We went to Rockport today. It was nice.
October 31, 2010
October 30, 2010
So, we lost our baby. Just one week before seven months, I went in for a regular prenatal appointment. After a family baby shower my sister-in-law threw for us and a day of setting up the nursery, with all her little cloth diapers and toys and clothes in place, a spot for every tiny sock, for every copy of Goodnight Moon, for every little hooded towel. I went in for a regular prenatal appointment and they discovered her heart, once so strong and fast, had stopped beating.
As I lay on the table, with the ultrasound technician whispering how sorry she was, I realized my whole future was gone. The best gift I'd ever been given, the one I'd wanted more than anything since I was a child myself, had been taken from me with no good reason, and with no explanation of why.
The midwife gave me a mug of tea and gently explained that I'd have to give birth to her, that day or the next. I waited for my husband to arrive, as he had to go back through the security gate at Logan with the news that his daughter was gone, take a shuttle to get to his car and drive up 95 to get to the birth center. He sobbed on my shoulder while I told him how sorry I was. It was the second time I'd ever seen him cry. The first was at our wedding when I sang to him, the song was At Last.
At last, my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
At last, the skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I could cling to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to rest my cheek to
A thrill that I had never known
You smiled, you smiled
And the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine, at last
We gave birth to her in the hospital, surrounded by midwives and nurses, wonderful women who had been there, who were there, who called in to check on us after their shifts were over, who wrote us personal notes and cards after we left. Our experience at the hospital was like being wrapped up in a safe cocoon. I thought it would be its own brand of hell, but it was the most special time of my life, it was the closest I ever got to my daughter. We held her, we named her, and way too soon, we let her go.
Since those days at the hospital, I've been in a bit of a fog. I see a therapist. She suggested, and I agree, that the fog is subconsciously self-induced, as a way of distancing myself from life, so that I can observe what's going on around me and consciously choose what to apply meaning to, and what to let float away. I spend my days knitting, baking, cooking, or just lying on the couch looking at the television. Some days I feel like myself. I can laugh and joke and spend time with others. Some days all I can really do is just stare blankly. Really, these times of myself and not-myself don't take up entire days, they occur in shorter periods of time. I'll be fine for a few hours, then suddenly be sobbing so hard I can't hold myself up, which will last for five minutes, then I'll be done, I'll stand and continue doing whatever it was I was doing. Or I'll be completely unable of getting out of bed, off the couch, of moving at all, and my husband will suggest we go outside and sit on the swing, and that suggestion will be all I need to pop up, get myself a mug of coffee and step outside to breathe some fresh air.
We go to a particular beach, a very small beach, with lots of sea glass. We collect it. Since our honeymoon, we've collected sea glass while at the beach. While pregnant, we decided it would be a tradition, a family activity we would do with our kids. We found that while we were on a great sea glass beach on PEI when we started, once we got back home it was very difficult to find any at all on the beaches of New England. We looked, we may have found one or two pieces of white, but nothing much, and no colors. My biggest goal in my sea glass collecting life was to find a blue piece. It had been over a year of looking and I'd never found one. White, obviously, green, sure, even yellow, red and black, but not one blue piece, ever. The day after we came home from the hospital, after giving birth to our Ellie, we went to this new beach for the first time, and found piece after piece of sea glass. White, light green, dark green, medium green, and even some very light blue. Not the blue I was looking for, just barely tinted white-blue, but it was still very pretty. We filled our pockets and took in the sunshine, breathed the sea air. We walked through the little coastal town and bought some coffee, looked at the little shops that were mostly closed down for the season. We bought some fudge. It was my first moment of peace, being there on that beach.
I didn't find much peace, except at that beach. It's our beach. I needed to go back every couple of days. I smiled at our beach. It was at that beach that I found myself answering my cell phone for the first time. I'd just been letting the calls go to voicemail, but without even thinking, one day at the beach I just answered.
We decided to have her little body cremated, and to scatter her ashes. We felt that was the best way to honor a life that never got to live. To scatter her remains somewhere beautiful, so she could experience some part of this world. We were discussing where to put her while we were walking down our beach. The thought occurred to me to go there very early in the morning, and share her with the world at sunrise, right there on our beach. My husband liked the idea. Immediately after I made the suggestion, I looked down and there was a piece of dark blue sea glass. We found many more that day, piece after piece of beautiful blue sea glass.
Blue and green, those are Ellie's colors. And that beach has become Ellie's beach. We went there yesterday after not going for two weeks. I missed that beach, I really needed to go back. I didn't get enough. I think we'll go tomorrow morning. Just after high tide.
