Angela B

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52 years old
Stow, Ohio

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My Bio

I teach English full-time (Freshman Composition) in a large, urban, public University in Northeast Ohio.  I am a mother of 2 boys, a 4 year-old and an 9 year-old. I live with my husband and kids in a suburban town --little house, with yard, and garage-- the typical story.

I am middle aged now, mid-fourties, despite the fact that I indulge in younger fashions and fool myself to believe it's nothing to get rid of those extra 5-8 lbs that are now stubbornly planted around the waist and lower belly area.  What keeps me hoping is the fact that I still squeeze myself in sizes 4 or 6 --it's those clothes manufacturers' fault: they have gradually made sizes more generous to accomodate us.

I was born and raised in Greece; went to school there, including college, and then I came to the US with a scholarship to pursue a graduate degree in English.  That was 23 years ago. And although in the first 3-5 years of being here, I still had the stubborn will to be done with my degree and get out of here, I eventually stayed. I met my husband in graduate school. And joined the ranks of those foreigners who found themselves caught in the realities of life: you meet someone, you fall in love, you marry, you finish your studies (Masters or PhD or both--as I did), you settle in the life you have made for yourself, you have a family in a new land that is now your home.

And you knit. I rediscovered my love for knitting when I became a mother for the first time--in my mid-thirties, pregnant, in a small doublex in North Carolina, in the heat of the south.  In the fall of 1998, when my first one was born, I finished the first tiny-weenie light blue cotton jacket I had ever made.  My hands remembered it all; the cast on, knit, purl, shaping of armholes, neck, bind off. My eyes remembered how to read charts. And the heart started pounding again at the sight of new patterns, new yarns, new seasons.

I own more yarn than I can ever knit. My husband says I could start a store just with the yarn I have stashed all over. And I am not talking just odd balls or left overs. I am talking about oodles of the same yarn for projects I had clearly envisioned in my head, with precision, calculated purchases that took into account yarn amounts required for 3/4 long coats with cables, or turtleneck sweaters, shawls, cardigans, afgans . . . That's the trap of the more experienced knitter. She overestimates the knitwork she can accomplish in a given month or year on top of her regular full-time job away from home, and her jobs as mother and house-keeper (cook, cleaner, household manager and project coordinator --often-times project doer-- how many times, does it take a wife to keep reminding her husband that the garage needs cleaning and then she ends up taking 2-3 days to do it herself?). 

The more experienced knitter buys yarn trusting her abilities to do it all: knit sweaters for herself, for her kids (I admit, I stopped doing this after the 2nd one was born and made him 2 sweaters that he only managed to wear a total of 10 times...), for friends, relatives, and more for herself --and her husband. 

The more experienced knitter dreams of doing it all and finds herself longing for a chance to have another life where she can pursue knitting full-time. She reads profiles of knit designers who dared to be path carvers and turned their passion into realities. 

The more experienced knitter lives mutliple lives simultaneously: as she begins the new cardi, she thinks up ways of doing her new fall course, she invents writing assignments, she plans out her presentation for an upcoming conference, and when she gets up from that armchair a few hours later she attacks those projects and gets them done. The cardi falls behind, of course. There is no dead-line there. Professional calls are urgent: there's the regular salary and professional development that are at stake. And the endless house-trap: the carpets that need vacuuming, the dinners that must be cooked, the kids school-work that needs oversight, the messes that need cleaned up NOW because they have taken over in the weeks that the full-time job as a teacher has consumed most of the 65+ hrs per week that it often chewed up.

In a nut-shell, that's my life for now. Ah, and I forgot the poet part-- yeah, that also got shoved aside in the rush of things.  Poetry and knitting and teaching and cooking-- or teaching, and knitting, and poetry, and cooking.

Angela Bilia