Sunday, November 29, 2009

I swear, it's not my fault :-)

Hubby has monopolized the internets this week, trying desperately to get a project off the ground, and since we have no wireless I've been forced into radio silence.

I've done some baking (yay!) and some knitting (yay! yay!), but can't find the camera cord (boo!) Theoretically I should be home tomorrow, and we did the laundry already, so I have no excuse to not knit/bake/upload/etc.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey day

MIA for non-turkey turkey day... more soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mobile Stitch 'n' you-know-what.

Totally wasn't going to post today, but had to tell you -

I got on the bus today and sat next to one of Hubby's other lab mates, who happens to be knitting a baby blanket for an upcoming niece-in-law (and had asked me yarn and blanket size advice weeks back). She's still in the "scarf-hat-rectangular things" stage of knitting, but is very proficient and has great color sense (IMHO); we also share a sense of humour :-)

When Hubby got on the bus, he saw her knitting, so he took N. from me and I had the chance to do some bus knitting for the first time in a huge while.

But that's not the best of it.

I gave my first lesson, on cabling without a cable needle... she'd been afraid of cables, but wanted to learn, so I used my CPH to explain. I think she even understood (although will understand better if/when she tries on her own).

It was so much fun... although not as much fun as everyone else's reaction to the two knitting weirdos ;-)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 4

I'm now heading into week 4 of this cold/flu/psychosomatic avoidance of the real world, and it sucks. N. is doing well, and doesn't seem to have developed the secondary cough (fingers crossed) but I still feel like crap. I hate coughing. I hate not being able to sleep. Combine that with a toddler that wanted to play, please, Momma, at 4:50AM and today is so not fun.

I've shifted my knitting focus because I'm fickle and can't remain faithful to any project in order to get it finished by a deadline. I've put aside the secret prezzie, which will be transferred from the "christmas present" pile into the "valentines/birthday/someday in the future" pile. The cascade on the bamboo needles isn't kind to my hands, so I switched back to the CPH. The knitpicks doesn't stick on the needles I'm using for the sweater, and it's at a strangely more comfortable gauge. I'm such a wuss.

I was hoping to do more baking posts, but then again, I was also hoping to do more baking this weekend. We'll see what happens later in the week with the Thanksgiving holiday...

And now I'm off in search of caffeine. Only 1.25 more hours till I can pick up my boys ♥

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Whoops!

Got on a roll (knitting, not baking), and have no appreciable progress for it... so we'll count this as Sunday's post even though I'm clicking on Monday morning first thing

(A baby waking up over night will do that to you)
;-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Respect the bird

I've come to agree with Bezzie - when in Rome and all that jazz - so I'm going to respect the dead bird and wait til next weekend to do the decorating... You Amurricans love your turkey day... Which means only laundry and vacuuming for entertainment today, at least for a little while longer.

That being said, it was a fabulous morning, that came about because of a bunch of coincidences yesterday.

I went to pick N. up at daycare, and saw a flyer on the daycare bulletin board for a new yarn store in our neighborhood... there aren't ever interesting flyers on that bulletin board, so I was intrigued. I was confused, though, because the new store is barely half a block away (and across the street) from the old one.

I then ran into one of Hubby's labmates, who happens to knit occasionally but has many knitting friends, and before I got the chance to ask her about the store, she invited me to their newly formed knitting group :-) I couldn't go last night because of the last-minute-ness, but I really hope they'll have it again... I guess everyone else pretty much ended up having to study last night anyway, but I'm hopeful.

So, I decided on the way out to ask her about this new yarn store. I'm pretty sure she hadn't been there, but had heard good things. Combine that with my day off today, and I had a little excursion after dropping N. at daycare. And, I discovered that I LOVE this new store. LOVE.