I'm changing, bit by bit. I'm still so very up in the air, I don't know exactly how I'll end up, or who I'll end up, though after 31 years of being me and only three and a half weeks of being The Woman Who Lost Her Child, I'm sure the me in me will win out. That's the thing that keeps occurring to me. I've become one of Those Women. We are That Couple. That couple who lost their baby. My whole life, my biggest fear was exactly this. I've had two nightmares in my life that have stuck with me throughout the years. One was when I was probably around ten years old. I was in a rainforest and found a baby swaddled in big, tropical leaves. She didn't have a family, so I took care of her. She died, and I woke up sobbing. I remember that dream like I had it yesterday. The other was when I was a sophomore in college. There was a little girl who had never known love. She had been mistreated by her parents and all the adults she had ever met. I took her in as my own and vowed to protect her. I was the only one she trusted, but I couldn't protect her from the bad men who were out to kill her. One of the men shot her, and as she died in my arms I was furiously telling her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me. At that moment my focus, all I had to do, my entire purpose in life, was to let this small child know, for certain, that *someone* had loved her in her short life. That she was loved. "You are loved, you are loved," I kept saying, over and over again. She died, I woke up and that dream just knocked me down. I've never had an experience like that before or since. I was pretty much down for the count for a week after that dream. I couldn't figure out why, it was just a dream. I still don't know. But I remember sitting there in my dorm room, surrounded by notes and textbooks, cute outfits, beer cups, all the stuff of a normal college experience, during a time in my life when children were the furthest thing from my mind, *mourning* this little girl from my dream.
I don't think these dreams were prophetic. Nor do I think my baby died because I had these dreams. They were just dreams. But I just can't believe that the thing I have been terrified of since I was a child, at an age when children shouldn't realize how truly against nature it is for a parent to lose a child, when children shouldn't be thinking about loss at all, has actually happened to me in adulthood.
One thing I felt would be of paramount importance as I entered into motherhood would be a particular transition I would have to make. I've been nervous about this for a while now because I wasn't sure I'd have it in me. I knew I'd have to be stronger to be the kind of mother I want to be. I'd have to be able to stand up to people, for myself and for my child. I'd have to be the protective one, instead of the one who needed protection. I've always been kind of a fraidy-cat. I've let people walk all over me, I've failed to stand up for myself, I shrink from confrontation. I'm the type who, if someone started running after me, I'm embarrassed to say only half-jokingly that my reaction would probably be to drop to the ground and go into a fetal position. Not so much a fighter, this one. Slowly, as the years have gone by through my later 20's and early 30's, I've started to be a little stronger in these ways, but I knew I'd have to somehow really Get There as a mom. I wasn't sure how that was going to happen, but I hoped some sort of instinct would kick in.
Something interesting happened the other night. I was in the living room, alone in the house, when I heard what sounded like the front door closing. I waited to hear my husband's voice, but I heard nothing, it wasn't him. The dog's ears were perked and I realized there might actually be someone just outside my house. No one was knocking, but I had distinctly heard a noise. Of course the worst ran through my mind, but instead of my first thoughts being "Where can I hide?" and " Where is the phone?" I found myself thinking, "Okay, time to get into ass-kicking mode" and realized my fists were clenched, and I was walking confidently toward the door. Before I had time to be surprised by that, I noticed a big box had fallen, which had caused the noise. I think, despite the fact that my baby is gone, whatever instincts I would have needed to keep her safe from danger have in fact kicked in. I think part of that also, is a realization that I have been through something so terrible and there is such a white-hot anger living full time inside me, god help anyone who tries to inflict any further pain onto me. (For now we can just ignore the utter stupidity of walking confidently toward a potential threat with nothing but my totally inexperienced fists.)
The problem is that now there's all this momness in me, but I have nowhere to put it.
So, as it happens, I'm changing. But right now I'm looking at that through the fog, and focusing on living the life I have left. Some days I eat because I'm hungry, some days I rely on the routine of a construct such as "mealtime" to remember to eat.
So it goes.
Posted by Jenny at 1:55 PM
August 4, 2010
Things I'd like to be doing:
-Finishing the Surtsey (Rav link) in red and brown that I'm knitting for my friend (she doesn't know about it, but she also doesn't know about this blog). It's due on Sunday.
-Making this awesome patchwork cube:
A woman on my preggo board made one and it is absolutely gorgeous.
-Finish sewing up cloth napkins. I've got about 17 left, which means I've sewn about 24 so far.
