Monday, September 29, 2008

Random Thoughts In No Particular Order

I am recovering from a weekend spent at my parents' house, with my kids and without my husband. Now, it was a lovely weekend, don't get me wrong. I'm lucky enough to have pretty fab parents who are hands on and involved, but also respectful of my parenting. My sister was sick so I didn't get to see her at all. It was a nice weekend (well, part of why we go every year is that my uncle passed away suddenly 4 years ago right after my mom's birthday, so I try and go and be with her), but I'm just burnt out. It's hard to be the primary parent 24-7. I have long been in *awe* of single parents, and weekends like this just highlight it for me.

I'm also fighting some sort of ick, with runny nose and sore throat, so I'm tired from that.

Tonight is the first night having DD sleep in her own crib (in the boys' room, now the kids' room, I guess) and I have very very mixed feelings about that. On the one hand, perhaps she'll start sleeping better, and in turn, I'll get more than 2-3 consecutive hours of sleep and oh man, wouldn't that be nice. But, she's my last baby, she's so sweet and snuggly and wonderful, I absolutely love having her in my bed with me. So I'll miss her. It's such a cliche, but damn, they grow so fast.

I'm in blah-land, knitting-wise. I'm crocheting a bit, having fun with that, and I started a new project today. :) I can't say too much about it, but when it's done and the pieces fall into place, I'll post pictures. Hopefully it'll be cool and not stupid.

Someone posted a vest that they had made on LJ, and I fell in love with it, and thought "hey, wouldn't it be great to knit a sweater vest?" Somehow that seemed like THE article of clothing I needed. I still remember the baby blue argyle sweater vest I had in 7th grade that I wore with a white turtleneck and pink pants. I felt so put together in that outfit! Let's see...7th grade would have been....1982.

I so need to work on DD's sweater. I'm not in the mood. I actually did no crafting at all this weekend, even though there was time and space to do it. I just felt more like reading.

It's somehow completely turned into Fall. Which, as I mentioned, is a mixed time for me. I did buy pumpkins for carving today...I'd like to carve them early enough to enjoy for a while but not so early that they rot. I'm not sure when that would be. I'm thinking of getting some little lights from Michael's instead of candles.

I really don't have anything interesting to say, and even less knitting/fiber content than usual. Yarn Mojo, where are you when I need you?!?!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pink Doily Frogged

Yeah. Turns out I made a MAJOR FUCKING ERROR on one of the corners, like, three times, so I frogged it. All that stuff about how I've defeated my perfectionism, outcome doesn't matter so long as I enjoy the process, blah blah blah? Not entirely true, apparently. I've noted this with my knitting too, actually, it's like there's an error threshold, and once I hit it, I have to undo.

I figure I learned what I needed to learn from this, and I'm going to try a different doily. I think these lace things are so beautiful, and I'm just drawn to creating them (well, I am not sure how creative it is since I'm not doing the PATTERN, just the execution).

The other thing I need to do is go to bed early and get more sleep. My darling, wonderful, alert daughter is sleeping like crap. Well, she's up 3-4 times between 10 and 6, which I think is pretty crappy, but doesn't seem to bother her at all. She does wake up cheerful, that one.

So, I'm going to do a little more interneting then go sit on the couch and start a new doily.

You know, that doesn't sound as exciting as it feels.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Frenetic Energy and the Blahs

I seem to have both right now.

Remember how I said I love Fall? Well, I'd forgotten that Fall also brings things like shorter days, colder weather and some bad memories. I'm fine, but have spent some time today feeling sad. Luckily my daughter had a massive pooplosion all over me today, which rescued me from brooding. Feeling is good, wallowing is not so good. It's a fine line, friends.

But yeah, I'm not feeling inspired to get things done. I want to get all my currently-on-needles projects done before starting anything new. I seem to do this every once and a while, don't I? I'm having fun with the doily, even though I really am not a good crocheter. I'm so over DD's sweater. I have so little left - the sleeves will fly (her arms aren't that long) and I really don't have much to do on the body but I'm so burnt on it. I don't mind purling, really, but it's harder on my hands.

