Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Jobless, stay-at-home

I used to have a job some time ago, PA's job to a President of the multinational company, big responsibilities, not so big money, nothing much interesting, everyday the same routines, just another office job that needs to be done and I just happened to be there. I remember more and more responsibilities added to my list, tasks of other people who got sacked - it was cheaper that way for the company. I remember ideas of extending my working hours to irregular, but without any benefits. I remember almost becoming everybody's PA because they all knew I wouldn't say no to their requests, and when I finally did, they were all surprised and confused as if their world suddenly collapsed. I remember doing others' jobs while they were collecting praises for them.

I remember getting off the bus near our company's building every morning and screaming inside, I remember the state of nervousness on Sunday afternoons when the weekend was nearly over and I knew I would have to go back to the office next morning. I remember in my sixth year in this job having eating disorders, vomiting and the suspected stomach ulcer disease - that's how my organism reacted to my office job. I remember having a handful of pills first thing in the morning for about three months, when...

I got sacked.

It was the last day of January three years ago, and it wasn't just me - the company decided to introduce the new savings programme and lay off most of the long term employees (5 years and longer), because they could take new workers and offer them smaller payments (the girl who worked in my position after I had left got a salary half of what I earned!).

Because it was the general lay off programme we all got very good financial terms of leaving, so we payed off our debts and after some debate and calculations Robert decided that if I don't want to go back to another office job I don't have to - I may stay at home and concentrate on my crafts and on housekeeping (which I like very much). Several months later we opended our gothic apparel&accessories shop, then I started to make things and sell them through different on-line galleries. I cannot tell that we can afford everything but we lead a happy life, and have I mentioned that I stopped with any ulcer pills after that January? ^^

But there is always a 'but', right?

Yes, there is.
My family went crazy just after I lost my job, and they at first didn't even want to believe that I wasn't going to look for one (especially my mom, Robert's mom and his grandmother). They never regarded my shop as something 'real', nor the fact that I sell my creations in other people's shops, and up till now somebody comes up with some office job offers which they push gently into my direction and wait for my reaction.

The worst thing is when I have such conversations:

' So, (there must be this 'so' at the beginning, as if it suddenly came to somebody's mind to inquire about what he is going to say further), Joanna, aren't you looking for a job?'
'No, I have a job.' I answer politely.
' What job?!...' the expression of a total surprise on the face of an inquirer, as if he suddenly lost his memory million times I told him about my job before.
'I have a shop with clothes and accessories I make myself.' still calm but starting to boil inside.
' Oh, that one...' patronizing look and smile, you could almost feel the imaginary pat on the shoulder. 'But I mean the proper job, in the office, or something...'

And at this point I really feel I could get up and leave the room with a huge slam of the door or at least describe how I felt when my stomach twisted when I vomited nothing but blood at the very thought of going to the office on Monday.

But I stay calm and quiet, because I know that they would not understand - these are the people who had they lives organised in a certain way - you are born, you go to school (elementary, secondary, university), you go to work 9-5 everyday, ect. I don't fit their image - I possibly have some job but I don't leave house everyday for it, so it's suspicious, I'm a stay-at-home but I'm not a stay-at-home mum, another incongruity ('why doesn't she have kids at the age of 32?', 'what's wrong?', 'why is she such a freak?', 'why cannot she be normal?' they ask themselves and me sometimes). There was nobody in our families that had any kind of a stay-at-home job (like a writer or some artist), so they cannot imagine this kind of life. They never stayed at home, apart from the times when women stayed with their new born children for a short period of time, when they were ill (they were never ill, as my mom once said, 'I don't know why you are ill so often (twice a year? during the big flu virus explotions?...), I've never been ill for 35 years of my work!'), or on weekends.

