How to Handle a Grieving Person

Something terrible has happened to someone close to you and you don’t know what to do or say.  Chances are you are going to say something stupid, that’s ok, that’s kind of expected.  But as I go through this experience I have noticed some things that most people just don’t understand or wouldn’t think of.  Things that make the situation more uncomfortable than it has to be.

You want to sympathize, you want to make sure that person knows you feel for them.  For me personally it’s very hard.  My basic rule is if I’m acting normal, if I’m smiling or even laughing please don’t ask how I’m doing.  Let me pretend things are normal.  If I tell you things are ok or as ok as they can be please leave it at that.  The process of losing a loved one, much less a husband is exhausting.  There is so much more to deal with than just grief and sometimes I just don’t want to rehash everything a hundred times a day.  Sometimes I want to live in the moment.

Also please don’t be offended if I don’t want to discuss every aspect of the illness or passing with you.  I believe that every person has a key circle of family and friends they reach out to constantly for support.  It’s nothing against you if you don’t happen to fall into that circle.  I don’t respond to texts, emails, instant messages because I just don’t have time and because each response encourages further interactions and conversations I don’t have energy for.  Sometimes I don’t want to talk about the worst thing that has ever happened to me.  I know that people don’t consider that when they start prying, they don’t even see themselves as prying, but it is.

If a grieving person doesn’t respond to your questions or dodges them it’s not because they aren’t dealing with their grief, it’s because they don’t want to deal with their grief with you or in public.

Next, you want to help, you offer it.  “Just tell me what you need.”  What a great sentiment, really it is.  Trouble with it is that when dealing with a million thoughts, feelings, and pains added to daily life delegation of these tasks to another person is nearly impossible.  Thinking of what you could do or what would fit with your life and schedule is really a hard thing to do add to that that the person isn’t functioning on all cylinders and you will be met with a smile and a nod.

What’s better?  Just do something if you want to do it.  Point in case when my best friend was here she cleaned my entire house.  I didn’t ask her to do it but it was the nicest thing she could have done.  I came home and had a clear uncluttered space when everything else was falling apart.  My cousin had my car detailed, my dad fed my goats and sheep and dogs, my mom and step dad bought me 10lbs of coffee and 105 pounds of cat litter and fixed every light bulb in my bar.  If you want to help just do it, don’t wait for us to point at something.

It’s heart warming to know so many people care but it’s also overwhelming, if you sense a person needs space it’s ok to give it.


Heart Broken

I don’t know how I really feel about writing this post.  Part of me feels that it’s very private, part of me feels that it’s a way to help get on the road to mentally accepting this.

On Sunday March 2nd, 2014 my sweet, kind hearted, handsome, gentle, strong as a bear husband Matt passed away from testicular cancer.  He was never sick, showed no signs, and was gone in 11 days.  Urgent care had sent my husband home with a diagnosis of a cold when I was worried about his shortness of breath, when his memory disappeared I brought him to the ER who found that Matt had a collapsed lung and thought that he had pneumonia.  He did not. 3 days later he was diagnosed with cancer, after that things went very quickly to surgery, and treatments, and chemo, then his heart failed and through CPR had brought him back he was on a ventilator and his kidneys were failing.

We had to make the hard decision to let him go in peace.  It broke my heart into a million pieces.

It’s been a week now.  I’m standing and I’m moving forward.  I’ve sold my herd of sheep and goats, I’ll be moving into the city soon I hope, and I’m getting a handle on managing our bar.  Keeping busy keeps me standing.

I have amazing family and amazing friends that have really helped me get through this.  I’m not sure what the future holds, all I know is that I miss my husband and best friend and that I need to keep moving.

Back From The Abyss

It’s been a long time.  A really long time since I’ve even looked at this space.  This is a natural order of things I think when your life has gone through the spin cycle.  One moment you are coasting along then you are whirling violently with the sound of a jet engine in the background unsure of when – or if – things will ever stabilize again.  They do because they have to, life has to stabilize from time to time in order to give us as people a chance to breathe an get our feet back under us again.  We may come out damp and wrinkled but it’s nothing time can’t iron out. 

