Friday, October 24, 2008

A discovery

As you know by now, my husband Grant is one of the contributors that are featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery Book. This is about his experience in writing his story for the book and my discovery coming from all of this.

It was about a year ago that I stumbled across a notice about a contest where several of the “winners” would be featured in a book. I encouraged my husband to submit a story. Much to his surprise he was told he won “first place”. It was exciting for Grant as he had recently immigrated to this country to pursue a new life and a writing career.

This is a second marriage for both Grant and I. What I discovered from my divorce is that a heart can be so wounded that in the healing process scars develop, much like any wound on your skin does, the deeper the wound, the uglier the scar. Typically, scar tissue results in a loss of sensation, a numbing of that area which has been hurt so significantly.

Although not unique, my divorce was a traumatic one. I was determined to survive it and live on. I have felt that the resulting scarring of my heart has been a closely guarded problem for me. I knew I had “healed”, “moved on” and “progressed” from a failed marriage and have been able to work with my ex-husband reestablishing a friendship for the sake of our children. Yet, I was still numb and unable to really feel the way I used to feel about people and situations like I had before the divorce. I assumed that I was emotionally damaged by disappointment and divorce, consequently going through the motions with this lack of sensation that I had grown to fear. Is that normal? I have felt numb to deep heartfelt emotions and feelings for anyone or anything. Or so I thought………

I was happy and proud of Grant for submitting his story and winning a prized status of being published in one of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I know that his story relates to a very painful period in his life and to have the courage to share something like that was probably very difficult for him at first.

Last night, after a rare dinner date, Grant and I were strolling through a mall and stopped by a large bookstore. Grant was able to find “his” book. (this is how it is referred to in our home as ‘HIS’ book). We stood in the store and scanned the Table of Contents to find his story. He was visibly touched at seeing his story and name in the book. Since he had been recently notified that his copies of the books had not been sent due to an oversight, he purchased the book so he could send it to his daughters in Australia.

We came home, excited and I felt blessed as this seemed a great way to end an evening out. We plopped down on the couch, kicked off our shoes and took another look at the book. Grant went to the back of the book to look at the bios of the contributors. Flipping the pages forward and backwards, we looked three times only to discover that he is THE ONLY contributor whose bio is not included!

Imagine the crush of disappointment that is now the reality. The diminishing of Grant’s role in this publication by omitting his name in the section of the book devoted to “Contributors”. How did this happen?

This leads me to my newest discovery. I healed much more than I ever knew till now, because I now hurt for my husband and feel his disappointment. I would almost prefer being numb.

Grant shared an inspirational story of recovery and shifting of roles as the result of his divorce. A very difficult time in his life should not have to be celebrated by a new disappointment from which another recovery has now begun.

A question about my own fears of old wounds appears to be answered now. It is now apparent, I’m no longer numb, it hurts to see someone else hurt.

While I'm not able to prevent the hurts and disappointments that my loved ones will face, I hope I can be strong enough to help them overcome set backs and move on stronger than before with resolve to not be knocked down in defeat but to regain footing and resolve to try again and succeed.

UPDATE: Grant sent an email pointing out the omission of his bio in the book. This morning he received an email apologizing and saying that it would be included in the next printing and his copies of the books would be replaced with the newer release in December.

For me, this is perhaps why I knit, it is not just a hobby, it's a coping tool. I use the time to knit to ponder these moments and sometimes it keeps me from reacting immediately in a manner than I'd likely regret later. In the last week I have received four new knitting books.

Glam Knits and Custom Knits are two books that I will be using a lot. The patterns are well written and the projects look like they will be fun and engaging. Knitting On Top of The World has a few projects that interest me and each time I thumb through this book I find something new. The book itself is just gorgeous! The Mason Dixon Knitting Outside of the Lines, is a fun book, a great read and the projects are functional, fun and even conversational pieces. I particularly like the reusable swifter floor mop pad and when I saw the knitted cuffs for rubber gloves I about pee'd my pants from laughter. These two projects just suit my family's twisted sense of humor beautifully! I don't know if I'll make a set of these for my sister and wrap them up in a gorgeously Christmas package or use them as a stocking stuffer. Either way, I can hear the laughing already!

Oh yeah! I am going to be coping all this weekend with these new books and my stash of yarn quite well.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My Husband Is A Writer

Today has been an eventful day.

The girls left today to meet up with their father in New Orleans for a family reunion. So the morning seemed hectic with the packing, checking what was packed, identify items that hadn't been packed (i.e. toothbrush), doing last minute small load of laundry because of the typical "Mommmmmm, I can't possibly go to New Orleans without my favorite top" crisis. So with hair on fire we leave the house for the airport. Girls meet up with their Grandma and the three of them are off for what is hopefully a 5 day fun filled trip reacquainting with great uncles and cousins.

