Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rest in Peace, Krista.

I didn't know Krista Dittmeyer, but I am haunted by her disappearance and death. The circumstances of her disappearance, specifically, the fact that her young daughter was found alive in the car, are so awful, so painful to think about, that I cry every time I do. A 14 month old is old enough to know that her mother isn't there. As a woman, especially as a mother, it just breaks my heart. In a strange way, I'm thankful she was found so quickly, that her family doesn't have to live with the agony of not knowing.

It also just enrages me. Perhaps I am jumping to conclusions, but there's no evidence that I've seen that suggests she was suicidal or mentally ill. There's no evidence to suggest she put herself in that pond. So someone - no, let's be clear, most likely some MAN - put her there. Not to say that women don't do awful, abusive things, or commit horrible acts. They do. But typically women don't kill other women this way.

I, like so many women I know, live with that undercurrent of fear. Now, I'm a survivor of violence, so I'm probably more wary than most, but I think most women in the US know that they can be victimized. Either by a stranger, or much more commonly, by someone they know. This isn't just an individual experience, it's a cultural phenomenon that leaves me so angry I can barely speak.

And, of course, now I'm the mother of a girl. I am coming to believe that just as I think the ability to swim competently is a necessary life skill, maybe self-defense should be seen the same way for young girls and women. My oldest son has started karate, and I am determined that my daughter will study as well. My younger son has loved gymnastics, but told me recently that he wants to study karate as well. Maybe I should join them.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Survived April Vacation!

I am so ready for a good night's sleep!! A few months ago I concocted a plan for this vacation which included driving from here to outside of Philly to see my SIL's family for a few days, and then going to NYC. When I told my friends who live in Queens that we'd be doing this, they INSISTED that we stay at their apartment. It's huge (and free) so we accepted gratefully!

We headed off last Sunday. The 6 hour drive took about 8 hours, what with lunch breaks, potty breaks, missed exits and flooding detours. Our days with the family were great! We took the kids too an amazing park which included an 8-story wooden play castle! The next day all the boys headed off to the Philly Zoo while the girl and I hung out, as she had spiked a 104 fever (OF COURSE SHE DID). Wednesday, we headed off to NY.

We got the key to my friend's apartment, dropped our stuff off, hopped on the E train and headed to MOMA. We were there to see Van Gogh's Starry Night at the request of my oldest son. He was amazed by it, it was so cool to see. We looked at some other paintings but the kids were pretty fried, so we headed back to the apartment. We made the kids a simple dinner, and the adults ordered Chinese food later.

Thursday we had tickets to the Statue of Liberty. It was...a challenging day, made more difficult by the TWO HOUR WAIT just to get through security to get on the damn ferry. The kids did not handle it well, in part because we'd screwed up the timing of food so they'd had a bagel snack but no lunch so everyone was whiny. Once we got there and got food into everyone, it was better. I also hadn't taken into account the fact that my oldest son is quite afraid of heights, so the amazing view was lost on him. We had pedestal tickets, which was more than enough for us!

Friday we got up and out of the apartment and got to the American Museum of Natural History before it opened. It was *packed* (no school in NYC on Friday) but the line moved fast. We got tickets to the Sauropod exhibit that just opened, which was pretty cool. Before we went up, we saw the one mummy they have, which was sufficient, and then did dinosaurs. We were there about 2 hours, which exceeded my expectation. I could have done way more, but we were out of time. We ate lunch and then walked around Central Park and watched a wedding.

Today we got on the road and had a good trip back. I had gotten LOTS of stories on DVDs from the library and the kids were mesmerized!!

So, all in all, a decent vacation but now I'm exhausted!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Knitting - I figured out which pattern the shawl was. It's Swallowtail, of course. And I was just reading some old blog entries and randomly came across the post detailing the casting on of the shawl, and how many yards of the yarn I have! *happy dance* So, I'm going to keep going, if I ever have the energy and time for lace again.

