Monday, November 9, 2015

The Struggle is Real

This weekend I went on a girl's outing with a gaggle of women who have been annually retreating for 24 years. I've been going for the last few years, and always have such fun. They like to take hikes and go to museums. I like to go to museum stores, sit on benches and knit or spin in museums, and sleep while they take hikes. I am considering bring along long underwear next year, though, because I would like to be a good sport about the hiking thing. It says a lot about a group of people who can do something together for this long and still make newcomers welcome. I like to go because they all talk about their children and their spouses and their careers, and I like to hear the stories about where the kids are in the college process and the getting on with life process. This year also was the first year where someone had a grandchild to talk about. Certainly there will be more of that to come.

On the first night of the girl's outing, everyone brings food and we sit and catch up. I decided to bring rocks. I found an estate sale a couple of weeks ago that had something like 200 hand painted rocks. If I hand painted a rock, it would not be lovely, but these rocks were amazing. There were scenic rocks - this black capped chickadee has a place in my bathroom:

And there were rocks with flowers painted on them:

My husband, who is traditionally the most supportive when it comes to the odd things I go crazy about, was completely nonplussed by the rock obsession. "I don't understand... why would you want to pay money for... rocks?" They are, in my humble opinion, the ultimate gift. You can use them as decor. Or as a weapon. And if you don't like your rock, you can stick it in your pocket and wander down the street and leave it in a neighbor's yard. Or you can chuck it. And best of all, you absolutely never have to ask yourself if the Salvation Army is likely to want to take that rock off your hands. Because, well, like I said, you can just chuck it.

I also brought my latest knitting projects, some in process, some complete. Two of the girls found a home for some of my completed projects. Here is Tina, modeling my "I will get you through the long cold New York winter" outfit. I started by making a hat. And then I made a cowl. But the cowl wasn't warm enough, so I knit an inner lining. And then the cowl seemed to be too large, but not large enough to double wrap, so I sewed it together so the ends would overlap. But then I thought it wasn't keeping the neck warm enough, so I knit a second cowl. Tina can now go out in a blizzard, or de-layer and look jaunty with just the inner cowl. All this is made from the 1/3 silk 2/3 alpaca yarn that I made up a few weeks ago from the frosting buckets of pink yarn.

Tina is also sporting a "Fight Like a Girl" t-shirt. I brought a bunch of those along to share as well.

Next, we have Mary, who is wearing a hat and scarf set from my early "yarn over" years. I am a sluggish learner when it comes to knitting. So I learn a stitch, and then everything ends up using that stitch for a few months while I get comfortable with it. Currently I am slogging away at cabling, but so far can only do one cable on a project, because I get distracted when I am knitting and am pretty sure that if I tried to do two or more cables in the same project, I would end up re-defining wonky knitting.

Both Tina and Mary looked quite fetching with their knitted Barb-isms this weekend. But I also came with another mission in mind... this summer, my friend Lee came for a visit and went home with a hat and scarf in the baby blue that you see Mary wearing. I looked at the pictures, and there just was no way that I could leave Lee wearing baby blue. She is definitely a fall colors person. So we went through the bag of projects and yarn and agreed on a lovely maroon angora yarn. I have to finish the pink angora project that you can see below, but the yarn is the same weight, so you can imagine what Lee's might look like in maroon:

The beauty of the angora is that it is delightfully lightweight, but also deliciously snuggly warm.

One of the reasons that I adore my friend Lee is that she is the ultimate free spirit. While we were out wandering, we stopped at an antique barn, and Lee started re-organizing their outdoor statuary. I'm such a rule follower that I was absolutely aghast at first, but then it seemed Lee had a point - nobody will see these if they aren't elevated!

My husband, understanding that painted rocks are just a stepping stone to larger things, wanted to know if I had brought home a bunch of statuary. "umm... just the squirrel. We needed a squirrel."

We resisted this delightful pig, but only because he was over-priced:

By the end of our adventures, the girls had decided that we need to lose weight. "Oh". So we are amusing ourselves with the expression "The Struggle is Real", which our friend Rachel has researched, and seems apt for our problem. From

A (generally) ironic saying often used in place of the saying, "first world problems". Has slightly more urban undertones than "first world problems". Denotes a situation where the user wishes to express that they are encountering some sort of undesirable difficulty, but dealing with it. With irony, it has a comical effect of dramatizing a non-critical yet undesirable situation.

For those who find themselves suffering like we ladies with a bit of a poundage issue, I've found the perfect t-shirt, available at Sears, which ironically (or aptly) only comes in sizes 1X, 2X or 3X:


  1. I love your post as it describes our wonderful weekend perfectly. Including my feelings about the poundage. "Oh." And here's a link to a fashion photo of me in my Barb hat. It was perfect for a windy November beach walk in Cape Cod.

  2. With regard to poundage, Rachel, and the bold plan to keep you from drinking creamer with your morning coffee during the proposed "Fat Camp" next summer, I have just this to say: I didn't get fat by eating too many blueberries. I owe my fat to a man named Andy ( and his evil plot to fill me with delicious soul satisfying chocolate, no matter how good or bad the circumstances. Unless you're snagging the creamer and sucking it down like a big mug of hot cocoa, I don't think you should have to sacrifice your creamer.

    Regarding the Barb hat, thanks so much for posting the lovely picture! I am hoping this winter to master mittens. Or mitts. Or something that can be draped over the hands. Up until now, it is mastering the knitting of the thumbs that is eluding me.