- I am tired.
- I am happy.
- We just returned home from a trip to visit my brother in Chicago.
- My brother and sister-in-law are perfect hosts, and we had an unbelievably good time with them!
- There will be more information later this week when I've had time to sort all of the pictures.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
- Let us begin with the craft stuff this week. It sometimes doesn't get its full due.
- This morning I had clumsy fingers and couldn't spindle spin worth a darn. How's that for funny. I got frustrated, laughed at myself, and went after the knitting.
- On Saturday I finished the baby gift for my personal trainer. I will be posting FO pictures tomorrow. For now, suffice it to say that it's quite simply the most delectable baby gift I have ever made.
- Even if it did turn out to be big enough for a two-year-old.
- It's good to get gifts that will last for a long while....
- Progress continues on the mandalas. By mid-week I should have completed the third section on both and will hopefully post progress pictures.
- My husband's cat just bit me. I hate that cat.
- I'm going to get started on the Princess shawl again this week.
- Also, I'm casting on for a summer top for myself. Let's hope this time it doesn't turn out small enough for the Princess.
- Cleaning out the closet/bedroom seems to have had an interesting effect on me. It's caused two distinct phenomenons.
- First, I almost don't know what to do with myself, and find myself a bit overwhelmed by order and cleanliness. Make of that what you will.
- By way of explanation, I keep finding myself sitting on my bed, staring blankly around me, incapable of deciding what to do next. Weird.
- Second, I went shopping yesterday, and for the first time EVER I had a blast! In fact, I found the most perfect dress in the world - one so gorgeous that I keep trying it on so that I can dance around the house a little.
- I also filled out my summer wardrobe needs - which were actually pretty modest. I still have no need for a closet full, after all.
- Besides, I still plan on being in workout clothes most of the time!
- In addition, today I went downtown and bought two new pair of Birkenstocks. As my last pair lasted 14 years, I think this is a good investment. I will say, though, that I wish I'd tried this store years ago. It's the first time I've ever walked into a shoe store and had CHOICE. I plan on going back this fall as all of my winter shoes need to be replaced as well.
- It's good to have new things - especially when one is so very excited about them!
- I still need a swimsuit. I'm not excited about that at all.
- I've decided that the basement will have to wait until after school is out. The next couple of weeks are just too crazy to start a project of that magnitude.
- In fact, this week is so busy it makes me want a nap just thinking about it.
- This week is also my last week with my trainer. Trust me, I will cry on Thursday.
- Meghan did tell me last week that I'm back to and exceeding my pre-surgery strength training numbers. Yay me!
- Also, I had two fantastic runs last week - b0th breaking four miles, and both leaving me with tons of energy for the rest of the day.
- It's good to be back.
And on that note, have a great week everyone!
Friday, May 21, 2010
As my energy levels seem to be coming up...and as it just needed to be done...I've found myself engaging in some serious Spring Cleaning over the last couple of days. My husband did the actual scrubbing some weeks ago, and so what I find myself doing is the general clutter clean up and junk purging.
I'm trying to be very tough - knowing that I will feel better when I clear the junk out of our home and out of my head space - but it's sometimes hard to let go. With that in mind, here's a list of things I'm agonizing over a bit.
- All of my tatting supplies. Truth time - I've not tatted for years as I discovered that I greatly prefer knitting my lace. Plus, tatting stresses me out...and is kind of boring.
- A box of art supplies from FAO Schwarz. I worked there, and this was a damaged box that I got for cheap. I've never fixed the box, and have never given the art supplies to the girls.
- The paint set I was given my my co-workers when I was a fundraiser.
- A bag filled with my dance clothes and shoes. I haven't danced since I was 19. Keeping the shoes...tossing the clothes....giving the bag to the girls.
- Another box of random craft supplies - including my rubber stamps for velvet embossing. Haven't done that since shortly after I moved into this house (about 8 years ago) and in fact, haven't touched anything else in the box either. I got rid of the box - an ugly, old purple, plastic holdover from the 80's - and I compromised by clearing about half of the random craft stuff.
