Friday, March 03, 2006

RevGal Meme: Practices Past, Present, and Future

The RevGal Friday Meme is about what we practice, now and in the past. None of these have anything to do with Lent, which I don't observe. So, here are four things I have practiced:

1) Yoga. Unfortunately this is a past practice. I have scoliosis. Most of my youth it didn’t bother me, but in my late twenties I started noticing some stiffness, and once I pulled my back severely. After that I started doing yoga regularly, and my back felt great. I kept this up for several years, but then I became interested in improving my cardiovascular health, and I couldn’t manage to do both yoga and aerobics, so the yoga went.

2) Curves. I’ve been going to Curves regularly for about two years. I’m probably the only person who has managed to gain weight while going to a gym, but I feel like at least my muscles are strong. I like Curves because I don’t have to think about what machine to use or exercise to do: there’s one sequence and that’s all ya got. When I have too many options I tend to dither.

3) Breastfeeding. This taught me what “natural” really means. Oh yeah, that was a bigger commitment than I realized at the time. I pumped milk at work, and I decided that I wouldn’t worry if DramaQueen wasn’t weaned until three or four. Well, ah, teething turned out to be a real challenge, and then when I was pregnant with Firecracker I began to feel a teensy bit resentful of the whole business. And then when Firecracker was born so early, I was determined to give her breast milk because it’s ideal for premature babies. She was fed through a tube at first, because she was too small for either breast or bottle. I encouraged DramaQueen to keep nursing to keep the milk up. And then little Firecracker adamantly refused to nurse, despite lactation consultants and devices and sheer will on my part. The hospital was very supportive but it was an hour away and I couldn’t be there at every feeding, so she had bottles of my milk. When she came home I pumped and gave the milk to her in bottles and endured multiple bouts of mastitis, and began to have to mix milk with formula. DramaQueen then weaned herself and that was the end of my milk supply. I am not sure that I have ever been so determined about anything, even if it meant putting my health on the line (and I did end up in the hospital for three days with a raging infection). When a La Leche League leader tells you you might want to let it go, you know you’ve perhaps gone too far.

4) Reading to my children. Now, I have to admit that I don’t always get to the recommended book a day with DramaQueen, but she’s at an age where she’s trying to read by herself, so I count the “Mom, what does __________spell?” that I hear every 2 minutes. We go to the library every weekend and get way more books than we can ever read. I love books and am so happy that the girls love them, too.

Now, as to something I might like to make a practice, maybe.

The other day when I picked up DramaQueen from after-school care, the first thing out of her mouth was, “Mom, I learned how to finger knit and we have to get some yarn now.”

I had heard about finger knitting because it’s big in Waldorf and Montessori schools (the schools I dream about but can’t afford), but I know pretty much zilch about these sorts of crafts. My mom was an excellent seamstress and loved sewing and embroidery, so I was taught a certain amount about that, but I wasn’t very interested. Knitting was not among her interests, perhaps because it’s bloody hot in South Georgia and the need for knitted items is minimal. But I looked up finger knitting so I could help out DramaQueen, and she knit a little scarf. It’s full of errors that of course I didn’t mention, because she is enormously proud of it and wants to make one for Firecracker, and make a lot for people in hospitals and shelters. I tried it myself and found it oddly satisfying. Now I’m wondering if I might like to learn to knit with actual needles.

I did teach myself to knit once before when I was in high school. I don’t know what inspired me, but I bought some needles and a skein of yarn and pored over the instructions in my mom’s Reader’s Digest craft book. I taught myself to cast on and the knit and purl stitches. How I did this I don’t know, because when I read instructions for this now I’m utterly baffled. Anyway, I knit a swatch and then, because my mom wasn’t interested and I didn’t know how to move from swatch to anything else, I abandoned it. I was a teenager and knitting was not a common pastime among teenagers in the 80s. Hmm, this reminds me of the macramé craze that swept the 6th grade in 1978/79. I think, as in most things, we were well behind the national interest. All the girls made macramé handbags. Mine had bamboo handles. But I digress.

So, if anyone has any advice on how to start knitting without taking a class (which would be my preference if I could actually schedule this into my life, but it just isn’t humanly possible), let me know.


  1. Knitting. Now that the girls are getting bigger, you will need to invest first in a knitting company and then go find yarn - to make this hobby profitable.

    Karen, about Curves - you look wonderful. Keep up the working out - its not just about losing weight but healthy heart. I want to reach Anniversary 50 with you.

  2. Are there older ladies in your church who knit? I find the knitters in my congregation are delighted to discover it's "hip" to knit now. Maybe one of them would like to teach you, and the girls, how to do it?

  3. Wow. You are one smart and committed lady! I know if you want to re-learn knitting, nothing can stop you.

    this woman is amazing...she is currently teaching me how to sew - ya, don't's painful - anyway, she is also an excellent knitter and very patient, she'd be an awesome person to talk to...

    I'm impressed at all that you've already done! :)

  5. I can relate to the exercise dilemma. I find it hard to fit in all the different types. Right now, I am only doing yoga. I normally do aerobics too.

  6. You're such a good mommy. Really and truly.

  7. Re knitting--if there's a local yarn shop nearby, you can see about scheduling a private lesson. Usually it's pretty reasonable and you get one-on-one attention for an hour. If you can get the hang of the basic stuff, you can teach yourself a lot of the rest. It might be easier to work a private lesson into a schedule.

    One of my favorite teach-yourself books is Melanie Falick's Kids Knitting.

  8. It’s full of errors that of course I didn’t mention,

    this had me in tears. It's what my mum never got.

    You are a great mum to your girls and I bless all that God is doing in your life.

    Wish I lived nearer. I'd love to teach you to knit, though I've not made anything for ages.

    be so blessed, you are an awesome woman and friend!

  9. What excellent practices you have. You sound like a great mom. Keep it up. God bless.

  10. I liked these lines: “(when a) La Leche League leader tells you you might want to let it go, you know you’ve perhaps gone too far . . .”

    And, “Knitting was not among her interests, perhaps because it’s bloody hot in South Georgia and the need for knitted items is minimal.”

  11. I was wondering where you come with your kids name lol. I think they are cute names. God bless.