-I went to the SoWa Open Market with Jane this past weekend and we saw this artist whose name I unfortunately did not get, who had made these awesome little prints on onesies, baby and toddler clothes. I have all the materials already to make these, except for the ink (easy and cheap at Blick) and the actual onesies (easy and cheap at Target or wherever), and I'm dying to sit down, carve me some stamps, mix me up some fabric/screenprinting paint and get to work decorating a little wardrobe.
-Making wall art for the baby's room. I'm thinking something in a Wonder Woman.
-Organize my kitchen.
Posted by Jenny at 11:22 AM
June 29, 2010
But if you read this then you probably already know me, and therefore you know that.
Some people want to be rockstars, some people want to be on Broadway, I want to be a mom. This is my dream come true. Which of course makes me paranoid that something will mess it up, however that's also just how I am. When things are going really well I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Once I realized that that was just how I was, I realized that the other shoe will probably not drop, so I'm okay.
So. What am I doing about this pregnancy, crafty-wise? Not much, actually. I've been freakin' exhausted and only in the last few days have I bust out any needles and yarn for the baby. I'm knitting Surtsey (rav link) which I LOVE, in a deep teal and brown (stole the idea right off the pattern).
I'm just waiting and waiting for this burst of second trimester energy to kick in and inspire me to clean, organize and craft, but so far just a bunch of sleepy evenings and an incredibly (and increasingly) messy house. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband who can keep just ahead of the mold spores.
Posted by Jenny at 4:23 PM
March 29, 2010
Seven. Seven pounds.
Seven pounds of white, undyed wool. I organized my fiber stash yesterday and found that I have seven pounds, JUST of white, undyed wool. Doesn't count non-animal fiber, certainly doesn't count dyed fiber.
I am not a production dyer, and I'm not the type to spin up enough wool for a sweater (spinning up 4oz of the same stuff is borderline too much, I need novelty), I've just somehow accumulated seven pounds of white fiber.
I think I should get to work on dying it in 4oz increments (28 4oz increments- that's 56 PAIRS of socks). Hell, I could open an Etsy shop if it turns out I have any talent in dying (which, who knows?) I can't buy any more fiber, though. Holy lordisa wowie.
Posted by Jenny at 11:06 AM
February 1, 2010
about comments. I have confusion. I have not set anything to need to be moderated, but I stumbled upon the fact that I had four random comments that needed to be moderated before they were published. Usually, comments just appear, but these four for some reason needed my approval. Not sure why...
Also, I have a friend who can't leave comments on my blog. I don't know why not, or what happens when she tries, so I'm really thinking there's something I'm missing here.
Any blogspot owners who know more than I do and can shed some light on this, your comments (ha! possibly counterproductive) would be appreciated. :)
Posted by Jenny at 6:29 AM
January 25, 2010
I've never made homemade granola. I wanted to try.
So, last night I grabbed these ingredients (whoops, vanilla got cut off):
and the end result was pretty much exactly what I was looking for. For this batch I didn't want any dried fruit or anything, just the basic oats and nuts, and it's perfect.
It doesn't take an overly pretty picture, but it's proving to pose a MASSIVE problem for me, in that when I walk by it, if I take a small handful, I seem to lose time and then awake 15 minutes later to find myself still standing there, with crumbs all over my breastal shelf and a significantly smaller amount left in the container.
I used about a third cup honey, a quarter cup each syrup and veggie oil, 2 T water, some salt, vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar, and mixed it together to cover about 4 cups of rolled oats and a cup of crushed pecans. Baked it for about 35 minutes, stirring it every 10 or so.
This is basically the recipe in my new favorite book, Artisan Breads (the link is in a post below. Granola makes me lazy) with a few small mods.
I also had some temporary blue streaks in my hair last night, given to me by our friends' 12 year old daughter, so perhaps that helped to inject some awesome into the granola, but I don't think the blue streaks are necessary.
Posted by Jenny at 11:17 AM
January 19, 2010
Two things I really Just Don't Knit- sweaters and scarves. I'm a socks, hats, cowls, mittens, gloves, fingerless mitts kind of knitter. The occasional lacy shawl or something. I like bitesized projects that have lots of variety within them. If I get too deep into lace or colorwork and I'm desperate for some plain ol' stockinette, I'll do a simple pair of basic socks.
