Ways to Break a Knitter’s Heart

I understand that if you don’t knit and a knitter presents you with a pair of socks, you think “oh, socks.”

You don’t realize that the wool was probably $40 and they spent 30 hours knitting them. I realize that you don’t see the work and the cost. Indeed, I realize that there are some people who, when gifted with something hand knit, think that I cheaped out on buying them something more expensive. I understand that we don’t necessarily look at time as having value.

Which is why I think I have had a number of odd experiences in the last month.

1. Can you knit me an X? I’ll pay you. My response is a standard – sure, it will take me the following number of hours and my work bill rate is $200 an hour. Perhaps you might like it if I taught you to knit instead? Seriously. My time is not free, and I doubt you are able to spend what it is worth.

2. I present a hand knitted (or hand sewn) garment to someone and I don’t even get a thank you. I actually, to be honest, don’t care if you send me a thank you card. A text is  fine. Some acknowledgement that I gave you a gift of not just a thing, but my time and skill. Probably the best thank you I have ever received was a photo of my eldest nephew’s boyfriend, wearing the socks I knit him, with the hugest grin on his face. No words required.

3. “Could you knit me something. It needs to be this. Here, I brought you a photo.” Look, it’s a gift. Obviously I’m going to knit you something that you like, and if it’s something big like a sweater or a wrap, I’m going to think about what I know about you and what you wear and choose something that incorporates into that. I’m not going to knit a guy a pair of pink socks with lace and bobbles. Lately I have been asked to knit an oversized sweater out of sock wool and an entire mermaid sleeping bag. Hundreds of hours of time. There’s bonus points if the picture you give me is of a crocheted item. I don’t crochet.

I knit because I love you and I want to wrap you in hand knitted love. On occasions where I cannot physically hug you because you are too far away, I know of no better way than to wrap you in a hand knit. It’s my way of saying “I think about you. I think about you a lot and I love you very much”. There is no amount of pay that would compensate for not having this feeling.

Posted in Knitting | 1 Comment

Honey Almond

10 and a half years ago, I looked at the paint colour in the master bedroom, which you were sure was called “shit brown” and I couldn’t bear sleeping in that room. Having picked out colours for the living room and bathroom, my brain rebelled at the thought of picking out another colour.

Exasperated, you told me to paint it white, temporarily. And I did. You will recall as well as I, owing to the fact that the previous owners had used some sort of industrial paint with a plastic something or other, it took almost 4 gallons of white paint to cover the walls of a 12 by 12 room. It’s not that the brown showed through, it’s that the white slid off the walls. I remember you and I standing there, watching it, bewildered.

Our bedroom is the last to be painted. Everything else is done. Well, for now.  The new colour is honey almond and it’s really about the same colour as you painted your living room.

It’s your birthday and I’m painting my bedroom in the sweltering heat. Later this week I have to buy a new mirror (You understand this, even if Owen is scratching his head). I’ll take David and half way through, between Pier One and Home Outfitters, I’ll look up at the Starbucks and I’ll say “Ready for a break? I need a coffee.”

We used to be able to spend an entire Saturday looking at home decor things and spend $15. Most of that was on the coffee half way through. The point was never the things we bought or didn’t buy, it was where we were trying to get to. Creating a feeling of sanctuary. To put it another way – I had never been in your last apartment but I knew it was yours when I saw the wreath on the door and I knew the door knocker with someone else’s name must have driven you crazy. I know why your chair was in that corner – it’s because you could look out the window and see the garden.

He’ll see the wistful look on my face. He’s good like that and he knows I used to do this with you. I’ll tell him a Wendy story and we’ll drink our coffee. And I will miss you. Just like I always do.

Happy birthday mumsy. Wishing you a weed free garden, a shady spot, a copy of Martha Stewart Living before she got all commercial and silly, and a really good cup of coffee.

Posted in The language of families | 1 Comment

Hey There

I would like to say that I have an explanation for why I didn’t blog all week.

I’d like to say that I was very busy. Something.

Mostly it’s this – I started a medication to quit smoking and it is making me sick. Miserably so. I can barely keep my head above water.

I was supposed to take the meds for 2 weeks before I quit. I quit on day 9. The faster I quit, the faster I can stop taking these pills.

Ugh.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

100 Things I love about you

Today marks 14 years of wedded life for Mr. Spit and I. In recognition of that – way back in March, 100 days before today, I started a list of 100 things I loved about Mr. Spit.

March

1. You picked me up at the airport. Just like you do every time. I walk through the security doors, and there you are, leaning up against the post, smiling at me. Doesn’t matter how tired, how grumpy or how frustrated I am with work, you, there, makes my day better.

2. You woke up obscenely early to go to a fundraising breakfast with me. You helped me host a table full of people you don’t know and were witty and charming.