- My failed Hanna Falkenburg Sweater. It looks hideous on me. Have sent email to my SIL, who might like it. If she doesn't - away it goes!)
- The Amy Butler bag that didn't quite work out.
- Two pair of sexy black evening shoes...that don't fit. (I was desperate, and have often had to deal with painful feet to get decent shoes.)
- My old prom and courtwarming dresses. Sigh.
- My violin. I don't play. It's a long story.
- The two dishtowel bags I made a couple of summers ago - and never use because I like a more structured bag.
- In fact, there are several bags I could stand to part with.
- All of my knitting magazines.
- The little tin cones (wall decorations) which I bought on sale probably 8 years ago and never put up.
- A pile of picture frames. Half gone!
- The Princess's nursery clock - long broken.
Do you know what's going to be even worse?
Our storage area in the basement. I hit that when the girls go to camp Grandma and Grampa this summer.
PS. Items in italics have already been carted out to the Salvation Army pile. I can't stand garage sales...it bothers me to watch people pick through my stuff, and I'd rather just get rid of it!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Today's story: How My Husband Proposed
You must first understand that Sean and I had a rather unusual courtship....one which we laughingly refer to as the laziest courtship in the world. Truth be told, we never 'dated' and our relationship was hardly romantic. Rather, we were very, very good friends for almost four years during college, and then one day we came to our senses and realized we were perfect for each other. Once we had confessed our feelings, little actually changed in our day to day interactions. Easy as pie....and also the biggest risk either one of us has ever taken.
As friends, we had long been in the habit of staying up together on Saturday nights to watch SNL, Baywatch and Joe Bob Brigg's Monster Vision together. Quite naturally, we continued this tradition after our relationship changed. Bad TV on Saturday night was sacred...even after I graduated and was forced to move back home into my great grandparents' house.
It was during this time of long-distance trial by fire when we saw what was quite possibly the funniest SNL skit ever. That's right, we saw the original 'Snakes On a Plane!' Now, it was possible that Sean was just a bit tired and punchy that night. Yes, it was a hilarious skit, but that wouldn't explain why he hit the floor in hysterical laughter. Nevertheless, he laughed for probably 20 minutes...and for the rest of the weekend....about those silly fake snakes.
It seemed quite natural that I should then go buy a tacky rubber snake for Sean's next Valentine's Day present.
When the snake made it's second appearance a month or so later in a drawer at my house, I knew we had a game on. From that point on, whoever was in possession of the snake would make a point of hiding it in the other's home....trying for places guaranteed to startle.
While all of this was going on, Sean and I had made some plans for our future. He was to buy a house, then he would propose and we would get married and live happily ever after. (Sean was considerably more settled in a professional position than I was, which is why I was moving back to be with him.) I helped him look for the home, we settled on a charming little ranch house and then...nothing.
I was getting tired of waiting.
One evening, I drove to Columbia, arriving at the house a bit later than usual. I was exhausted, and settled onto the couch with Sean to watch some tv as we talked about our week. I had probably been there for a good two hours when I finally realized I was thirsty. So I got up and went to the fridge.
Where I opened the door to find the snake wrapped around a ring box, with a sign saying, "Will you marry Meeeee?"
I think I was in shock...not expecting this at all....because I just stood there for a while, staring stupidly at the box. I then looked over at Sean, who hadn't moved a single muscle on the couch. He raised his hands into the air and said, "Well?"
And that was that.
Monday, May 17, 2010
- I am very tired this morning, so if this gets a little bit wonky, you'll know why.
- Why am I tired? Well, I barely slept last night...for a variety of reasons....and we had a very long weekend. (Think about 3 hours of quality sleep. Not enough by any one's reckoning.)
- On Saturday we celebrated the Pixie's birthday with 4/5 of the grands and the great-grand. It was a wonderful day, and I believe all of her birthday wishes came true. This was my favorite type of birthday party - just the family, lots of love, fun birthday presents, good food and a very happy kid.
- Oh! and balloons! We had lots of balloons!
- The sour cream chocolate cake (recipe from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess) was a huge hit with the adults...but not so much for the girls. Oh well!
- Chocolate cake is the PERFECT breakfast food. Just sayin.
