Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kid-Free Day 3

Today is the last big work day. The plans and my thoughts:

  1. This morning I went and bought a cheap bookshelf for the Pixie and 12 more plastic storage boxes.
  2. As soon as I finish up here, I'm going to go steal the big bookshelf from the Pixie's room and my old metal bookshelf from the smaller storage room.
  3. Both of those bookshelves will be moved into the corner of our basement that I'm setting up for myself. I will then put out as many books as I can - focusing on those that are truly important to me. I'm hoping to get about 1/3 of my collection out of storage.
  4. The rest of the books are going to be moved into new - more protective - storage boxes from the rapidly disintegrating cardboard boxes.
  5. While ideally I would love to put in a wall of built-in shelves (as my parents have) so that ALL of my books can breath out in the open, I find that I am completely at peace with this plan. This is pretty big for me as the fact that my books have been locked away from me for so long has been one of my biggest complaints.
  6. In fact, just by being able to bring a bunch of my books out of storage I find that many of my complaints about a lack of personal space are starting to dissolve.
  7. While I'm at it, I'm going to look at my options for my corner. It's possible I'll move some of the craft stuff down there....but then I'm not sure about that. Ultimately, there's much better lighting in both our bedroom and the kitchen.
  8. Once the books are taken care of, I can put away the rest of the stuff that's going back in the storage room....which isn't all that much. We've done an excellent job of clearing the rubbish!
  9. Our trash and recycling guys are going to hate us tomorrow.
  10. And I was wrong - my husband made TWO trips to the Salvation Army yesterday, and there's one more to go.
  11. Also on tap for today - finish a sock, swatch for the girls' sweaters and perhaps block the newest shawl. I would like to do a repeat or two on the Princess, but I find I'm not much in a lace sort of mood.
  12. Actually, what I might end up doing is finally getting some practice in on my embroidery. Silly me to have put it off for so long...I keep looking at my materials and books with a very wistful heart. I have a piece that I'd LOVE to do to hang in my living room!
  13. We're going to end the day with a visit to Bangkok Gardens...and we are both very, VERY excited about this!
  14. I'm hoping to maybe go to a movie tonight as well. I don't actually often want to go to a movie...but there you have it. My inner child wants to see the A-Team.
  15. In case you've wondered - I chose to take this week as a complete vacation/work-week, which means no gym time. I don't at all regret that decision as I think it's going to make it easier for me to refocus when we go back to a normal schedule next week. Besides, I was getting grumpy about it and just needed a break!

Whoops! I just published w/o spell check! One of these days I think I'll have to post a list of my most oft repeated mistakes. Seriously....for someone as smart as I am, I can't spell worth a darn. It's my Achilles' heal.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kid-Free Day 2

Yesterday's basement clean-out was extremely successful! I spent most of the day cleaning and sorting, and am very happy to say that I was able to get into almost all of the boxes/piles that I needed to hit. In fact, there are only a few left that I need to peer into. My husband also was able to join in the fun after work, and he spent several hours last night going through his own boxes.

We are both VERY happy with everything we've accomplished. It feels really good to know that we are paring our earthly possessions down to just the things which mean the most to us.

I had hoped to get everything put back together today, but found that two things needed to happen. First, my husband had to deliver an entire van full of the cast-offs to the Salvation Army. Second, I need to go pick up either more plastic storage boxes or a couple of cheap bookshelves so that I can move my books (ahem....almost 20 boxes...and I got rid of 11 boxes full just a few years ago) from their old cardboard boxes into something more sturdy and/or more accessible. Until those books are dealt with in a satisfactory manner, nothing can go back into the storage room. #1 had to happen so that I could do #2, and as #1 didn't happen until late this afternoon....

So instead, I've putzed today. I did a bit more cleaning...took a some...knit a bit...mostly just letting myself relax and enjoy the day. It's been really nice.

Sean was able to take vacation time - starting today - and so we have some fun things planned for the rest of the week. Tomorrow we're going to finish up with the storage room...and then we're free to enjoy our time alone!

One last thing for today - I did get copies of my lab work in the mail today. My TSH levels have dropped from 5.48 to 3.035 - which is really good! I'm very glad that my body is responding to such a low dose, and - as my FIL predicted - now that I've been on the meds for about a month I am actually starting to feel better. When on thyroid replacement therapy, they want your TSH levels to be under a 2, so we still have a bit to go...but we're getting there!

