We got through New Year's Eve and on New Year's Day, I have my first group of people to my house since I lived in South Anchorage at my parent's ranch. For twelve years, our old house was full of CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome.) My husband's sister and her husband and family of five kids came over. It was really nice. My husband's sister is better than me in every way and she has intimidated the heck out of me since we met. In spite of a stroke, she is a pastor's wife and is on top of everything. Her kids are perfect. For her to not intimidate me, I am not sure of what she could do. Would she have to walk around swearing like a sailor and try to be more "earthy"? I have no idea. Her kids are all in their mid teens (she adopted a couple-- after a decade of more miscarriages than she could count, she always had sticky pregnancies when she adopted newborns!) All of her kids are super fantastic. One in particular makes you feel like you are the most important person in the world when he speaks to you. Another one played Pachelbel's Canon in D for me and I started to cry because it was so beautiful.
I realized that my sister-in-law's light does not make what I feel like is darkness on my part more dark, but more light. I do not trust people who are extremely complimentary-- I always wait to hear the, "but" that shakes me to my core and makes me realize that everything good that was said meant nothing. Not with her. I watched her with my kids and her exuberance and enthusiasm had them wanting to show her how amazing they are. Even when I knitted some dishcloths for her, she was so excited that I almost ran off to get the rest of my work to show her. (OMG! I want that talent that she has to bring out the very best in people! What a great super power to have-- to pull the very best from people! I so much wish I wasn't immune to her, as well as having been skeptical of her.)
When I say that my sister-in-law is a perfect person, this does not mean that she looks down on anyone. Quite contrary to this-- she is very accepting of everyone. She really looks at every person as a unique creation of her Christian god. She runs huge fundraisers and teaches and does everything very well. Yes, her light showed how chaotic my life was. I told her how amazing she is and how stupid I feel when I am around her and she said, "You've had no time for what I do! You are finally able to go to the bathroom by yourself! What do you know of what you can do? You are just starting to crawl out of the nursery!" She got a degree before she started having children, she had them later in life-- and by then she had mastered a lot of "advanced" jobs. She told me to always push the envelope and learn, but to be aware of my present limitations.
My brother-in-law is an amazing athlete as well as a pretty wise guy. He runs a huge congregation but used to be a counselor. He is always passing on some wisdom and while I won't quote what he said to me because I am not sure if he meant to say it, I will say that I think that I could not pass this guy on the street without him saying something profound. Every moment to this guy is a teaching or learning moment.
My eldest is studying in another state, but my second eldest came over to help me make lunch for everyone. I am amazed by how she knows me so well that we work without talking in the kitchen. We have a sixth sense with each other but while she isn't shocked by it, I completely am shocked when I turn to do something and she is already on it and in the same way I do it! She loved being over here and seeing everyone, too.
My 14 year old daughter was being a pill. I adore her, but she is in a stage where every time she is asked to do something, she slouches and rolls her head and eyes back. I make her do push-ups instead of other forms of punishment and she is getting huge biceps. Instead of this decision on my part curing her of smart-alec comments and her attitude, she has advanced to push-ups with clapping and she is getting good at them. She doesn't change her attitude, but she is getting into shape for her sports! I envision her doing really well at the varsity level and having to attribute her great conditioning to her cheekiness!
We got through Christmas break. This year was not terrible in the least, although I had braced myself for it. My kids are older now, which helps. . . and my mom bought them a Wii! I never wanted to be a mother who put her kids on the computer or games like that, but Wii is not a sedentary game system. We set them up in teams and the looser of a game looses his turn to someone on his or her team and the winner plays one game extra and if he or she wins again, they only play one extra game before handing the controls to someone else on their team. They cheer each other on and yell and get quite excited. Wii is not a typical electronic game. As for me and the Wii? I still don't know how to turn it on and the TV confuses me.
My eldest son turned 13 last night. This is the one who has Aspberger's Syndrome. He obsesses over how lawns are mowed and, in the winter, how snow is shoveled. As he has gotten older and begun to articulate himself better, I am liking what he has to say. His career will probably be in something to do with property maintenance. His Aspberger symptoms may turn out to be an asset, after all!
I have a couple of shawls on my needles at the moment. What I don't like about knitting is that I feel like I am painting by number with it. I know my stitches, but you have to work off patterns. A good knitter can look at something, squint their eyes and point out where you did a knit when you should have purled, or where you did a double increase instead of a triple increase and then explain how you did well to compensate, "because no one else will look this closely!" and this annoys me. Few look that closely and those comments on minor mistakes are more to show off, as in, "Look how much I know and can see a mistake!" than on the overall appearance of the piece. I do not do shoddy work, but some people are so into precision that they become machines when they knit. I like taking simple patterns and spicing them up with color and texture. This doesn't mean that everything that I do is bright-- there are lots of stunning, sensual neutral colors, especially in angora blends. I have met people who hold patterns in their heads. I don't have many in my head, but the local yarn store says the patterns are like math equations. I told her that I have not been able to do well and with confidence and certainty she said to me, "Knitting will make you able to remember math equations." She explained that knit patterns are physical manifestations of patterns, that once I can retain them, that I will be able to go into abstract ideas and that it will get easier, especially with the kids getting older.
Knitting is more expensive than drawing. As much as I spend on chalks, I spend more on yarns. Working with yarn takes up more time and of course, I like nice yarn, but I can also do some good work with not-so-good-yarn so it doesn't matter that it's not great.