I've started a few sweaters. I've finished a couple too, but they're all too short because I have NO patience for MILES of stockinette. Being a chesty little somebody (I use the word "little" euphemistically here. "Little" in this case actually means "XL"), it's hard to find sweater patterns that fit well, plus it takes a lot longer to knit them. I get really bored and end up binding off way too soon and have something that stops at about waist level. While, sure, I have a pretty hourglassy shape, it is, ahem, a "little" hourglass, and no sweater is going to look good stopping at the narrowest part of, ahem, a "little" hourglass. Emphasizing my big squishy belly by having a sweater that stops just above it is really NOT the head-turning, show stopping look you might think it is. I just can't seem to keep knitting until I get to an appropriate length, it just gets boring and the sweaters end up lost in my pile of UFOs forever (see: CPH.) Even an interesting lace or cable pattern will probably drive me crazy, and in all honesty, if I can't finish a project in a pretty short amount of time, I'm going to lose interest. I lose interest in things pretty quickly. I've been married for about three and a half months and frankly I'm shocked we aren't divorced yet.
As you might imagine, things like scarves drive me SUPER CRAZY. Ugh! I HATE SCARVES! EVIL scarfy fuckers! Like all new knitters I started with a scarf. It's currently on the needles buried somewhere deep in my mom's house. I gave up on knitting. Years later I tried a new one. Also on the needles buried deep in my mom's house. I gave up again. I tried a third and just frogged it. Forget it. I just can't do the same thing over and over and over and over again. Fortunately at that point I made a hat and had the delight of FINISHING a project, which gave me just the taste I needed to become an addict. That's what scarves are, though. Just boring repetitions. There aren't any heels or toes or increasing or decreasing in scarves, or even any sleeves or buttonholes or anything. Even the pretty lacy ones, it's just the same damn thing over and over. When I'm teaching people to knit they always say they should probably start with a scarf, but I am of the belief that scarves are TERRIBLE projects to begin on. If you're learning a new skill, you want to have something to show for it pretty quickly. You don't want to pick up your needles for the first time and then NEVER GET TO THE END. Start with a hat. Or a dishtowel if you seriously need to do something square. Do something that makes you feel smart, because we seasoned knitters know, it's all just the same two stitches over and over again, and nothing is ever as complicated as it seems.
Anyway. So it goes. I hate scarves.
Well lo and behold, look at what I just finished:
It's a scarf. It's a fucking scarf! Not only is it a scarf it's a LONG scarf. It's probably about 10 feet long? It's two ENTIRE skeins of Blue Moon Socks that Rock in Jade and, um, I... don't know. Something darker that goes with Jade. That's about 700 yards, Kyle. I knit the Chevron Scarf from LMKG. I was INTERESTED in this scarf THE ENTIRE WAY DOWN. In fact, I was sad to cast off! WTH!!!
YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT ELSE???!??!
I KNIT A SWEATER! It FITS me, and is long enough and actually looks awesome. I freakin' LOVE it and am totally not treating it as delicately as I should, but instead wearing it whenever I possibly can. The yarn is a gorgeous, amazingly soft superwash wool DK weight and was bought on our honeymoon to Prince Edward Island at an AWESOME place called Belfast Mini-Mills, which was about a 5 minute drive from the beach house we rented. I loved this burnt orange color they had, but this blue just kind of caught my eye. It was the color of the island, it reminded me of the Northumberland Strait, so I just had to get it. So this is my honeymoon sweater. :) The pattern is Wicked, the worsted weight version, and it was cardiganized based on FlintKnit's awesome instructions. I made the sleeves a lot longer and used coconut buttons. (If I had to do it over again I'd cast on way fewer stitches and just allot more of them for the body, which turned out fine, and fewer for the sleeves, which were FRICKIN' HUGE. I ended up just tapering them down, which works well enough. The sweater is built a little more like a sweatshirt because of those arms, but that's okay with me.)
So there it is. My last two projects. A sweater and a scarf. Will wonders never cease...
Posted by Jenny at 12:24 PM
January 18, 2010
Last Christmas, as in, Christmas 2008, I asked for and received a book called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day.
I was so excited, but in reading it I realized that I apparently needed a pizza stone or dutch oven to bake the bread in, neither of which I had. A regular loaf pan wouldn't work. I put that feather in my cap, put the book on the shelf for when I could get me a pizza stone, then somewhere around 2 months later decided to plan a wedding and forgot entirely about the whole thing.
Last weekend, as in, January 10, I bought a pizza stone, having forgotten all about the book.
Yesterday I realized that I have everything I need to make 5 minute Artisan Bread, so this morning, I woke up, took the dog for a snowy, haily, slushy walk, then came in and mixed up the dough. It rose for 3 hours and it is now in the fridge, hopefully getting MUCH less sticky. In a few hours I will bake some bread! :)
ETA: I would have taken a picture to post here, but I sliced into it too fast, and now there's only crumbs. :D
Posted by Jenny at 9:28 AM
January 14, 2010
Susan, I swear I'm not copying your awesome Probably Something You Would Like idea here. Well, I kind of am (and if you read this you'll no doubt notice things that you've posted before), but I'm also totally stealing crush party's idea... It just never occurred to me to keep track of all the random things I find and love in online storage. Until now I've just had cluttered bookmark bars...