And - as you may have deduced from that paragraph - I have decided to go ahead and continue on with my blog just as it is. Once again, thank you to all of you for supporting me and helping me to make that decision.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Writer Is Born

I just found my first college paper.

The subject was "Self In Culture" and the class was UMKC English 110 - which I took during high school at the tender age of 17. I got a lot of attention that year for my writing skills, but it's been years since I actually read any of it. I don't think I've looked at this particular paper since I started college - even though I remember it fondly.

Reading it now, I'm struck with the incongruity of its existance. The ghost of my high school self is ever-present, and I've always mourned those years as some of the worst of my life. The essay is intensely personal - and was perhaps the bravest act I ever committed in high school - especially as I gave the teacher permission to read it aloud. Where and how I found the courage to write it is completely beyond me.

I'm also struck with the raw talent that I see in those three brief pages. I've never given myself enough credit for that....and perhaps it's something I need to focus on in the next year or so.

Perhaps I'll publish the article here later this week. There are many of you with whom I'd love to share it. For now, I'm going to go back to work to see what other treasures I may find.

Kid-Free Day 1

I have decided I want to blog this week after all. Yep...I'm a girl. I'm allowed to change my mind. I thought it would be kind of fun to put up a daily to-do list this week. Lest you think, though, that it's all work and no play, let me assure you that much of what you will be seeing will be fun stuff. After all, this is basically a type of vacation for me! Also...while Sean went to work today, he's going to try to take the rest of the week off so that we can do some fun things together. We're both a bit giddy with the prospect of a whole week of dating!

Today, though, is all about getting things done. My list:
  1. Take the van in to have the battery changed. It's died twice in the last couple of weeks - including yesterday. (Long story short, I think that was the hand of providence. We were delayed in returning home by about 15 minutes as Dad jumped it with his tractor...and that 15 minutes was just enough to let us escape having to drive home in another scary storm.) I don't mind so much having to do this w/o the kids!
  2. Work, work, work on cleaning out the basement storage area. By the end of the week I want it to be completely purged of all junk and reorganized for much easier access. Sean and I have been planning this job for months, and I'm excited to begin. As soon as I get home, I'm tearing into it.
  3. Swatch for the girls' Christmas sweaters! I was happy to find a package of yarn in my mailbox yesterday - the back ordered magenta yarn I needed to begin this project. (I ordered the yarn from Webs some time ago because they have kitted the projects from this book...and I've literally been waiting for two months for those last seven skeins.) At this point, it's early enough in the game that I should be able to knit them w/o the girls seeing that process....and I want to get a running start this week! The Princess is getting the Child's zip-up cardigan, and the Pixie is getting Julia's sweater from the Best Friends pair - which I plan to also convert into a cardigan. I just told my BKB last week that I was chomping at the bit to get started with these two, and I'm so excited to finally have that chance! Plus, the yarn is totally scrumptious.....

And now, I need to go eat breakfast so that I can get busy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

While The Kittens Are Away, BOTH Parental Cats Will Play!

The girls convinced my parents to let them stay for the week, and so my husband and I are now happily kid-free until at least next Saturday. Fun things for the week will include:
  • Getting a new battery for the van.
  • Cleaning out the storage room.
  • Possibly setting up a workspace for me in the basement.
  • Finishing the spring cleaning.

Don't worry, I have lots of fun stuff to do as well! However, there is a lot of ground I want to cover this week, so I most likely won't be blogging until our family has returned to our regular schedule.

So good bye for now!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Whoops...Forgot One!

This one is pretty important. One of the reasons why we chose our home in this particular neighborhood was the fact that the contractors had done an excellent job of leaving the mature trees - giving each home a fair amount of privacy, especially in the summer. To our horror, when the home behind us was built (shortly after we moved in) the contractors managed to kill 23 trees in our neighbors' back yard. (long story...lawsuits ensued) It was heartbreaking...and very, very annoying as it exposed us to a lot of things we had thought we would avoid. It's been about 6 years since that happened, and finally...FINALLY...the trees are filling in enough to be rebuilding that privacy barrier. It helps that the trees in the yard to our right have also become gigantic, and it also helps that our own trees appear to be healthier this year than they have been in years.

It's definitely cause to be happy!

