Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More sweater pics

Here it is done, with buttons and all.
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And modeled by a less-than-enthusiastic J-man. Of course, who would want to model something like this in 90 degree weather?
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I've been thinking about what I want to do with this. I mean, it's pretty plain and boring. I think I've settled on duplicate stitching a fire hydrant on the back. With the little dalmations on the buttons, I think it'll turn out cute, and a little humorous. But, since there's at least another month or so of warm weather ahead of us, I'll pack it away for now and come back to it after I've done some of my holiday knitting. Besides, I've never actually done any duplicate stitching, and should probably give it a try on something smaller first, right?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

... and ends to weave before I sleep

I finished, for the most part, the little jacket I was working on for Jonas. It's not bad for a first attempt at something with this many pieces to put together. I lack a lot of the patience it takes to do all the seaming required, so I really had to make myself do it in lots of small bits, otherwise I would have done it half-assed. Even with giving it my full attention, I think I could have done a better job. It's just so boring!

The yarn used is a chunky acrylic thing in dark blue. Yeah, I know--- but let's be honest here. He's two, it's going to get drooled on, spilled on, and rolled in the dirt, and that's assuming that it'll get worn more than twice in our warmer climate.
The pattern (used in a very loose fashion) is called "Rumpelstiltskin" and comes from a book borrowed from the library called "Knitter's Stash". It wasn't the most impressive read in the world, and this pattern was actually designed for use with super thick chenille yarn, and so I had to do a lot of math to get it to work with my chosen cheap-o yarn.

So here it is, fresh out of my knitting bag and all rumpled up, tails hanging out everywhere. I'll be weaving those in tonight and adding some cute buttons that J chose himself.

Anyway, lesson here is that dark yarn doesn't show much in the way of detail when photographed. But then again, this is a very basic pattern of moss stitch and stockinette, so there's not a whole lot to show off. I'm thinking of adding a design to the boring blue back of this, but I'm at a loss as to what to do. Sure I could duplicate stitch something on there, but I'm not sure if I'm in love enough to put that much more work into it. I might just look for a cute little iron on patch or something. The buttons J chose feature a dalmation in a red wagon. Perhaps a firetruck for the back?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Where's J-man?

I'll give you three guesses! :)

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Good Lord, Woman! It Was Just a Dream!

I had the most vivid dream last night.

I'm not positive on the time frame of this, since, well, I never see myself in dreams, ya know, but judging by context, it was probably sometime in the mid-80's. I'm sitting in my grandparents carport on one of Mema's well-cushioned porch swings, staring through the latticework at a truck pulling up the gravel drive.

Now here's where it gets weird because, as I said earlier, it seemed to be sometime in the 80's, and yet, in the dream I had the knowledge that Daddy Dean was dead, which would make it sometime in the last 5 months. Weird how dreams have that ability to warp time.

Anyway, so there's a truck coming down the driveway. I always loved the sound of tires digging into the gravel, wearing twin ruts into the reddish soil beneath--the soothing monotonous tone of stone grinding against stone that announced a visitor.

The truck is a fairly beat up boxy blue thing with a brown strip down the sides. Not a truck I can ever remember seeing around the farm, or anywhere, for that matter. In the driver's seat is my grandfather! Big, robust, almost fat in a way that he probably never was in life, but still, most certainly the picture of strength and health. There, smiling, wearing his blue flannel shirt, jeans worn white at the thighs and knees, stained with farm-grit and those thick red suspenders. His feet were clad in high rubber boots, one of the many pair that sat waiting next to the front door for whoever was heading out to the fields. Huge, thick, mud-encrusted boots that, as a child, came up to my hips.

In the passenger seat was the biggest Irish Setter I've ever seen- aging, the grey traveling from his muzzle up around his eyes, masking his entire face. His red fur glistening and blowing in the dappled sunlight. The two of them- an absolute image of life.

I don't think we spoke at all to each other, I just sat, absorbing the wonderful-ness of him. His height, his heft, the dark hair, greying at the temples. I remember marveling at his eyes. Eyes that I never gave much thought to when he was living. I suppose that during his healthy years there were so many other things to take in that the eyes were more of an afterthought, but when life slowed down and he was confined to a chair, it seemed that the eyes were the only thing left. There was a depth to them that my mind, still, is a bit afraid to fathom. Depth, intelligence, keenness that I'd never seen before. I mean, sure, I guess I had always known that it was there. I never once considered my grandfather less than intelligent, but I don't know if I ever gave it much thought at all.

