Friday, July 30, 2010
- Waking up comfortable and warm.
- Snuggle time with the girls - my favorite morning activity.
- A fresh cup of coffee.
- A yummy, sugar-free breakfast. (oatmeal with a mashed banana, unsweetened cocoa powder and natural peanut butter)
- A husband who never, ever leaves for work without first giving me a hug and a kiss.
- Children who can entertain themselves.
- My little nest of a corner in the basement - already my safe haven.
- Seeing the dreams of old friends come true. (Thanks Facebook!)
- Being able to put money into savings.
- Watching my daughter dig happily into her basket of fiber so that she can start spinning.
- Finding a good use for the spinning fiber I no longer want or like...while not having to raid my happy fiber stash for a 7-year-old.
- Also satisfying my frugal side by not having to throw away said fiber.
- Being able to easily fix my old wheel.
- Plying a second new skein of yarn for the week.
- News that my husband gets to do something really fun with his friends next month. He works hard. He deserves it.
- Being very, very fortunate in my marriage.
- Registering for my next 10K.
- And realizing that I'm actually really excited about doing so.
- Knowing that my training this year will be about speed...and not simply whether or not I can make it.
- Plus, I was able to order a smaller shirt than last year.
- And we again signed on to the Wilsons team for a second free shirt.
- Which means the race basically pays for itself!
- Winding off a brand new skein of silk laceweight - which is even more beautiful than I had expected. My best spinning project, ever!
- Satisfaction at intentional spinning.
- Plotting the lace shawl I will make from my new yarn, just as soon as it is washed.
- Summer storms. I - rather paradoxically - enjoy them this year. Today's gentle storm is awfully peaceful.
- Listening to the girls play Star Wars.
- And/or watching them play restaurant.
- Really, any creative play is a joy to behold.
- As is the fact that they get along so very well.
- Brian Froud's artwork - and the interesting way that it draws upon my emotional state.
- A second cup of coffee.....can't help it, it's one of my great pleasures in life.
- Turning the page on my calendar to a new month.
- And the fact that the calendar was a gift from another talented and creative friend.
- Realizing there's only two and a half weeks until school starts!
- Etsy. I may not actually be buying anything, but it's sooooo much fun to look!
- Actually remembering to have put out a chicken to thaw this AM so that it'll be ready when I want to cook it.
- Actually having planned ahead for all of the meals this weekend. Makes life soooo much simpler!
- Being able to easily throw together a fairly healthy lunch.
- Better yet...being able to throw together a lunch the girls like.
- Knowing the girls are learning a lesson today, even if we're not entirely happy while they are learning it.
- Watching as it sinks in.
- Hoping that they will now be more considerate of Mommy's feelings.
- Stripy pajamas and comfy sweats. With the weather, it's turned into a pajama day.
- Not having to go anywhere. It's just nice sometimes.
- Afternoon quiet time
- Handmade artisan soaps
- And all-natural personal care products.
- Having discovered the perfect place in my home - finally! - to raise violets. For the record, it's the window sill in my bathroom.
- The proof is in the pudding - four of the seven are in their second bloom since I bought them a few months ago, and two others look like they are budding.
- Houseplants in general. Bringing them into the home again has been the second key to my happiness here.
- Having a home which is organized enough that I feel free to spend time with my various projects.
- Having multiple projects going so that there is always something that will interest me.
- Also moving back and forth keeps my mind and body more nimble.
- Getting back to work on a complicated project that has been resting for a while.
- Appreciating the miles and miles of garter stitch in that complicated project for the quiet contemplation they bring.
- Realizing that I still like that project, and am happy that I am working on it.
- A $3 office supply that makes the complicated project possible.
- Being introduced to a new book through a new (to me) podcast.
- Later being introduced to another new book because of the library's downloadable audiobooks.
- Earbuds - so that I can listen to my computer while the girls are watching a movie in the same room.
- Afternoon snack. Something I didn't appreciate at all before last summer.
- Beads in lace.
- Luxury yarns.
- Knowing that I can finish another project over the weekend.
- Afternoon naps...even if they are very, very brief.
- Recurrent dreams that give me something to think about. My dreams always mean something.
- The simple fact that no one disturbed me today during my nap.
- Storynory....because listening to stories is infinitely better than tv.
- No phone calls. It's nice once in a while to live without them for a day.
- Sunshine peeping through the clouds.
- The smell of baking chicken.
- Green beans with onions, almond slivers and olive oil. Yum.
- A second round of storms keeping my husband home a little longer than planned.
- His opportunity to test a project he's been working on this evening.
- While also getting a game night with his friends. Again, he works hard and deserves it.
- I also deserve a break, though, so I sit down to start planning something for myself.
- Girls who actually eat their healthy dinners this evening.
- Actually, the greatly improved diet of my littlest makes me ecstatic.
- Feeling good about being able to give them ice cream.
- Not having chocolate in the house. Today that would be a bad thing.
- Dress-up play. For me that's the MOST fun to watch.
- The simple fact that the girls are now playing in the basement most of the time - which is what we've wanted all along.
- Peaceful bedtimes.
- Little girls who beg for books at bedtime.
- And let me actually pick the book for once!
- Little girls who are learning their evening prayers...
