Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

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

Monday, January 30, 2006

B is for Boys

I got two of 'em:



The astute among you will notice that I have actually missed the "B" fortnight, and that I am supposed to be posting a "C is for ..." picture. I'm late because it's taking me ages to figure out what to say about these guys. Seriously, how do I encapsulate in a single blog entry (let alone an entire blog) what it's like to live with these two, and to be (gasp) responsible for turning them into productive citizens?

I am certain, at least, that my neighbor C has no idea. C and her husband have two little girls about the same ages as my boys. I don't know what the girls do during the 1/2 hour immediately preceding bedtime, but I can guess that they are not chasing each other in circles around the house, screaming their heads off (in a happy way, usually) the way my boys are. I know for certain that neither of the girls has broken her arm jumping off the back of the couch. And, I have it on good authority that each of C's daughters has been known to spend several minutes in a row sitting still.

There used to be a time when I would sigh wistfully at little girls all dressed up with bows in their hair. I'm pretty much over that now. I can't imagine having a girl--I wouldn't know what to do with her. My boys are crazy and exhausting (particularly when they are exhausted), but they are wonderful, and they are all mine (well, I kind of share them with Chuck). So there.

In other news, I have escaped Scarf Hell. My mom's scarf is done (again), and this time it is not at all craptastic. And, I have the yarn for the Olympics challenge. And I started my mother-in-law's afghan. Pics of all of this tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Memories .... (aka, "Attack of the Memes, Part II")

Some memes can be fun....


If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often (or ever, for that matter), please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME.

It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE.

And now you can consider yourself tagged, so go post this meme on your blog.

Heh.

Friday, January 20, 2006

And the winner is...

Hollyberry. There was a late surge for Storm (ha, ha, get it?), but Hollyberry won by two votes. I think it will go very nicely with my camel-colored wool coat and with my black trench.

And since I forgot to ask, let's have a show of hands as to how many people think I ought to get a new pair of Bryspun needles for the project? Well, lookee there. It's unanimous! I'll add those to the order, then.

In other news, Andy has an "interview" this morning at the arts magnet school we're trying to get him into. He's already done one of these (at the language magnet school), so I'm not too worried, since we both know pretty much what to expect. I started out really wanting him to go to the language school, but after investigating the arts school (Stone Academy), I think I'd prefer him to go there. It's a fabulous school, and it has many other advantages--it's closer to my office, it has a great after-school program, and our neighbors are (hopefully) sending their daughter there, so we've got an instant car pool. Keep your fingers crossed for us--we'll find out in mid-February where he's going.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Faster. Lacier. Selfisher.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Olympics, despite the fact that NBC can't seem to get it through their thick skull that some of us would maybe like to see an athlete or two from a country other than the United States at *some* point prior to the gold-medal round. And quit with the "up close and personal" segments. And..... wait a sec, I'm getting grumpy again. Never mind.

But anyway, it turns out that the Yarn Harlot gets as schmaltzy about the Olympics as I do, God bless her. And, just like me, she views the fortnight of the Olympics as prime knitting time. So, she has embraced the Olympic Motto (Faster, Higher, Stronger, but in Latin, which makes it cooler because of the whole "dead language" thing. You know.) and has challenged other knitters to complete the 2006 knitting olympics, during which we are supposed to challenge ourselves to knit something hard between the opening and closing ceremonies.

This is just the kind of insanity that I live for. I will be knitting Branching Out, which will be my first attempt at lace involving a pattern of more than two rows. There are multiple challenges invovled here:

(1) Speed. I knit slow, due in part to numerous interruptions during prime knitting hours ("Mommy, will you come snuggle"), and due the the fact that "prime knitting hours" actually consist of about one hour and 45 minutes between putting the kids to bed and when I collapse from exhaustion.
(2) Difficulty. I've done yarn overs and k2togs before, but this is an actual *pattern* that requires me to pay *attention*. There will be many, many lifelines. Like, every row.
(3) Selfishness.I've been knitting less than a year, but I have yet to knit anything for myself. It all goes to other people, and at the moment I am behind on several projects that I owe to others (remember the Scarf Hell thing? I'm still there.). But this one is for memememememe! Until I decide, halfway through the knitting, that someone else really deserves it more than me. So, part of the challenge will be fighting that urge.

Now, here's the reader-participation part. Since y'all were so kind to me during my recent bout of grumpiness (I'm all better now, thanks!), I think you should get to choose the color for my scarf. I'm going to knit it in Merino Style from Knit Picks. Here are the available colors. Whatcha think?

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Here's the thing.

I'm grumpy. Not just cute grumpy--the kind where you can tease me a little bit and I'll start giggling and all will be well. I am the seriously pissed off, kick-you-where-it-hurts-if-you-look-at-me-cross-eyed kind of grumpy. Y0u do not want to mess with me right now.

