Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here it goes

It's been an interesting year, hasn't it? Lots and lots of changes have taken place for me, and I won't even pretend that I am one of those people that readily embrace the new, but most of it has been good so I really don't have much to regret or feel sorry about.

I've had the luxury of taking about 6 months off from work in order to watch my son grow. And grow he has! From a timid toddler barely even speaking to a boisterous and outgoing little chatterbox. I've been very blessed, and I will always cherish the time I've been able to spend with him.

I've had my butt whooped with the Medical Transcription courses that I just knew I was going to breeze through in a couple of short months. I'm still limping along and determined to get through it. One day I'll be gainfully employed in the field and laugh at myself for the difficulty I've had with the coursework. I'm just not good at making myself stick with stuff when there's no required class attendance, etc. I've made a commitment to myself that I will finish before the end of April, preferably by March. Maybe setting a goal for myself will make me buckle down. *crossing fingers*

This year has also brought along a lot of amazing friendships, both in "real" life, and here on the internet. One of the highlights of the year was our trip to Pennsylvania to meet Doug and Laura and spend some time relaxing at Barnhenge. Whether playing dress-up in Laura's amazing wardrobe of festival garb,chasing fairies in the woods, breaking in the new kitchen, or sharing good conversation around a fire in a drizzling rain, I will always cherish that trip and the two wonderful folks that were gracious enough to allow J and myself to invade their world.

Of course, every year brings loss and new beginnings, and this one has been no exception. All in a matter of months we said farewell to Daddy Dean

and hello to the beautiful baby Emily. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And then, of course, there has been the knitting. Ahh, the knitting. Before this year began I was the most novice of knitters. The only project that I had successfully completed was a little stripey hat for J. It was knit flat, poorly seamed up the back, and honestly, too small for his big head. But from the moment I finished it I knew that I was hooked.

When Amanda posted the pattern for the candleflame shawl, I knew that I HAD to try it, too. Of course I couldn't just jump into knitting by doing something easy. I figured that if I was going to learn, I was going to learn, by god! And so, with the help of a book and several online sites, I taught myself to knit more than just the two basic stitches. And although it took me more than four months, and a bucket of tears, I finished that sawl, and only a few weeks too late to be the birthday present it was intended to be.

From the shawl, I went straight on to socks with the Moc Croc knitalong. Wow! Talk about jumping in with both feet, eh?

And once I had those completed, I was in love with the socks! In total, I made four pairs this year-- the Crocs, a pair of footies with short-row heels and toes, my Mystery Socks, and J's little blue socks. Out of all of them, I love J's the best. Not only are baby feet adorable in hand-knit socks, but I even managed to get the stripes to match almost perfectly!

With my confidence soaring, I decided to jump into something which I had feared more than anything else: You see, I'm an impatient person when it comes to the details- I'm a terrible seamer, often making a mess of a perfectly good object by getting a seam crooked and not wanting to go back and do it over, but I found a cute, and rather simple pattern for a kid's jacket in a book, and I decided to go for it. And behold! I actually completed an entire sweater! And I got the seams straight, the sleeves in evenly, and figured out buttonholes!

Feeling invinceable, I also tried my hand at a project of my own design, which brought about the creation of what was sweetly coined "the apple pie bag" by Amanda. It wasn't the greatest success in the world, but it wasn't terrible, either. Of course, I still haven't gotten around to lining it, which may help solve some of the problems I experienced. Maybe in 2007.

Let's see, what else?

Hats: Yes, I've done a few. I have a knack for either making them too big or too small, and I can't quite figure it out. I made a total of 4 hats this year, and only one of them do I truly love. Here's a link to the pattern. Mine is green and lovely.

What else have a completed?

A mesh bag
A bath set for my sister's birthday
J's clogs
Several dishcloths and a distowel
A small felted Ipod purse
A felted CD case
Two out of three Christmas stockings that I started
Katja and a pair of booties for Emily
Oh yes, and the convertible mittens for Granny.

Not bad for a year's work, eh?

I've also begun to delve into lacework, and have two scarves on the needles currently.

So, it's been a busy year, and while I've learned a lot about knitting, I've also learned that there's a lot more to learn about it. For instance, my colorwork sucks which is the reason that you will not be seeing a picture of the finished CD case. I intend to focus on that this year, as well as socks, and the lace. And who knows what else.

There it is, my year in review. It's not nearly as in depth as I wanted it to be, but it'll do. And I'll leave you with some pictures, just because. :)

Happy New Year, everybody!

