Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I can see the forest, thank you.

This time of year, I (and a lot of others) get so bogged down in details, we tend to miss the big picture. Events conspired yesterday to sort of kick my ass and make me see the big picture, whether I wanted to or not. The big picture is, of course, that I'm pretty lucky and have a nice life. I mean, I do notice it, but sometimes not as much as I should.

I spent most of yesterday doing batik, which can kind of suck because you're sitting next to a pot of liquid wax at 225F/110C for hours, sweating, and trying not to get said liquid wax on you (it hurts). (Got nearly all of it done, incidentally, or at least the first pass. I need to go and re-wax some parts on the opposite side of the fabric, but that's faster and easier.)

So I took a break to hang out in a chat room I hang out in (Life: Beliefs, Atheism, on AOL if you're interested; I'm not atheist, but there's a no preaching rule in effect that I'm really fond of, and it attracts a lot of smart people). There, I was complaining about how the Goober had said "I'm kinda cold now" fourteen times in a row that morning, and someone commented, they wished their kid would say something like that, but they likely never will because they're Autistic.


Then the husbeast came home and told me one of the guys he works with spent the night at the hospital. His otherwise normal Labrador had suddenly gone berserk the night before, and attacked their four year old child. The kid lost a couple teeth and has twenty-six stitches in his face, and the dog is on the back porch awaiting a really grisly rabies test, the least revolting step of which is putting the dog down - I think putting the dog down is the right choice, but it's still traumatic and knowing what happens to the dog next is pretty grody if it's your pet. (The dog had all his shots. No one wants to take any chances.) Poor, poor little kid. I know him, the Goob plays with him at shop parties, and he's a sweet little guy. What a lousy way to spend Christmas. I think he needs some cookies. I'll have to send some to work with the husbeast.

(The Goober just ran up and demanded a kiss for no apparent reason.)

So after that, I huddled over the batik, and the brain started going. And I came to a few conclusions.

-I'm lucky to have family I care enough about to make gifts for. And even luckier to be in a family of crafters - my mother-in-law knits and my sister-in-law sews - so I know my gifts are appreciated.
-The Goober. I'm not just lucky to have her, for herself, but her good health, and the ability feed her and house her and buy her crayons and stay home with her.
-You know, it's pretty nice that I have a kitchen to bake in, and the money to buy ingredients so I can stress over getting enough cookies baked, that my family doesn't really need anyway.
-Those presents I'm bitching about wrapping? Isn't it nice we could afford to buy them? Granted, I had to start buying them in August to fit them in the budget, but isn't it nice I thought ahead so we have all this happy stuff for Christmas?
-Sure, I hate traveling, and I really hate going to Ohio. But it's sure nice that I've got relatives that want to see me so much they'll chip in on the gas bill. Though my father-in-law claims it's really about seeing his granddaughter, and the husbeast and I are just baggage he has to put up with to get her. (He will tell us during visits, he's only there to see the Goob. It's very funny.)
-Yeah, my health sucks, but none of the problems will kill me, and I've got good insurance that costs almost nothing, and two good doctors. That new medication I'm trying? Without insurance it's $2.40 PER PILL. No way I'd afford it. I got a $240 prescription for $22. Time to ease off - slightly - on the bitching. (OH! And the pharmacy finally quit sending people with controlled substances out of the building with Bright Red Bags! It took three years, but the bitching might have gotten through! Merry Christmas!)

So, to summarize, attitude successfully adjusted, I think. I usually hit this stage at the holidays, at some point. Happily it appeared early this year. Maybe I can coast on the 'yay' all the way through to New Year's.

Oh, and another happy thing? Well. I saw a rainbow on my way home last week (late in the day; high arch, full single, and partial double, with echoed reflections because it was so bright). This led me to REALLY looking at it, which led me right back to the color theory books. I'm re-reading "Bright Earth" by Phillip Ball, and you're all likely to be subjected to more color maundering. Soon. You know, as a break in the batiking.

And since I've been short on photos lately, here's one.

Sorry for the blur, I took it with a hand-held, with a super-slow shutter speed for the low light. This is how the Goob insists on being tucked in, with stuffed animals all around her head. The rat's name is Scabbers, the large bear is BumBum, and the bear on her forehead is Little Bear (she named all but Scabbers). Occasionally, like when this photo was taken, she's so exhausted when she goes to bed, that even Little Bear doesn't move, and then you wind up with, well, this. Hilarious.

I'm also taking photos of the batik process and will subject you to a tutorial when it's done.

Okay, I'm thankful and shit, but I'm still sick of that freaking fabric. Next time I decide to batik ten yards of fabric, someone beat me with wooden #35 needles until I come to my senses or pass out, okay?


David said...

Merry Christmas Julie!

Barbara said...

Thanks. This year, for the very first time, I have been able to decide what to make/buy for my loved ones and not agonize that it isn't enough. To know that I am enough for those who love me and they are enough for me. That alone has made me enjoy the season more.

Merry Christmas, Julie.

Amy Lane said...

Merry Christmas, Julie... I had sort of the same ephiphany yesterday, which I'm saving for the blog...suffice it to say life is good. It's easy to forget it, but life really is good.

Susan said...

Thanks so much for such a wonderful post..... I, too, am trying to see the forest these days. My health is not great either so I'm thankful for every day I can still move around. The tree is up, the cats are fed and the daughter is home from college. The husband has a good job and great insurance and we have a lovely house.............. I have presents to wrap and things to do but I have my family and they love me... thank you for again reminding me of that!

Alwen said...

Well, hey, I'm bawling now.

(Okay, I do that a lot around Christmas/solstice/Yule anyhow, but still.)

fooks < - That one cracks me up! No chooks so far!

ellen in indy said...

i'm thankful to be laid off. that sounds crazy until you know that i volunteered for it and my severance pay (and employee-rate insurance) won't run out until june, the month in which i become eligible for medicare. there were 52 layoffs in all, and only 7 other volunteers. i'm glad i could choose to "jump" at a good time for my family rather than being "pushed" with an involuntary departure.

i left 12/4; on 12/15, my next-door neighbor said i look much more relaxed now ( good trick around the holidays, no?).

i'm thankful i'm finally going to get occupational therapy for my "mouse-bitten" hands -- osteoarthritis from years of using a too-big computer mouse -- who knew.

and i'm REALLY thankful that the splints made for my hands today let me type and, especially, knit! the therapist even quickly figured out that flipping part of the sock-like liners up over the velcro that holds them would keep the velcro from eating my yarn.

i probably would have gotten treatment sooner except that i was afraid the therapist would say don't knit. (no, my hands don't have a death wish -- 3+ years of continental knitting actually has improved my left-hand function. lefty scored much better on the grip and flexibility tests today than righty did. soon, both will get exercises.

my i.d. word is lublu (close to part of the russian for "i love you" --ya teebyah lyublyu, as close as i can write it phonetically.

merry christmas to julie and happy holidays (all of them -- yours, mine and someone else's) to all!