Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Wishes

Hello, dear friends,

For almost a month now, I have been living at my new place. I like it here: it's clean, simple, and quiet. I have access to all the necessities - such as hot shower, kitchen, and laundry facilities - and there is also internet access, but without a computer, it is not much use to me. I look at it as a hidden blessing: no internet - no distractions... It only took me a week and a half to finish a stitching commission once those distractions were eliminated - and that 's saying something in favor of just working and concentrating on the task at hand.

Work is steady, busy - but not overwhelming, and I am grateful for that. I like working, the feeling of being useful, productive, necessary to the process. I like my time off too, though, it gives me a chance to be productive on my own terms, in my own life: moving along with stitching projects, goals, things to be done...

Some time ago, an acquaintance asked me, "So how does it feel to start over at the age of 38?" I thought, "Start over? I am not starting over, I am moving on." Indeed, starting over would have to mean time rolling back, children back in diapers - in need of a sitter on a daily basis, - and me - yes, younger, but also without all the acquired experience of the past 14 years. It is because of life experience that I do not consider these years wasted, and I would not give it up for the place in a younger age bracket.

Today is my day off from work, and I decided to go to the library and write. Except - I forgot to bring my "Stick" drive, so there is no way to save what I would have written - on anything...  Darn you, memory. That's what I get for wanting to try out a new accessory: something crucial is always left behind, in the "old reliable" handbag.

On Friday, my daughter and I went to see "Collateral Beauty." Vera wanted to see it because "Will Smith is awesome" and because of the story. Originally, I voted for "Beasts and Where to Find Them" - to get my "Harry Potter junkie" fix - but "Beauty" in the end was a better choice. In life, when we face the Three Abstractions, we are often too absorbed in the problem to notice when these very Abstractions materialize in front of us and lend a helping hand. When we do notice - and take their advice - life improves... hopefully. In any case, we learn, and, as de Laclos wrote, "education is never a loss."

Christmas is almost here. This year, I am getting my loved ones what they need - and reward myself with the gift of their company. I am looking forward to making the memories, for experiences and memories are the only real things that we possess. In the end, these are the things that make our life richer - and we can take them with us wherever we go. So, this Christmas - and New Year's - I will meet with the people I love. May we come together in the New Year - and may our bond grow stronger with Love and Time, and never be broken - not even in Death.

Until next time,

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Step in the Right Direction

Hello, dear friends,

After all the talking, thinking, crying, doubting, and procrastinating I filed for divorce. I almost automatically want to type in the word "finally" in that sentence, but no, not finally. A step like that requires more than a few weeks consideration, especially when it has been a long relationship (in our case - 13 years).  I took my time (almost eight months), but when I was ready, I did it.

Why did I do it? Was it necessary? Could this break have been avoided, repaired, resolved? These are the questions I kept asking myself during these past eight months, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that - yes, it was necessary and no, it could not ever be repaired. Too many things happened. Too much trust has been lost.

How did it happen? Two people don't fall in love and get together with a thought, " I think I will make this person's life miserable for the rest of our lives." We have good intentions, good wishes, "nothing but the best" in mind for our partners - and ourselves. Yet, it did not work out that way.

 My husband and I have gone through a lot - enough to have split up any other couple a lot sooner, I believe. Seven years ago, I was attacked by his then adolescent son and had to have surgery on my hands. After physical therapy, psychotherapy, relaxation, meditation and god knows what else - I still have PTSD, - it stays with you, apparently, and gets triggered by stressful situations. Sort of an emotional luggage that you lug around with you forever.

Last year, I was overweight, stressed, anxious, and jobless. It seemed that, no matter what I tried, I could not get a job. Not even part-time. I had no income of my own. I was completely dependent on my husband - financially (he had a job), physically (he had the car and drove it, and I don't), and, it seemed, emotionally. When he was upset, my girls and I were afraid to talk or laugh; when a problem needed to be discussed or resolved, I could not address it without my fearing his reaction: a nervous breakdown, a crying fit, a fainting spell. Family and friends suggested I was patient and understanding, for he had a lot on his plate, he had to deal with so much... I tried to be patient. I excused and explained away many a tantrum: health issues, depression, hard day, stress at work, stress at home... the list went on and on and on. Then, one day my daughter told me, "Mom, when I find the right person to be with, I'm never getting married." -"Why?" I was surprised. The answer that followed, however, positively stunned me. "Well, look at the way you are being treated. I'm never putting up with that!"

I looked at myself... Thirteen years. I was fat. I couldn't get a job. I got stressed out with too many people around. Or no people around. I couldn't breathe in confined spaces - and couldn't walk without falling in open spaces. Every time I tried to raise objections about anything, they got filed away and dismissed without even being heard, - or was it just my perception? I could not stop apologizing for things, - yet, I was not even sure what it was I was apologizing for... To complete the picture, I could not have a decent conversation with my daughters about anything - there seemed to be a barrier between us...   I was pathetic.

