Just Because 

I have been working as I can on poetry, and photography, but mostly enduring cold winds and pain which makes other occupations difficult.

I Did start knitting a string bag because I can.  I have three unfinished knitting projects right beside me, but I am not in good enough physical shape and haven’t been making progress on them.  It occurred to me that if I started something simple, on large needles, it would keep my knitting muscles in shape and not require much investment in time or brain-power.

So here’s three night’s work, fifteen stitches on LARGE needles:  

It would be pretty pathetic if I compare it to the knitting I was able to do a year ago, but compared to what I did last week (nothing) it’s terrific!  As I am learning to walk again and other such physical things, I get to return to being a beginning knitter.  Fun.

The cat is taking a nap on my computer keyboard 

So this is typed with one finger using the WordPress app on my iPad.  So many different ways to do the same thing, so instead of working on getting my typing speed up (for instance) I am trying out all the different ways I can communicate here.  With Kitten’s help, of course.

My dog Chamudah is lying between my legs and partially under the bed table, no photo, it’s the table that has the laptop and Kitten on it.  It is really cold here, but the wind has died down, thank goodness.  Thank goodness also for the mohair shawl, a thermal blanket and a down-filled comforter.  I was just on the phone explaining to someone that I have a lot of practice being grateful and looking at what I have rather than what is (I perceive to be) missing.  In my life, except for the pain, all is good.  Even the pain might be good, but I’m not willing to go there right now.  Now I’d better go.  This works well for me, maybe even better than dictation.  Need to remember that.  Laterz

Knitting love into a Chantilly lace shawl

I’m not sure why my last post had no title – I gave it one.  Well, it is a learning process for sure.

 

I was asked to write something about what happened between me and my middle son and daughter-in-law.  I really didn’t and don’t know.  There is a long and tedious story.  I had some emotional trauma, not related to ms and dil, which makes the beginning fuzzy.  Added to that is the fact that from the beginning of what *I* perceived as problems until today neither ms nor dil has been willing to just *tell* me what the problem(s) are/were from their point of view.

 

Suffice it to say that after too much of really difficult and unpleasant -what do I call it, encounters?- with assorted ugliness including dil using the *f* word at me and telling me I’m not worth getting to know … ms told me they would have nothing further to do with me and I was not to make any attempt to have any contact with them.  Imagine my relief!  No, seriously, I feel terrible about the whole thing from start to finish, but what part of it, if any, is mine I haven’t the foggiest.  And most likely won’t until/unless one of them chooses to enlighten me in what way I hurt and/or offended them.  I mean besides the obvious of not being willing to just accept being cursed out.

 

In the meantime, I’ve been dealing with the trauma of a quite literally sadistic doctor, working on improving my health, moving house, helping youngest daughter transition from being in the army, continuing to homeschool my youngest son, and generally having a life.  It breaks my heart to be cut off from them, but not from what I can only call the abuse.

 

Despite our estrangement, I had promised to make dil a lace shawl from some lovely bamboo silk yarn I found that I really love.  She chose the colours, and at one point ms and I had worked out a pattern that he and I thought that she would like.  Unfortunately in everything else that’s gone on, I lost track of the lace patterns chosen, and realized that trying to do vertical stripes, as we had discussed at the time, would be both too time consuming and too fiddly for me in my current condition.  So instead I made a Chantilly lace shawl that (I have to say, as I shouldn’t) I really think is most beautiful.  I loved making it, lots of fun, and I love how it looks.

 

Following ms’s restrictions, I made no attempt to contact them but relied on someone else to deliver the finished shawl to dil.  I don’t know what she thought, if she liked it, hated it, set fire to it, whatever.  That is not my problem.  I promised and I finished this shawl.  Let it be one last nice thing that I got to do.

 

My middle daughter modeling dil’s shawl:

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Be well, all, and Gd bless

Train trip to Nahariyyah, again

Last year about this time we took our first train trip, and went all the way to Nahariyyah (Nehariah) the furthest north of the train stations. The Husband, and youngest son and I had a wonderful time. Middle daughter went with us, but left earlier than we did, we had things to see and places to go. We had such a wonderful time that I promised youngest son we would go back there, and finally, the past Thursday, we did.

I had cataract surgery on my left eye just about a week before. It had made for an interesting and difficult week, but by Thursday I was able to read reasonably well, and the only aftercare was putting drops in my eyes four times a day.

I’ve been having these driving lessons for months now, which are great, but take so much out of me that one driving lesson equals almost a whole day lost, or two if I am particularly wiped out. The lessons are generally about two hours long and including getting me ready and into the van, and out again at the other end, it equals half a day easily.

Because of the driving lessons and the time and energy that they take, I’ve done literally almost nothing else for the past several months. So, the option of getting out was extra appealing.

Given the situation with changing trains here in Israel, with me in a wheelchair, we did the research and found out that if we drove to Be’er Sheva we could stay on the train all the way to Nahariyyah. Oy, the alternate spellings. The city’s name in Hebrew is נהריה, but using the English alphabet there doesn’t seem to be a single good transliteration. The spelling ‘Nahariyyah’ was the one used on the train in announcing the destination.