In this month's "Mirror" (Polish women magazine) I've read the interview with two ladies who several years ago left their jobs and set up the organisations called 'Maturing Of Roses', where they offer numerous workshops that help women develop different skills and talents, learn new things and find their own place in life. And one of them said:

'I've been following my own path for the last 12 years, and my mother still cannot agree with the fact that I don't work from 9 to 5 in some office. She thinks that I walk on the thin ice and that I'm jinxed, because nobody wants to hire me. This shows how strong a certain scheme is.'

I remember I got a call from the headhunter agency about six months after I left my office job - they offered me a position of the IT Director's PA and I said 'no, thank you very much, and could you please remove my name from your database because I won't be looking for a job from the ones you can offer me', and the lady at the other end of the telephone was stunned. 'But why?...' she whispered with the utmost horror and surprise. She must have thought I was mad, because I rejected the opportunity to be in the database and possibly get another better paid job, and another...

And I like it this way.
And even if I haven't found my own dream, my place, my vocation yet, I don't want to change it because my family feels uncomfortable with it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sometimes I wonder...

Today I've been going through my wardrobe and found some old jackets that I wore during my horrible office times (more about that tomorrow), and then I wanted to destroy them physically in a ritual of cleansing myself from all the things I experienced while wearing them, then I decided to just throw them away, then I wanted to sell them but I never got to it and then they stayed (I really must get rid of them now, they just occupy the valuable space!).

Anyway, this picture brought to my mind a memory from the Summertime last year.

I was at the bus stop, the weather was beautiful, a real Summer sun was shining and there was some happy, laughing young people (this bus stop is in front of the Agricultural University gate) dressed in Summer clothing. And I, of course, was also dressed colourfully, as you can imagine from my wardrobe remix photos, I had some funny comfortable clothing plus some accessories like lots of bangles, some necklace, ect.

And there, among the colourful crowd I spotted a girl. And she spotted me. We looked at each other and then into each other's eyes. I was all Summery/freaking colourful/having fun sort of dressed and she was... well... in a very dull grey trouser suit, with some white buttoned up blouse underneath, with a black case in her hand. Her hair was not too short, not too long, indefinite colour, no expression of any kind on her face. She couldn't stand out more.

And I thought: "What a sad life she must have, working in some office where she has to wear the suits everyday to satisfy the company's standards. I bet even during the weekends she keeps this invisible dresscode, because it probably stuck to this fashion taste." And I recalled the times when I was a secretary with a low salary and I had to wear black, grey or dark blue suits (in fact, I never wore suits, I wore jackets with black trousers usually), so I was buying whatever I could afford, mainly in a thrift stores, because for me spending a lot of money on such suits was just a waste of it.

But then I started to wonder, what did she think about me? I couldn't figure out whether she approved my look or disdained it, because her face remained statute-like, and I didn't really wanted to ask...

I made two assumptions though: she could either like the way I looked, and maybe be a bit jealous that she had to wear such plain grey clothes (I would be if I was in her place), or just regarded me as a weirdo with no sense of fashion taste and felt happy to stay in her comfortable suit 9 to 5 world.

I'll never know what she thought, maybe she even didn't pay that much attention to me as I imagined. And I sound very judgemental here but isn't the way we dress reveal our personality, creativity, imagination? When I had to wear my office jackets I always accessorised them with colourful scarves, brooches, ect, that was all I could do but I thought I would die of boredom if I didn't do it. And when I look at people dressed all in grey, dark blue and greish brown office fashion clothes, with dull and tired expressions on their faces, I want to scream: "Stop wearing such plain things, jazz up your wardrobe a bit and it'll make your life more cheerful!" *^v^*

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Morning Surf

As promised, some photos of my Morning Surf Shawl.

Look at the speed of this knitting needle! *^v^*

My Morning Surf shawl is really big, lengthise and widthwise, and I've almost ran out of yarn from the first two skeins (I knit with two threads kept together). But I have two more skeins so I may knit this enormous, if I want to! *^v^* I think I'll knit it up till the reasonable length for a comfortable wrap and use the rest of the yarn in some other project (like some lightweight lacy sweater, I think I have the pattern somewhere in some Polish knitting magazine.)