Some Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week

1. Finishing another shawl.
2. The unblocked texture on the back side. It just makes me smile!
3. The perfect marriage between yarn and beads.
4. A powerful amulet.
5. Finally hanging some of the Princess's artwork. This one is just under the mantle.
6. This piece is my favorite.
7. Her sun oddly compliments the ancient piece of quilling and dried flowers that one of my greats made years ago...a recent gift from Mom.
8. Locally made micro-batch chocolate. It's the best in the world. Period.
9. My cold brew coffee system.
10. And the rich, dark, very strong brew it makes.
11. Continued good health for my 17 year old cat, who's been on insulin for 6.5 years now.
He's either bionic or a miracle of vet medicine. 12. Every moment with my ancient dog...who's sadly starting to show her age.
13. The most perfectly clean and organized Princess room EVER - and a child who actually worked very hard to get it that way.
14. Cooperation.
15. Playing nicely together.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's Mommy's Night Off!

First, let me thank everyone who has weighed in - either via email or through comments on my proposed changes to the blog. By and large the response I got was very positive - you don't want me to change a thing, and for that I thank you! For the time being, though, I'm just going to sit back and think things through carefully. For a while I may pull most of my personal content from the blog...largely because I feel a need to protect myself and my heart right now as I seek to find the balance I need.

In the meantime, there are still lots of wonderful things to talk about.

As of right now...those wonderful things include the fact that tonight is Mommy's Night Off!

I am nothing if not a creature of habit, and so I will most likely wind up at the Starbucks which is just a few minutes from my home. They have the most comfortable chairs in town (Seriously....I'm thinking about trying to track them down so that I can buy one of my own.), and they have the benefit of being practically deserted on Wed. nights right about now. As an added bonus, they also occasionally have interesting people with whom to strike up a conversation.

The real question is what to DO while at Mommy's Night Off. The good news is that I only have about 30 minutes to prepare...which isn't enough time to pack up every single craft item/potential project I can lay my hands on. (You laugh...I've done it. The Green Woman is a strange mistress.)

Here are some options:
  1. My sock in progress will of course go with. Sometimes I find I just want a mindless knit...especially if I get really into whatever podcast/audiobook I'm listening to.
  2. I think the Princess will have to go. It takes up very little space, and I feel ready to begin working on her again.
  3. Having just completed a shawl - and frogged two others - I could start a new one....Stop laughing, Sean.
  4. gfftetrtt643tyy8iu5qwertgfdsssaasjgjuhyjhlk,,,,,,mklllhb nbvfnbvbfhyygwvvggg (This would be the Pixie's entry.)
  5. The drop spindle is a popular long as I wear pants...which I AM! Hmm...I'm thinking wee tsunami and silk?
  6. I have a couple of long-term things that need work. I'm talking to you, Town & Country Cardigan!
  7. A book to read is sometimes a good option. AND, although I listened to the Steig Larson books last year, I did just pick up hard copies for myself....hmmm.
  8. The journal always goes with, and I do have some things I need to get out of my system.
  9. Beads...tempting, but probably a bad idea.
  10. Baby gift to work on? Nah. After last summer I have little interest in knitting baby gifts.
  11. Embroidery to practice. There's a thought.
  12. I could take the silly monkeys so that I could finish sewing them up. That's also a good thought.
The sad thing is that I'll likely be home and in bed by 8:30!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday Meanderings spiffy photo today. We'll just have to dive right in instead!
  • I am three rows and an edging away from finishing another shawl! Yippee! I should be able to finish the knitting this evening - meaning I'll have another FO to show off later this week. Later...I'm working on the edging now. It's a bit fiddly, but I absolutely love how it looks!
  • It's very pretty, and it's been a lot of fun to knit!
  • I'm making the smaller version of the shawl. I actually have enough yarn and beads to make the larger size....but sometimes you just know that you're done when you are done. Check that....I don't have enough beads to do the larger version. I might have had them at one time, but I only strung enough for the small size. If I had more, I have no idea where they landed as they certainly aren't in my bead box.
  • Once I finish this beauty than I will be back to having only five projects on the needles.
  • I do feel better having fewer WIPs.
  • Must. Remember. That.
  • Incidentally, my husband thinks it's hilarious that I'm finishing another shawl. He's decided this is my personal crazy.
  • I think he's right!
  • And I'm embracing that proudly.
  • I dropped my bead box yesterday, and then spent thirty minutes on the floor carefully collecting the spilled beads. That was a big whoops.
  •'s possible that I could have a second FO this week. Yipee!
  • Maybe even two if I decide to do the other knit bracelet.
  • You should all be proud of me. As of yesterday, I've already spent about half as much time at the pool as I did in all of last year.
  • Oh...and finally having a cute swimsuit actually does help things.
  • Didn't hurt that my husband told me he couldn't find me at the pool because I had changed so much in the last year.
  • The pool was part of our grand Father's Day plan. We also went to see Toy Story 3 (horrible movie....can't even think about it without should see it), and then we took Sean out for hot wings. It was an excellent, excellent day.
  • I'm still not feeling all that hot....
  • Which leads me to the question of the day. I'm considering setting up a second blog specifically to track my journey to better health. If I do so, I would no longer be discussing my health, exercise regimen or medical issues here at Chez Green Woman. This would allow me to take this blog back to what I had originally intended for it - the story of my creative life. I certainly wouldn't expect anyone to follow me over to the new blog - especially as I'm not so sure it would be that much fun to read. I might even set it as private for a time. So what do you think? Are you sick of all of my complaints about how I'm feeling? or do you want me to leave the blog as is?

