Post Vacation Fatigue

It’s crazy how tired I am. Four whole days away in a rustic cabin in the mountains, in the woods, filled with rest and relaxation, and I’m so very tired.

A few years ago I learned about this. I tried going straight back to work right after a week long camping trip (I always like to be clear that it’s cabin camping, but it’s the bare minimum sort of cabin). Never again. I like to have three buffer days before returning to normal reality.

This cabin was very homey. It was wonderful listening to the bugs, the rain, the breeze through the trees. I soaked each day up as much as I could.

Very soon it’s back to our regular schedule. Only now we’re sharing a car and my husband has a new job. So things are going to be very busy. I’m almost ready.

Restful Cabin Shawl

I have been getting more done than I thought I would this early in the trip. By the time this vacation rolled around I was in desperate need of a real break. Life just keeps getting harder. I honestly am grateful for many things, but I’m tired.

I wanted to make knitting as easy as possible for this trip and wrote my pattern out on index cards with one for tally’s. Thanks to the bag from my sister, I am able to keep everything well contained. Her dog loves burying his nose inside and sniffing around.

I did make it to the beach on our second day. I really prefer lake beaches in the woods, if I’m in the mood for one. My mom took the girls on her own the first day, so I had some time to really rest. At night I watched what I wanted and knit to my heart’s content. The rest has been good.

Vacation Shawl

It’s finally that time of year again. We’re going to be setting off on our family vacation with some of my family and I just realized I have no knitting projects planned.

I have started making it a tradition to make (or start) a shawl on our trip. I have had these cakes waiting for me to finally figure out what to make and now I’ve decided.

I have mapped out a large crescent shawl of various stitches. Relaxing, rhythmic patterns, which is why I’m glad I got it started before we left. I had to make a few changes to keep it relaxing.

Knitting Sleeves

Cables: Viking Knits by Elsebeth Lavold

As I neared the end of the body section of this sweater, I decided to add an alternating knot pattern to the sleeves. After all the repetition on the body pattern, I wanted to keep things interesting.

Sweater pattern: Top-Down Knit Sweaters by Corrina Ferguson

I was really in the groove when I finished the hem, so I put the first sleeve stitches back on my needles. As I did so, I realized I had already started knitting into the second repeat of the original knot. So I sat there and ripped back the cable section and began laddering back up with the added different knot.

You can definitely see I did some work here, but I honestly really like the look.

All I had near me were three different sized double pointed needles. I didn’t want to get up and get the right sizes. I didn’t want to interrupt my flow. So I stubbornly used what I had next to me and fussed my way through eleven rows of cabling to get on track with my changed design.

I have no regrets. That section tells a story. I’m also really happy I decided to keep it interesting. It kept me motivated and I even added a thumb hole in the cuff.

I did get the right sized dpns for the second sleeve, and fixing the cables was a lot easier. So now I’m making my way through that. I might even finish this thing before school starts.

Dinner Now, Dinner Later

Once again, I’m getting back on track. Every time I do, it starts with food. I had a couple ideas for meals and set off for the grocery store with my youngest.

We have been eating abysmally lately and it shows. Digestive issues, sluggishness, and awful moods with tempers flying.

Tonight I made rice with sausage, peppers, corn, and cheese. Easy stove-top rice. Baked the sausage in the oven and added frozen corn and green peppers later. Then I mixed it all with cheddar cheese.

I also made a box of rotini pasta for tomorrow’s dinner. Get all the cooking done at once. After the pasta cooled, I mixed in black and green olives, diced pepperoni, red pepper, and mozzarella cheese. I have salami set aside for the rest of us to add because my husband can’t have it. I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, cilantro, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. I would have used red wine vinegar, but we’re out, apparently.

So here’s to eating better. At least for a while.

Yes, It Can Happen in Your 30’s

Peri menopause. Intense bloating. Frequent, dull headaches. Tender and sore breasts. Exhaustion. Unregulated body temperature changes. And the unfiltered rage.

A friend of mine equated it to a ticking clock. You become more aware of your mortality on a biological level and simply don’t have time to pander to the unnecessary. Your body is adjusting to the reality of aging.

I’m beginning to realize my workouts aren’t just vital to my mental and physical health, but also vital to managing all these peri menopausal symptoms.

I’ve only scratched the surface of what I’m about to face. A couple articles, some quick facts, anecdotes. I have been met with “but you’re so young!” more frequently than I enjoy. I know exactly how old I am, thank you. Usually explaining my hot flashes convinces anyone who knows. Now I’m hearing stories of what has helped each person and I’ve noticed something interesting.

When I was pregnant, I looked very young. Apparently it continued through raising two little ones. The way people talked to me was infuriating. I had to hear it from a friend, that yes, I looked like a 17 year old. The advice was free flowing, often unasked for, and seemed to hold a moral judgment against other methods. There was an expectation with the advice. I felt like a child not trusted with the responsibility of raising my own children when society did nothing but preach about the natural and glorious ability of every woman to be a mother.

With menopause there is more mystery. More awe. A somberness to the whole process that I appreciate a great deal more than I anticipated. It’s a sisterhood born from something we all will absolutely share. Whether it was like taking a breath and over without even a whisper, or a two decade long struggle of earth-shattering changes, we all go through it.