I'm spending lots of time cruising around ravelry, looking at groups and patterns and stuff, and I got sucked into Facebook a few months ago, so the internet is definitely sucking my time these days. We're still in transition, it's still hard, and while I don't want to wish the time away, I'm also looking forward to having more of a community here. I've got some people I'm connecting with, which is nice. It'll come, it'll come.

One great piece of news is that a little cafe opened up in town, right near the boys' preschool! Good coffee for cheap!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Ruffle is ripped out, which does allow me to correct a smaller error I had made and just planned to live with. Just getting it back on the needles and one row knit was all I could face tonight. Now I'm working my way through a crochet round of a pineapple doily. Yeah, you read that right. And it's pink. Wanna make something of it?

I know I've written about this before but I'm too tired to go looking for the link, and I'm sure I'm not saying anything new anyway, so whatever. One of the great gifts that knitting (and now crocheting) has given me is the gift of learning to let go of my perfectionism. I'm in recovery from a variety shall we put it, non-life-enhancing behaviors, and perfectionism was part of my core dysfunction. Now, I'm all for working hard, doing the best I can most of the time (and I still get "wow, you're really hard on yourself" more times than I can count), and all that good stuff, but that's very different from perfectionism, for me. Perfectionism renders me paralyzed, because if it has to be perfect, one can't make mistakes (or be human), and therefore, it's terrifying to start. I'm not sure when all that therapy started to sink in and allow me to think things like "this is hard, and I might not do a great job, but I'm still going to do it" or, as I've been thinking lately, "wow, I really suck at crocheting, but I'd like to get better, and the way to get better is to just do it." I am a kinesthetic learner in many ways, it's right behind audio learning for me, so the way to learn is to do. And, I'm learning that I can do things simply because I enjoy the process of doing them, and worry less about the results. In part, because I'm learning to recognize when the results matter, and when they don't. I mean, really, if I have an imperfect pink doily? Who the hell really cares, if I had fun making it, and maybe increased my skills a little.

A small, yet genuinely sad decision.

DD's sweater is just too damn short. I'm going to rip out the ruffle back to where I did the increases, add AT LEAST an inch, and then ruffle it. *sigh* What a pain in the ass. She's over the 97th percentile for length though, so if I actually want her to wear this, it needs to be done. I was worried it would be too short but talked myself out of it. Silly me, I should listen to my gut more often (except when it says things like "yes please, more chocolate peanut caramel brownie"). I'm not sure when I'm going to have time to do this, we've got a *lot* of life planned this weekend. I went out with some new friends from DS1's preschool, today we've got CLEANING and ORGANIZING and then a birthday party, and a birthday party tomorrow as well. It's all good, but busy!

In part, I'm thinking a lot about how o0.0ne deliberately builds a life. I'm pondering my own character flaws traits (that sounds a bit kinder, and being kinder to myself is one of the things I'm pondering), my tendency to leap into relationships quickly and beyond wholeheartedly, as opposed to be a bit more cautious. Coming into an established group, like these moms, is hard. They're very welcoming, but the reality is that we aren't good friends (yet) and that just takes time and investment. And the fact that they *are* all good friends with each other is nothing against me, it's just the way it is. But, it's hard at times. We left behind wonderful friends and real social network when we moved. We moved just far enough that it's not feasible to maintain those connections in the same. The friends will OF COURSE still be our wonderful friends, but it is different, and we all know much I love things to change and be different, right? Yeah.

So anyway, that's the long version of my short version which is trying to stay open and say YES to opportunities that come my way to connect and join in. But when am I going to rip out that damn ruffle? The one good thing is that it will fix a small error that has been nagging at me, so I'm happy about that. :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Directions?

I love Fall. From all my years of academia, it always, always feels like the start of a new year for me. The excitement, the possibilities. There's a bite in the air in the morning and evening, I'm breaking out the jeans and long sleeve t-shirts (my mommy uniform). Both boys started at a new preschool (DS1 goes M/W/F and DS2 goes T/Th, and this is his first school experience!). DD has woken up and is just *so* fun and lovely. It's not to say everything is perfect - we've all got the first cold of the season (which will last until next May), DD was on a sleep path to hell (waking every hour), and I've been feeling overwhelmed. But, I managed to get some things done today that have been nagging at me, so I'm feeling a bit more in control. Tomorrow is Friday, a day I like. I get my trashy mags on Fridays. I've got a weekend to look forward too, I can relax a bit. We've not got much planned for tomorrow, so maybe I'll even get some cleaning done, or catch up on laundry. MAYBE.

