Monday, January 31, 2011

Last. Day. Of. Work.

Historical, as they say.

I'm running one last gel, to the bitter end. Which isn't really the end, because I'll be in to do clean-up and general paperwork stuff.

So, if anyone knows someone who needs a lab manager, let me know :-)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A quiet Sunday...

Hubby is in the lab, N. decided to nap (after a very stern talking-to by Daddy when he started throwing toys around his room), and I've already baked banana muffins... I need to fold the laundry before N. wakes up (I just heard him stirring, damn, he's only been sleeping for a half hour), and then it'll probably be sewing. I'm not keen on doing more 2x2 rib on my brother's scarf, even though I should, so we'll see.

It looks like we're going to get hit with another storm this week... I'm not sure what to think, except that I'm happy the city started tagging and towing cars so that they can clean up what's still there before we get another foot. Not that it'll make too much of a difference - Monday is theoretically my last day, so if daycare is cancelled, it's not a big deal ;-)

Ok... off I go to take my scattered brain into the laundry. Child, please stay asleep just a little longer!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

a very fast scarf

Snow-Day Bo-Tay (rav link)
Noro Silk Garden Sock, S268
Size F Hook
Started: Jan 27
Finished: Jan 28
Mods: 12 motifs instead of 16.

I was a bit peeved that I could only get 12 motifs out of this. The last couple I did in SGS were 13. I like the colors, although they're a bit muted and blendy when worked up. Still, I think it's a good yarn for this pattern.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow day/sick day

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
This poor little tractor was supposed to be cleaning the driveway between our house and next door... and it took him 45 minutes to get out of this predicament. It pretty much sums up snow removal in the city - a whole bunch of not getting anywhere.

I'm home today (joy, bliss) because N. woke up with a raging case of pinkeye and can't return to daycare until >24hrs after treatment begins... which means Monday. He's *not* sleeping at the moment, even though we had to trudge through snow three times today to get to the busses that took us to the clinic.

I'm not optimistic about getting this last experiment done before Monday, though. I had to stay home yesterday because the busses weren't running and I can't superplow a stroller through snowbanks as much as I'd like to. I'm home today, and that leaves Monday to get about a weeks' worth of stuff done. I can't legally work on our organism after Jan 31 because we're BL2 biosafety... which means I have no idea what'll happen. I'm still going to work a few extra hours to finish up the lab books, but that's not as huge.

Not that it matters much, I suppose. The entire project is going to another lab that works in a different organism, so they'll have their own set of problems :-P

Yesterday I started another Boteh in Noro Silk Garden Sock from my stash just because I could... and got up to the final motif before bed. I was hoping to get the border done this afternoon but it sounds like I might be on entertainment duty. "Not time to sleep, Momma! WAKEY WAKEY!!!"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow day

Hubby left his laptop at home and trudged into the lab about an hour ago, and I'm home with N... daycare is operating on barter because they're really low on staff - if you want your kid watched for the day, you need to give an hour of your time. The highways were closed by the state til 10am, and the roads are horrible. We decided to stay put because the shuttles aren't running, and with the snow piling up from three separate storms, I can't even use a stroller.

So, we went outside for a little bit, walked to the market on the corner to get some more milk, and are having a pj day. I'm hoping that a nap is in our future, but I'm not optimistic.

Hubby took the camera to capture some of the chaos (people who didn't dig their cars out three weeks ago are going through hell right now), but I have photos from yesterday of the Boteh I made for SIL:

Boteh for RL
Trekking Maxxima
Size E hook (because I couldn't find my F)
16 motifs, used the called-for dc for the border (I use sc when making it out of noro to stretch yardage)
Jan 10 - Jan 22

And now I have to go and run this child in circles for an hour to tire him out ;-)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gearing up for another one...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
We're supposed to get hit with another storm tonight/tomorrow, and no one can seem to agree on when it's coming or how much we're getting. It's doubly hilarious to me because there's something in me that is DESPERATE to get this last experiment completed before Feb 1st.