I love how this photo turned out, the colours are amazing! Barbi is helping to knit Morning Surf shawl (by purring and keeping my backside warm...). ^^

Saturday, January 27, 2007

What's been happening...

... to my craft blog?
It's been getting more and more personal since the beginning of this year. Which doesn't mean I don't write about my crafts. I just write about other things as well and in bigger proportions than last year. *^v^*
My Morning Surf shawl is growing everyday, it's so easy to knit this pattern that I cannot put it away, it's just always in my hands when I land on the sofa. I believe in this pace I'll finish it even before Imbolc, not to mention it was supposed to be an Ostara shawl! ^^ Photos tomorrow.

Yesterday I bought a new issue of the Polish women magazine "Mirror" and it started with a citation from the book by Don Miguel Ruiz "Four Agreements. A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)", which I find very basic and wise, and I'm going to try to stick to these rules:

Be implicable with your word.
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word against yourself or to gossip about the others. Use the power of your word in in the direction of truth and love.

Do not take anything personally.
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their of reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

Do not make assumptions.
Find the courage to ask questions and express, what you really want. Communicate with other people as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement you can completely transform your life.

Always do your best.
Your "best" is going to change from moment to moment. It will be different when you are healthy ,as opposed to sick. Under any circumstances simply do your best and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.

I've been also thinking about my 'piece of art' I feel I'd like to create, and I think I finally know what it's going to be. It came to me somehow when I didn't even try to call it to my mind. It's going to be a tree decorating my flat, my entrance doors, to be precise. More about that later, when I decide upon the design and the technique. ^^

And just for fun, my wardrobe remixes from the last two days. *^v^*

Happy weekend, everyone!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Behind the picture Friday

I grabbed this idea from Shash's blog and decided it sounded like fun! *^v^*
So here is my Friday picture:

And things you cannot see here are:

- last night I've been using this bellydance belt at the dance class,
- during that class I had an unexpected end-of-term exam!...
- at which I scored 95 out of 100 points *^v^*
- but last semester I scored 97, so I am a little bit behind my abilities (although I've been fighting with my health and immunity problems for the last few months, and, anyway, I'm not doing this for points, so who cares! ^^)
- I figured out that I am probably the oldest person attending dance classes in my Dance School, well... (most girls are between 15 and 19)
- which is intimidating when I am in the changing room, because I am the only one with cellulitis on my thighs and a bit flabby underarms...
- sometimes I wish I had the body of myself when I was 15 (it was 17 years and 10 kilos ago... ^^)
- but, as my wonderful husband said, I will probably be the only one to continue dancing in one years time, when all the other girls get bored with it and pursue other things, as often teenagers do. *^v^*

Anyway, I got my diploma of finishing the Bronze level and I enlisted for the next term classes, which will be the Silver level. Which means a lot of shimmy practice (which I hate because I cannot do this, but it's good because I'll have to do it and maybe one day I will master this move! *^-^*).
[trying to think positive... ^^]

Last night for the first time in my life I saw my real self in a mirror - I saw the face and the body of a woman of 32. Which doesn't mean I suddenly saw an old hag, but I realised my real age. I've always felt young, (I still do! ^^), but I think my sight stopped somewhere around early 20's and decided to still perceive myself as a twenty-something girl. And I'm not her anymore. Which is good, because everything needs to change and all changes lead to something, to some development into another stage.

I've never been an age-freak, I've never cried over the first wrinkle (and the next ones...), I just seemed not to notice the time flow - maybe because not much changed in my life between the time when I was 20 till now (or maybe I should change the light in my bathroom or clean the mirror properly... ^^). I mean, I moved apartments, I got married, I got and lost my office job, ect, but the most important things stayed the same - I've been with the same beloved man for 14 years now, I've been a medieval reenactor and a craftsperson all this time, I kept the same friendships. Maybe if I had a child I would feel older/more grown up-like, but I didn't. I changed internally, emotionally, but my mind somehow refused to notice that fact on the outside.