All these things were true - but they weren't necessarily my husband's fault. I did it to myself, and I had to find a way to get better, to find purpose, to... oh god I did not even know what. All I knew was that- I was unhappy and feeling worthless. I fully accepted that it was my own personal problem, and no one else's, but I did not know what to do. I could not find the source of this misery, this draining feeling that sucked all the life and purpose out of me.

Now, eight - almost nine - months after the separation - I am.. I am. I am! (Drum roll). I don't fully know what "I am" means yet, but I am coming back - slowly, but surely. First, I started to taste food. About a month on my own, I sat down to breakfast  (fried eggs, bacon and tea with toast) - and realized it was delicious. That was the first sign that I was going in the right direction. Then - I got a job... lost a job (to a panic attack and over work)... found another job and kept it. In addition, I lost almost forty pounds since last year.

It does not mean, of course, that life has not been difficult. I don't have the financial security I used to have; I have to work - not just when I "feel like it," but when I am scheduled, and sometimes even when I am not; I have to be very careful with money I earn, and still I may end up without a roof over my head within the next month or two. Am I scared? Of course. I am scared, worried, stressed.. but this time, I can do something about it. I am not helpless. Things may get worse before they get better, but they will, eventually, get better - just as long as I don't give up and do the right thing, for myself and for my daughters.

Friends that see me tell me that I look better than ever... Acquaintances I meet mention how I have "changed" and became more "lively." My daughters and I can talk - and finish a conversation, and (alas!) agree on most things without anyone throwing a tantrum.. At the same time, I have had to say "no" more times than I said "yes" to them. Yet, they listen - and understand. I have a feeling that they are learning something from me right now... Perseverance, perhaps. Ability to stay strong in the face of hard times. I can feel that they truly respect me, and that I am earning it with my actions - every day.

I want to finish this rambling post with the words of my favorite movie character Baron Munchausen: "Long live Divorce, for it takes away lies I hate so much!" All right, perhaps its' a bit vague and nutty if you have not seen the whole movie, but those who have would understand me right now...

Thank you for reading this until the end.

Until next time,

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stitching and Reading News

Hello, dear friends,

Has it been that long since my last post? I swear it was June last week... and not it's already the end of September. Where did the time go? I guess it flew away...

Past few months, I have been working my job, stitching, and reading. (What else, right? )

In stitching news - there is finally a WIP picture I can share with you.

This is to be a stocking - with snowmen, as you can (hopefully) see. Such bright colors, and very interesting shapes and angles. I enjoy this process.

In the reading department - I have finished "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child". What an experience. The plot twists are unexpected, the form (a play) is refreshing, but most important part - this is a book about real issues: issues in parenting, growing up, relationships - and mistakes made while forging them. This is one of those books that make you think and reflect upon your own situation, letting you be your own judge. I enjoyed it - and look forward to re-reading it again soon.

Another book I attempted to read was "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. I decided to listen to it, rather than read (it was late, and my eyes were tired after work) - and gave up listening after an hour. I just could not grasp what it was about. Names, places, people, diners, more people, names of roads, more diners, and tasty descriptions of apple pie and ice cream... It was like being on the road with the writer - or, rather, taking a road trip in the back seat of  the car with your parents when you are a kid: you look out the window at the endless poles, you count the poles and think - once I get to one hundred, we'll have to stop at the rest stop, maybe something interesting will happen then... One hundredth pole passes, and we are still driving. Then, you up it to two hundred, three, four - as many as needed - until, finally, your parents stop. You get out of the car, use the bathroom and look around for some kind of an adventure, some experience - and find... a truck stop with the apple pie and ice cream. There is your adventure. Then, you get back in the car - and get going - again: one, two three, four... one hundred... two hundred... infinity... 

Until next time, 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Parenting Questions, Trust and Honesty (Attempt at Self-Therapy).

Hello, dear friends,
Today I have a day off, - a day to relax, think and feel whatever I want, do (almost) what I want, without being rushed.
During the past week, I finished a stitching project and started a new one. (Sorry, no pictures at this time). Went on the "work-home- stuff to do-things to clean- things to stitch" merry-go-around. Today is the day I can get off and reclaim some of myself.

I am sitting here, thinking that I need a strong cup of tea - possibly with milk - and wondering: am I a good parent? My partner of 13 years "dropped" this on me (about our separation), and it stuck: "As for the kids being happy, yeah, they're happy, no more of having rules, mom turned into their best friend, I am sure it will all turn out fine, unless one day you actually make them be responsible for something."

While my first reaction was to consider the source - look who's talking, some example of stellar parenting, look at your own sons etc., etc.... But - it did bring up one question: am I a good parent - or not? How do I know?

In the past four months, I had to say "no" more times than I said "yes" to my daughters, and often they got upset. They are teenagers, and teenagers don't like to hear the word "no." Well, nobody does, really. But adults - hopefully - have the strength and the skills to control their emotions, while teenagers often show you all they've got - all the upset, anger, disappointment - and all the other negative feelings they have had stored, and you get to be the unfortunate recipient of all that garbage - because you said no. Surprisingly, I have had strength enough (sometimes barely) to deal with those tantrums. I was strong and unwavering: "No, you cannot get a new dress. No, there will be no going to any sleepover until after the chores are done, the laundry is put away, the homework is finished..."

