Who Else Loves Wonder Woman?

Wonder Woman has always been my favorite. Always. My older brother was really into comics for a long time and would give me his old Wonder Woman comics because they were worthless to him. I, of course, could not understand this. Those few comics were some of my more treasured possessions.

I loved her calmness and sweetness, as much as her fierceness and physical strength. I loved that she was soft, as much as I loved how tough she was. To have a female in such a male dominated world, standing all on her own, and being a fully developed character was amazing. Her strength didn’t come from any patriarchal force. Her strength was wholly feminine. Her innocence in certain matters also struck a cord with me. I too, could not understand these social constructs that we created and continued to uphold, even knowing they don’t make sense. I loved having a character like me that could see all the good despite all the ugly in the world.

Most of all I loved her pursuit of Truth and peace in spite of ridicule and calls for swift violence. She is a unique Feminist icon, created by a peculiar man. On one of our special trips to Barnes and Noble, just the girls and myself, I happened across a book, about the history of Wonder Woman. Absolutely fascinating! I’m a huge nerd and really enjoy learning everything I can about things that I really enjoy. I don’t tend to get obsessive (except maybe with knitting), but I do get enthusiastic. I highly recommend The Secret of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore if you’re a fan of all things Wonder Woman.

As an adult, I no longer have to make due with my brother’s second hand comics (although I think I have those comics tucked away somewhere safe). I am working on collecting the Universe Rebirth series of Wonder Woman. The first one is brilliant in creating the setting for the rest and I’m reading them for the third time. Eventually I may buy some of the older issues. And of course her stand-alone movie is awesome!

As a crafter, I love to create things that fulfill my nerdy desire to have and wear items from my favorite stories. This is a plastic canvas sleeve I made for spare pads. I don’t actually use these pads anymore (I found organic cotton ones that are just heavenly!), but I keep the sleeve around. I just free-handed the W’s. Sometimes I impress myself. Recently, I stumbled across a Wonder Woman wrap pattern on Ravelry. It took me forever to make a Ravelry account and now that I have I’m so delighted. (https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wonder-woman-wrap-knit)

I am writing the pattern out by hand so I can break it up in a way that keeps me on track. There are a few stitches I’ve never done before, which is even more exciting. My preference on her color scheme is the new version. I love the maroon color, and that she’s got more bronze than gold and some silver. So here are the colors I chose. The red is called Claret. It will be red with the yellow W’s taking up most of the shawl, then I’m using the blue as a border for the W‘s. I’m really excited!

Hopefully I can finish that Summer shawl I’ve been working on tonight. I try not to knit before work so my fingers don’t cramp during a massage. Then I can block it and finish copying the pattern over, so hopefully I can start the wrap tomorrow, on my day off. These are the things that make me happy.

Just a Few Dishes

One of my favorite breakfasts! I have to admit though, I don’t usually eat until brunch-time. It takes a few cups of coffee for me to be awake enough. And then I make myself something like this! It’s left-over sweet potato hash with peppers and an egg scrambled in. Super easy! It keeps me going for a long time.

More roasted dinners! I absolutely love working in the kitchen, putting it all together, getting it in the oven, and walking away. The first one is leftover potato and sausage casserole. Since my girls ate all the Brussels sprouts, I added broccoli for some vegetable. Another night, I put some ham in the oven with sliced sweet potatoes and heated up some frozen green beans in the stove. I always add honey and brown sugar to any ham I bake. Last is yet another chicken sausage and Brussels sprout casserole. I made some mashed potatoes on the stovetop. Again, the girls loved the sprouts.

When the weather outside starts to heat up, I like to make large pasta bowels that are easy for us to eat all week. We were unable to have tomatoes with our pasta as my kids will be turning into them one day and left none for us. This one does have black and green olives, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, pieces of pepperoni, and yellow peppers (the kids ate all the red peppers too) all tossed with Italian dressing.

After allowing my kids too much YouTube time these past few weeks, my older two (especially my middle one) has decided they would prefer to be vegetarians like one of their favorite YouTubers. At first I was really upset. We don’t have a meat heavy diet as it is. Burgers and BLT’s are a special treat around here. Now I’m kind of excited to be getting more into some vegetarian dishes. I’ve gone meatless a few times in my life. It will be fun to do it with my girls.