My father appeared on the carport with me, he and Daddy Dean slipped into conversation and that's where it fades. Just a kid, just a kid on a swing overhearing an adult conversation that is so wholly meaningless that it just becomes a buzzing of voices in the back of your skull, like the sound of bees, powerlines humming.

And the dream is gone. I stayed awake for a long time afterwards, remembering how it wasn't until our last visit together that I actually took the time to notice his eyes. Funny how death will do that to you--make you pause and absorb all that you can- drink in the details so that you might remember them. He was so frail at the end- almost unrecognizable if it weren't for the height, the eyes, that mouth that smiled despite the exhaustion he must have felt.

God, those eyes, so blue, so alive despite the failing of the rest of him. My hand in his- the closest thing he can muster to a hug because it hurts so bad. "You come back and see me real soon." he tells me. So much meaning behind those words. That strong silent country way of not speaking the truth that is so damn everywhere that you can't avoid it if you try.

A whispering in the walls:

I'm dying!
Nearly gone!
Won't be much longer

What wasn't spoken seemed to be said, none-the-less--transmitted through locked eyes--the intensity of a lifetime of memories fading away into nothingness. And that's the way that we forget ourselves, who we are and where we came from and how we came to be. We let it sit silently inside, knowing it's there but not taking the time to record it, to remember it, to pass it along so that others will know it, too.

And Jeez lady, get over yourself! It was just a dream.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Good intentions

I've been meaning to post something here. Really, I have. It's just that there doesn't seem to be a whole lot to talk about. I realize that recently this place has gone from it's originally intended purpose of posting something "deeper" than just the daily crap into just a bunch of silly mommy rambling.

Now, don't get me wrong. I can ramble with the best of them, and mix that with my cute little munchkin, and it's a logical progression, isn't it? But I've just been feeling uninspired lately.

So, I could tell you about how things ain't so great right now. How the mortgage check bounced this month and how peanutbutter and jelly is now a four course meal. I could tell you about how Wil and I don't fight over the money, or the lack of money, because we just really don't talk at all. I could tell you about how I feel totally useless because I don't have a "job". Sure, I work my butt off, but I'm not earning anything, and that makes me feel like I have negative value or something. I could tell you that I should be looking for a job right now, but Wil doesn't want me to becuase it would injure his male pride and make him feel like a failure. My logic is, at least he'd be a failure with some money in the bank account.

I could tell you how I knit a half-dozen dishcloths this weekend because any time my hands are still I realize just how unhappy and (dare I say it?) depressed I've become.

I could tell you about how I've gained about 15 pounds since I quit working, despite the fact that my eating habits haven't really changed. I guess I never realized how physical my job was at the clinic. I probably walked well over 5 miles a day hunting charts and checking pets in and out. I also lifted 50-80 lbs constantly. I need to start making myself get out and do more exercise. It's just so hard with J. He doesn't like riding in his stroller anymore, preferring the wagon. The wagon is heavy and strains your shoulder after a mile or so of dragging it. I suppose I could walk backwards. :) But seriously, I can't afford to gain anymore weight. I mean, I'm just now getting to the point where I threw out all my fat clothes and have a somewhat acceptable amount of clothes in an appropriate size. It would break my heart to have to buy bigger sizes again.

Yes, that was incredibly vain.

I could tell you how I checked out Mason Dixon Knitting on Saturday and that I read it from cover to cover, and fell in love with at least half the stuff in there. What I loved most wasn't the patterns themselves, but the ideas behind them, and the creative approach to knitting. It made me laugh as she told the story of her son's 8 lb ball of collected yarn and the ugly rug knit from it. It was just, overall, an entertaining read and gave me some much needed inspiration.

I also checked out another knitting book that was less impressive, but there was one pattern in there that I'm going to give a try. It's a simply, bulky little toddler jacket. Nothing fancy or intricate, but it'll be my first attempt at knitting something with sleeves. I have no idea why that scares me. :) The pattern calls for chenille to make it chunky and lightweight, but I'm not sure I'm going to go that route. Not a big fan of chenille, and I don't know that J would be either. So, I'm in the market for some bulky, inexpensive, yarn that'll make a cute boyish jacket. I saw some camo yarn in the store the other day and thought that it would make the perfect little boy jacket-- not to mention it would impress the pants of Daddy Dave. We'll see. Right now I'm not buying any yarn at all. Not until this stack of bills gets addressed.

