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Archive for March, 2008

Why? or how?

Dear Jan,

Waking up this morning, I felt so optimistic. Wilson was on his way home – I checked the flight status; it showed he had been on the ground here in Minneapolis for almost an hour so the cab should be pulling into our drive any moment. I felt calm and open and joyful. I filled the waiting time by checking email and found the sad news that M’s sister is lost to mental illness.

Why has M’s life been so hard the last few years? The loss of her a son, her own severe health issues, and now this. Why do I get to have so much at this point in my life while she is having so much taken away? How do I reconcile my joy and happiness in life at this moment with the pain so many others are facing? I wonder if you are asking the same questions.

I know that life is random in many ways, and this often accounts for one person walking a much harder road. And even what isn’t random, like H taking her own life, can be completely out of our control.

For me, the sacred is in the connection. I believe we create our own meaning in our interactions with others, in that spark where two conscious entities connect, even for a fraction of a second and even without full understanding.

So, with acceptance of our lack of control, and a belief that we create meaning in our interactions with others, how to react to the pain others experience? I continue to feel joy and optimism in my reunion with Wilson, and I am more clear after writing this that this is good and right.

Still, the 11 year old in me says it isn’t fair. The 49 year old replies, it isn’t, it’s Life.

I am reminding myself to be grateful for all the connections I have.




Hi, Jan,

Why else would I feel so good while my husband is out of town? Yes, I had a very nice chat with Alton Brown today as we discussed the talk he is going to give at GMI, but even though he is pretty cute, he doesn’t cut it next to Wilson for me. I am thinking it is biochemical, or perhaps bioelectrical. You see, I continue stimulating my senses with my Tulip cardigan, which I am calling Spring Arrival (in hopes spring will arrive here some day – yikes, the high barely made it into the teens again!).13.jpg22.jpg

I am also, even as I type, stimulating my neurons with a TENS unit – transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is AWESOME. The box says it delivers pain reduction via endorphin release. However it does it, all I can say is it works better for acute relief than anything else I’ve tried. Have you tried anything like this for your fibromyalgia? It seems like it would be good.

Maybe it won’t work long term, but for now I am a happy girl. Of course, my Spring Arrival does get some of the credit.

But I suspect I will be even happier Saturday morning after W arrives home on the red eye. If he is too sleepy to be happy with seeing me, maybe I can just hook him up to the TENS unit!



Crack knitting

21.jpg12.jpgDanger! Danger, Will Robinson!

Do not approach the Tulips Cardigan. You will lose any semblance of free will. The colors, the yarn, the subtle variagation and adorable mitering. I hurt when I am not knitting it. I believe this is the definition of addiction, and yes, it happened with my very first use of this pattern. There can be no such thing as a recreational Tulips knitter.

Home from a wonderful weekend.

Hi, Jan,

1.jpgThe wedding weekend was so much fun. Of course, the high point was seeing Heidi and Marie pledge their faithfulness and care to each other (Karen and I kept eyeballing each other to see who was crying harder, but Marie, of course, had everyone beat). The reception was a hoot, but it was really just as much fun laughing so hard together the night before.

2.jpg Wilson and I really enjoyed being in D.C. It is so different if you aren’t trying to turn it into an educational experience for your kids. Our walks through many of the memorials were quite moving. I couldn’t go through the WWII memorial without some tears for Gib. Have you ever read the 2nd inaugural address at Lincoln’s memorial? Pretty inspiring, and pretty awesome when a politician says something to the effect of “I don’t have to list all of my accomplishments or tell you what is happening because you are smart people who read the paper”. It wouldn’t happen today. And we did love the FDR memorial. We walked it backwards, which was kind of interesting. Wilson kept saying it was clear that those in power today should have spent some time there about 6 years ago.

5.jpgHere Wilson is. Right here.

4.jpg What do you think about designing sweaters around the monuments? Don’t you see purl/stockinette patterns here? Or columns of ribbing?

We had knitting group at my place last night and Kathy was a sweetheart to open the joint up for everyone as I was running home from tutoring. (Wilson and I have started helping with Homework Club at a subsidized housing unit – we were glad we are doing something to live up to Abe’s call.3.jpg) 6.jpgI messed up my camera setting for all but this shot of Peggy and a fabulous FO from Sheila, 7.jpgbut it is a good representation of the glow the group always brings to me. We had such cool conversation – everything from the Hox gene cluster and Christina’s theories on embryology to debating the origins of oak savannahs. And plenty of fiber filling in the gaps. I finished my Fair Isle mitts. 8.jpgDang it – one is smaller than the other, a victim of knitting one pre-Korea and one post-Korea. I am hoping the miracle of wet blocking helps. The difference isn’t great.

I plan to also do the matching hat, but it may have to wait. Somehow I came home from Coldwater Collaborative today with one of these:


I was out near the shop for yet another appointment for my back. The doc said my reflexes seem to have calmed down, so she isn’t going to make me go in for yet another MRI and will recheck me after the EMG. She also said don’t think about cross country skiing until then, so I suspect this will be my first MN winter since we moved here in 1997 that has no skiing in it.

At least it had a wedding.



Here Comes the Bride…Almost

Dear Ellen,

Bride and MOHKaren and MMOHBride and MOBI don’t have any pictures from the wedding photographer yet, but have a few from our pre-wedding celebration with Karen and Marie the night before. I thought it was very special for the four of us to have some time together…and so great to see how close our daughters have become. And, yes, to acknowledge that there is a family likeness across both generations. There was a real sense that our relationship will continue through these two — granted, I’m not worried about anyone continuing it for a long time, but it was still nice to see.

Danger!  Iron in HandI also have some snaps from the wedding preparations and a few that Chris took at the wedding. The photo of me and the iron commemorates the near disaster of melting a hole in the veil trying to steam the crinkles out. I shouldn’t have worried about it as tiny as the holes were, but I was still fretting. You can tell that this photo is post-solution with the knowledge that Lisa was successful in getting a second veil…otherwise I don’t think I’d be smiling so broadly.

MOB and BrideLimbo Man AllenI love this one of Marie and I together during the reception. I think we were both very much enjoying the moment. I don’t remember having as much fun at any other reception. It was wonderful having so many good friends and loving family together and all in such high spirits. I was pretty amazed at Allen making it so low in the limbo and I will never forget the visual of Marie doing the chicken danceSome of the Hamby BoysMarian and GrandsonsSneaky Get Away…or of Eric with his leg in Wilson’s lap! Tom gets credit for sneaking out and catching the parting shot of Heidi and Marie getting in the taxi to make their get-away.

Twinset Post WeddingThe next morning I was tired, but certainly very satisfied. I’m glad we were able to do breakfast before we all headed back to our busy lives.

I’ll post more pictures when I get them…I’d better hurry, we could be doing this again before you know it!

Love, Jan

Miracle of Wet Blocking Part Two

Sally’s Favorite SweaterHi Ellen!

Voila! It’s definitely an oversized sweater, but at least now it’s oversized in more than one direction. And even if it’s a bit sloppy in appearance…COMFORTABLE!!! This will now undoubtably be one of my favorite sweaters to wear at home or running errands.

Love, Jan