And on that note...

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Best Daddy In The World

The girls were so excited about Father's Day that they pushed Daddy out of bed a wee bit earlier than he would have preferred...poor man!
My MIL helped the girls make this beautiful frame for their Dad, and also provided the pictures.
The girls also helped me to pick out a new bike helmet for their dad...which was definitely needed. (Hey! I'm pretty proud of myself. Good gift ideas for my husband are hard to come by!)
I asked the girls what they would like to say about their Daddy.
From the Princess, "Daddy thinks that my Simpson card is the best card in the world cause it talks funny. Daddy is the best daddy in the world because he's lovable. I think he's cute and he snuggles me a lot and I like it because I ask questions about the world and he had very good answers. And I like him because he is funny. And he gives me the best and biggest hugs and kisses in the world."
From the Pixie,"Because he's -ah- the best daddy in the world. He loves me cause I'm lovey. His letter for his name is S, cause it has sparkles and lillies on it. (OK, I have no idea where that came from.) I think he is funny (She is good at copying her sister...) and for him taking me to school. I like to play band hero with him. I like him to set me up a movie on the new tv. For kissing him for kissing me. That's it."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Green Woman And I Visit The Frog Pond With Merciless Efficiency

My recent efforts to clear our home of all unnecessary stuff have extended themselves to my knitting bag. Spurred on by the annoyance with myself for having succumbed to startitis a bit much over the last few months as well as the certain knowledge that some of the projects just weren't working, the Green Woman and I decided to have a frog pond party this morning. These things must be undertaken with a bit of fortification. Behold...the homemade iced coffee, courtesy of my wonderful cold brew toddy system. There is simply nothing better on a hot day.
First up - the summer shell I started just before Memorial Day weekend. Oddly, it didn't even get a Ravelry entry (don't know how I missed that...) and so I'm not going to bother with the details. I will tell you that the reason I'm frogging it is because I was knitting it with a ridiculous amount of tension. Much of this was knit during a very stressful drive home during scary, scary thunderstorms - and the resulting fabric is much tighter than it should be. The stitches were difficult to move around the needle, and my hands would ache every time I picked it up.
I felt much better as soon as I had reduced it to a pile of yarn on the bed.
Then I undid the cast on row for a scarf I had begun with this handspun. I'm just not a lacy scarf sort of girl - as much as I wish I could be. I would rather do a simple shawlette of some sort.
Then I pulled out the big pieces - the warm and cool mandalas I had cast on together in crazy glee. The problem is that they both turned out to be very, very small for shawls. In fact, I had completed 3/4 of the charts...and hadn't even used a full skein of either yarn. That's just wrong. If I attempt it again, I'll need to use a needle at least two sizes bigger than I had been. In all honesty, though, I have another project in mind for the warm yarn (Knit Picks)...a project that is just begging for this color.
I am not at all sure what I will do with the cool yarn (malabrigo lace). In fact, it's proving so difficult to frog that all of my worst fears about it have been confirmed. It's so, so buttery soft that I want to bury myself in mounds of it....but it's going to pill and felt like crazy. It does need some thought.
I also took the Kusha-Kusha scarf off of the active list. I never really started it, and although I know I'll get to it soon I wanted to make sure my project list was as bare as possible. I'm down to just six - two long term lace projects, a beaded shawl, a beaded scarf, a pair of socks and a sweater - and I feel much, much better.
After I finished the post, I went to my Ravelry page so that I could work on linking projects to my blog posts...something I'm horrendously behind on. (As in, I have six months to catch up on!) I'm noticing two things. One, I've done a LOT of frogging this year. Two, there are multiple posts where I talk about feeling better with small WIP lists. Perhaps I need to remind myself of that the next time startitis hits.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Using My Brain

I solved the problem of how to randomly string beads. Pretty smart, don't you think!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Moonflowers Bead Stew Kit by Earth Faire
Harmony DPN's, size 2.0mm
Time to knit - less than 2 hours, on Sunday.
Modifications - I did the wider 'cuff' size so as to use up all of the beads.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Meanderings

Photo by my brother, Erin.

