Monthly Archives: November 2013

You Don’t [Have to] Bring Me Flowers (Anymore)

October 22, 2013

Yesterday, my mom got an email about a sale at the yarn shop in Battle Creek. And the weather was dreary and rainy. And we only ever go to Battle Creek when the weather is bad. Seriously. I’m not making this up. It’s not as though we look at the weather forecast and then plan our trips to Battle Creek. No, we plan to go to Battle Creek and then don’t change our minds even if there’s a blizzard.

Anyway, there was a sale at the yarn shop, and my mom was looking for yarn for Felicity’s Christmas present. (She has the yarn for Emily’s already… For that matter, check the comments. She may have written the whole saga of knitting for Felicity there…) And I was feeling like we should do something. I don’t know what. I didn’t know what then, and I still don’t know now. But I felt the need to do. So we went to Battle Creek.

My mom spent no money. I, on the other hand, did. But I didn’t buy yarn. We also stopped at Horrock’s. And the reason I like to go to Horrock’s on a dreary day? The flowers. They have bouquets of small roses for $10. I always buy some for myself when we’re there. (That glow that you see while you’re reading this? That would be my great-aunt Elizabeth smiling because I don’t think of flowers as a luxury item. She never let me leave her florist shop empty handed. Sometimes she even let me pay.)

My peach roses are in a vase on my dining table. That’s right. At my apartment. Last night my mom had knitters’ guild. She dropped me off and then came back after guild was over. I spent the evening alone at my place.

Now, I’ve been alone since Sofia died. But that’s always been at my parents’ house. Last night, I was alone at my own home. And it was okay. I sang in the shower without crying (much). I watched a little Hulu without crying (much – that might have been easier if I’d opted for something other than Law & Order: SVU. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Guilty pleasure. Usually.). But mostly it felt kind of normal. I’m still not ready to deal with her room. I’ve been in it a couple of times, but it’s still too much. But I’m getting there. Slowly. But I’m getting there.


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The Art of Articulation

October 21, 2013

I feel as though I’ve forgotten how to speak. As though my voice has disappeared. My thoughts are all jumbled together. Like a ball of yarn, I know if I can just find the end, I should be able to pull a continuous thread. But some balls of yarn get tangled, and it takes time to undo the knots so the yarn will pull freely. My voice is one of these tangled balls of yarn.

But you’re reading this. You’re thinking that I’m making this up. You’re thinking it can’t be true. But this is writing. I can still write. My thoughts and my fingers work together just fine. It’s when my thoughts reach my throat. When they have to coordinate with my lungs and my vocal cords, my teeth and my tongue. When I try to speak, I feel as though all of these words that I know simply float away. My vocabulary diminishes to stock phrases. “I’m okay.” “I’m hanging in there.” “I don’t know.”

Email, text message. I can communicate just fine. But, no, I don’t want to speak on the phone. I’ve forgotten how to speak.


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It Doesn’t Add Up. Literally.

October 20, 2013

Yesterday’s big afternoon outing was to the Parchment library’s 50th anniversary party. There was cake (which was nearly gone 40 minutes into the three-hour affair); I did not partake, but I hear it was good. There was a jazz duo. And there were pictures. I went for the pictures.

The jazz was wonderful. Smooth. Surprisingly loud. Okay, that last trait was probably due to the architecture. They were playing underneath the skylight in the center of the building. Under a very high ceiling.

The pictures are brilliant. I say “are” because they are to be a permanent installation. And they aren’t specific to the history of the library. Instead they’re pictures showing the history of the city. (Yes, Parchment is a city. Technically.) Most of the pictures are older than the library.

And they’d printed out one-page handouts. One side showed the pictures along with descriptions. The other gave a history of the city and the library. Apparently, the library started in 1960. That’s right. 1960. Let me repeat that once more. 1960. Are you confused? Because I am. And so is my dad. And he’s been on the library board for years. Decades, actually. We’re not sure if it’s a typo or if something happened in 1963 that made the library official that they forgot to mention in the paragraph on the library’s history. But either way, the date 1963 doesn’t appear anywhere in that paragraph. It pretty much skips form 1960 to when we moved into the current building in 1989. (I say “we” on purpose. I was among the hands who helped pack up the books from the old location and then unpack them at the new, current, permanent location.)

And it was okay. I talked to a couple of people with whom I felt comfortable. And then I disappeared into the stacks. I wasn’t going to check out any books… After all, I’ve only read one of the two books that Lisa sent me. But I was hiding in the stacks… And there are books in the stacks… So I checked out four of them. And read 100 pages before bedtime.

P.S. I commented to the president of the board (aka my dad) about the lack of a library history on the library’s website. I suggested that should be rectified. We’ll see how long it takes for that to happen.

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A Conspiracy

October 19, 2013

One of the biggest arguments used to discount conspiracy theories is the number of people involved. You see, there’s just no way that the large groups credited in most conspiracy theories could keep the secret. Well, it’s a good thing that my friends have no ill intentions because they all have kept mum the past month.

Yesterday, Terri wanted to stop by. She had something for us. We figured it had to be some candy corn M&Ms. Thanks to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, we have learned about Candy Corn Oreos. I am intrigued by this, but I do not want a whole package worth. Terri claims that she loves these limited edition Oreos. She even brought four (two for me, two for my dad, none for my mom as they aren’t gluten free) the last time she met my mom for coffee. Or she thought she did. They were really just Oreos annual Halloween edition, the ones with orange colored cream. Anyway, I’ve seen the candy corn M&Ms at Meijer, and again I am intrigued by them. But I don’t want a whole bag. I just want a few so that I can taste them. (Don’t worry, Peanut M&M. You’ll always be my favorite.) So we figured that’s what Terri wanted to drop off.

