You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2011.

(c) 2009 Christiana Lambert

The rain has begun to fall—not yet a dark and stormy night, but a change from the sunny blue-skied morning we experienced today in Colorado. I don’t watch the news on TV, but from viewing the TV station’s website, I can tell the weather people are about to hyperventilate with excitement over this weather/season change. A winter watch declared on Sunday for Wednesday? Really?

Then I remember how October snows can fall particularly hard. I had just barely moved here when the infamous—to Denver anyway—Monday Night Football Bronco Blizzard occurred, snow dropping so fast and deep that the field could barely stay cleared. (And what about getting my car pushed down a side street the next afternoon so I could go to an interview? Yes, the person hiring was just checking to see if applicants wanted the job enough.) Or the October my father—he of much TV news watching—declared he couldn’t visit because it might snow. She who scoffed last got to shovel over a foot of that particularly heavy early snow from the sidewalks and a lot more from the driveway.

These days I really do have to pay attention to winter weather forecasts since Sherman and I work in the snow removal business. Thanks to Sunday’s early warning, he has already rescued the snow blowers from the back of the storage container and fired them up to make sure they are working. Sometimes the forecasts are all about hype, but we still have to go to bed ready to do our jobs if they turn out to be right.

I can set my alarm and put out my winter clothing, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be ready to move snow tomorrow morning. For goodness’ sake, didn’t the temps hover around 80 degrees yesterday? I know this because not only did I spend yesterday afternoon outside going through my mother’s material stash and hanging newly washed pieces of fabric on the clothesline, but I also walked the dogs in a rush to pick up my car from the auto shop just minutes before the place closed.

This morning I kept up the washing pace, getting as much material on the line to dry before the clouds took over the sky. By the time I came out of my noon exercise class, the clouds were winning. Not much later following my slow jog out in brisk winds, the dropping temperatures started to settle into my bones. As quickly as I could, I got out of my shorts and T-shirt, cleaned up, threw on warm clothes, and moved the heater’s switch to “on.”

Now I’m sitting in my chair, so glad for the warmth provided by my blankets, dogs, and laptop. What is it about a change in the seasons that makes me feel so much colder than the temperatures both inside and outside indicate?

Kind of silly considering I love fall, especially in Colorado. The forecasters predict snow tonight but a return to temperatures in the 60s by the weekend—typical fall weather for us. Maybe my chill is just some sort of instinct tied to earlier eras when living through winter meant dealing with darkness, cold, and not even as much as semi-accurate predictions of future weather.

Tonight I am grateful for my cozy shelter. Although I like my seasons to come in fours, I find the transitions a little rough. But tomorrow morning, once I get out into the snow, I’ll be reminded just how refreshing cool air and moist snowflakes can feel after a summer (and fall) of dry heat.

Change is good.

Advertisements

"Fantasy"Sewing Organization from 4-H Days

Despite all those 4-H courses, I never turned out to be much of a domestic goddess. (Yes, you know you grew up in Nebraska if you were a 4-H member—whoop-ti-oop-ti-ay!) However, one thing I did learn to do well was sew, even if I just can’t get myself to do it regularly.

Sewing is not a very ADD-friendly activity—if nothing else, there’s all that preparation and then afterwards all the putting away. No matter how well I think I have my sewing area set up to help me, I find it difficult to start the projects. And ever since I upgraded from the trusty Kenmore of my youth, I’ve been avoiding my beautiful “new” machine—too many bells and whistles.

Sad to say, but every—and I do mean every—time I return to sewing, I have to relearn how my machine works. Makes me feel stupid—the operations person in me tries to tell me that maybe it’s just not designed well, but I don’t really buy that. All I know is the learning curve seems to be incredibly steep for me. Would go back to my old machine if it hadn’t been a casualty of twin hijinks many years ago.

That means I pretty much only sit down to sew when I have a deadline. (Hm, sounds like another ADD theme.)

What I like about sewing isn’t really the process and it never was—that’s part of why I’ve never figured out a good way to fit it into my adult life. No, what I love is being able to create something that didn’t exist before. Even better, so often I rummage through the fabric drawers or go to the store planning to make something that looks like “X” and end up with something that looks like the “Y” I hadn’t yet imagined. Amazing how the right trim or buttons can change the picture in my mind from exciting to “Wow!”

So, despite all the activities much higher on my “to do” list—including finishing the jacket I’d started for Christiana last winter—when she asked if I could make her a flapper costume this past weekend, I said I could.

Such a short, uncomplicated, yet creative, project with a very specific deadline spurred me to search for the machine’s product booklet—again.

