Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Book Quiz

You're Watership Down!

by Richard Adams

Though many think of you as a bit young, even childish, you're
actually incredibly deep and complex. You show people the need to rethink their
assumptions, and confront them on everything from how they think to where they
build their houses. You might be one of the greatest people of all time. You'd
be recognized as such if you weren't always talking about talking rabbits.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Just killing time waiting for the a/c man to get here. This is one of my most favorite books of all times.


Spoke too soon

Did I really think that I could get out of town without some sort of major catastrophe?

Woke up this morning to a house with no water. Odd, since we had water at midnight when I was washing dishes and finishing up that last load of laundry. This isn't a new phenomenon in our house. It's happened a couple of times before. Just simply some bad contact points in our pump. And for the record-- this is our second pump-- both have done this same thing. I guess it has something to do with the corrosive salt air. Makes for rich f***ing plumbers, that's for sure. More than $100 later, we have water restored.

But as I'm sitting here reveling in the fact that we have water and I can wash the breakfast dishes and take a shower and brush my teeth, I notice that's it's uncomfortable warm in here.

Check the thermostat-- it's 81. No big deal, thinks I, the plumber was in and out and in and out, and it'll just take a little time for the a/c to compensate for all the door opening. But an hour later, I was still sweating. So I check the thermostat again- 83. WTF?

We'd played with the breakers trying to get the pump running this morning, so I double check all of them, and I check the settings on the thermostat, and there's nothing wrong with either.

So, I call Screw You Over AC Company, who installed this thing, and of course they delight in informing me that I'm 1 month outside of my warranty. Of course I am. So, I'm now sitting here, grumpily waiting for the a/c guy to show up to bill me $80 so that he can probably just flip a switch that I've overlooked.

Current indoor temp? 91.

There goes my vacation budget, and of course, my yarn budget for the fiber-in the week I get back.

That's my luck.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Hodge Podge

We're getting ready to head out of town for a visit with the family, and so far everything is going amazingly smooth. No brush fires shutting down interstates, no husbands with legs rotting off. I almost don't know how to act. Let's hope that the rest of the trip goes so well.

I finally got my ravelry invite the other day. To be honest, I haven't even really had time to play with it much, but the little I have has me loving it already. I've uploaded a few things and done a whole lot of browsing, and I can see how it could be come majorly addictive... if only I had the time.

I spent part of today going through my stash cabinet and organizing things a bit. I guess that's a byproduct of ravelry, too. How can I inventory my stash when I can't even remember what's lurking in there? Of course, there's not a whole lot worth mentioning to be found in the cabinet anyway, but it's always helpful to know what you've got and where. On top of organizing the yarn, I also pulled out and frogged about 10 separate projects that were in various stages of unfinishedness. It was oddly liberating, and not heartbreaking at all. I got to reclaim some yarn from projects I know I'll never finish, and I also got to eliminate the guilt associated with casting on something new when there's so much already on the needles.

As a treat for my hard work I allowed myself to cast on something new. Besides, I know good and well that I won't get a chance to work on the mystery stole at all during my trip. It's just one of those projects that requires complete concentration for me not to screw it up, and I know I won't have that at any time. So, I needed something else in the works, and something fairly easy. The newest project is Shimmer from the Knitty archives. Confession time: Since I have nothing in the way of a yarn budget right now I'm knitting it out of some stash yarn. In fact, it's the first yarn I ever bought. Any guesses? It's Caron Simply Soft. Yeah, acrylic crap... blech. But I'm not looking to impress the pants off of anyone with this if I ever finish it. It'll be my at the computer shrug. You see, my desk is situated in the only spot in the house where the a/c actually cools. As a matter of fact, even when the thermostat reads 78 just a few feet away, it's arctic right here, so I need a little something to cover my goosebumpy arms. So, scoff if you want, but my arms will thank me for it, and the dog and the kid aren't really yarn snobs.

Have you ever noticed that blowing bubbles is one of those things that still seems magical no matter how old you get? I took J out in the yard this evening, just before sunset and we blew bubbles and chased them around the yard for about an hour. There's nothing quite as magnificent as his squeals of delight as he "catches" them, or the way he chants "bubbles! bubbles! bubbles! BIIIGGG bubbles!" while racing around after them. Fabulous fun, and so stress relieving.

