinity - here was someone reshaped at the same forge, by the same hammers, that I had been stricken by. I don't know if the transition from who I was to who I am was instant or is still ongoing, but I sensed in Matt a man transformed as well.

Matt seems to have a stability, buoyancy, confidence, and flexibility that weren't necessarily born in him, but instead hammered in, and I like to think the same characteristics might be seen in myself. Before I lost Karl, I was not the person I am now, and neither, I imagine, was Matt before Liz.

It must be the cruelest kind of self improvement ever.

Under this kind of pressure, I think, one can break or stand taller. It is impossible to face such loss without changing. The audience that came to see Matt speak had clearly experienced their share of grief, and I felt lucky to be part of their lives, if only in passing. People shared selflessly and hopefully their own stories of loss, and love, with no agenda except lifting those around them.

Here's to the irons who straighten their backs, and keep holding up the world...

Saturday, April 23, 2011


The poison ivy is sprouting on my lower lip.

Note to self: stop chewing on the plants.

But I have chocolate, and I'm not afraid to eat it. All will be well.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Not My Best Day

Actually, the day was fine. The evening? Not so good, so far.

Fin ate my favorite shoes while I was out today, then peed all over the house to apologize, then got out of the yard b/c somebody's been coming in and leaving the gate open. He ran in front of two cars, scaring me half to death, before finally running back into the yard because it was starting to rain and he's a weenie about that.

But not before he got covered in mud, which he tracked on the pee spattered floors.

The neighbors have been mowing my lawn and trimming bushes, clearing debris and weeds, and generally being awesome lately, but it makes me feel like crap that I can't take care of more myself. So the past week I've really pushed to get the outside spruced up, but it means inside everything's gone to shit.

So now the house, a mess already, is just awful, and to top it off I can't find my mop bucket or the spray cleaner for the wood floors.

Elliot's hungry, and we just got home from the grocery store so at least there's food options, but I can't stand how messy everything is, and I'm kinda losing my cool here, so I'm taking a little blog break.

You know, for sanity. Regain my calm in the middle of the storm.

Anybody want a dog?

Did I mention the poison ivy covering my right forearm and half my chin?


(Mommy? Can you see me poopyin'? says a little voice in the background. Thank god it's coming from the bathroom.)

Dean and Rove

Went to see Karl Rove and Howard Dean last night. One of the most interesting things about the whole affair was that, as we were leaving, not only could Dad and I not agree on which of the two was being more inflammatory and/or evasive, we couldn't even agree on what questions were asked.

Interesting to see how strong the lean, and how selective the hearing, of even two self proclaimed moderates can be.

As for Dean and Rove, yeah, it was just what you would expect... hyperbole, ego, and completely contradictory "facts" and numbers. I imagine both of them believed they were telling the truth at least three quarters of the time, and perhaps they actually were half the time.

It did showcase the polarized audience too, in that every statement one or the other made caused exactly half the audience to burst into applause, and the other half to boo and hiss, or at least roll their eyes.

I do love the Speaker Series, and I'll miss it while we're on summer hiatus.

Friday, April 15, 2011


Tonight seemed like the culmination of a few weeks of back and forth with Elliot about bedtime. He'd been fighting bedtime, and the routines around it, for a while, and I finally put my foot down a little last week. We had two nights of knock down, drag out, no holds barred fighting.

Earlier this week, one night as it was getting dark he said, "Soon it will be bedtime." that night he slid easily into his routine and went to bed pretty easily. The next night he fought again, but I held my ground.

Last night he was at Grandma's, so I can't really say how he was, except that he's been suffering allergies and not the most agreeable. But tonight, for the first time in recent memory, he went to bed in his own bed without me present. I read his story and sang a song or two, then left the room.

20 minutes later, he was asleep.

I'm not holding my breath that this will happen every night, but it's so nice to know that it can happen, and my expectations of him are not completely unreasonable.

Now if only I could get myself to sleep so easily....

Sunday, April 3, 2011

If you wanted to know...

I'm reading Two Kisses for Maddy, Matt Logelin's new book detailing his own experiences with marriage, widowhood, and single parenting. I've got a lot of opinions about it so far, and plan to elaborate once i finish the book. Everybody deals with grief in different ways, and sometimes I find myself agreeing, other times not, with his perceptions... But for now I will say this - he painted a very honest picture of the moments, weeks, and months after her death, and anybody trying to understand what a loved one (i.e. me?) is going through upon losing a spouse should probably read it.

More about that later.

We spent the day enjoying the weather, and I'm pretty sure I have sunburn, but we flew kites and had a picnic in the park and life is good. Hello, spring.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Everything was original, once...

Elliot and I, as other people...
Tangential to the post, or maybe total non-sequitor.

So often it is said that there is nothing new under the sun.

The thing is, it hasn't always been said, only quite frequently since it was first said. So once, it was new, under the sun. Or perhaps the moon, if they first said it at night.

