Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Walk Away...

On Sunday, I got three haircuts. I'm scheduled for hip surgery next Monday, so even though I have needed a haircut for some time, I was really trying to hold out until the week before...the last thing I'll want to think about during my recovery is my hair, right? 

So, as we drove home from church, stopping at the grocery store along the way, I decided I'd just pop into that shop by the grocery store. I am sure I have been there before, and aren't most of these drop-in salons pretty similar? That was my thought anyway. So I dropped in.

As I checked in and took a seat, I looked at the 4 stylists on the floor. "It'll be fine," I thought, "as long as I don't get that one, with the blue hair on 2/3 of her head...and the bad haircut." I've read in magazines that you shouldn't ever have your hair cut by someone with bad hair. I wasn't too worried, though, because the young gal with the funny blue haircut had just taken someone to her chair, and I was next on the queue. But, you know, Murphy must have been sitting next to me.

Big-Bad-Blue whips through that guy's hair, and calls my name. His hair looks fine. I look around at the other stylists, who all have lovely hair styles in varying shades of real hair colors and not, but still...three great haircuts. In my head, I am screaming, "Noooo! Not her!!!" But I've just come from church, and thoughts of grace and not judging and giving everyone a chance are swimming through my head. I get up, and I sit in her chair. I smile and say, "I have good hair. I'd like my bangs cut to just above my eyebrows, and then layer the rest pretty short. Taper it around my face, but do not leave my ears hanging out, please." She smiles, as though she understands, and I smile again, and she puts the cape on me.

After round one, my bangs are still in my eyes. She has only taken off half the hair that needs to come off, and she is rather pleased with herself. I put on my glasses and repeat the instructions. "Well, if I cut your bangs that short, they'll shrink up even more, and you won't like it." 

"I know. That's the way I always have it cut. I like it. I know I like it," I say with a smile, a little more forced than before. 

She says something about communication being difficult, it's hard to tell a stylist exactly what you want the hair to look like, yada yada yada. o_0 Then she cuts my bangs again, and she is pleased with herself, and I have the weirdest mullet you have ever seen. I coach her to match the top and back and sides to the length of the bangs, but she is not happy to give me the haircut I've asked for...probably because she now has to cut my hair twice...and I have a lot of hair, which she has mentioned several times. But I am now running low on grace...and patience...and hair. So I tell her it's fine, thank you, then I pay and leave. Two haircuts, not finished. 

I wish I had taken a picture at this point, but then again, no. The sides were twice as long as the bangs, which were not quite short enough. The top was shorter than the bangs by quite a bit, and I don't even know what was going on in the back. When I got to Best Cuts, the shop I usually go to, where I have given the same instructions to 2 or 3 girls who have done what I have asked multiple times, I am called back immediately. I tell the gal my story as she starts to run her fingers through my new "do," and she asks, "What did she DO to you???" Then, she fixes it. The first time. On my third haircut of the day. 

Now, this is only my second bad hair story in 47 years,* so I'll stop complaining here. After all, it's just hair. However, from now on, if I walk into a shop/salon and see any stylist with a style I don't like, I'm just going to walk away. The magazines are right. If she works in a place where she could easily have that fixed, yet she hasn't, it's simply not worth the risk.

By the way, to console myself, I came home and knitted quite a bit on a pair of socks. I am so glad to have knitting in my life!

I hope that your hair and knitting stories are all good this week. But please share if you've had a funny disaster...we can all use a good laugh, right?!?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

*My other really bad hair story involves a home perm, circa 1980-something, when I was in my teens. We all have a bad home perm story from the 80s, right? And no, there are no photos of that one either...lol! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Hip Check!

Even though my last couple of weeks have been far from what I'd consider normal, I seem to have a bit of normal on tap for August. Let's look at my last few summers, to see what a "normal August" means to Pretty:

August 2012 - Total hysterectomy. Sure. Because a uterus the size of a cantaloupe is definitely not normal. I don't remember what I knitted that August, because there were a LOT of painkillers involved, and I apparently did not blog about the surgery until September.

August 2013 - Broken Fingers. After taking up running in May of that year, I fell three times. On my last fall, I broke my fall by breaking three fingers on my left hand. Ouch! Still, I knitted dishcloths, and I managed to finish a sweater for Peanut. Knitting with a cast on one hand requires some determination...

August 2014 - Physical therapy. When I started running, I also started noticing some pain where my leg bone's connected to my hip bone. Eventually, there was an x-ray, showing pretty good arthritis in my left hip, and the doc sent me to an orthopedic guy and physical therapy. I knitted a lot...hurty hips do not affect August knitting, apparently, and I continued knitting on seven pair of Christmas socks through the summer!

