Dear Blog: I Miss You

Hi, Blog! Remember me? Shelly. You know, the one who used to write here all the time. What? You don’t recognize me? Well, it’s been a while, and I’ve changed some.

okay, the cutesy attitude will get old quickly, but Hi, it’s me, stopping by again. I’ve been wanting to blog again for a while, so today here I am. I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately – life has changed so much since the days of the fabulous sock-yarn blankie – hard to believe that was six years ago! So much has passed since then, and I feel like that’s what most blog readers of old think of when they think of Shelly Kang – a honkin’ big sock yarn blanket.

Well, a few years ago, I joined a gym and it changed my life. The changes have been gradual, and there has been much work involved, but I have grown a whole new set of friends that I see every week day while we literally work our a$$es off. Well, most of them already had the body shape they wanted. I was at the point where if I didn’t get off the couch and start moving more, I was never going to be able to. Over the last four years I have lost 50 pounds and become more fit than I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve learned to love running (something I NEVER thought I would say, let alone really believe). Last spring, I ran my first half-marathon and surprised myself by finishing in under two hours. And it was fun.

This summer, I swam a race in Lake Superior called Point to LaPoint. It’s two miles from the shore to Madeline Island. I did that in just over an hour.

Yeah, not the most flattering of pictures except you can see the excitement and pride in my face as I went to hug my kids straight out of the water. What you can’t see is them totally not wanting their nasty wet Mommy to drip lake water all over them. Seriously, though, it was an amazing experience and I’m hoping to do it again this year. I could go on and on about the journey I’ve been on with the fitness and the changes in eating, and maybe I’ll come back and share more…

Meanwhile, the girls have grown up so quickly! I was just looking at some of the main Blankie posts while trying to answer a question for some knitter out there just now embarking on their own Blankie project (can you believe that there are more than 2300 Blankie-related projects listed on Ravelry right now? I sure can’t!) But anyway, in those pictures, Sophie was a baby and Julie was a toddler. Now they are both in elementary school. Being their mom is still my full-time job, and I am so grateful that I get to do this job every day.

We have all joined the Girl Scouts – Julie was invited into a troop last Fall, and Sophie wanted to be a Girl Scout too, which led me to a recruitment meeting at which I became a troop leader. Oh, I felt so suckered in! I thought I was signing up for this so that I could make sure Sophie had a good experience, but to be honest I have gotten much more out of it than I have put in so far. I’ve done a lot of cool things with both of my girls that I never would have done otherwise. Here we are at a rollerskating event just about a year ago…

One of the challenges of blogging as a parent is defining the limits between sharing and privacy. To be honest, one of the things that has held me back from posting is trying to figure out what I can say and show, and what I shouldn’t. There are a lot of things that occupy my time and energy that would make awesome blog posts, and writing about them is tempting when I’m in the thick of dealing with them. I deal with certain issues that I think I could share my experiences on and possibly help other parents out there who are dealing with the same things. But those stories are not entirely mine to tell. Once information is put onto the Internet, there’s no taking it back. A few years ago, I had a couple of instances where very nice local blog readers approached me in public at non-knitting events – once or twice when I was out with my girls at our favorite restaurants or shopping. It really hit home to me then that there really was an audience out there reading about my family, and that everything I share about my kids will be background information for the community to know about us before they even meet the real “us”.

It almost feels like lying by omission when I share only the happy-shiny moments of our lives, and I try to be very honest and open in all my relationships. It’s especially hard when issues flare up, but also when I have especially happy or shiny moments and here I am bragging about them again…but, nobody is forced to read my drivel, so I guess I can continue to spew it and you can take it or leave it.

Julie is 9 now, and a third grader. This kid is so smart, so insightful, so delightfully quirky. She reminds me of myself in so many ways, not the least of which is that she also loves swimming and practices with a swim team almost as much as I do. She loves to tell people that she is interested in fashion design, and every time we are at a toy or book store she zooms in on those kits full of templates for drawing clothes fashion pictures or cutting out paper clothing outfits, or – well you would not believe how many various activity books and kits there are on the market aimed at girls who like clothes. She’s had them all. In the lead-up to Christmas, she was circling all of them in the toy catalogs and a light went on in my head. I told her that if she was interested in fashion and really wanted to learn more about it, she needed to learn how to sew so that she could make real clothes instead of all these piles of drawings around the house. We went to the fabric store and picked out a pattern and some flannel, and over Winter Break she sewed herself some pajama pants. I made the shirt to go with them, but she really did do 90% of the work on the pants herself – including the hair-raising-for-me-experience of learning to use the iron. Yes, there was a small burn involved, but she’s fine and it’s almost a given that you’re going to burn yourself eventually when you use an iron. Here she is.

