Thursday, December 31, 2009

365-49: Getting Back on Track

Well, it looks like I've gotten off-track. That's okay, no time like the present to get back ON track!

2009 hasn't been the best year for our family - no major crisis but some loss and just a lot of health stuff. It seems to have been true for so many I know - lots of people lost beloved pets and family members this year, and way too many illnesses. Just today I heard about two more kids with pneumonia, another kid with a perforated appendix, a friend's husband broke his leg, and another friend had the stomach flu. JUST STOP IT, UNIVERSE. We're ready for 2010.

I don't really make new year's resolutions, simply because I feel like I don't keep them and that's just inviting failure! Somehow it feels more doable to have goals, and mine are fairly simple. I want to be kinder, more loving, more generous and more patient this year. I have some concrete goals, some things I want to accomplish but really, I just want to keep working on being the most compassionate person I can be. I want to live with more love and less fear.

I am grateful for this night, to reflect on the past year, on what I've done and not done, on where I've succeeded and fallen short, on where I might go this next year.

I found a quote from Mark Twain I really like:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

I wish us all a year of exploration, dreams and discovery. And cut it out with the illness, okay, Universe? Thanks.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A couple of FOs...

We've been at my ILs' house for a few days and I've grabbed time to knit! I've completed two pairs of slippers (except for the felting) and a hat for me!


This yarn picks up the greens of my coat perfectly! I didn't swatch, of course, I just went by the label needle size (10.5) and gauge, and my own head size. Fits great! I "had" to make a hat because I left my fleece hat at home!

I did a pair of felted clogs for my oldest:


It's the fiber arts pattern, 8" size, in Lamb's Pride worsted.

Then I did a pair of the French Press ballet slippers for me:


The knitting was fine, though the fourth top was a bit tedious...I just hate seaming. I also put the soles on purl-side out. Oops. I'm calling it a feature. I'm not a great seamer so I'm hoping the felting process evens them out a bit. Otherwise, it's back to clogs for me!! I'm also not sure how to sew on the strap post-felting and I'm pondering attaching it pre-felting (but not tacking it down). Do I use thread? Yarn? I have really pretty mother-of-pearl buttons that I think will look nice. It's a nice pattern but pricey!!


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Friday, December 25, 2009

Actual Knitting Content!

I auctioned off a hat and scarf for our preschool's annual benefit. A friend had seen my purple Foliage and wanted one just like it, so she bought it! I ended up making it in exactly the same color. Just a note, I contacted both designers and requested permission to use the pattern for a fundraising item, and even though I already owned the Just Enough Ruffles pattern, I repurchased it. Both designers graciously gave me permission to use their patterns to benefit the school.

So, the pattern for the scarf is Just Enough Ruffles. Knit exactly to pattern, so any mods are simply my own errors. I knit this in Malabrigo Worsted in the Jacinto which I ordered online from somewhere, I can't remember where! As always, Malabrigo is *just* delicious! I used my KP Options for this one. I was very nervous about the blocking because it's not a skill I have, really, yet. Need to finish some more lace so I can get more practice, right? :) I ended up steam blocking it. I wet down a cotton pillowcase and placed it over the areas I wanted to block and ironed it. I didn't block the ruffle at all, I liked it really curly!

The hat, is of course, Knitty's delightful Foliage. I seriously love this pattern. I love leaf lace, and this hat is so cleverly constructed! The only modification I made in this one is the same as I made for mine - I knit 2.5 pattern repeats instead of three. I found the lace opened up with wearing and with my original version in the bulky (RIP pretty green hat), it soon became too long. Which is odd because normally hats knit to pattern specs are too short for me, what with having a long, pointy head. *ahem* Not that I'm insecure about it AT ALL.

These are both pretty quick knits, and fun to do. In the process, though, I have (re)learned a valuable lesson which is that while I love to knit for others and give my work away, I do not love knitting for a deadline. In this case, the deadline is internally imposed because my friend was very gracious about taking my time, but I really wanted it done by Christmas. I am going to VT in January and want to have my sister's shawl done by then, and I have some other projects I'm excited about. I also have FOUR socks in flight, so I need to finish those. I just don't like feeling like I *have* to get something done by a specific time. This is not an unusual thing for me, that's my general attitude (though sometimes I think without those deadlines, I'd never have finished graduate school!).

So, we're off to visit my ILs for a few days and I've packed up the knitting - the shawl, and yarn for some felted slippers for the kids and for me (my awesome clogs are just about worn through). I'd like to have it all done so I can felt them in my mom's top loader.

For all those who celebrate, Merry Christmas! For all those who don't, I wish you the joy of the season. I'll have my phone with me, so I'll be posting from Western MA.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

365-48: Silent Night

It's not silent at all, actually. Not yet. The baby (not a baby anymore) is chattering in her bed, the boys are running around, overwrought at the whole thing - the pageant tonight, and SANTA tomorrow. But, they will wind down, and the house will settle down around us. We've still got a lot of work to do: I've got a nice brunch to put together, and everything has to be wrapped. It will get done, I'm sure, and I'll enjoy a glass of wine while I do it.

The house I grew up in was at the end of a dead end row, 10 houses on the street, on a hill. Sometimes in the winter, it would be too icy to get up the hill, and we'd have to park at the college and tramp home through the woods. I have a memory from being a teenager, so clear (true? I don't know), of coming home from the late-night Christmas church service at the Episcopal church we attended (back when I believed), and we got stuck on the hill, and had to go park and walk through the woods. It was cold, and so clear. It was dark, they hadn't yet built up that part of campus, not the way it is now, and we came to a part of the path where the woods drew back, a small clearing. I remember looking up and seeing the amazing array of the Milky Way stretched out above and just being filled with a feeling too profound for words.

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Christmas right now is more work than anything for me. We do go to a Christian church but my theological belief system is far from clear to me right now. I'm drawn to belief, yet I resist it. I want to be that perfect, always patient, always loving and kind and soft-spoken mother who never loses her temper and created perfect memories for her children, but I'm not. I threw an honest-to-god, mercifully brief, temper tantrum today when I discovered the kids had thrown the clean, folded laundry on the floor. There was shouting, a door may have been slammed.

And yet...there's so much about Christmas in the Christian church that resonates, and it's the same things that resonate about why I celebrate the Solstice. There's darkness all around, and always has been. People experience pain, loss, grief, devastation. And yet, I have hope for the world, for us. I believe in love, and joy. I believe in the light, and I believe that the light will not just overcome the darkness, it will heal the darkness, if we let it. Just like in that moment, when I was a teenager, so long ago, looking up and feeling filled with starlight. I believe that feeling, that joy is there for us. It's what keeps me going, really, those moments where I can just get out of my own way, and let the light in.

I am grateful tonight for those moments, and my own journey and faith that the journey is worth it. The light is there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

365-47: Can't Think, Tired.

I've been staying up way too late, not doing anything productive and just generally goofing off. So, I'm way tired and it's my own damn fault so I can't even whine about it. I will, of course, but you and I both know I know it's my own fault so feel free to ignore.

It's been a very hectic day. Got DS1 on the bus for his last day, including making sure he had fancy cookie decorations that were artificial food dye-free! Go me. Got DS2 to school, ran a couple of errands (turns out it if we want to send out all those cards and letters that I put together, they need this new-fangled thing called a STAMP). Went back to school for the preschool solstice brunch. Left that early to get DS1 off the bus, stuff some lunch into him and get him to the dentist where they pulled his first tooth! The grown up tooth was coming in behind and the baby tooth wasn't coming out. For some reason this just makes me think that this is SO like him. He was badly positioned in utereo and wasn't coming out then either. This amuses me, for some reason. Anyway, where were we? Dentist. Came home, worked on the hat I'm finishing for the preschool auction. Took all three kids to karate, then to the chiropractor then convinced DH to meet us out for pizza. It went as well as could be expected, really. Good pizza too. Came home, worked on the hat. It's almost done, but I hit the wall (seriously, I'm about 1/4 of the way into the bind-off) and I had to do the Tooth Fairy letter. Apparently the dentist's office told him that you get extra if the dentist has to "wiggle" your tooth out. *eyeroll* It's fine, all we had were fives anyway so he scored.

So, all that being said...I am so grateful today for my family. My little (big) guy was so brave at the dentist's office, my littler guy was so cute at his brunch - so proud of all of his hard work, and my daughter continues to delight and amuse me. My husband is pretty great too. :) It's not easy all the time, but every once and a while, it just clicks, and I felt like I had those moments with each member of my family today, which is nice.

Monday, December 21, 2009

365-46: Slow Down, You Move Too Fast

In this busy season, it's easy to get stressed out. It has really hit me since having kids, how much *work* it is to be a grown up. As a kid, all the wonderful holiday experiences we had magically appeared, courtesy of my mom, of course. But I didn't get that. Now I do. To have any holiday traditions requires that we not only create them, but that we sustain them. And that takes effort. This year, for the first time I think, both boys really are into the whole idea of Christmas, with presents and Santa and (for the first time), the whole baby Jesus thing too. We're going to church on Christmas Eve, I'm hoping they'll be in the pageant, all that stuff. It's weird for me, but I think it'll be good.