- The Princess had a doubly good day on Saturday because she also went to a friend's birthday party at a local gymnastics gym.
- We are now considering gymnastics lessons - especially since the gym is literally two minutes from our house. Both girls are going to need something physical this summer to help burn off some energy!
- The Pixie totally thinks that her birthday lasted for four days. The actual day was last Wednesday - when we took her to dinner and bought her flowers. On Thursday she took cupcakes to school. As a family we went out to dinner on Friday, and as that's a rarity usually only associated with holidays she made the natural connection to that being about her birthday as well. All of this wound up with the party on Saturday.
- Her older sister was also working hard to justify this...trying to make SURE that the birthdays had been equal.
- I had hoped for some sort of family activity yesterday, but my husband got sick and spent the entire day in bed. I tried to be very understanding as he just doesn't get sick all that often, but WOW those kids were nuts yesterday. I think the birthday party high was wearing off in a big, bad way.
- One very good thing happened yesterday - we sang my favorite old hymn at church. It was spontaneous as a guitar string broke, preventing the scheduled special music. Sometimes I think things are meant to be. Ask me sometime about my musical issues with the church. I needed that old hymn yesterday.
- I think I'm also worn to the bone. It might be time for another weekend away by myself.
- I'm rather sick of the rain. My poor bike really wants to go ride the trail...but it's been a sopping mess since my last ride.
- I think the rain/weather is also contributing to a rather blah feeling in my entire family.
- I've started pulling clothes out of my closet which I have no intention of ever wearing again. I haven't really bought anything since I started working out last summer except for the rare necessity and workout clothes. The closet is starting to look rather sparse...and yet still I'm making due for a little while longer.
- You would think that my lack of clothing would bother me, but in a way it's a relief to not have to think about it. I have at least one thing for every social situation I can imagine right now....and that's all I need.
- The last time I weighed myself was April 26 - and I had to check My Daily Plate records to figure that out.
- Even better, I don't really care what I weigh right now. I'm just focused on how I'm feeling. I've not felt this way since I was 11.
- Unfortunately, how I'm feeling is not so good. I'm going back in for bloodwork today or tomorrow because I shouldn't still be this tired and icky all of the time. I have a feeling that everything is ok - that I've just gotten into some bad habits again because I've been tired - (sweets, chocolate) - and that those bad habits are feeding into the exhaustion.
- Which means, this week I must absolutely do a wonderful job of taking care of myself.
- I'm spending a lot of time complaining today. That's not good.
- I'm going to go take a nap.
Have a great week everyone!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Having missed my first deadline for the baby gift (my guild meeting...I wanted badly for my friends to see the finished piece!), I decided to cast on something NEW Tuesday night. It was high time to get over my recent spate of single-minded knitting, and I had just the thing in mind. Lucky for me, the needles that I had ordered for that project had arrived that very afternoon. As some of you may know already, I have a fondness - ahem, bordering on an obsession - for circular shawls. It is therefor completely to be expected that I had fallen in love with Renee Leverington's Mandala pattern some time ago. I've spent a lot of time drooling over finished Mandalas on Ravelry, and knew that it was only a matter of time before I would have one of my own. I wasn't sure, though, of how I wanted to do it. Beads or no beads? Handpaint or solid? Fingering or laceweight?
And then I received a Knit Picks order. Sigh.
I've been very good at NOT buying unnecessary yarn for a good long while now, but when I had made that order I had fallen completely in love with their new Tonal Shadow laceweight. The Queen Ann colorway was one of a couple that sucked me in...which is not a surprise as the yellow/pink pairing is my second greatest color temptation. (Behind all things GREEN, natch.) The funny thing is that the yarn that arrived was not at all what I expected. On my screen it was a soft, pastel-y color. In my hands it was deeper, and much more vibrant. No matter - I loved it every bit as much, and maybe more. I immediately knew that this yarn was intended for that Mandala.
I already had an inkling that this yarn was going to do a funky spiral - thanks to a quick perusal of other mandalas on Ravelry made from the various Knit Picks multicolored laceweights - and I must say that I am absolutely enchanted by that effect. (Note - if the colors were even a smidge more of a contrast, this would be really bad, but as is it doesn't detract from the lace pattern too much and is thus amusing me.)