I was hoping it wouldn't start until tonight, but as of a few minutes ago, the warning begins at 10AM... fifteen minutes from now. Do I even bother to start? There's nothing falling yet, but the sky is really dark...

I'm also supposed to have a PTA meeting at lunchtime, which I volunteered for before realizing that I would be unemployed...more time to be a pain in the other parents' asses, I guess. I have a hunch that the meeting will go forward, but that everyone will be sent home after.

If it starts early, hopefully it'll finish early. The last thing I want is to be trudging through the snow before they plow tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A blast from the past...

I found this photo on FB today - the one and only action shot of the Clapotis I finished back in '08. This was at my friend's wedding, during a break in the photos. We were taking pictures at one of the local historic sites - very picturesque but we were freezing our butts off...

(and in answer to the next question - my PCR is running and I have a few minutes... not that any of this will make any difference in a week) ;-)


I finally got up the courage to let everyone else know about the job situation... I spent the day bracing myself, but everyone was so supportive that it was a little anticlimactic ;-)

Winding up like that is exhausting, though. I worried about it all day, threw myself into labwork that's only going to be going for another four days, and went home to a hyper (but happy) toddler. He was particularly adorable yesterday, which was really nice, but by the time he wound himself into bed I was too tired to knit, sew, pack lunches, etc. I collapsed into bed, then slept through the alarm. This morning was rushed, but OK.

I'm still calm about the whole thing, but I feel like I've gone into shutdown mode. Some of the big things are taken care of (insurance switch, for example), but I'm not sure what to do next. I have to keep reminding myself that I'll have to come in next month a bit to clean up the lab notebooks, which is going to be hell, but beyond that I'm not sure. I haven't been able to find any more leads on positions, but who knows what'll pop up.

*sigh* Maybe I just need to sleep for a few days.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I skipped breakfast this morning so I could have a sliver of blueberry pie before heading back to my lab... and I ate it too fast... and my tummy hurts.

It tasted pretty darn good, but there's some magical unknown missing with the off-season blueberries. They taste like blueberries, and they held up nicely to baking (not mush like frozen ones), but it's just a little flat. We'll see if the pie is gone by the end of the day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Buckeye and Pie Day

The blueberries are still in the fridge, while the shortening chills for the crust and the butter softens for the topping...

During the baking discussion on Friday, the kids also mentioned my peanut butter bars (a pretty standard, and easy, recipe from kraft). This lab has an obsession with peanut butter, and I think it was reinforced a few years ago when one of the grad students hated the stuff, so it was a forbidden treat. She graduated a year or so ago, and since then, it's all PB all the time. I've made those bars for them three times in the past few months, and they always go fast.

At lunch on Friday, K. and her wife asked if I'd heard about Buckeyes, which I had... so I decided, because she was awesome enough to bring me blueberries and butter, that I would make some. I have no photos, but I used this recipe, with a smaller scoop (and 4oz of additional chocolate), and ended up with 82. And it took every single molecule of that chocolate because I couldn't be bothered to dig more out and melt it. Luckily it was leftover from my holiday ingredient stash, and had been bought at super discount, making them cheaper (chocolate is expensive, even when you don't get the gourmet stuff).

I decided to do the Buckeyes this morning and the pie later because the pie doesn't require the loud electric mixer and is therefore more nap-friendly ;-)

ETA: Sure, making pie is silent because wooden spoons and pastry cutters don't make any noise, but it doesn't make a damn bit of difference if your 2 1/2 year old is in his bedroom kicking and jumping and singing anyway. Sigh. So much for sewing this afternoon. ;-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pie day

We went out yesterday to celebrate the birthday of a friend, one of Hubby's labmates, and most of his lab was there... at one point we were talking about cake and baking, and everyone argued that even though blueberries aren't in season, it was about time that I made another blueberry pie for the lab. I told them that any time someone wanted to bring me ingredients, I would be happy to whip up a pie to take in.

Fast forward to today: K. is on her way over with blueberries, brown sugar, and butter, to combine with my stock of flour and shortening, and a blueberry pie will be delivered on Monday morning :-)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The money suck, and what to do about it.