- And who make very wise decisions about the things they ask for during them.
- The quiet time after the girls are asleep.
- Reflections of an overall excellent summer. The girls have been stellar.
- My cranky old cat.
- The resources to keep him healthy.
- My sweet old dog...who just keeps going.
- Extra pillows on the bed to make a comfy nest.
- My nightly reading ritual. I know it's time to turn in when I start reading ahead!
- Looking forward to my dreams....
- And also to my Saturday morning...when I get to sleep in as late as I want!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
- I am firmly in spinning mode.
- And I am very, very happy about that.
- So is my wheel!
- Who doesn't have a name.
- That's not the way I roll.
- Yesterday I finished spinning the silk singles. They are now resting on the bobbins for a while and I have moved on to a merino/bamboo blend.
- It took a year to spin the first 2 ounces of that silk....and three days to spin the second 2!
- There is actually a reason for that dreadful lapse. I had initially only purchased one wee hank of the silk - Chasing Rainbows in the aptly named 'Starbirth' - because I had never spun silk before. Once it was in my hands and on the wheel, I promptly fell in love. It was, however, only 2ounces of fiber, and I decided I wanted more. The second skein - having been purchased at a much later date - was quite different from the first. It took me a very long while to decide what to do about that, but ultimately I decided to just make it work. (I'll share more about the differences when I present the finished yarn.)
- The silk will be a two-ply laceweight, and after all of that careful, tiny spinning I decided to purposefully turn the merino/bamboo into a squishy, lofty, chunky two-ply.
- So far, so good!
- Next up will be 16 oz. of the lovely merino in yet another colorway. It'll be time for a bigger project...although I think this one needs to be spun up heavier as well.
- At my current rate of spinning, I could get much of my stash spun up before the end of the summer.
- Interestingly enough, if I look back it does seem that summer is my spinning time.
- This is not to say that I haven't been knitting. My attention has firmly been captured by my Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf.
- Why is it that a certain project just jumps out of the basket to claim your full attention? It seems completely random sometimes.
- At any rate, I did hit the half way on my scarf on Sunday after a day of marathon knitting.
- Finding the middle involved lots of OCD weighing and measuring. Suffice it to say that there will be very little yarn left over on this project as well!
- I'm going to go ahead and cast on for another project or two this week as I finished two last week. The current number of WIP's seems to be working well for me - as does the variety within my workbasket.
- In fact, it seems that variety is the key...and not the number of projects on the needles.
- The new projects will likely be either baby gifts or lace.
- Probably both.
- My children have been perfect lately.
- That's kind of odd.
- VBS was a fantastic success last week! The girls had loads of fun...and they actually learned something this time around.
- Good for the parents - the music this year was not as obnoxious as it has been in the past. As the church sends home CD's with the kids...which we will listen to approximately one million times over the next four months....that is very important.
- Good for the family - the VBS program Friday night was a delight. My girls give it their all on stage, and we always enjoy watching them. The little one in particular seems to be a natural born performer.
- My bigger girl announced this week that she liked all crafts because, "I am an artist."
- My GP is officially fired. When I went in to see him about the cashew reaction, he pretty much dismissed all of my medical concerns and told me that my only problem was that I was depressed.
- I left in tears, and proceeded to be very upset for the rest of the evening.
- To be fair, this is the GP who treated me for depression during college. I have no doubt whatsoever that I needed antidepressants at that time as I fully remember what I was like before, during and after treatment.
- I think it's a huge stretch to blame the last 7-10 years on depression - especially when fatigue would seem to be the ONLY symptom that I've had for most of that time.
- I will agree, though, that the surgery was much more traumatic on my body than I wanted to admit, and I will also agree that it did trigger about three months of serious depression.
- Having said that, I'm rapidly improving....all on my own, thank you very much.
- The first time I got mad at a doctor, I wound up choosing homebirth after a great deal of research and several interviews. It was the single best decision of my life.
- The second time I got mad at a doctor, I found my acupuncturist. She's done more good for me in the last two years than I could ever have hoped for. Ask my husband, he'll happily tell you that it's been some of the best money we've ever spent on healthcare.
- I'm not sure where this third great wave of anger is taking me....but history tells me it's going to be someplace good!
- Speaking of homebirth (sort of), I found a page on Facebook called, "I Gave Birth At Home. Not Crazy. Not Brave. Just Educated." That might be the best title ever!
- Also this week in health news - I let myself relax and had a fairly large dose of sugar on Sunday.
- Sugar is the devil.
- Yesterday I not only fought massive cravings all day (which I haven't had at all since about the third day of going sugar-free), but my entire body ached horribly and my energy levels rose and fell in ridiculous waves.
- Lesson learned. It's just not worth it.
- On the positive side, my workouts were fantastic last week! I managed to get three really strong runs in along with one strength training session...and it all felt great!
- This week's goal is to get in a full week - 3 days of cardio and 2 of strength and cardio.
- Which means I'll have to go in on Saturday.
- On that note...I do need to get moving so that we can go to the gym. The sooner the better!
Have a great week everyone!
- Whoops, one last thing! Since I kicked sugar, my sleep has been improved by about a million percent...which is very important as I've had trouble sleeping my entire life. (Seriously....my second entry in my first diary - written when I was 13 - complains about sleep!)