And whereas I'll always find the little girl in me, or the crazy teenager side of me, I can proudly state that I am a woman now - both in my mind and in my appearance which I am fully aware of. Not that I'm going to give up on improving my figure ^^, but I'll be approaching it with greater awareness, understanding and forgiveness. *^-^*

I've been tagged by Sherri to write six weird things about myself, so here they are:
1. I can sleep even in the most uncomfortable environments, I once fell asleep in a room where my husband and his friends played a very noisy computer game, and my head was just next to the speaker. I slept like a baby! ^^

2. When I'm in a bathtub I like to fill it with water up to the brim and then stay in it till all the water flows out, still keeping an open tap (not very economical usage of water, I know...)

3. My favourite taste is hot and sour at the same time, like Korean kimchi cabbage, for example. In fact it doesn't have to be hot, but must be sour! ^^

4. I can hear and cannot stand some sounds that normal people don't even hear (probably dogs can hear them, too). Last Wednesday at the concert something went wrong with the sound mixer and it gave out a long persistent squeek. All the people around me heard it but went on with their conversations, I HAD to leave the room almost immediately because I felt sick and VERY uncomfortable. If you want me to stay away from you just switch on one of those electronic anti-mosquito devices!...

5. I don't like answering the phone and often don't do this (my friend who is constantly on the phone with somebody cannot understand it...), I prefer to speak with people in person or send and email/text message.

6. I could go to bed with dirty feet, dirty anything else, even teeth (not that it happens! ^^), but I always HAVE TO have my hands clean. If I was on a desert and had only half a glass of water, I would drink some of it and wash my hands with the rest.

Okay, these are my six weird things, I don't know if they are that weird but that's all that comes to my mind right now. If you read this feel tagged! *^v^*
To end up, my winter wonderland:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Things I love Thursday #3

I love kimchi!
Kimchi is a Korean hot and spicy cabbage, and I can eat it as a snack with a glass of beer, or in some dishes (like here: kimchi soup).
In fact, I love anything that is hot and sour at the same time, so all the pickles are very welcome! ^^

And eating a bowl of a warm soup is just perfect for a day like this: covered with the tons of snow! *^v^*

It started to snow two night before and here is the view from my balcony on Wednesday morning (first photo) and this morning (second photo):

And it's still snowing...

But it didn't stop us from going to a Japanese bands concert last night! *^v^*

It seems that there will be one concert each month (we are in contact with the people who organise the events and they event offered us some free entrance tickets in exchange for the adverts of the concerts on our shop's site! ^^), and last night we saw: Hagakure (j-rock) and Anti Feminism (j-punk). Well, we almost missed the first band because we were late - the traffic was terrible thanks to the snow, but we liked it a lot from the few songs we heard, and the second band was very loud and messy, just what you would expect from the punk group! *^v^*

We weren't allowed to take photos (only press had this privilige...), so we took photos of ourselves!^^

Anna and Robert, Anna and me

Piotr and Robert, Karolina and me
My hubby and me *^o^*

Me and Karolina in the snow!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I've been having an urge recently to create something. A piece of art. Not like Picasso piece of art, of course, not something big that will sell immediately and will be remembered forever *^v^*, but the art as opposed to something useful.
A bag I sew is an useful item, a skirt, a choker, a knitted scarf - these are all items to be used. And I enjoy making them, I always have and I always will.

But I suddenly I felt I'd like to make something totally un-useful (but not useless... ^^), something that you don't use, you just hang it on the wall or put it on the mantlepiece, and occasionally enjoy while passing the room running your errands. (Some may say art has its use, more spiritual than physical, appealing to our senses and emotions and in this way making us feel better. And I would absolutely agree.)