Yet, at times I said "yes." Yes, you can walk home with a friend. Yes, you can stay after school for practice. Yes, we can go out to Subway - at the end of the week... And occasionally, I even changed my "no" to a "yes" - because the chores actually got done...

But parenting is not just the list of "yes" and "no" answers, is it? Things could look wonderful and perfect (or near perfect) on the outside, and yet there still would be problems...  Just look at Mia from "Californication" : a perfectly well-behaved 16 year old girl, a respectful daughter- who also happens to be... a slut and a manipulator. Yet, her father is blissfully unaware.

I know that my daughters are far from perfect. I am aware that one of them is arrogant, the other could be lazy. But it is up to me to stay alert and to notice when these "bad" qualities rare their heads - and point it out to each one of them as effectively as possible. Does it work? I can only hope. Just like I can only hope that I am doing a decent job at this whole "parenting" thing. In the end, time will tell. Some five, six, or ten years from now, when I look at my daughters, I will get my answer - probably in a single moment. Until then, I will have to wait for that moment as patiently as I can, and do the best job as I can.

One thing I have (I believe) on my side is honesty: I have never knowingly lied to my children. And in return, they don't lie to me. OK, they lie - about things like feeling sick so they can skip school, - but not about the big, important things. (Right now I am thinking - boy I wish that what I am writing is actually true, and not my own delusion). Well, at the very least - I know they trust me with real problems. There have been times when one or the other - or both of them - came to me for advice when they did not know what to do, how to handle things, or "just to talk" (which usually means the problem is bigger than just "what to do" and may require a few cups of tea with cookies - just to start discussing). I think - I believe - this trust between us is the direct result of mutual honesty.

This, of course, does not mean that I am certain of anything, or know what I am doing, or "permanently comfortable" with my decisions or actions. Every decision involves questions, doubts, and often - after making it - the "after"-doubts: did I make this one right? Could I do it better? I try my best to be honest with myself, so that when I do make a mistake, next time - hopefully - I can avoid it.

This brings me to the (hopefully) last topic of this post - trust. Trust is built on honesty like a house built on a foundation. If there is no honesty - there will be no trust. There may be an illusion of it, but the truth eventually comes out, lies get exposed - and the whole house crumbles and falls apart - and then you discover that there is no foundation, - there is no honesty. So, when my partner says, "I know I lied in the past, but trust me, I will not do it again!" - I can't. In fact, I can't even process it. How can you demand that I just build this "house" of trust with no foundation? It's just not possible.

Honesty - with others and with oneself - is the most important quality of them all. Being honest with myself - for me- means knowing what the truth is - and being able to face it, admit it, say it to myself. If I am not honest with myself, how do I even know what is the truth - and what is not? So, when someone says to me, "I lied to myself for the past (x-number of) years, but I want you to trust me, because I am getting better" - I think, "I am glad that you are starting to work on that, but if you have been lying to yourself for so long, how do you even know when you are telling the truth?" In this state of mind (I suspect), one is capable of believing anything: if one believes it, it must be the truth. And if one chooses not to believe it - then poof! - it never even existed. Magic...

Trust is the direct result of honesty. There are people out there that I do not particularly like, but I would trust them with my life - because they have always been honest with me. Then again, there are people I may like very much, but as much as I like them, I know not to trust them - because they lied.

Now that I have typed my brains out, it's time for a cup of tea...

Until next time,

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Crocodile Tears

Wailing away the minutes, the days, the hours,
Crying in rhythm - to your own beat -
Of "no regret";
Asking for help of people and of the Powers -
Stocking your prey,
Checking your traps,
Weaving your net.

Nature is honest. People are blind and stupid.
After the kill, the crocodile has to cry.
Animals know - the beast
Is overcome by neither sadness, nor pain, nor cupid, -
He's digesting his meal.
He does not need help.
Don't even try.

This has just "ran out" of me after about 30 minutes of thinking. It is not finished - I know it could use more work - but I like it, so I decided to show it. I have not been writing much - except for in my diary. This is the second thing I have written since the attack six years ago.

Until next time,

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Difficult Decision

Hello, dear friends,

I have been working as a cashier at the local 99c Store for three full weeks now... Today,. a call came in from the agency: they have a job opening that I might fit... Full time, pays a lot more than I am making now - and even more than I was paid at my previous job... On the down side - temporary, only for 30 days (or until the project gets done).

I was listening to the agent, thinking of the reasons why this job would be a blessing, why I should at least put my name in - and... I ended up saying no. The voice in my head instantly called me a stupid idiot: "Just take the money, silly creature." But - if I got hired there, the first thing would be telling all these nice people that I have to quit. I would not have this job any more -and (surprisingly) I do like it... Then - for a month (or longer) I would have to stop going to therapy... Finally, for the time of employment with the company I would lose all free time during the week - and possibly some weekends. If they are satisfied with my performance (which is not a guarantee), I will be employed for 30 days - at the end of which, I will be unemployed again. However, because my income would have jumped up, I would lose all the current benefits... just to end up with nothing again in the end (well, not with nothing - with some experience and, hopefully, some savings)...

