Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

Knitting, stitching, reading, gardening, cooking--I have no time for any of it.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Look Ma, no hair!

Ah, spring. The birds are chirping, the bees are buzzing, and boys are bald.

As I was walking through the kitchen, announcing that this was "clean out the garage" morning, Andy proudly informed me the he had put brown in his construction paper "soup." "That's great, honey." Two seconds later, my brain caught up. Brown? He doesn't have brown construction paper. He has red, yellow, and blue. Not brown. Where did the brown come from?

Oh. His head. Of course.

And not just a couple of snips, either. There were two huge bald spots right on the top of his head. Fabulous.

And so we had a session with the 1/8 inch clippers, and now my eldest son is largely bald. I would say he looks like a cancer victim, but that's not true. He looks like he's the kid who caused the lice scare in his school this week. Again, fabulous. I think I'll send him to school on Monday wearing a shirt that says, "It wasn't me."

Friday, April 22, 2005

25 Reasons...

Why my hubby deserves to have a great birthday!

1. He makes crepes. Reeeeaaaallllly good ones. With strawberries.
2. He also makes a great spaghetti sauce.
3. Great legs. Gotta love biker legs.
4. Every so often (almost often enough) he tells me to go out and spend frivolously on myself.
5. He never, ever spends frivolously on himself.
6. He does laundry without being asked.
7. He will let me stitch while he does laundry.
8. He built me this.
9. The kids can sum it up in three words: Human Jungle Gym.
10. He is nearly always right.
11. He doesn't laugh at me nearly as often as he could.
12. He gives great cuddle.
13. He brings me my coffee every morning.
14. In addition to the human jungle gym thing, he is a really, really fabulous dad.
15. He is a stay at home dad to these two troublemakers.
16. He sometimes puts little surprises (of a dessert nature) in my lunch when I'm not looking.
17. He shares his chocolate (which is how he hooked me in the first place. "This is really good. Want to try some?").
18. He mows the lawn.
19. He lets me take naps.
20. If my car is low on gas, he will take it to the gas station in the evening so I don't have to do it on the way to work in the morning.
21. He is a great listener. People instinctively know that they can come to him with their troubles.
22. He is a Red Sox fan.
23. He cleans the litterbox.
24. He is funny.
25. I love him.

Happy Birthday, Sweetie!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Gridlock

I started gridding the fabric for ATC last night. I'm stitching it on a 32 count silkweaver solo, kind of a steel blue color with some flashes of white. It looks very much like a stormy sky, and so it should be pretty cool with the design. If I had a digital camera, I'd show you a picture.

As I've been stitching my BAP, I've discovered that it's so worth it to take the time to (a) grid, and (b) make a working copy and highlight the color you're working on. Even though it takes me forever to finish a project, I love being able to stitch all of a given color in one swoop--not only is it like a mini-finish, it also makes the project look more complete because there is stitching all over it, instead of just in one little corner.

At the moment, I'm totally overwhelmed by the idea of learning to knit. There is just so much stuff involved. I mean, the needles (single point, double point, circular, bamboo, other woods, aluminum, etc.), and yarn (batch dyed, hand dyed, wool, merino, acrylic, cotton, mohair, alpaca, boucle, eyelash, etc., etc.) alone are enough to send me screaming for the hills. I don't know how I'm ever going to figure all this stuff out. But, one of these days (probably during the next court week), I will haul myself down to the local yarn store, where there is a kind grandmotherly lady who will sit me down and teach me how to knit a sweet little baby sweater for my upcoming nephew. And thus will a new addiction be born.

Speaking of addictions, I've decided that punchneedle isn't my thing, so I have a set of the really good punchneedles (1, 3, and 6 strand--the ones made by the Russian monks) that I'm looking to unload. They retail for $42; if you're interested, make me an offer. Otherwise I'll put them on Ebay next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

If you say so...