Another One Done

Another project done. I do enjoy how quickly bulky yarn works up. I do not enjoy how heavy it is and the strain on my wrists just moving stitches around. I’m still trying to work out the knots in my left thumb pad and down my forearm from holding all that weight! But it’s done and I’m excited. I want to try to drop it off to my friend today.

This is a top-down shawl. I used the basic yo on either end and each side of the cable on the right side of the piece for increasing. I didn’t count to ensure I cabled on the correct row. I just eyeballed it. I did not want perfection. I’m quite proud of the edging. I made a plan and it worked! That’s always exciting, right?

And now I am focusing my efforts on this beauty. I’m still undecided as to whether I like it, but I’m having fun knitting it, so I’m game for figuring it out when it’s done.

Then there is my sister’s sweater. I have to sit down and finish writing out the pattern from the charts I made. I keep changing my mind on the color for her, but her tastes have changed as she’s gotten older. She also started doing one of those clothing boxes and keeps what she likes and sends back what she doesn’t, so she is finding herself wearing things she might not have ordinarily not thought to before. This also means her color palate has changed. It seems I’m making everyone in my family a green sweater this year!

Or I could make my husband happy and finally start working on his sweater…

Back to Work

It is wonderful being back at work! It’s a bit strange. We have less people working at the same time. We stagger appointments to keep up the physical distancing. We have masks on, high-tech air filtration systems, hospital grade cleaners, and a few other things have changed to keep everyone as safe as we can.

I have to say the hardest part about being back to work is not being able to hug each other. It is so hard for us massage therapists! We speak through touch. It’s a physical sensation in my hands and my arms to want to touch to communicate. Even with that, all of us are so happy to be able to touch again. To see clients we have been working with for years or some we are just getting to know. The world needs more compassionate healing right now.

During these tumultuous times in this country and around the globe, many are taking up the call to action. Protestors, medics, spiritual leaders, activists, news casters,… all have been stepping up. In large numbers. Even politicians are starting to listen. And I applaud them and am grateful to them all, but I cannot be any of those. As much as I want to march or lead an organization that helps, it’s not my path.

I am a mother to young children. Raising them to be the best versions of themselves is my path towards a better future. I am a friend to many who have suffered these injustices their whole life. Listening to them, being a sounding board, hearing their stories and offering them support is my contribution to the cause. I am a sister, daughter, in-law, cousin, niece, aunt,… I support my extended family and call out the ignorance and judgement. I will hold all of my family to the high standard of treating every life with respect and worth. No matter that person’s history. I will lose family over my ideas and ideals. So be it. I will not remain silent.

Most of all I am a healer. Not as in this is my power or ability. This is the role I have been given. My whole life has led me to being able help others on their journey. To remind them of their own value and power. I don’t heal people. That’s not what I mean when I call myself a healer. I am simply here to care for you and guide you to your own healing. What I do makes no difference unless you want to heal. I’ve had clients where I continue to work the same issues over and over because the person has chosen to not heal, or is not ready to just yet. I’ve also had clients who patiently waited for results from the massage, put in the hard work of exercising, stretching, resting, and hydrating, and have had incredible results. It’s not me. I’m just showing you what you already know, but maybe forgot.

So as I get back into the swing of holding space for others, I am also reminded to hold space for myself. When it’s just me, I get lazy. When I need to take care of others, my health becomes a priority. Speaking of, I think it’s time for some Reiki and crystal Chakra work. The world is heavy right now. Make some space, and let the healing begin!

All Done and a few WIPs

I am very excited to say I finished the sweaters! All three of my girls have a similar sweater made to their style and with their favorite colors. Just in time for me to head back to work.

Now I’ve started a shawl for a friend. I love the beginning of a shawl. It starts to work up so quickly. Then the rows get longer and longer, and longer… The color changes I added to this one has been helping, but I don’t think the cable on the needles I’m using is long enough. Oh well, it’ll work.

I’m also really antsy to finish a vest for my brother. It was suppose to be a scarf, but it’s so wide I don’t think it will work. I don’t want to buy more yarn, and he can pull off a cable vest. Now, I have to figure out how to make a vest. And strangely I’m not dreading the seaming.

Then there is my Spring/Summer shawl I would like to finish in time to enjoy it this Summer. I’m still not sure if I like it, or if it will end up going to one of my daughters. I’m committed to it now and refuse to undo it. I may end up loving it and having them steal it from me anyway. I keep trying to convince them to knit their own. They’re both pretty good at it as beginners. If they kept at it they’d be amazing, but I won’t pressure them. Maybe someday they will make me shawls and sweaters. Hmm. A gal can dream.