- I told my husband this morning that it amazes me every morning when I wake up and realize I had another night of peaceful, uninterupted sleep.
- I can't stress what a huge blessing this is!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
It's a pretty little thing, and the drape is phenomenal. My purpose behind this project was to retrain my hands to knit much looser than normal, and to that end I did an exaggerated loose hold on the yarn. Honestly, it wasn't that comfortable, but the proof is in the pudding. My Damsen actually turned out to be larger than the pattern called for - using up every bit of yarn. On the other hand, my Akimbo (knit on the same size needles!) - which should have been the same size - was small enough that it would only have worked on my youngest child. Already I've discovered that my gauge is looser on other projects! Good for me...I want to be able to knit for years and years.
Monday, July 19, 2010
- You know the weather is miserable when you wake up every morning and can barely see out of your windows because of the condensation.
- Likewise, when you start cheering for thunderclouds....
- At any rate.
- The girls started VBS this AM - it's the Pixie's first year - and so I am determined to have a happy week!
- In a very happy stroke of fate, the Princess's VBS teacher is her beloved Pre-K teacher.
- The Pixie seemed a bit overwhelmed this morning...but she is eager to go back, and that's what matters.
- This particular VBS is not at our own church, which has sadly seen a big decline in children's activities over the last few years for a variety of reasons. Also, they have held evening VBS programs which just doesn't work for this family.
- I would like to point out that just because I put my children to bed at a reasonable time does NOT make us aliens from another planet.
- I digress.
- I take the girls to a traditional daytime VBS program which is run by a good friend of mine from P.E.O. I can't say enough good things about both the church and the program, and I'm very grateful that my children get to enjoy such a wonderful week!
- And it is rather fun to go to the gym by myself. (insert quiet giggling)
- I came to a rather momentous decision this weekend. Alpaca is just not my fiber, and I don't care if I ever work with it again.
- To that end...I finally tossed that garbage spinning fiber that I'd been waffling about for so long, and I pulled all of the alpaca yarn from my stash. Out the door with all of it, although I'm not entirely sure yet what I will do with the yarn.
- What prompted this? I sat down at my wheel with the fiber - intending to do just a fast, rough spin because darn it, I just hadn't been able to throw it out when I realized how awful the stuff was - and it was so rough to the touch that I couldn't bare to work with it for more than a few minutes. I then went and pulled out the yarn and realized that all of it - even the stuff that came from the finest suri - feels like rough straw in my hands.
- And it smells bad.
- Yes, I am well aware that my perception of how it feels is probably all in my head. I remember that fiber being buttery soft when I first bought it.
- Thank You, Alpaca Show.
- On a happier subject, I promptly pulled out a silk spinning project that I started last summer, and got to work once again.
- Luck was with me because - despite the fact that I hadn't photographed the drive band ratio last year - I managed to correctly guess the right settings. I know this because I was able to immediately start spinning a single identical to what was already on the bobbin.
- Yep...I had been nervous.
- So, Yay me!
- Below is the official picture for the records so that if I get distracted again than I won't have to worry. We'll discuss later why this became the one and only UFO spinning project I've ever had.
- I didn't manage any embroidery this week, but I DID wind all of my floss onto bobbins yesterday. It will now be soooo much easier to work with!
- Oddly, I rather enjoyed that project.
- I also prewashed, dried and ironed a piece of linen that I would like to embroider on.
- All that's missing is the time!
- It's pretty cool that all of my embroidery fits into one tiny box.
- Just sayin!
- I'm hoping to finish knitting Damsen either tonight or tomorrow.
- That's about as excited as I could get about knitting this week.
- Speaking of knitting, my high school sweetheart wins the award for "Most Creative Use Of Old Shawls." He suggested - via Facebook - 'paraglider.'
- I did take the two circular shawls down to my little 'work area' (as the girls are calling it) to aid in the decor.
- My Emily's Firmament I pined to the wall as the color is a pretty close match to the wood trim in the basement. Plus, it takes up a lot of space and is fun to look at!
- For now it's up with straight pins, but if anyone has any brilliant ideas as to how to display a large lace piece on the wall....I'm open to suggestions!
- The silk Rose shawl is draped across the back of my rocker to help soften all of the brown. I love natural wood, but it does sometimes seem a bit much.
- Today is day six on the yeast/sugar free diet....and it is the last official day on this diet until I go in for allergy testing in October. I've been a total crab for most of those six days (ask my poor BKB), and quite honestly don't want to keep putting my family through this until I have an official diagnosis...and hopefully better guidance than that from a 20-year-old book.
- I am going to stay sugar-free, though. That certainly never hurt anyone!
- After a week I can definitely say that I am sleeping much better, my face is much clearer, all of the swelling in my face, hands and joints is gone and my digestion shows signs of improvement.
- One unlooked for blessing that has come from this was a very obvious allergic reaction to the cashew butter yesterday. I call it a blessing because it was really a scary sort of reaction (tingling mouth and throat, and then my throat became swollen to a point that was uncomfortable for the rest of the day...leaving me feeling today as if I've had bronchitis), but because of the diet I've been on I was easily able to identify the cause and can now avoid it.
- It's definitely the type of information one needs to know about!