After the two of us ransacked our fabric as well as my mom’s orphaned pieces, we settled on material that wouldn’t require extra finishing. Our first trip to the craft store led only to a tight black cap and its embellishment. The outrageous styles in the 20s meant we could take advantage of the almost-obscene practice of selling Christmas ornaments in October. Yup, a turquoise-feathered bird with a clip can go on her head—and her tree later this year.

Finding multi-color striped fringe changed our mental pictures again from a rather plain blue and black dress to one with color—she, the artist of many colors, and I, her mother who has painted our walls many colors, were ecstatic.

While I am always terrific at reimagining how a pattern might look with different colors and trims, I have never been able to do anything other than follow a pattern’s layout as prescribed. But any longtime seamstress will tell you that the cost of a pattern, especially without a coupon sale, will raise a project’s price quite a bit when it would be more exciting to spend that money on embellishments. This time I found an old costume pattern of mine (Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble) from my late 20s that didn’t appear as if it would be too hard to re-design and re-size. It wasn’t because I did it!

Trina & Krista (d. 1985) in 1973 wearing 4-H projects.

OK, first I had to grumble about the general disorganization of my sewing area, search and search for the darn instructions for my machine, and set up the machine with the proper thread and adjustments. All the while I needed to remind myself that this was no 4-H project—I didn’t have to worry about some judge declaring my inside seams a disaster and handing me a dreaded white ribbon (to all you non-4Hers: that’s like telling a person she should have just stayed home from the county fair because her work was no good!)

Several times I dropped the shift over Christiana’s shoulders—yes, she got poked by pins often—and assessed the fit. I just eyeballed the changes and kept going until the dress fit as perfectly as a costume needs to fit. The finished costume barely resembled the one we’d imagined when we first found the material. No, it was so much better.

(c) 2011 Cheyenne Kelton


I have always wanted to make my kids’ costumes no matter how much I complained about not having time—at least before I started and once I finished. Christiana’s mostly grown up now, but I can still do this for her—and for me.

And, yes, I did put away the pattern pieces, even if I still have more to do to get ready to finish that coat and even though it needs to be better sewn than a costume. Yes, you heard it here—I’m going back to what I began. I just can’t wait to see what those two-toned buttons and the topstitching do to make that coat even better.

Take that, domestic goddesses!

(c) 2010 Christiana Lambert

This past Sunday our church members lighted candles honoring those living with mental illness. Once upon a time, I would debate with myself whether ADHD was mental illness enough to justify lighting a candle. I know it is, but as much a part as it played in our lives, we seemed to have a reasonably functional family life.

Now that we know how a family can be changed by major depression, there’s no question we need God’s guidance as well as prayers—I don’t debate about lighting candles anymore.

While acting to ignite a wick is a choice, I don’t always have such a choice over which songs pop up unbidden in my head. As I’ve mentioned before, songs stick with me easily—whether or not I want them to do so. Maybe it’s the years of running, when a good rhythm can help keep me on pace or when I’ve even used the time to memorize songs. More likely it’s just one of the quirks of my brain—with a mother like mine, no doubt I began hearing music while still in the womb—before I ever saw this world, let alone walked or ran a step.

Raised on music, but fascinated by words, how can I help but be drawn to the combination?

Though memorization isn’t my strong point, words and notes start to sink into my brain when heard in tandem. Even then, I’m more likely to paraphrase than to store everything just as heard or read.

Seeing all those candles lighted by people who also must know mental illness too well stirred up songs and lyrics again for me. I wonder, how many, like my daughter and me, get hung up in the wrong part of The Fray’s “You Found Me” lyrics?

Where were you when everything was falling apart, all my days were spent by a telephone that never rang and all I needed was a call that never came . . .

Still, much of the music in my head comes from hymns and songs absorbed over years singing in church. Since I don’t have many bible verses memorized, often the biblical words I do access come from those songs. Now that I’m back in a choir, I have added more songs and words available to me in random moments.

My favorite bible verse—which I mostly have memorized—is Micah 6:8b: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? And yet, I had never really paid attention to the previous verses until singing them—or not singing them, as it often turns out when my throat stops my song mid-note. Micah 6:7b asks: Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

I know that verse 8 declares no child nor living being must be sacrificed, but then why must my daughter be set upon with feeling so abandoned by my God—the God she felt so clearly as a child yet now wonders where He is. While she questions how He can be her God, I often fall to anger, asking how He could do this to my child, my firstborn, to whom he has given many gifts yet seemingly not the gift of believing that who she is matters to Him and to so many others in this world. Once again, I am stuck on the wrong section of the lyrics.

