Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I dropped a glass the other day, and it shattered. I don't drop or break things often, and I was startled at how loud the sound of the glass shattering was.

It was loud, and violent, and left behind little jagged edges that made me bleed.

Which made me think of the heart, and how, when it breaks, there is no sound. There is no loud shattering announcing to the world that it has broken. The only person who may bleed from the jagged edges it leaves behind is you. How many times can a heart break before you've lost too many of those little shards, and you can't ever get it glued back together, whole again?

It seems wrong, somehow. When you break a leg or an arm, you've got a cast on, announcing to the world that you've been damaged. But when your heart is broken, and let's face it, the pain from that is far worse than any bone in a cast can ever be, no one knows unless you tell them.

And so, no one will know. I'll paste on the smile I've gotten very good at flashing at people, to distract them from the pain in my eyes. I'll keep it quiet, because letting people know would open a world of issues and some friends, who have finally stopped looking at me with pity and concern in their eyes, would go back to wondering how close I really am to the edge, which is honestly something they do not want to know.

The thing is, when all is right with the world, and our hearts are bursting with love, the joy that fills you, fulfills you, makes you feel whole, no matter how damaged your body may be. Love can make all the other horror in the world melt away. It bolsters you, like a shot of whiskey in your tea, against the things that are cold, and wrong and hard in the world.

When the heart is broken, there is unbearable pain, and to ignore the pain is to feel hollow. So for now, I am hollow. My arthritis has flared, and badly. I can barely walk, my knees are swollen, my hips are throbbing, and my spine feels like it is on fire. I am exhausted, from the arthritis fatigue, and the very fact that the pain wears me out, it tears at my soul, and I don't have that much will to fight things sometimes. But I can take the physical. I haven't had a day without pain in over three years, it is my constant companion, and at times, it was the only thing reminding me I was still alive. I can take the physical. But the pain in my heart, the pain of letting go of something you held so close, of realizing something is completely, truly and finally gone. The feeling of those little shards poking around inside you, making you bleed on the inside is just too much to manage as well.

Hollow isn't such a bad thing, though. Hollow doesn't hurt. Hollow doesn't make me feel so overwhelmed with pain that I might vomit. Hollow is empty. But emptiness implies a space that maybe, just maybe, will be filled again.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

France Trip- Part 3- WWII Sites

If you go to this region of France, you must visit some of the military sites. I was really impressed with one museum in particular, the one at Pegasus Bridge. If you go to Omaha Beach, I'd do the beach and the American War Memorial, going back to the museum there only if you've got time, but the Pegasus Bridge Museum is well worth a trip.

Omaha Beach

The American Military Cemetery

The cemetary is truly awe inspiring and beyond lovely. You cannot not be struck by it.

Pegasus Bridge

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Trip Recap, part 2- Home and Honfleur

Good Morning! I've been up since 4, so I thought I'd get on and do some posting. I have so much to catch up on. A thousand e-mails, most of which are junk, and I'm dying to read your blogs and get on Ravelry, and get stuck back into some projects.

But first, a few images from our Gite, which is basically a French rental property... So, seriously, it was in the middle of nowhere. The population of the village we were in was 48, so when the 9 of us arrived we significantly increased the population. There were apple trees everywhere, as Normandy is known for it's Calvados and Cider, and, on our property, a walnut tree, which we found when a walnut fell on Moose's head, leaving a nicely shaped bump.

This is my room. You've already seen my gorgeous sheepy view, but here is the bed, and you can see the fireplace chimney cutting into the room. No photo of the fireplace really does it justice.

The house was packed with large antiques, and we wondered how the hell they got them up the staircase, which was stone, and spiral.
Here's the armoire in my room, you can see all the yarn in there.

There were three bedrooms, a bathroom with two sinks and a tub, and a separate room with just a toilet on the second floor. On the first day, the toilet seat broke, literally coming off the toilet. Which made things interesting. On the third floor there were two more bedrooms, and a good sized bathroom with a shower. So, really there were 9 people with one functional toilet, and one shower. Also, we found on the first day, that the stove was VERY small, with no broiler/grill, and the oven was only large enough for one dish, and took ages to come to heat, which proved a little challenging in cooking for 9 each night.