Picasso at work
:-) K. is right. Never do the math for having kids. One of my friends at home once told me, "there's never a good time to have a kid, you'll never think you have enough money, etc etc.", and she was right.

When we moved down here and I started working, I banked my salary at full time for 10 months. When I dropped down to part time, I kept on banking. Then N. came along, and so did unpaid maternity leave. But we made it work. The only reason I went back to work part time just to hand all my money to daycare is because we knew how to budget to live on Hubby's salary. Me breaking even has had two benefits: 1. I kept my own career going as long as possible, and 2. N. has gotten the chance to socialize and grow more than he could've in our neighborhood.

Both of these points have changed in the last few years. We have more kids on the street, including next door neighbors with a daughter close to N.'s age. I also am on a different career path than I was when I graduated with my PhD in '07. I do NOT want to run my own lab, and I never have; it just took me three years to admit that to myself. Having a break to stay at home won't make as much difference on my CV as it would if I were applying for faculty positions. And, like I said before, financially it would be exactly the same as it's been for the past two years.

I still like working, though, and that's the kicker. The working mother's guilt is multi-faceted; I feel guilty for leaving him, and I feel guilty for not feeling guilty about enjoying my job. My brain has been wired to thinkthinkthink for the past 15 years, and I'm not sure how I would do being home 24-7 without a car to break up the monotony ;-)

(we're not going to talk about what would happen if I found something full-time, and the state that my house will inevitably fall into)

If I can't find something in that 3 or 4 months, the decision to pull him out is going to be very difficult. I love love LOVE the daycare, and while I know we'd be pulling him anyway to move home in a year or so, I'm not sure if I'm ready. I'm thinking the only way to transition it seamlessly would be to keep him home a couple of days a week, and then take our annual trip up to see the family. That way he'd have two weeks to adjust to being outside daycare, and it should make it easier.

I can't believe I have to think about this stuff. The last time I was unemployed was May of '07, and it lasted for four long weeks. I was bored by the end of it and itching to get back into the lab, but I also didn't have a 3 year old to run after back then. Way back when I only had to worry about myself ;-)

I guess this means I'm a grown-up after all. How the hell did that happen?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just the facts, ma'am.

  1. I have paperwork to do.
  2. Because daycare is paid ahead of time, and we have a security deposit, I can keep N. in for 3 or 4 months without harming our savings, to look for something else.
  3. Becoming a SAHM is exactly the same financially, as my present paycheck just covers daycare.
  4. We have health coverage through Hubby.
  5. We have a great apartment, our health, and I can work from stash if I have to (although because of #3, I can still indulge once in a while).

We will be OK.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

heart attack time.

I just found out that my boss wasn't pushing for another renewal because of a miscommunication (and not from me). I may be unemployed in 11 days, or in 39 days. Which begs the question: Am I ready to be a stay-at-home mom? eeek.

ETA: Miscommunication or not, it's finally done. As of Feb 1, I'm unemployed. All because one administrator likes to play god and has decided it would be fun to refuse any further extensions for no damn good reason. February is going to be so much fun.

If you don't want TMI about toddlers, skip to the photo ;-)

Since enquiring minds want to know ;-) Read on at your own risk...

Potty training results in getting a better idea how things are looking, and we were dealing with some pretty cloudy productions for about a week. We were worried about bladder/kidney/UT issues. Turns out it's most likely just normal residue, and I'll leave it at that because I don't want g00gle coming here for nasty reasons. He graciously provided a sample, and they're testing it this week.

The reason I decided to bring him in yesterday was because he was a demon pod-person from the time he woke up until we got to daycare. Behaviour changes mean one of two things: 1. language development is coming down the pike, or 2. he's got an infection brewing. He's been developing lately at a super fast rate, though, so I'm going back to assuming it's option 1. And hope to hell he didn't pick up anything while we were there ;-) Luckily it was very empty because of the crappy weather, and the only other patients waiting were newborn babies there for their weekly checkups.

We came home early yesterday because of some nasty ice and freezing rain, and had THREE potty successes, so all in all it was a good day.