Anyway, I spent some time running around today, and just got totally overwhelmed and unable to make decisions. Do we need more presents? Fewer? Different from what we have? I really hate the materialism of the season (don't get me wrong, I'm as materialistic as the next person, have you seen my collection of diaper bags??), but really, the emphasis on BUY BUY BUY is pretty sickening. So, I'm trying to remember all that I have to feel grateful for. And to take a breath here and there and just focus on where I am, and with whom. My beautiful younger son sat on my lap at dinner and chattered away at me, and all I could think as I looked at his blue, blue eyes and rosy cheeks was, "How lucky am I?"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

365-45: Sort of a day of rest.

We have cats in our household. We said goodbye to our wonderful L in June, and quickly acquired the boys. They're great, but they're not MY cats, really. I still have my A cat. I have had her from the time she was a weency little kitten, she came to me at about 6 weeks old. She's now almost 16 1/2. She's been a handful, my dear love kitty that she is. I think things are going downhill with her: she's very thin, she's got kidney disease and she's now started peeing on the bathmat. We just can't have a kitty peeing all over the place, so if it gets worse, we're going to have to make a tough decision. I'm not ready to lose her. She and L were with me through some very long and painful years. In some ways, they were the *only* ones who were there with me. They saved me. The thought of losing her breaks my heart, though it is, of course inevitable.

So, how is this related to gratitude? Even as I sit here, knowing I *will* lose her, and probably fairly soon, I haven't lost her yet. She's here, now, still herself, still okay. I am reminded, yet again, that pre-suffering really doesn't serve any useful purpose and only robs you of the joy that's available to you in the here and now. In this exact moment, nothing bad has happened. We don't have to make that call today (though I am calling the vet just to rule out a UTI). We don't have to say goodbye just yet. So, I am grateful for that, today.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

365-44: 'Tis the season...

...in more ways than one! We are back from a lovely party with good friends! It's fun to feel like we really have a *life* out here! Most of these were women from our book club, and some of the men, DH included, decided they'd have an "after book club" club, the night after our book club meeting! I think it's an awesome idea, and I really hope they do it.

We're also slated to get somewhere around a foot of snow by tomorrow morning. It is New England, after all, and we do get snow on a regular basis. I'm hoping we can make it to church tomorrow.

So, lots of things today to be grateful for - good friends and gatherings where the kids all really got along, wonderful food, my amazing husband spending a good chunk of his day in the attic re-insulating, to keep us warm...

Okay, I gotta go to bed. I was up most of the night with DD who decided that sleep is for the birds, and I am *beat*.

Friday, December 18, 2009

365-43: Naps and Exercise

I have a long standing ambivalent relationship with exercise. I've done yoga for years, I'm a reluctant runner (just read Born to Run though which is fascinating!), I used to lift weights, I swim, I used to bike a lot... Recently I got turned onto Jillian Michael's workouts which ROCK. Today I am thankful for the huge nap that DD took, for the energy to work out, and for my hysterical son, who not only attempted to do the whole workout with me, he offered running commentary the whole time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

365-42: Whoa, where did the week go??

How can it be Thursday already?? It's been a very busy week, I guess! It's that time of year. I was out for knitting with the neighborhood ladies on Tuesday, I've got book club tonight, a party tomorrow night (if I can do it), we've got a party Saturday, a party Sunday...then next week we have, well, Christmas, and then we're off to DH's parents' house to party with the ILs and cousins. All fun stuff, but dude. I am TIRED. :)

Many things to be grateful for...and I'm glad to be reminded right now because I'm feeling a bit annoyed. I've had an on-going issue with Keen Footwear. I had some Calistogas that they replaced for me, and the replacements didn't work for me either...when I returned those, I requested the Saratoga II. They sent me an entirely different shoe instead, which was too small. When I requested a size that actually fit me, they sent the right size, but a different shoe (not one I was interested in). I finally got those two pairs sent back, and they're now telling me they no longer have the Saratoga II in the color and size I wanted. I know, I know, totally an RPP1, but still. I have my clogs but they're not as stable as I'd like, and these look so comfy. I really wanted them in the Soy, but it looks like I'll have the black.

So, in the interest of getting out of my petty annoyance, a list of a few things I am grateful for this week:
  • The fact that I have a warm home, shoes, clothes, and all my material needs not only met, but indulged.
  • The fact that I have a fun new digital camera coming to me tomorrow (birthday present!) *See item 1.
  • My healthy children, my happy marriage.
  • The dinner we're having, that I hope will be delicious (steak, roasted rosemary potatoes, salad).
  • The wonderful friends I have here.
Okay, speaking of dinner, I should go get moving on that so it becomes the actual dinner we have as opposed to my amazing fantasy dinner.

1 RPP = Rich People's Problem: this calculator was very interesting for some global perspective on wealth.

Monday, December 14, 2009

365-41: The Sky's the Limit

My 6 year old son asked me to take a picture of the sky this morning while we were waiting for the bus. So I did.


We talked about how looking at the clouds moving along made us feel. He said it looked like a river, and like a truck had driven in the sky. He said it was beautiful, and he was right.

I am grateful for this moment, to get to see the world, the beautiful sky, not through the eyes of my beautiful son, but along side of him, with him. Thank you, baby, for being here.

P.S. I am really hoping to have some knitting content for you soon!!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

365-40: I guess the party had to end some time.

Today was a good day. We had church this morning, and for today, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, the topic was Hope. Our pastor gave a very moving sermon. Then my lovely ILs came to celebrate my birthday yet again! DH had my oldest off at a birthday party, and I got a nap while DD napped. I am plugging away on some knitting, we had Thai for dinner, and my ILs gave me a very generous gift which is going to buy me a new camera!

Today, again, I'm just so thankful to be exactly who I am, where I am. It's not perfect, I am surely not perfect, not even close!! But it's *good*, you know? I know it always changes so I am glad to appreciate the good days when we have them!!


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365-39: up late

I just got back from a lovely evening out with some good friends. I am so grateful tonight for the great conversation and the support of my husband to go out. Not to mention the margarira!!


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Friday, December 11, 2009

365-38: TGIF

And what an awesome day it was!! DH and I drove into Alewife together and took the T. I went and met a friendat her workplace. We caught up a bit and then I did a presentation for her interns. Then I shopped and bought a new "going out" outfit with my birthday money. I hit a yarnstore I really like but *gasp* didn't buy yarn (seriously, I have plenty). I met DH for lunch and had a delicious sandwich. I had a mostly-decent afternoon with the kids and got a Shred in. I picked up DH at the train and we had a very mainstream date: dinner out at the Olive Garden and then the movie 2012, which was fun and exactly what I was in the mood for! Sorry for all the dangling participles, if that's the right term. Now I'm about to go to sleep. Thank you, Universe, for a really really good day.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

365-37: Three Days Worth Of Gratitude!

Whoops! It's a busy time of year, combined with a not-sleeping baby, and I'm not keeping up daily on this, am I! Oh well.

Anyway, so many things I'm feeling gratitude for.

Two nights ago, my daughter slept from 8 pm to 6 am.

We got about a foot of snow yesterday. My husband shoveled the first 4" in the morning, and then he headed off to work. Luckily there was nowhere I needed to be in the morning, so I did some shoveling in the morning and finished it after lunch. I had hit the top of the driveway...we have a long and sloped driveway. There was about 2 1/2 feet of snow at the end where the plows had gone by. I muttered a few curses, and reminded myself that I am grateful to have plowed roads, and being plowed IN is the cost of having a driveway, another thing I'm really grateful for! As I was starting to shovel, a town Water Department guy drove by, saw me working, stopped, and plowed out the end of the driveway for me. A small act for him, a huge blessing for me. So, thanks, Water Department Guy, you really made my day!!

Today, I'm feeling grateful for 40 years of life. I'm 40 today! I can't quite believe it! I thought when I hit 40, I'd feel...well, OLD. I don't. I don't feel young, really, I do feel like I've got a lot of life under my belt, but a lot more to go too. I think I've spent the last year, since turning 39, pondering my life, where I'm at, where I want to go. I think this year was in part about letting go of unrealistic dreams. Not dreams, no. I've got lots of those, and hopes, goals, and aspirations. I am a planner, you know. But more, realizing that there aren't the infinite possibilities that I'd always envisioned. There isn't the infinite time I felt I had at 20. Well, actually at 20 I was pretty sure I wasn't go to make it to 21, so maybe more like at 23. :) I can see the shape of my future. Not the details, of course, but a general shape. And I like it. I know I'm probably not going to sing on Broadway, but I can sing at home and get joy from that. I'm probably not going to be an astronaut, but I can watch my son learning about the solar system and that's amazing too. I will go back to paid employment at some point (don't tell me I don't work!), maybe next year, maybe later...Who knows how it's all going to unfold, but I'm sure it's going to be very interesting! To me, at least.

Monday, December 07, 2009

365-36: Monday Monday...

You know, I actually really like Mondays. Both my older kids are off at school, one (DS1) has a full day of Kindergarten and DS2 has preschool 9-1, so I get some DD-time, which is always delicious. She's a handful, to be sure, but I love being with her! We go to the chiropractor after drop-off, then hang out and do errands, and then go to her gymnastics class. Once we pick up DS2 from school and get home, we're home for a slow afternoon. DS1 is wiped from a full day, and needs the down time.

