Death Stuff and Life Stuff

It’s been sad times in the knitting and crochet community lately. We’ve lost two major designers to cancer in the past month, and a little more closely to me a couple of acquaintances I had made on Ravelry also died from cancer. I’d like to talk a bit about some of them.

You may remember that I mentioned Cat Bordhi in my post “Searching for Knitting Mojo” back in August. Sadly, she died on September 19th, a month or so after she had revealed the news of her terminal cancer to the world. Her loss was such an impact on the community that The New York Times published an obituary about her. I’m not sure if there’s a paywall involved, but I will link to it, which you can check out here. I am still working on the Rio Calina cowl whose pattern she posted about a month before her death, but I’ve only managed about a foot or so of it (it’s knit flat).

Another designer, Annie Modesitt, lost her own battle with cancer on October 1st. While I was not as familiar with her work as others may have been, her passing has been recognized on Ravelry. Looking at her pattern collection on Ravelry, she was a master with both the needles and the crochet hook and designed patterns that were eye-catching and things of beauty. Her blog can be found here.

The other two people I’m going to talk about weren’t people I had ever met in person, but were part of a Ravelry group that was one of the first ones I’d joined when I signed up for Ravelry three and a half years ago after slowly coming out of a self-imposed sabbatical from computers and technology. This group is called “Atheist and Agnostic Crafters” (or “A&AC” for short). As I’ve mentioned in the past, I live near the very southern edge of the “Bible Belt”. While people here in Central Florida aren’t as steeped into religious fundamentalism as they are in the rest of the South, telling people you outright don’t believe in God will probably still get you either some side-eye or a “bless your heart”. It’s not necessarily something that’s comfortable discussing with family. So it felt good to have a place to go to online where I could meet likeminded people and not feel shame for it. Some users I’ve been a little closer with than others. Last month, two of our group died just a few days apart. One of them was one of the few men in our group, who was married to another Raveler (who was also in our group, but left…not due to a change in religious beliefs, but due to some posting drama that I’d rather not get into; but she’s always welcome back in my book if she ever wants to), and the other was a young-ish lady in her 40s. Her Ravatar (slang for “Ravelry avatar”) was a pair of cats snuggling, and I always kept misreading her username because I kept mistaking a lowercase L for an uppercase I. I wasn’t incredibly interactive with either of them, although I did enjoy discussing video games with the man I’ve mentioned. We were both Assassin’s Creed fans and it was always great to discuss the games with him. We as a group were greatly saddened to hear of their deaths, and if you’re wondering how an atheist approaches the subject of death, here it is: since we don’t believe in an afterlife, we see death as closure, the end of our one life. We grieve for the loss of a person, surely, but we also recognize that if the person was suffering in their final days, that they are now at peace and their suffering is over. We don’t think of them as being in a “better place”, but we remember the impact they had on our lives. Even if they touched the hearts of just a few people, they will never be forgotten for as long as those people who loved and remembered them live. I approached my mom’s death in the same way. For most of the rest of my family, the thought of her “being with Jesus” comforted them. For me, knowing she was no longer suffering comforted me. I raise a glass to those we’ve lost.

I saw this on Annie Modesitt’s blog, posted during the last months of her life as she was battling cancer. I thought it was a nice perspective on how she saw the eventuality of death.

None of us will beat death, it will get us all in the end. I’ve become much more at peace with that truth over the last few years. I’ve lost so many folks who are close to me, maybe that’s why I have such a strong desire to see a grandchild. Or maybe it’s just that I love babies. At any rate, I feel that as fine as my kids are, there are rough edges to be smoothed, more lessons to be taught.

Annie Modesitt, “Anti Climax”, Mode Knit

Steering away from the topic of death, here is some life stuff.

I ended up getting three more ebooks since my last book update:

  • Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami: A fellow bookstagrammer recommended I read this one first whenever I decide to take a dive into Murakami. (I also want to eventually get a copy of his novel 1Q84.)
  • Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut: Since reading Slaughterhouse-Five last year, I have been on a mission to find and read as much Vonnegut as I possibly can.
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison: Not to be confused with The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, this book is considered a landmark work in African-American literature.

I haven’t voted yet in this year’s election, but I plan to. Early voting starts in about a week here, but I may end up going with my dad to vote on Election Day morning (which is when he usually goes to the polls).

Now, before you get worried about me catching the COVID while waiting to vote, hear me out:

  1. We have masks. I will be masking up, no matter what. In fact, my hometown requires them by city ordinance. I just hope my dad will go along with it, at least for going to the polls.
  2. Our polling place has been changed from a small church lobby to a much more open school gymnasium. Hopefully this will give us a chance to make more space in line, too.

We in all likelihood will vote for different candidates, and that’s okay (he jokes that we’ll “cancel each other out”, which is probably why we also don’t do lawn signs). I’m thinking of asking if we can go to the bookstore after we go to vote. After all the shenanigans and the bombardment of ads and the name-calling and the “my guy is gonna whip your guy’s ass because your guy means the end of America as we know it”…I’m gonna need something to look forward to. I still have some spending money. I’ve been wanting to go back to this bookstore for a while, but I just couldn’t figure out when the opportunity would pop up.

The diet is going okay at the moment; I can’t tell you if I’ve lost any weight because I’ve decided not to weigh myself at this time. I do have some pants and shorts in smaller sizes than what I wear now. If I find myself fitting into them, then I’ll know that I’ve lost weight. Then maybe I’ll reevaluate the whole weighing myself thing.

Most of it is portion control, which has been going okay. We do allow ourselves to have one “cheat meal” a week (although I’m not craving a cheeseburger every week, thank goodness), but for the most part I’ve been trying to stick to the meal plan, and when I do feel like I still need something to eat, we’ve gotten some extra snacks (fruit, some cottage cheese, whole grain crackers) or I eat a salad with homemade vinaigrette dressing (less fatty than the commercial stuff) to try and stave off the feeling of not feeling full. I’ve also usually had a protein shake with my snacks for the day (I eat a snack in between main meals). For dinner tonight (which I’ll also put together for my dad when he gets home from work in the morning), I’m trying to recreate one of the dinners we had, which was chicken breast with brown rice, peas, and tomatoes. My recreation ended up missing tomato sauce, but otherwise I think it might work. With portion control in mind, I think I’m gonna use a smaller plate.

I think I’m almost finished with my “Don’t Huffle the Puff” shawl, but I’m going to save that for another post. While it was kind of sad reasons why I started this post, I’m glad to have gotten a chance to give you all a bit of an update. I think I’m gonna go and put together my dinner right now, and then after I eat it’s back to work on the shawl while I watch Roman Empire on Netflix.

One thought on “Death Stuff and Life Stuff

  1. My husband and I will be voting on Election Day. We have done it twice since the start of Covid. Our town has done an excellent job of making it as safe as possible for all residents. We bring our own black pen and use hand sanitizer on the way out.

    Liked by 1 person

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