The one glimmer of hope here is that, since his old supervisor was fired for stealing quite a bit of money, Wil's pay has been re-evaluated. All this time, the driver who was on-call was supposed to be payed a certain amount for his on-call time, regardless of whether they went out or not. Sort of an inconvenience pay for having to stick close to home and answer that evil phone all day and night. So, for a year Wil's been pulling on-call and not getting paid unless he actually got in the van and drove somewhere. And who wants to get out and drive 140 miles round-trip at 3 in the morning if they don't have to? Now, they're being paid something like $3 an hour for carrying the phone, and then getting their regular rate for actually going out.

This was Wil's on-call week, and so, 7 days of carrying the phone 24 hours, plus he put in at least 20 hours of overtime. It's not going to make us rich or anything, but it'll put us back on an even playing field, and that will feel pretty darn good.

So, this has been enough whining and rambling for one morning. See, I told you I had nothing to blog about.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Another Quiz Thing

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View?
created with

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My Hero

I want to extend a great big THANK YOU toGretchen for holding an incredibly successful yarn raffle on behalf of Team Nova. She raised over $300 for the American Heart Association! That's incredible, isn't it?

Last night, just as I was getting dinner finished up, there was a knock at the door. What was waiting for me when I finally managed to subdue the dog and set down the overly-excited child?


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Thank you Gretchen, for my third place prize. Not only did it come at just the right time, since I just finished my officially dubbed "Apple Pie Bag", but I have dishcloths on my holiday knitting list, so this couldn't be more perfect. I can't wait to dig in.

In other related news-- the fall issue of Knitty is up, and OH MY GOODNESS! They really made up for their lackluster previous issue, didn't they? I want to knit every single one of these babies! If I had to pick a favorite, Lucie was the first to catch my eye, but honestly, look at those yummy socks! And serrano! If I thought I could get more than a single wear out of it in a Florida winter season, I'd be tossing the budget out the window and yarn shopping this very minute. Oh, how I ache for a never-ending yarn budget!

BTW, if you have a Tuesday Morning in your area, take a peek inside. Somewhere buried amongst the curtains and pillows and assorted other closeouts, they have a small yarn section and sometimes you can find a real gem in there. I just discovered this over the weekend and now know that I'll be making frequent checks there for new stuff.

J is taking a very early nap right now. For some reason, after going to bed after midnight, he decided to wake up at 5:30 this morning. Maybe this will help get him back on schedule, since I can't see how he could possibly be able to stay up so late after such an early nap. *crossing my fingers* And so, with him nestled in his little bed, I'm off to do some school work and then when he wakes up, we're off to the library. We have a few books due back tomorrow, and I'm going to put a reserve on Mason Dixon Knitting, on Gretchen's recommendation. Supposedly you can do this through their website, but for some reason it keeps telling me that my library card number is invalid. I wonder if the library police have finally caught up with me?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not a total loss

Super-secret project revealed:

The plan was to make a smallish sort of bag out of the lattice cable pattern that I liked so much. It was supposed to be a somewhat slim and rectangular bag--sort of a mini-messenger style. Well, here is the somewhat finished object.

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While I'm not entirely satisfied with the results, I don't think it's terrible for a first-time venture into the realm of design.

What I dislike about it:
1. It's much bigger than the envisioned finished product was supposed to be. For the sake of picture taking, I've stuffed an empty baby wipes container in it! What I really wanted was something that would simply hold a wallet, a set of keys, and maybe a small notebook. I could use this as Jonas's diaper bag and still have room for other stuff.
2. It lacks detail. If I were to do this again, I'd add some sort of border around the lattice panels.
3. It lacks shape. Seriously, unless you wanted to carry around a cinderblock, this bag is seriously fugly. I'm hoping that once I sew a lining in, it'll help give it some structure.

The not-so-bad:
1. It was a good learning experience. For instance, I learned just how stretchy garter stitch can be! Shocking, I know, but I've never really used it in any of my previous knitting because it just looks so bland and boring, and while I knew it was stretchy, I never dreamed that a 20 stitch width could roughly equal the size of my hard-bound medical dictionary! I think that if I were going to do this again, I'd probably only make it about half as wide.
2. I used up some crappy yarn that was taking up space in my closet.
3. It occupied about a week's worth of knitting time while no other yarn was available.
4. It gave me the courage to try something new.

So, all in all, it wasn't a total waste of time. I can't guarantee that it'll get a lot of use, but it'll be that one project that I look back on and smile about- kind of like the macaroni necklaces of kindergarten fame. It's ugly, but it's mine, dammit!