I feel guilty about it, but only a little. The old store is tiny, and their organizational scheme sucks - most of the stuff is by color, with lots of yarns mixed together in cubbies. Noro has its own shelves, but they're scattered, and the sock yarn and baby yarn is thrown in a corner. They don't put pricetags on ANYTHING, and it's so difficult to just browse and get ideas because you can fall in love with something not knowing it's $20 for 185 yards of fingering. They also mainly carry stock that's high-mid range to high range. No super luxury to dream about, very little laceweight, and no practical (gasp) acrylic blends for servicable baby/kid clothes. It got to the point that I was doing most of my shopping online or at my mom's on vacation.

The new store is slightly bigger, organized by BRAND, then color, and they cover the gamut - pretty-yet-super-washable acrylic blends all the way up to cashmere and silk laceweight yarns with pricetags to match (o.u.c.h.). Everything is clearly labelled, and they also carry a huge amount of giftware and notions. The old store had no split ring stitch markers, or coiless safety-pin type markers (and the girl I asked had no idea what I was talking about when I asked her). The new store has tonnes. Not to mention custom-painted mugs, little project kits, and bags galore.

They're also going to start carrying roving and maybe do some spinning classes. It's not like I need a new hobby, but I would love to learn how to use a drop spindle, you know, just in case an occasion called for it.

I understand there's always room for competition; for people who have cars there are lots of choices in our area. For me, though, I needed to have this option; the old store was the only place I could walk to. I really hope the new store does well, though, and I'll support them as much as I can. Today I couldn't choose any yarn even after a half hour of squishing skeins (for example, they have Artyarns, Madelinetosh, Mission Falls, and lots of other yummy things, but I was overwhelmed). Instead I bought their only copy of Vintage Baby Knits, because I loved knitting the Stella Pixie hat, and I couldn't resist.

(aside: there ain't no babies up in heah, but I'm getting the baby itch again... so I figured after Christmas I could start knitting before starting any babies, and get ahead of the game this time).

And then I came home to do laundry and laundry and laundry, and then vacuum and sweep and get the dishes done. But, no complaints from me; I have a new pattern book to skim with my apres-lunch coffee ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

To decorate (now) or not to decorate (yet). That is the question.

I can't be the only crazy one.

I've been trying to decide when to start putting up our Christmas decorations, because we're going all out this year. This is only the second time in my life I haven't been home, and it's the first year we won't be visiting any family (there was one disastrous Christmas at my mother-in-law's place that we use as the standard for shitty Christmasses).

We've completed the shopping, the gifts are waiting to be wrapped, and I've managed to gather up enough paraphernalia to make the apartment look like Santa went on a bender. The question is, when?

I have friends on crackbook that have already put up their trees, and it's so tempting. This weekend we have no outings planned, no really huge work projects that have to get done, no papers to write. Just some frantic knitting (some people's gifts are going to be post-holiday presents, I think; I've just got to accept it), and some cleaning.

Wreaths? Lights? Or tree?

Or should I just say screw it and bake more cookies, because I'm a glutton for punishment?

*<[];o{> (that kind of looks like Santa, right?)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Drive-by blogging with pictures

...but not of cookies*

I think this shows all the different patterns I made, minus one colossal failure that is sitting on a shelf.
The lower left/right pattern is so easy I've made dozens. They look best in very light, sparkly glitter.


These are all that same pattern, but with different shades of glitter. I thought I'd like the darker ones, but they're just overwhelming. N. likes them, though, so I put them up in the hallway to his room so he can visit them.

Yo, bitch, you stole my shirt idea. What up.

*The cookies are being abandoned. I'm not going to bother taking the time to fill them in different colors when I'm not happy with the finished look. I may try again with a different icing technique, but I might stick with more traditional cookies instead. Cookies are the bane of my existence.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cookie FAIL, photo FAIL.

Ever hear the phrase, "Your eyes are bigger than your belly?" Well, when it comes to taking on baking and decorating projects, my ambition often falls into this category.

Last night's cookies were yet another shining failure. I'd bought a Wilton cookie pan with cavities for molded cookies, and it is adorable. Ten different Christmas cookies, with very simple designs that seemed easy to decorate. So I baked up some sugar cookies and sat down to decorate.

Then I thought, wow, it's 8pm. Maybe I'll just outline in white and fill in with poured icing tomorrow.

