Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

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

Friday, July 29, 2005


So. tired. Owen discombobulated by potty training. Needs much reassurance in the middle of the night. From me, not Daddy.

Need more coffee. Not enough coffee in Greenville County to get me through the day. Need I.V. drip.

Too late. zzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

A dispatch from the front

To: Fearless Leader
From: Agent X (Codename: Duchess)

Greetings, exalted one. I am pleased to report that I have successfully infiltrated a family unit of humans. I achieved this objective none too soon--the agent already in place has clearly been seduced by the lure of easy living, and has all but abandoned his assigned task. I regret that I must recommend disciplinary action against him.

I believe I have nearly assimilated the female. It was she who unwittingly provided access to the premises, and she seems quite besotted. She regularly murmers that I am "cute" and "fuzzy." While she also notes that I am "fearsome," her tone when she uses this word indicates that she (1) does not know what it means or (2) believes that I am not truly to be feared. Either of these suits my purposes quite well.

In the evenings, the female often waves about a pair of sticks, to which she has attached a quantity of yarn. I may need further instruction on this matter from our tactics department. While it appears quite clear that this activity is intended for my amusement, she will not tolerate close inspection of the sticks or the yarn. On other evenings, she pokes at a piece of fabric with a tiny metal shaft to which she has attached a string. Again, she will not permit investigation, although this activity is just as clearly intended for my view.

The male human has been resistant to assimilation, although I believe I am wearing him down. I have affected an attachment to a piece of blue cloth that he spreads on his portion of the bed in the evenings. Although the male purports to resent my intrusion on his sleeping space, he is obviously flattered by my attentions.

The building is infested with humans of diminuitive stature, which has necessitated a certain amount of circumspection on my part during the day, when they are active. The smaller of these creatures is particularly troublesome. Although I initially thought he might be useful, rather than obeying my commands he insists on carrying me about the house (usually tucked under his arm) making a strange noise the adult humans call "chuckling." I have found it best to secrete myself under large pieces of furniture while he is about. Even when he does find me, the most he can do is make this strange "chuckling" noise and call me loathesome names like "kitty cat."

I am quite concerned about the larger of the infant humans, who seems to understand that my presence in the household is not simply for the purpose of providing him with amusement. He has attempted to photograph me on numerous occasions, and I am convinced that he is documenting my activities. His removal from the household may be necessary.

I have been contacted by a quartet of agents in another location. They duped their female into delivering a most interesting device, which the humans call a "laser pointer." Although the humans have provided numerous opportunities (believing the "laser" to be a "toy"), I have not yet been able to capture and analyze the contents of the beam. Rest assured, Fearless Leader, that I will not abandon the task.

A-potty we will go....

Here I am, folks, safe and sound (and un-piddled upon). Here follows a photo essay about this weekend's potty training exploits.

Here is a picture of Plan A:

Plan A consisted of setting the timer for 20 minutes, following a naked Owen around with knitting in hand, and reminding him to go to the potty whenever the timer went off. I operated on the assurance of another mother, who said that this method worked like a charm with her son.

Owen loved being naked. The timer? Not so much. In fact, rather than running willingly to the potty when the timer went off (as I was assured he would do), he automatically said "No, Mommy!" when the timer went off.

So, we regrouped over lunch and went with Plan B:

Cool Thomas underwear, which Owen loves, and no timer. (Note the largish hand-wound hank of thread in the picture. That's how much of the bandage Owen undid. Hmph.). Chuck implemented Plan B while I applied Restorative Measure One, viz., a nice long nap.

Plan B was a success, if you define success as "complete and utter failure to obtain mission objective." By bedtime on Friday night, Owen had not peed on the potty even one time. Things were so dire that I came downstairs after putting the kids to bed to find that my teetotalling husband had, on his own initiative, prepped Restorative Measure 2:

We finally had a breakthrough on Saturday morning. Upon being informed that he would not be allowed to wear his beloved Thomas underwear until he had peed on the potty (because, after all, Thomas doesn't want to get piddled on any more than the cat did), we had our first potty training success. And things have been improving steadily since then. I wouldn't say that Owen is 100% potty trained, but he's definitely got the idea now, and he's quite proud of himself when he does pee on the potty.