So, I was talking with my parents last night, and my mom asked what I was doing to prepare for Pascha other than "fasting like a crazy person." (Well, she didn’t say the crazy person part, but it was implied.) (N.B.--Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter, which we call Pascha (a Greek derivation of "passover") on May 1.) I’m not terribly comfortable talking religion with my parents, who are about as nonreligious as it gets. So, I just briefly mentioned that I had spent some time preparing for confession and that I hoped to be able to take a shift of the vigil at the tomb, which we do overnight on Friday-Saturday. My dad said, "Wow, you’re really getting into this thing, aren’t you?"

It’s 12 hours later, and I still have no idea how to respond to that. On the one hand, I respect my dad and I understand that he comes from a completely different place than I do as far as religion goes, so a sarcastic response like "Yeah, I’m kind of keen on my eternal salvation" would not be appropriate. On the other hand, I simply could not bring myself to try to explain to him what it has been like to come home to the Orthodox church. How can I explain to him the beauty and peace of the Divine Liturgy, the awesome challenge and grace of learning to live my life as a sacrament to God? It can’t be done. I think I just mumbled something like, "Yeah, it’s pretty cool" and changed the subject.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Ho, hum...

I don't have anything particularly blogworthy bumping around in my brain today. So instead of hanging around here, go congratulate my buff friend Melissa on walking a marathon, being totally compassionate, and generally being a great person. Way to go, Melissa!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Breaking news...

Lausanne, Switzerland--The International Olympic Committee today announced a new Olympic sport for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, China: Toddler Ointment Application. The news was greeted with joy by athletic mothers everywhere. "It's about time," said Jenny Kilgore, a former competitive swimmer and mother of three. "I never knew what a workout was until little Alex got poison ivy last summer."

The competition will require an individual mother to apply a topical medication to the legs, arm, and face of a child between the ages of 18 months and three years. Athletes will be scored along several axes. First, contestants will be timed as they apply the ointment. Second, points will be awarded for thoroughness and accuracy of application, the creativity and effectiveness of immobilization techniques, and the ability to maintain a realistic-looking smile throughout the process. These points will be multiplied by the degree of difficulty, which will be gauged according to the size and strength of the toddler, the viscosity of the medication, and whether the toddler laughs or cries during the application process. Points will be deducted for the use of foul language and threats to sell the toddler to the gypsies.

Despite the rigors of the training process, many mothers are eager to compete in the new sport. "Heck, I have to do this anyway," said Kirsten Little, mother of a two year old with chronic eczema. "I might as well see if I can get a gold medal out of it." Little's younger son, who has been her training partner, simply giggled when asked about the competition. He then demonstrated his famous "arch and twist" maneuver, which defeats most immobilization techniques and has the added benefit of smearing just-applied ointment all over everything (another deduction). Little sighed and said, "Okay, goober, let's try this again."

She looks to be tough to beat in upcoming pre-Olympic competitions.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sing, sing a song...

Andy loves to sing. In addition to singing all the songs he learns at school, he is constantly making up his own songs. Here is the song he sang to me this morning on the way to school:

Oh, North Carolina is a State,
And South Carolina is a State,
And Africa is a, um...
("Mommy, what's Africa?"
"A continent."
"Oh. Okay.")
And Africa is a condiment!
And South America is a ...
("What's South America?"
"That's also a continent.")
And South America is a continent, too.
And Chukar Way is our neighborhood,
And that's where Sydney lives,
And that's where everybody lives who came to my house
For my pumpkin painting party,
And we painted pumpkins.
And airplanes do have wings,
But rockets don't have wings,
And cars don't fly because they go bump, boom
And then they crash down, YEAH!

The "yeah" is how you know the song is over, and it's a very helpful cue given the stream-of-consciousness nature of Andy's songwriting.

I donated blood yesterday. I'm not saying this to toot my own horn or anything--it's a segue to a public service announcement. Go donate blood. I know there are people out there who cannot donate blood for one reason or another, and all of y'all are off the hook. I also know there are those of you out there who donate regularly, and bless you for it. For the rest of you--those who can donate but never have, and those who haven't done it in a while--I say, get off your tush and go do it. Go save a life or two, or three. And don't tell me you're afraid of needles. I practically have to be sedated to get a shot, and I *never* get flu shots because it involves needles. Donating blood is an entirely different prospect, however. It's literally one second of "ouch" followed by 10 minutes of completely painless blood giving. Are you really telling me you can't handle one second of pain so that you can save somebody's life? C'mon, get over yourself.