- And don't worry...I am going to see my GP Wed. since I couldn't get in to the allergist until October. Tree Nut allergies are not something I want to mess with.
- And like that, my love affair with the cashew butter is over.
- By the way, do you know how difficult it is to get 1,600 calories/day eating mostly meat and veggies?
- I had a glass of milk tonight, and it was quite possibly the greatest pleasure I've ever known.
- I am having one cup of coffee tomorrow...because until someone tells me otherwise I'm going to continue believing that one cup of decaf is the perfect way to start the day.
- And now - because it's late and because I want to - I am going to go watch mindless tv and knit.
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I've been cleaning out my shawl drawer, which was a jumbled mess. (You already know how funny my husband finds my shawl knitting addiction....imagine what he thinks about needing an entire drawer for shawls!) The grand total is a bit on the ridiculous side.
- 9 triangular shawls
- 3 rectangular stoles
- 2 round shawls
- 2 oddly shaped shawls
- 7 scarves
The fact of the matter is that I never wear two of the scarves, one of the triangles and one of the stoles because they are made from mohair, and I long ago realized that my mohair phase was not my most brilliant of moments in my knitting career.* So they can go. The question is, what do you do with knits who's time has passed? Any good ideas for knitting retirement? Should they just go to the great beyond that is the Salvation Army, or should I find someplace where they might be appreciated more?
Likewise, a couple of the triangles are starting to show some wear. They've been loved, and worn, and (let's face it) abused to the point where they are starting to look a bit sad. Should I keep them forever, safely tucked away? Or should they go with the mohair?
Lastly, there are a couple of pieces in there that have never been worn - and may never be for a variety of reasons. What on earth do I do with those?
And despite all of this....I keep making more!
*Kidsilk Haze is in a category on it's own, and I will absolutely use it again...and again...and again...well, as often as I can afford it anyway!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Sorry for the lack of posts this week...I just really haven't had that much to talk about! Here are a few tidbits about what's been going on.
- Very little in the way of knitting or crafting has actually occurred. Sometimes you just need a break.
- I did, however, go to my monthly guild meeting on Tuesday. Have I told you how much I love that group? There were only five of us there this time - and they turned out to be just exactly the people I needed to talk to about a few things.
- Also, as I sat there in my meeting I frogged 2/3 of my Damsen because I had skipped a single yarn over on the edge. While I'm sure most would simply have added a stitch, the general consensus that evening was that everyone there would probably have redone it as well.
- I love being surrounded by the same type of crazy!
- The girls have been swimming three times this week - with a possibility for at least two more trips this weekend. They are happy....especially as I 'mommed up' to take them alone once.
- The Princess has indeed shown that she's ready for more crafting. I've caught her working on embroidery, corking and knitting this week.
- I'm very grateful that my girls get along so well..and that they are so good at entertaining each other.
- I'm not so sure yet about their new found Star Wars addiction.
- Much of my own energy this week has been funneled into my new yeast-free/dairy-free diet. It's not near as limiting as you would think, but it does take some time and effort.
- Along with this, I'm trying to make sure I get more variety than is normal for me. I'm super-bad about getting into food ruts - probably because of my admitted aversion to cooking.
- The only downside so far is that I've had a massive tummy ache for three days now. From what I understand, that's actually fairly common and is a type of detox reaction.
- I guess the fact that I used to drink mochas as a tummy/headache elixir - and the face that it worked very well - should tell me something.
- Actually, I had a similar reaction to the thyroid pills as well. I felt a whole lot worse before I started to feel better.
- I may also be a bit on the cranky side. I don't think I've EVER given up coffee before (although I have almost exclusively drank decaf for the last 8 years) and I've certainly never gone this long without chocolate.
- A big positive - I discovered cashew butter. Oh my, the heavens were opened and the angels sang!
- More good news, my 'thyroid tantrum' weight is now gone. I've a little bit of post-surgery weight to get rid of now, but I don't imagine that's going to be too difficult.
- Of course...I still have a ways to go after that...it's all about process!
- And I did call the allergist today to set up an appointment.
- I got a speeding ticket today. That wasn't fun.
- However, I haven't had one in over 15 years - and as this is only the second such ticket in my life I'm not going to get upset about it. The check's already in the mail.
- I've had two pieces of very good news this week.
- The first - that a friend is moving back to Columbia - I can freely share. I'm VERY excited! She was one of the moms in the Princess's playgroup, and she was always a lot of fun.
- The second is not my news to share. However, I will tell you that I cried happy tears for a very long time yesterday. Miracles do happen.
And that is all.
Monday, July 12, 2010
- I woke up this morning completely refreshed after a solid 9 hours of sleep last night.
- It was very well-earned sleep, because the Princess and I spent the weekend at Primary Camp! She was a first time camper, and I was the girls' counselor.
- When you attend church with the camp director, you should expect to be pressed into service.
- Having said that, being a counselor to three sweet little girls when each of them has a family member present is just about the easiest job ever.
- The really funny thing was that there were actually 12 little boys at Primary Camp...and they were nutso all weekend.
- The campgrounds were in St. Clair, MO - a good two hour drive from here - and they were absolutely beautiful.
