The Nature of the Beast

I haven’t said much about COVID-19 here because, honestly, it is mentioned practically everywhere, but I am going to take a moment to speak briefly about the virus.

This I personally know to be true:

It is stubborn. It is pervasive. It does not discriminate. It is an opportunist. It is multi-faceted. It is mysterious. It sucks. When we go out for groceries or for errands, no one, and I mean no one gets a text from a loved one or friend saying “don’t forget to pick up a virus while you are out.”

It’s not on our ‘to do’ list either. ‘clean the office, do laundry, pick up virus.’ The virus that found me was left behind by someone and it sat there just waiting for a host. Maybe it jumped on my hand, or found my clothes, but somehow, it found me, and if I am not careful, it will try to find someone else. Why? Bottom line…It is the nature of the beast.

Now, not everyone thinks this virus is a big deal. It is shocking, but some believe it isn’t real. Many people don’t socially distance themselves or wear masks when around people. Heck, we all know that person who isn’t even in the habit of washing their hands. Why? Bottom line…It is the nature of the beast.

The big buzz word out there lately is “self-care”. In order to be of any benefit to family, friends and colleagues, we have to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. While that makes perfect sense, self-care often comes with the temptation to only see things in a manner that is relevant to ourselves. That sounds perfectly natural, right? But when something bigger than our individual selves comes along, it may benefit us to look at the bigger picture first. I like to think of this as “other-care” This virus is big; it is bigger than our individual selves. Heck, this virus is global. This is a fact. Period.

I won’t lie. I have been experiencing a constellation of emotions along with the various symptoms. The one that bothers me the most is anger. This emotion grows deep roots; I would go so far as to say it has tentacles. I felt it trying to take up residence in my heart and it scared me. I spent one particular day sitting, praying, reading and writing. I turned to one of my favorite mystics, St. John of the Cross. In ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ he writes of the journey to become closer to God. He does so by starting out with an honest to goodness, no holds barred, sit down, pay attention and follow along look at the 7 deadly sins; the first of which is Pride. And that, my friends, did not resonate with me at first. Until I sat, and prayed and wrote some more. Then it clicked. Pride was at the root of my emotions. It is my pride that had me convinced people should do what I believed was right. They should act a certain way and follow the rules. If they didn’t, then I got angry. That is my pride. We are all individuals with the God given gift of free will. I will exercise mine, and by the same token, I need to accept the fact that others will do the same. This self-reflection was liberating for me. It started to loosen those tentacles of anger that tethered me and I began to feel lighter and more at peace. It was self-care on a deep and personal level. The virus knocked me on my keister, but my pride had the power to cause me the most harm. I love God, I love the ocean I love the weather, but I also have a healthy respect for their power. I can now add the power of this virus to that list.

Oh, I plan to exercise “self-care” by wearing my mask, social distancing and washing my hands, and by doing so, I will be practicing “other-care”.

There are no memes with this post, no cartoons or irreverent potty humor. I’m just not feeling it right now. I know you will understand because you are a supportive and lovely bunch of coconuts.

Be well, practice self-care and while you are at it, throw in a measure of other-care; it will do the world good.

Love to you all.

ReginaMary

Does this Mask Make My Butt Look Big?

Resurrexit Sicut Dixit! He has risen, Alleluia Alleluia!

Well this certainly has been a Holy Week we’ll be talking about for some time, yes? In meditating on the Passion of Christ, my husband and I couldn’t help but notice parallels to the lessons we learn from our faith and the current circumstances we find ourselves living in presently. Even though I find meditation elusive at times, when I do ‘connect’, the experience is different than anything I have experienced before. I often see a flow of faces when I pray, but for the past week or so, I have seen colors. It was a bit odd, to be honest, but I have come to embrace these experiences. Have any of you had this happen while in prayer? A blessed and peaceful Easter season to all of you! Whether you celebrate or not; it is a gesture I offer that has profound meaning to me and I send my love and prayers to you and your families-it comes from my heart of hearts.

A few months back, I knit a Flax for Bill, a client of my son. He makes a striking model.

A smiling Bill in his Flax-Isn’t he handsome?

This past week, Bill made masks for us. This is me, modeling mine. Less striking, more dorky.

Pay attention to those mushrooms on the stove behind me…

Believe it or not, I have never met Bill. When this crisis is over, there is a giant hug waiting for that man!! (consider this your only warning, Bill!)

See those mushrooms behind me? I subscribe to a wonderful product called The F2T Box. It is a weekly grocery subscription that curates items from farms local to me. I request vegetables and produce, but i don’t know what the box contains until it arrives. When I opened this week’s box, it contained some really lush produce. In this photo, I am marinating some portobello mushrooms with scallions, ginger, olive oil, sesame oil and balsamic vinegar. I grilled them over a low heat; they were juicy and meaty. In fact, the stems were so hearty, I put them in soup. I made the soup from fresh dandelion greens and carrots also included in the box. The other items were butternut squash, baby swiss chard, and arugula; all of which went into my Easter dinner. If you have the opportunity to subscribe to a service like this, please give it a try. It is a surprise when you open the box, but I have yet to be disappointed.