And I'll leave you with a picture of the munchkin enjoying a dip in the frigid water of his very own, shiny new kiddie pool. (Thanks Aunt Heidi and Uncle Tom!)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Learning to be a hooker

There's this really cute pattern that I've been dying to knit for a month or so. It's just a tank top, but it's super cute with cabling and a picot edge around the waist. The reason I haven't started yet is the same reason that I shy away from a lot of projects that I really would love to knit-- It has a *cringe* crochet edging around the neck and arms.

I know I could just go and NOT do the edging called for, but I really like how the pattern looks as is, and besides, I can't let a little hook scare me off forever, can I?

So out came one of the only crochet hooks that I own, which is about 3 sizes smaller than what the ballband on the crappy acrylic yarn calls for. And before any of you acrylic defenders step up, I mean the really crappy, scratchy, 1970's bad stuff. The stuff that you wouldn't donate to an elementary arts and crafts program because you'd be afraid of the kids getting hurt with it.

I practiced and practiced, I worked on getting a somewhat even tension, and when I felt that I had mastered three basic stitches enough to say that I could really crochet if needed, I jumped in feet first to the stitch that the pattern calls for-- the crab stitch. Now maybe it's just that I'm left handed and tend to do everything backwards, but I just can't seem to "get" this stitch. I've watched video tutorials online- some show you twisting the needle around clockwise in a full circle to give the yarn a twist. Others don't. So which way is right?

I'd post pictures of my lame attempts, but the cats unraveled the swatch while I was at the store. Ah well, it's better off under the couch anyway.

The one thing that I can see that is appealing about crochet is that it's FAST! I can understand how it could become addictive to the instant gratification need in us all.

But, I will not come to the dark side, Darth Vader.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday Awesomeness

I was totally bummed by the fact that I had to work today because I'd much rather be at the Stitch N Pitch, hanging out, knitting, having a cold one, and enjoying some Devil Rays baseball with Michele. But as far as Saturday shifts at work go, it wasn't a terrible one. We managed to get out of there in record time, despite the number of emergency cases we had on top of our regularly scheduled appointments.

A second bonus is that J and Dada are spending the day together, and went to Abuela's to help with some yard work. Who doesn't love a quiet afternoon to themselves?

So, I got home from work, and unable to ignore the pangs of guilt from not having done any school work in the past couple of weeks, I chained myself to the computer for the next 2 hours and accomplished a dozen or so reports. Only 19 more until I'm done with this particular unit, which has dragged on for so long I can hardly stand it. Yippie!

After finishing the last report for the day, I realized that both hubby and I forgot to take the trash to the road this morning. Not a good thing, considering both cans were full. Luckily, the truck hadn't come by yet, so I dragged them to the road.

I'm not usually the mail-getter in the house. There's never anything but bills in there, and who wants to ruin a perfectly good day by thumbing through a big stack of bills? But, since I was already at the curb, I figured I'd better do my wifely duty and bring it up with me.

How totally surprised was I to find a squishy package in there! What's more... a squishy package that I wasn't even expecting.

And look what was inside!

Who would send me such a sweet little package out of the blue? Why, Michele, of course! When we met for coffee a few weeks back, I was totally enchanted with the cute little bag that she had made to carry her sock knitting around in. It's no secret that I've got a slight bag obsession anyway. Not in the expensive Coach purse kind of way, but the functionally cute kind of way. I've never been a very good seamstress, but I vowed that I MUST have one of those bags. I even went so far as to browse the fabric while at the store the other day, but didn't find anything that really suited my taste. I'm terrible at decisions, and apparently am lacking the gene for finding good contrasts, too. I shrugged it off, telling myself I'd get around to it "someday", which we all know means "never".

Somehow Michele not only found time to sew me a fabulous little bag, but she managed to pick out a fabric that is so totally me that it knocks my socks off. And look what was tucked away inside, speaking of socks! It's Knit Picks Memories in Rocky Mountain Dusk. It's even more beautiful in person than it appears in the picture, and sooo my style. Absolutely perfect, and such a pick-me-up with my poor knitting mojo lately.