Ready?

I find myself coming to a screeching halt as my first day back to work looms nearer. I thought I would use this time to ease my body back into use (I have been doing more stretching and yoga, but only one workout this week, so far), but instead, I find myself sinking into the couch, wrapping my hands around yarn and wooden needles, and finding even more reasons to love Downton Abbey, the 7th time through. As the world comes together in solidarity for the injustice facing so many Americans, I am shoring up my energetic resources.

See, I had my first near fainting panic attack since high school/college. I self talked and played games on my cell phone while waiting to cash out at the grocery store. I had fewer groceries than I had planned on getting. I knew better than to go to the store without a solid plan. At least right now. When I have to wear a mask. When everyone else’s emotions are so raw and tangible. I went on auto-pilot unloading my cart and paying. As I tried to calmly push my cart out of the store, I began to hyperventilate. I managed to hold the tears back as I loaded up my car and then sat in my air conditioned car and let myself panic. Just a little.

See, I can’t tell myself it’s all ok. I can’t tell myself to calm down. It makes me panic more. If nothing is wrong, then why can’t I breathe? I turned my stereo on. Music is always soothing. Driving helps too. So I drove and stopped to buy my first drive-thru coffee since this whole thing began. It was wonderful. Then the panic returned. The rest of my day was an ebb and flow of different levels of panic. My husband sat with me. He often leans on me just enough to give me that pressure comfort without making me feel trapped. We went for a walk in the woods. By the end of the day, I was so wiped. I had forgotten how exhausting these days are.

So, I’m managing some of the movement self-care. I did do some yoga before the walk, so I would be ok for the car ride (we drive to the woods). As I thought through what may have triggered me, I recognized a few things that I can do differently next time. Being better prepared with a list and a plan is always important for me. It was also interesting to notice part of what started my spiral was everyone’s good mood. After all the fear and anger that had been escalating these past couple months, and now with police response to peaceful protesters, and the looters and rioters with their own agenda, it snapped me off balance.

As I prepare to return to massage therapy I need to find my balance. I am very excited to be returning; it is part of who I am. The unknowns of returning to work may be a bit panic inducing for me, but when it comes to the actual massage, I’m better at it than I am at breathing.

Three Wee Sweaters

This sweater has been a bit of a different experience for me. I like to let my daughters pick the colors for what I make them and did the same with these sweaters. I love the pattern so much, I wanted to make them each one.

Now my kids are like most and are each unique and quite individual. They also like having similar clothes to match with each other. I thought it would be fun to alter each sweater just a bit. My middle daughter’s was easy. Two pinks, two purples, and stripes. While I really don’t enjoy stripes, it was pretty straight forward design. Picking the buttons was a bit difficult, but really these were the only ones that made sense.

Then my youngest picked her colors and they lent themselves to a different design. She is quite taken with Frozen and I found a stitch pattern to add into the middle. I did second guess myself a bit and used a life-line for the first time, just in case I hated the look of it. Turns out, I really liked it. The button choice on this one was actually easy. I had set most of these buttons to the side for a previous idea; I guess they were actually meant for this one. Adding the seed stitch as the hem really pulled it all together for me.

Now I’m making my way through my oldest’s version. Again, she chose the colors, only this time, I’ve been consulting her on the pattern a bit. At first she had this golden yellow color and I just could not imagine it looking right against her pale skin. Then she said no, she wanted this pale yellow, which totally made sense. I had already decided to do a rib style collar this time, instead of the seed stitch like the other two.

I stuck to straight stockinette stitch for the yoke and then thought to do the yellow as a ribbed stripe through the middle. As I worked on it, I just could not get on board, but I knew I was close to something. I found a cable pattern with the purls in and stretched it out. Then I thought the red would be nice in just plain ribbing, but now I’m continuing the cable design. I rather like the way it’s going. This sweater keeps surprising me. Then I thought to make the sleeves just black, but my daughter insists on them matching the body, so that is what I will do. At least it’s been a fun knit.

Before We Return

I’m not really sure what to write. The joys of being a writer. I’ve got plenty to say, but nothing wants to come out right. We’re almost done with school for the year, which seems strange to say since all that will change is that I won’t be arguing with my older two to get it done. And thankfully their school issued iPads will be collected for the summer.

Hang on, time for the air conditioner! I need to lend a hand.

