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I Knit Around

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Things I Wonder If You Wonder About - Folkcat Exposed

My apologies in advance if you came looking for fiber content, there isn't much today. All I have to report re: WIPs is that Wearable Hug 13 (WH13), the Divine Diva, is well underway, and I'm about a quarter of the way into the second of three skeins of yarn. No pictures, I'm afraid.

I'm now going to do something I don't do very often here - expose you to some of my musings. If you don't want to deal with them, please feel free to skip on to the next blog on your reading list, I won't think any less of you at all. Do be sure to come back tomorrow, when I'll be reporting on Knitting Around with Fishes at the Milford Fish Hatchery.

Folkcat's Musings

I admit it. Even though I do some slightly outrageous things - like asking permission to sit on the sling of a trebuchet while knitting - I am actually frequently riddled with feelings of extreme insecurity and shyness. I've sometimes wondered if I have a mild form of bipolar disorder, since I have days I feel great and seem able to do anything, alternating with days I feel vulnerable, weak, and afraid.

Part of me is sure that it's just normal for any human being to feel that way. On my down days, though, it seems a little too easy sometimes to suspect that I'm not normal.

But maybe that itself is normal.

On the down days, I often wind up wondering what other people think about me. Again, I'm sure that's fairly normal. I think. As a blog reader and writer, it's too easy to find myself comparing my life as blogged to what others do and blog about.

Some of the things I wonder if you wonder about me in comparison to other knit bloggers:

1. Why doesn't she ever talk about her kids, or other family?

Because Gryphon and I don't have any children. We married fairly late - I was 32, he was 42 - over 12 years ago, and we once thought that we wanted children. So we let nature take its course. Nothing happened. With budget always having been tight for us, aggressively exploring fertility issues, or even adoption, was simply never an option.

Eventually, having put our energies into growing as individuals and a couple, and finding lots of things that we enjoyed doing and participating in, we came to a conclusion that having children probably would change our lives so much that it wouldn't be fair to either us or the children. Around the same time, I had health issues that turned out to be a huge ovarian cyst and severe endometriosis, requiring surgery and removal of an ovary. The surgeon's assessment of my remaining ovary is that it's severely deformed. Even if we felt having children were an appropriate thing for us to do, it's unlikely that we'd ever be able to have our own.

Enough time has progressed that I'm now 45, Gryphon is 55. I know lots of people have children or adopt that late in their lives, but we still feel that our life as it already is provides enough of a daily struggle - we don't quite have enough income to live without serious budgetary stress, and we have no extra for savings. Our cars are currently uninsured, which is legal in New Hampshire, but it makes me uneasy when I have to go somewhere. Even if we wanted to add children to our lives now, how could we afford it?

As for other family - Gryphon's is all in New Jersey, and he doesn't have a close relationship with them at all. My family is mostly in Syracuse, NY, where I was born and raised. But we were never much for talking on the phone. My sister, the computer geek in the family, is online, but has such severe MS that she is only able to dictate at most a sentence a day, and she needs assistance to use the computer to read or write e-mail. My mother and father don't want to introduce a computer into their life - my father would never use it, and my mother knows herself well enough to realize that she'd get sucked into doing nothing but playing games and browsing the Internet all day, so she just doesn't want to bring the temptation into the house. My brother lives in Los Angeles, and he's online, and has even written e-mail occasionally. But he goes into long phases where he doesn't feel like communicating much, either.

All of which makes it hard to share much news about my family. Gryphon and I get to Syracuse to visit maybe once a year (though when we had the bead store, we weren't able to get away for three years), usually right after Christmas when his company closes down for a week anyhow. We're hoping to be able to afford the gas to travel there this year, which will be the first time I've visited since I began blogging. So you may hear about them at last around January.

2. Why doesn't she talk about any pets? She's a knitter, isn't she required by law to have at least one cat or dog?

It sometimes seems like that, doesn't it, as you go around the knit blogs?

Our lack of pets is not for a lack of interest in having any. Fact is, we're renters, and it's hard to find an affordable apartment in decent shape, in a good neighborhood, that allows cats and/or dogs. We would love to have a cat for companionship, or a small dog, but it's just not possible where we are now. The stress of searching for an apartment, coming up with money for first/last/deposit (when we have no savings), and then actually engineering the move of all our piles of things into the new place is not something we're prepared to deal with for some time.

I have faith that all things come in their proper time, though. I grew up in a family that always had at least one or two pets around. I know there will be a cat or dog for me again, when we're able to deal with it.

Meanwhile, I can live vicariously through all you knit bloggers who share pictures and stories about your furry family members on your blogs. Please don't ever stop doing that, it means a lot to me!

3. If money is so tight for them, why don't we ever see her talking about a job?

Me working outside the home is a tough issue. I have asthma that reacts to perfume and cigarette smoke - even to the residual aroma of someone who just stepped outside for their smoking break. If I wind up in an office working alongside someone who wears scented products or smokes (or, ghu forbid, both!), I'm likely to wind up having to go home sick from the asthmatic coughing fit that will ensue.

After a few such incidents some years ago, Gryphon and I concluded that we were better off with me working as "homemaker and hearthkeeper" for our family of two. My highest skills are actually in areas that apply to that job. I'm talented at bargain shopping, and can find the clearance corner of any store I walk into for the first time within mere minutes. I'm an inventive cook, and can make very tasty meals from the most inexpensive of discounted produce and day-old bakery goods. I am an extreme multi-crafter, and if we need a home decor item, or frequently even if we need a specialized tool, implement, or organizer, I can make our own that's better than anything you can buy, and less expensive, too. As I get better with my knitting, too, and as we can find money in the budget to buy me the yarns to work with, I can knit our own garments to the degree that we want knitted clothing in our wardrobes.

All of these things greatly enhance our home life, and make it more possible to live on a single income. But they do take time - time that I wouldn't have if I had to go to a regular job outside the home.

Working outside the home adds extra expenses to the budget, too. I'd have to have a wardrobe good enough for an office dress code; we'd put extra miles on the car on a regular basis; I'd have to be able to pack nutritious foods for meals at work.

So, I do talk about my job. Only it's not a paying job outside the home like so many of you have. Instead, my job is to continue making our home life function, as effectively and inexpensively as possible. If I can eventually find a way that my crafting can earn me some money, too, that's icing on the cake.

I'm Done Now

Okay, I'm sure that's more than enough. I hope I haven't scared you off. If anything, I hope this helps you understand a bit better why my blog isn't as filled as others with the daily dealings of having to care for kids, pets, driving around on errands all the time, squeezing doctor's appointments into a lunch break, and so on. It's just Gryphon and me to take care of, and our needs are pretty simple.

Thanks for indulging me these moments of wondering. It helps a lot to be able to voice these thoughts. I promise, I'm still knitting, and you'll hear more about it soon.

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