3. You are going to the neurologist with me. It would never occur to you that most people would let their wife go alone. Nope, you figure I have MS, and you are affected by what affects me, so off we go to the neurologist. Because we will figure this out. Together.

4. Your old boss came and hugged me. While, on the surface, this has nothing to do with me, it reminds me that we have made this life together, filled with people we both care about.

5. You wrapped a present for me. I know it seems a silly thing, but for heaven’s sake, when I wrap presents, it looks like a drunken wombat went at it, and I so appreciate that you are willing to share your talents with me.

6. You indulge me (and participate in) my love for Downton Abbey.

7. Most mornings when we are both in town, you drive in with me, carry my briefcase to the corner by my office tower and kiss me goodbye. I love that.

8. You were out of town this morning, but when I woke up, there was a text from you, wishing me a good morning.

9. You cuddle me every night.

10. I stayed home sick today and you checked in on me, multiple times.

11. You came and asked me what we had to do to make time for a cuddle today.

12. I like running errands with you.

13. You told me that my mermaid tail sleeping bag was awesome. It was, but I appreciated your appreciation.

14. Umm, yes. That. Mmmmmm!

15. You are so excited to go to Nicaragua to build a bridge, and I love watching your excitement.

April

16. Sometimes you randomly buy me flowers.

17. I’m so proud of you when you go running, even when the weather is miserable.

18. You cook dinner when I’m tired.

19. You went and got the cat food. For cats you don’t like.

20. You bought me a solid chocolate bunny and laughed at me when I bit his ears off (but were quite willing to bite his head off)

21. I love watching you shave.

22. You apologized for getting me sick too.

23. You knew I was sad and hurting about the thing, and that there was nothing you could do about it, so you gathered me into your arms and told me that you loved me. It doesn’t and can’t fix anything, but I felt better.

24. It’s been a tough week at work and you keep listening to me rant about the same things.

25. You only laugh at my fear of dentists a little bit.

26. You made sure I didn’t expend too much energy after my Tysabri

27. I’ve mentioned that you are a good kisser, right?

28. Still listening to me complain about work stuff.

29. I love your smile. It makes my toes curl when you smile at me like that.

30. You hate the cats and still clean their litter box.

31. You put me on a plane early in the morning.

32. You thought it was great that I spent an entire weekend in another city, with a friend.

33. I ate a fabulous meal with great wine. You had plain spaghetti, and you were still happy for me.

34. While the weekend away was fabulous, you were waiting for me when I got off the plane and that was even better.

35. You noticed the new clothes. And you said nice things.

36. You made dinner while I napped.

37. You ordered me to have a nap.

38. You are so incredibly dedicated and determined. You run in snowstorms.

39. You think it’s great that you play video games and I knit.

40. I watched you run past me at your half marathon, looking half dead. You came across that finish line, making the time you wanted, and I can’t recall when I was last this proud of you.

41. You tried really hard not to talk about how much you hurt after the half marathon.

42. You thought it was great when I decided that I might want to do a half marathon.

43. Random texts through the day asking how my day is going make me smile.

44. I had a doctor’s appointment and you offered to drop everything and go with me.

May

45. Getting dressed up to go out with you.

46. Golly, that was fun!

47. I slept all day because I was exhausted. You were ok with that.

48. Star wars nerdiness

49. Watching election results with you

50. When we sit on the couch and talk about our days.

51. That you mostly understand my lack of communication in the morning is nothing personal, it’s just that every morning is a shock to me.

52. Quiet Friday nights at home.

53. Tysabri days. When you understand that the bacon cheeseburger and onion rings are the only thing that might stay in my stomach

54. Mother’s Day sucked. At least it sucked with you.

55. That when we fight, we can sit down and work through it and still have everyone feel loved at the end of it.

56. I made a vegetarian meal. After 14 years you are mostly ok with this.

57. After a day filled with nose bleeds, when I didn’t want to cook, and all I wanted was pizza and I felt badly about not cooking, you reminded me that while you love my cooking, if you wanted a cook, you would hire one.

58. You creep in the house quietly when I am napping on Friday afternoons.

59. You were careful to watch over me at a birthday party, and when it was apparent I was exhausted and embarrassed by having to leave the party early, you helped me creep out without anyone seeing me.

60. I was still exhausted today. You kept watching over me and telling me that it would be ok.

61. Monday’s are awful. They are better when you kiss me goodbye

62. You kiss my shoulder every night before you roll over and go to sleep.

63. You tuck me into bed when I have a nap.

64. I love the joy you get out of your motorcycle. I like the fact that your jacket is neon green, so that motorists can see the guy I love coming.