So I’m beginning the work of understanding what I’m going through and how to embrace it. A lot of this is unsettling, but the rage feels like a comfy blanket I misplaced for decades and now I get to wrap myself in it again.

“What would you do with a free afternoon?”

“What would you do with a free afternoon?”

We wax philosophically with each other.

“Read a book.”

“Take a bath, or maybe a nap.”

“I could get that corner cleaned up. It’s been nagging at me for a while.”

“I would watch what I want, without worry of interruption.”

“I could solve the world’s problems in one afternoon.”

Yet, here I am, without a thing needing done or another person around and I’m bouncing from one thing to the next. Nothing is being accomplished. I’m just flittering about.

I guess I’m preparing for rest. Getting it all in order. Getting me in order. With any luck I’ll get settled long before anyone returns. I’ll feel refreshed and ready for reality.

Progress on Some Sweaters

I’m making some real progress on my oldest’s sweater. With no other projects in the works I’ve been able to really focus on this piece.

It’s a fun pattern and I’m happy with how it’s turning out. But the inevitable happened and boredom has crept in. My determination to finish this soon is still there. I just need a break from the repetition. Something to reinvigorate me.

Pattern from Top-Down Knit Sweaters by Corrina Ferguson.

So, I started the sweater planned for my middle child. It’s been a nice change of pace. A bit of a palate cleanser. It’s a pretty simple pattern and I might add some cable accents, just to make it a little different.

Thoughts On Gender

This is my lap at the moment. Something that usually brings me a calming joy. It’s been rough lately. I’ve finished some knitting side quests and am trying to focus on my daughter’s sweater now.

I was reading a comforting murder mystery, but my mood has shifted with the world’s turmoil and I’m back to reading non-fiction. This book is titled Gender and Our Brains, by Gina Rippon. I bought it a while ago and started it after my daughter began talking about her own gender identity.

I have lots of thoughts and emotions related to this topic. Some are rather conflicting. My whole life has been spent seeking out women’s stories. Our history, our lives, our art, our biology. So much has been hidden from us. I have worked hard to empower myself and others with what I have learned.

I grew up under the rule of needing to be better than my male counterparts in order to be equal. I squashed out pieces of my femininity in order to “unchain” myself from the bonds of society’s expectations of me, while still embracing other aspects of my femaleness to remain part of the club. I honestly wasn’t completely aware of what I was doing until I was pregnant the first time.

I often talk of how I never wanted to be married or have kids. Those were antiquated ideas of what I should want from life. I wanted to travel and then settle somewhere in the woods, on my own, with lots of dogs. Then, I met my husband. My ideas shifted. When I was pregnant I had an “aha” moment and could feel the difference between me and males in my bones. Now that I’m raising daughters I find myself exploring these concepts even more.

With all these different ideas on gender, I’m finding that some of my ideas may still be a bit stuck in patriarchal concepts. I also refuse to give up on what my femininity means to me. So I’m exploring different ideas, opinions, and perspectives. I want to understand others as much as I can, including why some feel so threatened by such conversations.

So, while my daughter struggles with her identity I’m learning. I don’t want her to feel she needs to call herself a boy to make life easier. “People think I’m a boy because of how I dress and act, so I’ll just be a boy.” I don’t want her to deny who she is in order to fit anyone else’s narrative. I want to support her to explore these concepts and decide for herself when she is ready. She is still very young. Exploring gender identity is part of growing up. So we talk about it. Often.

So, while being female is still seen as being “less than” I struggle. I support everyone’s right to be who they are. I just don’t understand not being able to be male and be feminine. Or being female while being masculine. It hurts a part of me to hear women say they don’t feel female because of society’s expectations.

These are the reasons I am trying to learn more. To listen. To really hear what people are going through. I’m challenging my own ideas of what it all means. Our concepts of gender fascinate me.

I’d love to hear what others think. Start a conversation. Meanwhile, I’ll get back to reading Gender and Our Brains while knitting for my curious, energetic, compassionate kid.

Yes, Another Murder Mystery

I am loving this book! And yet again, I forgot I was reading a murder mystery until someone was dead. It was a shock.

I’m always tickled when writers write about the magic of books. I mean, what good writer doesn’t know the power of words on paper, bound together, and placed on a shelf?

“Stories are just like people. If you don’t approach them with an open mind and a healthy dose of respect, they won’t reveal their hidden selves to you… You’ll walk through life an empty husk instead of a vibrant kaleidoscope of passion, wisdom, and experience.”

The power stories have to heal are central to this tale. Stories that make you dive deep into the horrors of your own life help open the wound to get the infection out. To face it and accept it.

Then there are the stories that help clean the wound out. That bandage it up to allow for the healing work to begin.

And then there are the stories that help you breathe again. One deep breath at a time, until you can embrace the joys of life once more.

I’ve really only just begun reading this and I’m already feeling some real attachment to it. “Magical realism” is what the critics are saying to describe this book. And “savor” is used a lot too.

If you’re looking for a book to get lost in, I definitely recommend checking this one out.