From the airport Grant and I had to do a whirlwind tour between two bases to get my expense report generated and submitted so I can get my money back from this week's trip.

Back at the house by 4:30 to meet up with a roofing contractor to get an estimate. I'm long overdue for a new roof and while I knew it was going to be expensive, but this is turning out to be a budget buster. Anyhoo........

FINALLY, around 6:30, Grant and I find ourselves starting the evening with no kids, no contractors, no mandatory errands, no paperwork or mail to go through........we look at each other and both of us seem to say "what now?"

This evening Grant and I had a really great dinner at Claim Jumpers and proceed to waddle out of the restaurant and stroll over to a Barnes and Noble. I head over to the knitting book section (Grant always knows where to find me if I'm in a bookstore). Grant goes off to some other section......usually somewhere in the area of WWII history section. I'm looking through the knit book section and I'm mentally adding to my Wish List when I turn around and see Grant standing behind me with a book in his hand.

About a year ago, Grant submitted an entry in a contest for one of the upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Soon after he sent in his entry, he was notified that he won first place! In the last year we'd get periodic updates as to the release of the book and the title. About three weeks ago we were told the final title of the book, "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery" with a release date.

This evening while at Barnes and Noble, Grant found the book. I call it His Book, but he will tell you "it is a book that I contributed to" is
HIS FIRST U.S. American book published. I can even prove it!!!......

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I thought it was pretty exciting to be standing in the middle of a leading bookstore and find a book on the shelves with a story in it that my husband wrote. I think he was excited too!

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This was a great way to end an evening!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Traveling Knitter - Day Two

Well......I didn't sleep that well last night.....guess the new surroundings, the big fluffy white bed, and all this quiet space to call my own was just too much for me to be able to relax. Morning came fast enough though. I finally gave up and just got out of bed at 5:30 to get ready for the complimentary breakfast (little things like that excite me).

I left my room with the best view from the top floor to head down to the lobby where a dinning room off the main hall was suppose to set for breakfast. I got to the elevator where I found a sign was posted over the buttons that simply said "Elevator is out of order, please take the stairs at the end of the hallway. Sorry for the inconvenience."

So I stood there and pushed the elevator buttons. You know what? The elevator was really broken. So I ended up taking the stairs. No biggy. Problem is, I think I ate more than I normally would have because the damn elevator was broken!! Eating more was really just a delay tactic hoping against all odds that the elevator would be 6:00am. I end up taking the stairs back up to the room to get ready for the training class. 40 minutes after I got back into the room I was walking back down the stairs and heading out for the day.

My smelly rental car had trouble starting this morning. It was a cool foggy morning and the car wasn't turning over. The car made sounds like it had climbed up and down stairs all morning but I dominated and with my foot firmly pressing the gas into the floor, it started and I was off to a running start.

The class went well and I was able to keep up with class. The training facility had lunch brought in.....(great, more complimentary food). I was fine up till lunch time, but after lunch I was struggling to stay awake. The Italian food that was brought in was great and very filling. I was badly in need of a nap after a hearty lunch. I took comfort noticing that EVERYONE else in the class was leaning back in their chairs or leaning a little more heavily on their desks.

After the class, I headed back to the hotel....walked right past the gym and giggled when I saw the elevator was once again operational. I got "home" and kicked off my shoes and have settled in for the night. I brought food in from Chili's and now just too full to move, let alone discuss.

OH...since this is a knitter's blog, I think I'll post some pics of a couple of newly finished knit projects. This is a Winterberry Hat that Hannah absolutely loved. When I get home I'll try to take better pictures of it because it really is cute. This is the first project that I got to embellish with french knots, lazy daizy stitch and duplicate stitches. (I'm really hooked on duplicate stitch now!)

Winterberry hat, crown Winterberry Hat

Here is a pic of Janeva in her Rusted Root top that I finished last week. She is such a joy to knit for because she is so excited to not only get a new top, but to model it for me too.

Janeva's Rusted Root

One more day of training and then I'm back home where I'll be a little more appreciative of the noisey chit chat of my daughters and knitting clutter next to my bed and my snoring Australian next to me trying to wrestle some covers away while I sleep soundly again.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Traveling Knitter

I'm up in Irvine, California to attend a two day course in an up and coming database system. I'm not a professional traveler, I'm not even a good amateur......

In order for me to attend a two day class, it took 3 days to create a profile and make reservations for the hotel and rental car on the "travel site" my company requires us to use. Now I can see the benefits if you travel ALL THE TIME...but for me, not so much.

