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Saturday, December 22, 2012

More fun with ornaments

I don't know why I didn't start doing this sooner, but I've been having a blast knitting ornaments (as you probably know by now, lol).  Alex turned in his teacher gift, and she showed it off to the entire class.  He said that he got high-fives from everyone and that they talked about it all through circle time.  I think they were just talking, and he assumed it was about the ornament...I mean, what else could they be talking about?! lol.

Since the Christmas balls, I've make two mittens from the Smittens pattern, two ornaments from The Knitter's Almanac, and I whipped up a little sweater for the tree.  This yarn is from a pair of socks that Rain from Honey & Ollie knit for me a million years ago, for our first (and my only) sock swap.  The socks were later attacked by carpet beetle larva, and I had to rip them out so that I could knit little hexipuffs for my Bee Keeper's Quilt with the left over yarn.  That way I can keep them forever.  I figured I had quite a lot of this yarn, and it would make a beautiful little sweater ornament (and I was right).  And since Alex was upset with me for giving away the mini-mittens, tree, and star ornaments (they were gifts to my coworkers), I figure I'll finish my last Expressions hat today and spend the rest of my free time knitting more ornaments and baking gingerbread cookies.  It's my first year for both activities.  We'll see how it goes :)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Last minute knitting

Christmas is closing in fast, and I'm suddenly aware of all the things that I still need to do.  I haven't baked anywhere near what I'd planned on, and I'm still knitting the Expressions hats for a friend.  I had hoped to knit something for all of my boys in time for Christmas, but it doesn't look like I'll accomplish that.  I did, however, somehow remember that I needed to make a gift for Alex's amazing teacher.  I spent my free time yesterday making this little gem.  It's a pattern called Balls Up (I know, hilarious), and I used scraps from my hexipuff making kit for the colorwork.  I also happened to have some ribbon on hand, which made a very pretty hanger.  Alex took it in to school today, and he looked very pleased with himself.
Now this little pretty?  I knit this for the ornament exchange with my fantastic knitting group, the Knitaholics.  It was my first knitted ornament, and it was a blast.  Took longer than I expected, but the result was worth it.  But what to do with all my free time now that I have a break from school and Christmas vacation is coming?  I'm watching my new boxed set of Peanut's Holiday DVD's, and knitting sweater ornaments.  I hope to use some of my precious handspun yarn to make a mitten for the tree, like the ones that Smoking Hot Needles made.  I'm really excited about these little gems.  I've also got plans to knit some of the ornaments from The Knitter's Almanac.  Ann made a few and they were really beautiful.  And on that note, I'm off to finish this episode of Sherlock and knit this teeny-tiny little sweater.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Difficult reentry

The passage of time dulls the acute pain, but does nothing for the persistent throbbing that replaces it.  That stay.  Any little thing can trigger it, and when it returns it's just as sharp as the day the injury first happened.  As a psych major, I understand that memory is tied to emotion and that the surroundings in which it was encoded can all serve as triggers to recall that memory; good ones as well as the bad.  The passage of time can do nothing about that either.

Today I walked Alex to school for the first time in a week, and when we got there I kissed him at least a dozen times and hugged him closer than ever.  I let him run off into his school building, watching the other children leaving their parents as well, and all I could think of was how safe school always felt, and how that feeling is broken now.  I was reminded of that day when the safety of our school was shattered too, and even though it's been 20 years, the fear rushed back.  I broke down on the way home and was never so happy that it was raining, so I could use the umbrella to shield my face from the looks of strangers.  I wouldn't begin to know what to say to them.  I wouldn't want to discuss Beamon or Judy or Jason or Mr. Brens.  I wouldn't begin to know how to explain what a former student, who was mentally ill and had not received the care he needed, felt he had to do in order to set things right. 

I couldn't explain how I was away with my track team, only to find out that a friend had been shot dead, and that so many others were still being held hostage by a man with semi-automatic weapons, which he had obtained legally.  Or how every time a fire drill, or fake bomb-threat, or fire cracker, or any other loud unexpected noise took place, we all feared for our lives all over again.  Or how we had to place memorial benches around the school grounds, and change the names of the buildings so that calling them by name would no longer evoke flash backs.  Or how the principal had to hand a diploma to a family of a deceased student, every year for the next three years.  Or how many of those sweet children grew up to be bitter, vengeful adults who think the worst of society.  Or how my school was the reason for the change to law enforcement's response policy to school violence in California.  Or how I broke down in tears every May 1st for years and years.  Or even why I sit here right now, crying my eyes out because I remember.  And I'm afraid for my own children.  And I'm afraid of what Alex will hear at school today, and I don't want him to feel like I feel right now; not ever in his life.

No one out here has ever heard of the Lindhurst school shooting.  All of my support system is 3000 miles away and I feel like an anomaly.  I want to reach out to my community for support, but I'm afraid of triggering someone else's memories of the day.  I want to speak to someone who already knows the back story so that I don't have to relive it when I try to explain why I'm so affected by Newtown.  But I can't.  So I'll share this now, and hope that it will help those who have never been personally affected by an act such as this one to understand the long term fall out.  Time took away the sharp, unbearable pain, but it left the dull throbbing ache, and I'm feeling the old injury act up right now.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I need a distraction

This had been a difficult week around the nation, but specifically here in New England.  I need a distraction from a tragedy that hits way too close to home for me.  I have a vivacious little 6-year old boy.  He and his brother are the light of my life.  I am also a former student of Lindhurst High School, the first school in the United States to have an armed assailant walk onto the ground armed with assault riffles and shotguns.  That man killed 5 people (one student from each graduating class and a teacher; one a boy I knew very well), wounded 18 others, and held over 80 students hostage for over 8 hours.  It did not receive the media coverage that later incidents did, and in hindsight I believe that was for the best.  There were no copycat incidents after the Lindhurst Shooting.  But there were many others after Columbine.  I'm not going to make a grand political statement, but I will say that I lived it once as a child, and now I live it again as a mother of a child who is the same age as those who's lives were taken, and I live about an hour away from Connecticut.  They are our neighbors.  This is too close to home, literally, and I'm struggling not to cry or go out into the world and scream. 

I need a distraction.  Alex was home sick for a week with the flu and now Dante has the fever.  I'm thankful that they are home sick because it means that they're home and they're alive.  I've been looking at photos like this one, which captures their personalities so well, lol.  Dante is more reserved and tends to hang back, while Alex shoves his way to the front and commands attention.  I have finals but the paper is coming together too quickly.  My discussion board post is done.  It leaves me with a lot of free time to think, and when I do I want to cry.  I choose to pray instead. 

I've been filling the time with knitting and baking.  I find myself with a little extra knitting time and I'm working on eyebrow hats for a friend.  They are going faster than expected.  This should be a good thing, but I need the distraction of work and busyness and a hectic schedule.  I will fill the time with scripture study, and crafting with my children, and snuggling every chance I get.  Dante doesn't like to be kissed or snuggled, but he's sick and weak, and I'm going to take advantage of his weakened state to love on him and touch him as much as I can.  He seems to understand when I really really need comfort, and will stand still long enough to let me hug him :) 

Alex is well again, and has to go back to school tomorrow.  I think everyone will understand if I feel reluctant to send him.  I need a distraction.