The Expressive Creatrix (and Hobbyist)

{November 2, 2011}   Wow, Long Time No Blog!

Yes, okay, I’m sorry.  I admit it. I have woefully and inexcusably neglected this blog (and also my other one).  It’s been over 4 months.  Well, really, no matter. I don’t think a ton of people read this anyway, so it’s more or less for my own entertainment.  🙂

No excuses other than I guess I just haven’t felt like “talking.”  The months have flown by.  Things are the same, things are completely different.  I won’t even try to catch you up. 

The one totally life-changing event worth mentioning is the death of my beloved son Tanner on October 1, 2011.  God, I love that boy, and I miss him so much.  Grief has been hard, and I know I still have a forest to get through, but I am coming to terms with it.  Actually, since the start I’ve been at peace with it from the perspective that I have faith.  Faith that Tanner is in a better place; faith that he hasn’t left me, I just can’t physically see him – he’s in my heart, my soul, the air, the wind, the sun, the birds, the love of family, the kindnesses of friends  – everywhere; faith that there is a reason why he is no longer physically here on Earth (and knowledge that I may never in this lifetime know that reason); and faith that I will see my son again.  The grief part has more or less been about my little human self and its selfish desires – I grieve for what I lost.  I grieve for myself.  I know that Tanner has gained so much.  But the peace comes, and the peace goes and the tears come and then the peace returns. It’s a cycle I’m sure I’ll keep repeating for quite some time.  I’ll never say “goodbye,” my boy, instead, “I’ll see you later.”  I love you.

Okay, I won’t mention everything I’ve been doing these past four months.  In a nutshell –

Knitting – Yes, yes, yes!  I’m on a roll.  Making a lot of things, trying new things, learning new things.  It’s a really great adventure.  My Ravelry page is where I keep track of my stuff.  I won’t be mentioning every little thing here., but I will post thoughts and pictures from time to time.  

Reading – Yep!  Still sticking with my historical fiction, although I recently read a non-HF book, The Lovely Bones, which I thought was boring.  I rarely like anything contemporary.  It’s back to HF.  After finishing Sharon Kay Penman’s Henry II/Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy last month (F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S), I’ve moved on to ancient Egypt and am currently reading Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge which is about Egypt’s only female pharaoh, Queen Hatshepsut.  (No, Cleopatra was not a pharaoh, although she was a mighty powerful ruler.)

Fitness – After spending about 4 months slacking in both the exercise and eating departments (I totally went through a summer slump), I feel like I’ve lost a lot of tone and gained back much of the belly flab I lost while doing Flat Belly Diet and Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis last February through June.  I don’t look bad, and I haven’t lost much ground; I’m just farther away again from the “ideal” I have stuck in my head all the time.  I guess this fall when I was just thinking about cracking down after a summer spent slacking, Tanner died, and I just have had a hard time getting back o schedule.  Knitting seems to be my preferred activity, and often other areas of my life suffer for it!  Yes, I’ll admit it.  I obsess. 

Hooping – Yikes, not so much!  My hooping went by the wayside several months ago, and I just haven’t been motivated to get my hoop on.  I really want to though. I don’t want to be done hooping. I need to work it in and get back to a regular practice. 

Okay, so that’s it for now.  Just a “yeah, I’m back” post, and I hope to be a bit more consistent here again, but . . . no promises!


{January 3, 2011}   Happy 2011!

Well,  it’s three days into the new year, and I haven’t even written a “New Year’s” post.  Guess I haven’t felt very “bloggy” these past couple of days, and I’m pressed for time now, so this will be quick.

I so love a fresh, clean new year!  I love the fresh start, the clean slate, and all that jazz. I think the thing I like best is the potentiality — a whole 365 days of possibility ahead of me.

No new year resolutions.  I rarely make them because they are so rarely kept.  Instead, I like to contemplate a vague them for the year.  Something I want to try to achieve in the coming year.  Something to set up a framework for me to live within.  This year’s theme is

B A L A N C E.