After working for 45 minutes, the cookies were outlined in white, my hand was transformed into a paralytic claw and everything looks like ass. No photos yet, though. I'll try and document the next step.

The good news is that the cookies tasted really good.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yum, cookies

So, I have the second pan of cookies in the oven; I'm channelling my mom and baking my Christmas cookies early to put in the freezer.... I have no photos, though, because the damn battery on the camera died this morning.

While I was trying to take more photos of my snowflakes. I just can't win.

I did have my phone with me yesterday, though, and thought to snap a pic of my latte:


This is from a new cafe in our neighborhood that opened as the latest soldier in our market wars. There are two families that used to have one little market, but some scandals involving affairs and wives and other such stuff caused one to break off from the other. Now they're playing dueling coffee shops, too, but from this latte I can say that the neighborhood is winning. They've only been open a month, and they're staffed with the usual college students, but they're training these kids up well. I didn't need that splenda in my latte - it was the most wonderful, smooth, delicious authentic latte I've ever had. And they do latte art :-) The other weekend we stopped in for a cookie, and I ended up trying a shortbread baked with earl grey tea leaves, and it was fragrant, buttery goodness.

Off to check on the cookies...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I missed yesterday, and today isn't going to be much better, I'm afraid.

We had a busy Saturday, finished all the Christmas shopping 100%, and collapsed into bed.

Today we went for a vaccination, had the BEST latte ever, and then N. proceeded to refuse to eat everything except cheerios.

But, not a bad day as far as Sundays go.

Tomorrow I'm home, so we'll see what I can come up with.

Friday, November 13, 2009

If you can't say somethin' nice...

... don't say nothin' at all. (YouTube link)

So I won't say anything. I can't.

Y'all will forgive me for another silent day, I hope. It's dark and it's raining, and the little I have to give today needs to go to my boys.

Back soon.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Depression, the sequel

(I promise this theme won't last).

My heart broke a million times last night - My friend G. has been in the hospital since Monday, and it took three days for her body to finally begin letting go. Her sister L. is in shreds, and their mother is trying to hold it together for them. I'm hoping she can finally start to grieve, rather than playing this macabre waiting game. My mom is waiting in the wings to go in when they need her; we've lived two doors down from these girls for 31 years.

31 years.

I know my mom is sitting at home, seeing two things at once. She sees the little girls she used to watch, who'd come over to our house for Kraft Dinner (a Canadian term, I'm told), who painted fingers and toes purple and pink. And, she sees grown women, mothers, still connected after all these years. We've reconnected since having our kids, and knowing we're still there for each other through time and distance is something Mom was always proud to talk about.

It's funny. Lately I've been reading a lot of SF, two series from one particular author, and he's fond of mixing "science" with psychic phenomena. He often uses this one particular characteristic in his human/oids called affinity; genetically engineered psychic connections between families, populations, or all members of a planet's race. You feel all pain that your brother feels, physical and mental, but you also share the burden of it.

Emailing back and forth with L. last night, I could sense that it was giving her comfort, although I can't for the life of me figure out how or why. Their suffering is infinite right now, and nothing can touch it, but she got some small measure of peace in hearing from me, and writing back.

If I can do that for her - give her a split second of quiet in her mind, however fleeting - I feel like I'm giving back something that so many people have given me during tough times, passing on the karma. And, knowing there are readers (reader? :-) ) and lurkers out there who are taking the time to read this, and maybe just giving a thought to me, or my friend, or their own friends or family going through impossible times, gives me immeasurable comfort.

Thanks for that.

(Tomorrow, I promise I'll try to get back to something more light and fun if I can. I'm finishing up my Christmas shopping this weekend, and I hope to get all the gifts photographed soon and off in the mail.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This post is extremely depressing.

This post has nothing to do with my normal blog, but it's the only way I have to deal with this shit while sitting at work thousands of miles away from most of my family and friends, feeling absolutely helpless. It's horrible and depressing and I can't apologize for it, because I need to work it out in my own head.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There are many people at home right now who are pregnant. I've been following them through email and facebook and stories from my mother, who has been attending their baby showers and eagerly talking with the grandmas-to-be. Several of them are very close childhood friends of mine, and there are even a few first babies.