I fight with myself because one part of me says that it's a waste of time to make something that cannot be physically used. But on the other hand I would like to just sit for an hour or two, over the piece of paper, with a pencil and paints, (yes, that's something I more or less can do - draw), switch off my mind and let the fingers do the work. Or maybe do something with pieces of fabrics, turn them into a quilt-picture?

Maybe I should just give it a try, who knows what I can create? *^v^*

To finish off my post, something totally un-useful (but cheering me up everyday ^^):
my wardrobe remixes from the last few days.

Happy Wednesday! *^v^*

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hard work

What a coincidence... (No, I don't believe in coincidences, it meant to be like this! ^^)

On the same day I came across two things that described the same attitude towards work and achievement.
First, I opened my Stitch'n'Bitch calendar on the Saturday 20th Jan page and read the following words:
'Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.'
Rita Mae Brown

and then on Vera's Dragonfly Psychic blog (which I highly recommend, it's very inspiring!!!) I read her interview with her friend and artist Angie Renfro (she' s painter, check up her works!), where she said:
'It is possible to live the pipe dream of doing something you love for a living. It takes talent. It takes hard work and commitment. It takes rejection and disappointment. It takes selling yourself and shmoozing. But it is absolutely worth it.'

Yeah, my dear readers, hard work again.
This is the thing that I lack of, that I very often forget about. Sometimes I wait for things to happen, to come to me as I lay on the couch (or sit in front of my computer screen), when I should be working hard to earn my keep. If you are self employed, it is you who set the working hours and coffee and lunch breaks, and it is up to you to manage the time of the working day wisely and economically. It needs a lot of self-discipline, especially when you work at your own home, with all the distractions like laundry or watering the flowers, or just reading a book instead of working on some projects. That's why I wish I had a studio somewhere outside my flat (or at least a separate room devoted specifically to crafts), where I could go to and stay there undistracted, working. Because I am lazy and have a tendency to leave one project and start another one just because it came to my mind that I want to try it out right away. I have millions of ideas but they often stay unrealised because I have so many of them I don't know where to start and I end up with a book on the sofa, pushing my work till later.
I decided to fight with my laziness! ^^
I'm going to work out a scheme of weekly working time (just because your studio is at home doesn't mean you will work all the time, there must be time devoted to work and time to play/relax) and stick to it. (Well, we'll see how it goes... ^^)

My timeframe:
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings and afternoons - it should be the time to work on my business projects (commisions, things for all on-line shops I sell to, packing and sending out the orders, administrative work).
Naalbinding Wednesdays - because we are going to go to Sweden this June for a Viking market and I decided to take some naalbinded merchandise with me, I have to find time to make these items (socks, mittens, ect), and Wednesday will be a good day for naalbinding, because on Wednesday evenings I'm having craft meetings with the girls from my medieval group, so naalbinding in the morning will introduce a medieval crafts mood. ^^
Fridays - time for my own sewing/costume/refashioning projects
Saturdays and Sundays - time to relax and work on the projects if I really feel like it!

Yesterday I promised photos of my latest FOs, so here they are:

Candle Flame Shawl for Imbolc (I know that the colour for Imbolc shawl should be different, white or light blue or silver, but I found this pattern and could only imagine this one in red).
Yarn: strange five-ingredient yarn from my old stash, 1 skein of 100g
Needles: 4 mm
Pattern notes: this is a very easy to remember pattern, almost mindless knitting, no charts (Amber, no charts! ^^). The shape is a bit odd, because it starts rather narrow and then it sudenly grows widthwise, but it still is a nice wrap.