Yep, good old balance. I need to find it and strive to strike it more often than not in my daily life.  I tend to become very obsessive and focused.  Whether it’s with my hobbies, or cleaning the house or whatever, I tend to latch onto something and do it constantly and ignore other things.  I want to find a way to do all that I enjoy – to do a little bit of something I love every day.  I’ll try to expand on this throughout the year, but suffice it to say that this year I’d like reign in my tendency to go to extremes and function more in the middle.

{December 31, 2010}   Becoming Attuned

CautionGirly stuff here!  If you’re a fella, you may not be interested.  Move along, buddy.  However, perhaps you’re curious to get a peek into a woman’s psyche.  If so, read on.

It’s that time of the month (TTOTM, to dredge up an expression from high school and for brevity’s sake).  Ahh, yes, that lovely time of the month.  “Which is worse,” I used to ask myself, “before or during?”  I’ve been asking that question for the past 8 years ever since my system went out of whack – otherwise know as the time I left my body to it’s own devices, beyond the control of pills. 

A brief history – I was on oral contraceptives most of my reproductive life.  They served me well (except for the two pregnancies that resulted despite the use of the Pill – not entirely the fault of the Pill in one case, but those are stories for another day).  They regulated my cycle, making both the “before” and “during” a breeze.  I never had spotting or PMS issues.  I never had any cramping, pain or stiffness.  There was no water retention and bloating.  The periods themselves were brief, relatively light, and uneventful.  Life was good.  

During my pregnancy with my fourth and final child (my daughter Lily), however, I decided it would behoove me, for a variety of reasons, to discontinue the Pill.  So, the arrangements were made, and after Lily was born via unplanned c-section (making it all the more convenient for the doctors), I had my tubes tied.  Whew!  I wiped my brow with relief.  No more unplanned pregnancies.  At age 35, I wasn’t willing to take any chances.   It was at that point, though, that things went out of whack.  Irregular cycles, heavy bleading, cramps, etc.  TTOTM became a major PITA!

I’ll spare you the details of the things I tried over the years, but at the present time, things have settled down.  My cycles still are somewhat erratic at times, and there are times during TTOTM that I’m afraid to leave the house, but basically things are okay.  Things are as they should be. Becoming attuned to my body has taught me that.

Getting to my point (yes, I’m finally getting there), I’ve learned a lot in the past 8 years.  Leaving off the Pill’s manipulation of my hormones and letting my body find it’s own rhythm has educated me and tuned me into myself like never before.  Yes, I now have irregular cycles, PMS emotional issues, pain, stiffness, cramps, bloating, occasionally heavy flow and all that accompanies that.  But you know what?  I’ve learned to accept it as the natural cycle of my female body. 

A week or a few days before TTOTM commences, I know it.  Without consulting my calendar (which wouldn’t always help anyway given the irregularity of things), I am aware that TTOTM is around the corner.  First, it’s the crabbiness, the rage, the irritability, the shortness of temper – the whole spectrum of not-so-nice PMS-induced emotions.  Next comes the strangest thing. I have a place on my lower right-side gum line that always gets sore or a day or two in the week or so before TTOTM starts.  ALWAYS!  Always the same place.  It’s the weirdest thing, but I’ve come to rely on it as a good indicator of things to come.  I feel a bit tired, and I start to notice some bloating.  Finally, my chronic lower back issue (which comes and goes) asserts itself, and I develop a lot of tightness and stiffness in my lower back, hips, glutes and thighs.

These things used to piss me off, and sometimes they still do, but for the most part I’ve come to accept them.  When I’m in the midst of PMS emotions, I tell myself that no matter how much it feels otherwise,  the rage, the irritability, the semi-depression, the lethargy are all temporary.  Give me a day or maybe two, and I will be back to my usual chipper, upbeat, high energy self. I know the pain, stiffness and tightness in my lower body will ease, and that the feeling of loss-of-flexibility will not last forever.  I know the bloating will pass.  That sore spot on my gum, which is more of an annoyance than anything, will go away.  It’s not always easy to get through PMS with a halfway-decent attitude, but I try.

