Through the Back Loop

Adventures in knitting, fiber arts, and family.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A Little Bit More About Me

Things you've done: (ones I've done are in bold)
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb (does a sheep count?)
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 10 provinces
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. alphabetized your cd's
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146.Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Time for Healing

Several years ago when my husband’s job was being phased out and he made the decision to return to school and earn his master’s degree, I never thought that our lives would turn out like this. Poor and happy.

I know that you don’t need a lot of money to be happy, but sometimes it sure would be nice to find out! There was a period of two or three years before his job was in jeopardy where we had two full incomes and there was even an emergency saving’s account with enough money to get us through a few months, “just in case.” That money was used up in July 2004, and we have never been able to put away since. Stressful? Yes. Happy. You bet!

For two years, John has looked for a full-time school counselor position near where we have chosen to raise our family. Out of hundreds of applicants he would sometimes get an interview, but never a job offer. This tormented him. Many times he lost out to “young kids” with the fresh-eyed enthusiasm of youth, but who also had no real experience. That left him feeling worthless. Last year he got a job, but we were saddened by the fact that it was 3 1/2 hours away. For more than two years I have been asked if John has found something close to home nearly every day. It is exhausting. Last year I would tell them about his job in Lac du Flambeau and instead of congratulations I would hear either, “so, are you moving up there?” or, ”so far away?”

Our original plan was for him to work up there for one year and then use that “experience” to make him more marketable in our home area. He had one interview this year at the school district where I work. They hired a fresh young whippersnapper who earned his degree eight months ago, plays ball with the vice-principal and graduated from the high school a few years ago. “Good ‘ole Joe,” was excited to think that he would be counseling the younger siblings of his friends and working side by side with his former teachers. We were crushed. Last year, John fought with a hundred other applicants to get an interview. This year we have heard that there are often two hundred or more applying for each job. We have learned to be thankful for the job he has.

This has been a summer of healing. We have played in the sun, picnicked, swam, and calmed our minds to our new way of life. It turns out that our second home in Minocqua actually offers us the kind of life we have dreamed of. Canoe camping, state and national forests, fishing, and a slower pace are all part of the natural landscape there. And there are three yarn shops within a half-hour drive. We have talked about moving, but there have been no real job opportunities for me, and to be honest, I’m afraid of the work involved in a move – our house still needs a lot or work to be considered saleable. So, we have set our minds to living in two homes for another year, possibly more. We feel lucky that we have two incomes, we feel lucky that we have two homes and that one of them offers us limitless play. We did it last year with the added torture of continuous family medical problems so we hope that this year will seem calmer in comparison. I can’t imagine that another year of strokes, heart attacks, colon cancer and septic infections are in our parent’s futures, so if we survived that – this year should be a breeze.

So if you see me, don’t ask if John has found a job because he found one a year ago and we are happy and content. And very poor. But we are also very blessed.