Stepping Back

More than once in the last few years, I have tearfully prayed to have the opportunity to jump forward or go back in time. To do things over again, make new decisions, see things a new way, anywhere but NOW.

Three months ago I lost my job. It was job, not a passion, but a job nonetheless. I can’t say that I’ve missed a single day of it but still… a job. It was a devastating shock.

To keep me off the couch and keep money coming in, I began working as a seasonal cashier at a local chain craft store. I knew I could do it, I’d been there before, 15 years ago, before my job. It was refreshing. Customers were grateful and creative and happy. They deliberately looked at my tag so they could thank me by name. I saw people I hadn’t seen in many years. I met people I had only previously spoken with by phone at my job.

While working at the craft store, word was getting out that I was looking for more stable employment. A local framer I worked for in college reached out to me with an offer. I am touched that they still think so much of me that they wanted to hired me on the spot. I love working with my hands again, with art and color and with people who want to do business with me.

About a month ago, I met someone who makes a living in the acting and film business. Our discussions have reignited some of the excitement I felt while studying film in college.

So, over a sink full of dishes, I had an epiphany. I had prayed to go back in time and start over. I have done just that, one step back at a time. Before my job I managed two separate local chain craft stores. Before that I worked at a local frame shop. Before that I studied film in college. My prayer has been answered. I’m back where I started. Wow.

As scary as the last few months has been, I’m confident that I am in the right place. I’m headed in the right direction. I’ve been given an opportunity to make new decisions and reshape my life. I’m hopeful.

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little knitting

Finding out there is a new baby to knit for is exciting. Little things are adorable and quick and perfect for trying new techniques without an overwhelming commitment, and did I mention adorable. The only issue I have is that they become obsolete so quickly… the knitwear, not the baby.

Maybe that’s why I knit a sweater to fit a one year old for my 5 month old baby cousin for Christmas.

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On the other hand, I think my daughter has finally slowed down growing long enough to merit a real, honest to goodness, hand knit sweater of her own. Up until now it’s been gloves, hats, slippers, stuff that doesn’t use too much yarn or time since it will either be outgrown or lost before it gets worn out.

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So, as per her request, her sweater is a hoodie, purple, and has those “braidy things” (aka cables).

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Today is not that day.

Last year, August 16 to be exact, I tore up my knee while on vacation. The next morning, I woke up before everyone else, leg propped on a rolled up sleeping bag, swollen and throbbing. Lying there, I picked up my phone and read through the Facebook updates from overnight. Having registered to run in the Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon for September, I was receiving their updates. That morning, they posted this…

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I cried.

I had no idea the extent of my injury. All I knew is that my knee was the size of a melon and I needed my friends’ help to limp across the room. Before that moment I’m not sure I realized how important running had become to me.

Fast forward through diagnosis, surgery and physical therapy. I became determined. I was not yet done with running.

Today I ran my first half marathon.  Thirteen point one miles in two hours and forty-two minutes by my clock.  I am exhausted and sore and thirsty and hungry, but I’m also excited and proud.  A year ago I was on crutches. Today I ran – a lot!

There will indeed be a day when I can no longer run, but Today is NOT that day.

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Catching Up

Grab a cuppa and I’ll try to bring you up to date since my last post.

A little more than a month ago, my cousin birthed an adorable baby boy.  Yay, another cuddly person to knit for.  I look forward to watching him and his awesome parents grow together and learn from each other.  Welcome to the family, little James.

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Two months ago, the tomato plant I bought from a local farmer’s market started to actually grow tomatoes!  I’ve only recently begun liking tomatoes so this is a new thing for me. My tomatoes are finally almost ripe and I’m probably more excited than I should be for something so normal.

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Three months ago, I took a second job. I’m the knit and crochet teacher at two area Michael’s locations. It was done on a whim but it’s been fun. I was scared to death at first. What if I’m unable to communicate the process of this art? Everyone creates differently so who says that I’m the one to pass on the techniques? Using the lesson plans and materials provided, I’ve taught a handful of classes now. I’ve seen the light bulbs go on. It’s exciting and I hope that those I’ve taught will continue to grow their skills.

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Four months ago, I dragged my running friends to the beach to run in a race. One of us ran the 5k, four of us (myself included) ran the 10k, and two ran the half marathon. Seems like a long way to drive to run 6.4 miles but good friends, good food, and the perfect setting made it more than just a race.