The 2006 Florida Fiber-In is this weekend in Orlando. My step-mom has graciously offered to watch the munchkin if I decide I want to go-- and DO I! But, with the fact that we can't even pay the mortgage this month without dipping into savings, and the fact that there are more practical things I need to buy, like groceries, I'm thinking a trip to knitty-porn land would just be way too tempting. Besides, I don't know if I'm up for a solo road-trip in a car that has me chanting magical incantations just to get it to start. But, I haven't totally written off the idea.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just pictures

some pictures from over the weekend. We took J for a hike at a park along the river, and then stopped at a playground so he could burn off some extra energy. It worked! He took a three hour nap once we got back in the car.

And then there's the picture of him decorating his grandparent's day cookies that we baked this morning.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Twilight Zone

My computer is out to get me! I hear it at night, and in the wee hours of the morning, plotting an evil scheme with the PDA to totally destroy life as I know it.

Every now and then this beast of a desktop goes and dumps something of mine. Never anything truly substantial. Except for time it gave us it's sinister blue screen of death and we had to format the hard drive.

Ever since then, it's been operating fine, but it's playing with my mind. For instance: This morning I wake up, turn on the beast, rub my eyes, open my email and it says that I have 4 new messages. Sure enough, there are four highlighted messages, indicating that they haven't been read. So I open the first one and it's oddly familiar. Deja vu? (or however you spell that!) So I open the next one and yes! I've read this one too. But wait! As I'm sitting there wishing there was more coffee in my cup, the little "bing-bong" of the new mail song goes off and in comes a new message. New eh? Yep, I've already received this one, too.

That's funny, the date on all of these "new" messages says 9/4. Now, I know that when I quit working, the dates stopped meaning much, but I'm pretty sure it's more like the 7th or 8th today, right?

Scrolling through, I ree that my most recent mail, besides these that just came in postmarked (can you call e-mail "postmarked"?) is from 9/1. I'm not the most popular person in the world, but I do know that I've had a few email in the last week or so. So where is it?

Apparently it went poof.

Can you hear the evil chortle coming from the humming grey box at my feet?

So, if you've sent me email recently and I haven't responded, it's not because I'm some stuck-up snob or because I consider myself too busy to stop and write back. I just truly don't know where your email went.

I've also just discovered that a handful of my bookmarks are playing hide and seek, too. Luckily, I know most of my favorite sites by heart, or can get there through a link on someone else's blog. Yeah, I know there's that thing called bloglines, and it makes like a lot easier. But for some reason I have an aversion to it. Not sure why, but I like to do my surfing the old-fashioned way.

Anyway, I think I'll go pour myself another cup of coffee. Maybe if I turn my back for a minute everything will magically return to it's proper place.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


If ever someone's knitting revealed their state of mind, this must be a prime example.

Done with my mystery socks, and wanting a break from socks, in general, I went to my pitiful stash for some inspiration. Sure, I've got a couple of tons of projects I'd like to start on for Christmas, but the budget isn't allowing for yarn purchases right now- or any purchases, for that matter. Finding that I had little of anything worth using, I pulled out a skein of some aweful scratchy acryllic stuff and decided that it would work well for knitting up some swatches of different cable patterns. Just some knitting to pass the time until I could buy something truly worthy of knitting with.

The pattern I chose to start with was a latticework cable pattern, and I immediately fell in love with it. Simple, yet not boring, and I love the orderly criss-cross patterning.

Great, so I have a piece that I like made with yarn that I loathe. Now what? Well, lots of people knit with this stuff, right? I mean, they sell it for a reason, and not just because it's cheap. But who'd want this stuff scratching against their skin all day? Ugh. But my mind started concocting a plan, and I think I know what this is meant to be.

Of course, you'll have to tune in later to see because if I go and brag about how I've designed this really cool piece and then it turns out like crap I'll feel like an idiot. This is my first attempt at making something that I've (sort of) designed on my own. Of course, it's nothing huge, or elaborate, but we all have to start somewhere, right? And I'm inspired by this whole new realm of knitting.

In other areas of life things are...hhmmm... difficult.

Jonas is most certainly in the terrible twos. He's become so hard to deal with at times. The most notable change in his behavior is when I tell him not to do something... he turns around, waves his finger in my face and yells "No Mama! GO!" and often follows it with hitting me. Now just where in the world he learned that it was ok to hit is beyond me. I've never once spanked him...(and some of you will tell me that maybe I should)

I just don't know how to stop this. We've consistently gone the time-out route, and it's effective momentarily. It stops the current tantrum, but it seems to do nothing for preventing future outbursts.

Look, I know he's two, he's discovering his voice and his independence, and I'm ok with that. I know a lot of it is driven from frustration at his own limitations and his desire to do things on his own. But some things are not negotiable. He's allowed to be mad, to be frustrated, and to be sulky, but he's not allowed to hit me and he needs to understand why I'm setting particular rules- like no pouring fabric softener in the aquarium and no sharing a toothbrush with the dog.