Can we talk about eggs again? Please? It won’t take but a moment. As you use eggs, and the carton begins to empty, do you rearrange the remaining eggs before you return them to the fridge? I do, and unbeknownst to me, my dearly beloved does as well. Would it surprise you that we disagree on how they should be organized? This may seem like a really odd discussion, but I must know your thoughts on this.

Knitting has been interesting for me. While I have been doing a lot of it, I am doing it very slowly. I am also keenly aware of my limitations; my brain only wants to knit on autopilot. I am not the only one. Many of my knitting friends are talking about the comfort found in miles and miles of stockinette. In fact, I know at least 4 people, myself included, who cast on a Sockhead Slouch Hat by Kelly McClure.

This was such a soothing project for me. I chose a skein of Anzula Cricket from stash, in the color Kale. This shade of green was very unique, ranging from a dark hunter green to a lighter sage. I will definitely work with this yarn again. The hat is thick and squishy with amazing stitch definition; I thoroughly enjoyed knitting all 4″ of the pattern’s 2×2 rib!! This hat is going to get a lot of wear.

I completed another square in the MKAL hosted by Ceci over at Oh La Lana! Knitting Blog. I have mentioned before, but it does bear repeating: my brain is struggling with lace. These squares are not complex patterns, mind you, but it does require thought, and chart/pattern reading and all that jazz. But I am getting them done, people…I am getting them done! I screwed this square up, but ask me if I care. Go ahead, ask! This project is an exercise in determination and “le ostinazione”!

Wanna see my socks? I’ll admit, they aren’t much to look at, but I am ready to start the heel flap. The yarn is Lolo Did It in her Keep Pounding colorway. My friend and fellow blogger over at Nothing But Knit is a sock knitting Goddess! She finds the best patterns. This one is the Slip it Simple by Christine Long Derks. Isn’t it interesting how this yarn/pattern combination is creating a plaid vibe? Hers look completely different, but that is what we love about knitting! You should check them out. The photo top right is my ‘project bag’. I found this little bit of awesome on line for about $5. My only complaint is that it did not come with a copy of Pokemon Yellow!

A little more info on these socks. I want to explain a knitting cheat I often use for socks. The pattern I am using is a two row repeat. I am often one who knits round and round, forgetting which row I am on. Using the most excellent bulb-shaped markers, I chain together equal markers as rows in the pattern repeat. (4 row repeat=4 bulb markers, 2 row repeat=2 markers, etc.) The photo on the left reflects row one, and the photo on the right reflects row two. If I lose my place, I just have to look at how many markers are *on the needle* to determine the row. As I move through the rows, I add or drop a maker. PS. You can get a bazillion of these markers on Amazon for what you pay for a double mocha-choca-lata ya-ya at Starbucks.

Next up: What is she going on about now?

My husband says I lie. Yes, the egg-manipulating, drive-up eating, pretzel-hogging, best-hug-giving husband thinks I lie. And to some extent he is right. When asked how I am, I typically lie. When asked if I need help, I typically lie. When asked what is on my mind, I typically lie. And, when writing about this kinda stuff, like I am right now, I typically lie. So here it is in a nutshell.

I am sad. I am worried. I am angry. I am grateful. I am confused. I am distracted. I am blessed. I am forgetful.

I am sad because the names of people who have died from this virus are becoming more and more familiar to me. I am worried because there are so many people known and unknown to me who are crying out for prayers and I don’t feel like I can help them. I am angry because in my community, as in many, there are people who just can’t seem to understand that THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT THEM! Stay at home means STAY AT HOME {{add expletive of choice}}. I am grateful because my immediate family, by the grace of God, is healthy. I am confused by the information spewed out by “those in the know”. I am distracted and forgetful because of all the spazzatura bumbling around in my head. I have days where I ignore social media, email or other sources of influence because my tiny head is just too full. I know I am not alone in these feelings. You know what else I know? My husband is right. I am a liar. Forgive me?

I think I am typed out. I will end this post with the usual:

Saint of the Day: St. Lydwine. Patroness of of sickness, chronically ill, ice skaters. Do you find it odd that on the days that I write, the Saint du jour happens to be a patron of the ill? I long stopped believing in coincidence. It seems to me that God is always peeking over my shoulder, gently reminding me that He is present with me through the nuances of my day. PS. I don’t think St. Lydwine was the patroness of chronically ill ice skaters, so mind that comma.

In my cup: An afternoon cuppa coffee. Check out this mug though!

In my ears: A confounded fly because Razz left the door open. Just kidding. It was me. I left the door open.

To all my friends, I pray for you and your families every day, and I feel your prayers for us as well. Thank you for being a constant source of humor, creativity, honesty and humanity. Thank you for STAYING HOME. We’ll get through this.

“One day at a time, Sweet Jesus!” – John Killian

“This is why we say our prayers and drink good booze.” – also John Killian

All my love,

Regina (and this guy)