Today, however, the roads are still icy, my boss isn't here, and I have no idea what part of his experiment I'm supposed to be continuing with. I was going to go and do some (technically non-work related) photocopying, but someone is hogging the copy/break room ;-) I'm not optimistic about any sort of productivity, work or otherwise, today.

Last night was pretty good, though. I'm halfway through the border of my latest Boteh, although I didn't do any work on the tree skirt; dragging 33lb of toddler back and forth through ice and snow to bus stops and daycare and home three times more than usual kicked my butt and I went to bed early. I also have to admit that I buckled and ordered some felt from the other day. I want to make a few toys for my niece's birthday, and it's supposed to show up by Friday.

So, off I go to wrestle with DNA sequence again, and track my UPS packages. I'm hoping there's decaf at the cafeteria to get me through.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Off to peds...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
(my boo-boo with his new haircut)

I'm supposed to be working after a long weekend, but it's off to pediatrics I go... not sure if we have an ear infection, but *someone* was out of sorts this morning, which never happens.

Fingers crossed for a quick visit.

ETA: Not an ear infection... nothing to worry about, thank goodness. Just a little side-effect from potty training, and I'll leave it at that to spare you the details. The visit took 20 minutes. The bus ride there and back took about 2 hours. The roads here are super icy today. Here's to hoping I can get out early.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I am slowly going crazy...

Last night, after finishing everything that goes directly on the green border that's not a felt applique (green sequins, a few white sequins, some stem embroidery), the next step up was to sew the border pieces (4 of them) onto the main red piece. In tiny overlock stitch. I spent over an hour and a half on it and got 80% of the way around (although that did include pinning). And that's just the outside edge of the border. I still have to 'lightly' stuff it and sew the inner edge.

Things I learned yesterday:

1. Patience.
2. When the kit says to cut all floss into 18" lengths, don't do it. I'm experienced enough that I can handle a yard of floss at a time (duh) and it would've meant half as many start-and-stops.
3. I can appreciate the meditative nature of sewing again, even the long, boring border :-)

ETA: Today I learned that staring at bright red felt next to green felt, in very bright natural light, makes weird after-images in my eyeballs that are rather psychedelic. I'm hoping to finish this damn border soon so I can do more fun things like sequins and beads ;-)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Finally, some photos

Knitting first... I decided to try a pair of colorwork mittens with some of the palette I had leftover from my last Knitpicks order:

Xtreme Closeup!

My colorwork looks better than it actually is when you zoom in... I've sorted out a decent hold for both yarns in my left hand, but my tension is much looser than my regular knitting. I'm going to keep going, and hope that it blocks out.

Next up:

This is for my SIL, made of Trekking Maxima. I made one for my mother and my other (future) SIL in Silk Garden Sock, but 1. Knit was out of Noro sock yarns and 2. None of the color combinations are really something that SIL would like. The Trekking is a little more refined, and this color (which is much more golden brown and less pinky; sort of like a tiger eye stone with blue here and there) is perfect with most of her wardrobe. It's going to be a late Xmas/early birthday present.

And finally, la piece de resistance:

This is the photo from the kit. So many felties...

Seventeen colors of floss...

The felt pieces are all numbered... and go up to 120. Which wouldn't be so bad, except there are multiples of most numbers... for example:

Piece #35? There are SIXTY of them.

It is well laid out - here is the sheet of white pieces:

Yes, I will be cutting them all out. One. at. a. time.

So, I'm taking it one step at a time. First up: Green sequins.


Next up is some embroidery directly onto the green border, then various kinds of leaves. I've sent the boys out to play in the snow again to ensure maximum naptime. The dishwasher just finished, and I'll make lunch before I set up. Here's to a productive afternoon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

How I spent my snow day...

Helping Daddy
The phone rang at 6am to tell us daycare was closed, so we made our calls to continue on the phone tree and went back to bed for an hour...

N. and Hubs played outside for a while in the morning, which resulted in a very hungry (and very sleepy) little boy. After lunch, he slept for almost 3 hours without so much as a peep.