- In fact, they were so similar to the campgrounds - Camp Santa Fe in Gravois Mills, MO - I attended as a child that I had a massive case of deja vu all weekend.
- I had a really good laugh, though, when we moved into the cabins. Unlike the rustic boxes of my childhood - these cabins had air conditioning, built in closets and shelves, sturdy built-in bunks and half baths.
- I didn't go explore the shower house. We were only there for 24 hours.
- I hadn't attended either a camp or a reunion since I was 15. Why? I started working a summer job - at the historic site - at 16. That effectively ended my camping days.
- I hadn't realized how much I'd missed it...or how much I had truly loved my camping experiences as a child.
- My own introduction to camping was through day camps. We were all loaded up in a car every morning and driven to a local campground where we spent the day doing all of the usual things...and then were driven home in mid-afternoon. Times have changed, though, and now they introduce the little ones to camp through a 26 hour weekend experience.
- It's just enough to really wet their appetites...and my goodness it did just that. The Princess was begging to stay longer!
- It really helped that she made a wonderful new friend. Ironically, the new friend is the granddaughter of my 'town parents.' My 'town Mom' has been telling me for years that the two little girls needed to get together, and goodness she was right. By the time we left, they were acting like they had known each other all of their lives.
- (My congregation used to match church kids up with local families so that they had a support system when they came to Columbia to start college. My family was wonderful - and I spent a lot of time with them. They even told me how to break into their home the first time I met them! Although, years later my town Mom laughingly told me that they'd known my Dad's family for so long that of course they knew they could trust me...and here I'd thought they'd just decided I was that sweet when they met me.)
- I had the pleasure of spending the weekend visiting with my 'town sister' - who shares my first name. I don't think we'd ever had the opportunity to visit so much (I was actually closer to her sister during college because her sister was still at home.) and I really came to appreciate and enjoy her company.
- I also had the opportunity to get to know much better a woman from my own congregation who was there acting as camp nurse. She's actually one of the best allergists in the state, and we wound up having some very interesting conversations. I'm glad I had the opportunity to really talk to her because she's someone I've wanted to get to know better for some time.
- Activities included - swimming, eating terrible food in the dinning hall (seriously, it was gross...thank goodness for the salad bar), a camp fire, outdoor games, crafts, class time, and the required afternoon rest period...with just enough free time thrown in that the kids were able to cut loose and enjoy themselves.
- The theme for the camp was "God Changes Everything" and the Bible story used to illustrate it was the story of Saul.
- The class was hilarious. After hearing the story (from a very gifted storyteller/ youth leader), the kids were paired up and then they took turns being led blindfolded through a series of activities so that they could experience what it would be like to have your sight taken away. They had soooo much fun!
- I wound up taking a gazillion pictures, and was asked to share them with everyone else. At some point this week I'll have to start copying them to CDs to mail out.
- I've also been asked back to help next year....probably as the craft lady.
- Best of all, The Princess and I shared a wonderful experience. Truth be told, she's been Daddy's girl since she was born, and my own relationship with her has not always been so easy. (We're too much alike...simple fact.) Plus, we've not had much one-on-one time since her sister was born. I'm really glad that I was able to share this weekend with her - and I think she shares that sentiment.
- The Pixie stayed home with Dad, and I think they needed that as well. I've never felt that she bonded with her Dad like the Princess did, and so they needed this weekend as well. I hear that they had lots of fun - going swimming, watching Star Wars, and eating out at all of the Pixie's favorite places.
- The Pixie was mad at me, though, for leaving her, and she refused to come near me when I came home yesterday. I actually thought that was pretty funny...and she did, after all, thaw by bedtime.
- And that was camp!
Other Random Monday Stuff:
- The allergist recommended a book after basically diagnosing me (sans tests and full consult) with a specific food issue. I'm going to pick the book up today because - based on my experiences over the last year - I think she's probably right.
- I was successful in tracking all of my food last week - if not successful in staying within my calorie goals. This week is all about hitting that target calorie goal.
- I was also successful last week in getting back to the gym for 4 great workouts. This week's goal is 5.
- Craftwise, I am going to focus this week on finally getting to the embroidery. It's time...and now that the house is in great shape than I no longer have the excuse to avoid it.
- Also, I'm going to knit like the wind this week. It just feels good. I have no specific goals in mind - other than to knit to please myself.
- Other than that, we're going to shoot for a fairly quiet week. Kid activities will include - swimming with Gana today, a trip to the library, two make-up swim lessons and possibly a trip or two to the Mac Pool and/or the Beach Club.
- I'd also like to start them on a bigger craft project of some sort...but I'm still debating that. The Princess in particular seems to be ready for a big project to keep her busy for the rest of the summer. She's leaning towards sewing....
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Here's what I'm reading this summer:
- The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency - books 4 and 5, Alexander McCall Smith. (finished!) I have only recently started to read mystery novels, and I picked up the first of these books to read as I recovered from surgery. To my immense delight, I fell head over heals for McCall's writing. So much so, that I'm actually collecting these books one at a time. They make for nice, peaceful reading when I need a break from more intense works...but you also have to read them carefully to absorb the beautiful language.
