Friday, January 12, 2018

A wee giftie


If you'd like a pair of my hand-knitted wee wash/dishcloths just send me an "I'd like that!" in the comments and I will have a draw in the next few days and send a pair to the winner. They can be used in the kitchen or the bathroom or the shower and as one of the old folks around here says: no matter how damp and how long you leave them, they never smell. And they wash beautifully. 100% cotton.

I've been around here a while and I love your comments, concern and faithful readership.

So this is just a small token of my appreciation.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Strange World of Predawn


I haven't done this in a while. Write in the pre-dawn hours.

There's a good reason.

Pain.

Intermittent and weird.

Tests are being conducted. Daily it seems. Various hospitals, clinics.

I've become a medi-bore overnight. Not about the symptoms. No. They're brief and troubling. But all these blood tests, scans, etc. My life is filled with medi-treks every day this week. Which exhaust me. And then I'm flooded with relief once they're behind me. Like I'm joining the real world again. I do these treks alone, by choice. I don't know what it feels like to have a partner/loved one journeying beside. I don't think I'd like it. I pursue my own thoughts in these waiting rooms.

"Ah, The Galway Shawl" I said to a pacing man yesterday in the nuclear medicine clinic. He'd been whistling it under his breath. Waiting for someone, I speculated.

"I don't know what else to do," he whispered, walking slowly around the pod-like room.

On top of that a friend of over 30 years has been diagnosed with liver cancer so he just recovered from surgery on Tuesday and another acquaintance messaged all of us yesterday that he is refusing any further treatment for cancer and is going to die with dignity in the next few days. He's 63.

So a fresh batch of pain strikes me before 5 in the morning most mornings. And I get up and take some meds but they take a while to kick in.

They say it's a good time for writing. Blank slate of a brain. So here I go.

I trek off to the doctor later on this morning.

I hope we get to the bottom of this.

I was waiting in a coffee shop yesterday to sign some papers for my real estate agent and I deliberately sat across from a man who was knitting a hat very similar to one I just finished for a friend (see above). And I showed him a pic of it.

We chatted and he let me feel the hat he was working on(silk and merino) and then he let me feel his hand-knitted scarf (muskox from the North West Territories) and then he admired my Kipling knapsack so I offered him a feel of it (parachute material, very light, very old) and he searched on line for one like it as he loved it. And he told me of a sealskin mitten workshop happening at the end of the month, and I told him about my story shawls that I create and we had such a lovely time. And then my realtor arrived and I never even found out what my new friend's name was.

Or maybe it was just one of those jewels of a connection and should lie where it is, you know?

I mean it's kinda special when you get to feel a stranger's clothes and can ooh and aah together over the sensuous nature of beautiful material, right?

Where do you take it from there?

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Inheritance

From my mother I inherited thick hair and good skin.

I also inherited her love of music, live theatre and reading along with a passion for needlework: sewing, knitting, crochet and embroidery. She was skilled in all 4 of these disciplines, I in but 2 but she would tell you that I exceeded her ability in those two: knitting and sewing as I took them further into designing.

She was a woman of her time, born in rural Ireland in 1914, traumatized by the explosion of her village barracks ("it shook the ground I was playing on") in 1920 when she was 6 resulting in her becoming a life long Irish republican. She was self-educated and was managing a large grocery store when she married at 28, thus thwarting any further ambition of her own {"he wore me down"). It didn't kill her thirst for learning and she could converse readily on the novels of Charles Dickens. She took advanced cooking classes and singing lessons when she was in her forties.

She found it easy to make friendships, her outgoing personality and overall petite prettiness and "style" attracted even strangers drawn to share their confidences with her.

She knew quality from a mile away and would advocate owning only a little quality versus a lot of cheap trash. She loved roses and hydrangeas and field mushrooms and blackberries and the sea. No matter the temperature of the water, she'd take one sight of the sea and before we could blink, her ever-ready swimsuit was on her and she'd be diving in, breathless, waving her arms telling her shivering children: "it's lovely, you'll warm up in no time!"

She was a true gameball as we Irish say.


From my father I inherited bright blue eyes and one of those faces that shows visible displeasure when things are "not going our way."

I also inherited his love of words, new ones, old ones, complicated ones, words with multiple meanings and interpretations, words of obscure etymologies.

He gave me my first library card when I was 4 (he taught me to read) and our routine, every night after tea till I was at least 14, was that I'd sit on the arm of his easy chair and we'd complete the Evening Echo crossword together. I learned about newts and tors and bitterns. Later we played Scrabble and when we traveled together in later years we packed the Scrabble board for our after dinner game. Once, he bought a beautiful hand crafted turntable in a prison workshop in Maine which I still use for Scrabble.

He taught me knitting - he had 5 older sisters and had observed them. I remember his patience one time in a wool shop in Camden when I took hours poring over obscure old knitting patterns talking to him about Guernseys (ganseys) and Jersey fishermen sweaters and Aran patterns and Shetland wedding ring shawls and convent lacework.

I asked him once what he would have done with his life if he had the resources. He answered without hesitation: "I'd have created new varieties of roses."

I was gobsmacked.

And then I realized, for the very first time, how he and my mother were drawn to each other.