After doing just enough cleaning to keep me from feeling guilty, I sat down with Hubby at the kitchen table. He worked on some lab notes, and I pulled out the tree skirt kit that I bought last year (and hadn't touched). There are literally hundreds of pieces of felt to cut out and applique, and sequins and beads and embroidery, and it was so overwhelming last January that I stuffed it in a closet. After my new shipment of supplies showed up last week, I got organized and decided to give it a go.

about 1/10th of the instructions, coding for beads, sequins, felt, etc etc etc.

This is going to be a real stretch for me, because it's not a project that can be done in an afternoon, or a weekend, or even a month. I realized that I can't just jump in with both feet and go crazy; the instructions are very detailed, methodical, and laid out in a very specific way (which makes more sense this year than it did last). Things have to be done in order, and it's obviously not portable. But, if I take it in stages, there's no reason it can't be done.

I don't often knit at home, but I found myself using my spare time when N. was asleep to just watch TV or surf the web for a little bit. Not exactly productive. I wanted something different to work on, so I bit the bullet.

So, whenever Hubby sat down to work, I sat with him. Instead of taking my butt to the livingroom, I started this kit. I'd cut out the main skirt and the four large green border pieces the night before, and yesterday's task was to sew on green sequins using clear 11/0 seed beeds to secure them.

Each little bit of sewing and assembly is something that requires patience and attention. I can knit fairly mindlessly once I have a pattern down (except for worsted yarn on size 4's; don't ask), but this can't be rushed. Over the course of the day I may have gotten 100 sequins sewn on. It doesn't look like much, but it was thoroughly enjoyable.

If I can get it done by this Christmas, it'll be pretty sweet :-)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More snow...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
There's a storm coming, according to the forecast... I heard someone say two FEET of snow by the end of the day tomorrow. Since I don't have to shovel, I'm hoping it's sticky and heavy and good for snowballs and snowmen.

I got my shipment of after-Christmas sale craft supplies yesterday, but haven't done much with it yet. I started another Boteh for my sister-in-law, though, because it'd been three or four days since I did any sort of fibery related stuff. Lunchtimes have even been busy, and N. is very energetic in the evenings. I'm hoping to get some done tonight, and I'm hoping that we have a decent naptime tomorrow if we're snowed in.

Stay warm, peeps. It's gonna be a big one.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thoughts on kids birthday parties...

Totally unrelated photo of my kid
looking like a hobbit :-)
Yesterday one of N.'s classmates had a 3rd birthday party. This is only the second one we've been to, the first was for a one-year-old and it was at Gymboree (which is too expensive for me but was so much FUN!). This one was in the house, themed with our favourite little orange disney fish, and had somewhere near 20 kids (each of which had at least one, if not both, parents), aged 1.5 up to 8 (mode age was 3). N. behaved wonderfully, wasn't overly shy, didn't throw a tantrum, and we had a really nice time.

It did, however, teach me more about birthday parties in this day and age.

The surprises:
- the three-year-olds were the best behaved. There was one kid of about 7 who was obnoxious enough for the whole group.
- kids don't open presents at their parties these days, I guess it's considered poor ettiquette. our parties used to go *play games-eat cake-open gifts*. This time we just handed them over to a huge table and went about our business
- parents stay (which I like because I don't know anyone whose house I'm visiting ahead of time), and the hosting parents provide lovely nibblies including brie and fruit and a really great guac ;-)

The disappointing but not so surprising:
- You need a gimmick. A theme is a minimum, but it seems destination parties are better. We missed one over the break that was at a health complex with a kids zone, and then there was the Gymboree party. What ever happened to taking kids to McD's and buying happymeals?
- Wine and beer? i understand it's for the moms and dads (duh), but really, if you need beer to enjoy a kids party you have other issues.
- The size of the gifts was intimidating. I like to give books, coloring books, stickers, etc. - creative things. The boxes looked like they contained Big Wheels or something. If I put out even $20 on a gift, that means averaging hundreds of dollars a year going to all the classmates' parties. Nuh-uh.