Just as Micah’s words tell me that God has shown me what is good, The Fray also sings:

You found me lying on the floor, surrounded . . .

I only have to look at all those candles to know that God has surrounded me with others lifting up my family. When we ask where God is, we need to look around us. Just because the healing we want doesn’t happen as we want doesn’t mean God has abandoned us. If we can’t hear Him calling on the telephone, maybe we’re looking for the wrong Caller ID. Everyone walking humbly with us is walking humbly with God. In the end, God doesn’t have to find us because He is always with us—and in all those who walk beside us in our darkest days.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Today I’m not going exercise class. Nope, I’m sitting at the computer wearing non-exercise clothes at noon on a workout day—and that’s OK.

Last week my exercise specialist and I had a big conversation about how little progress I was seeing from all their prescribed exercises—an hour a day!—as well as my usual classes and runs. I was tired as well as a little bit bored from all that work.

This time when she suggested a week off I did not protest. She thought that maybe the muscles we were trying to strengthen were in fact being overused at the same time.

All I know is that for all my effort, I wasn’t gaining enough.

After she conferred with the chiropractor, the two of them agreed that for this week I should walk or hike—while wearing my trochanter belt again—and stretch only.

Those instructions worked well with my travel plans anyway—as long as I could start after one more pre-road trip yoga class. While it’s good to have focused stretching the day before you set out, the day you spend six and a half hours in a car is a great day for light stretching without any extra exercise.

The exercise reduction was especially good timing since we had mini-road trips planned to get and return Christiana so she could go see her brother’s performance in Durango also, as well as visit with friends.

(c) 2011 Sherman Lambert

Wasn’t sure if Mother Nature would cooperate for the hike Sherman and I planned the morning after the play, but boy did she. Saturday dawned with just the sort of perfect October weather we had experienced when we had gotten married twenty-three years earlier. Whenever we can, we hike to celebrate the day. Was glad to know I had doctor’s orders to do so this year!

Despite using the stretching tools I’d brought—the foam roller, exercise bands, and tennis ball—I felt no different than usual. Then again, I felt no worse even though I’d sat in a car for way too long.

Another long car ride and a night of sleep, off we drove to take Christiana back to her new home. First, however, we went on another hike, this time outside of where she lives now.

Several hours later, Sherman and I returned, exhausted from our travels. Wasn’t until it got closer to bedtime that I realized I wasn’t really hurting. Not from hiking, not from riding in a car, not from just living.

Hmm. Maybe we’re on to something.

So I here I sit—will see what happens next week when I get back to work. A week’s break is nice, but two? I don’t think so!

(c) 2011 Christiana Lambert

Sometimes you just have to get back on the road and leave your losses behind. Though it’s only been six weeks since we helped Christiana to move to an apartment at her new college, we spent this past Saturday moving her out—and on.

Cheyenne, moving day, 10/3/11

For all of us involved it was worth every bit of effort. She found the new housing, handled the legal details of getting out of her old lease, and packed up her possessions—no easy tasks there, especially while going to classes and doing coursework. We, along with her friend Cheyenne, talked her through as she waited to leave a bad situation. (Actually, am sure Cheyenne got to do quite a bit of packing while she offered her moral support, too!)

Living with people can be tricky, but for someone with depression, staying with a bad match-up is too risky to continue for very long.

Luckily, Christiana found a house with space as well as house-mates happy to welcome her at the same time she was able to get released from the original lease. Lower rent, closer to campus, and away from constant hostility. That sounds like moving on up, no matter how you look at it.

Open Door, Moving Day 2011

Saturday morning Sherman and I drove up north an hour or so where we met up with the girls—as well as with Cheyenne’s family’s minivan. We four worked hard to pack both our vehicles full so there wouldn’t be too many reasons to return. It was just way past time to get on down the road—which was really up the road since we headed north when Christiana, riding her red and white Schwinn scooter, led our little convoy across campus.

Up a narrow Victorian stairway we carried her boxes until there were no more. Unlike the barren walls in the old space, this house’s walls are covered with posters and post-it messages in a manner very familiar to us—Christiana never met a bare wall she couldn’t improve with her works and words as well as those of others. Surrounded by her boxes, she stood up and started claiming her own walls, picture by picture, until anyone who knew her would have known the room belonged to her.

So much easier to discover your way on a new campus while living in a welcoming environment—knowing she’s found a home, sweet home, makes our home every bit as sweet.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 606 other followers

Blogging AtoZ Challenge 2012

(c) 2009, Christiana Lambert