Thank you so much, Michele. Now lets make a date to get together so I can show you the secret of the magic loop. :)

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

On the brighter side

After spending the day jumping through insurance hoops and leaving messages at various offices all over town, I was about ready to give up on finding a speech pathologist. BTW, don't ever count on your health plan to give you any sort of information that is in any way helpful. Save yourself the time. Apparently if your child is under the age of 9, the list of providers that accept the insurance plan is a secret only to be revealed to those of higher authority. In other words, my doctor has to call the health plan, get the super-secret list, then call me back with the super-secret list so that I can then choose one. Then I have to call my doctor with my choice so that she can contact the health plan and let them know who I've chosen. After that, and if the insurance gods agree, I can call and schedule an appointment. Then I can call my pediatrician's office to let them know that I have an appointment so that they can file the appropriate paperwork with my insurance company so that they MIGHT reimburse me a portion of the fees.

Yeah, it leaves me scratching my head, too.

So, I called around today, and behold! I find a speech therapist with a familiar name. Not only is she a client at my office, but she is the sister of one of my bosses. Score! She tells me that she recently separated from my particular health plan, and that in her experience they probably won't cover me, no matter what hoops I jump through. She then tells me her very reasonable fee and offers to get me scheduled for week after next. It's a huge weight off my shoulders, which I don't mind paying for at all.

But, since we are going to TN week after next, I had to postpone our appointment until after we get back. Still, come the week of the 10th, we'll have our first visit and see where we need to go from there.

And look! An FO.

Well, sort of an FO. Can you consider a single sock a finished object? Or must you finish the pair? Either way, it's the first thing to come off my needles Since May, so dammit, it's an FO in my book.

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3 year checkup

J had his 3 year checkup at the doctor yesterday. As we all know, he's a big kid. Currently, he's in the 97th percentile for both height and weight. But it doesn't take a doctor to tell me that he's big-- I just handed down some of his outgrown clothes to a child that's a year older than him. It felt good to do so, though. This kid's mom gave us some serious hand me downs when J was a baby. It's nice to be able to give back. :)

The rest of his exam went pretty well. He's big, healthy, has textbook perfect ears, etc. But, as always, we had to rehash the drooling thing. Up until now the doctor has always just written it off to "he's probably teething", and "it's probably due to his allergies." Well, after spending a bit of time in the room with him, I guess she realized just how drooly he is. That, along with some other muscle tone and motor skill tests (like hopping/jumping) that he didn't do so good at concerned her enough to give us a referral to a speech pathologist with the diagnosis of "hypotonia". Hypotonia... basically, all it means is low muscle tone. Who knew that a kid who can talk your ear off could have lax muscles in his mouth/jaw?

I did some research about hypotonia last night, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Go ahead and look for yourself. Of course, I'm not scared enough to think that J has some horribly devastating form of muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy, but until I hear it out of the doctor's mouth that this is the absolute extent of his problem, I don't think I'll rest well. Kids are cruel, and while drooling is not really a huge medical problem, imagine the picking-on that will go on if he hasn't learned to control it by the time he starts school.

And so now to make our appointments and wait for someone to tell us that it's really no big deal. In the meantime, all I want to do is disappear into a ball of yarn for a little while... focus on something else.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Birthday hangover

Well, the birthday party went off with barely a hitch.

Ok, so there were plenty of hitches. But, the party went off, none the less, and it's over, and the munchkin is officially another year older.

Amazing to think that he's three. It boggles my mind, the fact that I even have a kid, much less, a THREE year old. Wow! And every day with him is a blessing and a miracle, and I love him more with each passing moment. Before J-man I never could have fathomed how much it is possible to love another being. I mean, sure, there's family, and you love them wholly, and then there's the spouse, and you love them wholly, but then there's a child, and it's a totally different kind of love. Because no matter how much you SAY that you love your family and your husband/wife/significant other unconditionally, it's really all a bunch of bullshit, isn't it? They are a part of you, sure. But they didn't come from you... didn't come through you... aren't so much you, and so much themselves that it amazes you and leaves you breathless all in the same moment. And that is what a child is... amazing love, moments of speechless adoration, the height of emotion day after day.
I never knew that joy could be this enormous.

And with that I'll leave you with a few pictures from the party.

And yes, for those of you with keen eyes, they DID misspell his name on the cake.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

When it rains

Man! We're just a day and a half away from party time. I've got the swingset put together, the gazebo put together. I've got the food, the decorations, the guest list. I've got pirate decorations out the wazoo, and I've even got a cake chilling in the fridge, ready for me to work my pirate ship magic on it.

And so, today while I was at my meeting at work learning the difference between regurgitation and vomiting, and yes, there is apparently a difference, Jonas tripped and fell while playing baseball at Abuela's and now he can't walk on his left foot at all.

Now before you go telling me I'm a negligent mother because I'm not sitting in the emergency room right now, let me tell you that there is no swelling, no bruising, no misshapenness. And he CAN wiggle his toes and flex his ankle. I'm thinking soft tissue, and the appropriate dose of Motrin has been administered. If it's still painful in the morning we'll go visit the doctor. But Geez! Talk about timing!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I am NOT getting sick

Despite the achiness in my back and shoulders, or the broken glass feeling in my throat, or the watery eyes, or the head that weighs about 30 pounds, I am most certainly, absolutely, without a doubt NOT getting sick.

Why? Because I've got a list a million miles long of things to do before the party, and no time for self-pity.

Speaking of parties... I went to the fabric store yesterday and got a couple of yards of fabric on sale, came home with the intent of making little pirate-y shirts/vests for all of us for the party. Well, it ends up we're all bigger than I originally estimated, and I don't have enough fabric. But, I did get J's made... mostly. If you can call cutting out a tunic and cutting a hole for his head "making" something. I was going to seam it up the sides and use pinking shears to make the arms and neck all jagged, but he's such a big kid that I barely left enough room for seams. If I seam it I'm afraid he'll be uncomfortable, so we're just going to leave it open on the sides, tie a scarf or something around his waist to hold it on, and decorate it with a skull and crossbones stencil I found.

The rest of the fabric, which is too small to make anything for myself and hubby is perfect as a "tablecloth" for the deep freezer, which will be serving double duty as a serving area for food.

If I find the time, I'll run back to the fabric store today and pick up more of the fabric to make ours. I'm hoping 2 yards will be sufficient. If not, we're all going on diets!!!

But in the meantime, I am NOT getting sick.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Cute kid filler

My cute little pirate.

Jonas has this stick that goes with one of his toys. It has a little elastic rope inside of it, like a tent pole. The other night he sat down with it, pulled it in half and started playing with it. "Mama," he says, "I'm knitting. Will you teach me to knit?" Words that'll make a mama proud. :)

And for those who still don't believe me when I say "He looks more like his daddy." Seriously, how can you not see that?! Also showing off his new big boy haircut--the kind not done by himself!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

I choose you, Pikachu!

Amanda, my incredible SIL, nominated me as a Rockin'Girl Blogger. Honestly, I realize that the blog has been lacking content recently, so I don't know if I really deserve the honor or not. But it's always nice to be told that you rock! So, now I'm left with having to nominate my own 5 Rockin' Girls, and the competition is fierce.

I don't know if the original creator of this little award intended for it to stay within the knitting community, but I know a few folks that I'm going to pass this on to that have probably never held yarn in their hands, but maybe we can change them. Yes, come to the dark side, my friends. :)

So, here goes:

1. Erin- Not only is she just an all around beautiful person, but she has strength like no one I know. I love her for her honesty, her bravery, and her selflessness. She's a writer, a fabulous mom, and she is also involved in some major fund raising in honor of her children who died from complications related to their heart defects. You can also find her here.

2. Gretchen- Although I'm sure she's been tagged already. How could you not tag her?! She's another one of those all around good eggs. But she's not just all talk. Look at her sidebar! Despite illness in her own family, she's worked her fanny off organizing and running a huge yarn raffle for two years in a row. Not because someone asked her to, but because she read some stranger's story about a cute little boy named Nova (yes, Erin's Nova), and she fell in love. Besides, I owe her one for bailing on MD Sheep and Wool this spring. Sorry, Gretchen!