August 2015? Well, funny that you should ask. This year, I'm having a hip-replacement. That's right, even after the PT, and even though I have stopped running, still my hip has declined. I assume that there will be painkillers again, so I have already started planning my simple, post-op knitting. I've cast on things like a Sockhead Hat, and I'm almost done with the ribbing, so that will give me miles of mindless stockinette to work with immediately...

There is also a pair of socks, with random ribbed patterning on the leg and foot. This is a self-striping yarn that I am loving, and the pattern is a little more than stockinette, so this one may be post-post-op knitting, when I have fewer painkillers in me, but I'm not quite back to work, etc...

And then there's the scarf...the entrelac scarf. I started it, thinking, "Entrelac really isn't that difficult. I could do it post-op..." Of course, entrelac is not really difficult at all, which is why I've actually finished this one. 

LOL! So, it's not post-op knitting at all. It's for Peanut, because she wanted one "just like Gramma's

"but PINK!" So, now I'll have something to put in her next package. Yay!

I may also cast on a simple sweater or scarf, and I am investigating ideas for that, or I'll wind more yarn for a second sockhead...but for now, I am all about getting back to life, back to reality, and getting ready for a short hospital stay and a 3-month recovery plan. I wonder what NEXT August will bring?!?

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pretty by Any Other Name...

Tim always called me "Pammy Sue." Sue is not my middle name, and there's only one friend who ever really calls me Pammy on a regular basis, but that's what Tim called me. He called Brenda "Brenda Sue," and I'm pretty sure he called Linda "Linda Sue." I don't think I ever heard him call Neal "Nealy Sue," and that's probably for the best.

Somewhere around Sunday evening, it dawned on me that I won't hear Tim call me Pammy Sue again, and I won't roll my eyes at him about it again, and that got me to thinking about all the names I've answered to through the years. 

My grandfather, my mom's dad, called me Pamela. I have a friend at church who always calls me Pamela now, and I like the sound of it. In Saving Mr. Banks, every time Tom Hanks said the name "Pamela" on screen, I kind of imagined he was talking right to me. Pamela is my given name, and I like it. When my church friend says, "Good morning Pamela," on Sunday, I usually respond, "Good Morning Markela!" Then it's his turn for the eye roll!

My grandfather was Italian, and he spoke with a thick accent until the day he passed. When I was born, he misunderstood my name to be "Poundala." He thought that was silly! But for years, my dad called me Poundala. I remember that I liked the sound of that, too. It was a little weird, and my friends questioned it, but that's what Dad called me. 

In high school, I had a friend who called me Peppy. She said it was because I was so upbeat, and then she said it was short for pepperoni, which I am not sure I understand, but we went with it. We went with it so far that, when I started dating Sweetie, she started calling him The Mozz (short for mozzarella because, you know, the cheese is all over the pepperoni on the pizza!). I'm not sure I've ever told Sweetie that. Well, Babe, that's the way it was.

Sweetie calls me Hon. Short. Sweet...to the point, Hon. I suppose that it's technically only a partial word...not even the full "Honey," but those three letters still manage to convey love, humor, tenderness, frustration, compassion or even anger at times. After 28 years together, there is no name I enjoy hearing more than that one...it's my favorite. I love to hear him call me Hon.

I call myself Pretty in the blog, and in many places online. When I started blogging, it was to protect my family's identity more than my own, but now it's part of who I am. I am Pretty. I don't need a pair of pants to tell me that, because I am Pretty! I don't need to be always perfect or always right, because in the end, at least I know that I am Pretty...and Knitty. I am Pretty Knitty, and this is my pretty knitty life. Want proof? Here's some knitting (and some cat):

My knitting is pretty knitty, too!

Thanks for stopping by. I know that the blog has been pretty emotional these last few posts, and my hope is that some of that may be helpful to friends and family who have suffered their own losses. Life and emotions are messy, but no one should have to do it alone. So, no matter what you call me, feel free to stop in and be friendly anytime. One can never have too many friends, or too much chocolate, or too much pretty (or knitty, right?).

And if you knit, I hope that you will Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Remembering Tim

When I wrote my last post, on Wednesday morning, my pastor was dying. I got the notice that he had passed just before 6pm that same day, and I grieved...and I rejoiced for his entrance to heaven. His funeral was this morning, and my head and my heart have been home to a flurry of emotions for this entire week. I could write that all down again, but instead, I'd like to write down some of the things I will remember about Tim.

I remember the way his eyes danced when he spoke to a child, and I imagine that his eyes are dancing in Heaven, and all the children who have passed before him are clamoring around him to catch the sparkle in those eyes. 

I remember the shake of his shoulders when he laughed. It took a LOT to get a guffaw from him, but I imagine that he throws back his head now, his mouth wide open with laughter in Heaven. 

I remember that he loved to sing, and I'm a little bit sad that I will not hear his voice again here. But I know that the angels are rounding out his rich baritone as they praise God together now.