We were wrong.

We were really, really wrong.

She came in carrying three plastic shopping bags. There was one for my dad, one for my mom, and one for me.

My dad’s bag held a prayer shawl and a scarf.


My mom’s held a prayer shawl.


As did mine.


My mom and I each also had a small photo album filled with three-by-five cards and yarn snippets. The cards were signed by each person who sent yarn to be knit into our shawls and the scarf for my dad. Yarn came from people who cannot keep a secret to save their lives, yet these people were so silent on this subject that we had no inkling. Honestly, the only clue that we can see in hindsight is that Terri was making very slow progress on a sweater she’s currently knitting; she and Susan were busy knitting for us. (For the record, I cannot see any gauge differences between where Terri knit and where Susan did. I know most of you don’t care, but I can guarantee you that the two of them do.)

We were are overwhelmed. I don’t know that the right words exist to express how touched we are. But I think Terri summed it up best. It was something our friends could do.

P.S. I will be going back to work soon. Those of you with your heart set on cooking, be ready for the call!

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Where No Girl Has Gone Before

October 18, 2013

Madge and Dorcas have done something new, something they have never done before. You remember how I said I was back down to my pre-pregnancy bra size? Well, it turns out I was wrong. I went to put on one of my 32G bras. And it was too big. That’s right. Madge and Dorcas have shrunk. They are now smaller than they were before I got pregnant. The indignity of it!

And this is really annoying because it means that a) I had to go bra shopping and b) my really expensive bras no longer fit. I love my really expensive bras. I love the store from whence they came. Unfortunately, I cannot easily get to the store from whence they came. I would like Bravissimo to branch out from the UK and open a store in Chicago, but that hasn’t happened. (I highly recommend reading their instructions on how to properly fit a bra. No tape measure required. But a friend is useful because they can see how the band fits across your back.)

Now, you know how clothing sizes go. Item-to-item, sizes vary. And, of course, country-to-country, they vary even more. I’d heard that American bra sizes differed from British ones, but having found bras at Mastec made it hard for me to tell what I should be looking for here. After all, if Madge and Dorcas have shrunk, the possibility that I could find bras at Kohl’s has grown. I did find a site that had a bra size converter. If I’m no longer a G, than I must be an F, but those are British sizes. And the converter I found said a DDD might fit. And after trying on several bras, I found one DDD style that did, indeed, fit. (We’ll be making a few alterations, though, because the smallest band we could find was a 36, and I really do need a 32. And if you’re confused by any of this, again, please go read Bravissimo’s fitting instructions!)

But the really good news on the expensive bra front is that I bought two different styles at Bravissimo. This morning, I put on the other style. And it fits perfectly. That bra? It’s a 32GG.

Go figure.


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Caring Means Sharing

October 17, 2013

My dad has a retirement job. He repairs Perkins Braillers. He has, however, decided that he’d like to retire from his retirement job in a few years, so he’s found an apprentice. In one of the mail carriers for my parents’ neighborhood. You see, a lot of Braillers come to my parents’ house by mail. And since he can ship them as Free Matter for the Blind, a lot of Braillers leave by mail, too. My parents have gotten to know their mail carriers pretty well.

Anyway, his apprentice was leaving one day last week, and on her way out the door, she called, “Paul, you have a package!” because a package had been left by the back door. Then she looked at it and repeated herself with one slight change. “Beth, you have a package!”

It was a care package from Lisa. I haven’t gotten a care package like this since I was in college. It contained everything a grieving mother might need. Chocolate covered almonds. Two novels. Two DVDs. (All four of the previous items falling into the “light and fluffy” category.) A box of tea. And, of course, a skein of yarn.

She sent this before I posted about Rams giving me knitting, I should add.

I’m halfway through one of the books. I have plans for the yarn (which has been wound into a ball). But I’m saving the chocolate almonds for when I go back to work. I think they’ll be perfect to have in my office.

And I know everyone wants to do something. And for everyone who has offered to cook, I’ll be going back to work soon, and I will appreciate not having to think about dinner every night. But I also know that I have friends who wish they could do something even though they are too far away – Chicago, Denver, Seattle, DC. I am not trolling for care packages. After all, everybody expresses love differently. For me, knowing that you’re out there, seeing a post on Facebook or a comment on the blog, those things do make me feel loved. But sometimes, a surprise box of frivolity is also a nice reminder.

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I’m Not Making This Up You Know

October 16, 2013

So yesterday this happened. I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Beth, that was posted on YouTube two years ago!” And yes, yes it was. But do you see all of those hits? Yes, yesterday, Baxter the Baby Dog went viral. And, yes, I hear the other thing that you’re saying. You’re saying, “Beth, you don’t have a dog.” And you’re right. That’s not my dog. I’ve never, in fact, met Baxter. But…

Remember my last glucose tolerance test? The last three-hour one? Where my mom and I bonded with another woman who was also there for a three-hour glucose tolerance test? And the three of us wound up singing Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet in the waiting room? Remember that? Well, we, of course, ran into Sheri at the farmer’s market. And, of course, I saw her at the clinic. And we finally got around to friending each other on Facebook after a month of saying we really needed to do that.

Baxter the Baby Dog? That would be Sheri’s dog. And yesterday was spent with repeatedly checking Facebook to see the latest. How many hits is he up to? Oh, look! People are tweeting about him now. Oh, hey! The local news just called. It was a textbook definition of “diversion”. Mindless. Fun. Just a wee bit insane. And good.

P.S. For you guitar enthusiasts out there, now that you’ve met Baxter the Baby Dog, you should go buy his owner’s book:

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