Archive for the 'Knitters Rule' Category


I’m Not Even Going To Offer An Excuse for My Blog Absence This Time, Frakking April

So I woke up one day last week and decided my life needs something.  I’m missing something, a je ne sais quoi, a joi de vivre that defies me at every turn.  I’ve undertaken a quest, if you will, to find that elusive thing I’m missing.  It has so many names, but it boils down to one: happiness.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty happy most of the time, but in a self-deprecating way.  I’m more inclined to make fun of myself for my inabilities and if I’ve learned anything from reading Linda’s blog it’s that I should be asking myself why I immediately jump to the conclusion that I can’t/won’t/shouldn’t do something.

I’ve spoken about this a bit on the fitness website I contribute to, My 15 Minutes to Better Fitness that I have special circumstances regarding an old injury that I have to consider when working out.  (If you’re interested in it, it’s under the Andrea Wrote This category.) I’m bound and determined to be a runner, but after going well for a couple weeks, my bum foot would swell to the point where I nearly couldn’t wear shoes, so I’d rest it.  It’d shrink and I’d feel good again, start running again, and boom. Balloon foot.  After three times of this, frustration and bitching to my husband about how I just wanted to run for crying out loud, he very gently (yes, gently, there will be no Mike-bashing today, but stay tuned. I make no promises that I won’t make fun of him in some capacity in the future.) suggested that perhaps if I lost some weight before trying to run that the impact to my bad foot would be less and therefore my foot might be able to handle it if I weigh, say, 150 instead of 210.  He has a point.

So I’ve been researching things to do that have low impact so I can sustain a workout that won’t kill my foot to the point where I have to stop.  I’m playing it by ear, but so far have tried yoga, elliptical machines, and weight machines. When the pools open, perhaps I’ll finally learn to swim (I can only doggy paddle, and drink heavily while floating happily on a noodle) and do some of that.  I have an exercise ball I’m going to blow up tonight.  I may swipe the husband’s bike and go on a ride.

Thing is, I need to believe in myself.  I’ve done some pretty cool things in my life.  I’ve published a poem.  I’ve won writing contests.  I’ve learned to play piano pretty well.  I was a kick ass catcher on a softball team in my teen years, until I blew out a knee.  But all that stuff was done when I was a teenager.  Yes, I was published as a teenager, and by a publishing house, not by a blog software program.  But all my potential has stagnated and I have slothed around enough to get up over 200 pounds and lose all belief that there are awesome things I can do.

I need to prove it to myself again.  I need to believe.  So I’m giving it another go round.  This wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of the Babysitter of Awesome that we now take Daughter, from here on our referred to Renuzit as a result of a shocking and clandestine few minutes left alone in the bathroom, to for our workdays.  This Babysitter of Awesome has earned herself TWO pair of handknit socks in just the two months she’s been watching Renuzit, one for volunteering to take on my stomach bug ridden daughter because four of her six biological children (yes, I said six) also had it.  She took Renuzit so that I wouldn’t miss any more work with the sicknesses.  The second pair comes from our agreement to drop Renuzit off an hour earlier so I can work out before work.  I love her.

I don’t have any pictures for you today.  Maybe if I can get this ball rolling, I will have the nerve to post some before and after pictures when I have some progress to show.  But for now, just my talking about it will have to do.

I’m going after it, that elusive belief in myself, that I can do something other than slut around on the couch with my knitting and the TV.


Charming Wife Status: Preserved


Today is Mike’s birthday.  I have covered my bases by sending him an e-card.  Let it be said how much I love him that I gave him a clown card.  I hate clowns.

dead clown

You know I don’t like clowns. Your birthday just happened to be the nearest occasion to celebrate finding a card with a dead clown on it. Happy Birthday!

P.S. be prepared for that hummer later…

(I also got him a real card with honest mush, and some baseball game tickets, right behind the dugout at the Cards/Astros tonight.  I’m not totally mean.)


Happy Shoes (Or Splint, as the Case May Be)

A very smart woman once told me, “You get to wake up and put on your shoes and they have to wake up and put on their own shoes.” 

What does that mean?  That means that usually people who are messing with you, are being unreasonable, or are in general behaving like giant douchebags are usually miserable in their own right and have to walk in their own miserable shoes while I can choose to walk in my own shoes, and my shoes are what I make of them.  I can wallow, or I can breezily move along, move along, nothing to see here.  It doesn’t change the douchebaggery but it does affect how the douchebaggery makes me feel.  Friday I was getting down about it.  Today, fuck ‘em.  I’ve got my happy shoes on. 