The best part about knitting the mandala? It's totally a choose-your-own-adventure pattern, with four different patterns for each section. While I hated those books as a child, I LOVE this about knitting!
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Interestingly enough, your response also happens to have been exactly what this writer needed to prove to herself that she does have something to say. I feel like my heart is cracking open and the words are beginning to flood out. Perhaps I'll start posting a weekly essay...that could be fun!
Now let's get to the business of the day:
- My Mother's Day was fantastic! I'll share photos with you later this week of the gifts and cards which the girls made.
- The girls aren't too impressed with the fact that I ordered my main present myself. Ordinarily, I don't approve of such actions, either, but I really, REALLY wanted the item in question - a personalized necklace by the fabulous Lisa Leonard.
- Yep, pictures are coming later. The camera batteries are dead right about now, and I'm too lazy/tired to fix that today.
- Ironically, my husband gave me a card which joked about him being the "Snorer in your bed," for Mother's Day. Why is it ironic? His allergies kicked up Saturday night, and I wound up sleeping on the couch because he was snoring so much. (Sorry hun...but it was funny.)
- Good thing we have an excellent sleeping couch!
- My Mother's Day was also stressful. My 17+ year old cat went into hypoglycemic shock in the afternoon, which was terrifying. A quick call to Dad and a slug of honey later and he was fine. I've cut his insulin dosage in half, and he seems to be back to normal. In fact, he spent most of last night wrestling with my husband's cat as if they were kittens. He's amazing.
- If a bit sticky. Turns out, cats don't like honey.
- I can't believe that the cat has been doing so well on insulin for six years now - at least four years beyond the average for diabetic cats - but I also have to recognize that he is a 17+ year old diabetic cat who just isn't going to live forever.
- It's a bitter pill to swallow.
- Goodness, I just realized I've had that cat for almost half of my life....
- Truthfully, my weekend was also tough because I had a bit of a setback regarding my recovery. I spent most of the weekend in bed, doing absolutely nothing because I just didn't have any energy. The last couple of days have also been a struggle, and I've been crying a lot again.
- And gratitude for a phone call from one of my husband's aunts which helped to put things into perspective.
- And even more gratitude for a personal trainer who has been amazing over the last two months.
- In an effort to save myself from my youngest's current music craze, I let her put Mamma Mia - the Broadway version - back in her CD player. At the time I thought it would be better than a constant stream of "Blue Moo."
- I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm getting a bit sick of Abba.
- Abba is one of my top 5 favorite bands if that tells you how bad it is.
- Although I will admit that walking into the living room to find the Pixie standing on her table, dressed to the nines (sparkle shoes! feather boa!! tiara!!!) and belting out Dancing Queen at the top of her lungs is pretty darn hilarious.
- A very good musical item from last week - they sang "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on Glee last week. Musical perfection.
- Crafty stuff?
- It's spring, and spring is all about my spinning wheel and lace.
- I did a lot of spinning last week, and I hope to present you with three completed hanks of yarn this week.
- I did indeed decide that life was too short to spin junk fiber, and have moved on. I'm trying to decide which fabulous batch of fiber I will spin next...another small, handpainted gem or a bigger, more long-term project? Perhaps I should draw a number from a hat.
- While I have a lot of lace I'd like to be working on, I'm focusing mostly on finishing a baby gift right now. The finished item is going to be phenomenal, and I can't wait to gift it!
- I did do all of the finish work today on the Swan Lake stole. I hope to also show it off later this week.
- I had a KnitPicks order arrive today with a bunch of DPN's that I needed. This is very important because it means I can cast on a new circular shawl today!
- Ooohhhh...I also received my new Namaste circular needle case yesterday. It is EXACTLY what I wanted! My husband thought I was funny last night when I was transferring my needles while sighing with contentment.
- Other stuff?
- We have scheduled a long-anticipated trip to Chicago to visit the Erins! I can't wait!
- Facebook has made me face some really interesting personal issues...such as the fact that I didn't realize how badly I needed to be forever 18 to certain people. No need to share the full neurosis...but I can say it's allowed for some interesting introspection.
- I dreamt last night that vampires were after my girls. It was really odd...especially when we got to the part where a friend was laying eggs.
I think that means we've now wandered into crazy town and it's time to wrap this up for this week.
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
First, let me just say that I firmly believe that mothering is a very individual thing. What works for me doesn't necessarily work for you, and vice verse. As with so many things, it would truly be a dull world if we all were built to the exact same specifications. I'm quite proud to have friends who mother quite successfully in many ways, and I've learned a great deal from them all. In fact, one of the great joys in my adult life has been in the development of my friendships with other women - something which I didn't have growing up, and something which can be directly linked to our common bond as mothers.
The thing about that, though, is that over the last 7 years I've taken quite a few punches for being the type of mother I am. Some of them were intended - such as when a mom on a knitting forum told me I was a waste and a drain on society because I had left the workforce - but often times it's been more subtle.
And so as we celebrate one of my personal favorite holidays, I thought I would take a bit of time to tell you just what kind of Mom I am...and to define what I think my job is.
- My children are NOT the center of my universe, nor should they be.
- I am most certainly NOT defined by my children.
- I once thought that the only thing I wanted in this world was to be a mom...but after I had my second child I knew that I had been wrong. My girls are only part of the equation - a very important part, to be sure, but they are not all that I am. I want more for my life.
- Yes, being a stay-at-home Mom was the right decision for this family, and in many ways I can't imagine having done it any differently. But it still sucks sometimes and is often lonely, thankless, boring and frustrating.
- I do believe it is VERY important for my kids to see that I have a life outside of this household and outside of this family.
- I also believe it is important for the girls to know that they can survive without me - and that their father is fully capable of taking excellent care of them.
- Taking that a step further, extended families are a good thing. I both want and need my children to spend as much time with all of their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and great-grand as possible.
- While I might not always agree with or approve of everything my family might say and/or do with the girls, I am smart enough to know that my way is not the only way and that there are things which they can learn from our family which they can't learn from me.
- I resent being told that now is not my time, that I must focus everything I have and everything I am on my children. What kind of lesson is that? I want them to grow up feeling strong and sure of themselves - not believing that they someday must martyr themselves on the alter of their families.
- I also think it's ridiculous to suppose that any woman must set aside her own needs for the sake of her children.
- It is most certainly NOT my job to entertain my children. They are bright girls, fully capable of finding something to do by themselves.
- I can't protect them from every evil in this world, much as I would like to. A few years ago I came to peace with this fact, and life has been a whole lot more enjoyable since then.
- I need time away from my children in order to be a good mom. I didn't understand this before I became a mother, and I deeply regret the fact that I ever criticized any woman for taking time. My weekly Mom's Night Off has kept me sane, as have all of the times when the grandparents have stepped in to give me a break.
- I believe in the value of a good public education - but I also believe that it's my responsibility to make sure that they are getting the full benefit of their schools.
- My job is to give my children opportunity, and to expose them to as many possibilities as I am able....even when it might seem a bit nuts.
- It's also my job to allow them to fail sometimes - even when it hurts.
- When they do fail, it's my job to make sure they understand that they are still lovable and that failure doesn't define them.
- I want to make sure they know that it's ok to make mistakes. In fact, I hope they don't grow up as I did - so afraid of making mistakes that they become bound by fear.
- I also want to make sure that they remain children for as long as possible.
- Most of all, it's my responsibility to give my children freedom - be that to wear whatever crazy getup they can come up with or to play outdoors without me. Children can't learn to fly if they are always in a cage.
I believe Mother's Day is about so much more than our own little families. For me it's a chance to honor all of the women in my life - each of whom has a place in my heart, and each of whom has helped me to become the woman I am today. To you all, I would like to wish you a very happy, very blessed Mother's Day.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Monday, May 3, 2010
- I survived my single-parent weekend with my sanity intact!
