I’ve had a lot of things going on in my life lately. Health, family, work, home — nothing seems to be going smoothly right now on a lot of different fronts, even multiple fronts in each of those categories. You might say I’m carrying a lot of stress around. I’m trying to take time for me–you know: read a book, watch some TV, knit for a while, work on a Sudoku puzzle–but a lot of the time I haven’t had the ability to concentrate on any of that because my mind is racing too much.
There are a couple of things that are helping, though. When I can’t get to sleep, sometimes a few levels of Angry Birds will distract me enough to get my mind off unpleasant stuff and in a place where sleep is easier.
But I can’t sleep my whole life away, you know? So thank goodness for baseball.
It doesn’t require all of my attention to enjoy it, but watching a good ballgame will suck me in long enough to put aside my problems and allow me to relax for a while. Well, right up until I get nervous when suddenly the other team has a bunch of guys on base. But that kind of nerves I can handle.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the future lately. One reason surely is because of the death of one of my uncles earlier this month. I wasn’t particularly close to him, but there was a time when his family and mine spent a lot of time together. Most of my extended family lives in northern Minnesota, but this uncle and his family lived in the Twin Cities for a significant amount of my childhood. I’m pretty sure those two cousins are the only ones I had personal nicknames for (I have no reason to think they’ll ever read this, but I won’t take the chance of embarrassing them by telling you those nicknames).
In any case, a death, especially one of someone relatively young (my uncle was 57, but had suffered from MS for about 20 years and his death wasn’t a complete shock), sometimes makes you think about your future. My uncle was diagnosed at about the age I am now (I’m really not sure when exactly, but I vaguely recall it was around the time I finished high school); what would I do if the same happened to me now?
And then there’s that thing where my 20-year high school reunion is coming up this summer. Part of me thinks it could be really fun to catch up with people. I haven’t kept in touch with anyone I graduated with, though I’ve reconnected with a few in recent years, which has been fun. But I’m also a little freaked out by having to admit how little I’ve done with my life. I don’t think marriage and/or kids are everything, but not only do I not have either of those, I also don’t have a wonderful career or some other thing I’m super passionate about either. As I wrote in an email to one of those friends from high school I reconnected with not so long ago:
How do I explain why it took me eight years to just get my bachelor’s, and 12 years after that, I’m just figuring out I really should go back and get a master’s? That I only got my own place less than two years ago? And no, never married, no kids… Yes, in fact, I am turning into the crazy cat lady spinster… Except I can’t possibly be doing that, because I haven’t actually figured out what I want to do when I grow up yet.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that last bit: what do I want to do when I grow up? There’s nothing wrong with my job. I like it well enough, and there’s no reason I couldn’t do it until it’s time to retire. But I’m not sure I want to, and more importantly, I feel like there’s something else I’m meant to do. Is the answer to go back to school and get a master’s in something? Is there some other dream I haven’t realized that I should pursue?
I hope I can figure it out soon.
In progress Eggstra Socks
The photo shows my progress as of Friday, November 5, at the end of the time I had to knit over my lunch hour. Over the weekend I added 35 rows to the foot, and as of Sunday night I had maybe an inch to go before I could start the toe. And then I thought I’d try it on as best I could while on the circular needle to confirm whether it would fit me or my mom’s cousin’s friend better, and I discovered a stitch that was dropped before I started the foot rounds. Ugh.
When I started on the foot, I knew a stitch had gotten lost somewhere, but I assumed it happened in the increasing or decreasing around the heel, and I just added a stitch back in. Whoops. Now, there’s probably a very nice to fix this without ripping back to it, but I wasn’t completely happy about a couple of other things, and this was just one thing too many to ignore. So yesterday I ripped back to the heel, rescued my dropped stitch, and reknit the gusset.
But for now, this sock must be put aside so I can start a new pair, for alas, this sock fits me pretty well, but the pair I need done by the end of the month needs to be smaller. Last night I cast on a new sock with smaller needles.
Note: I think I’ve failed NaBloPoMo. But I’m going to try to keep posting when I can; it’s a vast improvement over what I’ve done since last November regardless.
Okay, it’s not as if I doubted the kid could act, especially since I talked to the director of the musical he’s in weeks ago and she told me how happy she was with him, but tonight was the first time I was able to see it for myself.
I hinted a few days ago about the fact that one of my nephews is currently living with me. The whys and wherefores aren’t terribly important at this point, but indeed, my 17-year-old nephew (I’ll call him D here) is here for his senior year. To say it’s been an interesting experience so far would be an understatement. I know a lot of is just what teenagers are like, and I vaguely recall being a teenager once myself, but I was so unprepared.