So, today...I am grateful for so many things: I'm grateful that my neighbors pulled their daughter out of morning care so now she's riding the bus with DS1 every day, and I get some chatting time with the mom. I really like them, and it's cool to get to know her better. I am really grateful for my kids - we had a nice day, not too much frustration. I am really grateful for a lovely conversation with my sister, and with my wonderful friend J (so maybe it's really that I'm grateful for my cell phone??). I am deep into fleece projects, which is SO BAD because I have knitting projects galore I should be doing!! But, I am working on grown-up mittens, and I'm futzing with a pattern. I'm re-engineering something I found on-line, it's a really clever design and I am trying to get a working pattern. Of course in the middle of all this, my needle on my sewing machine broke! So, while I'm so grateful for the fun, I am a tad annoyed that I can't be actually DOING it right now! Maybe it's for the best, I really do need to go knit on my auction stuff. :-)

I guess mainly I'm just overall grateful for my life today. It was nice.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

FOs: Mittens!

Just in time, since we woke up to this! Not much snow, especially out where we are, we get hammered, but it sure is pretty!!



I triumphed over the mittens yesterday. There was much struggle and mistakes were made. The pattern, I think, assumes a higher level of pattern literacy than I possess. I used to have decent spatial-visual skills (I am good at maps, for example) but perhaps all the child-related sleep deprivation has warped my brain. Anyway. One frustration is that they only give you instructions to make a right mitten, and you have to reverse-engineer the (already) unclear directions to get a left mitten. Thank goodness my husband helped. So, the top pair are from the pattern, the bottom pair I just made up when I got frustrated with the pattern. They were very easy!!



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365-35: slacking off

I haven't been as reliable on this project the last couple of days, whoops. Sorry.

Right now, I'm sitting in my big, comfy green chair, drinking tea, listening to cheerful kids, looking at a fresh snowfall. I've got a nice day planned. It's a moment of peace in a busy life, and I'm grateful to have it.


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Saturday, December 05, 2009

FOs: Fleece

Maybe it's the New Englander in me, but I really do love fleece! I love crafting and creating in general, and sewing and fabric work are always good opportunities for me to work on my perfectionism. I'm not a great sewer but I do have fun!

The first item I made yesterday, a fleece hat for my daughter. I am going to make mittens as well. I am really happy with this! I didn't top-stitch the bottom section because (a) I thought it was cute as-is, and (b) my top-stitching skills have room for improvement. This is a McCall's pattern, and was pretty terrible. It was on sale for $1.99, which was good. The cutting layout was just plain WRONG and I'm not confident enough in my skills to trust when I think something is wrong. I am quite sure that I didn't do the cutting the way I was supposed to, but it worked! It's a very cute hat and adorable on her, in my biased opnion. :-)


This blanket was going to be a Project Linus donation but there is *one* cut that I made too long and I'm not quite sure if it's good enough. I may put in a couple stitches, I don't think they'd be that noticeable. It's also smaller than they request but IMO, it's a perfect infant size. It's very much not perfect but it's cute and useable. My daughter is a little big for it so I'd live to find it a good home.


I found a gorgeous fleece in the remnant bin and bought dome coordinating fleece to do another blanket, plus some to make a hat and mitten set for a friend who is having a boy.

I *should* be knitting (or prepping the lecture on the Ecological Model that I've been asked to give) but the fleece is calling. I wonder if the fact that we're slated to get 6-8" of snow tonight has anything to so with it?



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Friday, December 04, 2009

365-34: Music hath charms...

Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played violin and viola, and still do. I love to sing, and have a decent voice for someone who is almost entirely untrained. I love musical theater, and it's one of my wistful dreams of a different life path. I've been listening to Wicked lately (must see) and loving singing along. I am so grateful today for the immeasurable joy that music has brought to my life.


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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

365-33: With a little help from my friends...

Today we had Kindergarten conferences, which meant, among other things, that the elementary school had an early release day. I needed to be there at 1, without kids. Hmm. DS2 gets out at 11:45 on Wednesdays (when there's an early release, it's complicated), and obviously DD doesn't got anywhere. My friend K and I hatched a plan that included her picking up her daughter and DS2 from the nursery school, the older boys would both come to my house on the bus, and she'd come here, we'd feed the kids and hang out.

K was one of my first Littleton friends. Her oldest and my oldest have birthdays about 10 days apart and are similar kids in some ways. She reached out to me during the summer of 2008, before we started at the nursery school and we've been pretty close ever since. She and I, and another friend, were teammates for the triathlon this summer. Today I am feeling grateful for having her in my life. She's a loyal and good friend, someone I can talk to, and count on. I appreciate her humor and her take on life!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

365-32: A Moment of Perspective

We headed up to Nashua this morning to do some errands. I had pictures to pick up from our portrait session at Sears, and a little bit of shopping to do. We tend to do low-key present giving so I'm pretty much done with shopping for the boys. I'm feeling really overwhelmed with STUFF right now, so acquiring more STUFF isn't really an enjoyable prospect, to be sure.

On the way home, we encountered the aftermath of this accident. Our traffic was moving fine, but Route 3 was a parking lot going North. We saw the SUV being loaded onto a flatbed tow truck, the front end was completely caved it. It gave me a chill, clearly, it was a bad, bad accident. Tonight, I was thinking about it and looked it up on-line to see what had happened. Reading the description brought me almost too tears.

Life is fragile. Life is precious. While I'm not necessarily a religious person, for some reason, this bible quote* is just echoing in my mind for the families of those men, and for the driver too.

"The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace."
Number 6:24-26

I held my children a little closer tonight, and I'll give my amazing husband an extra hug and kiss too. And for all in my life whom I love, I hold you close in my heart tonight. Blessed be.

* To be honest, it's echoing in Morgan Freeman's voice as POTUS in Deep Impact

Monday, November 30, 2009

365-31: TJs

Today I am totally grateful for Trader Joe's, especially their tasty holiday treats.

My butt may not be so grateful bit whatever. :-)


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

365-30: Kids

This afternoon I took all three of my kids to Trader Joes, and I didn't even have to! We had fun, it was one of the rare occasions where no one whined or got yelled at. It was just...easy and nice.

I am so, so grateful for my children. Baffled at times as to how I ended up a mom to THREE! I try really hard to be present in the moment with them, and my patience is a work in progress, to be sure. But it was so fun to just be with them, enjoying them.


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Saturday, November 28, 2009

365-29: lazy day

Today involved many things that I like. Among them included:

• Going back to bed after getting up at 5 with DD (that part I didn't like) and sleeping until almost 9!! It's been YEARS since I've slept that late!!
• Drinking tea with real cream. Yum.
• Reading.
• Waffles for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. And dinner.
• Another nap this afternoon.
• A walk down to the lake with boys, holding hands and chattering away.
• Putting up the tree and actually being able to put my controlfreak self aside and let the kids decorate it.

It's so rare we get these lovely lazy days, and today I am so thankful for it!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

365-28: Forgiveness

I've been thinking about forgiveness a lot lately, as part of gratitude actually. I'm not sure I can articulate the connection but it does feel like there is one for me. I read a quote from Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair that really struck me last night:
"You have a man you love?" asked Rochester suddenly.

"Yes; but there is much bad air between us. He accused my brother of a crime that I thought unfair to lay upon the shoulders of a dead man; my brother never had a chance to defend himself and the evidence was not strong. I find it hard to forgive."

"What is there to forgive?" demanded Rochester. "Ignore forgive and concentrate on living. Life for you is short; far too short to allow small jealousies to infringe on the happiness which can be yours only for the briefest of times."
I am an intensely loyal person, and I'm coming to understand that one thing I hold on to is pain. Not that I really spend much of my day-to-day life in pain anymore, but rather long after everyone else has left the room, I may still be sitting there saying "but...but...you HURT me."

Today, I am trying to be thankful for the journey I've experienced, as it brought me here, to where I am today and today was a really good day. I had wonderful contact with good friends, I had a fantastic meal with my family (made almost entirely from scratch by husband, by the way, who rocks), I had a lot of energy and go a lot of cleaning and organizing done, and my back was much better. So, like I said, I'm actually really really happy these days, the absolute happiest I've ever been. But thoughts of people I've lost, both dead and alive, to come to me more often than I wish.

This quote seemed really radical to me. Like what if the forgiveness isn't this whole process, what if it's simply letting go. Letting go with...love? Not love exactly, but thanks? Obviously, I need to chew on this some more.

In Traveling Mercies by Annie Lamott, at one point she's with a friend who is dying of cancer, and worrying about whether a dress makes her hips look big, and her friend says something along the lines of "You really don't have that kind of time."

It occurs to me that I really don't have that kind of time either. Not for worrying about whether my hips are too big, or whether the people who have hurt me in the past know it, and care. I'm quite sure they don't, actually, and really, what would it change? I'm happy, here and now. I'm pretty lucky, there's very few people from my past that I wouldn't welcome a hello from, and the others, well, I wish them all the best. Time to let go and move on. There's not enough time to be with the people I love here and now, why continue to worry about small jealousies or forgiveness.

This brings to mind a quote I put up on Facebook the other day, which I've also been reaching for lately.
Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
Viktor Frankl
And now I have to go lie down because I ate too much pumpkin pie. :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

365-27: Not Quite What We Planned

So, when we last left it, we were still going to try and make it to my hometown for Thanksgiving. Then, while I was folding laundry, I twisted the wrong way and something in my lower back went SPROING and OW. It wasn't quite as terrible as the thing I did a few months ago but it was Not Good. I wasn't feeling too nauseous anymore but a deep pain took over. I was still thinking and scheming about how we might still be able to go, when my DH took DD's temperature because she felt a bit warm before going to bed...and she was at 101. Armpit.