I remember the gentle way he corrected me when I needed to improve in the office, always quietly encouraging me to be better. 

I remember that he was NEVER too busy to hear me out when I had something to say, even when I was being silly about things. He listened without rushing me, and he prayed for my requests in such a beautiful way.

I remember the first year I was secretary at my church. I was hired in early April of the year 2000. He and Paul, our Youth Minister at the time, took me out for Secretary's Day that same month...he didn't even know if I was a good secretary yet! Still, he took that opportunity to invest in me, and I was encouraged.

I remember him standing before my son and daughter-in-law on their wedding day, blessing them with his knowledge, humor and love, and entrusting their relationship to the Lord. 

I remember him sharing pictures of his grandkids, one-by-one, and the way his eyes shone with love for them. Then, when I had grandkids, he looked at my photos too, his eyes shining just as much. 

I remember him making low-carb pizza in the toaster oven at church, with a melted cheese crust, that was often burned and pretty smelly!

But most of all, I remember his steadfast love for the Lord, and his great faith. He had faith that could move mountains, and it did. It moved mountains of disbelief in the hearts of many who claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior today...I've simply lost count of how many he has brought to Christ in just the past 15 years that I've been his secretary. What a wonderful legacy!

I'm not finished grieving, and I may not be finished for some time. Yesterday, I went into his very quiet office, and I just sat in "my" chair, the chair I would often sink into just before I would look at him, behind his desk, and ask, "Can I talk to you for a minute?" I spoke not a word, but tried to remember the last conversation we had had in that office...I don't know what it was about. He has been out of the office for the past few weeks, and I can't remember our last conversation...but that's not important. The important thing for me to remember is that Tim lived his life according to the Book, doing his best to live the love of Christ in all that he did. 

Wouldn't the world be a lovely place if we all lived like that? 

See you soon, Chief. See you soon.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grief and Rejoicing

Disclaimer: No knitting here today, just life. 

Today is a difficult day. Yesterday was difficult, and tomorrow will be difficult as well. My pastor, Tim, is actively dying. He is more than my pastor, he is a mentor, my boss, and I count him as my friend. I've watched his daughters grow from gangly pre-teens into lovely young women. Then I watched them marry and have babies, carrying on a legacy of love from their mom and dad. I've seen Tim and his wife Debby live out their love for each other in front of their family and our congregation, and they have been an example of love and service to so many. They have spent a lifetime (the past 27 years with this congregation) loving others with the love of  Christ, and living out the Bible, in real time.

In January, Tim was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. He was hospitalized for a few weeks, then went home to outpatient treatment...a grueling schedule of tests and treatments and traveling to and from appointments. As soon as he was able, he returned to the pulpit, and continued to give selflessly...until Monday.

On Monday, Tim went to the hospital. He was admitted, and it soon became apparent that this was it. His race was coming to an end. On Monday evening, the staff sent an email to the congregation. He has not shared much of his cancer journey with the church family, putting a positive and encouraging spin on everything that he did share, and many are reeling with the news. Now we wait for the moment that God takes Tim home to Heaven. It will not be long. 

I went to see him on Monday, and again yesterday. He was much more alert yesterday, and when I left, I looked into his eyes and said, “See you soon, Chief!” It sounded funny to my ears, but I believe it's true, that it will be as the blink of an eye for Tim. He’ll get there, and hear his “Well done!,” then he’ll turn around and we’ll all be there, too, praising our Savior together and forever!

My eyes hurt, and they are fuzzy from all the emotion that has spilled from them. My heart aches from the knowing it was coming, but still not being ready. My mind cries out against the emotions that don’t seem right, and I have to remind myself that there are no wrong emotions…to just let them come…and breathe. I feel actual pain in my body as the grief of this loss washes over me.

I know that this is just another part of life, seasons passing. I know that this road leads to Heaven, and an end to physical suffering, for Tim. I've said my good-byes, and I know that he heard me. I know that he’ll be standing, or kneeling or bowing or dancing, in front of our Lord soon, and I praise God for that! Cancer does not win…Tim does! He’s had his eyes on the prize, and he has run a good race, finishing well. But on the outside, I still cry.

If you're the praying kind, please add Tim and his family to your prayer list. Pray for them, send good thoughts, and then rejoice with me! Rejoice in a life well lived, a life that points generations to Jesus! Rejoice for the time we are given on this earth with our brothers and sisters, and for the promise of everlasting life through God's amazing gift of Jesus!

This life on earth is not forever. Thank you, Lord, for your promise of an eternal life with You. Thank you, Lord, for putting faith giants like Tim in my life. Thank you, Lord, for every good and perfect gift from your hand. Thank you, Lord, for my time with Tim. Thank you for the forever promise that I will see him again!

When we all get to Heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!