Monday, November 29, 2010

snapshots

We woke up to this:




There is peace in wondering at clouds...we took pause to take pictures and take in the sharp air. I have an endless fascination for clouds. I could have stood there all day and watched them. I am grateful for being there when these hung so close we could see their colors.
Awake and off to school, where Serena thrived and I struggled with one class in particular. It is the day after a break, after all, a little chaos is to be expected.
Back home after trying to balance intervention with letting them work it out, and then trying to balance the same thing at home. After school playdate for Serena. Davis is cranky...he has been sick. I nurse him. He is easily frustrated. After much wanting to be held, and being held, nursing, and complaining in a 23-month-old's way, we settled down to make soup. Chop, chop, choppity, chop, we sing, we are both soothed by this, until another wave of un-communicable toddler frustration ensues. Somehow, the soup gets made, pumpkin muffins get made, and we all eat it for dinner. Clean up, a bath, a story book read five times, and a long story for Serena while Davis nurses to sleep.
It is 7 p.m. Serena has me to herself, and takes full advantage of my newly-freed attention. I listen to her stories of the day, her wishes for christmas, writing a letter to Santa (I think I'll write an "A", she says. I explain that there is another meaning for "letter") Daddy comes home, they talk, she goes to bed.
And now, a peaceful rain is falling on our neighborhood, among the newly-hung lights. The house is quiet, my mind is not. This holiday madness is a joyful kind of stress.
Everything is bigger at Christmastime....traffic, schedules, money. Wonder, hope, love.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A recipe for you!






The Serena Sweater
Yarn: Brown Sheep Cotton fleece
Needle: Size 7 circular (It was a long one) and set of 5 size 7 double points
For a size 6/7 girls', Cast on 74 over 4 double points , join for knitting in the round
Knit 2 rounds. On second round, knit 13, PM, K1, PM, K 10, PM, K 1, PM, K 25, Pm, K1, PM, K 10, PM, K 1, PM, K 12 (place different marker here to indicate beginning of round if desired)
Knit, increasing one stitch on either side of marked stitch (k to marker, K 1 f&b, slip marker, k 1, slip marker, k 1 f&b)
Knit a round in between increase rounds.
Knit until the sweater just meets at the armpits. I knitted mine until it was a touch longer, to add for growth.
Place the sleeve stitches on scrap yarn and join the bodice for working in the round. Count your stitches. At the underarms, cast on about 6 extra stitches. The goal is to end up with a multiple of 3. On this sweater, it was 120 stitches.
Knit one round.
Feather and fan round: * K2 tog (3 x) K 1, YO (3 x)*, repeat from * * all the way around.
Knit 2 rounds plain.
Repeat feather and fan round once more.
Knit, adding side increases every 3 inches.
When sweater is desired length, k a round, p a round to create a garter stitch border. Mine was 10 rounds.
Cut yarn. Place sleeve stitches on double points, adding the same number of  extra stitches that you did at the underarms. Knit until sleeves are desired length, adding a garter stitch border as above.
Repeat for second sleeve.
Weave in ends. If desired, crochet around the neck edge for stability (that's what I did but it's your sweater)
That's it! now watch your 7-year-old daughter wear it every day. It just warms your heart.
And now, the Thanksgiving picture that beat out all the other ones:
Thanks for the haircut (s) Grandma!(We had a wonderful time. Thank you for EVERYTHING)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slowly....

Making has happened here very slowly, not unlike driving in holiday traffic (yes! it's happening already!).
Finally, things to take to this gallery.


Everything is grey here today. Still, grey is lovely and carries a mood of expectancy...of hesitancy...of waiting. What are you waiting for? What is coming toward you this season?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Love is the Movement

The day after I posted about my struggles with depression (it comes and goes for me) I had two students come with a message written on their arm. They said they wrote it on their arms to remember teenagers who had committed suicide. There was such sweetness in their heart for the world, and sadness at the thought of such dark burdens.
There is something to be learned from them. I have had all kinds of reactions to my own depression over the years: judgment, pity, criticism, compassion, support. Things said like, "keep your chin up!" "Just be grateful for what you have" "get a grip!". I am sure there were many more things said that were inappropriate that I can't remember right now. I do believe that while those words ultimately hold concern and loving intention, most of them reveal how misunderstood depression is. Loving, accepting, understanding words have also come and have been a healing balm. It is outside the scope of this rather scope-less blog to educate about depression, and it is curious to me that I choose to write about it here. I do find some support here and it does make me feel better to know I am not the only one in the world who deals with sadness.
Most of the time my depression is pretty manageable. I try to have a holistic view of it as a spiritual dis-ease, and address it with therapy, spiritual work, exercise (not very consistently!), working on eloquently speaking my truth, handling my emotions (especially anger) and diet. This is what I do. I have tried different drugs over the years and so far they just don't work for me. For the most part my depression has more to do with my seeking, insecure nature than a desire to leave this life. For me, it can also be a gift that lets me know I am out of balance, ignoring a message that is important to my soul, or spinning so fast I disconnect myself not just from my feelings, but from the spiritual world. I know there are so many shades of gray though and many have deep, ongoing, painful struggles with the disease.
I was so touched by my students' love for those in pain, the reminder that depression is a serious issue,and it made me ever so mindful of how lucky I truly am.
I pray I can only continue to grow in finding compassion and loving acceptance of others.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I like big butts and I cannot lie

