I have had a few very difficult days lately when I have felt a great deal of anxiety and depression about our uncertain future. Some days I feel as if I can’t breathe as I worry about our dwindling savings, about what we will do if EJ is unable to work, and about how I can make money to help. I feel exhausted by the constant struggles of life and battered by cruel people. I had hoped that by this time in our lives, we would be able to rest a little more. People tell me that everything will work out but this is not a mere story in a book and we can’t jump to the back to see what’s going to happen. This is our story, our lives, and I don’t know if there is going to be a happy ending.
But there are still things to be thankful for and to enjoy. For example, I am thankful that my friend bought me a book of crocheted monsters in early November and then asked me to make some for her to buy as gifts. That was the beginning: I have worked steadily since mid-November. I made 19 items before Christmas and so far this year I’ve made 9 items. Yesterday I delivered a Torch Lake Monster, a dragon, and a goblin to a local woman. By the time I got home, she had ordered two more goblins as well as a baby blanket and a baby “cocoon,” which is a snuggly blanket to wrap a newborn baby in. I don’t usually make blankets but I’m willing to make custom orders for people who are willing to buy them. Although I don’t make clothes because I hate worrying about sizing.
In addition to my other projects, I have been working at finding and adapting patterns that I can use to make legendary Michigan monsters–such as the Torch Lake Monster, the Dogman, a Michigan troll, and a Sasquatch. I’ve made the first two and I’m working on the next two.
One person sent me a photo of her dog and asked if I’d make a crocheted dog that resembled him. I did and she really liked it. After that, my dear friend bought me a book of crocheted dog patterns. She has the gift of giving me practical gifts that are a real help and encouragement. I’m really looking forward to making the dogs, but so far I’ve been busy with fulfilling the other orders. I’m going to make a Hannah Joy dog and offer to make crocheted dogs for people to resemble their own dogs.
I started my on-line medical transcription class last Wednesday. We had to introduce ourselves at the on-line class forum and most of the other students seem to already have experience in the medical field so they are familiar with the medical terms. That’s a bit intimidating. But I did get 100% on my first quiz. So I am persevering.
Last night there was a lunar eclipse. The night was clear so EJ and I went out to watch it. Actually, we took many brief trips outside to view it because it was a cold -5 degrees. (The temps dipped down to -9 overnight.) But the eclipse was awesome and we were glad we stayed up for it.
Hannah Joy lives up to her name. She is a sweetheart and an absolute joy to us. She is very hyper-aware of everything that happens in or around the house. She acts as if she is responsible for everything. She checks out every strange noise, she alerts us when wildlife is in the yard or a vehicle pulls into the driveway, and she referees any fights the cats have with each other.
Hannah loves to sleep on our laps. Whenever EJ and I hug or kiss each other, she runs to join us with a bark to get a hug too. Hannah even turns down the blankets on the bed if I don’t do it first. If she thinks I’m staying up too late, she grumbles until I go to bed and then she curls up next to me. Hannah is so observant that she noticed that I pulled our cat, Timmy, from under the bed every night and put him outside of the bedroom so he wouldn’t wake me in the night. One night, all on her own, she crawled under the bed to chase Timmy out for me. She’s amazing.
Hannah loves to celebrate Shabbat. She joins us when the candles are lit. I now give her water in her own decorative glass to drink when EJ and I drink the wine, and I give her a special dog treat when we eat the bread. During the Havdalah ceremony at the end of Shabbat, there is a time when we admire our hands that can do work in the light of a special woven candle. Hannah always stands up at the counter so we can tell her how wonderful her paws are too.
I have taught Hannah Joy to sit whenever we enter the house so I can remove her harness. Then I give her a command in Hebrew to release her and she comes running. I’ve started listing a bunch of random words to see if I can trick her–sort of like the children’s game “Simon Says.” If Hannah comes at the wrong word, I correct her and make her sit until the right command is called. In this way, she learns to ignore all words except the proper command. Hannah is so smart that she seldom makes the same mistake twice. She is amazing. This is a short video of us playing the game:
Hannah also has a game she plays with us. She brings her ball to us and drops it in our lap, then she sits down and waits for us to throw it to her. If we ignore her, she starts to grumble. I think she likes to trick us. Sometimes Hannah begins to grumble and we ask, “What’s wrong, Hannah? What do you want?” She stares at us in expectation and then we discover that she had dropped her ball in our laps without us realizing it. Hannah has three balls that look exactly alike. Sometimes one will roll out of reach under the coffee table. We point to another identical one nearby, but she only wants the one that she wants and will complain until we get THAT one for her.
Hannah really is our Joy.