So, this Color-In Wallpaper is wicked cool:
I love these lists, (and I love that there are more than one!) about my beloved home state of New Hampshire.
100 Things You Should Do To Know the Real New Hampshire (I've done 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 24, 25 (ugh!), 26 (again, ugh!), 32 (but on Ossipee, not Grafton), 35, not 41 but Chocorua, 42, 43, 46, 48, 57, 60, 72 (well, I've seen it, I haven't matched any wits), 78 (only one church, though), 79, 83, 86 (possibly my most random one! They are twins in their, I don't know, 60s? who I used to serve coffee to when I worked at BNG in Durham, and who I later found out went to my summer camp back when it allowed boys, and came back to sing on a CD camp made of our classic camp songs. Which, by the way, was recorded and mixed by the same guy who we worked with in my a cappella group in college. It made me realize what a small state NH really is. :), 90, 91
101+ Things to do in NH
A few are repeats, but my list includes: 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31 (we got married on Lake Ossipee!), 33, 35, 38, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 53, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 73, 75, 84, 86, 88?, 92, 97, 100, 102, 103
These lists make me realize how connected I am to lovely New Hampshire. :)
I find this to be helpful, and it makes me want to dye with Kool Aid again!
One of the highlights of my honeymoon was finding that Lime Green Kool Aid is sold in stores there. Here it's hard to find. I stocked up (though now I can't find it!)
Oliver + S kids clothes make me want to have a baby girl RIGHT NOW, just so I can start making her adorable clothes! :)
My absolute favorite fiber dyer is The Yarn Wench. She gets the colors Just Right. :) She updates her stock every week or so, and check it out any given week, it's full of amazing goodies that I could easily blow my entire paycheck on.
I've never been one of these Fairy People. You know who you are. Actually, you're probably Faerie People. I kind of get it, faeries are pretty and fun, but some people are REALLY into it. Having said that, I think if I do have little girls I will TOTALLY use them as my excuse to make these!
Craftster tutorial here.
Posted by Jenny at 3:04 PM
January 12, 2010
To kinda take a page out of my friend Susan's book at Juniper Moon Fiber Farm, here are some things that I am in love with right now.
This is my newest love. "New" as in "I discovered it roughly 15 minutes ago." A photo blog called crush party. This brilliant woman does the kind of thing I do- instead of taking her own pictures (or perhaps she does, I'm new to her, but I do not), she copies photos she loves and posts them on her blog. I've always copied photos I loved, but it never occurred to me to post them on a blog.
Here are a few of my favorites from the first 3 pages (as of today) of her blog:
My brand new Vinturi Wine Aerator
My also brand new pizza stone. (I did a little registry-finishing this weekend at Crate and Barrel) I bought it, went straight home, and my friend Betsey and I immediately got to work drinking some aerated wine and making a pizza. Forgive the crappy photo, it was taken on my iPhone:
We didn't know what we were doing, and we figured we might come up with some pretty good results that way. Turns out, we did. This is wheat crust from Trader Joe's, brushed with olive oil, then topped with sliced pear, prosciutto, basil, and gorgonzola. It smelled ridiculous, but was WAY too salty (lesson learned regarding prosciutto and gorgonzola) so we drizzled the baked pizza with honey and it was gorgeous.
I love this book, Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke, also introduced to me by Susan.
It has inspired me to go out and make a quilt, something I haven't done for YEARS and years. I went to JoAnns and bought way too many fabrics in competing patterns, and I need to find a way to ground it a little (I have some ideas) but for now, this is the (very busy) gist of it. Again, iPhone photo, so the colors aren't quite right.
I'm just really into purple, turquoise and green right now, I guess.
Speaking of quilts, Ken and I went to the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA on Jan 2, and I fell in love with this quilt
From left to right we have Joseph, Norman and George. All three were needlefelted. I made Joseph and George, and Betsey made Norm. At first, George was David the Gnome, but Ken was fiercely jealous of him. It bordered on frightening. However then Ken said "wait, actually, he looks like a George," and I actually agreed, so George was born and Ken loves George.
Whoops, George got cut off. That's okay, he was playing with my webcam a few weeks ago:
And finally, two things I am in love with in one picture. The vases (part of my little Crate and Barrel trip) which were like $3 each, and the sunflowers, which my darling husband brought home for me last night.
Posted by Jenny at 7:41 AM