I’ve come to appreciate the fact that I am tuned into these things and that I know what they are, what causes them and what they mean. I feel like my body is speaking me, giving me signs, telling me to prepare.  It’s amazing really.

During TTOTM, aside from the occasional flow issues, I usually feel pretty good.  My mood lightens, my energy most returns (although I’m always a bit more tired than usual during TTOTM), and I notice I have a tendancy to want to do pretty mellow workouts.  I also notice I crave comfort and routine. During TTOTM, even more so than usual, I want to be home and doing things I enjoy and that relax me.  I want more physical contact with my loved ones – hugs, pats on the backs, cuddling, etc. (Interestingly and unfortunately enough, this tends to be the time when my husband pulls away from my physically.  Gee, I wonder why that is?  Men tend to be more sexually driven, I guess.  No chance for sex, no physical contact necessary.)

Once TTOTM has gone, I experience a whole new range of physical sensations and emotions.  I tend to feel fresh, energized, renewed, exuberantly happy and blissfully content.   I feel new and full of potential.

So, there are the cycles of my month. Yogini Ateeka, on her audio Moon Cycle Yoga practice, has some wonderful insight into a woman’s cycles, and she shares her thoughs in such a beautiful, eloquent way. (Okay, some if it can be kind of cheesy if you’re not in the mood, but mostly it’s good.)  Doing this practice frequently over the years during TTOTM, has really helped me identify and come to terms with the various ups and downs, ebbs and flows of my cycle.

Ateeka speaks of remembering, when we are tired and sick and frustrated with the whole monthly cycle thing, the privileges of being in a female body.  The ability to create and nurture new life and the way we are so closely in sync with the earth, the moon and the rhythms of nature.  Women are so deeply connected to nature and because of that, as in nature, sometimes the cycles, the patterns, the causes and effects aren’t always what we would wish them to be.  But they are what they are.  I try to keep this in mind during that PMS time.

I particularly like what Ateeka says about during TTOTM.  She speaks of it as an introspective time, a time of turning in.  She says that in the west we have been conditioned to think of that time of the month as a nuisance – something to be endured.  In many cultures in the east, a woman’s moon time is celebrated for the introspective, regenerating, rejuvenating time that it is – a time for a woman to retreat into self- and communal-nurture.  (Which explains my desire to be home, doing things I enjoy, while at the same time seeking the physical affection from my loved ones.)

When the cycle has passed, we emerge from the darker time as vivid expressions of life and the potential for new growth.  She likens the process to that of a caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly and while kind of corny, it definitely fits.  Cheesy it may be, but I do feel like a radiant butterfly emerging from my cocoon, full of unlimited potential and ready to take on the world!

The whole thing, from beginning to end or rather round and round since there truly is no beginning or no end, is a wonderful, miraculous thing.  I try to enjoy the entire ride!

{December 26, 2010}   Ooops, I had to knit it again!

So, progress update on my starter swatch – it’s almost done!!  I had to start over for like the billionth time the other day.  I had a swatch almost done, and as I was knitting in the car on our way back from a family gathering on Thursday, we hit a bump and a partial row of stitches fell off my needle.  I attempted to pick the row back up following the instructions in S&B, but it was too far gone and beyond my rudimentary skills.  Sooooo, I started over.  Surprisingly I did get some time to knit the past couple of days despite the busy-ness of Christmas, and I only have a few more rows to knit.  Then I will attempt to “cast off,” and I’ll be done!  Yea!

I really enjoy it.  I can sit and visit while knitting, so it’s perfect for this ADD girl who has a hard time being idle and can sometimes get fidgety having a conversation.  LOL!  I’m finding that despite having to start over many times, I am not getting frustrated with it, and my almost-completed swatch looks really, really good, IMO.

et cetera