Sophie is almost 7 and in first grade. She loves to dance. Until last Summer, her hair was quite long and she claimed she was going to grow it down to her ankles. I think she really believed that she was going to, and the idea of combing through the tangles at that length gave me nightmares. Eventually, I told her about Locks of Love, where you can donate your hair to be made into wigs for children with permanent hair loss. She loved that idea, and was able to donate a full foot of her beautiful silky brown hair. Now it’s growing back nicely, but it was cute even as a short bob.

I knew that she would be sad if Julie got to work with my sewing machine and she didn’t, so I bought her a plain tote bag and let her pick out different colored threads to sample the various stitch patterns my machine can make to decorate it with. I’d say that was a win.

Yes, I have in fact been doing some crafty activities…just maybe not quite as much as I used to. Things have shifted a bit as well. After I learned to spin, I really took to it like a duck to water. It’s so meditative! So calming! Eventually, I dug even deeper and bought a few dirty fleeces straight from the sheep so that I could process them start-to-finish. Let me tell you, I’m glad I know how to do it. It’s been fun learning. I’ve told my husband to shoot me if I ever bring another dirty fleece into the house. I might be willing to buy a fleece and send it away to be washed, but sorting and washing fleece is not at all glamorous! I have a ton of pictures on my hard drive from my adventures with it last summer, thinking that I would blog it – I’ll go back and look at those if I need reminders why not to do it again.

Actually, I am just finishing up spinning the singles on a Romney cross I bought in 2011 – at least I think that’s what this one is – I’ve actually bought six fleeces total, and I didn’t keep my records very straight, so this could be one that I bought this Spring. I’ve got seven bobbins full of skinny singles, and now I’veĀ  got to decide whether to make 3 or 4 ply yarn with it. I’m leaning toward 3, but I’ll have to sample and see how it looks. There’s definitely a sweater’s worth here.

Knitting has not gone by the wayside, though. I still knit socks at a rate of just less than a pair a month. Joe decided last winter that he might actually like to wear hand knit socks to work – totally knocked me over when he announced that he’d like a few more pairs after years of hiding the few pairs he had in the back of his sock drawers. I told him we’d start with one more pair and take it from there.

I’ve been wrestling with a very nice batch of purple Elspeth Lavold Silky Wool yarn – I had a sweater 80% done, when I tried it on and discovered that the design was awful (not mine – I was knitting from a pattern out of a magazine) and ripped the sucker out. That represented months and months of work, though, so after washing the yarn it sat for a bit while I worked through my disappointment. I’ve started a new sweater – working on the arms first, two at a time on a big circular. I have my reasons for doing it that way, and maybe I’ll show you.

There is also another sock yarn blanket in progress…this one is not as amazing as the mitered square one. It’s just a collection of clunky crocheted granny squares. I made the mistake of doing too many rounds on the first 10 or so squares I worked up, and by the time I realized that it would be cuter with smaller squares, I was not willing to go back. For some reason, it feels like a summer project to me, and I’ve set it aside for now, maybe to be finished in time for next year’s state fair. We’ll see.

On the horizon, my glittens (fingerless gloves with mitten-flaps that go over the ends) that I wear every day are on the brink of wearing out. I have a plan for a new pair, and a matching hat of course…but the plan involves spinning some specific yarn – it will be a really cool project that I’d like to share so don’t hold your breath, but stay tuned!

The backlog of updates is daunting. Hopefully I’ll be back soon. Thanks for checking in!


6 Responses to “Dear Blog: I Miss You”

  1. TodayWendy says:

    So nice to hear from you! Even if all you do is check in every couple of years it is still really good to know that nothing horrible has happened. My daughter is almost the same age as Sophie so I love hearing about what you guys are doing (and I totally get the privacy issue).

  2. Barbara says:

    Welcome back. I check often, love to hear you blog about everything, congrats on the weight loss and getting healthy!

  3. Lee Cockrum says:

    Was so great to see you pop up in my reader! The girls look great, and would love to see some more regular posts from you:)

  4. Bea says:

    Shelly, popped in today to check and see if anything was happening. So happy to read your update and learning about all the things your beautiful daughters are involved with as far as Girl Scouts, sewing, machine embroidery, etc. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi Shelly,
    I am so happy you have returned!
    I have been checking your blog on a regular basis and what a surprise to find not one but two posts.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what you have been doing in the last year.
    Congratulations on your marathon and swim in Lake Superior. I am familiar with how cold it can be!

  6. Ellen says:

    So nice to hear what’s what in your life again – we’ll have to see if we can meet up for an outdoor swim this summer.

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