- The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, Rebecca Howe. (finished!) I picked this one up on a whim, and WOW! It's Howe's first book, and it's absolutely brilliant. The mother/daughter relationships are powerful and complex....and the historical connections with the Salem Witch trials are really well done.
- The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory (finished!) Recommended by my SIL, I have to admit it wasn't the best book I've ever read...but it was perfect, light summer reading. Frothy and light - with no lasting substance - it nonetheless interested me in a woman I'd never heard of and has led to a fair amount of research on my part.
- Indigo Springs, A.M. Dellamonica - I just started it, and so far so good. It's a different type of modern fantasy novel than I normally tend to, but different is good for me.
- The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry - I've been curious since it came out.
- The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, Jesse Bullington - a comic medieval tale...looks like fun.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston - I've picked this book up a million times, and decided it was finally time to read it. Have to admit, the tv movie version from a few years ago sparked my interest.
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
- The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson - I will actually be rereading the two Millennium books as I had the good fortune of listening to them early last year. (And read the third last summer thanks to a guild friend who couldn't stand the wait and ordered it from amazon UK.) The reader was phenomenal, and I LOVED every minute. In fact, I loved it so much that I realized I had to have the books for myself - and I wanted to reread them to see how different the experience would be.
- The White Road, Lynn Flewelling - book 5 in a series I really like, just published.
- The Very Best of Charles De Lint - I've read/reread most of these stories, but there are a few I haven't seen yet from hard to find books.
- The Beastly Bride, ed. Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow - the fourth book in a series of anthologies centered around mythic figures. Anything these two ladies put together is touched with gold.
Also, I joined Goodreads last week so that I could join the Endicott Mythic Fiction group, which is slowly reading it's way through the Endicott recommended books. I LOVED Endicott, and am still sad they decided to close it down. Thank goodness that all of the archives are still on line - and that there is a group like this! The July and August books are:
- The Girl In The Glass, Jeffery Ford
- The Tree Bride, Bharati Mukherjee
Of course, I'm also listening to books, courtesy of my library:
- Water For Elephants, Sara Gruen (finished!) Ok, I'll fess up. I normally avoid popular books like the plague because I'm a picky English major, and nine times out of ten I end up hating them for one reason or another. The ONLY reason I chose this was because it was available in audio at the library - which has been a great way for me to start branching out and away from my typical fantasy books. I was very pleasantly surprised at how wonderful this book was...and at the simple fact that it had a happy ending. (Which seems ridiculously uncommon in popular books.) Some day I plan on picking up a copy to keep.
- People of the Book, Geraldine Brooks (finished!) Fascinating! Tracks the history of a very special book through time while also dealing with the complex life of the book restorer who is called in by the UN to take care of it. Another one I will eventually pick up.
- The Tudors, G.J. Meyer - nearly 24 hours of Tudor history. I have about 4 hours to go.....I don't like how the author jumps around in time a bit, and the long back histories can be tedious at times, but all in all it's a worthwhile read. Definitely not a flattering portrait of any of them, though.
- The Virgin Queen's Daughter, Ella March Chase - continuing on with my theme of the Tudors, I just loaded this one on my iPod last night. I need something light and frothy - and very much fictionalized - after the Tudors.
- The Eyre Affaire, Jasper Fford - I may or may not listen to it. It's checked out for the next couple of weeks, and I'm undecided.
By the way, the free audio downloads at the library have been a blessing for me. Not only have I discovered how much I LOVE the classics in audio format (Dickens comes alive and Eliott is heartbreaking!), but it has also given me the freedom to branch out and away from the fairy tales/fantasy/mythology that I have read almost exclusively since college. Other new favorites -thanks to audio - have included The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson, Karen Essex's books Leonardo's Swans and Stealing Athena, and the Piano Teacher by Janice Lee. Ahem, apparently historical fiction is becoming my new thing.
If you have any recommendations, please leave them in the comments!
Incidentally, this is the entire t0-read shelf. The vertical stack of paperbacks on the right have been in my possession for at least 5 years without ever having once been read. It may be time to pass them on. We'll see.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
The problem came years later when we had the Pixie, and I lost my office. You've heard about that many times here...
The most obvious solution was for me to take over this corner of the basement. I resisted for a long time, though, because it wasn't an enclosed room, I really don't like the action movie/action figure decor of the rest of the basement, the red (even though it's a nice shade) bugs me, and I didn't think we could make it work in terms of how much stuff we would need to rearrange.
I'm happy I was wrong. I still am not comfortable with the red, and I wish I had a wall and a door....but this will do quite nicely. You can see the Princess's knees on the right. She's sitting on the couch facing the tv. Our basement is in the shape of a backwards L, and I took over the the bottom corner of that.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
If I had left just ten minutes earlier, I would have been ok.
Sean went to the store on the way home, and then I - as usual - spent a good 20 minutes visiting with him before I left. I left a good 20-30 minutes later than I normally do.
Half way to the coffee shop the skies opened up in a torrential downpour. There was no way I was going to get into the coffee place without being drenched. Even if I'd had an umbrella, it was raining so hard I wouldn't have been able to protect my knitting bags. (Yep, had two.) So I turned around and went home.
I don't mind fessing up to the fact that I was in a foul mood when I got home. Mommy's Night Off is VERY important to me. Plus, I've had headaches all week because of the storm system. My poor family had to watch me stomp around for a bit.