I gave up. I surrendered. Clearly, the Universe did not want us, my parents (who had been planning to come down here instead) or DH's parents (who had been planning to meet us in VT at my folks' house but got sick and cancelled a couple of days ago) driving this weekend and was willing to keep throwing stuff at us until we said OKAY ALRIGHT I GET IT ALREADY!!! So, we made the final call, and I cried. Pain, I will admit, makes me a bit of a baby. It's not that I can't handle it - I've given birth three times. I did 36 hours of hard labor before I got an epidural, I can handle pain, but it does wear at you and I was just so disappointed. I just really wanted to be home.

So, today, instead of driving and being with family, I've been trying to reintroduce food into my system here. DH took the boys off to the park for a couple of hours and I had a couple of hours to play with DD. We have had a completely low-day: no turkey, no stuffing, no delicious sides, no pie. I had plain noodles for dinner, as did DS2 (just because). The others had sauce too. I've spent a lot of time lying still, and my back is definitely feeling better. I'm hoping that tomorrow my belly will be up for a nice dinner, but if it doesn't happen, that's okay. It can happen Saturday. Or not at all.

I am reminded of those lines from How the Grinch Stole Christmas,

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling
How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages boxes, or bags!
And he puzzled and puzzled, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

Maybe Thanksgiving means more than turkey or pie, maybe even more than traveling to be with loved ones that you don't see that often. I think, this year at least, Thanksgiving means basking in that gratitude for all the blessings of my life, enjoying my family and home, and sending out that love into the world.

Knowing how blessed I am makes me want to give back, give more. I'm still not sure how to do it, but it's hard not to feel guilty for all that we have, when so many are hungry, or sad, or alone.

Blessed be, all. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

365-26: Sleep and Lack Thereof

Well, I'm feeling a skosh more human (okay, it's odd to me that the origin of that is Japanese, when I picked it up in the midwest), so I'll try to be less crabby today.

What I'm really grateful for today is that my problems really are all RPPs*. Not that we're rich, but compared to so many, well, we truly are. Sick kids? We've got good insurance so we can see a doctor easily, and get medicine. I didn't have to choose between getting DD an x-ray and paying my electric bill. I'm grateful for the fact that my health, and that of my family, is generally good. None of us right now are facing cancer, or diabetes, or any of the many conditions that can cause such destruction in people's lives. I'm grateful for my loving marriage, my amazing kids, my life.

I'll be sad if we have to cancel our Thanksgiving plans due to illness, but really, we can celebrate and be together other times, not just now, so it'll be okay.

*Rich People's Problems

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

365-25: no clever title

I got laid out with something nasty: fever, chills, aches, and for an added bonus, nausea!! So, I'm grateful for Motrin. And that my husband could work from home today.


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Sunday, November 22, 2009

And on a knitterly note...

...which I couldn't include in that last post because that was about joy and gratitude and this is about annoyance and frustration. I completely f'ed up the Foliage I'm making. (a) Now that this is as much a gratitude blog as it is a knitting blog, I somehow feel like I shouldn't swear anymore. *heh* (b) The Foliage is for a friend, via the preschool auction (I got permission from the designer to knit it for the auction). I have *no* idea what I did, but on one section, there weren't the YOs needed to separate the leaves, and I was somehow a bunch of stitches short when I hadn't been earlier. WHO KNOWS??? Not me. It's always sad to me how you can rip out 2+ hours of work in about 32 seconds.

I gave up on the hat for now and started Just Enough Ruffles, the scarf that's going to go along with the hat (yes, I got permission from the designer and bought another copy of the pattern). I got the 200 stitches cast on, and about one and a half rows done before I had to go make my family dinner (AGAIN, sheesh, they need to eat EVERY NIGHT). I am trying a slip stitch edge just because I tend to prefer those on scarves.

365-24: A Moment Like This

(No, I'm not an American Idol fan, the song just was running in my head recently.)

We walked to church this morning. Yes, I said church. For those who know us, yes, it's something new in our lives (and probably would take more time to explain than I have space here.) We joined the local Congregational Church recently, and it's close enough to walk. We can walk through the woods down a big hill, up a big hill, down another hill and through a couple of meadows past some dogs and horses, and there we are.

As we were walking in the cool November morning today, DH was behind me, walking with DD (or rather, attempting to keep her from splatting on her face). I had the boys with me, each holding my hand. DS1 was wearing a sparkly cape, DS2 was wearing a tiger costume (he's been a tiger for years, but lately he's been Hobbes). The sun was shining, we were all together (and not even running late) and I just had a moment of pure and intense joy. It's so easy to get caught up in the annoyances, to feel unappreciated or just plain tired, to feel like it's all just so much *work*. I love those moments where I can simply *be* in the moment we're having, I can turn off my worry and impatience and just look at what's around me. I am so grateful that I got to have that moment today with my sons.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

365-23: Yarn.

I auctioned off a handmade scarf and hat set for our little preschool auction, and started the hat tonight. She requested Foliage, so I got permission from the designer to knit it for her. She wanted the same color and yarn I did for mine, so I happily ordered more Malabrigo. This post is going under 365 Gratitude because I am really grateful for the truly gorgeous and luscious yarns that I am so lucky to get to work with! Malabrigo in particular is just delicious, and it's a joy to work with!


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Friday, November 20, 2009

365-22: Welcome to my neighborhood.

I love our neighborhood. We moved out of the city almost two years ago. We had planned to head much further West but reality set in and little things like making a living kept us here in the 'burbs. We actually landed out past the burbs in a rural farm town of 8,000 people. We are living in a townie neighborhood and we love it. No McMansions here! I feel like I have an amazing community of friends and support here, and it feels really good. I had an especially lovely conversation with my neighbor at the bus stop this morning. So today I am feeling grateful that we landed in the right spot for us!

And I am very grateful that my DD slept through the night and isn't that sick.


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Thursday, November 19, 2009

365-21: Modern Medicine

Today I am thankful for antibiotics as my daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia. She's allergic to amoxicillin so I'm glad we have other options.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

365-199/20: Am I allowed to combine two posts?

I am a rule follower. I am really good at doing things RIGHT, as long as I know what the RIGHT thing to do is. I'm laughing at myself because I got all anxious about the fact that I missed posting yesterday and was it okay to do TWO posts in one today, and then I thought "Dude, it's MY blog, I can do it however I want to!"

So, we had another really little ugly incident on the bus yesterday - a little girl was mean to my son. Luckily he didn't even notice, and I ratted out the brat mentioned it to the bus driver and she talked to the little girl. I was just *reeling* yesterday. Like I said, I just don't understand people being mean simply for the sake of being mean. Okay, bus girl is just a little kid and we do all make mistakes and act...not from our best selves, sometimes.

And then, today, we found a note from the kid next door that reminded me, as so many things have recently, that there are really wonderful people out there too. Why focus on the ugliness?

And then last night I went out to a knitting group. A new friend invited me to join her circle and this is a really nice group of women, and I just felt really welcomed and god, sometimes it's so great to just hang out with WOMEN. I even started another Noro Silk Garden scarf, though I'm unconvinced that the colorways go together.

So, today I'm feeling thankful for knitting which has given me *so much* in my life. And I'm just feeling generally thankful for good people around me, and feeling so lucky to have so many.

And I'm really REALLY thankful that the Novocaine at the dentist today worked because it took them an hour and 45 minutes to do what needed to be done and it's really sore now. To feel that would have sucked. :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

365-19: Sometimes you're the window...

...Sometimes you're the bug. Or, an alternate title could be - some people just SUCK.

We had a Really Unpleasant Incident this morning, and while it looks likely that it was actually targeted at the boy next door (which isn't any better at all) and not about my kids, it was really upsetting to all of us. My oldest kept saying "How could someone be so mean?" I just don't know, honey. I don't know.

Like most people, I guess, I've got my scars and insecurities, and this just *tweaked* them. And how do you explain to your kids, some people are just mean. Some people are just careless. And the people who are mean to you, or who are careless with your feelings? They are NOT WORTH YOUR TIME. I'd love to learn to live that myself.

The thing is, even though there are mean people, and mean people suck, I honestly believe that most of the people I come in contact with aren't mean. They might be self-involved, but who isn't to some extent? Generally, in my experience, people are pretty nice. And, we are so blessed to have a wide community of friends here and back in the city where we used to live - a community of people who so absolutely don't suck. People who are loyal and kind and loving and who let us be loyal and kind and loving back. So, right now I'm choosing to turn my focus away from the mean folks and back onto the wonderful people in my life (like the friends who offered to Kick Ass if needed!). I am so thankful to have such a wonderful group of supportive people, and I hope I give back as much to them!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

365-18: lots of stuff!

I am having one of those moments where I can't narrow down to one thing. We're on our way home from a lovely, lovely dinner with friends (no I'm not driving!!) so I am full of good food, nice wine and wonderful company. We have a lot in common with K and K, the kids get along really well (our oldest kids went to the wonderful preschool in Cambridge together), and they're just really warm, fun people. So I guess right now I'm so thankful for our friendship with them!


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Saturday, November 14, 2009

365-17: Contentment

I'm sitting here on a rainy day, working on putting a lecture on eating disorders together. A friend who teaches Psychology at a local community college asked me if I wanted to come in and do the class, and I jumped at the chance.