That wise woman?  Also said in a moment of perturbed frustration, “I often ask myself why everyone else gets to be an asshole and I am not allowed to be.” 

Answer?  Because I’m not an asshole. 

That wise woman?  My sister. 

It’s been a tough few days at the Conniption Knit household.  Between a nasty coworker, of whom I have contemplated knitting an effigy and perhaps turning it into a voodoo doll or maybe just burning it (must use acrylic if burning, because wool doesn’t burn once the flame source is removed) and some nasty comments from aging family members, there’s been not a small amount of grumbling.  Add to that a Hallmark Holiday for which someone (not me) dropped the Hallmark ball and hurt someone’s feelings and a slip that resulted in a possibly sprained/broken foot/ankle (not me, but my husband), and mix in a little PMS (not my husband, definitely me) and you’ve got yourself a cauldron of blah that envelops a house and wraps it up in smothering arms, much like the Midwestern heat and humidity that’s gripping the area for the last week. 

The only thing going well?  The knitting.  I’m just about to the toe on the first sock of my Not Quite Mother’s Day Labor Day socks for my mom that she picked out when she was here the week after Mother’s Day.  I’m debating the pattern for my Not Quite Father’s Day Labor Day socks for my dad.  And I’m really enjoying the Viper Pilots I’m doing for my sister’s Not Quite Birthday Finish Them When I Can But Aim for Labor Day If She Can Visit Then birthday socks.  I’ve also cast on a baby blanket that’s thankfully due after Labor Day.  Labor Day is the new Christmas. 

There’s not a lot to take pictures of, however.  The Mother’s Day/Labor Day socks are the only things with remarkable progress on them.  The rest of it is no more than swatch size.  That’s the breaks when you have a full time job and a full time life.  Perhaps I should quit giving myself deadlines and simply finish projects when I can.  But I have six things on the needles.  Eight if you include hibernating items.  

Otherwise, it’s been a pretty low key habitat.  Father’s Day sorta sucked for Mike.  His mother missed giving him a card and his grandmother has reached Crotchety on the age scale and combined that with loose lips at Father’s Day Dinner.  He got irritated with me because he decided to clean a little bit and since I was on a different floor in our house, I didn’t know it and so didn’t pitch in.  Then, yesterday at work, he slipped and fell and possibly broke his foot/ankle or stretched tendons or something.  He needed help this morning getting his socks and shoes on.  Poor guy.  It’s work related, so he’s going to see the worker’s comp doctor (and I’m gearing myself up to start the insurance fight that’s inevitable when he has to deal with worker’s comp claims).  I’ve got plans to try to make it up to him, but those plans include an oven, which I discovered on Friday is out of commission.  Our heating element disintegrated, so the big meal I was going to make very likely won’t happen for a few more days while we wait for the parts to arrive in the mail.  Ah, the power of the internet.  What would have been a $150 service call is only a $50 repair and the heating element looks like it just plugs in.  It’s probably for the best since the dinners I made both Friday and last night resulted in flames. 

No, I didn’t burn the house down. 

I was making mashed potatoes (instant, since I’m not that interested in the real thing unless we have guests) and the milk and water always boils over on me.  Usually I catch it before it escapes the pot.  This time I didn’t and it pooled in the – what are those bowl things called under the burners? – the burner coaster and because the element was on hi to boil the milk/water for the potatoes, it caught fire.  Apparently I didn’t get it all cleaned out on Friday because last night when I used the same burner again, it caught fire again.  And I always get confused as to what I can throw on what kind of fire in the kitchen, so I just blew the flames out.  Luckily it was small enough that I could blow it out, but I believe I’m going to locate the fire extinguisher we have in the kitchen and prepare it for use.  I know flour puts out an oil fire, which I learned the hard way, but now I’m afraid to put water on any kind of fire.  

flour to put out an oil fire back in 2006.  Yes, I got a new stockpot after that.  And yes, I took pictures of it.  I had a blog back then too.

But the best part?  Neither dinner was ruined.  It makes me feel like Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away when he gets a fire going the old fashioned way and dances around the beach dancing and shouting, “Look!  Look what I have created!  Fire!  I have created fire!” as if I can control the whims of the flame. 

