Category Archives: Knitting

Month in Review: July Inside of July

“My life, I realize suddenly, is July. Childhood is June, and old age is August, but here it is, July, and my life, this year, is July inside of July.”
– Rick Bass

This is my place now.July within July. Lots of soul-searching and reflection while trying to find ways to contribute to society that are fulfilling and whole.

No big whoop.

Of course, all that mid-life reflection is wedged in between summer’s full-frontal parenting. I can dive deeper once the house is a little more quiet and a lot less fun in a few weeks.

July was a month of exploration and the thrilling reminder that spending time with true friends is easy and honest. Don’t you just love it when spending time with people is untangled and so full of laughter that the joy is like another guest? Cheers all around – I am raising a nice glass of harmless, sexy rosé.

Finished the Blanket of Neverending Cussing for my daughter, who is thrilled with it. I started a shawl using this fabulous yarn. I’m using the Boneyard Shawl pattern, which seems appropriate if not a little too on the (rotted) nose.

Other than that, it’s been a lot of staying in the moment except when children or dental pain  act up. Then I try to stay in any other moment but THE moment. More on that another time.

Here are some things I enjoyed in July:

I like the process of cooking much more now that I have time and energy due to some volunteering positions coming to an end. I have a subscription to Cook’s Country, which has led to nothing but clean plates at the table, which is honestly a little surprising considering that I have one child who spent several years only eating beige foods with the occasional not-found-in-nature neon orange food. May I recommend the bacon-wrapped chicken?

I’m likely having some sort of midlife crisis presenting itself as a combination of severe writer’s block (meaning I have no engaging ideas) and the ticking clock that, as Lin-Manuel Miranda put it makes me at least want to write like I’m “running out of time.” I will never be a young writer at this point. In many ways I’m 20 years behind, and my life has been a collection of minutia and silly nonsense and time sucks that I don’t have a lot of great stories to tell at this point. But I do have a good sense of the mundane, a fairly good voice, and am ready for some adventures. All the right ingredients for something. Perhaps bacon-wrapped chicken.

Is it possible that Lin-Manuel Miranda is my patronus? Am I doing that wrong? I’m fascinated by intensity and giftedness and I like how it’s presented as a design feature here.

My heart pounded when I stumbled on this article on creativity and “fitting in.” For me, the urge to create is sometimes in a war with the sense of feeling alien. When I was younger, an author told me that writers often feel like they see the world differently than most people. That kept me writing and kept me from feeling like a complete freak. Now I embrace the complete freak I am and worry very little about fitting in while handling the extra-terrestrial bass line of my days.

I had the privilege of reading books written by acquaintances this past month. There’s something about reading pieces by writers I know that reminds me of the sheer act of bravery it takes to put out one’s writing out into the hands of others – especially fiction, the genre I believe renders the author most naked and vulnerable. To Christy and Helen, so much applause and thank you for the words you both put out into the world. Beautiful work!

Speaking of beautiful work, there’s this poem. I want to rip it open and crawl into it and zip it back up so that it cradles me against a cold night.

Then, on a somewhat lighter note, if you have 10 seconds, you may like this blackout poem by Austin Kleon.

I’m on a poetry kick these days. They are watercolor and they are anchors and they are glorious economy.

Glorious and terrifying and not poetry was Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Hits a little too close to home these days.

I finished the second season of Liz Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast. I particularly loved Michael Ian Black taking no bullshit from an improv artist and producer. It seemed reasonable to try out Black’s How to Be Amazing and now, just like that, I have new favorite podcast. M.I.B. is charming, bright, and four episodes in I’m finding him to be an excellent interviewer.

Game of Thrones returned and we actually sprung for HBO because I got tired of waiting months and then binge watching. Doing it that way feels like scarfing down an entire bag of Doritos. By the end of it, you’re a little queasy and yet you feel like you’re still missing something (in the case of Doritos, it’s probably your sense self-worth.)

HBO also gives John Oliver (thank goodness) and The Defiant Ones. Fascinating stories, with a hefty dose of misogeny in Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre’s life stories. People aren’t all one thing or the other, are they? Yet, sometimes we want them to be all one thing — John Oliver.

