Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Women's March on Morganton

I was so happy with how the Women's March on Morganton turned out this past Saturday.  It was so much larger than I ever expected and so many people from different walks of life.  I loved it.  I volunteer for Moms Rising, and I paired up with the Democratic Party in Burke County to pull this march together.  I think we made a great team.  It was a non partisan event, and people were so enthusiastic.  We had an estimated 600 marchers.  For this introvert it was amazing and a little overwhelming at times, but I made it though (I knew I would) These are my favorite three photos of the day, and I am sure you can guess why.

My boys started out marching for me, but by the end they were marching for so much more.  And they are so enthusiastic now to really be more of a part of the process.  I keep my sign here by my desk to remind me daily that there is work to do.

There is momentum to continue, so we are following the guidelines from the Women's March on Washington and we have postcard writing events planned already.  Of course, I have already written, called and e mailed my representatives to let them know how I think and feel, but for others this might be their first time.  And for still others I know the march was probably the extent of their political involvement, which is totally fine with me.  It takes all of us to make a movement.  

I do see friends on social media, backing away.  There is that "I need to take a break" post, that arrives to announce ON social media, that the person is not going to be ON social media.  While that seems like an oxymoron of sorts to me, I do understand that desire to retreat from the difficult discussions, the uncomfortable posts.  The posts from people you thought you knew, expressing ideas you never thought they would have.  So I get that need to retreat to your own place of peace, to get "offline" for a while, turn off the computer and the TV and dive into your family and the peace you have in your immediate world.  But while people are doing this, I hope they also remember that for so many this is their life, this is their immediate world, this is where they live, there is no peace.  They can't just retreat from social media and find that place of peace, as their world IS the chaos and turmoil that we see online.  Some people LIVE in these uncomfortable posts that we only view online.  The difficult discussions are their reality, their lives.  So while you retreat to your place of peace, be thinking about those people and at the very least maybe appreciate that you have a space to find solace.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

North Carolina General Assembly...Back to Work Wednesday

The NC General Assembly is back at work tomorrow, Wednesday, January 11.  Most of you know that I e mail my legislators often.  And I will call if there is something immediate at hand.  But today I just took a moment to e mail my representatives in Raleigh a quick note with two issues that are concerns of mine.  I am sure I will have more as I see bills being filed, but for now, in the "just getting started" phase, I wanted to touch base.  This is the e mail I sent along.

I live here in Valdese and I know the legislative session is just getting started.  But, I wanted to take a minute of your time to talk about two passions of mine.  NC Raise the Age, and Mental Health/Suicide Prevention.

I know that North Carolina is one of only two states that still treats all 16 and 17 year old children, automatically as adults, within the justice system.  I am sure you are aware of all the research on brain development and that children's brains are not fully developed until their mid-twenties.  I just want to encourage you to do all you can to make sure that legislation is passed this session that would raise that age to 18.  I spoke at the Asheville Public Hearing of the North Carolina Commission on the Administration of Law and Justice, in August 2016, as did many others.  As the mother of two adult men, I am passionate that we give our youth every available opportunity to make successful, wonderful lives for themselves.  That we lift our youth up.  And I think it is vital that North Carolina makes progress in this area.  I know there are logistics to work out, financial, and the area of major crimes.  But I am sure, with your help, we can do what so many other states have done.  If they can do it, we certainly can.  So I encourage you, as bipartisan support for this movement grows, to be at the forefront of this change.

My second passion is mental health accessibility.   I admit that I am not well versed on how the legislative process works.  But I do want to share my story and my goal.  My father died by suicide in 1996.  And I grieve for him still.  There is such a public stigma attached to mental health, depression, and suicidal thoughts.  The only way to prevent suicide is for this to change, and for avenues of mental healthcare to expand.  So I hope you will remember my story as you move forward through this legislative session and do all that you can to ensure access to mental healthcare remains a priority and we advance initiatives in this area.  If you look at the statistics it is staggering and I hope you can help.  

Thank you for your time,
Pam Genant
Valdese, North Carolina

Monday, January 2, 2017

Journaling Throughout the Year

Anyone else out here journal?  I have so many journals, many not even touched. It is something I find hard to resist when I am out and about, a great journal.  And that means different things, it could be just wonderful paper either in color, or small details on the pages, or it could mean paper quality, like hand made paper or thicker paper.  I love the different covers, some are plain or simple, and some are ornate, decorated, or just the perfect color.  Some covers have sayings on them or just words.  I also look at bindings, I love a great handmade journal with a coptic  stitch binding so it lays flat.  Or just perforated pages that easily tear out without leaving a mess of straggly paper behind.

