Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking back...

That's me 20 years ago (I was 19 then). No, not the one smoking, the young girl in the middle. A friend sent this picture to me last month. That was the half-way point (time-wise) to where I am now. I can't say that I knew I'd be here, but I'm not that surprised either. The amount of experiences and influences I have known since then have grown exponentially. The world has gotten bigger and smaller at the same time.

Good bye 2007 / Hello 2008. In know that this transition is only on paper (replace all calendars), but it is symbol enough to remind me that we are moving forward. The introduction of cancer to my life in July of 2007 was a catalyst to some changes in me. Some changes very trivial, some more momentous, some I’m not ready to address. It is an unwelcome visitor that I have learned to live with, but I am working daily to get rid of. All the while I am doing my best not to let my dear daughter see my fear of the monster or see it through my eyes. She thinks it is a mere annoyance and once she does all that she is told to do by the doctors, she will be rid of it. I want to buy into that too. It changes my outlook. Every smile is much more precious (I didn't know it could be). Every laugh is so much more of a release (I'm really enjoying the Arrested Development series I got from Netflix - thanks for the tip Quinns)! It's like I have a new heightened awareness. So bring on 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

why I create...

  • To make something that is useful
    • I enjoy beauty in things and beautifying things, but I aspire to make something useful. The value is in the utility of the object and the beauty is secondary (although very important, too). I have little use for things that merely sit around looking pretty. (They get dusty, too). To serve a purpose is more redeeming.
  • To stress my independence
    • To prove I don't need "store bought" or "mass produced"
    • To thumb my nose at commercialism/consumerism
  • To feed my soul
    • I read once (I think it was in The Incarnating Child) that in caring for a child a mother gives and gives from her soul and she will require a way to nourish her soul so that she can keep on giving. Creating/crafting can do that.

Last night I saw a show on PBS, Craft in America, that highlighted crafts artisans from all over America. I tuned in during a segment on quilting and Hystercine Rankin. She stated that she learned to make quilts from her grandmother in order to keep her children warm. She went on to use her quilting as a way to tell her own story. I was reminded of the PBS show on the Gee's Bend quilts. There is something noble about crafting with a purpose and especially out of necessity. Equally, using handcrafted items can make the utility of the item more enjoyable. I really appreciate the handmade pottery and furniture in my home and value it much more that anything I could pick up at a superstore!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A fine read

The latest book I read was "Peace Like a River" by Lief Enger. I picked it up from the used section at the bookstore. I didn't know anything about the author or the story, I just liked the title. I thought, "I need some of that 'Peace like a river.'" Wow, was I ever glad I did. Lief Enger is a wonderful story teller. Issues of faith and family are addressed throughout, but it is never once preachy (believe me, I would drop that like a hot coal). Anyway, loved this book. I gave it to a radiation therapist at the hospital when I was done. I just wanted to pass on the vague sense of well-being I felt after reading it. I say vague, because I'm not sure why. I think it was some of that "peace like a river."

The main character (one of Ingrid's favorite terms) has a sister that writes an epic poem about some swaggering outlaws and heroes. I read bits of it aloud to Ingrid to keep her entertained while waiting during appointments (which we do often). I don't think she actually understood the story, but the rhyme and rhythm were enough to keep her smiling.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Family - gotta love 'em!

That's a large number of them, but not all...

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Tis the Season!

And I can't help but think how lucky I am to be able to spend time with these three precious people. I am so blessed to be able to watch them work together, grow and learn. We did some crafting for the holidays. They really worked together well building the gingerbread house. (Thank you, MJ, for the kit.)
We also made cookies. These are our new favorites because they are so much fun! (I also find them less messy than the sugar decorated cookies.) I got the recipe from my favorite recipe site - The Pioneer Woman Cooks. We never got around to adding the icing, but they looked great and tasted great, too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Incredible Sweater Machine

When I was a very new mom, I was awake in the middle of the night on numerous occassions nursing my little one. Sometimes I watched whatever was on the TV. In the wee hours of the morning, it was usually an infomercial. One that I watched over and over absorbing its persuasive propaganda was "The Incredible Sweater Machine". I coveted that thing. I had to have it. I had to knit!

Well, I got that machine. Cheesy and limited as it is, it really did work. I knit my son's Christmas stocking with it. Then a few years later eldest daughter's (the third child got the store-bought...I owe her one). What it really did though, was convince me that I needed to learn to knit. And I did. Then I realized that little machines limitations and how easy it was to use my own hands to knit. The results were sometimes satisfying, sometimes frustrating, but the action of knitting has remained a calming, soul-nurturing activity.
The past couple of weeks I have been knitting while waiting during my daughter's radiation. Everyone asks what I am making. The answer is, I don't really have a plan. It could be a washcloth, a doll blanket or a scarf. I am still knitting and it looks like this one will be a scarf. I just need some more yarn. I realize now, that it doesn't always matter that something "turns out", but sometimes just the action is therapy enough.
Over the years, I have made knitted gifts for my babies and my friends babies. I have a keepsake box where I am saving the hats and sweaters. They mean so much to me as memories of my children's babyhood and also the care, love and concern that I knit right into them. I don't think they could mean that much to anyone else. Even with their funny seams and too long sleeves, I cherish them. I have such great memories tied to them. Sitting beside the park knitting, while the children played on the slide. Or knitting beside the kiddie pool while they cooled off in the summer. And then the memories of them actually bundling up and keeping cozy with flushed red cheeks.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Cookies with my Baby!

That's her. My daughter. She has lost all of her hair except for that light blond baby fuzz. We have settled into a new reality. She doesn't go to school, she is "homebound" and we get to spend a lot of time together. Today we made cookies.

A different sort of reality than last year, but the same girl actually. It is incredible that a six year old can accept so much and just march forward. So far she has completed 7 of 14 chemotherapy treatments (3-5 days each), 14 hospitalizations, 6 neutropenic fevers, 5 blood transfusions, 5 platelet transfusions, and 21 of 45 radiation treatments, daily injections and medications. And she still trusts me and the doctors that are trying to rid her of cancer that she can't even see.

It's taken me some time to feel that I can even post here. I don't think I'm talking to anyone, yet it's hard to put myself out there.

As for the crafting and attempts at making a business of it - a couple of my chairs have sold and lots of shoes! I'm glad. That's funny, too. You put something out there that you think is worth selling, but you hope somebody thinks it is worth buying!