  • I finished a second, very small project last night, and will share it with you tomorrow!
  • I'm liking this quick knits thing. I so rarely do instant gratification projects, and I think that perhaps I should do more.
  • I also like the fact that I'm using up leftovers which I've held on to for a very long time. That's a good thing.
  • Ditto for finally getting around to projects which have been sitting in the stash for a while.
  • Scary, but true, it's time to start working on Christmas gifts. I want to be well ahead of the game this year, which means that it needs to happen asap.
  • The good news - I have a list of ideas prepared and the materials for most of the gifts.
  • The bad news - the yarn for the girls' sweaters is STILL on backorder.
  • Also bad news - I still haven't been paid for the last sample sweater I knit. I believe this is officially the end of my journey with that designer. It's been two months, and I've sent multiple emails. I'm now sending weekly messages...but if I don't hear from her by the end of the month I'm going to freely publish info about this situation.
  • I've been reading a lot lately. In fact, I read the latest book by one of my favorite authors this my husband's amusement. He remembers the pre-child days when I couldn't tear myself away from a book for anything!
  • My mom remembers my childhood with a great dose of annoyance for that same thing. I frequently got in trouble for reading too much and/or ignoring the world over a book.
  • It's sad to wait for a book for over a year...only to read it in three days and then have to start waiting again.
  • The Tony awards last night were a bit of a snooze. Used to be, I watched them religiously and in the following week went out and bought my music for the next year. I could take or leave the musicals from the last few years...most of them being just so-so.
  • Mathew Morrison and Lea Michelle were the bright spots last night.
  • I want Lea Michelle's career.
  • Of course, that would require some vocal talent.
  • Ahem.
  • So how am I feeling?
  • 18 days into the thyroid meds, and I feel like I've got the flu. The side effects have hit me pretty hard over the last couple of weeks - including raging insomnia, headaches and a queasy tummy. Oh, and my hair is falling out. Truth - I feel worse now than I did before I started the meds - by a lot.
  • Yes, I do have a call in to my doctor. She and I need to talk.
  • My father in law told me that it would take almost the full month before I started to feel better. He didn't tell me I could potentially feel a lot worse before that happened.
  • The thyroid forums I found online said that this could happen, though.
  • I have a stack of books on the thyroid waiting for me at the library. I sense some serious research coming on!
  • I only made it to the gym three days last week. I'm not going today. At this point it would just be a bad idea. When you start off feeling this bad, exercise only makes it worse.
  • I did go in for an acupuncture appointment last week, and it was very helpful. By the time I went to bed that evening, most of the anger had faded and - while my body was sluggish to respond to the treatment and never fully relaxed - I have felt better in many ways since then. I have a second appointment set up for this Friday.
  • I also might make an appointment with my therapist. Couldn't hurt.
  • I'm feeling a bit guilty about my kids. Their summer break hasn't been that much fun thus far because Mommy is just too tired to do that much with them. I'm really hoping that gets better soon.
  • I did just order a new swimsuit. Two sizes smaller than last year's!
  • Which reminds me - the bright spot in all of this medical craziness continues to be the fact that I have a new understanding that it's not about the number on the scales. How you feel is so very much more important. It's been almost two months since I weighed, and honestly I just don't care anymore.

Now...I think I'm off for a late morning rest, and then hopefully a trip to the library with the girls.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quick Weekend Project

The baby is going to be born on Thursday (via C-section), and she needed a gift.

Pattern: A Gelderland Baby Hat to Knit, Pieceworks May/June 2010
Yarn: 1 skein Manderine Petite cotton - leftover from a project that I did 7 years ago!
Needles: Knit Picks Harmony DPN's 3.0mm
Knit: June 13 and 14, 2010

I gave it to Mama today, and she loved it! The girls also loved it...and are trying to convince me to make them their own hats....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In Which I Discover That I'm Physically Incapable of "Random"

As you know, I've been in a "Bead" sort of mindset lately. Finding myself feeling rather on the tired side of things, I decided to spend yesterday stringing beads for a couple of bracelets that I've been planning on making for quite some time. Both are Bead Stew Kits from Earth Faire - a delightful store which focuses on the fantastic combination of beads and knitting. What could be better?!