Here are the reasons why I am grumpy.

(1) Thursday night, as Andy and I were driving home from karate class, we got hit by a car crossing traffic. The driver (who never got off his cell phone, I am told) promptly backed up, drove around my car, and drove away. As in, who gives a crap if you and your kid are bleeding to death (we were not, thank God), we've got places to be. As best we can tell, the tags on the van were stolen, and the drivers, who were hispanic, were probably illegal. Which is, of course, why they took off. And so now my car is messed up, but we won't know how messed up until the insurance guy calls next week. And I have a rental that I'm afraid to drive because I apparently owe them $500 if I even breathe on it wrong. And they'll probably total it out, and I have neither the time nor the money for a new car.

(2) My children. I love my children. Really, I do. But the last few days have been the sort of Mommy Hell I haven't had to endure since Owen was a newborn. Both of them have been yelling for *me* (not Daddy, Daddy will not do) nonstop. The only way to make one of them stop whining is to make the other one cry. Oh, Joy. And then Owen decides that wherever he is, Mommy must at least be in the same room. Mommy may not take a nap. Owen will scream and fuss and make everyone miserable (including Mommy) until Mommy is in the room with him again. Those of you who are out there saying "let him scream" do not know Owen. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, so I won't bother, but trust me when I tell you that once Owen starts screaming, there is no stopping him.

(3) Sunday School. I teach the high school Sunday School class. At their request (keep this in mind, please) we are reading Paul's letter to the Romans. Okay, I know I'm a geek, and I don't really expect them to have the same interest in Paul's very clever rhetorical devices (never mind the substance of the letter) that I do. But I keep hoping for something better than attitudes ranging from indifference to near-outright hostility. Seriously, why am I doing this? So I can spend a substantial amount of time preparing a lesson that will fall on ears that appear to resent my very existence? I literally cried this afternoon at the mere thought of going to church tomorrow. That is seriously messed up.

(4) First Grade. The process of choosing, and getting Andy into, a school is totally stressing me out. We must, of course, make the Right Choice, lest he be Ruined Forever. Should it be language? Should it be arts? Should we just say "screw it" and send him to the school he's zoned for? Anyone? Anyone?

(5) I am fat and I can't make myself stop eating.

(6) I am tired and Owen won't let me sleep. (Yes, I know I have mentioned this already in this list. Trust me--If you were in my shoes, you would mention it twice, too. Because I am that exhausted, and have that little hope for rest anytime before 2021, when Owen goes to college.)

(7) I am still in Scarf Hell. The Fourth Circle of Scarf Hell involves making numerous mistakes on a scarf that, after all, involves only three different freaking stitches--yarn over, k2together, knit. It will never end. I will knit this scarf until I die. Which will probably be soon, because Owen will not let me sleep.

(8) My boss keeps giving me projects that must be done Right Now. It goes like this: He comes to my office to check my progress (in the last five minutes) on Project One. Half an hour later, he comes to my office and gives me Project Two, being sure to mention that this is a high priority. After lunch, he comes to my office and asks about Project Three, and when I tell him I'm working on one of the other projects, looks at me like "WTF is wrong with you?" So I work on Project Three until mid-afternoon, when he either (a) has Project Four for me, or (b) wants to know why Project One isn't done. This cycle will continue until someone else surfaces on his radar screen, an event that could be weeks away.

(9) It's 11:00 pm. The Patriots are losing. I am drunk, or at least substantially tipsy. I have roughly 6 hours (if I'm lucky) before Owen is ready for snuggles, and not much longer before I have to face the sullen teenagers. And after church is the parish meeting, and after that is a birthday party that Andy is going to, and even if we didn't have that it wouldn't matter because I wouldn't get a nap.

(10) All of the men in my life hate my new haircut. I think it's very Annette Benning in "The American President" (find your own damn link), but Andy just thinks its yucky and Chuck only likes it because it looks more like my friend E's. Chuck has the hots for her. As well he should, because she is cute and energetic and thin and all of the things that I am not (including "capable of being a decent mother").

So there you have it. I will probably be my usual, cheerful self in a day or two, but right now I am grumpy. Deal with it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Attack of the memes....

There may be a few more memes than usual over the next couple of days. I'm busy. Deal with it.

Before we get to the meme, an update on Scarf Hell. I'm still there--so far I've been knitting with the leftover yarn from the Craptastic Scarf, but soon I'm going to have to rip out the original. I have descended to the third circle of Scarf Hell--the place for those of us who (a) didn't get our Christmas gifts done on time and (b) have had to set them aside for other urgent matters of life, such as not getting fired, hemming karate pants, and planning a superbowl party.