Oh, and my morning glories are blooming:

I love morning glories.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The score so far...

Potty, 0; Floor, 2.

Update, circa lunchtime: Potty, still 0. Floor, 10 (ish? Really, I've lost count). Bosco's tail, 1. Knitting, -1 (unravelled by a gleeful Owen while I was cleaning up poop.)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Almost forgot...

In addition to potty training Owen this weekend, I'm teaching myself to knit continental. My medium for doing this will be a leprosy bandage made in #10 cotton crochet thread. Because, you know, potty training a kid with a speech delay and a stubborn streak a mile wide isn't challenging enough, I have to be fiddling with string at the same time.

Owen may learn some interesting new words this weekend.

Oh, to be a frog.

In the immortal words of Matthew Broderick's charater in Biloxi Blues*, "Man it's hot. It's like Africa hot. Tarzan couldn't take this kind of hot."

No matter how long I live in the South, the six weeks between mid-July and the end of August will always kill me. The heat index has been well over 100 for the past several days--the kind of day when you walk out the door at 7:30 a.m. and think, "Cripes, it's hot." It's during these days that I think the >California red-legged frog has the right idea. The little buggers aestivate, you see, which is basically the summer version of hibernating. Clever, no? "Damn, it's hot. I think I'll go to sleep until things cool off a bit. See y'all in September." I could totally hang with that.

When it's hot like this, I cannot bring myself to go out and work in my garden, which is a shame, because the bed by the mailbox really needs some work. The zinnias I have planted there are the talk of the neighborhood (well, okay, one person complimented me on them after I gushed about how cute her new baby is). The cosmos, however, need desperately to be deadheaded. They need this every week or so, and I think it's been like three weeks since I've gotten out there. I've already decided I'm not going to plant cosmos next year--they're a wildflower, and hence cause too much work for the somewhat more formal garden that I have. It's too much work to keep them tidy.

I'm not making any bets on getting out there this weekend, however, because we are going to attempt to potty train Owen. He's started taking off his diaper whenever it gets wet or poopy, so I think it's high time. We're going with the "Thank goodness we have a steam cleaner" method, which involves letting him run around naked for several days and periodically reminding him to use the potty. I am taking Friday and Monday off to devote myself to the project full time. Wish me luck, send me positive sanity vibes. Better yet, send chocolate.

*I note for the record I have never seen Biloxie Blues. My entire knowledge of the movie consists of having viewed the trailer once upon a time. The trailer contained this quote, which has since then been kind of a running joke between me and Chuck.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ah, the (delicious) irony.

Remember how I started a new diet yesterday? When I got home, my birthday present from my best friend was awaiting me (yes, it was a bit late, but Kelly is a busy woman). It was .... wait for it ... a creme brulee set--five ramekins and a mini blowtorch. I have wanted my own mini blowtorch forever, but it's one of those things I would not buy for myself, since I don't do creme brulee all that often. Well, never, in fact.

But now, I'll be taking a flamethrower to the place. Kelly helpfully included a "foolproof" recipe from her friend John, which is the one I will try on Sunday. Sunday happens to be my "day off" from the diet, which means that I can eat what I want within reason. So, Sunday dinner will be roast chicken & veggies, rice, and creme brulee for dessert. Mmmmmm.

An even better thing happened last night--Evan was born, safe and sound. I need to get cracking on the baby sweater--we'll be heading up to New Hampshire in just a couple of weeks!

Monday, July 18, 2005

That's it.

I've had enough. Time to lose some weight (again), and time to keep it off (for once). Oddly enough, knitting is a large part of the inspiration for this. I want to knit all these cool, funky sweaters that will go great with a pair of jeans, but I want to look decent in the jeans, and at 162 (my official start weight this morning), I just don't. So, it's back on the diet train I go.

As an aid to my progress, I've joined in with the Knitty Yarn Diet Diet, which is both stash control and weight loss. As I reach each milestone toward my goal, I get to buy just a wee bit of yarn--enough for a scarf or hat. And, since the entire enterprise of losing weight is entirely premised on vanity (for me, at least--I'm not so heavy that it's a health issue), these little projects will be done for charity--probably for Dulaan 2006, if there is such a thing; if not, I think the Orthodox Church in America has some missions programs in Eastern Europe that could use some warm, hand-knit items.