The instructions are rather straightforward - you string the beads from the kit randomly and then knit up the bracelet. Seems simple, right?

Yes, well, it's simple until you throw my own personal neurosis into the mix.

First up was Moonflowers - a pale, quiet mix which does indeed remind me moonlight. I strung up the beads, took one look, and promptly took them all back off of the thread. I started again...and was only 20 or so beads in when I knew that random was never going to work for me.

I tried. I really, really tried.

30 minutes later, I had divided up all of the beads into empty little tea boxes. There were 7 moon beads, which meant that there were six spaces in between. I beaded a few edge beads - and the first of the moons - and then set about dividing up the beads into the six spaces. There were actually only two other types of beads that really stood out. Those I evenly shared out among the boxes. Then I eyeballed the division of the rest (Yes, I considered counting them out....but that would have pushed the crazy too far.) Once all of that was done, I had only to pour out a box of beads and string them as randomly as I was capable of, finishing off each section with a moon. And yes, I was quite pleased once I was done.
Today I want to string the deep forest bracelet. We'll see how that goes....

500 Posts and Counting

I think a 500th post deserves a special photo of the flowers that I hold most dear, don't you?

Thank you all for reading my blog and being a part of my crazy life. I hope you know how much I have treasured all of your comments and your friendship. The blog has become so much more than I had planned - and so much more than I had hoped for.

Here's to the next 500!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Monday Meanderings

This is what it looks like when you stand under the center of the Bean and look up. (Picture courtesy of my brother.) Told you I was fascinated.

  • Have you ever had the universe reach out to take care of you? I have. In fact, it's happened twice today.
  • The first instance happened this AM. Just as I pushed publish on a blog post - one which I probably would have regretted later - Blogger went out. The post disappeared into the ether, and I was hit by an immediate sense of, "Thank God."
  • The second happened this afternoon. I came home from a day of outings to find that an acquaintance of mine had reached out to me via facebook because of a dream she'd had. (I've been known to do the same thing, so I think this is perfectly normal.) I opted for honesty, told her what was going on....and it turns out she may just be the person I need most to discuss the problem with as she has it herself. It was too big of a coincidence to be merely a coincidence.
  • So what's all the angst about, you might be wondering.
  • The day we left for Chicago I got a phone call from my doctor. Remember those blood tests from a few weeks ago? the ones I took because my recovery has been so awful? I honestly thought they were a waste of time and money....but it turns out that my thyroid is under performing and my TSH levels finally turned up abnormal in a test. I say finally because my family - and at least one doctor - have suspected a problem for years.
  • I'm not going to go into really any more detail about it now. Suffice it to say that while I should be happy to have an answer for a commonish problem that's easy to fix once you find the correct meds and dosage I find myself intensely angry.
  • There will be a post on anger later this week. Why? because at 36 I think it's really important to allow one's self to fully experience and feel whatever emotions one may be having - without judgement.
  • Moving on.
  • The Green Woman and I are in a bit of a mood. It's a rather unusual mood for the two of us. We are in the mood to clean, organize, purge and simplify our household.
  • You may remember that this started with the closet a couple of weeks ago. Last week found me down in the basement, getting seriously to work on our storage area. I feel a need to strike while my sense of personal attachment to stuff is gone. Who knows, it may come back...and I need to get as much done before that happens.
  • The older I get, the less attached I am to stuff anyway!
  • The Green Woman feels that once we get rid of this junk than my creativity will expand. She keeps lecturing me on her theories about why this is so. I keep ignoring her so that I can work.
  • I'm hoping that I can get through the entire house in a couple of weeks.
  • We'll see.
  • Interestingly enough, in between bouts of cleaning I find myself sitting down to intense periods of knitting.
  • Also interesting - I seem to have knitting ADD, and it's never the same project twice.
  • In fact, I have 10 projects on the needles right now, which is really odd for me.
  • Even's not bothering me.
  • The Green Woman is snickering in the other room.
  • As part of the cleanout, I will be taking over a corner of the basement for my own studio space. It's not ideal - but it's the best I'm going to get in this house. Hopefully it will alleviate all of the personal space issues I've had for the last four years.
  • In other craft news - I'm definitely in a bead sort of mood. AND, I just found out that there's a bead store coming to town! It'll never be my primary craft, but I'm hoping to take a class or two so that I'll know enough to be able to do what I want to do.
  • Also, the embroidery stuff has come out of hiding lately. I'm considering a couple of projects....although what I really need to do is practice for a while.
  • The Green Woman thinks it's foolish to waste time on practice.
  • Boy, she's loud today.