I'm trying

For the past week, ever since reading Katrina's post about all the amazing things that she's knit this year, and the progress she's made, I have been trying to do something similar.

I wanted to add lots of pictures and links to show you how I've progressed from one piece of flat stockinette to socks and lace and other neat stuff, but my heart and my time just haven't allowed it.

So, even though I really wanted to get the review up before the new year, brag about the good stuff, laugh at the horrible, terrible aweful stuff, and set some goals for the next year, it just ain't gonna happen. I'm just not in the mood. You're all heartbroken, aren't you?

In other areas of life: Work's been difficult this week. So has the husband. I'm about two months behind in schoolwork and can't get motivated to catch up. I've still got a little stray kitten hanging around that I can't afford to really care for, and don't have the heart to take to the shelter where she'll most likely get euthanized. My rescue contact hasn't returned my calls, and no one wants a kitten (of course).

But don't listen to me- I go through these phases, and this one is no different. It will pass in a week or so. I'll get caught up, and I'll be chipper and worthy of reading again. :)

And in the meantime, y'all have a happy new year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Lord knows that I didn't ask for this...

The day after Christmas I stepped out my front door to take some of the empty boxes and trash out. At the end of my driveway there were several of the neighborhood stray cats hanging around. You see, for years the elderly lady around the corner has fed and cared for them and offered them shelter in her garage, only now she is gone, and all these poor cats are displaced and desperate for a handout.

In all the years, I've never once given in because, frankly, I can't afford to feed a colony of wild cats and I don't want them hanging around with all their unvaccinated kitty diseases.

As I dragged the boxes around the corner and set them alongside the trash cans, they all scattered. All but one. This little kitten, probably no more than 12 weeks old came running up the driveway, sat down on my foot and mewed the most pathetic little noise I've ever heard. It was as if she were saying "You're all I've got lady. Please save me." Then she proceded to literally climb up my leg, purring, and rub her head against my elbow.

Oh, Jeez! I tried to shoo her away, but she kept coming back, and being the softie that I am, I brought her out a small dish of food.

Ever since, she's stayed underneath my car, and waits for me to come out and visit her.

She's the most affectionate and sweet little kitten I've ever seen, and I can't help but love her.

Now, let's be realistic. I don't need or want another cat. And taking her in would be committing myself to some hefty expenses. I mean, if she were to be integrated into our home, she'd need her vaccines, an FELV/FIV combo test, spaying, and by the looks of her eyes and the grumble in her throat, she probably has an upper respiratory infection- meaning a round or two of antibiotics.

I just can't go there. Even with the fact that I work for the vet and get most of my services at cost, or for free, the price is just too high for a pet we don't want or need right now.

But, all the same, I can't just sit and watch her suffer.

Could you resist this?

Just pictures

We let him open one early, on Christmas Eve. Thanks Uncle Tom and Aunt Heidi!

"C'mon Mama! All Aboard!"

The after-dinner nap with Granny and Mrs. Deb.

Flying J-man!

The best seat in the house.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

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Nearly 2 am here. Someone had to wait up to let Santa in. You'd be hard pressed to find a chimney here in Florida, you know. We shared a plate of cookies and a cup of coffee because milk is for wimps.

Now off to bed for me. It'll be an early morning, for sure.

Merry Christmas to you all. I love you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Some Friday FOs

Yeah, ok, so you non-knitterly readers have no idea what that is. But that's ok, I'll show you. :)

I have a lot of things I'd like to post, but they are for folks that I know read here, and so they will have to wait until after Monday to grace these pages. I'm sure you're all terribly upset about that.

But no worries, I can show you these for now.

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For the past two years my mother-in-law has complained that she can't find kitchen towels with the little hangy-thing. You know, the kind that you can attach to the handle of the fridge, or the stove, or whatever. I've never personally found them to be superiorly useful, and I guess the rest of America agrees with me, since there are none to be had in the commercial sense. So, I whipped one up for her, and I rather like the way it turned out. It's a pattern found on the net, and if I weren't so damn lazy, I'd find it for you, but it's a simple design, perfect for working on during all sorts of other activities- cooking, chasing a rabid two-year-old, whatever.

The washcloth next to it was going to be for her as well, but it wasn't until I took this picture that I see that it's screaming to go to my parents. I mean, it has their initial on it and everything. If that had been intentional, or even noticed, I would have done more to make sure it was centered. I'm not in love with the colors on either of these, but hey, it's not like they're going to be worn out in public. And the hangy-towel isn't terrible. I'd actually use that yarn for something else, I think.

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Look! I finally finished J's little blue socks! I think these have spent more time on the needles than any other project I've ever done. It's not that they're so difficult. I mean, 3x2 ribbing and a short row heel and toe. Pretty simple, but I just couldn't make myself finish them. Hopefully I've finished them in enough time for him to get a wear or two out of them before they're outgrown. :)

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Meet Captain Oatmeal! Guardian of breakfast!

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Even superheroes get sleepy.

That's it for now. I'm off to work. Y'all have a great day, a wonderful weekend, and a Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

This is for you, Jessie Lou

For as long as Wil and I have owned and decorated a christmas tree together it has been topped by a very special ornament. A friend of ours made the most beautiful angel for us. She's nearly a foot tall, draped in satin and lace, sequins hand-sewn to her flowing blue gown. She has a soft fur-trimmed collar with a pearl pendant closure. Her prcelain face was the absolute epitome of serenity, eyes downcast, lips perfect, reddish-gold hair in perfect waves. Her wings are gold-trimmed and gossamer.

Now I'm not all that sentimental over my Christmas ornaments. I don't take the time to re-package them each year, but rather, toss them into a box all jumbled up, say a prayer that a few survive until next year, and toss them in the shed. But not my angel. No, she has her own box, delicately lined in tissue paper, wrapped in bubble wrap. And she most certainly doesn't reside in the shed 11 months out of the year. No, she stays in the closet, on the top shelf out of the reach of little hands. I've been so gentle and careful with her. I've cherished her.

Jessie was probably the first friend that Wil and I mutually loved. Sure, we both have friends, and most of them we both like, but Jessie was like family. She fit this perfect place in our lives together. She could talk cars with Wil until the cows came home, all while designing a baby quilt for another friend's baby shower with me.

But I am a terrible friend. It's something that I can admit with only a bit of shame. You see, it's just my nature to enjoy my time and space alone. Sometimes I'm just not up to going out, or talking for hours. I just want to be--to the point of selfishness.

And so, what started out as a friendship between all three of us morphed into something more like a full-time relationship between Wil and her, and me sort of fading out. Not because they didn't want me along for the ride, but because I just couldn't make myself be that energetic, outgoing, whatever.

Towards the end is probably when I was the worst friend possible. I was pregnant with J and having a miserable time with it. At the same time, she was going through a rather rough divorce that was, to be honest, a few years overdue. When she needed me the most to be there, to be compassionate, to be supportive, I wasn't. I was too wrapped up in myself to be anything more than impatient.

Not long after her separation, she moved home to Massachussets, and I never even got to really say goodbye, or any of the millions of other things that I wanted to tell her- like how much I loved her.

So every year I unwrap my prefect angel and I set her atop our tree, and I think about her, as I also do throughout the entire year, and I say my own little prayer for her- hope that she's finding happiness and all good things.

Today, while cleaning the litter box, I turned around quickly to keep J from sticking his hands in the filth, and bumped the tree. Down she toppled. I tried to catch her. Of course I did! But as anyone who's ever broken something they value knows, it happened too quickly to do anything about it. And so, the angel is no more.

Knowing that there was no way to repair her shattered face, I actually considered looking for a suitable replacement at the craft store, but that just seemed like sacrilege.

She certainly was beautiful... And I don't just mean the angel.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Something about going back to work has triggered my productive gene, which until now has been dormant. Maybe it's simply because I'm forced to organize my time better, or because I'm forced to wake up so much earlier. Whatever it is, it feels good to be getting so much accomplished.

Christmas shopping! Yes! I finished it over the weekend. Ok, so I have a couple of gift cards to pick up, and maybe a little thing or two for J's stocking, but the bulk of it is finished. Most is wrapped. I'm feeling very ahead of my game. Maybe even proud.


Christmas cards. Yep, done and mailed. If you didn't get one, sorry. It's probably because I've lost/never had your address and not because I don't love you. Those that did get them will notice my lack of originality. They look just like last year's, only J is a year older.


Shipping. Ok, so I cheated a little here and made a lot of my purchases online and let someone else deal with the shipping hassles for me. But I did pay my dues and stand in line at the post office today to get out the one box of stuff that I didn't order online.

This is the first year of my adult life that I've actually completed all of my holiday stuff with time to spare. Yes, I admit it... I'm a last minute procrastinator. So shoot me.

And I find it rather amazing how much stuff you can get done just by leaving work a couple of hours early one day a week. Today, because I wasn't feeling too hot (I've got a yucky cold), I left a little early thinking I'd get a little nap in before picking up J. Those of you who know me better than I obviously know myself know that I NEVER take naps, or sit still for that matter. And so instead of a two hour nap, I stopped by the store, picked up a few necessities, then came home to get my debit card so I could get to the post office. When I pulled into the driveway I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the fact that our yard was looking rather scraggy (sure it's a word- look it up) and so I broke out the lawnmower and scratched that off the to-do list. You read that right- lawnmowing a week before Christmas. There's something inherently wrong with that, I know. But it's done, and hopefully for the last time until March. *crossing fingers*

And now for all the things I HAVEN'T finished.

Knitting- I've finished up a couple of small things that are to be gifts, but I fell terribly short of my goal for handknit gifts for Christmas. WAY short. But that's ok, I guess. I mean, I just have something to look forward to in the new year. Not to mention a killer fully stocked stash cabinet full of yummy yarns and no deadlines.

There are a few things that I finished which I'm not particularly proud of. I can't give specifics here since the recipient reads my blog, but let's just say that I suck at colorwork and duplicate stitching sucks when trying to do a lighter color over dark. I keep wishing that I had used a double strand on the duplicate to sort of fill it in more. Too late now, though.

Housework- My productivity around the house has really suffered due to the fact that I've been productive everywhere else. I dare you to find an inch of usable counterspace in the kitchen. It's not filthy or anything, it's just that the kitchen seems to be our dumping ground when we walk in the front door. Mail, reciepts, whatever. It all ends up on the kitchen counter, which is small to start with. Needless to say, I haven't cooked a single meal in a week. Ok, so there was a pot of soup a few days ago, but besides that, nothing. And I don't feel too bad about it, either.

Cat litter- this is one of those things that I can no longer procrastinate on, or else I risk mutiny. So, I will do it first thing in the morning. (I promise, kitties)

Sleep- Don't know if it's the cold medicine I popped yesterday, or just some normal whacky body rhythm, or what, but I can't seem to get more than a couple of hours of sleep, and even then it's dream-laden and unrestful. So, with that said, and J already conked out, I think I'll go put on some comfy jammies and cuddle up in bed with my boys.

Friday, December 15, 2006

You will not

drag me, kicking and screaming, into the future of the technological world. I just won't do it.

Ok, so I'm just one of those people who likes things left just the way they are. Even if there's something better out there that'll make my life easier in the long run, I'm not interested. I know how this thing works, and I can work it well. Don't ask me to do it differently. Don't ask me to change mid-way through. I like consistency, bland, familiar. I could probably eat mashed potatoes three meals a day for the rest of my life and be content because I'd know what to expect and I would have to make any decisions.

So now, for two days in a row blogger won't let me publish comments on anyone's blog that I visit. I know it probably has to do with the new beta version and the fact that everyone seems to be switching over. Me, I just don't see the point in it. Why throw out a perfectly good and comfortable pair of shoes just because there's a new model on the shelf?

So, yes, I haven't upgraded, don't want to. Maybe that's just be being dumb and short-sighted. So what? But now blogger won't let me comment at all. Some tech monkey is sitting there sipping his Starbucks overpriced and bitter latte and laughing at me, I'm sure, but I'm just paranoid enough to believe that it's not allowing me just so that I'll give in and upgrade.

A similar thing happened when Gretchen first updated her blog, but I could still post anonymously. Now, even as anonymous, it won't let me. Ugh.

Please don't force me to step out of my comfort zone. Anyone else out there having a similar problem?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cookie Monsters

It starts with picking just the right cookie cutters.

And a holiday themed snack while they bake.

And then Mom realizes that circles are easier to decorate. So we bake some more.

Carefully sprinkle...

Or just go wild!

And a good chef always tates his creations.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Bah Humbug!

If only we could all express our emotions as well as Bumper!

Well, we got the tree up finally. It really is a Charlie Brown sort of thing, all lopsided and gaudy. But hey, Jonas thinks it's cool and that's really all that matters. I'm trying my hardest to get into the Christmas spirit. I'm even in the process of knitting some replacement stockings for our cheap store-bought ones. But I'm just not there yet mentally. Of course, this is typical behavior for me, and I'll catch the bug just in time to do some last minute shopping and feel crappy about not starting before. The good news is that for once in my life I actually know what I'm getting most of the people on my list. There are a few that I'm still on the fence about, but I've got decent ideas for them. And as for the hand-knit goodies. Bah! What's done will be given, the rest will be New Year's gifts... or at least will be given some time during the new year.

Now to try and get J into something cute and posed smilingly in front of the tree. Gotta get those Christmas cards made and sent this week.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


It feels like I haven't even sat down since Thanksgiving! Here's the briefest of rundowns before J wakes up.

Our trip to Memphis was great. We got to visit with my Mom, little Sister, and both grandmothers. I was worried about Jonas because he's in that stranger anxiety phase and is generally shy around people. Mix a new baby into the equation and it just reeks of disaster, doesn't it?

But J-man was surprisingly angelic. He loved his "Baby Emmy" and couldn't stand to be more than a few inches away from her at any time. Even now, almost a week after coming home, he wakes up and asks for her each morning.

He also adored his Nana (my mom) and Toot-toot (my grandmother) and now insists on looking at their pictures several times throughout the day. I think I'll make a collage of some sort to hang on the wall for him.

We wen't to my Dad's mom's house one night for a visit. She's my Mema, and as I was telling Jonas where we were going I was trying to get him excited about it because he was upset that Baby Emmy wasn't coming along. I told him that Mema had a farm and it had a tractor. He thought about this a moment and then sang for me "Mema... had farm... yo-eee-yo-eee-yo." Guess you had to be there, but it cracked me up.

So the visit was great. I really enjoyed getting to spend some one on one time with my little sister. We never get to do that! And her baby is just precious. I'm hoping that they'll be able to come down here and visit with me again in the spring. Just in time for Emily to start crawling and stuff! Yay! I'll start baby-proofing the house again now.

Jonas also enjoyed, and was remarkably good on, the plane ride. He loved the fact that the flight attendant brought him pretzels. They're one of his four major food groups right now. They also had XM radio, which he delighted in listening to and pushing the buttons on. BTW, any of you parents of fairly young children who are looking for a suggestion on a good travel toy that's cheap and not messy... I highy reccommend the Aqua Doodle products. I picked up a pack of 3 mini coloring sheets with Sponge Bob on them, and a marker for about $5 and they were a hit with Jonas, and everyone else, too. Sure, there's not a whole lot of creativity going on when you're just scribbling across the page with water, but it sure is easy to clean up, and I didn't have to worry about crayons rolling around on an airplane floor.

I'll be adding to larger mat to his wishlist for Santa.

Since we've been home, it's been non-stop. I've worked long shifts every single day, and on top of that, we ended up getting four free tickets to the theater on Monday night. Guess what we saw?!

Come on, did you really think I'd go out for a sophisticated adult evening?! Right.

My sister, nephew, Jonas, and I had a wonderful time. I think one of the reasons that Sesame Street continues to thrive the way it does is because you've now got three generations of folks out there that know and love the characters. Wendy and I sang along and danced with them just as much, possibly even more, than the kids did. My favorite part was when Cookie Monster sang "Fuzzy and Blue" cabaret style, all draped over the chair. Heh! You know, sometimes children's show writers amaze me. :)

I wanted to tell you all about all of the knitting stuff that I've finished. Sadly, there is none. With work and travel taking up most of my time I'm realizing that a lot of people who were supposed to be getting handknit goodies for Christmas are getting IOU's instead. There's no way, even if I knit my hands off for the next two weeks, that I will get it all finished. Until last night I had not even picked up a needle since before Thanksgiving. I know, I think I'll need therapy.

That said, and because I'm insane. Instead of picking up one of the two lace scarves I have on the needles, or J's little blue socks that I could finish in about 20 minutes if I'd just give them some attention, what did I do? I cast on for a christmas stocking for J! I must be insane! I went to Joann on my lunch hour yesterday for something I truly needed, and they had some yarns on sale for ridiculous cheap prices, so I couldn't resist when I saw it. My yarn cabinet overfloweth and I love it. But I don't love the fact that I didn't get the x-mas knitting done. I'm going to sneak the stockng into work today (it's my day off, but I have to go in for a 2 hour meeting) and work on it while they drone on about vaccine protocols. Yippie.

I work all day tomorrow, and then this weekend is officially "get the damn tree out of the shed" weekend. If I don't get it done this weekend, I'm just not going to do it at all.

Anyway, J's restless, the dog needs to potty, and my coffee cup is dry. Time for me to get moving and be a bit more constructive.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Home again

Will give the complete rundown just as soon as time and jetlag permit. For now, I'll leave you with a picture of two of the cutest kids in the world.