However, it’s not an experiment I’m wishing to repeat.  I got lucky twice.  Perhaps a third time will bring the house down, literally, and what then?  There’ll be no more shoes to happily put on.  At least I know my yarn stash will be okay.  It’s all wool at this point.


I Don’t Have the Patience

Since taking up the needles again, I’ve heard this said to me I don’t know how many times by non-knitters, or muggles as they’re becoming known in some parts of the knitting web.  This has been said by friends, relatives, and strangers alike.  So here, for the purposes of this blog, are my reasons why, in my opinion, the statement ‘I don’t have the patience for knitting’ is completely untrue, fallacy, an excuse to quit before starting.  In fact, I believe knitting teaches patience, something I have by far and away needed help learning.

1.  I am the world’s most wholly impatient person.  I fight the urge to snap at Son when he fiddle-farts around getting out of the car, dancing around on his little feet and making faces at his reflection in the rearview mirror when the seatbelt has released him for such freedoms.  And yet, when I pick up the needles, it’s not about the finished project for me, though there are some knitters who are product knitters.  I’m a process knitter, enjoying the actual making of each stitch more so than the finished object that comes off at the end.  Don’t get me wrong, that part rocks, too, looking at something I made with string and sticks from one long piece of yarn that can then be worn or help keep someone warm.  But there’s a meditative quality in a small, repetitive motion that turns into something lovely that can be worn.  Son could take ten whole minutes to get out of the car if it means I get in a few more stitches of zen.

 2.  Have you ever been stuck waiting for someone, or standing in line waiting for a service counter or stuck on hold on the phone?  Those minutes seem interminable.  They draaaaaag out, and seriously can try even the patience of a saint.  Especially if there’s hold music on the phone calls.  Rarely is hold music enjoyable, but it’s only made worse by the break in voice that says, “Your call is very important to us.  Please stay on the line and someone will assist you shortly.”  Ugh!  I hate that voice.  But for a knitter, that time isn’t wasted just sitting there.  That time is good to whip out the sock and do a few rounds.   Spouse running late from being stuck in traffic?  You could turn a sock heel in that time. Waiting for your table to be ready at a busy restaurant?  Few more rounds.  Believe me you could finish a scarf in a matter of a week or two just by doing a couple rows at a time.  Not to mention waiting time has morphed into knitting time, and you’re happy to wait.  No really, you become happy to wait.

 3.  There’s a prevailing thought that knitting should never be stopped in the middle of a row.  I don’t know what this would hurt, as the few times I’ve done it the world hasn’t exploded in an apocalyptic fit, and there hasn’t been a problem picking it back up right where I left off.  Maybe it it’s a particularly fiddly pattern, it might mess up the mojo, but I’ve left even fiddly patterns in the middle of a row.  But I find that I don’t like to leave a round unfinished in the middle.  Sure, I’ll do it to pick up a spilling gallon of milk that Son drops, or to retrieve a piece of fuzz from Daughter’s mouth from the little part on the couch where Dog ripped it and the stuffing is visible to little toddler picking fingers.  (I really need to get on sewing that up.)  It just makes me uncomfortable to leave the row in the middle, even if I leave the needles in such a way that a stitch can’t be slipped.  Because of this, when I see Daughter throw a toy and bean Son in the head with it, my gut reaction is to holler at her and put her in time out, which startles her and just makes her cry.  She’s too young at 18 months for the yelling, and I feel that I’m too yelly in the first place.  So, given that I don’t like leaving a row hanging, I’ll finish up (unless I just started it, then I put it down to handle the carnage) the last few stitches, during which time, I’ve gotten in my count-to-ten and I’m much less likely to yell or get twitchy and red-faced.  It helps keep me from overreacting, so then I can get the thrown toy, check Son’s head for blood (but c’mon, she’s only 18 months, how hard can she throw?) and forcefully but calmly tell her no, we don’t throw toys.  Of course, if there were cries of pain involved in said children fighting episodes, I would drop whatever I was doing no matter what.  I’m not a totally insensitive mother.  Mostly.

 4.  It makes long car rides less of a chore and more of a bonus, but only if you’re not driving.  In August, I have to make a pretty boring work trip to the south and I’ll be in the car for 8 hours or more each way.  I hate this drive, more than I can say, but this year, I’m actually looking forward to the knitting time.  See?  Patience with even the most unpleasant of things.