My Winter Gloves have all the fingers now! ^^ Unfortunately not black or red, but grey, and I thought I wouldn't like them this way but I do and they are original! ^^
Yarn: Wendy's Merino Double knit 100% wool
Needles: 3,5 mm dpns
Pattern: my own

Morning Surf Shawl which will be my Ostara shawl (yes, I know, it's still a long time, but when I finished Candle Flame shawl last night this one just jumped onto my lap and asked to be knitted a bit... *^v^*) has grown a few rows and I really like this pattern.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My GrandDad

Okay, last night I wrote about my Grandmother Irena and when I remembered all I was writing about I cried like a baby (I was home alone because Robert went to a battle recreation and came home late night), and they were bad tears, tears full of grief that cannot be driven away because it's too late. Or maybe it isn't? Maybe there is some way of putting my mind and heart at rest, by meditation or something? If you have any ideas please share with me, anything that comes to your mind.
(Kendra, thank you for your sweet comment to my last post! *^o^*)

Today it's a Grandfather's Day, so here are my memories about my Grandfather Zygmunt, Irena's husband.
I don't remember him too well, because he died of a heart attack when I was five years old. (I was at my Grandparents' that night and I remember many strangers in the apartment, neighbours sitting in the living room and crying, then my parents came to take me home and my mom was putting a pair of red tights on my tiny legs and I was telling her about the fairy tale I watched that evening on tv...).

Anyway, I was told that when my Grandfather found out that the girl was born, he said 'Daughter, phew...'. But then when he first saw me he wouldn't let me go of his arms! ^^ Ha always invented games for me, or made paper masks and chased me around the flat. And he always had something special for me: a box full of sugar cubes. *^v^*
Well, I know that it may not sound too exciting but when I was a child there wasn't much choice of sweets in shops, and if you even bought a bar of chocolate it was something called 'product chocolate-like' and tasted like old fat paper box... So, the sugar in cubes was something like a code or a ritual between him and me. Even today, I never take sugar in my tea or coffee, but I love to put a sugar cube in my mouth and taste it as it slowly dissolves. ^^

When he died and wasn't around anymore, I didn't know at first what happened to him, well, I was 5 at that time. I remember the day when it finally came to me (I was still about 5 or 6) - I was watching tv and I saw the programme we watched together with my Granddad. I saw a journalist whom we called by our own invented name, so I called 'Granddad, look, it's Mr. X on tv!'. Then I turned around towards the sofa and noticed that Grandfather wasn't there and didn't answer me as usually he did. I remember what I thought at that time: I thought that Granddad was not among us anymore, that he left and wouldn't be coming back. But it wasn't a sad thought, it was just a child's reasoning, perfectly logical. Of course I missed him a lot, but I just realised he was gone and I thought that was the way it should be.

And these are the stories about my beloved Grandparents.

(I didn't write anything about my mother's parents because I didn't really have any close relationships with them - they were simple people who had their lives full of hard work in the field and numerous other grandchildren apart from me, and I think they didn't feel the need to develop any tight bonds with the gang of children coming and going through their house.)

And tomorrow - pictures of my latest knitting FOs! *^v^*

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Granny Irena

I wanted to tell you about my Grandmother (my father's mother) so I reached for some old photo albums.

My Granny's name was Irena Zelazko, maiden name Kujawa.

I don't know where her family came from, anything about her childhood and adolescence, because when I was a kid I wasn't much interested in it, and then it was too late to ask... All I have is this very old photo of my Great Grandmother Anna with my Granny as a little girl - it must be 1915 or 1916, an I don't know whether Great Granny was a severe mother, but she definitely looks so in the picture (or maybe it was just the picture pose they tended to take while making such portraits?). My Grandmother had two older brothers and I believe she had a rather happy childhood (the three of them survived both World Wars and died in old age).

My Grandmother married my Grandfather and they hired a small 1st floor flat in a picturesque town close to Warsaw (just one room, bathroom and kitchen). He was a clerk, she was a housewife - she had her flat to take care of, a small garden in front of their windows and her crafts. Yes, that's what I'm aiming at - she was a very crafty person.

She had an old Singer sewing machine, the one with a huge pedal to keep it going (I used it several times and it really worked comfortably, once you've mastered how to keep a steady rythm... ^^) and was making a lot of her clothing. Later, when I arrived to this world, she was sewing for me - in the dull times when I was a child and there was absolutely nothing nice in the shops, I remember wearing colourful dresses and skirts made by my Granny out of the cotton fabrics she collected over the years!

