Saturday, August 29, 2009


Sometimes reading Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright is like reading a checklist. Yep, experienced that, and that, and that, and that. Sometimes it's a series of "aha" moments. Chapter 20 will probably be revisited quite a bit. I may read ahead and come back to it.

What I learned in this chapter is that at month 3 you might get hit by grief as if it were new again. March wasn't exactly like that for me but pretty much all I wanted to do was sleep. I think it's a version or expression of grief that fits what the author describes. At months 6-9 you might be experiencing a weakened immune system due to grief. Holy cow! The human body is complex and amazing. The author continues with the caveat that if you're honest in your grief and "doing the work" of grieving and not postponing it the immune hit can be avoided. Might explain the ongoing fatigue of the last couple years. hm. I think I've been pretty healthy this summer and as school starts. Still more tired than I like.

Other specific points in time to be ready for are the anniversary of the death-not there yet but do have holidays to get through. Next labeled are "grief bumps" at 18 months when you find you have mostly good days the sad days can hit harder. And coming up "letting go". I need to reread that part of the chapter. Pretty much everything after 6-9 months needs reviewing and rereading!

This is Mom and her twin. I mentioned when I visited my aunt that Mom didn't seem to like to knit or maybe didn't think she knit well. I don't remember much of her knitting but she did knit a very bright blue striped afghan that lived on the couch for our teen years. I have it somewhere around here. My aunt's reply was that Mom knit very well and used to make dressy gloves. I can guess how difficult gloves would be and it makes me happy that Mom knit. I wish as she raised the 4 of us she would have had more time to knit and to teach us beyond the basics. Maybe we didn't show much interest. Who knows.

Left-Aunt J. Right-Mom

Thursday, August 27, 2009


It seems I should have a lot to say lately but since work has started I'm just tired. I think it will get better. I have quite an adjustment from summer in my sleep habits. The school year is starting better than the last. So, all in all I'm hoping to start reading and posting "on topic" soon. Sunday wasn't that far away but it feels like it!

We've created more purposeful boards than last year. I'll have to take some pictures one of these afternoons. And, it's surprising what hanging up the alphabet cards can do. The kids really like them. So do administrators!!!!!

Wind sculpture, outside in a garden near/at a church in Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fruit Memories

I know I've mentioned apricots but they are just a part of Mom's love of fruit. She ate fruit, grew fruit, and canned fruit. I have a jar in my kitchen window that says, "Summer, 1979." (just the jar-it's empty!) Mom taught my sister canning and the two of them canned hundreds and hundreds of jars of fruit, jams, jellies, and butters (like apple butter, pear butter). Dad built shelves over the washer and they were full three layers deep and two layers high.

Did I learn any of this? No, but sis would teach me if I asked. Sis canned quite a few dozen jars of apricot jam with the apricots from my backyard. Mom loved that jam. We put it on toast, in oatmeal, over ice cream. Mm, Mm, Mm.

Apricots were some of the last food that Mom ate-pureed. I still have 2 quarts frozen apricots, blanched and peeled, in my freezer. Oatmeal season is coming and I think I'll eat it up this winter.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Capturing Memories.....

I've been wondering what I'll do when I feel "finished" with the bulk of grief. What happens to this blog. Do I close it but let it stand? Do I print it out and delete it? Neither!

Chapter 19 is about Capturing the Memories. Fading memories of a loved one can cause anxiety and fuel grief for some people. I don't feel that way. I don't think 50 years of being loved by your mom fade too quickly.

On the other hand I love the idea of writing my Mom-Memories here. So at some point in the future I'll convert this blog to Mom Memories rather than things mostly about grief with knitting, flowers and work thrown in for good measure. I think the flowers are about mom.

The author relates a story about a man who decided to write down 1000 things about his wife. He called his collection 1000-One Liners. I like the idea of writing down a slip of a memory or a longer story. At that point I think I'll be able to share all of this w/family. Haven't done that yet.

At that point I think I'll open a second blog for me and my stuff. I feel better! I see the end of this blog in it's current incarnation and haven't seen what to do next.

Such a helpful little book!

More photo fun-click on the photo: There's a reddish caterpillar or worm on the center of the front flower.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chapter 18

In H. Norman Wright's Experiencing Grief is about handling special occasions. My first thought was that I think we all just get through them. The advice here is to know that you're likely to get a "grief attack". Think ahead and think through how the holiday usually goes and whether or not you think you're ready for the usual. Let people know if you want to make changes. Be gentle with yourself and don't take on all the holiday socializing if you don't feel ready.

Difficult days will be traditional holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries. Discuss with family, discuss with family......

