The Lesson

Oh, look, it's two in the morning and I'm awake, either AGAIN or STILL, who can tell. Luckily, there are some corn chips to eat or what a waste of time THIS would be. (Just kidding but MAN, I am SO going on a diet AND starting to take Melatonin when we get home.)

We're in Corpus Christi now, visiting my mother-in-law. Corpus Christi has one of my favorite street names ever: Corn Products Road. It's probably where my chips came from.

I am SO not joking.

(Oh, look, if you click on it, you, too, can have a life-sized version of it! Still don't have my normal photo software rig to manipulate the pictures. Please bear with me.)

Yesterday, I spent roughly one hour sleeping (this is a no-sleep vacation, I guess you noticed that), twenty-two hours intervening between my bickering children and an hour thinking about life lessons and felting.

Going back to visit Austin was really difficult, but not in the way I thought it would be. As I have written and written and WRITTEN about, I really loved our house there. But you know what? After seeing it again, I find that I'm sort of...well...just DONE with that house. And not just because it represents this millstone around our necks (please, please, please let it sell soon), what with requiring since we've been gone and all.

It's because the things I love most about Austin aren't tangible like that.

I thought they were. I think about Austin and I think about the Town Lake Trail and Barton Springs Pool and the school my kids attended and I am overcome with a longing so sharp that it knocks the breath out of me. I think about my house there and I think about the stencilling I did on the walls of my beloved screened-in porch there and the way the floorboards upstairs creak and the greenbelt out back and it's like ripping open some wound I didn't know I still had...

But it's not the places, see, it's the memories. And mercy, mercy, mercy, it's the people. And the great thing about THAT is that no one can take either of those two things away from me. Our friends will still be our friends no matter where we live --we'll come back to see them and they'll come to New York to visit us and that kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt and your face turn red? That will find us no matter where we are.

I was worried that we came back too soon because, well, I could NOT stop crying, for one thing. But now I think we came back at exactly the right time. We came back to find out that A)we really can't ever go home again (um, especially if our house ever sells (oh PLEASE let it sell)) and B) we don't need to. It is my studied conclusion that we carry our homes with us, sort of like weird two-footed turtles, only instead of carrying them on our backs, we carry our homes in our hearts.

This is very comforting to me.

Dudes! Listen to me getting all deep and stuff. I attribute this to the magic of felting. No, seriously, anything so transforming is bound to have a profound effect on one's mental processes, don't you think?

For indeed, I have finished the girls' bags. Here they are BEFORE the felting:

And here they are after:

(I know I used a cork for scale but if you click on the image, you can see them just about life-sized anyway.) They didn't lose much in the way of size--I wonder if this is because the pattern called for using a double thickness of yarn or because I was so excited about the very idea of actually FINISHING something that I didn't let them cook long enough? I guess it doesn't matter because I think they are beautiful.

We took the kids to the beach today. The water is very warm here, unlike our New England beach water. But dudes, the SEAWEED was enough to give me fits. Look:

I shovelled a path to the water. And I told myself I was ready to shovel some snow.
I think I'm ready to go home now.


The bags came out great! I'm so impressed! Actually, I'm impressed with anyone who actually finishes a project. I rarely do.

That pain you talk about? Ooooh, I remember it. Ouch. When I was away (and it was only temporary!), just imagining opening my front door and stepping into my front hall would just about kill me.
Ei said…
Hugs. I know that hurt too. You have a tremendous outlook. Love ya Barb.
Anonymous said…
Knitting is good therapy, and the bags are really nice. Sometimes Kureyon just takes forever (and many cycles) to felt; other times it will felt if you look at it cross-eyed.

I remember the seaweed on the beach! We spent many vacations at Port Aransas and Aransas Pass, and sometimes the seaweed was not so wide but several feet deep. Sure do miss the warm water.

/diann (
Miri said…
Wow, you could sell me that bag for my last dollars. I love how those turned out.

The whole bittersweet thing of carrying home inside of us really hit me between the eyes. I am happy and sad for you.

I hope going home to NY really feels like going home.
Marie said…
Oh, Barb, I am sorry this visit has been so hard for you.

I can relate to the house business. I adore my house, a 1930's craftsman style. It was my dream house, but I simply cannot take care of it anymore. So I have to sell it. My heart is broken. But I am trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to look forward to a new beginning.

However, I will not have the people issue because I am staying in the same area.

Focus on enjoying the kids, even with their bickering. The bags are FABULOUS. I am so jealous!

Have a safe continued trip!

Watson said…
It's nice to "read you" again Barb. I lost track after your move to NY. This is the "other" Barbara Cooper in Canada. The i.d. might come up as "Daisy" which is my dog's name!

The bags are absolutely beautiful! I'm going to have to go back on your blog and find out what has been happening in your life.

PS. Up here we would be scooping up that seaweed for our gardens!
DK said…
I think.

Welcome home.
MadMad said…
I have never heard of shoveling seaweed! That's an awesome new trick! Love the bags, too! Am not at all clear on how you managed to do that while doing everything else, but I guess it's just more proof you're a hero! Hope your flight home was without incident and you are safe and comfortable in your beds at ... home.