I use journals for so many things, to take notes on different topics, to write down herbal remedies.  Soap making recipes, my todo lists, knitting patterns and progress, my journal for my thoughts....I have different journals for different topics.  And I keep my older journals.  Most have nothing in there that would ever be of interest to anyone.  But I  know how much I enjoy running into something handwritten by my mom, so I keep them.

I just stumbled across something I thought I would try.  I found this list of ideas.  A collection of journal prompts to leave as a legacy.  One prompt per week.  The prompts are so interesting and thoughtful.  And I do journal daily, so thought this would fit in nicely.  I am sharing it here in case anyone else journals and is looking for ideas.  I found it on the Family Search Blog, this morning.   The title is 52 Questions in 52 Weeks.  

Here is a sneak peek at the first few prompts, please go to the page for the complete list: 
  1. What is your full name? Explain why your parents gave you that name.
  2. When and where were you born? Describe your home, your neighborhood, and the town you grew up in.
  3. What memories do you have of your father (his name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
  4. What memories do you have of your mother (her name, birth date, birthplace, parents, and so on)?
  5. What kind of work did your parents do (farmer, salesman, manager, seamstress, nurse, stay-at-home mom, professional, laborer, and so on)?
I see the promps as exactly what they are, starting points.  I can just visualize where I want to go from each one.  I think this will be a fun year of reflection for me.

So if you journal like I do, or if you don't but think this is a great reflection tool and something you would like to try, along with me, go check it out.  If you have a pile of journals just perfect for this particular project or if you have some scratch paper hanging around that you like to jot your grocery lists on, grab them.  You can use your fancy fountain pen that writes so smooth, or you can use the pencil you brought home after your last round of golf.  It doesn't matter.  The process is what matters most, getting the most out of the prompts, sitting down to put words to paper.  If you love that process you might enjoy this project.  So join me!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Quick Last Minute Afghan

Yes this afghan is quick and easy to make and so soft and warm, no matter what yarn you use.  The colors are up to you, you can use all one color way in different shades, you can use a variety of yarn colors. I personally think that there is no color combination that would look horrible, it all seems to work out beautifully. You can see in the photo (although the lighting isn't great) that the afghans are different in the colors I used but both turned out awesome.

 size 35, 40 inch circular needle (yes size 35)
600 yards each of 5 different yarns.  I used primarily dk and worsted weight but I think a fingering weight or variegated sock weight yarn would be beautiful in the mix, or a really soft chunky yarn, as long as you have 600 yards of each.

Cast on 60 stitches using all 5 yarns knit together
Knit (K) 3 rows
Row 4: K3, Purl to last three stitches, K3
Row 5: K
Repeat rows 4 and 5, for as long as you like.  Leave enough yarn to knit three rows at the end.  And then bind off.  Work in ends.

My afghans turned out to be about 50 inches by 70 inches.  But you could make a smaller afghan or a larger one easily by adding more or less yarn.  You could use up all your scrap yarn, when one runs out just tie on another yarn and keep going.

I found that 5 yarns knit together was the key for me.  Less than 5 and it was a little too thin.

Friday, December 9, 2016

You are Not My Mother-Revisited

I posted this a couple of years ago and as I walk through this holiday season, my 21st without my mother, I think about her so much, and miss her even more.  I was looking for a photo, from my blog, unrelated to the holidays or my mother, and this blog post showed up and I loved it so much I wanted to repost it.  I know some of you can relate.

A friend posted on social media the other day, sharing her grief. Sharing how much she wished she could go talk to her mother again, just one more time. Her mother died less than a year ago and she is having a hard time with that empty space, believe me, I know that feeling.  More than 18 years later I still have times when I find it hard to cope with the empty space, wish I could talk things over with my mother, get her point of view and advice.  The grief can, at times, feel overwhelming.  One person commented saying, "I am always here if you need someone to talk things over with", or something like that, I don't remember exactly. 

I get that a bit as well.  Those, well meaning individuals, offering up their time.  "I am here to stand in for her if you need me."  "When you need someone to talk things over with just call me".  So many different offers, in different ways.  From people I barely know and a couple from family members.  But you know a brother or an aunt is not the same, let alone some stranger I only know online. 

