Not the Time

It’s just shy of four-thirty in the morning; I’m sitting at work, a little bored. Some stray thought wanders across my idle mind, I’m not even sure what, and suddenly I want to know what her last post on Facebook was. Actually I just wanted to see her page in case there was something significant there. And then I felt a need to see what the last thing my sister posted on Facebook was. I need to know.

But knowing means I have to dig through all the other posts. The ones from people remembering her; the ones from the day of her memorial service, that emotional, hot Saturday a month ago (just about exactly). The ones in between too, in that dead period (pun only slightly intended), the void spanning the space before the memorial service. And, of course, the many many thoughtful, sad, tragic posts from friends, family, a community reeling in shock in the immediate aftermath of my sister’s sudden death.

But I’m at work. And it’s four-thirty in the morning.

This is not the time. I don’t have the space for what this look-back stirs up. It seems to be a theme of late.

Because I’m not the husband, not the parent, not the children, life allegedly moves on and fast. I’m not a part of the local community that may or may not be still coming together over the loss of their power house, my sister. I’m just out here on my own trying to carry on, politely thanking the few aberrant “I’m so sorry for your lost” type comments that occasionally trickle in.

There isn’t space for all the tears that refuse to stay in. They’re seeping out as I move from one place to the next. At work. At the grocery store. At the 4-H fair. Here, there, everywhere. But it’s not the time and this isn’t the place.

(This post is in relation to this…)

A Sweet and Simple Distraction

There’s just over a week until I take the dental admissions test. It’s a big deal and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t stressed about it. I’ve been trying to study but it just doesn’t seem like enough. In fact, I looked at a practice test today which confirmed that there really hasn’t been enough studying yet. Yikes! So what have I been doing about this? Avoiding the issue of course. This time I’ve gone with one of my favorite forms of avoidance, baking. Specifically cookies.

oatrmeal cookies B&A

Before and After 

I have a lot of legitimate things distracting me from spending time prepping for this test but baking is like comfort food to me. I mean, the results of it actually are comfort food but over the years I’ve baked when I’m bored or need to take a break from something or even to cheer myself up.  It’s more than the food that’s comforting to me, it’s the familiar action and the feeling of purpose that comes from feeding people. Because there was a random stockpile of oatmeal in my cupboards, I went with oatmeal cookies this time.

The recipe came straight off the canister of Kroger brand Quick Oats. Of course there were a few modifications; I completely lack the ability to follow directions  a recipe as written. It called for a cup of butter which, one, I did not have and, two, just seemed like a lot of butter. (as if you can ever really have too much butter???) Instead I used most of one stick of butter (1/2 cup) and a visual approximation of a 1/2 cup of coconut oil. I also used gluten free flour (again because I had some that had been sitting around a while) and added butterscotch chips. No one in my family likes raisins and my kids complain about nuts. I wasn’t sure how well the butterscotch and cinnamon would go together so I reduced the amount of cinnamon a little too.


mountain o cookies

Mountain O’Cookies. This only exists when no one else is home.

Fresh out of the oven these things were amazing. I may or may not have eaten more than five of them immediately. After a couple hours they were a bit crunchier than is ideal but still delicious. I’m not sure if that’s an oatmeal cookie thing or if I should bake them a little less next time. I’ve only made oatmeal cookies a couple times so there might be some things I don’t know about doing so. While these won’t replace classic chocolate chip cookies as top cookie, they’re definitely something I’d make again. But not until after I spend the next ten days cramming as much biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry content into my head as humanly possible and then topping it off with some math and perceptual ability strategies…

go study

Yes sir!



Sitting and Knitting

Well, shit! Now I’ve gone and done it. I opened Pandora’s box and let all those impish wicked impulses out and of course I can’t get them contained again.
I went and started a new knitting project right in the midst of the last crazy month of the semester. If you’ve been a college student or professor any time recently (or have a good memory of the time you were) you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Just this week I have tests in three of my five classes.Last week I had extra work in pretty much every class. It’s that point in the semester when everything has been whipped up to a feverish pace of papers, homework, and weekly tests. The content is more difficult than it was a few short weeks ago but the commitment and fervor is waning.
I’ve been good, no excellent, at managing my time and juggling everything for the past two months but it has come at a cost. Specifically, free time and recreation…especially making stuff. Yarn stuff to be exact.
I did manage to squeeze in a pair of fingerless gloves for a birthday gift and an awesome Cabbage Patch/Princess Leia wig hat for my niece for Halloween (maybe I’ll get around to blogging about those eventually) but for the most part I’ve suppressed my yarn urges quite efficiently.
As the weather has been getting colder and the holidays are creeping up it has been harder and harder to resist picking up some yarn and a crochet hook or knitting needles and just make something. Avoiding contact with yarn has helped. You know, staying far away from yarn and craft stores, keeping the stash contained and out of sight, backing away slowly when a chance yarn encounter threatens my resolve, things like that.
But this weekend, I cracked.
It was a moment of weakness; I just could not hold out any longer.
I had seven ten-year-olds immersed in Minecraft in my living room, it was late, I was tired and had an hour or so before I could even attempt to get these kids wound down without being the strict mean mom.
Pandora’s box was beckoning in the form of soft grayish-purple alpaca blend yarn and a knitted cowl pattern.
I answered.

Honestly, it took me some time and a few video tutorials to even remember how to cast on. After a bit I realized that the pattern I originally wanted to make with this yarn, the one that’s been printed out and floating between my desk and sewing table taunting me, was a little bit outside the scope of my abilities. Luckily we have the internet and it was easy enough to find something similar that I actually can do. I managed a simple cast on and began:

And so it begins.

And so it begins.

And now I can’t seem to stop myself.Yes, I know, I have homework and housework to get done. It’s all urgent and time sensitive…but I just want to knit.
I find myself sitting in the car for a few minutes after taking the kids to school knitting. I know if I go in I’ll have to get other, more important things done.
So I sit and I knit.
My car has been needing an oil change for about a month now. I finally took it in yesterday. It was a good excuse to be able to sit in my car and knit for an extra twenty minutes or so. It was pure bliss.
And, yes, I knew I should’ve been studying for my upcoming chemistry test but I just couldn’t help myself. After that I stopped at the store to grab a few sort of needed items. Before I knew what was happening I was that weird lady sitting in her car in the Walmart parking lot knitting. It’s a bad sign when your car radio turned off and your fingers are starting to get cold but you just keep knitting just a little longer.
My resolve has officially cracked and I’m not sure I can get it back. The cat is out of the bag and there’s no getting it back in.
In fact, at this moment I’m sitting in the science complex at my school with my knitting beside me. I should be studying or crossing some e-mails off my list or balancing my checkbook and paying bills. This is “extra” time for me as I’d normally be in lab class right now. I missed it because I got out the door late, missed the kids’ school bus, AND got caught in traffic. Normally this would cause me some level of frustration but, right now, I don’t even care.
I just want to knit.

Must. keep .knitting!

Must. keep .knitting!