This morning, after sitting down at my desk at work, I got an email from the sister of one of my elementary school best friends. My friend just lost her baby, less than a week before her due date. They've been monitoring her since very early on, it was a high-risk pregnancy but it seemed to improve and settle in. And then this happened.

I know there's nearly always a biological reason behind these tragedies. I understand that, intellectually. But the pain I feel for her is beyond logic or reason, and I can't imagine the pain she and her husband are feeling. I try to imagine, to take some of the burden for her, and I literally collapse. I feel so sick to my stomach.

Loving people is hard work, and it's a guarantee of pain. It is. I remember each and every time I was short with my husband, and I feel guilty. I think about the times I lose patience with N., even if I only get frustrated inside my head, and I feel guilty. Then I feel guilty because I didn't feel guilty at the time it was happening. I think about the times when they were sick and I couldn't make everything better instantaneously, and I'm reminded that I won't always be able to make everything better with a kiss and a hug. I want to take everyone I love and wrap them up in cotton and bubblewrap and packing peanuts and keep them tucked up safe.

But I can't. And it hurts. Almost too damn much to bear.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Flu Watch: Day 12

I hate the fact that I decided to do NaBloPoMo and promptly fell sick. Hate it. I wish I was working more on my projects, but I haven't any extra energy. Today has been particularly bad, and I think Hubby is heading into the thick of it. He's having his first round of exhaustion, I'm starting my second. Luckily so far N. is ok; just the cough left, and it's not bad (fingers crossed).

We're going to complete our Christmas prep this weekend; a last round of gift additions to buy, and get in the mail, and then it'll just be wrapping and decorating and baking. The past few years I've only done my mom's raspberry shortbreads, so I think I should branch out. I'd like to do a cake, but I'm not sure how I want to decorate it yet. So many decisions.

I haven't heard from daycare today, so I'm assuming N. is having a good day; hopefully that'll translate into a good night again. Even with the flu, he's been a champ at bedtime - he's finally aware of what it means, and is starting to like to snuggle under his blanket when I put him down.

*sigh*. I hate having such a foggy brain and disconnected thoughts. If I can survive this workweek, I'll be fine. I just keep telling myself that. ;-)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Two 20' incubations this afternoon... wahoo!

Yay for incubation time.

I have nothing to report on the fibery front; not much time to do anything towards completing Christmas gifts lately. I hope to get some in tonight when N. goes to bed, but there's a damn lot of cleaning that needs to be done too. I'm pretty much resigned to the fact that there are going to be projects that go on the back burner if I'm going to get everything else in the mail on time. Mom's scarf is probably not going to make it for Christmas, and I'm worried about the secret prezzie for my Goddaughter. But, I don't want to dwell.

So, I will entertain with random pictures.

N. working on his "drawrings".


High-fives for Daddy at the pub for lunch.


N. wanted to gather some leaves when we were out for a walk. He's 18 months in this photo.


We celebrated 1 1/2 years with a 1/2 cake. He discovered he lurrrrves chocolate cake and frosting ;-)

I never met a hydrangea I didn't like. This is an unenhanced photo; I adore the purply-blue.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Christmas shopping is done

And I am poor. Like my blogging.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Am I over the flu if I'm well enough to go to Ikea?

Almost. And I almost bought a Christmas wreath decorated with balls of red yarn. Until I saw it was $60!! Time to make my own, I suppose ;-)

But now, it's time for bed. SO tired.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Gawd.

This flu is kicking my ass. N. is better (thank heavens) but I feel like absolute crap. Today was worse than yesterday, too; we went for a walk and it damn near killed me.

Hopefully tomorrow will be an improvement. It's hard to lug around a 28lb child when you can't really move.

Ugh.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The F-word

Well, that didn't last.