N. hasn't had a party yet and likely won't until we move back home. We have the tradition of the Grammie Birthday Visit, which we really enjoy. Plus, our apartment can't hold that many people, we can't afford a 'destination', and I would rather spend money on food and clothes for my own family than camembert for 30 other adults.

When we do have one, my theme will be "crafty afternoon with stuff I have in my stash", whether it's all boys, or boys and girls ;-)

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
These are hubby's mittens; I added the extra stripe in the cuff because I was really low on the dark green. Simple mitten pattern from my little brain, gusset thumb, star decreases on the top.

They're out building snowmen as we speak :-)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

nappity nap nap

So sleepy...
The child slept at daycare yesterday, for most of the nap period. And went to sleep early. And woke up at a decent hour. Why do I even bother to predict? I'll just photograph, because there's something about sleeping kids that returns them all to this indeterminate age that can only be described as "my baby!"

I managed to finish Hubby's mittens last night, watching V and drinking tea. He wore them this morning, and proclaimed them very comfy and warm. I need to make myself some next; my black gloves don't do much to keep my hands warm once they get the cold inside them.

Doing a rough count, if I count projects finished in 2010, I'm somewhere up around 25. I may be cheating and counting N.'s hat and scarf as two projects, and each pair of mittens as a unique project, but even if I group them, it's somewhere around 20. Not too bad, methinks.

But, it's time to get back to my experiments; knit class at the daycare is resuming for a quick session tonight and I don't want to be late :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I knit, but I also have an almost-three-year-old.

I haz a mitten. I haz 0.6 of anudder one in my knittin bag.

So. This post has little to do with knitting and lots to do with toddlers. Which keep me from knitting at home.

Today, it's the nap. And, incidentally, when does N. go from being a toddler to being a preschooler, or just a plain kid? Not that he'd ever be a plain kid.

Where was I? Oh, the nap. The bane of my existence.

N. is a good sleeper. He's like his parents - mornings are for sleeping away, and nights are for productive or hyper time. I remember the morning ages ago when I went to get him up for breakfast, and he cracked one eye, closed it, and turned over, when he said, "Five more minutes Momma". He used to nap quite consistently, and I relished my weekend afternoon quiet time.

Now, not so much. At daycare, it's been hit or miss since September, maybe 50% of the time. Over the Christmas break, he didn't nap on Christmas Day but did every other day, at a decent hour and for a good length, so I was hopeful.

Then Saturday and Sunday - no nap. Yesterday at daycare - he fell asleep 5 minutes before wake-up time (they're usually down by 1pm, up by 3pm).

There is a bonus to this: earlier bedtime. I'm just not sure I'm willing to give up my Saturday afternoon quiet time for an extra hour in the evenings.

I also find it hilarious that I think I'm in any way in control of the whole thing. Kids have some control over just three things in their worlds: when they eat, when they potty, and when they sleep. You can't force them to do any of those things when they really don't want to.

He pulled the no-weekend nap thing for a while about six months ago, and I stressed about it. This time, I'm going to be more zen. In the afternoons, if you don't sleep, you still rest.

We'll see how that goes ;-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

A vacation of excess...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
N. normally turns his nose up at anything unfamiliar we plop onto the dinner table, whether it's brussels sprouts or ice cream... he made an exception for the chocolate pudding, though, and it was a hit. He got it EVERYWHERE.

I'm back at work, after having baked too much, reorganized too much, worked too much, and kvetched too much, over an entirely too short vacation.

I did, however, bring my lunch rather than buy it, drink water instead of soda, get up at a half-decent hour rather than sleeping like I wanted to, and I haven't had caffeinated coffee since mid-november (I think), and didn't have decaf today either.

I've never been one to make new year's resolutions, and I sure as heck won't be starting now, but I do like to have a little re-set. I won't, however, stop baking, because I got a binder stuffed full of all our family recipes (hundreds!) and they deserve to be test-run in my kitchen ;-)

(Oh, and I hope my vacation-scrambled brain gets back to normal, so I can start making sense and expressing a coherent set of thoughts).