All the Single Ladies, Knit Without Ceasing

Signs of life

Last year, in the midst of seeking a call and a considerable amount of personal turmoil, there were some parts of my life that I just dropped.

I didn’t knit.

I didn’t read much.

I stopped listening to podcasts.

I didn’t knit because the stress of life caused my RA to flare, and I just didn’t have the shoulder or the wrist for it. I think it was the first year in the past seven I didn’t give at least one person a knitted Christmas present.

I didn’t read much because it was hard to focus. I’ve been keeping track of the books I read on my blog for several years now, and I had an informal goal of 60 books for 2010. I didn’t even come close.

I stopped listening to podcasts, and that is provable by the way iTunes stopped getting new ones for me. I lost track of Fresh Air, and This American Life and the NPR Religion podcast. I didn’t have the detachment to laugh at Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. This meant I didn’t know much about what was going on in the world, since I relied on Fresh Air to tell me about the movies I don’t go to see and Wait, Wait to point to any news stories I might have missed. And This American Life? I turn to it for the comfort of knowing I’m less messed up than most people, and that didn’t seem very honest.

A little at a time, those things are coming back.

I’ve been knitting, and I’ve finished two projects in 2011!

I’ve read 15 books, which while not on the pace for 60, is encouraging.

The last holdout is podcast-listening, and I  don’t know if it will ever come back all the way, because I listened a lot while I was walking with Sam. With Hoagie I listen to music, and our walks are too short to listen to much of a podcast anyway.

But just today I thought, wow, I really miss Fresh Air. I wonder who Terri Gross talked to last week?

Like the hyacinths Hoagie stopped to sniff today — and he stops a lot, I need to tell you — these are signs of life.

All the Single Ladies, Poetry

change embossed name

a wallet full of little cards
requires renovation
each one to be replaced

“change embossed name”

that was the command
on the bank computer
telling the system

–telling the world–

the new reality
but after two weeks
when no card came

“change embossed name”

I went back to the bank
to ask what had happened
and where it could be

the first card of many

some are printed but
most are hard plastic,
cold, some embossed

“change embossed name”

it sounds so easy
so clear and yet
there was another rule,

another commandment
to follow, to fulfill,
on the drop-down menu:

“reissue card”

it’s not enough to type
a name in a box; you
must make a new card.

All the Single Ladies, Family History

All the cheese in Wensleydale

Every Sunday night our public TV station shows “All Creatures Great and Small,” a show so deeply loved by my mother that it still makes me tear up to watch it almost eighteen years after her death. She watched the first run and then the reruns, faithfully. The first time I heard the theme music after she died, I sat down on my kitchen floor and wept.

Which is why I usually flip right past it. Sunday night is not a great night for a preacher to be wistful, when the work of the day is over and the darkness draws in and it’s hard to avoid reviewing the little things (or big) that didn’t go well in worship or after, and really the best solution is a tonic more along the lines of “Desperate Housewives.”

But tonight I saw their young faces, James’ and Tristan’s and Helen’s, and I wanted to hear their voices, and once they started talking to me, and I could see dogs wandering around on the set, I had to keep watching. It was the last episode of the original run of the show, first aired in 1980, and World War II had begun, and in between attempts to heal various ailments of dogs and a pony, Siegfried (not so young as the rest) and James are preparing to go off and join the military. The two of them reminisce, giving each other the credit for their successful practice together.

And James avers, “I wouldn’t have missed it for all the cheese in Wensleydale.”

And I think of the time that has passed, since the show was made, since my mother died. I think of how I didn’t know anything about Wensleydale then, and what I was like in college in 1980, and how little I knew about myself and how much I loved some boy I thought I would marry and how wrong I was about that, among other things. And I think of 1993, and what I expected from life and the people around me, and how wrong I was about those things, too.

And then I wonder what I will think when I look back on this time, wonder if I will feel sorry for this me, or give her credit for having handled things well or wonder what in the world she was thinking.

I wonder if I’ll feel like there was any forward motion.

All the cheese in Wensleydale…well, at least now I know what James meant, thanks to the Wallace and Gromit fans I’ve raised.

That’s some progress.