But I digress.

It was a very involved leave-taking. Youngest daughter is still in the army, and needed to get to her base so we timed it so we could drop her on the way to Be’er Sheva. Oldest son wanted the car available, so he also got up early to go with us, in order to drive the car home. I ended up waking up at (I think) five a.m., which means that TH got up even earlier. What it takes. 1.5 hours to get me dressed and out the door, half an hour driving to youngest daughter’s base, then another half hour to the train station in Be’er Sheva, including finding someplace to unload the car. We made the 8o’clock train with time and to spare.

Three hours on the train. I forgot to bring a camera. I spent the whole time working on a snood I’d been knitting for myself. It had taken weeks what with one thing and another, so I was determined to finish the blasted thing. The problem was I kept making mistakes and having to rip stuff out and re-knit it. For a week or so I never made any progress, just knit and ripped, knit and ripped.

The views out the windows weren’t the best. I think the windows needed to be more clean, and there was plenty of glare. I had to wear sun glasses the whole time because of the cataract surgery. I don’t think it make me look any more glamorous, though. 🙂

Arrived at Nahariyyah at 11am. There were VERY high winds. High enough to blow TH’s kipa (yarmulkah/skullcap) off of his head and down below the train. It also took my hat off at one point, but at least I didn’t lose it. We walked across the city to the sea. Beautiful. It was at this point that I regretted the cameras sitting quietly at home. I got out my cell phone and did the best I could with it.

[Note added: I’ve no idea why the photos are so small, or formatted as they are. They never used to look like this. I can’t seem to do anything about them, though, so for now it’s what we’re stuck with]

At Nahariyyah  11 December 2014

At Nahariyyah 11 December 2014

Nahariyyah 11 December 2014

Nahariyyah 11 December 2014

On the promenade, looking out towards the sea

On the promenade, looking out towards the sea

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A bit of spray

A bit of spray

We fed the fish some bread, tried to feed some birds, and then shared some roast beef with a couple of well-fed strays.

We tossed little bits of roast beef for a couple of well-fed strays

We tossed little bits of roast beef for a couple of well-fed strays

I mentioned that there were strong winds gusting. Here’s TH, standing his ground while his hair (what is left of it) and beard try to fly away.

TH in the wind

TH in the wind

And one last image. I actually got up and walked a little bit. I can do that sometimes, particularly if I have a wide, flat path with no one to bump into – since I tend to stagger a bit. Okay, more than a bit. We piled all our bags and the clothing we’d shed in the sunshine onto my wheelchair

Wheelchair with stuff

Wheelchair with stuff

So that was pretty much all the photos I got that are worth sharing. Not that good, and the colours are off. I’m not used to taking photos with my phone, so there were far too many with bits of my finger, and even some that were mostly finger.

We had stopped at a market on the way to the beach for a picnic lunch, which we ate with the wind whipping the sand around, and blowing my hair into my mouth with bites of food. It was a really beautiful day, and quiet. Why we go to places in the off-season. After enough fun and sun to wear us out, we headed back towards the train station, stopping to shop a little bit. I didn’t buy an all cotton nightgown on sale, and I hope I won’t live to regret that. We did buy some clothes for our son who is really quite large. There is a big men’s store in Nahariyyah (I believe it’s called “Big Men’) and at fifteen years old, that is where we must go to get clothing for the lad. A pair of jeans and some sweatpants, and we were ready to go home.

Getting help to get me on the train at any station that is at the end of the line has never been a problem. We show up, they wheel out the little metal lift contraption, and I’m all set. As long as I’m not changing trains, or trying to get on or off a train at a more central station (for instance in Tel Aviv) the service works. I recently had a trip to Tel Aviv where the fellow whose job it was didn’t even bring the lift, and when we somehow got me off the train anyway – a dangerous proceeding for sure – yelled at us that we should have stayed on the train and gotten off at the next stop. WTF? My older daughter (middle daughter) dealt with that magnificently and ended up getting me several apologies after the fact, but that is another story.

As this was a terminus, we boarded with only minor difficulty because the doors for the correct wheelchair car wouldn’t open. We had to get me into the train by a different set of doors, then get me through the space back to the ‘official’ wheelchair seating. So it goes.

It would have been a uniformly wonderful day out, only before we were half-way home my back said enough. Enough of this sitting up, enough of not having sufficient lateral support. I was in agony, and with two hours more before we could even get off the train. Fortunately we were able to prop me up in the wheelchair, with my feet on a seat, in such a way I was at least able to survive the rest of the trip.

Important learning experience. I can do four hours on a train, but not more, not in a single day without a real rest. Must remember that for future trips. There *will* be future trips, I insist.