I am not trying to hurt any one's feelings, or discount the generous offer.  I know the offers come from a good place, a place of love and care. But it feels at times like these offers are minimizing the importance of my mother, and her place in my life.  It feels like there is an implication that my mother's presence, thoughts, feelings, history can be replaced, or her absence eased.  That is NOT the case.  My mother was insurmountably important in my life, that space can never be filled, her absence is deep. 

If you have lost your mother, you get it.  My mother was not perfect, and our relationship had its ups and downs.  I don't parent the way my mother parented me, we are very different.  But she knew me from the beginning.  She knew me inside and out.  She knew how I felt when my first boyfriend moved away.  She knew my thoughts and feelings when I joined the army.  She was there when I was young and worried about death, started my period, started driving, met Jackson.  She shared the joys and fears.  She loved me truly unconditionally.  And there is a difference.  I know that if I have a disagreement with family, we might not talk for a while, but they will always be there for me, and I for them.  But with my mother, we could have a disagreement of any magnitude and she would be there to tell me it will be OK, that I have to do what I think is right, that I have to think for myself.  She would hug me and we would go on, and I would turn to her the very next day to talk about something else.  With my mom it wasn't always about having someone to go to and talk about life's problems.  It was having someone that I could be with and not talk at all, and she would know already what was wrong.  That she knew the history behind all my decisions, faults, joys, accomplishments, and relationships.  I didn't have to explain where I was coming from, because she knew. 

I do have family and friends that fill some of the gaps that her absence has left.  But there are things about that mother-daughter relationship that I will never know.  And that can never be replaced.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Holiday Cheering Up

I have not blogged lately, I just haven't had the heart after this past election.  I was so saddened by the open demonstrations of hatred and bigotry here in this country, especially here in the South.  I fear for my friends, their rights and their safety.  It really hurts my heart and disrupts the peaceful environment I work to create for myself and my family.

So the week after the election, Phillip and I decided we needed a little early holiday cheer.  Here at our house we always have a live tree, and start decorating the day after Thanksgiving.  This year we decided to start a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, so we opted for a second tree, and yes a fake one.  So our first tree of the season came from Lowes, and Phillip helped me pick everything out.  I had originally picked out purple and teal decorations so I am not sure how we ended up with red and gold, but it is beautiful and just the pick-me-up I needed.  Here is the tree...

It is a little more manicured than our real tree, and even though it is beautiful it isn't totally my "style", but it does the trick.

After we decorated the tree it needed a tree skirt.  I wanted to crochet one, I knew I could find a pattern online somewhere and I did.  The pattern is SIMPLE, and I found the yarn at OSuzannah's Yarn on Union Street here in Morganton.  I picked the traditional colors to go with this traditional tree, but she has so many different colors I can see this in purple and teal, haha.  The pattern is called SmoothFox's Christmas Tree Skirt and it is a basic chevron pattern, I altered it a bit but the pattern is easy to follow.  A beginner pattern that can easily be completed in a weekend.  

This tree has just brought my light back, I can feel it.  That tree and time.  I am a processing person, whenever I run up against obstacles or problems, I need to work the problem. I spend time thinking things through, or if you ask my husband, talking things through.  That out-loud process really helps me think, even if I am talking to myself.  Then I need a plan.  Before I can get back into my peaceful space I need to have a plan forward. And I have one.  There are a couple of things I plan to do to help here, in my local community, work for and with my local community.  And I think that will help me move forward.  I am back on track and have a few more blog posts planned for the near future.  So do whatever it takes to bring peace and light to your life, it is worth it, take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Sometimes I think we forget that.  

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween

We enjoy Halloween.  For the past I don't know how many years, we have gone to a friend's house for a Halloween get together and this year it was last night.  We enjoy dressing up, although I generally don't have time for myself, this year I did.  I just like the connection of the holiday.  That time I spend with the boys helping them figure out how to make their characters come to life, what tools, make up, costume pieces we will need and how much time I think it will take to pull it all together.  The boys are generally more creative than I, but this year I came up with a couple of great ideas myself.  Jackson on the other hand.....what can I say, he has his own sense of humor about Halloween and comes up with his own character ideas and costumes.  Here are a few pics from yesterday.

Dallen as the headless horseman.  I thought his make up turned out pretty nice.

Phillip as Arthur from Stephen King's, I Am the Doorway.

My witchy self.  

Jackson as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation.