Things that Go BUMP in my Mind

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

Friday, March 31, 2006

Where am I going?

And what's with this handbasket I'm in?

Ah, yes, dear readers, I am back. Sorry for the hiatus--I had just managed to jerry-rig a solution to the Owen-kicked-out-of-daycare thing when Andy came down with this ick that's been going around and caused several days of non-stop chaos. (This happened, of course, two days after I started Weight Watchers. Because nothing tests your resolve to lose weight like spending three days with your kids and one of them is sick, and the other one is how he usually is, and you have work to do. I would say that I utterly failed to rise to the challenge (it sure felt like it at the time), but I managed to lose two pounds. So there.)

Life is still rather insane. My solution to the daycare problem, since there is currently no worthwhile full-time care available in Greenville, is a college student who is absolutely fabulous. Seriously, I was on the phone with her, trying to inform her of Owen's unique behavioral profile without sending her screaming for the hills, and she told me that her mom runs a school for special needs kids, where she has worked every summer for most of her life, so it's no biggie. Can you say "Godsend?" I knew you could.

The only hitch is that she's in class until 2 most days, so I've got a big gaping hole in the middle of my workday between picking Owen up at preschool (10:45) and her coming to my rescue (2:15). You'd think I'd like taking a long lunch every day, but really it's not so hot. I love spending the time with Owen, but work is a tad busy right now, and I need the two hours I'm losing.

Plus, the one hour that *was* my lunch hour is gone, so no more lunchtime running for me. Which means that the only time I have to exercise is after the kids go to bed. That, of course, used to be my knitting time. But alas, weight loss takes priority right now--the pool opens in 8 weeks.

I have been knitting a bit here and there, and there is some stuff to show you, but there hasn't been much time to take photos, transfer them to the computer, get them to my webspace, and then blog about them. Now that things have settled into something resembling a routine (let's not kid ourselves by calling it "normalcy"), hopefully my blogging will resume its erratic usual schedule.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Yeah, I'm here.

It's been a busy week. Owen got expelled (as in, "Here's your stuff, it's been nice knowing you") from daycare on Monday for kicking teachers and kids. We're scrambling for a solution, but since there are no spaces available at any daycare I'm willing to put Owen in, it looks like we'll have a college student come in an babysit him for a few hours a week. Not ideal, but it should keep me from getting fired.

There are actually amusing aspects to all of this, and knitting is involved, but I don't have time right now to tell y'all all of it. Maybe in a day or two.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday update

I was going to title this blog entry "Friday Randomness" because I plan to talk about two unrelated things--my knitting and Chuck's employment--when I realized that these are precisely the same unrelated things I blogged about on Wednesday. So, instead it's an update.

As for the employment thing, Chuck is employed. He'll be working part time for a law firm that does plaintiff's work in employment discrimination and employee benefits. Let's all give him a big "Way to Go!", shall we?

And as for the knitting... Well, if I'd cast on for the second sock, that would be an update. But I didn't, despite almost overwhelming temptation. Instead, I did some Dulaan knitting. Here ya go, bad pics and all...



That's Thomas the Tank Engine, wearing a jaunty red scarf I made out of Plymouth Encore. Maybe it was just the needles I was using (Bryspuns, for the very pointy tips with which to do cables), but I detested making this thing. The yarn was *very* squeaky. Ugh. And I have several more balls of it, in that same cherry red color. If you want it, let me know--I'll be happy to send it to you.



Here is another blurry picture (why yes, I did have a largish glass of wine last night after the kids went to bed, why do you ask?) of a had for Dulaan. I perched it on Bosco the cat for visual interest. Bosco is drinking out of the faucet because he only drinks running water, and those self-replenishing water dishes do not fool him. Thank goodness, he is very polite and does not actually lick the faucet. Ugh.

As for the hat, it's made in some kind of Lion Brand something with a fairly decent amount of wool. Love the colors, and I have another 1/2 ball left, so I'll probably do another one of these at some point.

And finally...



That's about 1/4 of this hat. I've done four pattern repeats of the lace but I'm almost out of yarn, so I had to order more. The dye lots probably won't match, but I'll burn that bridge when I get to it.

The weekend looks to be fun. After a massive round of housecleaning tomorrow, at least Andy and I are going to an Indian (as in India) cultural fair. I've had samosas and nan on the brain all week. Then Chuck and I have a babysitter so we can go to our favorite dead beast restaurant (yes, I know it's Lent, but they gave me a coupon for my birthday. I'll have fish, I promise.) Then church on Sunday and hopefully some gardening.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

E is for ...



Endurance.

My mom once told me that I was the most disciplined person she knew. She must not know very many people, because in my own view I am seriously lacking in the stick-to-it department.

Running is a prime example. I like running. It's good exercise, it gets me outside, it gives me time to think or to listen to NPR. Why then, can I not stick with a regular running routine for more than a month at a time? Yeah, I'm busy. Sure, there are times when it is simply not possible to get out of the office at lunchtime for a run. But one busy week should not result in two months of slacking, which is usually what happens. Anyway, I'm going to work on that.

E is also for "Employment." It looks like Chuck, who has been a stay-at-home dad for nearly three years, will be rejoining the ranks of the employed in the near future. Nothing is certain yet, and I certainly don't want to jinx his chances, so we'll leave it that we're cautiously optimistic. His mom told him that going back to work would be like getting out of prison, and I have to agree. Both kids are in school full time, which has left Chuck with a lot of time on his hands, and he's been quite miserable. Going back to work will be very, very good for him.

