Friday, May 27

My eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

In addition to being a homemaker (canning season is almost upon us! don’t forget to pack a lunch! thanks for taking out the trash! would you like a cup of tea?) I’m a typist, gamer, counselor, librarian, interpreter, and ministry leader: my free time has mostly been spent away from my computer. That is my excuse, anyway.

Homemaking is rather a busy occupation and I have had to consciously set aside time to enjoy spinning and knitting as restful activities. I am excited for the bounty of the summer, and look forward to canning lots of tomatoes, jars and jars of jams, some mint jelly, and I think maybe even some soups! That might make the fall and winter nights easier for everyone. I have yet to change the house for summer: mom has some fake sunflowers she likes to bring out, and the fireplaces need clearing out and the lawn furniture looked over and cleaned (most of the winter things have been stored already). Cooking for a family of adults has become progressively easier and I find it easy to keep things healthy when there are delicious seasonal vegetables. Keeping the cookie jar full is a task, though! I love spending time in my garden especially now that I can bear the heat and light. Both of our cats like it that I am spending more time outside and often try to join me in my efforts, though our ideas of gardening invariably differ.

What really makes my job interesting to me is the proportion of socializing to task-focused time--I spend just as much or more time listening to people, trying to figure out individual issues and just sitting and talking to people about their day as I do cleaning, cooking, mending, gardening, fixing, or any number of things. As much as I value a clean and orderly house, people don’t need houses as much as they need homes. I often forget to dust.

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was delightful earlier this month, and I had the great blessing of seeing a good many friends, making some very good purchases, and enjoying myself as much as any enthusiast can on fine spring days amongst creative and competent professionals, and happy amateurs (ok, and their compliant families). I bought my first drop spindle, in the medieval style of a low whorl. It makes spinning a portable craft, and one that can be completed while walking.

Over all of my activities, I keep noticing more and more changes for the better in my health! It is very encouraging, though now I feel very old and very young at the same time; this is bewildering and in some cases upsetting, and proves that I am very much alive. The treadmill downstairs has given me some treachery by allowing me to think too much of my strength; I overtaxed myself a few times with hilarious results: I still need my albuterol inhaler but so much more infrequently than last year or the years before! I can stand the sun’s heat and light on my skin and eyes, and once even I laughed till I was finished laughing (a small thing, but to actually let myself have a good hearty laugh has been a rare enough thing these half dozen years).

Friday, January 21

My glory, and the lifter of my head.

I have not died or done anything drastic. (Sorry for the long absence.) I have, on the contrary, been living quite extraordinarily. It will doubtless be remembered by longtime readers that I used to be very ill with some kind of respiratory distress; the doctors did not agree on what it was but did at least agree that it was complicated, and made more difficult by mental stress and a variety of allergies. Upon returning to my home country, I expected the change of air, situation and environment to have some positive effect and that eventually I would be able to look forward to waking up in the morning and perhaps one day be able to look at my own future with a tad more hope and a measure less of dread.

I don’t say that these goals have all been achieved and that I bear no negative effects from a long and chronic illness, but I will say that last year I could only walk briskly for fifteen minutes before I was weak, dizzy, and needing my albuterol inhaler: this year it is half an hour:) In the printed word it seems so small... but imagine five whole years of gasping for air every time I tried to walk on a treadmill or take a hike or keep pace with others on a city sidewalk. I can now even start a regular exercise regimen that does not simply involve slow stretches. It feels good to be able to run, even for just a minute or two at a time.

My garden is starting to realize that winter will not last forever, too; when brushing out some odd leaves, clipping back the neighbors’ ivy from my red-brick corner, there seems a waiting, quivering, impatient, laughing silence. It makes me afraid that with such life waiting in my little garden, what must it have looked like when the very stones of the earth were desperate to cry the name of Jesus! I look forward to spring, to my roses and my herbs and the cats rolling around in the patches of sunlight. I want the sun on my face and the smell of clean earth on my hands.

Oh, and I splurged on Amazon.com and bought some used copies of some of my old textbooks from my grad studies in Ireland. The Alliterative Revival is so much more exciting than it sounds... and I’ve begun to read in Old English again.