Passage of Time

With the impending arrival of Father’s Day tomorrow and Mother’s Day in the past, I have done a lot of reflecting on my own experiences with my parents. How they raised me, their only daughter, in the late 50’s and early 60’s while keeping a deep and very dark (to them) secret.

Shortly after my mother passed away in October of 2008, we found out that she had given up a baby boy for adoption in May/June 1956. Had she given birth to that baby boy, she’d have been ostracized. She’d have been labeled a strumpet, a hussy, a tramp. She would not have been allowed to marry my father if anyone had known. My father, however, would have been left to continue his life as before.

Being the next child born, and a girl, I can only imagine that I was a disappointment and it explains a lot about how she raised me. She was disconnected, aloof, often angry, not encouraging or loving. She was always heavy … keeping a layer of protection around her. Please don’t get me wrong, she fed me, did my laundry, drove me everywhere. I didn’t want for anything. Except her love. None of this was my fault, of course, and I didn’t know that I was getting treatment that was different from my younger brothers or my peers. But it was different and I was scarred by it. (Thank God for therapy!)

I say this today because I realized recently that many of my friends on Facebook seem to miss their parents and were deeply loved by them. Sadly, I don’t have that same feeling. I’d love to have them back to ask them questions about why they did what they did. Why they kept the secret after we were adults. Why they never told me they loved me or were proud of me. (They really didn’t unless it was after a fight and then it would be, “of course we love you” said in anger and frustration.) My brothers had a different experience. Psychologically, I’m certain that it was because I was the first born “after the adoption” and I wasn’t a boy.

I was encouraged to find a husband and marry … that’s why a girl goes to college. I was born to have babies, that was where I would find happiness and fulfillment.  I was taught to iron and sew, to play the piano and guitar. I was given ballroom dancing lessons at Mary Jane Spencer’s. My peers were encouraged to pursue a career, told they could do anything that they set their mind to. I didn’t know that until I had children of my own … and had been in therapy for depression and a failing/failed marriage that lead to an ugly divorce.

img_0121.jpgToday I am happier. At nearly 60 I am feeling comfortable in my own skin. I am grateful for the life I was given and I know that my parents never meant to cause me harm. They did their best. Sadly, it wasn’t good enough to give me wings to fly. I had to find those for myself.

Today, one of the things that makes me happy is yarn. Everything around yarn. I love people who use yarn in their creative endeavors. I love the animals who provide the fibers and the process that leads to the yarn being available to buy. I love feeling it and working it into a garment. I love the shop keepers and the customers. I  am grateful for the shared wisdom of women and men who share my craft and the love of yarn. I love that I have found a wonderful man with whom to share my life. He loves me as I am even when I don’t.

Life hands you some bizarre twists and turns and I’ve learned that it’s all about what you do with them that makes you who you are. I am grateful for them all because I like where I am today. I wouldn’t be here without all those experiences. I’m strong and resilient and happy. I’ve started over many times and I’m sure I’ll start over again.

Speaking of starting over … I started something new yesterday.

IMG_3065Born out of frustration with the fit of my nearly-done Malabrigo sweater, and in an effort to use some of my stashed yarn, I cast on the Brambling Shawl.

The Brambling Shawl by Bristol Ivy was one of the projects in A Year of Techniques. It’s a study in Intarsia – the use of two colors in the same row. The yarn used in the pattern (and that I bought) is Fyberspates’ Cumulus. It’s a lovely blend of baby Suri alpaca and Mulberry silk. The project calls for five colors (camel, slate, plum, sea green and silver) and is worked from tip to tip with increases and decreases to make a triangular shawl. I’ve just gotten started and have yet to add the second color, but I love being able to learn a technique with practice.

So, tomorrow I will celebrate my husband who is a great father. Patient, loving and kind. I will also celebrate the fathers in my life, my brothers, uncle, cousins, and my own dad who did his best. He did teach me to love pistachios!

Gone knitting!

 

Sunday Fun Day!

IMG_8213

Yesterday morning, we woke up to a little fog on the ice and more open water than we’ve seen in what seems forever! Knowing that it was going to be sunny, we figured that the fog would go away and we’d have less ice at the end of the day.

IMG_8219

Before we left to go take a Sunday drive, this is what it was looking like. There were a couple of times when the ice came right up to the land and sounded like crystals being rolled around. The sound was so unique! I tried to get a video of the sounds but I didn’t think any of the three were audible enough to translate. Suffice it to say, it was really great!

We wanted to head to Skowhegan today to see if the Maine Grains “cafe” was open and if we could get a bite to eat and buy some oatmeal. It was not open, but it was a pretty drive.

My husband heard about a sculpture at his volunteer job at Colby College Art Museum. Colby Art Museum has a few pieces by this artist. Apparently when he died, his widow spread his works around the state and two are found in Skowhegan!

