Friday, January 22, 2010

In love

From WIPs

I am in love with this blue and the contrast it presents in this sock. I hope to still be in love with it by the time I knit the second sock, but for right now, my fickle yarn love is in love with this blue, and it is a contrast, not a juxtaposition. I see the dark mauve as a juxtaposition. It is an opposite to the olive, brown, and yellow main theme of the yarn. It is even opposite these colors on the color wheel. The mauvy maroon brings a smile to my face when it appears on the needles. The blue, though, it stops my heart. It is an exhilarating shock when it appears, moving the color scheme in the opposite direction of the color wheel, causing a wonderful contrast to the olive, yellow, and brown. It's like a piece of deliciously wonderful dark chocolate melting in ones mouth. I love this blue.

In addition to knitting this brillant blue, I'm still listening to Committed. Gilbert does mention how some of her friends and family thoroughly enjoy motherhood, but she also mentions others she knows who doesn't recommend it. I found this disheartening. She does go on to extoll the joys of being part of the "Auntie Brigade," one of many childless women who go on to be the generous benificiaries of nieces and nephews. I personally have benefited from childless aunts and do agree they are vitally important to families and society as a whole.

I still struggle with the books negative tone on sacrifice, within parenthood and marriage. I think I'm struggling with it because while I'm reading her statements, my mind is repeated saying, "Well, yes, there is sacrifice involved in being a parent and/or married." I'm having a hard time with her having a hard with it. Whenever, and I really mean whenever, one engages with another human being, sacrifices are being made.

To me, that is the nature of living in a society. If one doesn't want to make sacrifices for the sake of another individual, then one must become a hermit. Seriously. The act of going to the grocery store involves sacrifice. I would love to not have to wait in line to check out, but I do. I would love to be able to push that person trying to find the perfect apple out of my way so I can buy an orange, any orange, but I don't. Instead, I sacrifice my time for the sake of maintaining harmony.

Granted, sacrifices within a marriage and within parenthood can be much larger sacrifices, but the rewards are also much larger rewards. In business terms, the ROI trends greater the more intimate the relationship. For instance, last night, I ordered in Chinese take out, opened a lovely bottle of Savignon Blanc to compliment the spice, knitted to my hearts content, but watched whatever my little guy wanted on television. In return, I got a ton of snuggles, excellent quality time with my little guy, and a vast amount of information on the venmous snake response team in Florida and a lion named Christian who was bought by two Aussies in a British department store. All in all, an excellent evening of sacrifice and compromise.

From Irish Clover

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

In defense of motherhood

Confession, this will probably be a rambling post, so I will apologize in advance. The post is sparked by listening to Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. She wrote Eat, Pray, Love which I enjoyed reading immensely about a year long personal journey she took to sort out certain things in her life. In this journey, she left a failing marriage and hedonistically devoted a year to doing what she wanted to do, traveling to Italy indulging in food and language, traveling to India, indulging in prayer and meditation, and indulging in paradise where she learned to love again. It was truly a great book.

Now, I'm listening to her latest, Committed, where she finds peace with marriage. I'm on chapter 5. So far, the book has been a great exploration of Western marriage history and I've enjoyed it, but, and this is a very big but, I've just hit the part where she discusses the "Marriage Imbalance." To illustrate this point, she draws upon her's mother's choice to leave her career when her husband refuses to stay at home for 2 days with his chicken pox infested children so she could attend a conference. I'm sure Gilbert's tone is not intentional (and I tried to find her email address to email her personally, but was unable to find it), but it comes across as condemning motherhood. She speaks of the "cost" of motherhood, but she doesn't (at least not yet) talk about the rewards and dividends of motherhood. Yes, being a mother can be a huge sacrifice. There have been plenty of days when I wanted badly to do nothing but order in Chinese take-out, kick back with a lovely Savignon Blanc to compliment the spice, and watch whatever the heck I wanted on TV while I knitted to my heart's content.

Instead, I did homework with my child, drove him to sports practice, played Raffi yet one more time for him, while I read once more the tired picture book I just read five minutes ago. I've turned down opportunities for traveling with my job and exciting projects and maybe some interesting career opportunities, not because I choose my family, but because the opportunity to see my baby boy step onto a stage to sing a solo to a roomful of strangers while his voice carried forth on the radio was way more exhilarating and incredible and memorable than a 7% increase in salary and a chance to sit on a plane for 3 hours to fly somewhere and sleep in a hotel. I get paid daily in gratitude that arrives in the form of a hug every morning, a kiss on the cheek every night, and remarkable insights into the development of another human being. I'm given the chance to be a guiding force in someone else's life and I have the gift of knowing I truly matter in someone's existence. My impact on the world is tangible. I see it daily in the development of my child.