Anyway, the point? As I fumble along this path that might lead to art and might lead to something better, or something worse, well, what about creativity?

I've always felt it was my stumbling block. Once I have an idea, I can run with it. I can stretch it and bend it, push and pull it, but eventually it resolves. It ends. I can't repeat it endlessly, because I want the next idea now, thank you very much.

Problem is, I don't have Ideas. Or even ideas. Occasionally i have a thought, and with enough agressive pruning I can pull an idea out of it, but more often I see other people toting their ideas around, tossing one here, one there, barely breaking a sweat. Maybe I could sneak along behind, you know, and catch one they drop now and then. Use it like a seed, grow something with it...?

But when i make something, I want it to be MINE. Call me selfish - go ahead. Call me crazy, while you are at it, because, of course, there isn't really anything new under the sun. Our bodies are made of the recycled atoms of our food, of our forefathers, of dinosaurs and sandstorms and oceans and poop. But they are our bodies, now, and they ARE new.

And so our ideas could be new, even if others have thought them before. I want to strive for a unique collection of recycled beauty, recycled love, recycled expression in what might be art, might be vanity, is there a difference?

I was reading this, which, naturally, I saw on FB. Right away, I stole it and reposted, because I liked it. I didn't always agree with it, but I liked it all the same.

Maybe I need to let myself steal more. If there was anything I learned from Karl's passing it was to be kinder to myself, and maybe beating myself up for not having enough ideas isn't the way to live. (duh, right?) But I've never wanted to make somebody else's work, so I have left all their pieces untaken.

So a mission, then: Steal 5 things*. Dissect them. Take 1/5th of each. Reassemble and call it new. See what happens.

I'll keep you posted.

*intellectually, of course.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Replacements, or, I'm Back!

I finally got the new computer. I opted for an iMac instead of another MacBook, and so far I'm happy with the choice.

While the transition from the Time Machine to the new iMac wasn't seamless, it was reasonably easy for somebody with computer experience. I hit a few bumps, but in the end all my data was where it should have been, and I am thrilled to have the new machine up and running.

I hope this will mean more frequent updates here, as I have been reluctant to blog from the iPhone. It was just too tedious typing out my always too verbose ponderings on the virtual keyboard.

This week I also plan to replace a set of speakers and a filing cabinet. Besides kudos to Mac for keeping my data safe, I also have to give thanks to American Family Insurance for paying for it all. Their service and support since the breakin has been fantastic, as was their help when I had the roof replaced.

Now, I am being called upon to operate some paper puppets for the boy, so I'm off.

It is good to be back.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Simple Life

I don't have much to tell.

I've been a little frozen. A little hibernating. A little lost from my earlier hopeful path.

But the air is warmer now. We have spent days out in the yard reclaiming it from the kingdom of dead things and weeds.
We have strolled in the park and planted seeds in the windows.
We have started coming out of the cave. Coming back to life.

We will see if the writing bug bites as all other things begin to hatch and awaken.

Till then, life rumbles on.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Long time gone

So it has been a while, huh?

I still don't have a computer, and I have found it both
freeing and isolating at the same time. In theory there
is a check on it's way from the insurance today and soon I will
be back to my old habits, but for now I will fill you in on the new
year so far.

I have been sad. A lot. Partly I think it is the weather, partly my
own ineffective efforts at being more social. Partly, and it is a big
part, I miss Karl terribly. And in addition to losing him, I lost two
imagined children - babies I had vivid dreams of even before Elliot,
and who still haunt the landscape of my sleep.

Of course, that is a bleak landscape of late, and poorly tended. I've
tried establishing better sleep routines, sound machines, herbal
teas; nothing is gettinge past the insomnia. I lay in bed sometimes
for hours, my mind buzzing with heartaches, anxieties, sometimes
desperation, sometimes fatigue so bone deep the feel of it pulling my
eyes down makes something inside me fight to stay awake.

In my once-upon-a-time fairytale life, I was supposed to have a daughter
now. She was going to come when Elliot was 3, and her name is Emily.

She has Karl's red hair, and she's beautiful. I dress her up girly till she
won't let me anymore. She follows her big brother everywhere, and he
adores her.

The reality would be different, of course. In the world of what if, she might
be blond. Elliot might hate her. She might love frilly dresses her whole life.

I only know her in dreams, and if I let those dreams come, I am doomed to
wake up and lose her again.

So I am considering ways to bring her into the real world, if she
Isn't here already. But I worry.

In the meantime Elliot is growing and talking and making the waking
moments of my life delightful. He is infectiously joyful, and I am so
grateful that he is mine.

Otherwise, life goes on. We eat. We drink. We work and play. I try to
keep the sadness at bay and often succeed. I am working on
sketches for new glass work, finishing knitting projects left and right,
and slowly recovering the house from it's long neglected holiday disrepair.

We wait for spring, and hope it brings warmer weather and warmer feelings
to chilly winter hearts.