Oh it has been almost forever since my last entry. So much has happened and is still happening involving life changes and choices.
The tone of this blog may change a bit as life intervenes and things happen to change my path.
To catch up...
I am now in New Jersey with my daughter, her DH and grandkids 3-6 (numbered to protect them). Grandkids 1 and 2 are in Tennessee with their father and mother. The father is my younger child - if you can call 30-something a child. I will.
At the end of August, I will be traveling south to Chattanooga, TN - a place I have lived before and will be again. I'm buying a small condo, 2 bedroom, which should be enough for me, my hobbies and my cat. There will be weeding out of some things - and I look forward to my visits to McKay's to see if they like some of my books and will allow me to get some videos.
I've developed my "to-do" list including getting a job. I have one application still pending and hopefully will be selected for testing and an interview.
I will be signing up to volunteer as a docent at the Tennessee Aquarium. Reading the requirements for a docent seem to be much like what I used to do last century at a natural science museum where I grew up. I'm looking forward to this as it will get me out of the house and meeting people - which has been a real problem (issue) for me.
I was seeing a Behavioral Health Counselor in New Hampshire for much of the time I was there. Jacob was a tremendous help and I've learned a lot from the sessions. I need to continue seeing a therapist/counselor/shrink for the near future and then will need to be involved with a peer group or maintenance visits - probably forever. I didn't see the pit I fell into or allowed to grow up around me. With a peer group or maintenance, I can prevent that happening again. That pit is a horrible place to be and very, very hard to come out of. That's one of the things with Depression - it never is cured and can sneak up on you until you have no interest in life or anything else. You don't want to get out of bed, take care of normal routines - bathing, eating, cleaning, laundry - all of that stuff. I have no real memories that I can believe are accurate of that time period. Another chunk of my life went poof, never to be recovered. That is something I must avoid for the rest of my life.
Next in my list are items relating to completion of projects, spinning, knitting, stitching and so forth. I will be making a complete photo gallery of the projects and updates as I work on them. I want to get back to weaving. I've selected a loom I want and decided on the types of items I want to weave both with commercial yarns and with handspun. Primary items will be dish towels, placemats and napkins, wash cloths, then moving into scarves with handspun. The dream includes spinning silk and silk blends for yardage. There are people with terrific design skills who make custom clothing. I'd like to be able to produce yardage for their projects or some of my own.
Future entries in this blog will include my progress towards these goals and may even include my entry into the world of on-line sales. I do not have a rigid timetable for this but it should happen down the road a bit.
I am also looking at dietary changes and some lifestyle changes. I need to be more active and to be more healthy in my eating choices. You can travel along with me or ignore this completely. What I do is for me. I am becoming more selfish - which isn't that hard as I've always been one do to for others first and I came near the end of the list. That has to change as well.
Now for the hard part. The reason for all of this.
I've been married for over 42 years to a man I consider the love of my life. He has been my best friend, husband, lover, someone I could confide in and share things with. We've had children, buried one, and have six grandchildren. After all this time, he has decided to go his own way, without me. This is very painful for me and will take some time for me to heal. This blog will be one way for me to do this, I hope. This is the only time I'm giving this reason - I do still want to keep parts of my life, and the lives of family members, private.
On to other things. One event I participated in was Grandparents' Day at the day camp the grandchildren 3, 4, and 5 attend. I had a blast watching them in their activities. #3 and #4 are within the Autistic spectrum. #3 is a girl and the other girls in her group are terrific in the support they give #3. She got applause, high 5's, bending rules, and all sorts of encouragement. This is so wonderful for her - but also gives me a lot of optimism about the future generations.
#4 and #5, boys, both seemed to enjoy the activities we saw them in - swimming for both, archery for #4 and a Zip Line trip for #5.
The camp has a huge amount of activities available to the kids, both indoor and out. The list is too large to list here. The staff/kid ratio looks terrific and 99.9% of the staff I met seem to really care about the kids and also their safety and well being. They have a lot of opportunities all through the day to stay hydrated, and not a bit of bug juice in sight. (Bug juice is a powdered drink mix one adds a lot of sugar to.) I only have one complaint which requires explanation.
When I was a teenager, I was a member of the Jr. Staff at a natural science museum. I spent as much of my free time there as I could. We'd clean cages, help staff, give tours, give talks about animals, all sorts of things. We also worked with those animals, bringing them out for people to touch or see, if touching wasn't inside the comfort zone. These animals included reptiles and amphibians, along with birds and mammals. More than once, I've had my arm turn blue-ish because a snake was spooked by something and tightened its grip on me. The snakes were not pythons but normal, non-poisonous snakes who use constriction to control their prey.