 5.  Productive spare time.  Most people have time that they sit and watch TV, read, or what have you.  That same time can be used as knitting time without giving up those other things.  Wait, you’re thinking.  Read and knit at the same time?  Yes.  I’m saying it can be done.  With practice, stockinette stitch can be done without looking at it the entire time.  This means you can read blogs, email, and newspapers/magazines without needing your hands at the same time as you knit.  If you want fiction, audiobooks are brilliant for this.  TV is the same way.  If you’ve seen a show before, you can knit and watch at the same time and still keep up with both.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on the receiving end of a guilt trip because all I did all day was lay on the couch and watch TV, but with knitting, you can hold it up in your own defense and say, “But I made a sock, too!”  There’s very little arguing with that.  It also gives you patience when your husband wants to watch NASCAR or football or hockey, or something you’re just not that into.  Who cares if the TV is on to something snooze worthy if you have something else on which you can concentrate?  Patience with all those channel-surfers, I’m tellin’ ya.

 6.  Frustrated with an infant who won’t sleep, and you’ve seen the wrong side of the clock too many nights in a row to count?  Well, wrapping said baby in your own handknits makes some of those nights a smidge more tolerable.  Sure, they suck.  Sure they’re hard.  But rocking away in the rocking chair admiring not only your baby who won’t sleep unless she’s in your arms but also the blanket you’ve wrapped around her that you’ve created with your own two hands can give you a little more boost.  Plus, handknits are soft and I’ve noticed my own children gravitate to the handknit blankets and thus I think sleep better with their softer wubbies than with some of the commercial cotton things we have.  Those commercial cottons are fine, but the super soft ones tend to be expensive.  Super soft baby blankets can be made for less than $20 as opposed to the $30 or more I’ve seen some of the commercial soft ones.  But honestly, the patience on this one wears thin even with the handknits.  I just kept telling myself with Son that it might be the last night I’m up with him and do I want that last night to be filled with frustration.  (For the record, I wasn’t admiring my own handknits with Son because I wasn’t back into knitting yet.  My great-grandma Caroline crocheted us a baby blanket before her death and it was that which I was admiring.  And Daughter slept through the night with a few exceptions from the time she was six weeks old.  Yes, I deserve to be flogged for that one.)

 7.  Child comes home late after a night out with friends and you’re too keyed up to sleep?  Knit!  You might get a tighter gauge on your project due to the tension in your shoulders and your iron grip on the yarn, but it’s better than scouring the Internet and finding all kinds of things online that spark bad imaginings of what’s keeping your tardy teen out, everything from them waiting in a long line for the tongue piercings to the backseat makeout sessions you remember from your own youth.  I’m not there yet with my kids, but I will be.  And you can bet I’ll have miles and miles of stockinette stitch to keep me going for those nights.  Although it might be better to have blunt needles on me for when said kid walks in the door.  Wouldn’t want me to have access to anything remotely considered a weapon.

 8.  Angry over a professor giving you trouble or a coworker who sucks tremendously and can’t seem to stay out of your business?  When you have a choice between dropping the class or taking an F, or possibly quitting your job to get away from your nasty coworker, knit yourself an effigy of them.  You can even use blocking pins for that voodoo doll effect if you can secure yourself a piece of their hair (and even if you can’t, when your bitch of an officemate slams the bathroom door in your face, it’s still fun to stick her likeness with pins when you get back to your desk).  If you plan to burn the effigy however, make sure you make it out of an acrylic type yarn.  Wool doesn’t burn very easily.  But I’d bet by the time you’re done making the little doll, you’ll find it so funny by then that you won’t want to burn it.  You can then take out frustration on the doll instead of the actual person, because the doll won’t care if you pull its arm off and you can always reattach it.  This saves you from becoming the subject of a police report or restraining order and you’ll have also saved your sanity or your job without that person ever knowing the wiser, and therefore not getting the best of you.  This is the ultimate in patience. 

 There you have it, the best 8 reasons I can think of that knitting teaches patience, that there’s no reason not to give it a shot, and that spare time becomes knitting time even for those with very little time to spare.  Believe me, it’s worth it.


Heirloom Quality

My Great-Grandmother Caroline was a crochet and sewing wiz.  When I was a wee slip of a girl, I didn’t understand or appreciate the length to which she went to produce the items for us that she did.  We had the best dressed Barbies on the block, and we didn’t even know the effort it took for her to make that so. 