In the end, I decided that money, however important it is, isn't everything. My current job pays minimum wage, true, but it also has minimum stress, flexible schedule, and pleasant co-workers. It's not much, but it's stable. Stability is what I require now more than anything.

At the end of the conversation, I had a distinct feeling that the agent was surprised at my saying no. But - I need something permanent... in fact, I have already  got it, so quitting it for something short-term is not really a smart choice... right?

Until next time,

Saturday, May 14, 2016


Hello, dear friends,

I am back, even if just for a short time. Life has been very eventful. Even if nothing is going on on the surface, something is always going on - in the background, behind the scenes, or inside me. I guess, that is what happens when you change your life - you start changing, too.

I have been going through some changes. First, the visible ones, I saw in me right away - after all, losing 20 lbs is not easy to ignore. That was exciting - being able to fit into my old clothes, being able to fit into new - smaller -clothes, and not having every dress I put on like a night shirt.

Then, I noticed some changes in my tastes. One day, I realized I did not like coffee. That took me by complete surprise, especially because I love the smell of it - and I like making it, but drinking it suddenly became an unpleasant... task. I still have a cup of coffee here and there, with a neighbor or in company, but  at home I prefer tea (Chai Tea, to be exact - haha..)...

But the most important changes have been going on - of course - on the inside. It seems that my character is changing, and with that - who knows what will come... It is still a work in progress, so I don't even know where my development will lead me, but so far I have noticed that...

1. I have been extremely sensitive to bullshit. 
When I hear someone tell me "I care about you" or "I am there for you," I don't take it with gratitude or thanks, like I used to in the past. I just say, "OK." If that person - or persons - means what she - or he - says, then eventually I will see proof of that in their actions. If not - then they are just words. I don't really have much of a response to them.

2. I don't like people telling me what I should or could do.
 As well-meaning as some people could be, they are not walking in my shoes and cannot know exactly what I am dealing with and going through. So, their friendly suggestions, while smiled at, since unsolicited, are being quietly put in the "discard" pile. There are some exceptions - when I ask for advice and get it, or talk to someone I know has been through something similar, or when I talk to someone I respect. But, these people  are usually not showering me with suggestions. When I see - or hear from - them, each one usually starts with, "How are you doing?" Not with " I have come up with another list of things you should do/change/adjust."
And when someone comments on my qualities - such as my sense of humor, my "serious" approach to life, or anything else they find disagreeable - these people can just... piss off. These are my qualities, my approach, and, ultimately, my character. I don't want to - or have to - change for anyone. And for those who think/say that I should "work on" my sense of humor, I have a direct suggestion - maybe they could mind their own business... or try telling some jokes that are actually funny. Whatever works best.

3. I started liking my alone time. 
I never "disliked" being alone, but in the past something made me feel a bit uncomfortable about it - as if I was missing something, did not connect, or was somehow "not right." I felt "disabled" in some way: everyone can connect, make friends, have a good time - except me. Recently (well not so recently...) Gradually, I came to love being by myself, and with that came the realization that most people are not really having a great time - they are pretending for the sake of company. Someone once told me that most people are afraid of being alone and would do almost anything to not be there; I am not one of those people. I know now that was meant as a compliment. Thank you.

Until next time, 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Home Within

Hello, dear friends,

Once again, it has been a while. All the life changes have taken me away from this blog and from sharing. Most of my days are filled with job search, interviews, online and paper applications, and talking to various workers. Add to that public bus system to rely on, stitching at night and on weekends, plus cleaning and cooking - and you have the picture. A swirl of new experiences...

On May 1st, it will be three months since my husband and I separated. All the news - and changes that come with it - hit me all at once, so I had to focus on immediate survival needs first. My soul went into shock, and every time I wanted to think about what happened - and what I learned - the voice inside my head would say, "Not now, a little later, when the basics are out of the way." I did not cry - or, at least, not in plain view. Occasionally, I would start tearing up in the shower - but those "waterfalls" did not last long. I would not let myself dwell on "all that" because, frankly, I was afraid to come unglued. I suspected that, once I started "addressing" everything that went on, I would start crying, screaming, cursing, and  then - who knows when I would stop... Nervous breakdowns need to be handled in a controlled atmosphere, such as the therapist's office, mental health clinic etc... Coming unglued in the middle of a work day - or a job interview - is not beneficial to anyone.

Eventually, I found a good therapist. I expected for things to start pouring out of me, but - they did not. I still have not cried, although sometimes I felt like it. Perhaps, my body does not want to switch from "defense" mode - after all, I don't know that person very well yet, it has only been - what? - two weeks.. He is just another guy with an opinion. So, even reactions to his suggestions are delayed; I noticed that I would say, " I will think about it," store his suggestion somewhere in the back of my mind, and then, about 24-48 hours later, my actual response would start forming... Sometimes it's as simple as "you've got a point," other times my response is "mind your own business." I know one thing: if I make any permanent changes to my situation, it will come from me, and I will do it if and when I am ready.. (Currently, it feels like "when" rather than "if", but I am certainly going to take it one step at a time - because in the end, I am the one who will have to deal with the consequences).