Eventually, though, I accepted my lot. I stayed in my room -doing a repeat on the Princess edging and working for a bit on a new project (see below) - until the girls went to bed. Then I hunted in my fabric drawer for a piece of black costume velvet, and I went to the kitchen table so that I could string beads. I spent three hours at the table, and I LOVED every minute of it. I listened to 'The Tudors' on my iPod, turned down low enough so that I could also listen to the rain, while happily stringing pretty, pretty beads. First up - I restrung the second bead stew bracelet. My audiobook was so distracting that I actually managed random pretty well. I stirred the beads, poured them onto the velvet and then used a piece of cardstock to draw them into a line. I made sure the leaves were evenly distributed, thinned the line to about 1/2 inch wide, and jumped right in. I think I'll knit it up today.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The color is rather difficult to photograph - blues and purples being the most difficult colors for my camera. Think sea colors - beautiful cool blues and greens. I'm very happy with the way the color turned out in the finished piece - not pooling or flashing or doing any other crazy thing. It's just the right amount of variegation to hold up well in a lace pattern.
The beads are the perfect matte turquoise - reminding me somewhat of sea glass.
Monday, July 5, 2010
- Once again, we have survived the 4th without having our house burned down by the neighbors!
- Seriously, I worry every year. We live in a wooded neighborhood, and it's always dry this time of year.
- A special thanks goes out to my MIL, who had dinner with us last night and then whisked the girls off to go see the fireworks display put on by our city. The girls LOVED it, and we enjoyed the quiet evening at home watching the Star Wars marathon.
- It was actually the first time the Pixie was included...and you can imagine how excited she was when she got home.
- It's almost 9:30, and they are both still in bed....
- A good question would be, "Why don't you like the Fourth of July?"
- Answers include - but are not limited to - loud noises, explosions, too many scary home fireworks, neighborhood boys shooting fireworks which explode just beyond the windows on the back side of my house, living so close to the city limits/fireworks stands that I have to deal with that for at least two weeks - often until 11 or 12 at night, terrified pets, upset children......you get the idea.
- My high-school sweetheart called me a 'fraidy cat once.
- He was right.
- I actually like going to see professional fireworks displays - but it's also something I can easily live without, not being terribly fond of crowds.
- When I was little, I loved the 4th - which we celebrated in the country, rotating homes with several families from church that we always celebrated with. There was inevitably a bonfire for a wienie roast, sometimes a hayride, lots of watermelon and the fireworks (which didn't start to bother me until I was a teen). One of the other families ran a fireworks stand, so we often had a really good home display.
- Moving on.
- A quick note or two about my blog. This is my home, and a place where I can freely use my voice on whatever matters I choose. If you don't like it, you don't have to read it. I censored myself a couple of weeks ago over a comment I received, and I will not be doing that again.
- Likewise, if you are someone who knows me in real life and are concerned about my behavior - please contact me directly rather than leaving anonymous comments. Most of my friends know how much it bothers me when people use the Internet or email to air grievances. It may have been kindly intended, but it came across as cruel and frightening - especially as it referenced something I have NEVER mentioned on the blog.
- Moving on again.
- I can't believe what a difference a week has made in our home. For the first time - perhaps ever - I actually feel that I have a place in this home. It's comforting, and I feel that I can perhaps stay here for a while after all.
- I love my little corner...and the girls are already starting to respect that.
- Cleaning out our storage area has taken a huge weight off of our shoulders...as well as getting a huge amount of junk out of our home. I think our new motto is 'Simplify, simplify, simplify.'
- The house as a whole is - for the first time ever - just about completely cleaned and organized. There are a few spots (the coat closet and pantry) and a few more projects (The Princess's school papers and 10 years of photos) but by and large the house is done.
- And I don't know what to do about that!
- Seriously....it's a bit overwhelming. Good, but strange.
- Even better...the girls are responding well to their 'new' home. They are being really good (so-far, fingers crossed) at cleaning up after themselves.
- I did a good, thorough, stash reorganization yesterday. That was fun, too.
- One of the reasons behind the stash mess was to start a couple of very basic projects that can travel with me. Most of my current WIPS are a bit on the too involved side. I now have a pair of socks down at my desk and a simple shawl in my knitting bag.
- I have lots of knitting things to show you this week! Yay!
- By the way, I finished frogging a piece of malabrigo laceweight yesterday. Saddest thing ever. I'll probably not be buying any more of that yarn - soft and buttery as it may be.
- I am NOT participating in Le Tour De Fleece this year. I have enjoyed it for the past two years, but found that it didn't accomplish what I had hoped - which was a radical change in my spinning habits. Plus, I have other things to do this year.
- Having said that, I moved all of my spinning supplies to my new space. As they are now a lot more accessible...and are in a permanent home...I hope to spend more time with them.
- As the girls are home, we are going to spend this week working to get back to our normal summer schedule...whatever that may be.
- This week is also about getting back into the habit of taking care of myself - both with nutrition and exercise.
- Full disclosure - my weight is up considerably. I put ten pounds back on in the months following the surgery. We were more concerned with how I was feeling than with counting calories, and to be honest I just didn't have the energy for it. In the last couple of weeks I've been eating like crazy, and so I wouldn't be too surprised if my weight were up another five or so.