I loved digging into her big three-door wardrobe, where I found real treasures: what we would call now 'vintage' shoes, dresses, hats (oh, she had many hats for different occasions!), bags, gloves, ect, ect. I often played dressing up and posed in front of a big mirror, and imagined where my Granny would wear this or that.

When I was older, she taught me different types of embroidery (it was her second favourite craft). She taught me the patience of long hours of playing with the needle and thread, the surprise of the pattern appearing in front of my eyes bit by bit, the pride of the finished work, the happiness and the value of the fact that I made something with my own hands.

Then I became a teenager and didn't spend so much time with my Grandmother - I started to have my own very important teenage stuff to do and I imagine it must have been heartbreaking for her, especially because she was alone, my Grandfather died of a heart attack when I was five, when they both were quite young, and she never found another partner (never even tried).

Okay, stop reading here if you don't want to cry...

My Grandmother was a heavy smoker for about 40 years but then she stopped, and it seemed her health was okay. But at the age of about 73 she developed a severe lung cancer, that was slowly spreading on other organs. Moreover, she had a small heart attack in her sixties and they implanted her a special device onto her heart to keep it going. So, the situation was more tragic, because she was dying of a spreading cancer, but she couldn't die because that battery on her heart kept sustaining her life and prolonging her suffering... At the final stages of her illness she was living with me and my parents, and I remember that she never said a bad word, never complained on anything (although my mother hated her and treated her like an unwanted stranger in the house, which was breaking my heart). She was just laying in bed all day, listening to the radio, trying to read something, she ate when it was time to eat, asked me to help her with her bath, she was coming to my room to watch tv because she knew that she wasn't invited to the living-room when my mother watched tv.

Then things went really bad and she went to the hospital, where I visited her once or twice, but she didn't want me to come and see her in that state. And one day the battery on her heart stopped and she died.

They said that just a few minutes before she passed away she asked them to call me because she wanted to see me for the last time. But then it was too late...

About 10 people came to her funeral. Most of her side of the family and neighbours were either already dead or lived too far away from Warsaw, and I think she wasn't a very sociable person to develop a net of friends. She lived for her husband and her son, then for her granddaughter.

She was the warmest person I've ever known, the best Grandmother I could imagine, a very crafty and imaginative woman. I miss her a lot in my life now, although I believe she watches over me somehow and helps me a bit. I think I inherited some of her genes, her talents and I'm trying to use them wisely.

After my Granny died I took a few things from her flat - the wooden box (she used to keep medicine there, and I put in it all my sewing threads), a fox collar (very stylish piece of accessory), Grandfather's bowtie, and the last treasure - two big envelopes full of embroidery patterns. My mother took a beautiful huge mirror and an art nouveau vase (yes, she grabbed what she could...), father took some photo albums and documents, the rest was given to some distant family living in the countryside (furniture, clothes, kitchen utensils, ect) before I was even aware of that.

I wish I spent more time with her when I didn't.
I wish I gave her more help, attention and support in her illness and in her everyday struggle with my mother when she had to live under her roof and be treated like a stray dog, instead of being a stupid teenager occupied with my stuff.
I wish I showed her more love and gratitude for what she did for me all those years.
I wish I was at her bed in the last moments when she was dying, because we didn't say 'goodbye' and 'see you there', and maybe my sight would make it easier for her to leave.

All those wishes cannot be fulfilled now because I don't know how to turn back time. Nobody knows. I will always live with the feeling of unfulfilment and guilt, and unfinished business.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Things I Love Thursday #2

I love my bellydance classes!
(Although I always feel lazy when I have to move my butt and go out to my classes... But I'm happy when I dance! ^^)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


As promised, here are some photos of tonight's dumpling session in my kitchen!
- Anna
- and me
- and two glasses of red wine ^^
- and 142 dumplings!