One realization has hit me through the whole experience: in all this, I am all alone. Especially I feel it when people tell me that I can rely on them, that I am not alone, that I have support. Don't get me wrong, I do have support and help - from Social Services programs, from the Job Center, from my therapist, - and I am grateful. I get professional help. On a personal level, though, I am a lone warrior. And it feels like in this aspect, I am different from anyone else I know.

Most of my "friends" and acquaintances - here in town - have family and friends. That means, if the proverbial shit hits the fan and they feel they can't deal with life any more at some particular moment - they have a safe place to go to. If life gets to be too much, they can hide from it. Not me. I don't have a place like that in my life, come to think of that, I am not sure I ever had. Last time I felt I could "go somewhere safe" was when I was about 3 years old, and the place was (of course) Grandma's. Since then, I have felt on my own. There is no unconditional love in my life; I may feel it (for my children, although I try not to get carried away), but I doubt anyone feels it for me. If I "lose my cool," no one will run to the rescue. If they do, they will have their own - often deeply hidden - reasons. "When the rabbit cries, the fox comes a-running - but not to help."

Perhaps, that is one single reason I keep myself together: I know that deep inside, nobody really cares. The people that do care - my children - will get affected by my "meltdown" in such a way that may be irreparable.. and it won't help anyone, especially not me.

I am alone, and that is a fact. I don't have a home - I live in a house, but it's not mine, and has never been. Most importantly - I don't have a safe place in this world, a place to call home. On the inside, I am homeless. And that is, unfortunately, also a fact.

Perhaps, when I am ready, I can start working on building that safe place for myself - on the inside, and (who knows?) - on the outside, too. It's all a process.. One step at a time.

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It was fun while it lasted...

Hello, dear friends,

Well, today came with a blow: I was released from my (semi)-perfect job. Apparently, my multi-tasking skills are not as high as the job requires. Oh well, I tried. I did my best.

I know I should be panicked, shocked, dismayed - but, surprisingly, I am not. At least, not as much as I would expect from myself. Perhaps, it's because I did not have a chance to get "attached" to this job yet, or some other reason, - after I realized that the supervisor's mind was made up, I started feeling better. I thought: perhaps, the purpose of this job was to pay this month's rent, to learn that I was able to function in this type of setting, and - to experience a let go. I have not changed. I am still the same person. So maybe it was not a good fit after all. I have not had a chance to get bored - or tired of - this job. I guess that's a plus.

Finally, my past experience has taught me that, when something drastic happens - whether it's my professional life, or personal one - it always brings new opportunities and changes for the better. Perhaps, this situation means that there is something better out there for me - something that I am better suited for, perhaps.

Life has been a roller coaster these past three months. Everything always changes, nothing stays the same long enough for me to get used to it. Maybe it's Life's way of telling me not to get complacent. Not to get "comfortable." To be ready for new things to come.

I do hope they are good things.

Until next time,

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Life goes on, and so does the stitching...

Hello, dear friends,

It has been about two weeks since my last post, so it feels like a good time for another update.

When I start thinking about it, I really don't know where to start: my job? my life? my stitching? So many things changed so quickly in my life - and still keep changing - that two weeks feel like two months - or even longer. One steady feeling, though, that has been growing in me - and me - is Self-Confidence. The more I go through things, the more I face these challenges - big and small - the more I feel, " I can do this!" I can do this - all by myself.

Then again, I am not "all by myself." My daughters are with me, and they are a great comfort. For the first time in many years, I feel like I can talk to them - and they to me - without pretense. We say it like it is. There is no need for false and fake "niceties," forced expressions of respect. If they are unhappy or they disagree with me - they tell me. If - or when - I need to say something - I do. No long speeches, no put downs, no theatrics... And it works. I feel, finally, that we are on the same team. We understand each other - at least as much as it is possible between two teenage daughters and their mother. And, finally - I feel like we have our privacy. Nobody is watching. This is not  Cinema Verite, there are no hidden cameras. (Not that there ever actually were cameras, but in my marriage, I often felt like I was in a sitcom, cast for a supporting role. I cannot tell you how much relief it brings to drop that kind of pretense.)

Next week will be the seventh week (already?) of my new job. I am starting to feel a bit more confident in my position - that is, I don't have to ask every five minutes for directions, - but now, I feel, the challenge is not to become over confident. I have a lot to learn here, and sometimes being silent and listening is better and more productive than talking and trying to "get things done." Often, that is a very good approach to life in general, too.

With all the work and chores, there is very limited time left for stitching - but my Aquarius has grown arms since the last time I posted. Slow and steady, it grows....