I understand parenthood isn't for everyone. For a while, I wondered if I was cut out for the job. What I ask for in this post is that if you choose not to be a parent, don't belittle the choice of others to be one. Respect their decision and respect that you will never understand the joys and rewards of parenthood, just as we, the ones who choose to be parents, will never understand your personal joys of childlessness. If we are to preach and live a life of Feminism and equality, that includes accepting that some women want to be mothers and strive to be great at it. This choice of motherhood is just as valid as the choice to not be mothers and focus on one's careers. Feminism is about equality and choice, even if that choice is to be a mom.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Socks anyone?

I have been a stash bustin' fool, in as much as one can be a stash bustin' fool while only knitting socks.

From 2010 Finished Objects

My primary knitting goal for 2010 is to knit down my stash and only buy yarn for a specific project and only if I love it. Now that I've been knitting for five years, I have a better understanding of the yarns and colors I like. Unfortunately, I have not been graced with frugal tastes. I'm dealing with that, but that is another resolution for another year.

I'm using spinning as my motivation for knitting from my stash. Some wonderful fibers have made their way into my home and they are languishing, unspun, feeling sad, in my stash bin. I trying to reduce the yarn in my bins before I make more yarn. I miss spinning terribly, so I've been focusing on speed knitting, working to get through as much of my stash in as short of an amount of time as I can.

From WIPs

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Answering a prayer

I was going to blog about my knitting and post pictures of my recently finished projects, then I had an encounter today that made it all seem frivolous. For those who follow me on Twitter, you know I saw a homeless man today. Italian had told me the night before about how he spied a homeless man wrapped in a sleeping bag yesterday, and then today, I saw one. I was driving to work when out of the corner of my eye I saw him, huddled in a bus stop, sleeping wrapped in a sleeping bag given out by a local charity this time of year. I muttered a hurried prayer under my breathe that God would show him mercy and provide for him. Then I kept on driving. I dropped Little Clover off at school, drove through the parking lot towards the school exit when the idea to drive to Chik-Fil-A and buy a breakfast sandwich popped into my head.

I dismissed the thought. It was out of my way, I needed to go to work. I didn't want breakfast, why would I go and grab something? It was too much effort to drive and wait in the drive through. Chik-Fil-A will be crowded. Then, I stopped, waiting at the school exit for the street to clear. Here I had just asked God to show the man mercy and I was finding excuses for why I wouldn't be the one to fulfill my prayer. How could I, in my warm car complain about the inconvenience of getting breakfast for someone who needed it? I changed directions and found myself waiting in the drive through line scripting what I would say. As I left the restaurant with protein and carbs to fill his belly and juice to nourish him, I hoped he would still be asleep and I wouldn't have to recite my script. I was ashamed at my selfishness and embarrassed by my car and warm coat. I left the breakfast by his sleeping side, hopped back into my car and wept.

As I drove to work, I remembered something Miep Gies, the woman who helped hide Anne Frank, said. Despite the accolades and awards she won, she always maintained she was no hero and no one special. She believed "People should never think that you have to be a very special person to help those who need you." I hope my small action honors her memory in some small way.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


This past year, I found my boundaries. We all have limits, and my limits hit me square across the face in a not to gentle smackdown. The flossing incident was only one small incident. Granted, lots of very happy memories will be stored as an outcome of crashing into my limits. I had the joy of watching Little Clover score three amazing touchdowns in one single football game. I've watched him start to manage his own school workload and the bumps that have come along the way as he learns that the best way to study for a test is not to memorize the answers on the study sheet in the order as they appear on the study sheet. We've attended school functions, watched him sing a stellar solo, and whisked away for a few out of town trips.

I discovered I love writing when I participated in NaNoWriMo, and although I didn't win, I wrote more words than I ever had and loved it. It proved that I did have the capacity to write and although I wrote 30,000 words of utter crap, I wrote at least 100 words (not necessarily consecutively) that are brillant! Our little family got into it together with Little Clover beginning his own novel and Italian throwing writing challenges my way. I also discovered my natural Korean accent coming back. When I say "hello," other native Korean speakers answer me back and continue talking! One day, I will know what they are saying to me and not run away in dead panic.

And I knitted. I can knit Christmas gifts in a time crunch, but I can't mail out Christmas cards at the same time. I can knit for other people solely for three months, but you can be darn sure that the first thing I knit for myself again will come off my needles still smoking from the heat of my fast needles. I'm still a little worn out from the collison with the boundaries in my life, but slowly, I'm refueling, and lots of yarn is involved (but no floss).