One of my favorite towns was Honfleur.

This is me, with my sisters.

Probably the most famous attraction in Honfleur is St. Catherine's Church, which is the oldest wooden church in Europe, built by ship builders in the 15th c.

Because of safety concerns (lightning strikes, storms) and structural concerns of the weight and long term effects on the wooden structure that ringing bells would have, a separate bell tower was built.

Ben and I lit a candle for Adam in St. Catherine's. Here we are outside.

We had lunch on the harbor, where I got my croque monsieur fix (the most delicious sandwich ever created), and where we were given this in much the way restaurants here would give you bread.

Ben and Moose totally cracked me up playing with them. This is probably my favorite photo of Ben.

And this photo of Moose KILLS me! She was doing her "French Chef" impression.

So there is some of Honfleur. If you want to see the rest, they're on Flickr. More soon!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Trip Recap, part 1 Sheep.

So, I'm back. I got in Thursday night, around midnight, and my family stayed at mine for the night. We were all wired, and went to bed around 2:30, waking up at 6. Then yesterday, I was knackered, and fell asleep on the sofa, waking up all confused, crawling into bed and waking up this morning around 4:30. Good times. The weather has been rainy today and my knees are swollen like softballs. Interestingly, when in france, my lower spine swelled, too, that knob, above your bum and below your back was all swollen, and I kept joking with Moose I was growing a tail. I had a really wonderful time, and as always, when I visit England, I really have a hard time leaving.

I remember the first time Adam took me over. We'd been together about 3 months, and I knew I would marry this man. I was really nervous about visiting for the first time, because I knew there was a good chance we'd live there someday, and I was hoping I wouldn't hate it. I loved it. It's a difficult thing to explain, but going to England felt like going home to me. When I'm there, it's as if I can feel my pulse slow, my shoulders relax. I love it there. I always thought I'd live there with Adam someday, and now it looks like I may live there on my own someday. The main problem is expense. My in-laws are in a really beautiful part of the country, and even a teeny-tiny two bedroom would cost me around 550K. Ouch. I just wish I lived close enough to have my nephew for weekends, to see my sister more often, and to just... be there. Sure, it's not a perfect country, no country is, and maybe if I lived there some of the shine would come off, but I do love Blighty.


The trip to France on the Ferry was fine. I was really impressed with the ferry, being more used to the Cape Cod- Nantucket Ferry, and I thought it was really quite good.

We arrived at our Gite (more on that later), and the first thing I was thrilled to see were...


Here is the view from my bedroom window- eat your hearts out.

That's an apple tree they're hanging out under.

What's that? You want more sheep? Of course you do!

Sheep on the run! Everyone except me loves lamb, and so every time they'd do they're little stampede, I'd shout "Don't run, I'm not a sheep eater, I'm not a sheeeeep eeeeeater!"

Now, most of the sheep were really shy. Except two. One was a lame sheep, who kind of broke my heart. We called him gimpy. My father in law would get us fresh bread and croissants each morning, and each night, there would be a tiny bit left, which we'd feed to the sheep. I am seriously hoping the odd crust of bread won't hurt them. Gimpy was the first one to come over and eat out of my hand. He was missing a hind foot, but got along ok.

This is me, feeding Gimpy. And here is one of my favorite photos of him. Or her. I'm not sure. There was only one definite ram in the bunch, which doesn't mean there weren't more. It's a little blurred, because there was always low light. We'd wake up with insane fog every morning (which is the only reason the area wasn't bombed in the war-- fog), and then we'd get home at dusk.

So that's our beloved gimpy. Sometimes we'd find apples on our side of the fence, and Ben would feed them to Gimpy. Near the end of our stay, much to our surprise, we were standing near the fence, and all of a sudden one of the sheep ring leaders came running up to us, to be petted and scratched. We found some left over bread and fruit for her, and for the last few days, every time we came out, she'd run over to the fence. Now, I'm especially curious if anyone can tell me what kind she is, her wool was so soft, I'm guessing Merino, but I'm sure people here can tell me.