"Aquarius" WIP

 Until next time,

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


      Hello, dear friends,

     Since my last post over a month ago a lot happened, so much that life seemed like a roller coaster at times: up - down - twist- turn - back up again... Some things have been good, some could be considered tragic.
    One of the (major) good things - I've got a job! It has been such a long time since I have worked a proper full time job that I almost did not believe it when the agent called me the day after the interview and announced, " I have good news, they have extended an offer." During the entire first week, I kept pinching myself, checking to make sure I am not dreaming some sort of an extended dream...
    Another good thing is - my job offers many learning opportunities. It deals with many aspects of the industry - from accounting and bookkeeping (that I have some experience in) to trademark research (in which, until now, I had no knowledge whatsoever)... Every day is a new lesson, a new experience, and a new challenge. Am I scared? Not really. I am ready to learn. I feel that I am up to it. Who knows - maybe this is the one, the job that can turn into a career. I am hopeful.

   Another thing (I almost want to say "bad this time", but I honestly am not sure it is) that occurred this year is my separating from my husband. I don't quite know what to say - or write - about it out loud. Deeply covered family secrets came to light, certain truths got uncovered, resulting in a crisis. I felt robbed, deceived, and paralyzed. But, as my good friend said once, crisis is a good thing because it forces you to acknowledge the problem and deal with it. So, I picked myself up by... I don't even know what - and started dealing, and have not stopped since. And - believe it or not - things have been changing - quickly, drastically, from one day, almost from one moment to the next. One moment I was sitting at the Social Services building, applying for emergency help - next thing I know, just several days later, I am talking to a job recruiter at the staffing agency, going to an interview in a business outfit and a new smart jacket, my (newly) typed resume in my hand... and next thing I know - I am working again! Just this January, I was no closer to driving a car than flying to the moon - by the first week in February I was walking out of the DMV with a permit, and by now I have had three driving lessons... Not bad for someone who thought she'd never get behind the wheel.
Finally, I feel better - physically, emotionally, and mentally. No more stressful dinner times, no more thick-cut tension in the air, no more invisible elephants. Things are far from perfect, and there are many problems, but I have always been able to deal with that - or, rather, I have always dealt with problems, whether I felt able to or not. It's just now the additional weight has lifted, somehow the "burden" of adulting has become lighter. Yes, I have problems, but they are my problems; I know what they are and how to deal with them.

   With all the work and all the changes - what about my stitching? I have not been able to stitch quite as much as I would like to, but I did put in a few stitches here and there over the weekend...
    Here is the result of these short and sweet sessions...

Until next time,

Monday, February 1, 2016

Partial Translation - The Meaning of Life

As always, during tough times in life my muse wakes up and starts singing/dancing/creating... I have been listening to this song by Andrei Makarevich  for the past couple months, and I have always wanted to convey its meaning into English.

It's still a work in progress, but this is what I have so far...

The purpose of this life is that I ought to

With all my strength, my body, soul and mind

To go forth, to love, and do what I am meant to

And never ever leave myself behind.

Don't wait for death to come, don't wonder why -

And up until the end you'll breathe without fear.

The bullet that is meant for you you'll never hear -

And all the rest of them will have to pass you by.

Until next time,

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Hello, dear friends,

About a week ago, I decided to put the Twelve Days away for a while and started a new project. It's for my daughter's birthday (I hope it will be ready in time).

Designed by Julie Hasler

I had some "initial" threads for it in my stash to get it started, and also was able to pick up some more threads today. It's nice to have a craft store nearby, 15 minutes away from walking distance.

In other news - some pretty disgusting and despicable things were revealed to me over the past week. But that situation will be taken care of very soon, the garbage will be thrown out and the mud thoroughly wiped off from my porch. I know that in the end, my family will grow stronger and healthier in the process.

Until next time, 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Day Four...

Hello again, dear friends,
Who else thinks that today royally sucks? I do. First thing in the morning today, I learned that Alan Rickman passed away...

First - Lemmy, last Sunday - David Bowie... And now, before we all had a chance to catch our breath -  Alan Rickman...

I think I will curl up on the sofa and stitch, stitch, stitch...

Here is the Sampler update....

Seems fitting somehow - a row of crows...
I can't wait for this week to be over already. Hopefully, next one will be better.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Day Two and Three and the Good Old Days

Hello, dear friends,
For the past couple of days, I have been stitching on the "Twelve Days of Christmas." This is where I was on it two days ago.

The picture does not do the colors justice. I blame the weather: it's so gloomy and cloudy... And when I take a picture without a flash, it looks like it's been taken in the dungeon; when I use the flash - it wants to "flash out" everything to bright whites.

Here's one of the "dungeon" photos. I am stitching this with three threads over two, using Nancy Turner's home dyed threads.

Over the past week, I have also been listening to books: "Breakfast of Champions" and "Help". Each book is mind expanding in its own way. I keep thinking about the phrase "the good old days": "In the good old days, we used to..."  Or, "Those were the good old days!" I don't think that "the good old days" ever actually existed. Every year, every day in history past and present is filled with so many events, most of them are disturbing and troubling. The only place "the good old days" exist is in our minds. The more open our minds are, the less comforting the world feels.