3. Eve- I've known Eve since we were angst-ridden teens spurting out dark poetry together at Moontown Cafe, which, btw, is also where I first met Erin. We've sort of grown up together, watched each other change and grow, and fall in love, and out out of love, and back in love. We've watched each other's kids grow up, and now we're incredibly blessed to live near each other-- at least for a little longer.

4. Michele- Who knew that there were other knitters in Florida? And who knew that they could be as cool as Michele?! I had the pleasure of meeting Michele in person a few week ago, and ever since, all I can do is think about all the yarny trouble we could get into together. I think we're both scheming road trips to various things. Namely, Stitch and Pitch in Tampa, and The Orlando Needleworks Show in November. You with me sista?! BTW, she's got a cute kitty, and a really nice hubby, too.

5. Tiffany- She's not a knitter, but claims that she once crocheted. I choose her because she's honest, real, and right out there with everything that she chooses to share with us. Plus, she's got an incredibly adorable little girl to gawk over.

Ok, there's my five. Now off to refresh my coffee cup before J wakes up. Today we're off for a haircut. (A professional one this time, unlike last time's unfortunate result!) Then we'll be stopping at places all over town to pick up this and that for the big party next weekend. Mostly it's down to the food stuff, and you can't really buy that too early, now can you? Nothing like 2 week old potato salad to get you in the party mood! We're also getting a replacement gazebo today. There's one that we love that was over $200 and hubby found it marked down for the end of the season (not that seasons really end, or even change much down here) to just over $100. Sold!


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

If I never see an alan key again...

it'll be too soon.

Hubby and I assembled J's new swing set Monday, after mowing the yard, in the blistering heat and humidity. It was miserable! The entire thing is assembled with the use of two alan keys, one on either side of each bolt, and the directions were piss-poor. For example, it would tell you to put these certain pieces together like the picture shows, but none of the parts in the box were labeled in any sort of way. And once you think you've got it together right, the next page will tell you something like "If the larger holes on the pole are facing out, you'll need to disassemble the part and turn it around."

Ummm... couldn't you have just told me on the previous page to make sure the holes were in a particular alignment?

It was a day full of much cursing, but we got it usable together. There is still one part that has not been finished, but the swings are on, the see-saw is on, the slide is on, the glider is on. The other piece will have to wait for another day when we all have a bit more patience.

Other than that, we're just getting ready for J's birthday party. He's decided on a pirate theme, and wants everyone to dress up. Since there's only two, maybe three, kids that will be coming, I can't wait to see how many of the adults comply.

Today I made a practice cake, and I've realized that I better have a standby available. I thought it would be simple to make a boat shaped cake- simply take two round cakes, cut them in half and then take the semi-circular pieces and layer them together. Trim a tiny piece off the rounded part so that it'll stand, then decorate appropriately. Well, even with a couple of drinking straws pushed through the layers for support and copious amounts of frosting between the layers, they tried to separate on me. I'm thinking that refrigerating the cakes before assembling them might do some good. By the actual birthday we'll be so sick of cake! The good news is, I found a great recipe for a basic white or yellow cake that turned out moist and delicious. I hate box cake mix.

Knitting? What's that? I started to cast on for a pair of socks in my standby rib pattern just for something mindless, but the smallest circular I have available that's long enough for magic loop is a size 2, and it was giving me a very loose fabric. I ripped it and gave up. I'm so spoiled to magic loop that I avoid the dpns like the plague now. It's probably the reason my other pair of socks are languishing on the needles, too. Heck, I don't even have second-sock-syndrome. I can't get through the first one! I cast these on back in February! Ok, so fess up. What's the project that you've had on the needles so long it's shameful?

I put myself on the Ravelry waiting list a while back. Why not? All the other cool kids are doing it! According to the stats, I should get my invite in about another 2 weeks. I'm not even sure if I'm knitter enough to really USE ravelry, but I think it's something like knitter porn, and who wants to miss out on that?

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