Here are a couple more sheep shots.

Now, everyone in the family kept asking if I knew what sort they were. I, shamefully, did not. Bizarrely, I can feel a sweater and tell you it's fiber content with pretty good accuracy, but I don't know sheep breeds. And I should!

You can see the rest of the sheep photos here. I'd love it if you left a comment speculating on breed!

I did not knit as much as I thought I would on this trip. There WAS knitting, but we were out and about so much, and at night, we'd play games, so I really didn't have much knitting time, which was fine, but I packed WAAAAAY too much yarn!

Also my mother and sister had both said they wanted to learn on the trip, so I packed needles and cheap yarn for them, and when I'd ask if they wanted a lesson, they'd say NO! But someone did want to learn...

He did really well! It was hard, because by the time we'd get home at night, he'd be tired, and he'd have dinner and go to bed soon after, but he did enjoy the knitting, and once he got into it, he wanted to do it all the time. We'll work some more when I'm next over. I need to try and find him some short, fatter needles.

Ok, so that's all for now. I'm beat and in considerable pain, so I'm going to do some knitting of my own.

More on actual France tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bon Voyage!

Thanks to everyone, for your kind words and suggestions. In the end, I am bringing the Cash Iroha, to do a two-colored Danica for the Moose. I am bring 10 skeins of silky wool to start the Garter Stitch Wrap from Scarf Style.

I am also bringing the Bar Harbor Shell bag. I find the written pattern a little ambiguous at times, but the designer has been great about answering my questions.

I mentioned I knit a little of it the other night, after the nightmare. I have to say, this pattern is totally addictive. Like the entrelac crack (which only rhymes if you pronounce it incorrectly, as entre-lack, I know, but if the president of the USA can consistently mispronounce words, then so can I, damn it). So I am brining that along, too.

Oh, I'm bringing my neutral Lady E to France, where I will be sure to call it "on-tra-lock" which is, how I think it's supposed to be pronounced. I have no doubt a French person in the know will correct me if I'm wrong! ;)

So this is it for a couple of weeks. Looking forward to reading about what you all get up to in the coming weeks, when I'm back on the 18th.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Dreams and Nightmares.

I had two dreams last night, which awoke and, in some ways, upset me. The first is one I have had many times before. It's a separation dream. As a child, if my parents were going away, which happened rarely, and left Moose and I in the care of our aunt, I would always have this dream that I died. I would dream that I died, and could see my loved ones, grieving for me. It would so upset me, that they were upset, that I would wake up in tears. Over the years I have had this dream over and over again, always at times when there was going to be a separation of sorts. I know what the dream means, but it doesn't make it any less disturbing.

The difficult thing is watching, so vividly, people grieving for you. And you can't do anything, can't tell them you're ok. I remember when Adam died, someone said "you know, he can see you, he's with you all the time," and I said, "I hope you're wrong. I hope he can't see me just now. I hope he can't see me for a little while. It would hurt him to see me this devastated. It would hurt him to see my pain, and he has been hurt enough."

I had the dream I died again, last night. And I was watching someone grieve for me, and again, I could not do anything to stop the pain, to reassure. I woke up in tears, and got out of bed, at 3 am.

On the plus side, I finished Ben's sweater sleeves, and started the Bar Harbor Shell bag, just to see how the pattern worked.

Finally, around 4:30, I went back to bed. I then dreamed again, just before I woke up, crying at 9:30.

I dreamed I met the man who has Adam's heart. I know he was 59 and living in New York, so he'd be 61 now. I wonder if he has children, and I remember hoping he did, when I found out he'd be getting Adam's heart.

In the dream, we were walking toward each other, and as we got close, and he began to speak, I reached out my hand, and placed it against his chest. I could feel his heart beat, and I stepped closer, holding him, placing my face against his chest, so I could hear his heart beating. Hear Adam's heart, beating. I remembered the thousand times I had lay with Adam, late at night, my head on his chest, listening to his heart beat as we talked into the wee hours of the morning. And I cried. I wept. But they were tears of joy, that this one thing had happened, and it was miraculous, and wonderful.

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