I don't think it's a secret on this blog that I lived with various eating disorders for many, many, many years. Today I am so grateful that I don't live that life anymore. I am recovered, something that for far too many years I never thought I would be able to say. It's a complex and difficult process, and there are so many things that contributed to my healing, too many to list here, so I'll just say that I am so profoundly grateful for my own recovery. I do not take it for granted, as I'm very aware I have another downward spiral in me - I'm not sure I have another recovery. I'd like to think so. Today, though, I am comfortable in my own skin, and have a pretty loving relationship with food and the body I live in. Not perfect, of course, but pretty damn good most of the time. That's a gift that I will *never* take for granted.

Friday, November 13, 2009

365-16: A jug of wine and thou

Okay, maybe just a glass of wine, but tonight I am thankful for my bookclub. :-)


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In the car, waiting for the bus, wearing new socks...

...equals photo op!!! Next time I make ankle socks, I'll do more than 2 plain rows after the heel is turned before starting the ribbing.


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Thursday, November 12, 2009

365-15: Food for Thought

I am not the greatest cook out there. I can cook fairly competently, but unless I have time and space (two things in short order in a life with three kids), it's not something I particularly enjoy. Because of the oddly traditional structure of my life (odd because we are not particularly traditional people), I do most of our cooking, simply because I am the one home. It turns out cooking dinner every night isn't that interesting and it often feels like a chore to me. So tonight, rather than focus on how annoying it is that these people in my family want to eat EVERY NIGHT, I decided to remind myself of how incredibly lucky we are as a family, and how lucky I am as a mother. We have such bounty. We have more, so much more than enough to eat. We have clean drinking water whenever we want it for no effort. We have choices for what we eat. We have some food sensitivities that are easily managed with careful label reading. I don't have to choose between feeding my children and paying the mortgage or the electric bill. I would gladly and immediately give my children the food off my plate should that be required, but it's not. So tonight I am grateful for the wonderful food we have.


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365-14: (A little late.)

Yesterday's post, a little late.

I thought a lot about posting yesterday, it's not that I forgot. I moved from cranky (which is always an overlay) to just sad. There were some triggers, seeing my oldest son have his feelings hurt on two separate occasions, and some other little things. Some is probably being hormotional, and sometimes I'm just sad.

At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I actually spent time yesterday trying to be grateful for my sadness. It didn't really work, in that my sadness wasn't transformed into joy or anything like that, but it did allow me to step out of it a little. For me (like most people, I suspect), it's really hard to just feel sad, to not try and escape or change it or fix. To just feel it. And, there's a line for me between sitting and experiencing whatever I'm feeling, and wallowing in it. I can't come up with why I'm grateful for feeling so profoundly sad, but I am grateful that I was able to see it and be with it for a bit, rather than doing any one of the many (most unhealthy) things I usually do in order not to feel pain.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

365-13: Cranky but Grateful

Yes, I'm still cranky, sorry. I'd like to be more...I don't know..graceful about weathering this bout of illness but dude, I am a Crabby McCrankypants today. I'll be honest, at this particular moment I'm not feeling all that thankful.

So, let me take a moment and breath. Yes, the kids are sick, I am exhausted, DH is cranky and tired, the house is a mess...but no one is needing surgery to deal with this virus, at the moment they're all fine, we have a lovely home to live in even if it is messy, and even if we're a bit tattered and worn, DH and I are okay.

You know what I'm really grateful for actually? That we have an great public library in my town. I am a HUGE fan of the Library, and every time I've moved, the first thing I do is go get a library card. Back in my pre-kids days, one of my favorite things to do was to go get a big bag of books and hang out and read all day. I was able to be out a bit yesterday and went by the library in part to get more Magic School Bus DVDs (because dude, if I have to watch "Inside Ralphie" one more time, my eyes may start to bleed), and I got some cheesy books for myself. The kids are all asleep, and I'm hanging out reading. I'll be asleep soon, I hope, and maybe DD will sleep through the night, maybe not, but right now, it's calm and peaceful.

Monday, November 09, 2009

365-12: Modern Conveniences

So, here's where we stand. Younger son: sick from Tuesday to Saturday, finally seems better. Due to inordinate amounts of TV watching (something not usually done in this household), he's turned into a bit of a whiny beats. Re-entry is going to be tough. Older son: lower fever Friday and Saturday, no fever in the morning yesterday and today, then hitting 102 both days. No school for him tomorrow as well. Daughter: first sign of fever - TODAY. *sigh* No, really. I thought we were in the clear. I mean, she was using her brother's straw cup last week, she was totally exposed. She had an awful night last night, we'll see how tonight goes. I am doing better today, a bit more energy, not quite so achy, but just exhausted.

So, tonight I am feeling grateful for the modern conveniences with which we are so blessed. (1) Our freezer. Instead of having to create dinner tonight, I pulled some LOs out of the freezer and we had a really nice meal. Of course, only DH and I ate it, but whatever, it was available. (2) The internet. For many reasons (and I'm sure this one will come up again) but mainly because I have a wonderful support community inside the computer. And because I was able to order DS1 some pajamas without having to leave the house.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

FO: More Socks!

No pictures yet on these, I'm still coping with flu and I'm tired and need to go to bed, maybe tomorrow.

But, these are another pair of toe-up, non-pattern socks.

Yarn: Socks That Rock (lightweight, I am pretty sure), Grandma's Flower Garden
Needles: KP Fixed Circs, 32", 2.5 mm

For these, I cast-on 32 stitches using Judy's Magic Cast-On, and increase 4 stitches every other row for 7 rounds, when it seemed like they'd be big enough. Then I knit until they seemed long enough, and did a double-wrapped, short-row heel. Then I knit two rounds, did 7 rounds of 1x1 ribbing and bound off using EZ's Sewn Bind-Off. I made ankle socks because this was leftover yarn from Branching Out (which I must block and will then post about but I'm scared because I've never blocked anything like lace before and what if I totally screw it up??) so I knew I'd be cutting it a bit close. And I sure did...I had about 1 yard of yarn left at the end. Thank goodness I had enough to finish!!

365-11: Thanks, mom!

Today I am feeling grateful for both of my moms. No, my mother isn't a lesbian (though if she were, she'd make a good one, she's very competent at all she tries, my mum), I'm including my mother-in-law here as well. Most people I know don't really love their MILs. Some *really* don't get along with them, some just tolerate them, but very very few people I know have the relationship with their MIL that I have with mine. I guess the fact that my MIL was in the delivery room with me all three times, and cut the cord for my second son really says it all. And I am also very very close with my mom (she was also with me, and cut my daughter's cord, who was named after her) - we talk often, and I really rely on her. I always appreciate it but I'm feeling particularly grateful because in the next 4-5 weeks, I actually have two semi-professional things coming up (a guest lecture and a training), and I've asked for help, and it's been freely and graciously offered to me. I'm really lucky that I not only love my parents and my ILs, but I also really like them, and really enjoy having them in my life. And I'm really grateful for that today.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

365-10: in sickness and in health

There are far too many things that I love about my husband to post here, but one of the most important things is that our partnership is truly that, a partnership. Some things we just do (I do most of the shopping, he does most of the yard work); some things we do together (housework) and dome things we trade off. We bolster each other up, when one is not okay, the other steps in. I feel like crap today and he's done so much. It's not like he's "helping" me or "babysitting", he's parenting and I know I can rely on him to step up when I can't, and that's just such a blessing. I feel like a lot of women I know accept things from their husbands that are just...not good. I am so lucky with my love. Not to mention, he's smart, funny, quirky, kind, and sexy too! ;-)


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Friday, November 06, 2009

And because I don't want to lose sight of the Knitting...

I actually DID some knitting!

I got some more done on a sock. And I finished the first part of my sister's Swallowtail! I've moved onto the Lily of the Valley edging! WOO HOO!

365-9: Ugh

I've felt like the last week I've been noticing so many wonderful things and each time I've come to post this series, I've thought "how do I choose? Life is so great! I have so many things to be grateful for!" That's not precisely how I'm feeling right now. Both boys are sick (so DS2 is on Day 4 of a 102 fever, DS1 was around 101 this afternoon). I can't tell if I'm actually feeling unwell, or just hyperfocused on every little twinge, and I'm obsessively checking DD's temperature too because I am really worried about her getting this. We've not confirmed that it's H1N1, but it seems to make the most sense that it is, given that that's what's going around like gangbusters. So one blessing is that I guess it makes the question of getting the H1N1 vaccinne moot.

But anyway, I haven't left the house since Monday, I've completely fallen off the exercise and eat right wagon I was on, DH was gone for a couple of days and got back late last night, I got almost no sleep between the kids and him getting in, and WAH, I am just cranky.

Which is probably why gratitude matters even more in this moment.

The thing I keep thinking today is that in fact, so much of what I'm cranky about are really First World Problems. I'm cranky 'cuz the internet is slow, or because we've watched the same goddamn Magic School Bus episodes over and over because we *only* have two DVDs. I'm cranky because my husband, who has a secure and stable job, was away for a couple of days.

I think what I want to remind myself here is that so many of these things are such LUXURIES. Even if we do have the dreaded Swine Flu, yeah, we're sick but it's not that bad. DD's stint in the hospital with dehydration from the stomach flu last March was much worse. Hey! There's another bonus! No one's barfing.

So, thanks 365 Gratitude, for reminding me what really matters.

365-8: Motrin

Whoops, I didn't get to post this yesterday, so I'll post two today.

Very thankful for Motrin which brought DS2's fever down and clearly helped him feel better.


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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

365-7: Friends and Neighbors

So, it looks like DS2 has the flu of some sort - high fever, cough and congestion, generally cranky and achy. His fever has been bouncing around, but has hit 103.8 today, which is high. He's not a fever-producer be default as some kids are, and while at times he seemed better, at times he seemed really sick today.