In knitting news, I present to you....



My first sock. Looks nice, doesn't it? Too bad it's a piece of crap. The needles I used were at least one size too big, the foot is too short (the picture doesn't show that the heel turn is located not at my heel, but about at the beginning of my arch), and the kitchener bind-off is, to put it kindly, a bit wonky.

Regardless of these failings, and the near-total unwearability of this specimen, I am quite please with myself. I learned a lot from this sock, and I plan to make another in the no-too-distant future. I'll probably make another from this yarn (Lion Brand sock yarn), with smaller needles, just to see the difference. Heck, I may even do a gauge swatch (but probably not).

Incidentally, one of the things I learned is that slip-slip-knit pisses me off. I don't know why. It's not that I can't do it, I completely can. I just have an irrational, sui generis hatred of the technique. It may have something to do with the fact that I cannot tell the difference between a SSK and a K2Tog through back loops, which I far prefer and which I intend to use henceforth unless and until someone explains to me why I should do what the pattern tells me to do.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Julie, Julia, and Kirsten

I've been reading Julie & Julia, which is by a woman (the Julie of the title) who freaked out upon during 29 (wimp) and took it upon herself to cook every recipe in Mastering the Art of Frech Cooking, Vol. I, by Julia Child (the Julia of the title).

There a couple of things I really like about this book--the cooking, the Julia Child bits, Julie Powell's adoration of David Strathairn. There are many things I really don't like, particularly the author's apparent inability to (a) get through a single day without a major histrionic meltdown; (b) form a sentence that doesn't inlcude the word "fuck" or some variation thereof; (c) mention a republican or government wonk without adding a knee-jerk insult. I find all of these things rather tiresome, really.

All of which is to say that the book is a so-so read. I am feeling rather inspired to be a little more adventurous in my cooking, although I don't think I'll be serving brains anytime soon, and I'm not going to ask Chuck's mom for her bone-marrow soup recipe. (I seriously thought he was joking when he told me about that, when I mentioned the bone marrow episode from the book. But no, he was apparently serious. Gah.) But frankly, I find Julie to be a bit annoying. The meltdown thing really gets to me. I mean, we all have our moments--God knows I do (check in with me on any given Sunday evening about 7:45, when I am trying to get Owen into bed after dealing with him all weekend). But when, on any given night, the *absence* of a snit is a more memorable occasion than the *presence* of one, there are self-control or biochemical issues that need to be explored in a doctor's office, not in the pages of a memoir about cooking. And particularly not in a memoir involving Julia Child's cooking. I suspect that Julia would have little patience with Julie's snit fits, no matter how difficult or disgusting the recipe.

That disconnect, and the fact that it appears that Julie is not ultimately going to pick up on it, makes the book a rather disappointing read.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Happy birthday to me...

My 37th birthday was yesterday, and it was quite fabulous. Really, the whole weekend was great.

Friday, my friend Marla came over for dinner. She and Chuck and I had a nice time, when Owen wasn't totally flirting with her, which he did during most of the evening. We had birthday cake for dessert.

Saturday, I got out in my garden and took a few good whacks at some really ugly bushes that have been bothering me for ages. Said bushes are now mere stumps in the ground, to be removed by Chuck and replaced by a forsythia or two and some nice ground covers. I had a nice long walk with my friend Ellie. Then Chuck and I went out for a yummy dinner and a nice browse, after which we came home and had more cake.

Sunday, looong church day, then playing with the kids and chatting with the neighbors. There was some brief grumpiness on my part (seriously, why do boys always want to play games that involve throwing things at my head? I don't get it.) but it resolved by dinner time. And there was more cake.

Monday, day off. Since I spend Mondays with TW, I stitched on "Above the Clouds" most of the day. It went something like this:

At 10:00 a.m. Chuck walked into bedroom and says, "I thought you said you weren't going to sleep all day." I got up, showered, and drank tea and stitched until noon. We went to lunch at my favorite Thai place, then did a little grocery shopping. I stitched again until about 2:00, when we nipped out to Barnes & Noble for a book I had promised Andy, and a Frappuccino I had promised myself. Then home for more stitching, interrupted only by a phone call from my friend Kelly. Feed/bathe/bed children, stitch more, with a glass of wine. Go to bed.

That, my friends, is a mental health day. I needed it desperately, and it did the trick. I am so renewed and refreshed that when I had a dream this morning about my boss telling me to get my a$$ to work, I actually laughed about it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

D is for Discipline

As in, Lenten discipline. Lent is fast approaching (well, it's here for most, just not for me--not until Monday), and I've been thinking about how to spend this period of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. And while I was thinking about it, I found this:



(Annie is not confident of her button-making skills, but I think it's lovely.)

And since it was an idea I had already been toying with, I decided to plunge in--during Lent and Holy Week, I will knit for others. Specifically, I will knit for cold kids in Mongolia, through the Dulaan Project (D is also for Dulaan.) I'm aiming mostly for hats and mittens, but I may toss in a vest or sweater for a littlun. You never know.

Other news: I'm over my cold, thank goodness, and I plan to ask for Monday off. Not sure if I'll go to Asheville, though. Current weather reports are for very cold and potentially icy, which is not something I want to drive in, much less walk around in.

Update on my Mom: She has finished with chemo, and they're giving her a couple of weeks to get her strength back before starting six weeks of radiation. She is impressively upbeat, although very, very tired. If all goes according to plan, my parents will be able to visit for Andy's birthday in July, which would be a wonderful gift for all of us.