Next in the Queue

My Grandmother, farthest left, if it were my sisters and I, I'd be the one in the rocking chair.

My Grandmother, farthest left, if it were my sisters and I, I'd be the one in the rocking chair.

No, I am not being morbid. I like to think I am being a realist. Being a retired Public Health Nurse, I also believe in capacity building and anticipation of the odds. 

I am touching on this topic like my tongue roots around during a dental exam. Exploring. Feeling the sensation. It doesn't hurt, I am just trying to get a feel for what's going on where I can't see. 

So, when I talk about being next in the queue, I mean, I am next up in my family to pass on. I am one of the elders now. I don't mean I am in the acute process of dying, well I guess technically I am- some say from the day we are born, we are dying. I will die sometime, that is a certainty, hopefully later than soonerI am saying all but one of MY elders are gone. My oldest sister and I talk about that. She notices it too. 

My daughter thinks mentioning being next in the queue means I am sad, or depressed. But those of you my age know what I mean. I am not sad in that way, of course I miss my Mom and Dad, that part of elders being gone is just plain awful. I have older sisters, but we are in the queue together, lined up like lemmings, oldest to youngest. Realizing, and it is a really weird realization, that we being the elders in our family now, are next.

I am wonder struck. How did this happen? I don't think I have paid attention to time passing. I have been consumed with marking time, working, making my way, raising children. I did not think about how spending time "looking forward" means you are not living in the here and now. I don't feel old except I don't have the stamina I did have. I feel 40. Those of you reading this that are under 40, remember when you see an "old" to you person, they don't think of themselves as old. It's a bag they wear (as Carrie Fisher would say). 

I want brakes. I want to slow this down. I have a lot of places I want to see, things I still want to learn, things I want to do, and quite the stash to go through. MOUNTAINS of projects. Borders on hoarding.  

So.  When I want to feel encouraged, I realize that there are people, I don't know them, but they are out there, that are 1-3 decades ahead of me, still alive, so technically, they are next in that queueThat makes me feel like I have a bit more time until I bite it.  But. Bite it I will, someday, and time is ticking. Watching parents die brings mortality home. If your sense of mortality wasn't there already through other experiences in life, it comes with the departure of our parents.  

What to do? What do you do? How do you think about it? How do you put on brakes or do you accelerate? I say I want to put brakes on, but really, I like pushing the gas pedal a bit. I don't have as much to lose and everything to gain by going for it.  

I love the growth and development experts (and I love T. Berry Brazelton)Especially Erik EricksonHe suggests generativity vs. stagnation. I agree with that. Share, pass on, encourage, mentor.  

I also make plans with timelines, lists- things done are fun to cross off, I prioritize. I realize this rings a little bit in the looking forward category- that dies hard. I think of things in terms of if not now, when? I think of things in lifetimes of dogs, maybe I will get to have 2 or 3 more in succession, again, if I am lucky- can't imagine a life without a dog, just can't- I measure time in lifetimes of objects like roofs, paint jobs, appliance replacement- some things I won't have to worry about replacing. 

I figure I have time to change what I don't like nowso I am a bit more daring and more pragmatic. I don't put it off and sometimes, I just don't care what others think. Time to stop being afraid to love deeply, be who you are and live gloriously, risk. life's too short, literally- and really, I refuse to worry about what I won't be around to worry about- I am passing that torch. 

Early Early Morning Thoughts

Here I am, at 4 a.m. standing vigil.  I am up scrolling.  I said I would write about aging.  Here is an aging thing...I am sound asleep, and somewhere out of the miasma of my unconscious a thought bubble bursts forth.  Then, once burst, I jump on it like a hamster on a hamster wheel, and proceed to run with it in a linear circular frenzy until I either get up or fall back asleep in thought exhaustion. Sometimes the thoughts are like, oh yeah, oops, I forgot I need to do that.  Sometimes they are from the dark side. Real Darth Vadars.  And sometimes they are a bit of sweet whimsey or a moment of brilliance (or at least at 4 a.m. they seem brilliant--it is so dark outside, anything likely seems brilliant).  

So, okay, here I am standing vigil on my youngest's daughters day of surgery.  Her first ever. I don't like it.  I protest.  No one listens. It is what it is, it needs to be done, it will be done at 10 a.m., we move forward.  But, somehow, being awake makes me feel like I have a bit of control over something I don't have any control over, but like maybe if I am awake and on guard I will be able to protect her.  Deflect the incoming, say the right thing to the maker, make things alright.  I would rather it be me going in there, I would do that, trade places this morning. It's a parent thing.

While I am awake I will share another part of aging.  Being "Twee".  

She was cold! Okay?  And necessity being the mother of invention, I took this lovely Winter White Ralph Lauren that I accidentally felted in the dryer (UGH, I can't believe I did that ) and cut off the sleeve, split the seam up to the cuff, and sewed in some velcro and Voila: a Frenchie statement piece.  Her first in a wardrobe capsule...It took all of 15 minutes.  I swear I did NOT look it up on Pinterest, it was completely spontaneous.  I did however still have the sweater in order to make a pillow which I did see on Pinterest, in a magazine or on a blog somewhere and thought it was genius.  