Knowing that this sort-of vacation/break is almost over has me knitting and relaxing even more. Once I’m back at work I won’t be able to knit as much, and not really because I’ll have less time, but my hands can only take so much. With that in mind, I’m also trying to get back into my stretching routines again and icing my arms down at the end of the day. It really helps reduce the inflammation from excessive use.

I work really hard with everyone in this family on communication. It is one the hardest skills to learn and yet it is one of the most valuable. We also encourage taking a moment alone to calm and collect ourselves if it’s all too much. And respecting that person’s space when they go to take it. I think that is a lot of what has made this time really enjoyable.

For now, I’m going to sit back and soak in the lack of expectations. I am going to have zero guilt for doing nothing this week. I am going to stretch as my body desires with no agenda other than to feel everything again. And most of all, I’m going to soak up these kids before this chance is gone.

Kitchen Magic

Chinese style stir-fry is always a favorite in this house. I’ve started stocking up on dry lo mein and rice noodles for those nights when I need to whip up something quickly with as little effort as possible. I keep chicken nuggets or tenders and frozen vegetables stocked up in the fridge too. I threw the veggies in with the pasta to cook. The middle picture above is all the stuff I put on the noodles. It was delicious!

This one sounds strange, even to me, but it was amazing! It’s chicken salad topped with kalamata olives, carrots, and feta. And of course I put a pita with it. Then one of my favorite breakfasts of scrambled eggs with broccoli and cheese. Served up with some oven baked bacon and toasted bagel.

I had almost forgotten about this recipe. It is one of my favorites. This time I baked a whole bunch of chicken in the oven for the week and cooked the sweet potatoes and peppers on the stove with cinnamon and ginger. Dessert was easy Pillsbury blueberry biscuits.

Best lunch so far this week! Growing up in Buffalo, NY I ate a lot of Greek food. This is my take on Souvlaki and it made me sweetly homesick. I heated the pita, chicken, and bacon with some feta first. Then I topped it with lettuce, sprouts, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, more feta, and a honey balsamic dressing. I ate it down like a salad until I could fold it up to eat like a sandwich. Absolutely amazing!

Another hit! Baked potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and Asiago, spinach sausage. I baked the potatoes and sprouts first for about 40 minutes and then added the sausage for another 30 minutes. It may have taken less time if I had had the oven high enough. The kids loved it, but this one only wanted the sprouts and my oldest only ate the sprouts and the sausage.

Finally started making Sangria. Yummy. S’mores are made in the toaster oven. And this sweater is managing to come along nicely.

Passing Time

It’s interesting to me how the strangest things remind me of how much time has gone by when you have kids. Like when you carry them to bed and more and more of their limbs hang over your arms until there is just too much of them to carry anymore. The first morning you oversleep and don’t wake in a panic that one of your children has set the house on fire while you were sleeping. When they can suddenly see over counters or reach higher shelves than before.

One day you’re buckling you’re infant into her re-facing car seat and the next they’re buckling themself in without even a booster seat! No more strollers or wagons, they’re all too big now. When I see my youngest finally wearing something that both her older sisters wore I get a little nostalgic for when my older ones were smaller.

I definitely have no desire to go back in time. I do not miss the days of diapers, of waking every few hours to either feed, change, soothe, or clean up accidents, nor the days of tantrums and wild energy. It was exhausting! I actually watch this passage of time with joy. I get to be a part of watching these amazing people develop and decide who they’re going to be. I get to rediscover things I’ve loved along the way and have forgotten about. They teach me all kinds of new things about the world, and about myself.

That, to me, is one of the greatest gifts my kids have given me. I can see myself so much more clearly and they make me want to be the person I have always dreamed myself to be. We work together at being kinder, at forgiving and moving on, taking time and space away if we need it. My husband and I both really try to talk about their big feelings with them, and through this, we talk about how we’re all really unsure of what’s going to happen next, and none of us really know. But that’s okay as long as we are together and help each other through as a family. We have to be more forgiving right now because everyone is a bit off these days and we could all use a little more forgiveness-both ways.

So as we find our ways to mark the passing of time during these unusual months, I hope you can take a pause every once in a while, and take stock of where your time has led you and what your present moment can teach you about yourself. With that, you can make the choice to continue or change. Just know that while continuing may seem easier, and it can be for a while, in the long run, the struggle, the effort, and often the pain of change, births beautiful things.