I have fantasies that I will get my wheelchair van, or even just pass the road test and get my drivers’ license, and I will actually have time and energy to *do* stuff. Given that I haven’t even been able to come up with time and energy to write, or often even to read anything, I am really ready to have a bit of my life back. I hope that with the van (assuming I ever get it – it’s been so long) I can do more things, visit friends who don’t live on train lines and go on field trips. It’s part of what keeps me going.

My health has deteriorated in the three years I’ve been going though all the various steps towards getting the wheelchair van, and so one thing I must keep praying is that when I finally get the van I will actually be able to use it. Since part of the reason for the deterioration is all of the stress and effort I’ve had to put into this, it would be a really bad burn if I finally get the van and then am in such bad shape I can’t enjoy it. So, fingers crossed, and prayers are appreciated if anyone reading this is a praying sort.

As a result of the train trip that went on too long, I have basically not been able to leave my bed for a few days now. At least it got me caught up on my reading. 🙂 Oh, and the snood was finished on Thursday, despite ripping out repeatedly, and youngest daughter finished it off by sewing it to a brim. Must get photo(s) and post them. I love the design and the yarn is delightfully springy.

It is after 2am, so I must stop typing and get some sleep. It feels good to write something, anything, it’s been so long…

Good night. Sweet dreams. May your day be as peaceful and pleasant as mine are turning out to be.

Looking at the promenade at the sea, Nahariyyah

Looking at the promenade at the sea, Nahariyyah

Thank heaven for a breathing space

As we return here to relative normalcy, I suspect I will become a less inspiring writer – not to mention finding it harder to find things to write about. I know that everything I write does not have to be dripping with intensity or significance, but I do find it harder to live with the things that I write that are more ordinary. I like ordinary. I’m just not very good writing about it.

While I’ve been busy the past couple of days not writing here, I have been finishing dishcloths for the family. Here’s two of them:

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At least two people said that I could just go to the store and buy something with which to wash dishes; and exclaimed that they were too beautiful to be used. I don’t see why not to have beautiful things with which to do ordinary tasks. I had this discussion with The Husband, the first time I made a pretty washcloth. He said he didn’t want to use it, that it was art and art should just be looked at. Fortunately I’ve convinced him that it is okay to have art you touch, pick up, and clean with. 😉 Also, no need to preserve them for posterity. When they wear out or get lost, or whatever it is that happens to useful objects you like to have around, I can always make another one, or two, or three.

Right now doing a few washcloths is a nice break because everything else I am knitting is a big project. Nice to have something little to work on, and finish, and get that good feeling that comes from finishing something.

On another note, one of my health-care providers came to my house yesterday. She does acupuncture, but I am reluctant to call her an acupuncturist because she does so much more. One of the things we discussed is that now that we’ve got a week’s distance from the bombs, how everybody’s health is falling apart. One of the things we do, during a war, is prioritize unconsciously. Our bodies seem to know that now is not the time to be dealing with trivial stuff, so anything that isn’t immediately important gets pushed to the background, to grow and no, it doesn’t fade away. As soon as the rush is over (assuming it does end, of course, there are areas of this planet where war is an ongoing state of existence besides this one), all those other things come calling.

Also there are the difficulties that emerge from stress relief. Sometimes, if you’ve been stressed long enough, then relaxing is actually more painful (in the short run) than maintaining the stress level. I’m going through the relaxing part right now, and it is painful. Not physically so much, although I have a stiff neck to make me cry out sometimes – and it’s like so much else, not easy to put a finger on or describe, because it’s, oh, feeling disconnected, or out-of-sorts, or suddenly having emotions you didn’t know were there.

This morning I woke up crying. I couldn’t tell you why, it just was. Fortunately I know that I don’t have to know why. I also don’t have to cover it up, or be ashamed, or make it go away. It just was. I had my little cry and now I’m sitting here, still wondering how I am feeling? what am I supposed to be doing? what is the point? I don’t know.

I have to do the next right thing, which right now is moving on to coping with the family, and preparing for shabbot guests. A family we know, who live just a bit up the road and who spent most of the war away because they have very young children, are back and coming to visit. I’m very happy and a little bit nervous.

I’m always nervous about having guests, because as a cripple I can’t keep the house to a standard that I would prefer when guests come over; and, also due to my disability, we can’t and don’t do things the way most mainstream families do. I love having company but I do worry about being judged. Silly, now, because I know the family, but it is something I’ve lived with for most of my life, and isn’t going to fade away just because it doesn’t happen to match present circumstances.

The ceasefire continues, and while we are all trying to pick up and restring the threads of our lives, we are also keeping a guarded eye towards the reopening of active hostilities. In the north, there are active hostilities which are disrupting the lives of a whole bunch of ordinary people, people just like us here in the south. I have to occasionally work to remember that, not because it isn’t important here, but because there is so great a relief at being able to go outside without being afraid of bombs that I find I don’t want to think about the war going on in other places. I want and need a break.

I suppose that is exactly what a ceasefire is. The war is not over, but thank heaven for a breathing space.

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Shabbot Shalom from Kitten