N. was fine yesterday and last night during dinner, after which he promptly pitched the worst tantrum and then started crying. Temp: 102.3 out of nowhere. We've now officially been diagnosed as a flu family.

Hubby is still feeling well for the time being, but I'm home again today and probably tomorrow with the little guy (shared with Hubs).

And, at my last job I so would've gone to work and gave 'em all hell, because most of the people on my floor drove me nuts, but this time the only people close to my work area are super nice and have small children. So, I was altruistic yesterday, and will be for the rest of the week.

If I end up going in tomorrow, I'll wear a mask, and probably only do a couple of hours. I actually feel worse today; even though I've been fighting this thing for 5-6 days, it seems to be peaking now. I'm hoping N. doesn't have a drawn-out illness; he seems happy today and his temp is down a bit.

Blech. Blech blech blech. I think I'll wait till he falls asleep and then take a quick nap myself.

Oh, and today is my wedding anniversary ;-) Fun way to celebrate, don'tcha think?

;-)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The benefits of a part-time job with a wonderful boss

It means I could stay home today.

I don't know yet if I have a bad cold or the flu, but I'm not going to be the bastard that goes to work sick and infects everyone (not to mention the daycare). N. is still feeling pretty good (fingers crossed) and so is Hubby, so this morning I got up, got them packed, sent them on the bus and crawled back into bed.

I will have to work tomorrow and Friday, and I didn't have the energy to do laundry today, so the weekend's going to be backed up. But, I have no complaints. I'm so grateful I have the flexibility to do this when I need to.

Not much knitting, but I'm doing some pinning, and I hope I'll be able to get some more done later this afternoon. I have about three weeks before I should be getting everything in the mail; not sure I'll make it, but we'll see.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaBloPoMo scheduling

Mondays and/or Fridays are going to present a blogging problem. If I stay home for those days it's fine, since I have access to internets and laptops and coffee and all those good things.

If I end up coming into campus those days, I usually leave my laptop at home, hence no internets. Yesterday was crazy busy, and even included parent-teacher during the afternoon (at 18 months, it's quite hilarious). Because we of course talked about how N. is an angel during the day, and they have never seen evidence of his attitude, he decided to bring it out full force from the busride home and well into the evening. So, once he was in bed, the dishes were loaded, everything cleaned and packed for the morning, I did a 30-second post and collapsed into bed.

What it comes down to is that I reserve the right to plead scheduling if I miss the occasional Monday or Friday. Tues-Thurs are easy to fit in during breaks/enzyme incubations/running gels/science geeky things.

(One of the fun things that did happen yesterday that I meant to write about was how we rode the bus home with Silent Bob from the yarn store. He has a real name, and he's anything but silent - he's also an opera singer and general all-round great vocalist, and he's so much fun to talk to. He works weekdays, and I often run into him when I go there for last minute necessities on Fridays, and now he takes our bus. We had a grand old chat about everything from knitting to language development in children this time!)

I'm hoping to get more flakes glued and sparkled tonight, because I need to put them aside and work on the secret prezzie for my goddaughter. By my best estimation, it's about 60-70% done, and I need to have time to felt it (which is a clue, I know, but what can you do).

Time for tea and more enzyme incubations.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Today's tally

Four small snowflakes, one large snowflake, lots of tea with lemon and honey.

Ugh.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

November 1st

I'm going to try and do NaBloPoMo... and have no knitting/crochet stuff to blog about on the first day. So, a short bulleted list:

  • Think I *might* have some form of flu. It's not a cold (I know that much), but it's not a severe case, either. Here's hoping for a mild, immunity-inducing case of the oinker version.
  • Took down the Halloween decorations, because it was a non-Halloween Halloween in our house. No trick-or-treaters, no real costumes, no watching Charlie Brown (boo hoo). N. had a pumpkin shirt, and we ate pumpkin cake (holy Yum, batman, it was good).
  • Have a large pot of cock-a-leekie soup on the stove, and it smells so freakin good. Am I a food geek if I get overly excited when a bunch of three leeks give me over 15" EACH of usable white part?