That is how it’s been for me over the last year and a half and though it’s not been easy (hell sometimes it’s been downright miserably hard) I am out on the other side, surfacing after the long plunge of isolation. I will not go into this last year since it wasn’t really that interesting.  Yes, we bought a bar, yes it’s pretty awesome, yes we love it.  If you are in Portland you should come visit The Lighthouse Inn.

This sphere had once started out as a knitting blog and though I still obsessively knit I feel that is not my only focus anymore.  I knit, and when I remember I do take pictures of it but not as I once did.  There was a point when knitting was almost a competition for me, how many ‘likes’ could I get on Ravelry, how many comments?  That gets exhausting after a while and I stepped back from it. So instead the blog here will grow as I have grown and I hope to give it a voice that is more than just knitting and photography and goats.

Don’t get me wrong, goats will still be a huge part of it because, damn, who doesn’t love goats?  But the main focuses will change and evolve as life has forced me to evolve.  This year I have made one resolution (I seem to do better in singulars, I can accomplish just one thing in the span of a year) and that is to try to be fearless.  I come from a family ruled by fear, fear of being late, on time, of traveling, of bills, of weather, of uncontrollable acts of God.  Everything comes with a warning. I can’t tell you how much this irritates my husband who was taught to live life as it comes. I have gotten better at my fear and anxiety issues over the last 10 years of marriage but it’s still not perfect.  I tend to hold myself back from dreams because I am afraid I won’t achieve them, hold back from people because I am afraid they won’t like me.

How dumb is that?  Holding yourself back because you are afraid you won’t achieve what you desperately want.  In essence I have created what I fear, I won’t succeed if I don’t try.  So here’s to my year of trying things.  Not all of them will work, most of them probably won’t, but at least I’ll have something to show for it. 

And because it hasn’t happened in a year….here is a picture of Charlie.  More to come, I promise. 

The Lighthouse Inn – WE BOUGHT A BAR!

The story of how the Mr and I came to own a bar is a long and twisted path.  It’s been a year long twisted painful path that has finally brought us to – I believe – what we are meant to be doing.  I won’t get into the specifics of the last year because it’s filled with a lot of pain, anger, and bitterness that honestly, I’m just not ready to air publically.  Partially because it would make me seem like a jerk to say what has happened publically and the people involved in it that basically ruined our life for a good 9 months.  We are stronger than most though, and have prevailed in a way that even surprises me.

It all started almost a year ago, on March 15th – yes, the ides of March, how prophetic is that? – when the Mr was forced out of the company he built, the company he started and grew and cultivated into a profitable venture.  Forced out by greed, blind ambition, and selfishness.  It tore our world apart and left us floundering.  What went wrong?  Who can we trust anymore?  What the hell am I supposed to do?

You know that scene in action movies where the star s are dumped into a coal mining cart and sent rushing along an abandoned ruined track till they hit a patch where the track is suddenly missing and they are sent flying over empty open space?  That was us.  We were floundering mid-air struggling to catch that one single hanging chain.  And we did.

A few months after the Ides of March I asked the Mr what he wanted to do.  It was clear he didn’t want to stay in finance, he wanted out.

“I’ve always wanted to own a bar,” he says with a shrug.

If you’ve been married for any length of time there are times when your partner says something so outrageous that it just stalls your brain…this was one of those times.  But, also at these times you calculate how likely that thing is to happen and if you are like me you decide that it probably won’t so it won’t hurt a thing to encourage them.  So I did.

Little did I know that moment would be when our life changed direction forever.  The Mr found a bar broker and we started looking at bars.  We looked at hip downtown bars where the crowd was a million times more awesome and current than we were, we looked at dives that were neat but made no money, we looked at modern Scandinavian bars with lots of glass and blond wood and patio space but couldn’t make heads or tails of where the money actually was coming from.  None of them felt right, none of them were us.  None of them were bars the Mr and I would go to for a beer and a burger.

Then the broker came back and said “I think I’ve found your bar, I think this is it.”

He was right.