In other news, we had a pretty nice weekend. Friday, we had pizza at the pool with some friends. Saturday we hit the farmer's market, and ran into some other friends with their 2-year-old twins. Owen loved running around with little people his own size!

Saturday night, Chuck and I saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." It was absolutely fabulous. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are great together, and the combination is a perfect match for Roald Dahl. I was worried that it would be too scary for littles like Andy, but I think it will be okay. There are two rather creepy moments, but it was much friendlier for children than I expected it to be. Andy and I are reading the book right now, and we will likely go see the movie at some point.

I got some knitting in on the baby sweater. Said baby will be arriving some time today, so please spare a thought or a prayer for my sister-in-law, the baby, and the rest of the family.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Hand on my heart...

I hereby solemnly swear to finish the following projects before starting anything new:

(1) The baby sweater for my soon-to-be-born nephew
(2) Above the Clouds
(3) Andy's crochet blanket (bleah...I've got like 55 squares to go.)
(4) My Dad's scarf

Technically, I haven't started the scarf yet, but I have everything I need now, and I cannot wait to get my needles into the gorgeous alpaca I have for it. Mmmm. Also, I'm claiming an exception for our trip to New England in August--I'll take whatever project I feel like working on.

The blanket is going to kill me, though. It's completely hay-uge, in colors I don't like, and with "yarn" I despise. Which is why, of course, I have to solemnly promise that I will not start anything new until it's done, because otherwise I will never finish it.

The other projects are coming along, however. I've started the front of the baby sweater, and I may even finish the whole thing by the end of next week. For some reason, I got stalled for a while out of some kind of fear about actually finishing the back. What? Me, finish something? Seriously, I fear the unknown.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Guilt blog

It's my first day back at work after a week off, so blogging time is short. Gotta catch up again, you know. So, just a few brief highlights:

(1) The kitchen is transformed. It looks fab-u-lous. Even Chuck likes it, and for him to compliment a home renovation project (knowing the potential for spawning other such projects) is pretty big. Pics later.

(2) The first annual retreat of the Ghetto-Stitching Floss Lickers was a roaring success. I can't remember the last time I voluntarily stayed up until 2:00 in the morning. This weekend, I did it twice. There was laughter, there was chocolate, there was stitching. Woohoo!

(3) Duchess is settling in nicely (she is much less afraid of the children than Daphne was, which bodes well), but the poor dear has a nasty cold. She is at the vet right now, getting all fixed up. Bosco will likely get some meds too, as he was sneezing last night.

(4) On Saturday I bought the Fall 2005 issue of Interweave Knits, primarily for the sweater on the cover. Sweaters like that are the reason I wanted to learn to knit--gorgeous and unique. There are several other designs in there that I like. I will be interested to see what Queer Joe thinks about the designs when he reviews the magazine, as he no doubt will. Like Mikey in the Life cereal commercials, he hates everything (well, almost everything). There is some bad stuff in this magazine, but there is also some really cool stuff.

(5) My nephew's sweater is moving along--I'm past the armhole decreases on the back, and I'm starting the pattern stitch today. Again, pics are forthcoming.

Okay, it's back to work for me. Have a good day, y'all.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Do you pray?

If you do, you are no doubt praying for the frightened and suffering people of London right now. But, are you also praying for the people responsible for the bombings? Whatever prompted them to do this--hate, fear, wrath, envy, etc.--surely was not put in their hearts by God, but by someone else entirely.

These people, whoever they are, are in need of God's mercy every bit as much as the rest of us. God is not willing that even one should be lost, so should we not pray for our brothers and sisters who have hurt and frightened us? Should we not pray for their hearts to be softened, for the love and mercy of God to wash over them and restore them to Him? If we want peace, should we not pray for our enemies?

Of course we should, and I hope that you will.

Monday, July 04, 2005

No time to blog...

I'm busy transforming my kitchen...

And making the acquaintance of Her Royal Felineness, the Grand Duchess Elizaveta:

She has deigned to allow us to call her Duchess, for short. She will not, however, entertain inquiries as to how such an absolutely tiny little kitten (she weighs all of two pounds) managed to acquire such a huge name. She simply reiterates that she is, indeed, royalty, and that those who forget it do so at their peril.