I am feeling very, very grateful for the support system we have here. We moved here almost two years ago, and in that time we've made some really wonderful friends. I still feel like we're in the early days of our life here, if that makes sense, but it's so comforting to know that we have people we can call on if we need them. One friend went to the grocery store and picked up a couple of things for us today, and we've had many other offers of help of that sort, which is really nice. It sucks to be housebound, but I think it would suck even more if we had to go out, knowing how sick he is. This is all especially helpful because my husband is out of town on one of his very rare business trips, and won't be back until Friday.

Needless to say, I'm not getting any knitting done.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

365-6: Being at Home

Today I am extremely grateful for the fact that I am a stay-at-home mom. There are aspects of it that aren't fun, there are aspects of it that are glorious. One thing I am appreciating today is that when someone gets sick, there's no stress of having to figure out who's not going to work, or canceling clients, or anything like that. It's just clear - I cancel whatever obligations we have, and we stay home. DH doesn't have to worry about it, and neither do I.

This came in handy when DS2 started the morning by running a fever and throwing up.

Monday, November 02, 2009

365-5: No Sleep

So, last night, my daughter woke up at 2:00 am. This had nothing to do with the time change, I think, but lately she's just been having trouble sleeping. This time, unfortunately, she didn't go back to sleep at all. For a long time (a couple of hours at least), she was fine as long as I was with her. She wanted to be held at first, so I did hold her, and then she was willing to go back to bed. She lay there quietly with her eyes open, just looking at me. Even though I was *quite* irritated to be awake in the middle of the night for a long period, I tried to put that aside and just be present in the moment with her. She's our third, and last child, headed towards 18 months and no longer a baby at all. She's incredibly independent and active, so even though she's really affectionate, I don't get a lot of the cuddle-time anymore that I got when she was tiny. I realized that even though I was exhausted and really wanted to sleep, I was also so grateful to have that time with her, in the dark and the still night, listening to the boys breathing and just holding her, feeling her clinging to me in absolute love and trust.

I am so thankful, so incredibly grateful for my beautiful daughter, more than words can express. I am so profoundly grateful for the love she holds for me, and the love I hold for her - so much love, it doesn't feel like my body can quite contain it. How did I get so lucky?

Justice is when you get what you deserve.
Mercy is when you don't get what you deserve.
Grace is when you get what you don't deserve.
- Author Unknown

Sunday, November 01, 2009

365-4: Memory Foam

Today I am especially grateful for my comfy bed, where I will be heading soon.


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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Knitting Content

I did end up finishing both hats and scarves for the boys to wear with their scary skeleton costumes, but it was about 70 degrees so they didn't need them. Which is good, because we couldn't find DS2's green hat anyway. I was mildly disappointed (but more thankful for good weather) and now they each have a hat and scarf for Winter, which probably is going to show up sometime soon anyway.

365-3: Halloween

At this moment, the thing I am most grateful for is that Halloween is over and done with for another year. :)

Many reasons for this, the main one being that my darling oldest boy is far, far too much like me for comfort, and the anticipation for this night has been building and building for a long time. Most of the evening was quite fun - we met up with "the gang" and did a bunch of ToTing with them. Unfortunately, his Halloween ended on a disappointing note. There is a house on a street that we drive on frequently that does it up for Halloween, including a huge blow-up purple spider and a huge blow-up vampire over the door. My oldest has been *so* excited to trick-or-treat there. We went all around the neighborhood with "the gang" and then took a special trip over to this house. The blow-ups were blown up, thank goodness, but instead of being able to trick or treat, they had left a bowl of candy on the front steps.

And the bowl was empty.

Poor kid was deeply disappointed (I think his brother mainly just wanted to go home and really didn't care), and my oldest is one who feels things, deeply and passionately. He managed to recombobulate a bit when I promised he could pick an extra treat out of our stash at home but it is *so* hard to see your child be so excited for something and have it not live up to his expectations. I know, in the grand scheme of life's potential disappointments, this isn't huge, but he's six, you know? My heart broke just a little for him.

We decided that *next* year we'll go over there really early. Before supper, he thinks would be a good idea.

Friday, October 30, 2009

365-2: Not too tired to feel grateful today.

It's funny, thinking about what (and when) I was going to post today, I realized that there are so many things, big and small, throughout the day that I am grateful for. Today was a day where I was busy non-stop from morning until night, including having people over for dinner when we weren't home much at all today, so not much time to get the house semi-in-order or make dinner.

So, today I am grateful for my Crockpot which allowed me to make a meal that was both simple and really good! Our friends seems to really like it too! I did a big batch today - 3 cans of corn, 2 cans of black beans, 3 12-oz jars of Trader Joe's Peach Salsa, and 2 packages of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I rinse the corn and beans, mix them with a jar of salsa. Then I add the chicken, top with more salsa. I cooked it on high for about 3.5 hours, then turned to low, and about an hour before I served it, I turned it to warm (I put it in at 1, and we ate at about 6:30). I served this over rice with shredded cheese and sour cream, though you can also toss a block of cream cheese into the mix about 45 minutes before you serve. Not pretty but so tasty! I served with salad and corn bread and red wine. YUM.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

365-1: No Time Like The Present

What really made me think of this project was that I had a small but irritating interpersonal situation this morning that bummed me out. Then I read about a friend's situation who has been in the hospital for *four months*, much of that time spent on a ventilator. I don't know all the details but that just sucks. And it put things in perspective for me.

So, today, I am grateful for my health.

Why I Blog

I read a fair number of blogs - mostly knitting and infertility, and unlike the ones I read, my blog (since I have all of about two readers! Thanks guys!) is really more of an archive for myself - mostly of my knitting (duh) but a bit of my life as well. I do blog much more life stuff over at my LiveJournal account, but since this is more public, well, I try to keep it more anonymous. Not truly so, of course, but I don't name my husband or kids here (for example). I love having this blog, even if I'm updating it more rarely, and even if no one else reads it. I love having the history of my knitting here, I like going back and reading about different projects. This blog keeps me honest in some ways about what I'm working on, and also helps motivate me to finish things so I can blog about them! However, I'm thinking of undertaking a different sort of project. I'm pretty sure I didn't invent this idea (a quick Google confirms that yes, this is not a new idea), but I'd like to try and focus on all the wonderful things in my life, all the blessings, all the things I am grateful for. I try to live an appreciative life, but I find it's easy to get caught up in the annoying minutiae of every day life. So I'm going to try and post something every day that I am grateful for, for 365 days. Can I do it? (First I'm going to need a good iPhone app for posting to Blogger, that's for damn sure.) I'll still be posting the knitting stuff (okay, annoying minutia #1, why is my spell checker no longer working?), and these posts will be separate, but I'd like to try. And for my own sanity, it's not like I have to come up with something different and unique every single day, but rather just something in that day, that moment, that I am grateful for. Maybe sometimes I'll explain more as to why I am grateful for this thing, maybe it'll be self-explanatory, maybe it'll not make sense to anyone but me, but that's okay.

I am nervous about posting this because what if I fail? What if I can't do it every day? Maybe it's a good thing I don't have a lot of readers! :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Knitting Roundup

I've been inspired to do some knitting - it got cold for a bit, so I knit another hat. I've got several hand-knit hats now (including my Fetching Inspired Hat, which I can't find, boo) but one can always use another, right?

This is a replacement for the Foliage that I ruined. I did that one in the Malabrigo Chunky which I loved, and this one in the Malabrigo Worsted, which I also love. :) I picked this color (193 Jacinto, though my skein had much less variation) simply because it's pretty and I like purple. I started this on my KP Options, Magic Loop (of course), and then switched over to my Denise needles so I could just knit it in the round. I *really* wish the KP Options had a short length option than 24", even 20" would work for adult hats. I also didn't do all the lace repeats. The worsted weight version calls for 3 lace repeats, but I did 2.5. Now, historically, I need to make my hats longer, so it was odd to me that I needed to make this one shorter than called for! Not typical. But I am glad I did, because if the same thing happens with this one that happened with the green chunky-weight one, it'll grow a bit. It's fine now, it could be a bit longer, but definitely not 6 rows longer. Since I live in NE, and winter is coming, I do need a hat to cover my ears.

I also went through and organized my knitting basket. OH! I forgot to tell you, I found my missing knitting! It was deep in the knitting basket, hence the need to reorganize the thing. *phew* Such a relief! (Unfortunately one my kids made off with a pair of KP tips on a 32" cord, so I need to find that.) Anyway, I packed up a bunch of leftover yarn to stick in the closet, and some sewing projects which didn't materialize (*hangs head in shame*) and then looked at what's currently in flight:
  • DS2's Halloween Scarf (MUST FINISH THIS TOMORROW)
  • Sister's Swallowtail Shawl
  • Wicked Monkeys (one completed, #2 not cast on yet)
  • Lorna's Laces Purple Sock (halfway through the foot of sock one)
  • KPPM Socks (one completed, #2 not cast on yet)
  • STR Grandma's Flower Garden Ankle Socks (moving through Sock #2, fearful that I won't have enough yarn)
  • A random dishcloth but I can only find one of the needles for it. Argh.
  • And then NOT in the knitting basket I have a couple of shawls in progress.
Okay, that's way too many projects going on. And, for our preschool auction, I signed up to donate a Hat and Scarf, so I'll need to put everything on hold to get those made once that happens. I really want to get my sister's shawl done for Thanksgiving because we're going up to be with my family for that weekend.