The first time we ever entered The Lighthouse Inn everything felt right.  It was a blue collar bar filled with history, amazing woodwork, and everything we love.  The price was right, it was more than right,
it was ½ the price of other bars we’d looked at.  It was a mess of who owned the bar, who owned the building and all that jazz but in the end, it was perfect.  We signed the final papers on December 6th, 2012 and we were bar owners.

It’s hard work, I mean HARD work, but like anything you love, it’s worth it.  We have had a crash course in bartending, bartenders, cooks, and venders.  Sometimes it’s been awesome, sometimes it’s been batshit crazy, sometimes it’s just been laugh out loud ridiculous but we love it.  We have gotten to know our regulars – some who’ve been coming to The Lighthouse Inn for 35 years – we’ve made amazing friends, we’ve been welcomed so warmly that it blows my mind.  And as long as we “don’t change anything,” per our regulars we are fine.  Course we have changed things and they haven’t noticed till they’ve commented on how good it is.  Like our hand cut, hand battered onion rings, or hand cut steak fries, or fresh calamari.

It’s been a whirlwind trip and it’s not over yet, it’s only the beginning, but it’s going to be the ride of our lives.

Pattern Promo & Some Other Stuff

II’ve kinda been a terrible blogger but life finally seems to have gotten back to normal.  Well, normal for us at least.  This has been an insane year for the Mr and I.  It’s like someone took our life, turned it upside down, shook out all the contents, and left them out in the rain.  It hurt, things were uncertain, but I could only have gotten through it because the Mr is my best friend, I have an amazing family, and I am to damn stubborn to stay down for long.

1.  I have published the Pix Wrap and it turned out quite wonderfully.  To celebrate I’m running a buy one get one free promotion on all my patterns.  use promo code YayLife to redeem.


2. Probably the most important thing ever…the Mr and I bought a bar! 

The Lighthouse Inn, located in Portland, Oregon, has been around for the last 54 years, before that the building was a bank (it’s old vault is our liquor stock cabinet), and a post office.  Honestly, I really believe that this was the Mr’s life calling.  He loves it (though it is SO MUCH WORK), the customers are freaking awesome, we have a great staff, and there is an amazing sense of accomplishment when someone compliments you on the bar.

If you are in Portland please come down!  We are located off the 30, just over the St. John’s Bridge (tht green one you always see in Grimm) heading to the coast.  You can expect good drinks, amazing burgers, and a laid back attitude where everyone is friendly.

3.  I realize you all have’t seen pictures of goats or anything for a while, so here you go.


Pix Wrap

Continuing on my theme from the Rough Sea Shawl I knit the Pix Shawl as a wrap.  It turned out really lovely.  Just needs to be tested.

Strigose Shawl #3

I finally finished my 3rd Strigose Shawl and totally love it.

Finished Knit!

I have been knitting lately even if I haven’t really been up on posting.  I just finished this the other day and I wish I could keep it.  Unfortunately for me it’s my dad’s sweater and will be mailed off to him soon.  I like it so much I’m going to make a pattern for it.

Specs: 3 skeins Cascade Eco Wool

The ribbing makes it stretchy so one size fits lots of bodies.

The shawl collar is nuts and I love it.  It’s almost big enough to be a hood and is super cozy!

So Time Got Away From Me

Honestly, I haven’t really had time to keep up with what’s been going on.  Things have been changing at such a rapid pace I can’t even begin to explain it.  There are super new exciting things on the horizon I can’t wait to talk about, and of course, there are goats…there are always goats.  So instead of endless words – I’ll get to those later – here are some pictures and we’ll get caught up on all the other stuff soon.

We had a surprise nest of chicks hatch.

There has been cuddly goats…

I spun a bunch of yarn….

We had a ton of plums I turned into jam…

I knit the magnamity cardi which I love.

These pockets are amazing!

And then there is this…which is super duper exciting.  I’ll post full pictures asap and the full story but right now…just a hint of what’s to come.

The Rough Sea Wrap is now live! I’m pretty pleased with houw it turned out.  I had such amazing testers who picked apart everything to make it easy to knit and a pleasure to follow.



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