Without further ado, on to the meme...

I found this while blog surfing and thought it looked like fun. And, indeed, it was. Go to Google.com and type in “[your name] needs” and see what you come up with. Then post the ten best.

Number one on my results list (no, I am not kidding): “Kirsten needs to start getting dirty.” Amen to that, sister. Gardening season is just around the corner. Huh? What do you mean that’s not what it meant?

2. “Kirsten needs to shower and wear some makeup!” Fer cryin out loud, make up your minds, people.

3. “Kirsten needs Serious help.” Not just serious help, Serious help. Anybody surprised by that? Didn’t think so.

4. “Kirsten needs to grow up.” Who asked you?

5. “ Kirsten needs warm winter clothing, summer outfits, and lots of pretty outfits for school.” Hint, hint.

6. “Kirsten needs to say SOMETHING to her children.” Nothing new there.

7. “Kirsten needs some chardonnay.” Actually, I’d prefer a nice Pino Gris.

8. “Kirsten needs to learn to use a flash.”

9. “Kirsten needs to put on some weight.” Soooooo not true.

10. “Kirsten needs to do something productive.” Off I go, then.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A is for ...

And here it is, my first entry in the 2006 ABC Along:

A is for ...

Artichoke.

I've been an artichoke devotee since a tender age. My mom used to cook up whole artichokes and serve them with butter and salt. Heaven on a plate, in other words. Seriously, a whole artichoke is the ultimate in patience rewarded. You get a small bit of yumminess as you scrape the flesh off each leaf (after having dipped it in butter and a bit of salt, of course), but the real prize is the heart, waiting there for you after you've done all the fiddly work of getting to it. (there's a knitting/stitching metaphor in there somewhere, I'm sure of it).

Alas, I haven't had a whole artichoke since the last time my mother cooked one for me, lo these many years ago. Since I got an actual job, married a man who isn't a huge fan of artichokes (gasp!), and had children, artichokes have fallen into the category of Things That Are Too Damn Much Trouble. Many things fall into this category, including most gourmet meals, clothes that require hand washing, and shopping around for the best price on anything that costs less than $50. Other things fall into and out of this category--e.g., making my own pie crust, separating laundry--depending on my mood and the number of ongoing crises, domestic or otherwise. Other things have pretty much always been in this category for me, such as ironing anything that will not be seen by the public at large (underwear, sheets) or cooking beans from dried (it's why God gave us cans and the organic food industry, people).

Don't get me wrong--artichokes are still a major part of my diet. It's just that they come from a can now, and are usually all cut up and cooked for me. It's a compromise I can live with.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Circle One

I have decided to reknit the craptastic scarf. I am officially in Scarf Hell. Further updates as events warrant.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My ugly avatar...

As per JenLa's very sneaky tag, here is my shot at an ugly avatar:

Yahoo! Avatars

I regret to say that I don't think I've reached the true heights (depths?) of ugliness of which I am capable. But I'm on a break at work, and limited on time. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Scarfapalooza, vol. I

At long last, here are pictures of some of the scarves I made for various relatives for Christmas. First, here's my brother's:



The yarn is Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes in Fern, Snickerdoodle, and Wheat. The pattern is something I kind of made up on the way. I'm calling it the 3-5-7 Scarf, because the stripes are all multiples of 3, 5, and/or 7. For example, the wide stripes are, respectively, 7, 14, and 21 rows long; the narrow green stripes are 3 rows, and the wider narrow stripes are 5 rows. The big blocks of green are 50 rows. Ain't I clever? I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, even if it did mean weaving in a bajillion ends.

Here's a close-up (and rather blurry) picture of the scarf I knit for my sister-in-law:

The pattern is the Opera Scarf from Blue Sky Alpacas, knit in Knit Picks'
Elegance, in Cornflower. Lovely color, no? This was my first attempt at lace knitting, although I'm not really sure it should count because it was so easy.

My second attempt at lace knitting did not go so well. Behold, the train wreck that is the scarf I knit for my mom:

The picture isn't very good, but toward the top you can see a nice, even rectangle. The bottom 3/4? Not so nice, not so even. One might go so far as to say it's really, really dreadful ("craptastic" was the word that came to mind--repeatedly--yesterday evening).

For better knitters with more time than me, this would not be a problem. Frog it and redo--a few hours' work at the most. Not for me. I knit this thing with two balls of yarn, alternating every second row, so as to avoid flashing and pooling. It took me for-freaking-ever to knit this thing, and I am not anxious to do it again. I am mightily tempted to reknit it with one ball of yarn at a time, and see if I get flashing or pooling, rather than doing the "two balls o'yarn" thing. That would make it a travel project, and would make it much easier to get done.

Any advice or words of consolation would be welcome.