65. I had to cancel some plans. You kissed me and told me that it would be ok and there were other times.

66. How you cheer when I go running, even when I don’t want to.

67. The fact that you spent 3 months raising money for MS

68. Puns. Puns that last for hours. You really are astonishingly good at them and it makes me smile.

69. You notice when I get my nails done.

70. The way the corners of your eyes crinkle when you laugh.

71. When you tell me that you appreciate how organized I am.

72. I was grumpy about something. You gave me a good perspective. You pointed out that you couldn’t fix it, but you could listen.

73. There’s no one I’d rather sit next to in an overheated auditorium, watching a kid graduate.

74. Hey, we looked pretty good in those photo’s!

June

75.  Well, this is a PG blog, and that wasn’t a PG thing, but oh, hell yes.

76.  You were out of town tonight and I missed being cuddled before I fell asleep.

77. I had this perfect plan to stop by the side of the highway where you were working and kiss you good night. Except it didn’t work. It was a really good plan.

78. You came home early from your trip, and knowing that I was at a meeting, you quietly slipped into my home office with an iced coffee.

79. I love watching you while you sit and read.

80. Tysabri day. It sucks. At least you make me laugh.

81. That was an awkward situation we found ourselves in. I appreciated how you were so careful to check in and make sure that you understood how I was feeling.

82. The smell of your shaving soap.

84. The text you send every morning telling me to have a good day.

85.  The way you look when you are concentrating on something. I love that singular focus.

86. Sitting on the front porch talking about things with you.

87. I screwed up. You were far more gracious than you had to be.

88. When I say – “yes,  I could do that. But I really, really don’t want to” and you do it for me.

89. You are very good at solving problems.

90. When you look at me from across the room and know I’m exasperated just by the set of my shoulders.

91. You make a point of telling me that my big brain is sexy.

92. Scattering mum’s ashes was hard. Holding your hand made it easier.

93. Sometimes you can read my mind. That’s both alluring and terrifying.

94. You hit your head on a bridge and I’m not there to check you over and kiss it better and that makes me sad.

95. I know I tease you about your puns, but they make me smile, every time.

96. I like coming home from my run and seeing you smile at me.

97. Cirque! I’m so glad that has become one of our things.

98. Avengers! I’ll share my popcorn with you any time.

99. Lazy Sundays. Spent not doing much.

100. 14 years. That’s 5,113 days. 100 reasons doesn’t seem like enough, but hopefully it’s enough to have you know how glad I am that you are in my life. I know I’m not much for sentiment, but my life is in every way better because you are part of it.

I love you.

 

 

Posted in Mr. Spit | 3 Comments

Help Yourself

It is only 11 am and I am done for the day.

It’s one of those days where you field countless requests for things. None of these things are hard, but they are all things that a person, with a minimum of effort, could do for themselves. Do enough 15 minute tasks and your entire day is shot.

Can you add me to this Sharepoint? (Sure. But I’m going to send an email to a person to request access for you, and you can do that and cc me). Can you upload this document? (Sure. But you can do that too, in the time it took you to attach it to the email.) Can you find this information? (Sure, but in the time I spend combing through documents, you could do it too, and then know where to find it next time)

I find the older I get, the more irritated I become when others are unable to help themselves. I genuinely don’t mind the “I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know what’s next, can you point me in the right direction.”

Once you get those people started, they are on their way. They don’t need you again. You’ve enabled them to solve a problem.

The other always just feels lazy to me, and I can’t abide laziness.

Posted in Evil Corporations | 2 Comments

Back Slidden

I suppose you might say it started when my son died, and I begged, like I have never before and never will again – that he not die.

And he did.

That’s probably not the place to start. It started when we left our church. Over time we became more comfortable without the trappings of religion. My tentative jokes about the Sunday Morning church of CBC and the Holy Communion of bacon became less tentative and more honest. Last year at Christmas we met some friends who are pastors and I shrugged. I have no problem telling people I don’t attend church anymore. I’m not looking for a new church. I go to church for weddings and funerals and baptisms and that’s enough.

For a long time, I still read the daily office. It gave some structure to my days, a language that was comfortable and familiar.

Time passed and I began to let go of some of the tenants of my faith. The inerrancy of scripture, which I was never that big on, went first. My belief in the need for salvation ended with Rob Bell’s book Love Win’s, which suggests that all non believers might not go to hell. I started to substitute the word “universe” for God. I couldn’t tell you why, just that it felt more comfortable. I stopped reading the daily office because it didn’t bring me comfort. I started to meditate instead.

Then came my mother’s funeral. The words that had brought me so much comfort at my son’s funeral left me not cold, but certainly unmoved. They brought me neither comfort nor anger. There was no frustration at them. I believed in them no more than I would believe you if you told me that the world was flat. They were just words.

Last week, on facebook, I challenged a family member who tried to speak God’s truth about homosexuality (love the sinner, hate the sin) and I took a step back and pointed out that this logic *might* work if you believed that God’s law was true, but if you didn’t, you lost everyone at the notion that relationships we believe to be good and affirming and loving and true were inherently sinful. There was no point in continuing the conversation, because you lost us at your first argument.