My knitting is in a bit of a slump. I feel the siren call of startitis, and I'm trying not to succumb. I don't have a ton on needles right now - I've got about 20 more rows of BYOB plus attaching the handles and finishing it. I'm half-way through the ruffle hem of DD's sweater (with a small error that's ANNOYING me but I'm just going to learn to live with it). I've got a sock to finish, and another sock to do. I bought some very cute shoes today, which are just *calling out* for handmade socks, don't you think? My poor Monkeys are carrying most of the burden themselves right now, and I've so much sock yarn to knit. So, why is it that I've turned my strong obsessional powers to other things?

I've been thinking a lot about the "purpose" part of Knitting with a Purpose. At first, the purpose meant service, specifically the NICU donation hats. But, that's dropped by the wayside for now. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am loyal. Intensely loyal. This is both one of my character strengths and flaws. I've been known to give my loyalty too quickly and hold on far, far long to things and relationships. Far longer than any healthy person should. I do believe that it's important to be loyal, not to give up when the going gets rough, but loyalty should also be measured and evaluated, not just given blindly. When I started the NICU hats, I felt that this was something I "should" be able to commit to for, oh, the rest of my life. But, things change. It's actually okay that things change. I still want to be doing some sort of crafting for service, but I think I've found something else. Once I have the supplies in hand, I'll contact the local representatives, and talk more here, but it's something that's very doable, and should be fun for me. And, I'm telling myself, it's not a lifetime commitment, it's simply something I want to explore for now. And, it's not knitting. I'm also rethinking the whole idea that "purpose" must equal service to others. My family needs and deserves my focus too. And, it's actually okay to admit that my crafting thrills and sustains *me*, outside of any other use or purpose for it. I love creating, I love the feel of the yarns, the colors and combinations, I love wearing socks I made, or wrappy my daughter in a blanket I knit. I don't think of myself as particularly creative in some ways, and it's fun to have something that is generative.

The other thing I'm trying out is more crochet-ing. Now, to be honest, most crochet stuff really doesn't do it for me. But, for some reason, I'm feeling very drawn to crocheting (and knitting, but I don't have the brain power for it right now) lace. LACE. I do believe it was in this very blog that I declared I had zero interest in doing lace. Looks like that's not true. But, the fact that I'm obsessing over crocheting (and knitting, don't forget the knitting) lace DOILIES is just plain weird. Doilies! What the hell does one DO with such a thing? I have no idea! Hasn't stopped me from starting one though.

I'm doing a Pineapple Doily that's marketed as "quick" and "easy". Yeah, if you actually know how to do this, I'm sure it is. :) The thread is size 10, the hook is weensy. It's fun! What I'm going to do with it, who knows.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm seeing stars.

I don't think I actually posted about this project, that I had finished it. This is the replacement for DS2's other blankie, the one I fried in the washer and dryer after the unfortunate stomach flu incident.

This is a crocheted star blanket, made from Lily's Sugar'n'Cream, color chosen by DS2. I can't remember what hook size I used. It crocheted up fairly quickly, and it's not that big. Big enough that he can snuggle, but not big enough to use as an actual blanket. They don't do nap at school and he doesn't nap here anymore (hah! he hasn't napped in at least a year), so it's more of snuggly lovey for him. I haven't washed it yet, but I know the cotton can go through the washer and dryer just fine (and hopefully I won't need to sanitize it any time soon).

I'm not sure how people avoid this issue, but I don't like in crochet in the round how the very first thing you're doing is a chain of 2 or 3 (or whatever you need), rather than an actual sc or dc or what-have-you. As you can see in the valley on the left side, it looks a little different. DS2 doesn't care, so no worries, but it would annoy me if I'd worked hard to make a full-size blanket for something and had that happen. How to avoid? I don't know.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Deep Thoughts by KWAP

Am I betraying my age by referencing Deep Thoughts? I haven't even watched SNL in *years*, do they still do them? Ah, the past.