Last night it was the "sit down and eat" battle. I have a hard time with the idea of letting him go to bed without dinner, but after 45 minutes of him refusing, standing up in his high chair, and Wil just laughing at his defiance and contributing to his behavior, I gave up.

I feel like I'm fighting some ridiculous and futile battle against the world's tiniest dictator.

Any of you moms out there have advice, or even just a sympathetic nod?

Sigh... he'll grow out of this, right?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sock Sleuth

I finished my Mystery Socks last night before going to bed. The pattern was the Seashell Sock from knitaddicted, which I would provide a link to, were I not in a hurry to post this and go get the munchkin.

It was a nice pattern, and one that I wouldn't mind repeating at all. My biggest problem was getting them to turn out the right size. The pattern says to knit them with on size 1's, and when I knit a swatch it was a bit small. Not owning any size 2's and not wanting to spend any extra money this week, I moved up to size 3's and knit really tightly. After getting a couple of repeats in on the size 3's, the socks looked way to large, and so I went back to the size 1's.

I turned the heel on my size 1's, did a couple of repeats, and realized that they fit me ok. (I had to work to get them over my ankle, but once there, they weren't too tight) But, these socks were intended to be for someone else. Someone else with a slightly larger foot and a much wider ankle than myself. Sigh!

So, back to the size 3's. I completed my first sock and had the recipient try it on. It fit perfectly, despite it's deceptively enormous looking size. A new lesson for this novice knitter! Looks can be deceiving! Finally confident that I was not wasting my time on the size 3's, I finished the second one rather quickly.

So here they are in all their stripey glory.

I think I'd like to see this knit up in a solid color. It would probably give more definition to the shell pattern.

Look at this luscious yarn!

**This is being post-dated for maximum exposure**

Would you like to own this beautiful yarny goodness? Yes, it can be yours, for as little as $1! Yep, you heard me right.

Many of you already know Erinand her family's recent loss of Nova, and if you don't, you can get yourself up to date fairly quickly.

Erin is participating in the American Heart Association's heart walk in Charlotte and raising donations in Nova's memory. So, how does this turn into beautiful yarn for your stash?

The Amazingly Wonderful Gretchen will enter your name in a drawing for every dollar donated in Nova's memory. It's that easy!

So go donate, win some lovely yarn, and I also ask that, even if you're unable to make a donation, please pass the word around to all of your knitting friends! Add a link in your blog, call your sister, heck, call your Mama! Just get the word out there.


J-man decided we should have a slumber party last night. Piled in bed between me and Wil and snuggled up with Puppy and Quack-Quack and Bear (why does my son have to have 3 sleeping teddybears? And why must they be large one?!) he stayed awake all night. Ok, maybe I exaggerate a little, he did sleep- in 45 minute or less increments. I woke sporadically all night to find him sitting there watching tv, or poking Dada in the ribs.

At one point, probably around 3 am, he woke me with a not-so-gentle pat to the cheek saying "Wake! Mama! Wake! Mama!" Which I propmtly did. He then asked me for juice. So I stumbled to the kitchen and got him some milk. No child of mine is getting sugary juice at this time of the morning when he hasn't slept! A fit ensued.

"No MAMA! Dooce! Dooce!"

"If you're thirsty you can drink milk, Jonas."

"Dooce! Dooce! Dooce!" (Big alligator tears and a couple of kicks for good measure)

After about ten minutes of this, he finally gives in, drinks the milk and turns the tv back on. Yes, he knows how to operate the remote!

Roughly an hour later, I wake up out of my half-sleep, that dazed state of consciousness that every mother knows so well, to find him sitting up between us, watching Adult Swim. ARG! Looks like I'll be blocking the cartoon network now. I mean, I don't think he's old enough to "get" a lot of those cartoons. Heck, I don't get most of them, but I'm really so careful about what I let him watch and that crap is definitely not on the list!

Bless his heart. He couldn't understand why mom wouldn't let him watch cartoons. So I popped in a Blues Clues video, not really caring about how much tv my child has been exposed to in the past 24 hours. I was way more concerned about getting myself a couple of hours of shut-eye.

J gave in around 6:30 or 7, finally crashed for the, ummm, morning. Just about the same time I was giving up and rolling out of bed. I'm giving him until 9. If he's not awake by then, I'll be dragging his sleepy butt out of bed. And since he's going to visit Abuela today, she can deal with his whining and grumpiness.