Here's a little incentive for you. If you don't already donate blood regularly, go donate and let me know about it. I'll send you something as a reward. If you're a stitcher, it will be some kind of really cool floss. If you're a nonstitcher, it will be something small but nice. Okay? Now go do it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Um, yeah.

I took an online quiz yesterday to find out which "hit 2004 song" I was. I don't generally listen to popular music, (although I am not as adamant on this score as Chuck, who takes a dim view of anything recorded after 1978) so I figured the results would be interesting. Sure enough, I am a song that I've never heard, by a band that I've never heard of. As best I can tell, it was some kind of indie rock thing.

I've decided that I'm going to run a 1/2 marathon--because, you know, I don't have enough to do. It's not until October 30, so I have plenty of time to sit around on my butt train between now and then. (Like the overstrike effect? I stole it from the Yarn Harlot, who uses it to great effect. Theft Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.) I'm hoping to run it in 118 minutes, which is a 9 minute mile for 13.1 miles. For perspective, if I wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon at my age, I'd have to run 26.2 miles at 8:35 per mile. (The perspective being, of course, that I am really, really slow.).

In stitching news, I'm working away on the 63-square afghan. I worked on square #7, alternate puff stitch, last night. I was doing great until I realized that the thing was freakishly large. In an effort not to have my gauge too tight (the mistake I made with the first go-round on the trinity stitch), I made my stitching too loose. Waaaaay too loose, as in the finished square without the edging would be roughly the same size as the squares I've completed with the edging. So I guess I'll be redoing that one.

In the meantime, thanks to the Harlot, I am starting to get a hankering for learning to knit. I've learned about this stuff called "self-patterning sock yarn"--you cast it on and knit with it, and it makes cool stripes and stuff without you even trying. How cool is that? Knitting socks involves three needles, though. I'm not so sure about that. Plus, there are the bajillion other projects that I want/need to work on. In addition to Andy's blanket (the 63-square thingie), I've got a new nephew being born this summer, and a couple of friends are having babies. I feel morally obligated to make handmade gifts for each of these little people. And, I really, really want to stitch this for Andy, who loves dragons. I have the coolest fabric to stitch it on--a hand-dyed blue and white jobbie. And, of course, there's this big-a$$ project I'm working on for myself. And whenever my friend Kelly sets a date for her wedding, I'll want to finish up the wedding sampler I'm making for her. So, I should be ready to learn to knit in about .... 15 years.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Things I learned this week.

1. Heaven is "near the beach." So sayeth Andy, who apparently is in the know on these things. He told me at length this morning about how he and God used to play with the crabs at the beach (because they were "nice crabs").

2. A kid's imagination is a wonderful and beautiful thing (see item #1).

3. It is perilously easy to go from catatonic to overcaffeinated. I learned this yesterday. After spending most of the day in a stupor, downing one form after another of liquidated caffeine, a caramel soy latte finally pushed me over the edge. So basically, I spent 3/4 of my work day being useless because I was so sleepy, and the other 1/4 being useless because I was so hyper.

4. Plastic drinking straws can be used to prop up floppy green bean seedlings. This is one of those times when I really, really wish I had a digital camera, because you can't truly understand this unless you see it. I planted the second crop of green bean seedlings on Sunday (the first crop having been done in by a late frost), and they immediately began to flop over near the top; i.e., their stems were breaking. Broken stems = no water getting to the leaves => dead green beans. So, I decided to try propping up the broken stems. And, I found the best way to do this was to cut a drinking straw in half lengthwise and wrap it around the stem, thus holding it upright and allowing water to get through to the leaves. So now, each of my green beans has a neon colored drinking straw wrapped around it, and they are growing quite happily.

5. The presanctified liturgy is a really, really beautiful service. I didn't notice this the last time I went, because I brought Andy with me, and he made mischief the entire time.

6. Owen looks really, really cute with his hair cut short. This is not new to me, really, but I don't think I've mentioned it here. Again, the need for a digital camera is evident.