On Instagram last week, when someone asked for prayers, I told them that I didn’t pray anymore, but asked how else I  could help.

I did something last weekend that my faith told me was a sin. It’s not a capital sin – not the sort of thing that the courts would oppose, rather it was the sort of morality the Christian faith universally regulates. I waited on Sunday for guilt, to see if it would come. It simply hasn’t. The old language of my faith would say that I had hardened my heart, but I know my heart. It is no harder than it ever was. I carefully considered what I was about to do, considered how to do it ethically, in a way that harmed no one, and I went ahead and did it. For the record, it was a great experience.

Yesterday I almost started a conversation by saying “look, I’m not a Christian anymore. I remember when I used to be, these sorts of things mattered. I think you are being a jerk.”

I’ve been asking myself for almost 6 months now. Trying to find out what this means. My faith, which was once the bed rock of my life is gone. I’m not having a crisis of faith. There never was a crisis. I believed. I know that I did. I believed with all that is in me.  Then, over time, I stopped believing in God.

It isn’t that I don’t believe in anything. I simply believe different things. I believe in beauty. I believe in kindness and mercy. I believe that everyone is fighting some kind of battle, that is wrong to be able to help someone and refuse to. I believe that light is stronger than darkness. I believe that we all need care and concern and support. I believe in ethics, in doing no harm, and where you must do harm, considering carefully your options to minimize it. I believe there are no right answers, but lots of valid ways to be human.

I ask myself, as I fall asleep, if I believe in God anymore. I know that I don’t believe in God the Santa Claus who answers the prayers of good boys and girls. I know that I don’t believe that the followers of Christ are any more righteous than anyone else.

I don’t know.

I’d like to ascribe the beauty that I often find in the world to something. I’d like to believe in something more than here and now, in something more powerful than I am.

I just don’t.

Posted in Holy Days | 5 Comments

Internment

In the sanctuary the day of your funeral, while everyone was downstairs bridging life and death with sandwiches and coffee, the light spilled yellow from ugly stained glass and was silent.

Just past the Ponte Neuf, I caught your scent for a moment, but the light was not quite right to see if it was you.

December as I rubbed moisturizer on your hands even though there was no point. When there are no words in the darkness, your hands slippery with unscented moisturizer are all that you can do.

These moments when I think – I thought – I almost had it; almost understood.

There were almost words.

Staring at the trees, the flowers. Thinking of voices rising and falling in light filled, musty smelling churches. Hands clenching a stone bridge. Touch and smell and hearing and sight are all we have to hold on to as cannot be answered questions swirl.

Three pairs of hands pull back a piece of lumber, and the 1500 pound gong sounds.

It echoes,

a sonorous reverberation

through my senses.

There are sometimes no words in time and space.

From above the ashes we scattered next to the yellow irises, through the gravelled walks you helped build, sound waves swirl around me.

All perfect things live in memory.

They need no words.

garden

Posted in The language of families | Leave a comment

I did not lose Wednesday

I’m not sure about Thursday though. . . .

It’s looking a bit dicey.

Posted in Flying with Warthog Air | Leave a comment

I Refuse to Lose Wednesday

Today is Wednesday. I shall be telling myself that all day, because last week I managed to lose Wednesday.

I refuse to lose Wednesday this week. I am holding on to it for dear life!

 

Posted in Flying with Warthog Air | Leave a comment

This

I went to bed last night, watching tragedy play out on twitter. Police officers went to make a routine arrest and there was a shooting instead.

A police officer has died.

For the record, for those of you from other places, in my city of just over a million people, a police officer has not been killed in the line of duty for 25 years. At risk of letting my Canadian colours show – I would tell you that this is Canada. Armed shoot outs are not the norm. This is simply not who we are. Our horror at this event does us credit.

I find myself silent. Thinking of a woman who did not go to sleep last night, thinking of a mother who woke up 2 young children to tell them that daddy was not coming home, that he was dead.

There is nothing I can do. Not a word, not an act that can make this better for her, for them.

Perhaps, like many of us in these situations, I think about those I know who are police officers, those men and women and the people who love them.

I believe that love is stronger than hate, optimism more powerful than darkness. I’m not sure my beliefs count for much in the face of such horrific tragedy.

I slept, with this running through my mind, my back pressed against Mr. Spit. In the small dark hours of the morning, he kissed me good bye. I woke up thinking of her, those small acts of grace and mercy in a marriage, knowing she was bereft.

I will go home a bit early this afternoon. Bake a batch of brownies. Take it to a cop I know, sending love to he and his partner. Reminding them that they are loved, cared for.

And again – trying to affirm in some small way – that love and care and concern will always be more powerful and more resilient than evil.

Posted in Living Deliberately | 1 Comment