We had some excitement around here this morning. My oldest got up and collapsed on the floor, sobbing in pain. Now, he's a bit of a...drama queen, shall we say, so I don't always take dramatic collapses with sobbing very seriously, as they tend to happen A LOT. But, this was different. It seemed like he was *actually* in pain and couldn't put weight on his leg, because his knee was hurting. After a couple of hours, we decided an urgent care visit was in order. Some friends suggested that since he had strep and flu a few weeks ago, that we might want to have him checked for this. Ped thought it was unlikely, and initially diagnosed a sprain. We were sent off to the hospital for an X-ray with instructions to walk on the leg as much as he could. Thankfully, we were in out of the hospital in less than 1/2 an hour. We got the call a few hours later that there's "something abnormal" on the X-ray. It's just not clear what is going on, or why he's in such pain (though *only* when he puts pressure on it), so the next step is an MRI. The ped did reassure me that this is NOT a tumor or a lesion of any kind, so we're not worried about Big Bad Scary Stuff (well, not much). I'm hoping for the same outcome as we had the last time he had an anomaly on an X-ray, which is to say, it was absolutely nothing, but last time there was no pain involved. Hopefully we can get the MRI in the next couple of days, and see if it's a fracture or not. But how on earth can a kid fracture his knee in his sleep?

And, of course, we're going on vacation in ONE WEEK. A vacation with lots of walking scheduled.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Well that's ONE way to cut down on projects!

All of a sudden I'm jonesin' to make a shawl (I blame a friend who's been posting gorgeous pattern suggestions). I knew I had a couple on needles, so I pulled out the one with fingering weight yarn, to find that the pattern has disappeared! Honestly, it's been so long I can't even remember which one it was! So, I guess I'll be frogging the tiny bit I have done and starting something new!!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Cleaning Out

One of my biggest frustrations in our home is that I feel like we just don't FIT here. We have Too Much Stuff and it's just cluttered and chaotic. I find it really stressful, to be honest. Now, I am certainly not naturally neat and organized, AT ALL, but I would like to be more so than I am. I feel like the answer is not to get more and more storage "solutions" but to pare down our stuff so that we actually fit in the space we have.

To that end, today I went through all my clothes (except bathing suits). I am tired of disliking 85% of my jeans! Eddie Bauer used to be my go-to and they changed their sizing and took at least an inch, probably two, off their rise, and now they're just too low. People, I am a 41 year old woman who has born three children. I feel like there's a huge market for well-made durable clothes for women who aren't in their twenties but don't feel over the hill yet! Perhaps if I were willing to spend more, there would be more options. :) It felt so freeing to see the things I'm getting rid of piling up! I even *gasp* threw some things away! I have trouble letting go in more ways than one, so this was a challenge, but a good one.

I now know what I have for spring and summer (if they EVER arrive), and once I finish the eleventy-billion loads of laundry that I've let pile up this week and sorted through that stuff, I'll know where I'm at for cooler weather as well.

Now I just need to do this with all the rest of the stuff in this house and we'll be in good shape!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Tongue Tied

Whoa, sorry blog!

I think the title says it all...I just don't feel like I have a ton to say right now. Life is feeling very...not overwhelming, exactly, though talk to me in a couple of weeks when we're deep in soccer-gymnastics-dance-karate-school-LIFE. Definitely busy. I'm actually in a really optimistic place right now. We thought the town was going to auction off the land right next to us, which would mean we would be losing 1/3 of our lawn (which is actually town land), but it looks like that's not going to happen, so YAY! We've had a sort of break through in a really challenging family situation (not meaning to be cryptic, I just don't feel like it's entirely my story to tell) and that's also feeling really hopeful. We keep having moments where it looks like Spring might be coming! Of course, then it snows again. I'm just not in a creative place right now, at least not with knitting. I finished a HUGE sewing project - something like 30 pairs of fleece socks for friends. I need to wash them and then send them off. I'm getting that startitis feeling again, but dude, I have so many projects in flight, I think it's making me anxious. I really need to finish a bunch of things before I can start anything else!!

I'm doing a LOT Of picture taking and having a lot of fun. And it looks like I'm going to be able to take this photography class that I've been wanting to do, I got the childcare gap worked out, I think, so YAY for that!

All in all, I feel like I'm in a waiting place right now, trying to see what the next step is. Which is fine, I guess, but I am so not someone who is comfortable sitting in Not Knowing. Which is why I haven't had much to say lately. I've got lots of thoughts though, maybe I need to bring them out more.