A glass of wine, who helped us making dumplings ^^, a bag of flour, one egg, cottage cheese for the stuffing (potatoes are already boiled and being mashed), at the front - pasta machine used to flatten the dough (genius!!!).

Anna is preparing the dough (1 kg of flour, 1 egg, 1 glass of very very hot water).

Dumplings waiting for the hot bath in the pot of boiling water.

Anna is resting after 2,5 hours of work (I finally bought some nice covers to hide my ugly sofa, yikes! ^^)

And finally, two containers of dumplings, the upper one full of Russian ones (potatoes + cottage cheese), the bottom one full of meat and veg dumplings.

And then came Robert and our friend Piotr, and ate half of the meat ones. ^^
I've been making dumplings for the first time in my life (I know, I'm amazed myself that I haven't tried it before, it's so much fun! ^^), and I'm already planning different stuffings, like spinach and blue cheese, sweet cottage cheese, strawberries, ect, ect...

Sweet dreams, everybody! *^v^*

Use what you have

[This post is sponsored by the handknit Wendy's socks and CAT sneakers, which can also be seen on this Flickr group: Handknit Socks & Shoes=Happiness Forever] *^v^*

I'm trying to use up my stash (long way to go...) and last night I finished my new socks. (Yes, I remember there are other things in my knitting basket unfinished, but I really wasn't in a mood for them, I HAD TO knit socks! *^v^*)

Pattern is very simple, they've been knitted toes up (I love the short rows toes and heels!), and I used one blue ball and what was left of the off-white ball of Wendy's Merino Double Knit, 100% wool. I still have another ball of this off-white yarn but from a different colouring batch and it's slightly more yellowy, that's why I could not use it to make my socks higher. I'm thinking about some lacy wristwarmers out of it.

They are comfy and warm, although I had some problems with the elastic binding off I described two posts earlier. Well, it's not elastic, like... at all. At least in my version. So I unwound it after I did it and bound off normally but with bigger loops left, and it worked! *^v^*

Yesterday I bought one skein of yarn to finish my Winter gloves but it's neither red nor black, it's what you would call salt and pepper, kind of very dark greyish black. I'm going to knit on finger with it and see whether it works at all or not.

This afternoon my best friend Anna is coming to my place and we are going to cook some traditional Polish dish - you call them dumpligs, we call them pierogi! They can have many different stuffings, but we are going to make two versions: with beef plus vegetables and with potatoes plus cottage cheese (which are in fact called the Russian dumplings! ^^) I'm cooking beef and vegetables right now so they are ready to be ground and put into a dough later, when Anna arrives! I promise photos tomorrow! *^v^*

I'll leave you with my new everyday task: taking photo of my everyday clothes!
Here are the pictures from 15th, 16th and 17th of January. They belong to the Flickr group Wardrobe Remix.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Fountain

I found this meme at Maryellen's Garrison's Garret Fiber Art, here are the rules:
- grab the nearest book and write down the name and author
- turn to page 123 in your book and go to the fifth sentence
- record the next three sentences

So, I grabbed one of the books that were and will be close to me (easy to grab first! ^^) and with me forever, Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland', page 123:

'What is the fun?' said Alice.
'Why, she,' said the Gryphon. 'It's all her fancy, that: they never executes nobody, you know. Come on!'


Last night we went to the movies and I've seen one of the most amazing films ever: 'The Fountain' with Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman. It's called sci-fi, the plot can be summed up to a few words describing the story as thousands similar to this one, but I will not do this. I'll only say that this movie is mystical and magical, it's calm and it's soothing, it's sometimes sad to the core of sadness, it reveals some truths but different for different people, it's beautiful and it's about a tree.
Which gives me some food for thought because only in the early morning on Saturday I was planting a tree - our Christmas tree which seemed to have survived 12 days in a small pot with some soil among it's roots, in a warm room, and since yesterday it was put back where it belonged, and I hope it would grow.
And in the evening we watched a movie about the tree.
(more about tree symbol in my life here)