And on that note, I think perhaps I'd better go get dinner started! The kids start swim lessons tonight, so they'll need to eat early!

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Chicago Meanderings

I began this post last Wednesday...and it's time I finished and posted it, don't you think!?

  • First, I suppose I should clarify that my brother is not actually married. I refer to his girlfriend as my SIL because that's pretty much what she is - sans the formal paperwork. They've been living together for about five years, and are as solid of a couple as I know.
  • In fact, if anything ever happens to them, I've threatened to keep her and kick my brother to the curb.
  • The only reason I'm explaining this is because they both read the blog and they both think it's hilarious that I've been calling her my SIL. It's just easier, and that's the type of love we feel for her.
  • Also, my brother and his girlfriend share the name "Erin."
  • Ask my parents why they chose that spelling for a boy. Had a lot to do with it being Irish.
  • Ask my brother how he occasionally has felt about his name....
  • The girls call them "Unkie Erin" and "Erin Girl."
  • My girls think the Erins walk on water! As well they should.
  • So what all did we do?
  • On Friday we went to Navy Pier and Millennium Park. We ended the day with traditional Chicago-style pizza.
  • Navy Pier was way too touristy and crowded for all of us - but we felt as if it was something we needed to do at least once. Now that we've been there, we need never go back.
  • The important part...I actually rode the Ferris Wheel.
  • I am terrified of heights, enclosed spaces, and rides of any this is a big deal for me.
  • Why did I do it? I sucked it up and was a grown up so that the Princess would get on. She was set to go until she actually saw how big the silly thing is - at which point she had a mild freak-out. When I saw her start to flip, I grabbed her hand, didn't give myself time to think, and went right to the ride.
  • Seven and a half minutes of pure terror.
  • But the kids wound up loving it!
  • I can't emphasize what a big deal this was for brother and husband gave me mad props all day and my parents even called to tell me how proud they were.
  • My trainer had been encouraging me to challenge myself to do things that scare me. I'll never enjoy such things, but being able to do them when I have to is a definite step up.
  • Pixie is a danger dog. She thought the whole thing was fantastic from beginning to end.
  • Millennium park was considerably better than Navy Pier.
  • How on earth they manage to hide something as big as the Bean is a miracle to me. Seriously, you can't see it until you are right up on it!
  • I love the Bean.
  • The girls loved the water fountains. It may have been the best part of their day.
  • We did go to a cupcake shop, Sugar Bliss, after Millennium Park. That might have been the most perfect cupcake I've ever had. Oddly enough, I didn't go for chocolate...but for the salted Peanut.
  • Just thinking about it, I'm starting to salivate.
  • I also discovered the joy and pleasure of a cold beer after a long, hot day that evening. Funny to be 36 before I'm figuring that out.
  • Saturday found us at the Lincoln Park Zoo and the adjoining conservatory.
  • Sean's getting right to work building me a conservatory in our back yard.
  • If I had an orchid greenhouse/conservatory, I would be a happy, happy woman.
  • The zoo was a zoo...but they had things that we don't here, and the girls loved it.
  • On the way home we stopped at Whole Foods.
  • Wow.
  • I want one.
  • I've never seen anything like it.
  • It makes complete sense that the Erins go there on date nights....
  • We dined that evening at Leona's, a famous Chicago institution. It was most excellent...and I'm glad I gave up the vegetarian thing for the trip.
  • After a breakfast at a local coffee shop, Filter, Sunday was all about the Shedd Aquarium.
  • A word about Filter - Fabulous!
  • A word about Shedd - thank God we had purchased a small umbrella stroller on Friday. We got to go to the accessible entrance, and our wait was only about 45 minutes, as compared with the probably 2-3 hour wait to get in the front door.
  • Chicago on Memorial Day weekend is perhaps not the greatest idea for a tourist.
  • The Shedd was definitely the girls' favorite. They haven't stopped talking about Nickle, the whales, the dolphins and the stingrays since.
  • Oddly enough, the Wild Reef exhibit turned out to be worse for me than the stupid Ferris Wheel. Why? It triggered my claustrophobia in the worst ways possible. Ugly.
  • We finished the day with Thai delivery. I love Thai food, and I don't get to eat it near often enough.
  • The shopping was done on Sunday before the aquarium....but they you've already seen that!
  • Of course, we drove home on Monday - and it was anything but a pleasant drive. Long story short, we wound up dealing with really bad thunderstorms, and our 6.5 hour drive ended up taking us 8.5 part because of the severity of the storms and in part because we ended up taking a detour to get through and around them. Thank Goodness for McDonald's playplaces, and portable DVD players!