- That decision last week to not go work out didn't help....although in retrospect I wouldn't have done it any other way given how much work we were able to accomplish.
- I feel horrible. My clothes are all too tight and my hands, feet and face have been swollen for the last couple of weeks. Time to fix that.
- I'm heading to the gym in a bit, and as of today I'm back to tracking my calories with My Daily Plate. I'm thinking about setting forth some solid goals as well.
- I struggle with this, you know. A lot of me really hates the fact that I have to work so hard and have to record every bite. The healthiest people I know DON'T have to do anything like this. In fact, the healthiest people I know rarely think about what they are eating. Then again, the healthiest people I know didn't grow up with such a warped relationship with food and body-image.
- The good news is that I can change that for my girls. They will have much healthier relationships with their bodies.
- And having said that, it's time to get moving!
Have a great week everyone!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
A few years ago Kiera developed a large cyst (size and shape of a jumbo sized egg) on the base of her tail. Dad lanced it, and it healed over, leaving a very large area of scar tissue. Fast forward to about a month ago when my husband and I notice that the cyst is back - just as big as it was the first time. We were concerned because it had cropped up apparently overnight. The dog is, after all, somewhere between 14 and 15 years old, and any medical event is cause for attention.
Well, Dad lanced it again last weekend - only to find that it wasn't a cyst, but was rather a tumor. (It is not uncommon for cysts like this to turn into tumors - especially if and when they are on a good blood supply to fuel the growth.) Kiera and I now share the dubious distinction of being able to grow very large, very fast-moving benign tumors for no good reason whatsoever. The problem is that that type of tumor can grow so quickly (and indeed it grew considerably in the week between the attempted lancing and the surgery) that it will eventually die, leaving a nasty wound that won't heal. So, off it must come.
Dad brought everything he needed home, and as Mom and I have both assisted him countless times we were able to easily do the surgery out on my parents' porch, where Mom has a convenient grooming table. Thanks to reversible anesthesia (in Dad's opinion the best advancement in veterinary medicine in his lifetime), Kiera was up and about 30 minutes after the surgery was complete, back to her normal, lovey self.
The problem is that we have to make sure she doesn't touch the bandage. If she goes after it than the healing process could turn into a disaster...which means that she must wear an Elizabethan collar at night and whenever she is left at home.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
- They rode Grampa's mule, Zack, deciding that he was even better than the long-wished for pony. (Grampa is relieved.)
- Many happy hours were spent catching tadpoles in the stock tank. I'm not sure why this was so entertaining.
- Grampa put up hay just so that the girls could 'help.'
- The Princess had her most successful run yet on a bike w/o training wheels.
- The Pixie discovered her inner adventurer at a local park on the massive climbing structure.
- The joys of the root beer float were discovered and shared.
- Also, root beer, strawberry, chocolate and orange cream milk were consumed. I'm not so sure about most of those.
- Lots of time was spent working in the garden.
- Likewise, lots of time was spent in the kitchen preparing and eating their produce. It's good to learn about food!
- The Princess and Grandma worked on the Princess's quilt design. Seriously, she's 7 and she's in the process of designing a quilt.
- The went with Grandma and Grampa to visit a friend's farm, where kittens, bunnies, goats and cows were all played with. Fortunately, none of those came home with them.
- Water gun fights with Grampa. Glad I wasn't there for that!
- The tent was set up, and several nights were spent sleeping in the great outdoors just behind the house.
- Grandma performed amazing cosmetic surgery on Tigger. I am impressed.
- The Pixie assisted Grampa and I today in performing surgery on my dog to remove a tumor from her tail.
- The Princess read as many books as she could get her hands on....discovering Oz in the process.
- Both girls submitted to daily braids.
- Time was also spent with their Grammie Great (my mother's mother) and their great aunt and uncle (my father's brother and SIL).
Best of all...both girls were happy to see me, and happy to come home with me today!
Friday, July 2, 2010
- The A-Team! Totally silly, but totally fun. My inner child is happy.
- An afternoon of knitting at the coffee shop. I was able to get a good start on the Princess's Christmas sweater.
- I made a trip to Lowe's to buy some plants and a new pot - the finishing touches for my office and something new for my kitchen. Once upon a time, I used to go plant shopping periodically as houseplants were one of my favorite hobbies. (Had an average of 75!) I spent a happy afternoon reminding myself of how much I loved to repot and decorate my home with happy greenery.
- Dinner at Shakespears with college friends. It was wonderful - but my oh my, when I discovered that the first of the babies from this group is to start junior high in the fall..... Highlights also included turkey/pepper cheese and artichokes on whole wheat pizza and lots of time with a two-week old baby.
We also did a little bit more putzing around today - finishing projects here and there. I will show you before and after pictures soon!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Today is all about R&R.
This morning I slept in.
I'm going to go get my hair cut in a bit.
There will be some coffee-shop knitting at some point.
We are going to go see a travel agent this afternoon.
Later today I have an acupuncture appointment.
There are no specific plans for this evening...so we'll just have to see.
Mostly, we are going to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors. The house feels like a completely different place, now, and I just might be able to stay here for a while after all.