In my profile I put "non-smoker" for the hotel room and rental car. So I knew I was screwed when I picked up my rental car and the inside of the car smelled like the Marlboro Man had been last man driving that car. Problem was I was in a I didn't return the car. I just rolled down the window and held my breath.

I was more than shocked to discover that the rental car ran my check/visa card for more than three times the estimated total cost (holding amount) for the three day rental fee. This freaked me out because I didn't know if I'd have enough for the hotel this was one major reason for the sour stomach I had all day. This really triggered me and I got wound up AGAIN over those dumbass AIG executives with their big fancy fat bloated expense accounts and craptastically huge extravagant trips. Do you think they ever got a stomach ache sweating the moment when their credit cards were swiped at a hotel? How about one of those brilliant bailout politicians in D.C.? ........but I digress.

As is typical for me, I had put everything off till today to do before I left. I had laundry and grocery shopping. Jillian participated in the "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" Walk-a-thon this morning and needed my taxi service as well. Jillian had a great time, and did a great job raising money with a bake sale that her team did the day before.

Between errands, some chores and packing clothes that all took me about an hour to do, but I still had to pack a knitting project. 3 + hours later, I packed up 4 knit projects and got into the car and headed North on the freeway. I got on the freeway and discovered that the smelly car also has a wicked shimmy when going freeway speeds. This wasn't going well.

It was later than I had intended so I was pushing to get to the hotel before 5pm because my niece Allyson, and her 10 year old daughter Hannah, were going to meet me. They have the knitting bug big time (hmmm, how could that have happened?)_ and so we had a night of knitting planned.

I arrived safely, rattled and frazzled but ready to kick off my shoes and knit awhile. Allyson and Hannah arrived about 5 minutes after I got the room. I discovered that I had left the camera at home so I only have the cell phone camera with me. Here are a couple of shots of the hotel room. I didn't even think of the cell phone camera while Hannah and Allyson were here. The pics are kinda rough but you'll get the idea. The room is very comfortable with a great seating area and was perfect for a mini Stitch N Bitch.

Business Trip, my hotel room Business Trip, laptop work area

On the bed you can see the new Laptop that Grant surprised me with. It is perfectly pink and fun. The best part of all is that he set it up and when I log on, Ravelry pops up! WAY COOL!!

Allyson and Hannah are now new members of Ravelry, which is going to be great for me because now I can watch their projects grow as they progress. They are recruiting my nephew's wife and his daughter too. This Christmas is going to be a BREEZE!! Can you imagine this..... I only have to give them some yarn and exclaim, "It's a new pair of socks, or a scarf, or a bag, or a hat.......or whatever just have to knit it!"

Currently, I'm blogging on my pink laptop on this wonderfully fluffy bed and I get to sleep in till 6 or 7am. I have a TV remote, and a knit project beside me. I think I'm okay with this business traveling stuff after all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I'm BACK!!!!

I am knitting again! It has taken several months for the flair up of my hand to die down and get the all clear to knit again by my doctor. I started with a couple of felted projects because the size of the needles are bigger and it is straight knitting. Seemed like a good place to start....

The first project is a Gelato Bag made with Cascade 220. This is the first time I ever felted anything on PURPOSE! I was nervous about throwing the bag into the washer with a warm water setting, but I survived it and now I'm hooked. Jillian has already claimed this bag as hers. I actually think this bag should go through the wash one more time though.

Gelato Bag

This is a Booga Bag made with Noro Kureyon. I liked the colors and the bag knitted up Saturday. Jillian is eyeballing this bag too, but I think I might make several of these felted bags and use them as "gift bags" at Christmas time.

Booga Bag

It's good to be knitting again. Lots of stress around this time of year and with the economy tanking and an election around the corner I'm grateful to have something to distract myself with. Sooooo, how about that craptastic bailout, eh?? (never mind)

On the home front, Jillian is still driving with a "learner's permit" which means that she has to have a "grown up" with her. I am the only grown up in the house apparently so the two of us are stuck with each other. Jillian is doing great, I on the other hand, not so much. I sit in the passenger seat, put my seat belt on, and then the oddest thing butt becomes vacuum sealed to the seat and makes a sound like a Tupperware lid which Jillian has said is how she knows "we are good to go".

Upon arriving home and after she pulls into the driveway, I once again inhale which apparently breaks the seal between my butt and the seat and I'm able to jump out of the car. Then I need to lay down for about an hour which is about the time I can feel my legs again.

If I had known in advance the anxiety of riding with my teenage daughter while she is learning to drive.........I may not have stopped taking the pill.

About the time Jillian is licensed and I'm comfortable with her driving, Janeva will be getting her learner's she keeps reminding me!