It's nice to have the energy to knit, but where am I going to find the time to get all these things done?? NO MORE CASTING ON ANYTHING UNTIL I FINISH SOME THINGS!!

When I was cleaning out the basket I also came across some crochet projects that have floundered for quite some time, and I'm trying to figure out when you draw the line and just frog the project. Given how much I invested in tools and supplies for some of these crochet things, I really need to get back to them!

And, in non-knitting news...well, there's not much. I'm thinking about going back to work. Not this year though, maybe next year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Argh!!

So I went to a new knitting group (this isn't the argh part). A woman I'm getting to know asked me to come to the neighborhood ladies knitting group. I decided to go, it's informal, just at people's houses. It's all women about my age all with kids about the same age. It was really fun and I definitely want to go back! I walked over with my friend, and left before her, so another very nice woman gave me a lift back to my car. I *think* I left my knitting in her car! Two bags of socks. So, two completed socks, two in process socks and yarn. I don't know her last name, and the woman I am friends with gave me her email which isn't working. ARGH. This is *exactly* the sort of thing that tweaks me, you know? I can't find something, which I hate, it's stuff I made, which is important to me, and it's money and time. (It's a skein of STR, two skeins of KPPPM, and two skeins of Lorna's Laces, so that's somewhere in the vicinity of $70 of yarn and many, many hours of my time).

I am torn between hoping I *did* leave it in her car, because somehow I'll be able to get in touch with her and get it back, and that I didn't and it's just somewhere unusual in the house.

That's about all that's going on here. I am way, way too busy - this is one of those weeks where I am out every night, I haven't had a conversation with my husband in days, and I'm just exhausted.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

From Yarn Purchase to Blog...

Just over 4 hours. That's got to be a record for me. :) There's even a picture!

So, my daughter has this really cute jacket from Costco. It's a fleece/windbreaker thing, reversible, and it's a really pretty purple fleece, with the windbreaker material being a dark purple floral. I'd take a picture but it desperately needs to be washed. Maybe tomorrow. :) Anyway. We're at that awkward stage of Fall where you don't really need a heavy winter jacket, but a hat can be good, especially when it's windy. I decided I wanted needed to knit her a hat to go with this adorable coat. She and I were out this afternoon, so I swung by the yarn store. We got there just before closing and stumbled upon a SALE. Hmmm. Very interesting.

I found a few different things that would work, color-wise, and settled on a skein of Tahki Torino Bulky, in 228. It was on sale for $4.80, and I came home, pondering hats.

I decided to just make a simplSo recommended gae little hat, and thought about size. I did my usual method of swatching, which is to say, I didn't. I looked at the needle size and gauge on the label: 13 sts over 4" on 10 1/2 (US). I measured my daughter's head: 18.5". I did a little math, and decided to go down a needle size to 10s and make it a bit big for her, and came up with c/o of 66 stitches. I did a few rows (6 or 7) of a twisted rib, 1x1 then switched to stockinette. As I knit, I began to get more and more nervous that I was going to run out of yarn. Now, this is a worry of mine, but I really was getting low. It's a 50g skein, but only 55 yrds. I tried it on my daughte and I think it's going to be a bit big but fine in terms of diamter. Unfortunately, she had to go to bed before I was done so I was definitely winging it for length. I did a sort of off decrease pattern. First, I decreased by 2 stitches, to get down to 64. Then, on the next row, I started decreases in blocks of 8 (so knit 6, k2tog, then knit 5, k2tog, etc.). I did 3 decrease rows in a row, then switched to knitting a row, then decreasing a row, until I was down to 8 stitches. Then I decreased down to 4 stitches and knit a tube long enough to knot. I bound off, knotted the tube, and wove in the other end, and voila! Hat is done! I don't actually know if it fits the girl or not, we'll see tomorrow. (I'll try to get a picture then!)

The yarn is quite nice, very lofty. I think it's a four-ply and it's a bit splitty so you have to take a bit of care when knitting because when you split it, it's pretty noticeable. Oh, and I did cut it pretty close. I cut off a short chunk at the beginning because of a knot, and I didn't end up using that, and I had enough to maybe do 1-2 more rows of the body of the hat. I really hope it's long enough because I really don't want to pull out the top and make it longer.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Uninspired

That's pretty much where I am, creatively at the moment. It's funny, the boys had a friend over today and her mom hung out and was so flattering about my knitting (she fell in love with my Wicked Monkey socks). It was really nice, but it also made me feel guilty about my lack of motivation at the moment. I've got some blocking to do, I finished one scarf for Halloween and need to finish the other, I need to get my sister's shawl done by Thanksgiving (the next time I go home), and of course, I need more socks. And I have yarn for another Noro Striped Scarf, I have some gorgeous Malabrigo to attempt another Foliage, and did I mention that I have my weight in sock yarn? That's a lot of yarn. So many projects...so little me to do them.

Even though it's October, I'm still feeling like I'm getting used to this new schedule. I find having my oldest in Kindergarten is actually really tiring - for both of us! It makes lots of things much easier, but I also miss him. The short days are really short, so I don't get much done. Actually, that's not so much because he's only gone for 3 hours, but more because I never have a time without my kids, and my extremely energetic and spirited almost-17 month old runs me ragged most of the time. She's a love, a joy, and a terror, really. :)

There's a couple of things on the horizon for me professionally that are feeling really exciting, and makes me wonder if I am thinking about easing back into work. I don't know, really, but it's sort of fun to think about!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nothing Like a Little Super Bulky Yarn for Some Instant Gratification!

I managed to start and finish not one, but TWO things today. Okay, both are hats, one for each son, and both are in this, so they knit up quickly, but still. TWO. It's not like I've been finishing much lately, so this was a bit of a thrill.

Back story, both sons are going to be skeletons for Halloween. My oldest decided that's what he wanted to be (because of some Lego, I think), and younger son is in "I have to be just like my brother" mode these days. Okay, fine. I got the costumes a bit big, so we can layer 'em up underneath. One of the joys of growing up in NE is that it could be 70 degrees (F) on Halloween, or it could be literally freezing. I asked them if they wanted me to make them each a hat and scarf...for some reason, I thought that would be really cute - little skeletons with hand-knits. Cute, right? They both said yes, and DS1 picked RED and DS2 picked (OF COURSE) green. Green is his favorite color. And has been since before he could talk.

I was out with DS2 at Target, purchasing said skeleton costume, and we hit the Michael's nearby. We ended up with the Wool-ease, which is mostly acrylic with a bit of wool. It's fairly soft and fulfilled my requirements of being cheap, bulky, and available. I got one skein for each kid. This afternoon, I had some time so I started the first hat. I did my usual wing-it method. Recommended needle size is 13s, and it's 9 sts/4". I decided to do 11s, and figured I'd get closer to 10 sts/inch, based on...well, nothing. I just like the number. I measured DS1's head and figured I was shooting for somewhere in the 20" diameter range (his head is 21.5"). I cast-on 50 sts, and got going. I did a twisted rib to start, for 5 or 6 rows, and then switched to stockinette. I knit it until it seemed long enough (based on trying it on his head-gotta love Magic Loop) and then did one round of 2 decreases to get to 48, and then used a 6-pt decrease. I did 1 round of decreases and one round of knitting even. I decreased down to 6 stitches, and then pulled the yarn through. I tried the hat on DS2 and decided to go down 2 stitches for his hat and make it a bit shorter. His hat had 6 rows to the ribbing, 11 rows in the body of the hat, and then the decreases.

I started the first scarf - I am doing a simple garter stitch scarf with a slipped stitch edge, over 10 stitches. Easy easy, and hopefully it'll go quickly with the bulky yarn.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Another quick post.

I did finish one more pattern repeat on my sister's Swallowtail. It's really going to be lovely, and I think it's going to be what she wants - less of a delicate pretty shawl and more of a snuggly "wrap around you and keep warm" shawl. I've been struggling with how many repeats to do of the initial leaf lace pattern and I think I'm going to 12, which should leave me enough yarn to finish the whole thing. I'd like this to be a bigger shawl but I am, of course, limited by how much yarn I actually have. Funny how that works.

This week as been all about settling back into the regular schedule. DS2 started school. He's a kid who doesn't thrive with transitions and has had some separation anxiety issues, so I really wasn't sure how he would do, but he did wonderfully! He had a great time and I'm so glad to get him back with his friends. We also have soccer up and running, both boys are playing. My oldest *loves* it and is actually pretty good, which surprises me a bit given that he had some physical issues. But he has a blast and it's so good for him. Of course, that makes *me* a soccer mom, minivan, purple hair, nose ring and tattoos and all. DS2 had his first practice/game today and was initially resistant but had fun (even if his coach had to hold his hand for a bit out on the field). :) He even scored a goal, which was so cool! DD is just a firecracker, into everything, chattering up a storm. I can't believe how big she's getting. She's so independent! And funny. She and the boys are playing together a lot, especially she and DS2 - I found them rolling a melon at each other the day and laughing hysterically. It was really funny, except for the poor melon.

I've spent the past week looking for a new phone, as my Treo is not doing well. It's three years old (which is what, 60? in people years), and it's hanging in there but since half the time it doesn't answer when someone calls me, well, that's not so good. We're switching carriers which is totally tweaking my loyalty thing, but I'm excited about what's to come. And really, it's a phone, not a marriage. Sometimes I take things too seriously. :)

I swear, I *will* start posting more pictures and knitting content, once I actually have anything to show!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Still Here!