- Actually, it was quite a nice weekend. Of course, it helped that the Princess had a birthday party Saturday AM and then my mother-in-law (Fabulous woman!) took the girls for a few hours that afternoon. Still, it was very nice, and no one fought or was ugly at all.
- Our highlights included - watching Mamma Mia in my bed on Saturday night with nachos for dinner and going to see How To Train Your Dragon on Sunday.
- I used to dream about flying with dragons....and the movie made my heart soar with those memories.
- Where was my husband? Gateway to the Geek in St. Louis - a board game convention organized by some friends of ours. He had a blast!
- I'm really glad that he had fun, but I'll admit I'm tired. This was the third weekend in a row that I've been the primary parent, and the second that I've been a single-parent.
- Now that I no longer need to spend all of my spare change on my trainer (who is going on maternity leave soon anyway) I am going to start looking into some sort of mini-vacation for myself. I think I both deserve and need it.
- By the way, that birthday party? Two words - roller rink. It was her first time, and she has been begging to go back every since. I, on the other hand, am not quite over the time warp back to my childhood in the 80's.
- Check outside....pigs may be flying. Why? I finally signed up for a Facebook account.
- I swore I would NEVER do that.
- Never say never.
- We are totally hooked on Green Monsters. Drink 'em every day now.
- My husband says it's the best thing I've ever found online....
- I stayed off of my foot for most of last week. I think I'm certain I didn't break anything....but it did ache a lot, especially in the afternoons and evenings.
- When I did go to the gym, I used the stationary bike to be on the safe side.
- I really hate the exercise bike.
- Why is it that I can run for literally hours on the treadmill, but can't stand the exercise bike? Makes no sense.
- Good news - my trainer started pushing me again last week. I've missed feeling so tough and strong! Makes me feel like a bad a**!!!
- Most fun I had last week? Riding bikes up and down the street with the Pixie. She's so cute on her wee trike! I used the time to practice bike handling - so it was useful as well as fun.
- The least fun I had last week? Trying to sleep after having my traditional mocha Wednesday night. Apparently my diet has shifted enough that the amount of sugar in that thing is now enough to keep me up all night. That's both good and sad.
- Under the category of 'taking care of myself' I decided to skip out on my PEO meeting this week...which will mean I won't have PEO again until August. (There's only one more meeting before the summer break, and it's a luncheon which I don't ever attend anyway because of babysitting issues.) I haven't gone since I passed the reigns over to the new president, and honestly I'm glad of that. I needed a break...and the PEO nightmares I've been having show just how true that is.
- Besides, even though I'm feeling better all of the time, I'm still fading by 8ish every evening. There's no way I could make it through a meeting (usually ends around 9, home by 10) and still function the next day.
- Child-sized carts at HyVee = a blessing and a curse.
- After writing last week about the horrible alpaca fiber, I decided to contact the farm and let them know about my experiences. They did respond, and they offered to give me new fiber to try to change my mind about their product. I, however, chose to decline their offer.
- Why? She wanted me to spin the new stuff immediately because it was her position that the fiber couldn't be stored for any amount of time because it was so soft it would go bad. There is no way I can promise to spin something up immediately - given my life and all of the other projects I have going.
- Also, there was a lot going on with that fiber that could in no way be blamed on storage, and I will admit I was a bit put-off by the fact that she couldn't seem to accept that.
- And I may be rather averse to spinning alpaca anyway. Something happened to me while judging that show, and I just can't stand the stuff anymore.
- I think it's the smell. Alpacas are stinky....no matter how well they are washed.
- Incidentally, I have another silk/suri blend in my stash that's older than the bad alpaca was...and it's just fine. So is the 20+ year old giant angora rabbit in my basement.
- My husband is outside playing 'baseball' with the girls as I write this. (Sunday evening) They sound like they are having a wonderful time - with lots of laughter and happy screams. Talk about making my heart soar!
- I need to either ply some singles, or buy more bobbins. (I hate taking singles off of the bobbins for storage, even though I know people do it all of the time. When I've done it, I've had problems plying the singles later on.)
- All I seem to want to do right now is spin beautiful fiber and knit gorgeous lace. What a life to have so much luxury literally at my fingertips!
Have a Great Week Everyone!