And that's it...the story of our vacation!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Knitting News

I had an exquisitely peaceful day yesterday. As it was the Pixie's last morning at school - and as I'm trying to stay off of my feet this week, now sure that I did more than bruise my foot when I dropped that seat on it - I decided to spend my last morning alone in a coffee shop. As beads were on my mind, I decided to start Entemology - a shawl for which I had prepped the yarn and beads last summer.
This is a more accurate picture in terms of color. I wound up having the entire afternoon free as well, thanks to my MIL and the fact that the girls' cousins are in town. As I told my husband last night, with one last day of freedom I knew I needed to let myself relax and have fun. I therefor accomplished considerably more on the shawl than I had expected too, and I loved every minute!
As an aside - while I was doing all of this knitting, I was listening to "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, downloaded free from my public library. Do not walk - RUN - to your nearest bookstore or library for a copy. Yes, it's that good.
I managed to go on vacation with only three knitting projects - and this is the one I ultimately settled on. It's a new summer shell in Elsebeth Lavold's silky wool...and is, in fact, one of her designs. Oddly enough, I spent most of the daylight hours on our trip to Chicago just happily watching the scenery go by. On the way back, I spent a lot of time monitoring the iPhone to help us dodge storms. All that to say, that I didn't get near as much done as I had expected. I'm only now ready for the central motif.
It wouldn't be summer without baby knits, and this year I'm going to happily use my stash. The bag on the left is a huge bag of leftovers, and the bag on the right is a KnitPicks sampler bag. Underneath is a pile of patterns. I'm planning on getting to work this weekend...and the more of this yarn that I use up the happier I'll be!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Bean Made Me Do It

Rather impressive, isn't it?! Don't know why I love it as I do as it's hardly my 'style.' And yet...and yet I could have stood there looking at it for hours....and the pictures make me deliriously happy.....and as it fascinated the Green Woman no end I'm now going to blame it for all odd behavior on both of our parts.

As in....

The Bean made me start a new beaded lace project this morning. This despite the fact that I have considerably more lace on the needles than normal.

The Bean is making us look at lots of beads with increasing interest.....

The Bean prompted the beginning of another massive clean out....this time in the girls' rooms.

The Bean is responsible for my startitis right now....and the corresponding knitters ADD.

The Bean thinks I should sew up a few quick skirts for myself.

The Bean....

You get the idea.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Treasures From Chicago

Because you can't go on a trip and come home without a few special reminders! As it would happen, my sister-in-law is probably my perfect shopping buddy. While our personal styles may be different, we have very similar tastes in the type of place we like to explore. On the last day of our visit, Erin and I spent a little while exploring her neighborhood...which was a joy! This little ring came from Renegade Handmade. I love it beyond reason!
We next went to Green Heart, a fair trade store. I picked up this Guatemalan necklace for myself and two crazy, hot-pink beaded rings for the girls. I also fell in love with the dresses from Mata Traders. I may have to get one of those some day!
Of course, Erin and I both love crafting, and she just so happens to live close to the most wonderful bead store I've ever seen - Beadniks. As I generally do, I picked up some seed beads for my collection. The Lucite flowers are for a bracelet I have long admired and now must learn how to make, and the daggers are for a pair of earrings which the store had on display. I also fell head over heels for a leather and turquoise bracelet/anklet/necklace, the mood beads and several of the ethnic collections. It's probably a good thing I don't live any closer....
Did you really think I would escape without yarn? Our last stop was at Nina, a charming - and very urban - yarn store. I had hoped to find something there to take home, and I certainly wasn't disappointed. For the first time ever, I discovered Habu Textiles....which has long been a desire of mine. Even better, they had kits for the famed Kusha Kusha scarf. I just may have to cast on tonight!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010