My Grandma Caroline was one of a kind.  She was a spit-fire hellion wrapped up in a 4’8” frame and woe betide the person who dared stand in her way.  She lived in an older section of the town my mother grew up in, a town we visited often as children, my sister and I.  Her tree lined street was replete with houses from an earlier era, both stone and clapboard sided one and one and a half story houses with large sweeping porches from a time when neighbors would sit outside at sunset, catching up and drinking tea while the locusts came to life and the June bugs swirled around mightily buzzing.  There were lightning bugs to dot the air and those trees provided a protective cover should the skies get sultry and weepy.  The sidewalk in front of Grandma Caroline’s was cracked badly by those magnificent trees’ roots, and there was a worn place in the grass next to the cracked part, where people walked up to the porch bypassing the heaved up section so as not to trip themselves up.  The sound of our little girl shoes clomping on her deck, a giant stone structure covered over with planks of wood and painted white and gray with pillars where we used to sit and pretend they were thrones to hold our royal bums, announced our arrival even to a woman who couldn’t hear too well.

In her old age, she had stooped at the shoulders a bit, shrinking even further, though her heart never shrank.  She always flung the door open wide to admit us, and hugging us fiercely belied the strength her frail looking body concealed.  She was a powerhouse, one we didn’t understand when we were young, but one we came to respect as time and age grew on us.  She wasn’t a woman of means, but what she had was tidy, clean, and loved.  Her furniture was draped with crocheted afghans and pillows and she always had a tomato pin cushion on the table next to her favorite chair, which usually held her latest project in some state of almost-completion.  We were never interested in what she was working on, and she always stopped her work when we came over to give us her full, undivided attention.  She’d ask us now and then how the Barbies were and if they needed anything.  Shortly after a visit to her house, we’d get a box in the mail and it would be full of multiples of our requests, miniaturized versions of purses, hats, dresses, pants, vests, sweaters, quilts.  You name it, she made it, both sewn on a sewing machine and crocheted.  Except for shoes.  She said they were too fiddly and the materials were hard to come by.  But our Barbies had sleeping bags and pillows, tents for camping out and sheets for their beds.  There were dressy clothes and camping clothes and casual clothes and more.  There were clothes for Ken, clothes for multiple Barbies, clothes for Ken and Barbie’s future babies, and I wouldn’t be surprised were I to look through it all to find maternity clothes, though I’ve never seen a pregnant Barbie doll.  I think we used a pillow from the miniature couch to pretend, if I recall correctly.

And it wasn’t just our Barbies who were swathed in Grandma Caroline’s love.  No, us kids were given blankets and pillows galore to rest our heads upon and cover our shoulders.  The most beloved blanket of my childhood was a green ripple blanket that Grandma Caroline had crocheted for my sister that I stole and made my own, draped over my shoulders or my hair to pretend it was lovely cascading hair, or covering my body while I watched TV, or wadded up in a ball in my arms for the comfort of a toddler who needed a lovey.  There wasn’t much in the way of clothes since we grew so fast, but we did know that we were the recipients of some one of a kind pieces of art.  When I was a teen, Grandma Caroline asked me what colors I’d like in a wedding afghan.  I told her and as most sixteen year olds are wont to do, I forgot about it.  My sister also had a list of colors for her wedding afghan and I do believe she also forgot about it.  Imagine my shock when, the day after my wedding eight years later, I grabbed the next box in the succession of wedding gifts and discovered it was from Grandma Caroline, who had been too old and frail to make it to the wedding, not to mention the fact that she had never driven, never learned to do so, and hadn’t the means to do any traveling.  But I know she put her invitation lovingly in a photo album anyway, despite the fact that she wasn’t going to make it in person.  However, her box had made it, and I instantly felt my eyes well up with tears.  Could it be?  I opened the box and there was the most beautiful wedding afghan I’d ever seen, not too big, as her arthritis had begun to take over between the years when she’d asked me for my colors and my wedding.  It was blue and cream, shot through with little bits of green and rose in a variegated bit of yarny goodness.  It wasn’t particularly soft, but warm, yes.  It covered warm quite nicely.  I carefully packed it away thinking that I would put it out when I had some furniture to match it, something that didn’t clash quite as badly as our black and green sofa with the giant rip in it.  That sofa wasn’t worthy of my Grandma Caroline’s wedding afghan for me. 