I think ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas and want to avoid. The last couple years these holidays were such an ordeal. I was either hauling Mom, uncomfortably, and all our gear or hosting. While family did everything they could to make things easier it was never easy either way. So I have that overlay on what seems could be more emotional holidays than usual. We've been through Palm Sunday, Easter, and our birthdays (mom and I are a week apart). I was ok with the church occasions until I other people needed to express their sympathy (or pity). The birthdays were easier. I got special treats, cleaned up and put flowers at the gravesite, and then went on vacation. Seemed to work.

I know we'll all get through the upcoming holidays because we've made it through the previous ones. But I am going to take some time to think through what I think will help me and take a deep breath and tell family.....via e-mail. yes, yes, I'm a chicken!

This is a "Julia".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some butterflies

Because work has begun and I'd rather it hadn't!

Giant swallowtail and monarch.



I discovered today that I can talk more easily about grief, loss, Mom. And, it was easier to talk to a friend about her parents' declining state. Progress. It feels like breathing cleaner air.

oooo...for extra photo fun click on the middle picture to view it huge. You can see the proboscus, the butterflies legs touching spider web, and raised veins! Kewl

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tipping the balance

I'm realizing that I'm living less and less in grief and moments of grief. I have more and more flashes of insight that I'm happy. I'm sure this will be stressed and distorted once work starts but I'm so glad to be here. I never thought it wouldn't come but I'm a little bit surprised that living with grief is starting to turn towards renewal.

I'm also seeing more and more the cyclical or spiral nature of all the aspects of grief things that trouble me much and things that trouble me only a bit. I recognize more quickly what sets off bouts of tears and can put the memories and feelings into perspective. Most of the time anyway!

I still have 5 chapters left in "Experiencing Grief" but I feel less rushed to finish before summer is over. Good thing. Work starts Wednesday and I'll be going out Monday and Tuesday to get a sense of what needs to be done first.

I've had my niece and nephew visiting for most of a week. We went to visit my sister this weekend and went to the Natural History Museum. They have a "Butterflies Alive" exhibit. Good thing sis was there because the kids tired of the butterflies long before I did. She took them through the other rooms and wings of exhibits.

This is a type of "sulfur" butterfly. I'll have to look up the exact type. (and spelling)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Camera Antics

My Camera has a timer (which in this case took a normal picture):

My camera has a "vivid" setting:

My camera does sepia tones:

My camera does black and white:

I had the interior of my car detailed yesterday. Three hours! I asked the shop to drop me at a nearby strip mall. I knitted in Starbucks for about 90 minutes. Then I went to IHOP for a burger (yum). While I was waiting for my order I played with my camera! I knew I had some of these settings but I didn't know about "vivid" or the timer. I need more practice to use them with ease. It was a very good distraction.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


Chapter 16 of H. Norman Wright's Experiencing Grief is about relief. There seem to be a lot of reasons for people to be relieved when someone close dies. My relief is the dual lifting of Mom's suffering and my caregiving time. I've known and mentioned this from the start. Does it change my grief and how I process it? I don't think so. I don't think anyone is appalled that I felt relief at Mom's death. I don't think anyone is surprised. But, being relieved isn't the same as sadness. It's another piece to fit in and live with.

That was an odd little chapter.

Although teary episodes still pop up I'm starting to think that they are almost habitual. Or maybe that little empathetic part of us takes longer to become less sensitive. I'm beginning to feel that I don't want to be scratching at a scab that the healing that is happening is going to go along on it's own. I'm sure things will get all tangled up for a bit when school starts again. There is an entire ball of ickiness that Mom's death was part of. Perhaps now that I've defined and maybe separated out some of the grief taking care of work ickies won't be as complicated. I sure hope so.

Summer knitting season is almost over. Projects will be slower to finish. On the other hand in a couple months it will be cool enough to pick up afghan and shawl projects. That will be a nice change of pace. Lately:

Wrist warmers for me:

A hat for a store bought Monkey:

A hat and scarf set that I didn't like and frogged (unknitted):

And turned it into a child's hat and scarf set:
I have another hat/scarf set mostly finished and yarn chosen for more wrist warmers. I also want to make a couple "friendship baskets" and see if they hit a note with fundraiser shoppers.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


That's a vacation! I had a marvelous time visiting a friend and her children in Oregon. I had plenty of "I" time. And we found several yarn shops and a fiber arts center. We went places, did fun activities, enjoyed hangin' around. Cool!

As the vacation began to wind down I started thinking about what I could do at home to have a more restful and refuge-like home. A lot has to do with lack of clutter. It's more than time to go through the house and get rid of things. Some has to do with enjoying meals. We ate out a lot but I also had simple and satisfying meals in the hotel room (fridge, microwave). It's time to not just clean out the refrigerator at home but to get back to planning, doing a little cooking, and making time for meals with friends. And, some of the joy of being in the hotel was guilt free knitting time. I'm thinking if the house is in order I won't be "putting off" housework to knit. Hopefully maintaining order will be less work than rescuing myself from chaos.

Fingerless gloves. My new favorite project.