Angry with Elizabeth Zimmerman
It's been awhile since I've been here; rather than 'lazy, hazy days of summer', July flew by, a hot blur of family, friends, ice cream and grilling. Fun, albeit tiring, niceness.
August is moving at more of an ooze, as it should. Every day we accomplish something, but not enough to call it work. Days topping out at 75 to 80 degrees are hard not to love, especially if they involve limearitas (my new favorite thing) with chips and salsa on someone's patio.
We'll be here in northern Idaho til mid September, then point the minivan towards Texas, which is now over 100 every day, and likely will still be stubbornly holding onto upper 90's when we pull into the driveway. She doesn't let go of summer easily. Along the 2000 miles of way, we'll drive through Colorado for another family reunion, then I'll stay behind for doctor checkups with my mom. They'll be challenging, and possibly frustrating, but a sad necessity we're thinking. Cub Sweetheart and Lily will continue on the way home alone, and I'll catch up with them via plane, a week or so later.
Which brings me to being angry.
This stage of life, where my mother pivots between denying and being completely ignorant of her situation, is hard. Harder than I think I would have thought it would be, if I'd seen it coming, which I didn't. Somehow I didn't expect this. Being raised by a mother who, for as long as I can remember, preferred writing a poem to cooking tuna casserole or doing laundry, made it hard to see that she was losing grip with daily life. When they don't use the stove anyway it's hard to see that they don't remember how.
Humor is needed. Lightness. Mental gymnastics with something other than keeping track of her dropping weight, having protein drinks shipped to her, going through a verbal game of charades every time we talk, as we struggle to find the words to communicate - what she's trying to tell me, what I'm trying to understand or get across to her. I'm sad for her. I'm sad for me.
So I'm going to relearn to knit. Rather than put my head in the sand (which many days calls my name hard) I'm going to occupy it, at least sometimes, with other things. Perhaps those times when everything in me wants to punch a wall or hang up the phone or sit down and have a good cry. Being a firm lover of new year's resolutions, I made one in January to improve my knitting skills. After over five years of knitting I'm pretty much still where I was soon after I began. I moved beyond making scarves for everyone I knew; there have been caps and a few baby sweaters, a toy or two. My one pair of socks that took about 200 hours. So I've got some knitting under my belt, but everything ends up a bit much for even non-perfectionist me to bear.
When I first learned to knit, which I did NOT want to do, it made me so angry Cub Sweetheart kept asking me, 'why do you do that? It makes you SO angry?' In my defense that was after I'd started and ripped out the same sweater SEVENTEEN times.
Something about the mental gymnastics grabs me, the trying to get my brain around something that does not come easily. Sort of like algebra, but with yarn.
I could pick up another knitting project, work my way through it, but I'd likely end up with a lumpy, uneven garment or more likely, an unraveled ball of yarn that was intended to be a garment. Instead I've decided to do the Julia and Julia thing. Instead of cooking through an old cookbook on a small stove in a smaller apartment, I'm going to work my way through Elizabeth Zimmerman's 'Knitting Workshop'. One chapter and one project at a time. No promises that I'll ever hit 'master knitter' but I might come out at the end of the book still sane. That's far more valuable than any fancy-schmancy sweater out there.
Ms. Zimmerman's book, and lessons, starts with winding a ball of yarn. Which I'm actually not that great at. It tends to make me grit my teeth and mutter under my breath, not always nice words. I think this would be same as Julie pulling her pots and pans out of the cupboard, and possibly purchasing measuring cups.
I'll be back in a few days, maybe, with a ball of yarn, and words regarding the lovely art of knitting. Once in awhile, when life gets too much, when it feels like my hair is on fire, I might dribble on about Alzheimers and dementia and caregiving; hopefully you'll hear more from me about dropping stitches or life or how I feel about capital punishment or the upcoming election process and why it has anything to do with Donald Trump's horrid hair. All with a humorous slant, of course, because life is way too short, or long - depending on how you look at it, to do otherwise.
Off to grab pointed needles!