A few days ago, I spent the whole day stitching and listening to an audio book. Nothing else existed but the project and the book... It was very comfortable. I only accepted what I chose to accept, believed what I chose to believe. Anything I did not want to exist, did not. And it was so pleasant... No worries, no troubles. No questions...

That is how it must be for someone with a closed mind. When you believe only what you choose to, know exactly how things are - and don't feel you need any additional information. You know everything you want to know. Nothing else in the world matters.

Next day, though, I had to get back to reality. I found out that on my very comfortable "good old" day, several things happened. First, David Bowie passed away. One of my friends is getting a divorce. The package I sent out got lost in the mail, and the kitchen sink got over full with dishes.

But, until I chose to learn of these things, my day was perfect. My life was perfect. I think our comfort in life depends on our level of acceptance of things. The more we accept, the more we learn - the more troubling our existence becomes. That is why life for an open minded, educated person is so much more complicated than for a closed minded one. It's a matter of choice, I suppose. And a matter of influence. How many things that go wrong are in our control to correct?

After two hours of frantic phone calls, I was able to locate the package and verify that it's on its way to the recipient. I washed the dishes and straightened up my kitchen... But David Bowie is dead. And my friend is still getting a divorce. I have to keep reminding myself that it's not my battle, not my problem. There is nothing I can do, and even if I could, it's not my place. Not my battle.

Kurt Vonnegut's "Cat's Cradle" is the next on my listening list. I can only imagine what kind of thoughts it will inspire.

Until next time,

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas

Hello, dear friends,
I am back - again! This wet weather is keeping me inside, next to the warm computer. Today, however, they promised a storm with thunder and lightning, which means the power may go out. Which means my computer will not be so warm any more.

This is the view from my bedroom window. Less than a week ago this was a football field. Today it's a lake - complete with ducks!

I took one day off from stitching after celebrating the latest finish. But after a day, I had to stitch... I know, I am an addict.
Paulette of Plum Street Samplers was hosting a SAL called "Twelve Days of Christmas". I stitched 'The First Day" into an ornament some time ago, when I saw the pattern in the Just Cross Stitch magazine.

I remember thinking then how I would love to stitch all 12 days - what a collection it could be! And now it will be.
I decided this time to make it into a sampler, just as the SAL suggests... Here's where I am now.

With the rain and the wind all day, there's no time like now to sit down with a cup of tea and continue on...

Until next time, 

Monday, January 4, 2016

First Finish of the New Year

Hello, dear friends,
I am back again! Yesterday, I finished the Christmas Heirloom Stocking, and today I am celebrating (so far, on the inside).

"Santa's Workshop" Heirloom Stocking

I have been living with this project for two months, and today, looking at the finished piece, I could not stop taking pictures. I think I took over 30 of them in all... one for every two days of stitching (haha).

Doll House Detail
I could not figure out what that white/grey thing on the top of the bar stool was until the very end. Once the last back stitch was put in, I saw it - it's an apron! The whole time I was expecting some sort of a cloak, the way it was draping all over that stool.

Noah's Arc detail

I look at the toys in these patterns and ask myself: do they still have toys like these? The arc, the animals, the house -they are so... realistic, so detailed. Honestly, I want to visit a nursery like the one in the stockings some day - just to reassure myself they still exist. Although, to be fair, this is a "workshop"... Never mind. I would still like to see the toys.

My personal favorite - and a matter of pride. Look at all this popcorn and cranberries on a string! All those French Knots in a row (and there are more of them elsewhere), three different colors. Making the long brag into a short one - I am proud of the result.

Another one of my favorite details - the coffee cup. I loved stitching it, not to mention - Santa drinks coffee, too? Makes sense, he has a lot of work to do on Christmas Eve...

Another detail... I did not particularly "like" the fruit bowl while stitching it, but once finished - it has become so colorful and sharp! Thank you, back stitch...

Fruit bowl with paint can and car
Here, I should probably stop, for as much as I know you, my readers, like cross stitch, twenty-something pictures of the same project taken from different angle will wear out the most enthusiastic and patient reader.

Perhaps one more picture of the whole stocking..

Until next time,

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Dreams and Goals

Well, the New Year has started. Hello, New Year! What will you bring to me and to my family?

I hope for more positive experiences in my everyday life. I want to be less stressed, less tired. In general, I hope that this year will be happier than the last one.

I plan to keep going to the gym and lose more weight. Ever since I started exercising six months ago, I have been feeling more positive and energetic, and as I work out, my head gets clearer. Not as much running around like a headless chicken, forgetting what I was doing every five minutes. I can keep to the task and complete it (most times). Those who know PTSD will agree with me that it's no small achievement. Plus, being able to fit in my old pants once again is a great motivator!

I plan to expand and improve my skills.. Now what does that mean? Originally, I thought of going back to college and completing my Bachelor's degree in Accounting. Now, after a meeting with a counselor and doing the "cost vs. benefits" list over and over in my mind, I have decided instead to take a Community College Machine Sewing class. I've been wanting to learn how to sew "properly" for years now. It's a great investment in myself - and it will pay off a lot sooner (unlike the distant BS degree) in my "home business" plans.

I plan to write letters to my friends...