@Midnight is going off the air this week. This is one show that almost always makes me giggle in that “ooh, that’s naughty” kind of way. It’s the same sort of giddiness that all 13-year-olds feel when they hear their first silly parody song. So I thank @Midnight for being the Weird Al of late night television. And I mean that in the best way possible.

Surviving Summer Fun Times Week 7– Game of Groans

Our kids’ camps ended this week, officially launching us into the “Camp Mom” part of summer. Welcome to Camp Mom. Our slogan is, “You see that door? It leads to a magical place called Outside. Try it. It’s like Narnia without the Turkish Delight.” Our sigil is a screen with a red line through it on a blue raspberry-syrup colored field. Our main battle strategy, perfected by the children, is to incessantly ask for snacks until opposing forces surrender.

Last days of camp are rarely the completely special moments we’d like them to be. One child forgot all of his food (2 snacks and a lunch) for his 7 hour day in class– thank goodness his brother shared, as did some of his lovely classmates. Strangers no more. I don’t think you can be a stranger once you’ve shared your snack cakes. Or kale. Or whatever good parents pack in lunches these days.

Despite this, we enjoyed their “Expo” – the final hours of camp where we get to see where our tuition money went this week, praying that they weren’t just playing Minecraft all day. And they weren’t. What a treat to watch the boys guide us through a technological world that is foreign and alien to us, but to them is home. But with great power comes great ability to maintain long monologues about the games they designed. I believe that they are still mid-sentences about it, some six days later.

Speaking of inauspicious endings, my daughter managed to fall into a puddle on the last day of camp. This undid her for a while, and she was completely disinterested in hearing my belief that her clumsiness is a confirmation that she is my child. She also was not interested in hearing, “Yeah, I’ve done that, too” when she biffed off her scooter yesterday. Road rash. It ain’t for sissies. Thank goodness we have so many Band-Aids.

The day after camp ended, the kids “slept in,” meaning they woke at 7:02. One twin decided to make super-secret pancakes like he was a contestant on a cooking competition, but considering he was asking where I keep every single ingredient, it didn’t take long to figure out it was going to be a fairly tame white chocolate and raspberry pancake batter. I relieved he didn’t go full Chopped and add some spotted dick or broccoli rabe. I’m counting this as “someone else made breakfast,” but I was kept grounded by the fact that he used every dish in the house and I was on clean up duty.

Fell asleep on the couch the other night and woke to the sound of a pitcher of water pouring on our new rug at about 1:30. I opened my eyes to see the dog peeing on the rug, which is really frustrating because most of the house is not carpeted so I’m not sure why he’s choosing the rug (and choosing the part of the rug right next to me). Usually he wakes me up if he has an emergency evening bladder/colon situation either by barking mildly or by nudging my hand or arm with his nose.

I got up to clean it and saw by the front door that apparently my dog has stock in Metamucil or Activia or Starbucks.

I ended up dragging the front hall mat (his inside pooping ground of choice) outside and pulling a Scarlett O’Hara – promising I’d deal with it tomorrow, most likely by asking my husband to hose down the mat and the dog.

My focus returned to the rug. Here’s the thing, though, I couldn’t find where he had peed. It’s a fluffy and apparently super absorbent rug. I tentatively touched at the rug, first with a big toe, then, as I was coming up dry, on hands and knees, slapping at the ground. No luck. It was the worst kind of magic – a completely dry rug, but not one made of charcoal. The strong ammonia scent was not exactly Glade-worthy, so I sprayed the rug with a cleanser that claims to rid rugs of pet odors, obviously never having met the stink bomb that is my dog.

Full of the type of joy that toe-tapping for dog pee in the wee hours of the morning can bring, it took about two hours to get back to sleep. At 6:30, my daughter awoke crying. I always think of that is some sort of warning sign that she’s going to throw up, because every time she throws up she cries beforehand. In full panic, I ran to her room only to find she’d had a bad dream. I lay down with her hoping to wring a few more minutes of probably fitful sleep, but the thought of poor sleep with my daughter’s hair up my nose was preferable to her being…oh, yes, there it was. She was wide awake, happy as a clam, and ready to meet the day full force.

Sleep deprivation is the Ramsay Bolton of my life.

I finally finished my daughter’s blanket which ended up being a color scheme I can only call Fever Dream.

I just got this yarn, and it’s time to knit something for me.

Because winter is here.