A couple years later, Grandma Caroline had a moderate stroke.  It took away her ability to speak, which just about killed her not to do.  Grandma Caroline was a great conversationalist.  She could talk about anything, and she was quite the dancer, too, having taught my sister and I to Jitterbug in her younger years.  My mom’s mother had to make the difficult decision to find a nursing home for Grandma Caroline.  She was in need of greater care than could be given in a home setting, and as she began to heal and regain her strength from her stroke, her fire slowly returned.  She couldn’t speak but she could make it clear when she was unhappy, and she was vastly unhappy.  She wanted to talk, to sew, to dance again, and she could do none of those things.  The nursing home staff was overworked and while her medical orders were that she had to have someone help her to her feet, that was essentially a bed rest sentence to her.  But she didn’t let that stop her.  She’d get up on her own, medical orders be damned, and it was to the point that the staff put a monitor on her to track her movements.  When she would get out of bed, they would know it.  Frustrated, Grandma Caroline one day threw the monitor in the toilet, and laughed when the staff came running and found her perfectly fine, perfectly out of bed, and free of one perfectly flushed and dead motion monitor.  Her daughter (my grandmother) knew the staff was frustrated, but tired of seeing her mother so miserable, she moved her to another, more expensive nursing home that had more staff and more comfortable accommodations.  It was there that there was another stroke, and that was just about enough for my Grandma Caroline.  She passed quietly in her sleep the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2003. 

I was 7 months pregnant with my first child, and though there were some concerns about me making a road trip for the funeral, I wouldn’t have missed it.  It was absolutely a celebration of her life, as opposed to a mourning of her death, and my grandmother summed it up best when she said during her eulogy that Grandma Caroline was up in heaven talking God’s ear off and dancing into the wee hours of the morning.  It was that Thanksgiving trip that my grandmother, Caroline’s daughter, took me to her spare bedroom and dug out a box in the closet.  She opened it, and inside were three of the softest baby blankets.  One white, one blue, and one yellow, just like the green one that I’d loved literally to pieces as a child myself.  I was to pick one, and I chose the yellow.  We didn’t know Son was a boy and so I didn’t want to pick the blue one and have it be the ‘wrong’ color, and white seemed too easy to ruin.  What happened to the other two, I don’t know, but I assume they were passed on to their intended recipients with the great care and love that I received with mine.  It lined the bassinet Son slept in, and then four years later with Daughter. 

But I have learned something about the baby blanket, and the wedding afghan for that matter, since I have started needlework and knitting.  I put the wedding afghan away for its importance is too great for me to risk it becoming ruined by either the kids spilling something on it or Cat laying on it and tangling her fur in its stitches or slubbing up the yarn strands with her claws.  I put the baby blanket away when the kids were big enough to move to a crib, not wanting it to get soiled or puked on in the night, because it’s irreplaceable.  Sure I could do another one for them if this one gets shredded, but it’s not the same.  It’s not the same.  So I kept them locked away for safe keeping.  Sure, it’s fine for something of this nature to be considered an heirloom, but now that I make them myself, I know they are intended for use, abuse, and love.  Nothing would please me more than to learn that the blanket I made for a friend’s baby has become that child’s security blanket.  Nothing would make me happier to know that my creations grace the feet of a relative or friend when they’re snowed in and need the extra warmth.  Nothing would give me more pleasure than to know that something I made for someone was used just as much as it was treasured, regardless of the risk posed to it through the uses of every day life. 

And so, the other night, I took out the baby blanket and draped it across the shoulders of Daughter (who is 17 months old today, my how time flies) as she was heavy lidded and sleepy.  I rocked her in the rocking chair and stroked her back through the blanket, marveling at how soft the yarn was and how warm the baby underneath was.  Snug as a bug in a rug, I whispered to her like I do every night right before I say ‘night night’ and lay her in her bed.  And I left the room, but only after carefully adjusting around her shoulders the baby blanket Daughter’s great great grandmother crocheted in the months before a stroke, when she first learned that a family was in the making.  Tonight, as I hack and wheeze my way through a stupid summer cold, I will wrap my wedding afghan around my shoulders and sigh, knowing that even though Great Grandma Caroline is beyond the veil, she’s giving me a hug through that afghan, and I will be warmer for it.

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