But we’re doing okay, and I credit in part his participation in drama. D has expressed interest in going to college for theater, and D’s high school has an excellent drama program, so it was kind of a no-brainer to let him participate in the fall musical (and hopefully the rest of the productions this year). The auditions were right after school started, and D was able to get the part of Maurice (Belle’s father) in Beauty and the Beast. He’s had rehearsal pretty much every school day since.
But tonight was opening night (it runs through Sunday), and all that rehearsal time seems to have paid off. The show was a lot of fun, and I found out for sure that the kid can act.
Well, I’d like to say that the title of the post was true, but if yesterday’s post for NaBloPoMo was eaten by anything, it wasn’t WordPress but rather my desire to go to bed and forget stuff that needs to be done. Does it count if I have an extra post one day?
So, knitting. I have approximately a zillion projects in progress right now. I’d really like to finish a few of them, but right now I’m concentrating all my efforts on a pair of socks. A couple months or so ago I came across some information about the Ovarian Cancer Sock Kit. This is a cause near and dear to our family because one of my mom’s cousins is an ovarian cancer survivor. I immediately placed an order for a kit. And then sent an email to my mom’s cousin letting her know about the kit and asking her about the organization it benefits. She responded, and also asked if she bought a couple of kits, would I be willing to knit pairs for her and another survivor friend of hers too? Of course I would! I mean, socks aren’t that time consuming, really, right?
Well, it’s all turning out fine now, but these socks have a pretty complicated pattern in the cuff. There are six different cable stitches to keep straight, plus a little bit of beading, which I hadn’t done before in knitting. I’m looking forward to doing some straight knitting when I get to the foot, because the cuff and heel are definitely not things I can do without some amount of concentration. Now that I have those cable stitches mostly memorized, though, I think I’ll be able to finish a pair by the end of November with little trouble, so the cousin can give her friend her pair for her birthday in early December.
And the other two pair should be a breeze!
In other news, I received my member card for the Minnesota Zoo today. I’ve been thinking about getting a membership for a few years now, but finally took the plunge when I was there for a friend’s birthday a couple Saturdays ago. I realized that I really love walking around there, and being able to go down anytime I want, even by myself on a random day off from work or something, would be wonderful. I also love taking photos of the animals, and sometimes it would be nice to do that at my own pace. I did get an Individual Plus membership, though, so I can take someone with for free if I want some company.
I’m pretty sure I’ve said before that I’m not really a cook. I prepare food for meals, but make things from scratch that’s more than frying fish or making a grilled cheese sandwich? It doesn’t happen often. But a few weeks ago I came across a soup recipe that not only sounded tasty, but easy enough even for me to make.
Naturally, the next time I was somewhere to buy groceries, I hadn’t put the soup ingredients on my list. I actually remembered everything, though, except that it needed three, not just two, cans of black beans. And for the life of me I couldn’t find chile paste at that store. Eventually I picked up the third can and tracked down the chile paste, but I still needed to wash the blender that had been in storage for about eleven years. Lately I’ve been lucky to remember to run the dishwasher, let alone keep up with the rest of the dishes, but on Saturday I had a little time to myself and finally got the blender ready.
Yesterday’s schedule ended up being a little crazier than planned, including that I had to buy new chicken stock because I drank what I had on hand earlier in the week when I was sick. But as soon as I got home at about 5:00 PM, I started in on the soup. Less than an hour later my nephew and I were happily eating it.
I wish I had had cooking spray (I just assumed I had some, but since I mostly use stoneware or nonstick pans for baking, I guess I haven’t needed it) because I’m pretty sure the dutch oven is going to be a chore to clean, and when I make it again I’ll probably double the corn, but otherwise, it was a rare cooking success.
Note: I’m going to attempt to participate in NaBloPoMo and NaKnitMo (Ravelry link) again this year. Neither worked out great last year, but I was in the middle of buying and settling into a new home, so I can’t be any busier this year than that, right? Oh, right. The nephew living with me. But that story will have to wait for another blog post.
I am not a cook. I’ve enjoyed baking for a really long time, but cooking food for meals is a different thing, and not something I’ve done much of.
Last night I bought some frozen talapia, and put one in the refrigerator to defrost for today. I needed to make it quick because my mom was coming over to get my closet organization system started, so I just fried it. Easy, right? And it was, but right after I put it in the saute pan I realized that I’m not really sure how to tell when fish is cooked well enough. I faked it well, though, and I think it turned out just fine. I also fried up some cut-up red potatoes quickly, which I definitely should have cooked longer.
If I can find shallots tomorrow (the Super Target I do most of my shopping at was sold out), I have a recipe for lamb chops I’d like to try. I probably won’t have to cook much Thursday or Friday with Thanksgiving and all, but after the leftovers are gone I have a pork roast recipe to try in my Crock Pot.
The fact that I actually have balsamic vinegar in my house makes me feel quite a bit more domestic than I did yesterday. Oh, and I have salt now too.