Just swamped in the minutiae of life with three kids - school has started and the oldest is starting Kindergarten! I am so, so thankful that he missed the cut-off as I am sure we would have agonized over whether to hold him or not, probably would have sent him and I don't think it would have been the right choice. Not simply because he is a boy, though from the research I've read, that's important, but just who he is. He's so ready academically, but he's been ready for years, but socially and in some other ways, having this year to solidify has been so important. He's riding the bus, he seems like such a big boy to me. He also just got glasses and is completely adorable. Son #2 is starting back to preschool next week (FINALLY) and I can't wait! Once we're into our routine, I think I'll have bit more time for knitting. I'm sneaking in a few rows here and there but nothing substantial to report.

It got cooler, and I broke out the socks. I need to get some more pairs finished! I love handknit socks. I also have some very pretty malabrigo slated for another Foliage hat, which I'd like to get done. I have shawls in process that I'd like to finish - especially the one for my sister. Her elderly cat, who has been her baby for 17 years, is dying, and I'd like to send her some comfort.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

September?

How did it get to be September??

The rest of the summer has flown by. In part, we've been ridiculously busy the last few weeks. We were away for a week, then the weekend we came back, we rearranged our house and hauled a lot of furniture. Then we had some friends over then another friend came for 3 days with her 10-month-old baby girl. Then we were away over the weekend visiting family (and seeing James Taylor!!) and now we're back. We went down to RI yesterday to hang out with a friend at the beach, and now we're gearing up for DS1's birthday. Friend party tomorrow, family all through the weekend...and then he starts Kindergarten next week! We had the practice bus ride this morning and I will admit I got a bit choked up when the bus pulled out with all those wee folks waving to us. They couldn't see over the seats in front of them! Sometimes he seems to big to me (and he's older for Kindergarten due to the cutoff, which I am so thankful about) but I have to remind myself that he's still just a very little boy and this is a big deal. He's nervous about it, but I'm hopeful it's going to be a great year!

So, while we were in the Berkshires, I knit a sock. :) Just an ankle sock but still a sock! I used the leftovers from my Branching Out (and I'm going to be cutting it verrrrrry fine to squeeze the second one out of what's left!). I cast on in the car on the way out and bound off the day after we got home. So, it's STR, I can't remember if it's light or medium weight (lemme look at the other skeins...lightweight), toe-up, 60 sts and a 1x1 ribbed short ankle. It didn't pool weirdly at all and it's so pretty!! It knit up really nice and quickly and if I didn't live somewhere with serious, serious winter, I'd make all my socks ankle socks because it's really nice to turn the heel and think "wow, I'm going to be binding off in eight rows!"so

Now I just need some new shoes for the fall, to show off my socks! Keen replaced my warped Calistogas with new Calistogas...which warped again!! And the glue that holds the toe to the shoe leather leaked, and I can't get it cleaned up. I think Calistogas are just not in the cards for me...we'll see if they replace these. I love Keens, but this one style just doesn't work. Which is a bummer because they're perfect for showing off handknit socks.

Of course, in order to show off all these alleged socks, I need to actually finish some PAIRS. Yes, socks come in pairs. I know, it's shocking, but it's true. So, this means you have to KNIT TWO OF EACH KIND OF SOCK YOU WANT TO WEAR. Can you believe it? I apparently couldn't because I've now got four or five single socks hanging out, waiting for mates. Need to get on that.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Oh My Aching Back!!

We got home from VT on Friday and decided to rearrange the house. What we thought would be a half-day project took, of course, the entire weekend and we're not done yet. We moved downstairs to the master bedroom, moved the kids into the other bedroom and moved the office upstairs into the huge room that is now the office/playroom. I think I'll just call it the multipurpose room. We've got some very heavy furniture and wow, does my back hurt! I'm sort of worried I reinjured the thing I did where I couldn't move for two days, so I'm lying down now, taking it easy. Part of the urgency is that my roommate from college is coming to visit for a couple of days and I need somewhere for her and her 10-month old to sleep. I think I've achieved that! I've also boxed up some stuff that was on top of our wardrobe and dressers and I'm just going to stick it in storage. Why is there a category of stuff that you don't want out but don't want to throw away? Sometimes my mind doesn't make sense to me.

I'm also deep into "getting rid of baby stuff" mode. I just gave away all my maternity clothes, and all my baby boy stuff, and I've got the baby girl stuff going away soon. I can't believe my "baby" is such a big girl now, walking, starting to talk, throwing tantrums with the best of 'em! I am sure there will always be a tiny (or maybe even not so tiny) part of me that will want more, but it feels good to know we're done. I am so grateful and thankful every day for our blessings, even when they drive me crazy!

So, that's all the news here. No knitting happening. I am hoping to get motivated to organize all my knitting stuff. I got some bins for it, so let's see if it happens.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

You're just going to have to trust me.

I have been knitting! My camera won't talk to my laptop (laptop too old? camera too new?), so I can't put any pictures up. But it's true, I have been.

I'm on vacation in lovely VT, land of glorious sunsets, rolling hills, and a mosquito army that is apparently poised to take over the world., We're having a lovely time but it's a skosh itchy.

So anyway. I managed to knit the entire drive up, and finished a simple vanilla sock! I also started (in my head) a screen play for short film about a woman who marries a skein of Koigu, but that's a different post. I've done a couple of pattern repeats on my Swallowtail and decided I'm going to do 12 instead of 14, because I think if I do 14, it'll be the Swallowtail That Swallowed My Sister, and that would be no good.

I also started another sock, because I need some mindless knitting. More basic toe-up, magic looping goodness. Why no, it's not the mate for the sock I just finished, what a funny thought!!

I've also been hiking, swimming, and did a brief drive-by an alpaca farm but (a) the store was closed and (b) it was apparently the breeding ground for the Mosquito Army and we were driven out.

Now I want alpacas though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Size Matters

In which I ramble my thought process onto the page...

So I've been knitting pretty monogamously on my sister's Swallowtail shawl, but I've got a conundrum, which is the size issue. The pattern calls for 612 yards of DK/sport-weight yarn to get a blocked shawl size of 64" across. I've got about 600 yards of what Ravelry calls an aran/worsted weight yarn. 64" across is pretty big, so I think it would be okay if the final product were smaller. I've done 8 pattern repeats of the Budding Lace, and I'm just about through the first ball of yarn. I have estimated the width at about 26" so far. I The pattern calls for 14 lace repeats. I'm worried that I won't have enough yarn. I'm not going to do the nupps because it's a mini-bouclé and I don't think they'll show up. I just have no idea how much, if at all, the final product is going to grow due to blocking. Some might have done a swatch and blocked to learn that information, but me? No. No, I didn't. So here I am, knitting away, hoping that I don't run out of yarn.

Okay, I just did some math with my lovely, lovely spreadsheet. I've completed3,903 stitches out of 19,550 (pattern as written). That is 19.96%, which looks very close to 1/5th so theoretically, I should have enough yarn.

Of course, you know what they say: In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

It's all in how you think about it.

Yesterday we spent the entire day at the celebration of a friend's mother's wedding. It was a lovely day, beautiful weather, lots of love and joy in the air. It was also very, very social, and I think we're a family of introverts (even me! This would surprise most people who know me), so we were all left a bit tired. Today, the boys were just Not Listening to me. I'd tell them to stop doing something, they'd do it again. I'd tell one boy to knock it off, the other would then do the exact same thing. We were out on a walk and I ended up taking the boys home because of this, while DH took the girl off to poke sticks in the lake (a favorite pastime of most of the family). Instead of staying angry, or just tuning out, I decided that we needed a little running around, so I got out the cones and the soccer ball, and we played a soccer/tackle/rolling down the lawn game for the next hour, that left us all laughing and breathless. It was a powerful reminder to me that so much of life is truly what I make of it. I have been very influenced by Viktor Frankl's work (probably time to go reread it, actually!) and it's useful to remember that I have a great deal of control over how I experience my life.

And on to the knitting!

I got a chance to do some knitting, and I actually took a picture! My sister, when I told her that I'm currently obsessed with knitting shawls, asked if I'd be willing to make one for her. I immediately got excited, and did a little stash-diving to come up with this! The yarn is some yarn that my mom found for me at the local second-hand store: The yarn is Madil Rebus in sapphire. The pattern is Swallowtail and I'm knitting it on size 8s. Since the yarn is listed as a bulky weight, I'm sort of winging it on size. I've got 5 skeins (600 yards), which I am hoping is enough to give me a good-sized shawl. I really wasn't sure this yarn would work with a lace pattern, because it's a mini-boucle, but it actually really works nicely, in my opinion. It also just feels so soft and velvety! I think this will be a lovely, warm, but lightweight shawl. I'm interested to see how it blocks, with the nylon content that it has. It looks like it will felt, so I'm hoping to spit-splice the skeins and have fewer ends to deal with. I've done 7 pattern repeats, and am about to do a couple more. I haven't decided if I'm going to do the nupps or not, since it is a bigger and fuzzier wool, I'm not sure if they'd look good or not. I'll decide when I get there! Mainly I just have to figure out how many pattern repeats to do! And yes, I am using lifelines.

And in other news, my SIL asked if she could "hire" me to make my niece a cardigan! On the one hand, wow! I got really excited...on the other hand, I am not sure my skills (especially my buttonhole skills!) are really good enough to do something that she could actually wear. Scary!!