I plan to stitch!

Not a long list. But, on the up side, it is completely within my reach. When it comes to goals, I don't feel like reaching for the sky, - a tree branch just over my head is good for now.

What are your goals for the this year, my friends?

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Hello, dear friends,
Traditionally, this time seems to be the period of "coming off" the Christmas shopping craze, drawing year-end conclusions and drawing out goals for the New Year.
For me, this season has been a non-traditional one. For starters, I decided not to put up a tree this year. With Joe working every day  - except Christmas - it seems that, no sooner we get it set up and decorated, it's going to be time to take it down.
Then - presents. Every year I tell myself that I am not going to go crazy shopping for gifts, and yet every time at Christmas I get swept up and carried off into the crazy shopping spree. I don't enjoy the shopping. I feel rushed and over-spent. The crowds of shoppers in every store always make me anxious... As a result, when Christmas morning comes, I feel stressed, spent and tired. I just want it to be over.
This year - non-traditionally - I exercised self-control. Each member of my family got one gift and one gift card. I set limits and I stuck to them. After all, if Christmas is the season of love and giving, then let's finally find out what love and giving is all about - without the heavy gift boxes and the heaps of trashed up wrapping paper to boot!
I am satisfied to conclude that my exercise paid off in spades. For, although we did not have a flashy Christmas - and the kids even mentioned that "it was not a real Christmas this year" - this season was the sanest I have felt in years. Not excited, not exalted, - but calmer than usual, and, above all, sane. Sanity is the best gift I got from the Powers That Be this Christmas (Yule, Solstice) season... and I appreciate it more than it shows on the outside.

"Merry Christmas"
Design by Nancy Turner
With sanity by my side (like a loyal friend and sidekick) I noticed that I do, in fact, have a social life! Letters, Christmas cards - and even one "care envelope" - found their way to my house from friends all over the world.. We have been corresponding through the year(s) - and they have not forgotten me. I was - and still am - overwhelmed with attention. Thank you.... This is the second gift of the season that I am grateful more than I can ever express - connection, not being forgot by my friends...

Here, I have to apologize for my behavior. I myself am lousy at writing Christmas cards - or any other cards, for that matter. All I can say is - thank you, my friends! You made my holiday season complete.

New Year was celebrated in the same spirit as Christmas - no excess. I did not worry about the house being clean, or "special" dishes to cook. There is a belief I was raised with that says the way you meet the New Year is the way you are going to spend it. So, there has to be good food in the house - something everyone likes. Every family member has to have money in their pocket (purse, wallet) - at least one dollar so they don't go into the New Year broke. The trash has to be taken out (well, that was me more than the tradition here), and there has to be good mood, good spirit among family and friends that gather.

All the essentials were taken care of - well, almost all of them... Who would have thought that it's the last and most important ingredient - the good mood and spirit - was the most difficult... Just six hours before midnight, Joe told me that his sister had two heart attacks in one day. She was in the hospital by the time he found out, in stable condition, but the news, of course, shook him up....
It seems like every year, right around Christmas, something bad happened in our family. Year after year, I keep hearing Joe's story about his father dying on Christmas morning - so in part Christmas seemed like a day of mourning to me, rather than celebration. I was respectful. I understood - or at least I thought I did. My own family, the one I came from, lives thousands of miles away, so if anything should happen, I am lucky to find out about it days or sometimes weeks later, by email. Grief is no foreigner to me, either. But I try not to dwell on it. At times I can't help it, and tears come without warning, and I wipe them off, and try to go on with what I am doing. I know that grief has to run its course, and at the end of that course is acceptance, which is necessary for all of us still living to keep living. If I fell down on the floor heartbroken and crying every time I thought of my grandmother who passed away some eight years ago, I would not be able to do anything else but weep. But I don't want to weep. I want to live. I want to feel calm, comfortable, and - what gives? - even happy some day.  I don't get enough of these emotions throughout the year as it is. So, when something bad happened on New Years this time, I... did not want to hear about it. After hearing the facts - heart attack, hospital, stable condition, daughter is with her, and nothing need be done - I wanted to go on with meeting my New Year. Was that selfish of me? Of course it was. But good feelings have been in short supply this past year, and I wanted  - nay, determined to! - meet the New Year as close to happy as possible.

After dinner, a friend stopped by. We drank Martinelli's (the girls and friend), beer (me) and champagne (Joe and me)... We played chess - or,rather, joked around and made faces while moving the pieces around. We laughed and we talked - about everything and about nothing, with no particular topic in mind. Rita, my oldest daughter, made me laugh. She does have sharp sense of humor and a talent for telling stories. She wants to be an actress, but thinks that she's too shy to do it "for reals". I hope she can achieve her dream some day not too long from now. Vera told stories about school, horrible substitutes and detention horrors. She can be very descriptive and insightful. I can see a young writer developing.

Today, thinking about last night's "quiet party" of ours, I feel (once again) tears welling in my eyes. But they are happy tears, brought on by happy memories. And that is the best way to meet the New Year.. so that there will be more to remember in the years to come.

Happy New Year!