And, because it is 4 a.m. and I am a hamster.... I figured you would forgive the second post in a row with a picture of the puppy, because, and here is the linear, circular thought frenzy in process, ...we love our friends, therefore we love the subjects of the photo's they post even if we don't know them personally, (insert grandchildren, children, dogs, cats, a baby flower or veggie ) because we know they love them.  And I love Gidget.



Shhh, all is quiet on western front...

Asleep...What's That?...Alert...Back Asleep again...

Well, things do happen.  Best laid plans and etc.  I am muddling through my first quarter assignment albeit I will be about half speed for a few weeks!  My youngest daughter broke her fibula and tibia on Christmas Eve.  This set about a domino effect... typically she watches my oldest daughter's puppy, Gidget, but now is out of commission for several weeks and may need our support as well during her post-surgical recovery.  Things taken for granted like cooking, bathing, clean hair, shopping for food, become a  temporary dependency.  That, and am now officially babysitting the Granddog weekdays. SO. GLAD. I. PICKED. EASY.  for my first quarter in Wardrobe Capsulelandia.  

I can, and did, spend the afternoon taking things out of the puppies mouth in-between searching for ultimate Parka on my iPad as I was glued to sofa.  Gees, you'd think there would be a plethora of patterns...NOT SO.  I like set in sleeves, I wanted a drawstring waist, a lining, a zipper.  YIKES! I went through every Burda Style, big 4, independent and FINALLY, settled on :

This is a syleARC pattern called Safari Jane Jacket

This is a syleARC pattern called Safari Jane Jacket

Next thing, ordered pattern and then after clearing off Christmas paper and ribbons from my ironing board, I sorted my fabric and whatnot into the project box as prescribed by our fearless project leader.  Now.  I am done for a bit, and can wait for pattern to arrive from Australia.  In meanwhile, there are two sleeves to finish on one blouse, and another blouse to cut.

I am just silly about this London Map fabric and finally have a place to put it...that would be lining my jacket. Please note lovely clear project box replete with binding.

I am just silly about this London Map fabric and finally have a place to put it...that would be lining my jacket. Please note lovely clear project box replete with binding.

More Than A Cookie Exchange

Craft Night 808 

Craft Night 808 

Is there anything sweeter than a cookie exchange? I think so, maybe your baby's kiss, a husband's smile, a hug from a dear friend..but I have to say exchanging a favorite treat with friends, is SO sweet. One reason it is sweet is because it takes effort and it sends a ripple effect of sharing. First sharing your time, recipe and tastes with the friends that baked for the exchange..  then sharing the cookies with anyone that stops by during the holidays, okay, maybe sharing with anyone but your dog. I share a lot of things with my dog, like the couch, bed, leftovers, but not cookies. I am just saying. 

Don't you love taking each variety of cookie and displaying on a special plate? I like setting out a sampling on my Mom's old tin cookie tier. It reminds me of her and I miss her- her and her signature cookies: Sand Tarts, Grannie's thin white sugar cookies and Moravian pfeffernuts. So the large cookie highlighted is my friend Sue's invention, the clever gal that she is, she found some cookie press that personalizes cookies for any occasion. This occasion is the monthly dinner with my Public Health Nursing and Social Worker buddies- it was knit night but it has expanded to Craft Night 808. Our intention is to craft, but mostly we catch up..gossip..philosophize, pontificate, and look at pictures of grandchildren and dogs and brides. You get the picture.  Looks like we went a little crazy this year with the "nipple" cookies (sorry, nurse humor). Peppermint stick cookies, peanut butter, lacey's,  chango bar, chocolate thumbprints with salted caramel, Mexican Wedding cakes, toffee and gluten free chocolate chip...

But why does my title say more than a cookie exchange? Because the group that got together last Tuesday to do the cookie exchange have spent over a decade working together at Adult Protective ServicesWe are a band of sisters, surviving the unimaginable, giving our best to help others at their most vulnerable, being where the buck stopped on passing people around, we stopped abuse with a wish and a prayer because that was what we had..there are NOT a lot of resources out there for our little program. People like investing in kids these days, which is important, but so are our elders, our programs are poorly funded, it is shameful and least funded are mental health programs services. The things we have seen and heard and read are the stuff of nightmares. One group of people with a specialized education on atrocities humans inflict on other humans. We know.  

It is that kind of knowing when you have been arm in arm with each other in sadness, when you have straightened your shoulders and kept on keeping on. Comrades..and you know what? here is what is also soooo sweet: that we can get together in the comfort of familiarity, we find strength in each other,  beauty, laughter and goodness in life, in people and in the little things like cookie exchanges and knitting together, which, although are little, are really big 

Please enjoy the recipe for Peppermint Stick Cookies, the author is noted in photo, she shared with me, and I share with you (and if you use chocolate chips as the recipe suggests, instead of Hersey's kisses, they may look a bit less nippleicious :-)