It's the end of summer. School starts up for us this week (two kids in preschool! Sadly, they never overlap.). We just had DS1's birthday party yesterday, he turned FIVE. DS2 is 3 and 1/3. DD is almost 4 months. Where is the time going? How did it come to be that I have three kids? And a minivan.

I feel like there's a way in which I've lost track of some things...some parts of myself. That's not surprising, considering that I've not gotten more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep in a few months (and considered it amazing to get more than an hour and half). I've got three kids, two cats, one husband, a life that's very focused on the home and hearth right now.

When I started this blog, almost two years ago, I was in the midst of a huge transition. The two women that had been my closest friends through the first part of learning to be a mother (particularly, learning to be a stay-at-home-mom) had dumped me. I still don't understand why. Was it something I did? Something I should have done? I loved those women and relied on them, too much probably, but they were almost like family to me. In most ways, the pain has ebbed, but it was a *huge* loss. Not just for me, but for DS1 too - these kids were almost like siblings to him. When DS2 came along, it apparently threw the whole system into disarray, and since I was the one who disrupted it, I was the one who was ousted (I guess, neither one ever said anything clear to me, one just got really mean, and the other just faded, and didn't choose me).

I was looking for things to fill me up, and one of the things I found was knitting, particularly the knitting for donation. I made baby hats for the NICU at Children's Hospital in Boston. This was the NICU where we spent a terrifying 24 hours thinking DS2 had liver damage, and then another 5 days just waiting for his bilirubin levels to drop. The nurses were amazing, and I wanted to give back something to them, and give something those little bubs I saw who were so small, so sick. I wanted those moms and dads to know that someone out there was celebrating their baby, even though the circumstances might be terrifying, scary, or tragic. Someone was saying "Hooray, your beautiful baby is here!"

I've somehow let go the knitting for donation, and I'm feeling guilty about it. I am so lucky, so completely *blessed* by the amazing family I have, my wonderful husband and children, my parents and sister, my in-laws. Family of origin, family of marriage, and family of creation. I am, however, also pretty consumed by them at this point as well. My knitting is very family-focused right now too. I'm struggling with feeling like I should be giving more out to the world than I am, but I also feel like I'm sort of maxed out on the giving right now.

I'm not sure where the "should" comes from. I don't think it's from the world around me. To be honest, it seems to me the main message of modern US culture is about CONSUME BUY ME ME ME. I've never wanted to be that person, I've always wanted to be someone who gives, who lives some, if not all, of her life in service to others. This matters to me.

So, how do I get back to this, what is the best focus for my time and energy? We moved much further away from Boston (though technically still in the 'burbs). The hospital where I delivered DD (and who cared for us when she was jaundiced too) apparently has a corps of women who crochet hats for them, so they don't need something from me. Although I certainly didn't do the NICU hats for thanks, never getting *any* acknowledgment that they were even received, let alone feedback as to whether they were helpful or not was...discouraging. I'd really like my efforts to go to my own community, but I'm not sure how.

One thing I'm feeling really drawn to doing right now is crocheting small blankets. I'm wondering if that is something that would be a useful donation for the hospital, particularly for the Level II nursery where DD was delivered and spent time (both as a "preemie" ha ha, she was born at 36 weeks 6 days, and when she was jaundiced). Perhaps I'll call them and ask. Again, it's not really about being appreciated for the effort, but rather that the effort go where it's needed.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gotta make this quick...

...because my internet cuts out in about 8 minutes! (DH set up my computer so the internet shuts off at 9:30 which forces me to do things like, oh, go to bed).

This will be a non-knitting post because I haven't been doing much knitting. It's been a hectic week, culminating in DS1's birthday party today! The actual day is tomorrow. How did he go from this?

He had a blast at his party, and was just a total delight today. He was gracious, happy, appreciative, calm, and just wonderful! He's my spirited one, so that' s not always the case, but it was so, so nice today.

Happy birthday, baby. Mama loves you!