The Indian statue is HUGE! He is easily the world’s tallest Indian. It’s sixty-two feet tall atop a 20 foot tall base, He was erected in 1969 and dedicated, as you can read in the picture above, to Maine’s Abenaki Indians. The play area, which they now ask you to stay off of, is a two-sided stair-step of farm animals. Please don’t climb on them! These sculptures are a little gem of art and Maine history along the way. You can find this guy on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and High Street behind the Cumberland Farms food mart. It’s free and worth a detour!

When we got home (after a stop at Giffords for a bit of ice cream) the ice was moving by our house again. And before sunset, it was gone. Ice out!

IMG_0345

We heard our first loons on the lake, too. It brought tears to my eyes. I love living in this place and feel so fortunate to be here.

Gone knitting!

 

Spring in Maine

image

The secondary roads are posted which means bright orange signs posted on telephone poles litter the rural scenery. In Maine this means it’s spring.

This weekend, despite the calendar date, we are going to get snow. Again. Initial reports were for 2-10 inches. And more, perhaps, later this week.

Even this girl has had enough and is ready for tulips. Which I forgot to plant last fall.

Welcome spring! Let it snow!

Gone knitting.

 

1500 Miles and Cloudy … with a Chance of Enjoyment?

December 27, 2014 Belgrade, Maine

December 27, 2014
Belgrade, Maine

Thank God yesterday looked like this.

Today looks like this …

December 28, 2014 Belgrade, Maine

December 28, 2014
Belgrade, Maine

There is a trace of snow and the lake is only semi-frozen but it’s still my favorite place to be. We decided to eat out and to sleep in the bedroom since it’s not particularly cold this year. The baseboard electric antique heaters from the 50s are working enough to take the chill off the bedroom and the electric blanket was even too warm for N last night. We both turned it off after it warmed the sheets. Climbing into cold sheets in Maine in the winter when you live in Florida is sheer torture. The wood stove is keeping the house a toasty warm and we’ve managed to wash faces and brush teeth with water carried in and using a two-bucket method (one for fresh and one for dirty).

My least favorite part is this …

The dreaded outhouse … or "chick sales"

The dreaded outhouse … or “chick sales”

As a nod to my willingness to camp and use the outhouse for a couple of days, I got the sweetest gift at Christmas … a fleece toilet seat cover for the outhouse seat. While it may seem silly, it really does make it more bearable and it’s good to be home!

Gone knitting (or out to breakfast)!

 

 

Home Safe Home – On Being Grateful

Safe at Home

Safe at Home

Last night one of my neighbors’ homes (only two houses away from our home) was struck by lightning and caught fire. It made for an “exciting” few minutes as I smelled smoke in our own house and after sniffing around (really, I did sniff around) realized that it was coming from down the street. N went out to help find their dog who is blind and was terrified by the storm and the emergency response vehicles.

They say that lightning doesn’t strike twice … but tonight’s storm just missed the house that was hit a few years ago (and just happens to stand between ours and the one hit last night.) Too close for comfort, in my opinion.

While I may not be knitting a whole bunch, I am living a busy and full life. My children and siblings and all their families are healthy. Our home is safe and dry. We have so much to be thankful for.

Life is good.

Gone knitting.

Home

Home - even if it needs paint and landscaping and there's construction trash in the front yard!

It’s not always easy to leave Maine but this time I think we were ready – or mostly ready, at least. The big Nor’Easter probably helped our readiness a bit, too. We left the house in Maine on Saturday – also dump day which is why it was the chosen day – and headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s house on Boston’s north shore. We hit snow flurries and wet snow in lower Maine and it kept up to Massachusetts but as we neared the ocean, it turned to rain. Overnight, the big October storm hit … but where we were it was no big deal so on we pushed.

The biggest mistake we made was not filling up the truck with gas at the “cheapest gas station in the world” that we pass in Salem, MA. So, when we were starting to need gas (and a pit stop, too) in Connecticut, our first stop was a total flop. No power means no fuel – no pumps working. No lights in the rest areas. Doors blocked by huge closed signs. We got off the highway no fewer that three times and each time, we were unsuccessful finding a gas station (that was most important!) with power.

My old “home-ish” towns of West Hartford and Farmington had more power lines down that I could have imagined. Since we were pulling the Hobie Cat (an 18-foot sailboat) it was a bit dicey managing turns and avoiding downed power lines and tree branches. We gave up when we hit New Britain and were planning to head to a LaQuinta hotel that we’d stayed at on our way to Maine when we found a gas station in the projects that seemed to be pumping gas. We only slightly brushed the sailboat against the bumper of another guy’s car (enough to elicit some four letter words from N but no damage to the other car) on the way in and they only had premium gas (or so they said) but we filled up and were on our way again. A near miss. And who knows how many days we’d have been stranded without gas. There are still 200,000 people in Connecticut today who don’t have power returned to their homes.

So, when the rest of the trip went off without a hitch, we were relieved and pleased and grateful. And I have to admit it’s good to be home … even if it’s Florida!

Gone knitting.