At the camp, we went to the Nature compound. It's a large room with tanks inside containing different sorts of critters. There were guinea pigs, toads, pollywogs, lizards, turtles and some snakes, among other things. Two of the snakes are ball pythons.
According to About.com, ball pythons will grow to about 3-5 feet long and are considered fairly docile. I will not argue these facts. What I will say is that constrictors, such as pythons, control their prey by wrapping around it. As the prey breathes out or wiggles, the snake will tighten the coils around the prey. Each time the circumference of the prey lessens, the snake adjusts the coils. This constriction will cause the prey to suffocate as it will not be able to breathe.
One of my pet peeves is people taking a constricting snake and placing it around the neck. If that snake is startled - sudden movement, another animal or potential prey or danger, the snake can constrict its coils around anything. I've read that pressure on the carotid artery can cause a person to become dizzy and disoriented within seconds. Four minutes without air causes permanent brain damage &/or death.
Because of the potential life threatening issues, I do not feel any snake should be placed around any person's neck - especially a child! When I mentioned this to the staff member in charge of the nature hut, he felt that the snakes were small and very docile so this could not happen. It may not happen, but what if it does. The snakes are 3-4 feet long at present.
I'm off my soapbox now. I'm not giving the name of the camp as I feel this will be corrected in the near future and there will not be an issue. However, I also feel it is up to parents to teach their children. There are many petting zoos and other places where children can touch wild animals. The parents need to explain to the kids that these are wild animals and they must be careful around them - not making sudden moves or loud noises, nor handle in a rough manner. Animals should be held in the hands or by guidance of staff in the correct way to handle them.
I loved my time at the museum and working with all the different types of animals. Some of my favorite things to see were the looks of wonder and surprise on children's faces as they touched a skunk or a snake for the first time and found out that they were not slimy or they were soft. We often had children who had disabilities such as blindness or that they were raised in extreme poverty in an inner city area and never had the opportunity to touch a rabbit or turtle or feel the bumps on a toad. Remembering those events so many years ago still can make me smile.
On to knitting. While in New Hampshire, I did finish some socks and a shawl. One pair of socks and the shawl stayed with my sister to try to thank her for all she did for me during my seven months with her.
I made the Color Affection Shawl that stayed in NH with my sister.
The photo below does not do the shawl justice. It's a milk chocolate color, a caramel and a dark chocolate color. It should be great to wrap around the neck on those cold winter days when the roof needs the excess snow raked off or the sidewalk needs shoveled.
The final project I finished up there was a pair of socks called Cinch. These have a different method of working. One works the entire cuff then down the back of the sock to the toe area. Then the inset is worked, then the front and the final inset. Finally the toe is completed and the ends worked in. I had some problems with these and I may do them again but with another tweak of assembly so they don't seem to be such a mismatch.
I also picked up and knit a striped pair of socks for the SAL group on Ravelry. This pair is also for me or one of my granddaughters if they are too short for me. So here are You Have Stripes, a generic toe up pattern of 3x1 ribbing with a gusset and heel flap.
I am also making a tee top for myself called Symmetry in Motion. I'm about half-way done with no current photo to post to show what it is like. I am having fun with this one so photos will happen when it is finished.
Spinning has also happened. I was working with some superwash merino in an old colorway called Ain't No Mountain High Enough from Crown Mountain Farms. I'm about 2/3 of the way finished with this. I've wound two plying balls and am about half way finished with another bobbin of 50 gms of fiber. Then I'll 3-ply them and see what I end up with. Maybe sock yarn.
However this is in hibernation until I get to Chattanooga as I can't spin with the grandchildren. They want to help and that's not a good idea.
I am doing some support spindling. The first is some cotton sliver from Cotton Clouds. I'm doing the brown first to be followed by white, green, another type of white, then tan. Cotton Clouds also has a kit where you spin 17 ozs of colored cottons then weave 3 hand towels. I'm considering buying the kit - but will wait to see what the job situation is first. I have a lot of other fibers to spin before it becomes critical that I get some new fiber.
One thing to add. Crown Mountain Fibers has closed I believe. The owner decided to return to Germany to care for older family members. I don't know if he was able to sell the business before he left or exactly what the status is. Crown Mountain was a terrific source of fibers for spinning and I, for one, will miss this.
Well I'm going to end this little cure for insomnia (yours, not mine) and let you recover until the next time. One final photo - not a great one - but my DD belongs to a community garden. We went there early one morning and saw these observers: