Monday, August 18, 2014

Mothers and Daughters. Sticks and String.

Mom's picture. All I can take credit for is cutting up all those sticks in the background.

My Mom and I had been really bad at getting along this summer. I guess I should have expected this since it's really the first time I've been home and felt like an adult and am used to acting like one. Mom on the other hand was still used to having children, not adult children. There was yelling. There was arguing. There were tears. There was much complaining behind backs (ok I complained, sorry Mom). However about two weeks ago I was house sitting and found myself missing her, then I'd see her and we would yell. We repeated this a couple of time until we had an almighty full blown yelling and crying match in which we established at neither of us actually like being yelled at, and that we had really different prospectives on some things we hadn't even thought to talk about. After that things have gotten better.
We have this great game were she wants to use me as a knitting model and I try to mess it up

Where do the sticks and string come in? As every single person who has ever met her knows, my Mom loves to knit. It is her relaxation and I think one of the ways she likes to show us love. After listening to Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Cast Off on a whim I started trying to look at knitting in a different way. She talks about knitting as a journey, and one of her characters uses it to find her community so I thought why can knitting be a language as well? So I am trying, for the sake of our relationship, to speak my Mom's language. I still can't say I love knitting, and I doubt I will ever be a capital K knitter, but I do feel like something is different this time than every single other time I've picked up the needles. This time it isn't actually about knitting, neither the process or the product, but about rebuilding my relationship with my Mom as mother and adult daughter rather than mother and girl child. It's a way to reach past our intellectual head banging and realize that we do actually still have a really good emotional connection, but (due to how much I have changed while being away at school and how overworked she is) we just don't know how to tap into it anymore. I don't know if I'll stick with it while I'm in Europe or when I'm back at school, but it's still a nice way to talk with my Mom at home…with no yelling allowed.
Usually my attempts to mess it up ends up with a better picture than se was thinking of. Maybe it's time to reevaluate my strategy.

Just as a matter of interest I am a process knitter disguised as a product knitter. The enjoyment I get out of knitting comes from the act of knitting, but I don't see a point to actually starting the act if the item it produces isn't useful. Because of that I can also do what I did quite recently and knit half of a lace scarf, then rip it all out because it didn't look quite right. I get to enjoy knitting half again as much scarf as I would otherwise have and at the end I'll have a scarf I'm happy to wear.

Also, I came up with a great idea. While I'm abroad I want to buy a skein of yarn (all worsted weight probably) and knit up blocks to patch together into a blanket. Then I can be wrapped in the my travels for the rest of my life. I hope to find country specific patterns too for all the blocks, but I'm not sure if that will be possible.

It's been a hard week

"It's been a hard week." I've found myself saying this over and over again this summer. And while it's always true, it's time to realize that I'm tired of letting it excuse my not getting to things that need to be done. And yes, bad things keep cropping up this summer, but at some point we all need to make a stand for ourselves and say "I'm not accepting any more of this crap." I've reached that point many times recently, but apparently it has taken a while to sink in.

Other life updates:

*I leave for Venice in 3 weeks to attend the architecture biennale before I go to Zagreb to start my study abroad in Croatia. 

* My brother's numbers were better at his last lab's appointment so no dialysis for the moment. They'll be checked again in September and be reevaluate.

* The dogs were in apple heaven, and are now in apple temptation hell. They were eating so many apples that it gave them the runs and they started going in the house. This was deemed unacceptable and there is now a prohibition on apples. To be kind I try to pick up apples at least once a day, but that isn't enough to keep the ground clear so they have to exercise some self control. Poor dears.

* My kitchen is over run by apples (we probably have 20 lbs by now, although how many of them are still good is anyone's guess). Apple will be on the menu for quite some time.

* I'll be blogging about my time abroad as a journalist for Cornell University (link here) and am thinking of starting a travel podcast as well. Since I have an official connection to the university for the blog those posts will likely be well thought out and directed, but I kind of want an outlet for all my raw joy, confusion, embarrassing moments, utter bewilderment, exciting (and hopefully not profane) plane/train/bus/ferry mishaps, and hopefully enchantment with everywhere I go and all the people I meet. 

I'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures so far from this summer.

A dog and her pillow

This looks like a more fun day than it was. Both pups were a bit out of control so we left fairly soon.

Hurry up and throw it already!!!

"We're best friends, riiiight? Just say yes."
(no pups were harmed in the taking of these pictures)