7. Ummmm.... there is no #7. I've been sitting here trying to think of it, and periodically dozing off, for 10 minutes now. I think it's safe to say that my brain is, at least temporarily, empty. (No comments from the peanut gallery on that one, thank-you-very-much.)

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Another illusion shattered.

I was snoozing away early this morning when I heard Andy cry out, "Mommy!" Being the loving and attentive mother I am, I rolled over and hoped he'd go back to sleep. No such luck--30 seconds later, another plaintive "Mommy!" was heard. My boy needed me! I leapt (well, stumbled) out of bed and ran (well, shuffled) to Andy's room. "Mommy's here honey, it's okay." Just as I was uttering this reassurance, he wailed again--and it turns out he had been calling for "Bubby", not "Mommy."

Ever gracious, I retrieved Bubby from the pile of things he had brought into his bed last night (including the bath mat from his bathroom--oooooookay....) and tucked Andy and Bubby back in. I was rewarded with a request for snuggles, with which I happily complied until I heard Owen stirring. At this point, thinking that Andy was back asleep, I hightailed it back to my bedroom so as to be in the proper snuggling location for Owen. Messing with Owen's morning routine is about as misguided as denying me coffee in the morning.

Despite my efforts, Owen's routine got messed with. He snuggled with me for about a nanosecond, then got Chuck from the other side of the bed. They went downstairs and discovered, much to everyone's horror, that the animal DVD Owen loves so much will not load into the player. Not good. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth (some of it Owen's), Chuck got him settled in with Baby Shakespeare and went to wake up Andy, who promptly told him that I, heartless wench that I am, had refused to snuggle with him. At this point, Owen comes upstairs to find out why no one is snuggling with him. He sees me and decides that Daddy snuggles will not do, they must be mommy snuggles. Now both kids are wailing, and Chuck and I are about to join in.

I'm not sure how we managed it, but we got them settled down. And now I'm in my office, trying to stay awake and wishing I were still snuggling with my kids.

Monday, April 04, 2005

A few thoughts on porcine perspiration.

I just got back from my lunchtime run (3.1 miles, but let's not talk about how long it took to do them), and was sitting at my desk, drenched in sweat. Lovely, I know. Hopefully you are reading this between meals. The thought popped into my head that I was sweating like a pig.

I immediately began pondering the justice of this thought (endorphins at work, dontcha know). Do pigs sweat? If so, do they do so profusely? Is the statement "I'm sweating like a pig" just as unjust as the term "filthy pig"--since we all know that, left to their own devices, pigs are naturally quite concerned about personal hygiene.

Google to the rescue! As it turns out, pigs do not sweat profusely. They don't have sweat glands in their skin, so they don't sweat at all. So there you go--your educational factoid for the day.

Time for me to hit the showers. I'm sweaty like a ...

Friday, April 01, 2005

Hmph.

It's raining. Again. For like, the 18th day in a row (except for those sunny days that were in there, but those are already a distant memory). I don't usually mind rain--I grew up in Washington State, where we don't tan, we rust. But still, this is a bit much. There are permanent puddles in my backyard, and when I went out to look for our lost kitty last night, my feet made squelchy noises halfway up the hill. And I can practically hear all my seedlings screeching "plant us, plant us!" but I don't like to garden in the rain.

Those of you who were paying attention to that last paragraph noticed the mention of a lost kitty. Our younger cat, Daphne, escaped from the screen porch last Friday evening. Except for a brief glimpse of her hindquarters under an overgrown bush on Sunday night, she hasn't been seen since. She is not exactly a brave adventurer type kitty, so I can't imagine where she's gone. Honestly, when we realized she was missing on Friday evening at bedtime, I really wasn't worried. I have never had a housecat get out and NOT end up huddled by the door the next morning. But, alas, there has been no huddling Daphne. I've been wandering the neighborhood in the evenings, calling her name and rattling the treat jar, but no luck so far.

In more cheerful news, we're going to the circus tomorrow! I'm looking forward to it. Andy and Chuck went last year and had a great time. Andy *says* he's going to ride the elephant, but I think he'll wimp out when he actually sees how big it is.

Have a great weekend, everyone!