Yesterday, while driving to my therapy group, I was thinking about how depressed I've been lately. I was beating up onmyself..."you are so ungrateful. How can you be depressed? That's so selfish." I looked at this voice and decided it was  Depression herself speaking to me.
Here is what she looks like. She is older, she is dressed as if she is going to church, she has droopy eyelids, an expression of fixed indifference and complacency, and a HUGE butt. HUGE. In fact, it is so huge that she wields it like a weapon. She knocks over things and moves without consideration. She mumbles as she moves backwards, bottom first, like her butt is looking for a victim to sit upon and she sits down on me. It is like her butt is the boss and the rest of us are the helpless slaves. (I use 'us' since I am irreversibly beholden to the IFS paradigm of therapy now.) While she sits on us, she mumbles how much we suck, how we can't get anything done, and says even more things like, "you're wearing THAT today?" "boy, you really messed up that class" Of course we suck because we are under her big butt! We are stuck underneath her. We can't move. We can't breathe. We can't see because it is dark. We try to move her but she is so huge and won't listen to us. She simply sits and showers us with mindless, numbing insults with her droopy eyelids. It makes us so tired we just want to sleep.
Fastened under Ms. Depression, I feel as though we are living the Maori creation myth. We must seperate Mother depression (what is she protecting?) and myself, just like the myth. And because it is a creation story, there is the hope of birth.
A depression is a hole, a thumb in clay, a cave. It is a place. One can curl up in a depression and forget about the cares of the world. One can fill the depression with one's sadness, and keep spiraling further inward, seeing more sadness. That is where one is sat upon by Ms. Depression and fixed firmly under her bottom and I just wish she would disappear.
I am going to turn toward her, and really listen to what she is concerned about. I am going to feel gratitude for her, and find out what she is there for. Furthermore, I am simply going to ask her nicely to get off of me!

I believe in winters of the soul, and springs of the heart. I believe in giving spiritual death its dues, and making way for spiritual birth and rebirth. I believe the tree is alive though all the leaves fall off. This is just life, making its way through me as best it can, teaching me about my impediments, helping me to grow.

Monday, November 8, 2010

We Go Inside

Although we enjoyed an absolutely beautiful day here weather-wise, the early darkness drove us inside to play much earlier than we wanted!
So, we started setting up things for inside play.
I am always amazed at how much children thrive on simplicity and their own ingenuity. Two yoga blocks and a board make a fine balance beam.

Add in the tunnel and the rocker board and you have an obstacle course.















Davis gets lots of crawl time in the tunnel. He scooted instead of crawling, so I am very happy to see him get lots of cross-patterned crawl time to help his growth.
The rocker board...oh, how I wish they were widely available. I got this one at The Hand and Hoe at the Threefold Community in Spring Valley, New York. It has been a favorite toy. Today, the kids made a slide out of it, a bridge, and a see-saw. Just with one toy. I'll venture to say they played for a good hour this way. Any mom knows that an hour of peaceful play among siblings is almost as good as a day at the spa. Almost.
As for the exercise balls bouncing around there...they are a side effect of life with my Rolfer. Other side effects include encouragement to bare our feet and move our bodies, with some yoga added to the mix as well. I'd say those are good reminders for anyone!
I have been very busy of late. Life has been very full and I am already turning to thoughts of the holidays. My recurring theme for the holidays has been "preparing the way". In other words, I'm on a mission to get my house (the internal and external ones) in order before the coming busy days.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hallloween Mysteries


We carved pumpkins. I was feeling pretty good about capturing the essence of each child in such an artistic way, feeling smug, proud...especially proud of the pumkin missing his two front teeth just like Serena, and then....




 Some little woodland spirit or evil presence came and ate the teeth out of our pumpkins. Just the teeth!Serena thinks it was a squirrel. I think it is a mystery apropos to the season!



But it's no mystery....these are some cute kids. The clown costume is circa 1973 and Chance wore it as a child. I love my silly spooks!