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Five months ago, my husband and I separated. I moved out. It was a very difficult decision culminating over many years of discussion, discord and disagreement. It is still painful at times, especially not seeing my children every day (thank God for FaceTime). Overall, I still think we made the right decision for us. We are all, kids included, more relaxed. We are not waiting for the next outburst. We are finding a rhythm that works for us. My kids have begun calling my little house “The Cottage”. I’m happy with this. A cottage is a comfortable place of refuge and love, full of ‘happily ever afters’.

Moving Right Along…

It has been roughly 20 weeks since my ACL reconstruction surgery in November. According to my physical therapy protocol, between weeks 18 and 22 I should be working on:

-advanced plyometrics (jumping)
-increasing pace and distance of running as desired
-beginning sprints at 3/4 speed
-agility drills (carioca, figures 8’s, progressing as tolerated)
-sports specific drills

My first time out on the track ‘running’ was awkward at best. I had no *bounce* in my leg and felt like a baby rhino plodding down the track. Each time out has been smoother but I’m soooo slooooow. I can get the mileage in okay, but I’m sure that’s just because I’m still at a 13:00-14:00/mile average pace for anything over 2 miles.

My biggest hurdle has been all mental. My physical therapist will show me a new exercise to do, most recently on the slide board, and I will freeze. I know what I’m supposed to do and I trust my therapist, it just takes a good 2-3 minutes to convince myself that this will not cause devastating pain. I’ve lost a certain amount of trust in my own body and its abilities and trust is harder to rebuild than muscle.

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For motivation I am registering for my first 10k. By April 20 I will need to be able to survive 6.4 miles. I’m up to 4.5 miles so far. I have no delusions of winning, my victory will be crossing the finish line.

Best of all….ROAD TRIP!

…and DONE.

Well, I did it.  Three hundred and sixty-six days.  Three hundred and sixty-seven pictures.  Yes, that’s one extra picture if you’re keeping score.  I missed a day early on but there were two days for which I couldn’t pick just one image.  A lot of the pictures are junk to fill the day but there are some pleasant surprises mixed in.

One of the goals of this project was to remember to take a second to capture the moment.  To do it instead of just thinking about it.  Some of my favorite images are from times when I had to remind myself of this goal.

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It has been interesting for me to look back over these pictures.  I have used them to help me remember exactly when something else occurred, as in “oh yea, that was also the day we…”  They have brought up some wonderful memories of the past year and some not so great.  It is curious to watch to evolution of events:

new friends,

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new projects,

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family,

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and unexpected hospital trips (ugh).

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I noticed the weeks after my knee surgery are filled with shots of, well, my knee and my cat and my knitting.  Such was my view of the world at the time.

I’d like to hope that I am developing a better eye for photography, or at least figuring out how to capture and edit the images into products that are pleasing to me.  Very few of these images are edited much beyond cropping, but as the year progressed I did have fun playing with some free editing tools.

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I  tagged the photos to see what was in front of my lens most often.

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Are you kidding me??

I met with the orthopedic surgeon, or actually I met with a doctor in the same office, but not the one I was referred to.  At the time no one explained this switch to me but I went with it.  I didn’t really care for his disinterested approach to my situation so I scheduled another appointment, this time specifically with the doctor I was referred to.

It was then, after I had arrived and paid my (second) co-pay and waited to be seen, that the nurse explained to me that the doctor I was referred to no longer performs surgery, he’s semi-retired.  She said I was probably switched to the first doctor because he is the one that usually sees the knee cases now.  She also explained that the first doctor had written that he did not recommend ACL reconstruction surgery, primarily due to my age.  MY AGE?!  I’m 38.  Ok, I’ll be 39 very soon, but still…his reason was MY AGE!  It seems that most 38-year-old women are not active enough to merit a shiny new ACL.

Nurse leaves and shares my calmly expressed words of disagreement with the doctor.  Doctor enters and we go over it again.  I explain my level of activity and my goals for future activity.  He has never heard of Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder.

Maybe I’m missing something here.  I ask about risks, complications, any potential issues that would explain why no one in the entire office wants to operate on my knee.  “No” he says, “no risks, complications or problems.  It would be a pretty standard surgery and recovery.  We’ll refer you to someone else” and then “do you need anything for the pain?”

me = speechless

Maybe I shouldn’t have been knitting in the waiting room.  <sarcasm font>