Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The delights of Little A

Little A decided to spend her evening coming up with things to delight me in my pre-illness calm. We planned out our "girls' night" for Friday. She suggested a trip to Barnstantinople so that we could get a few books.
She also mentioned that maybe the Licorice Store down the street isn't so good after all, since no one seemed to like the wine that I got there.
And finally before bed, as she was procrastinating brushing her teeth by lounging on an inflatable chair she declared, "It's shrinking. I think it's dehydrated."

Gotta love pneumonia weather.

It's about 60 degrees here in Boston. And I'm undeniably getting sick. Just when my body was almost adjusted to 30's, it's snapped me back to the 60's, and though my skin likes it, my immune system seems to be balking.
I have SO much to do this week and drew up a tidy little schedule to keep myself on track and get my 4 (yes, now there's 4, not 6, not 3, FOUR) little submissions in by Friday afternoon. I'm already a day behind, and that from when I felt healthy-ish.
My throat hurts. Send sympathy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Everything of the Hellidays

Last night I cleaned, made 3 trips to various grocery stores, cleaned some more, nagged Little A to clean up her stuff, cleaned some more, ate crackers, and cleaned some more. When N walked in I fell on the bed with not one ounce of energy left even in my little pinkie finger and said, "I still need to vacuum."
He said, "Honey, you can't do everything." (And yes, followed it with offers to finish anything left that I thought I had to do, but this isn't the point of the story, so we're going to have to ignore that part for a bit.)
I was dumbstruck by this comment. I really didn't even know what he meant. Of COURSE I can do everything. What do you think my life is??? It's doing everything. If you don't believe me, I give you a few examples:
When I was a junior in college I had some car troubles. I also had a job which was a 2 hour train ride that cost me too much or a 20 minute car ride into town. I had to get to my make fix the get to the get the idea (we all know of the vicious cycles). So I developed a plan. A plan that many of my friends thought was ridiculous and would have the lifespan of their latest fruit flies in biology. I would walk to a T station about three miles away (much cheaper that the commuter rail just a few blocks away), board the T and ride for about 40-50 minutes to my stop, walk about 6 blocks to my workplace and arrive by 8:30 AM. If you did the math in your head, you just realized that I was a college student planning to be ready to LEAVE my apartment at 6:30AM. Did I mention it was January? Right, I was planning to leave my apartment at 6:30 and walk in the darkness/dusky arctic wasteland of New England in January for an HOUR, ride the T for close to an hour, walk a little more just when the T has thawed me out and arrive ready to be a good little worker bee all before 8:30.
The biggest surprise?
I did it. For about a month. This is the first piece of evidence that I *CAN* in fact do everything.
After that month of frigid air and long walks (did I mention that I took the same route home at 4:30? Yes, it's dark at that time in January.) I thought maybe I could buy a car battery and fix my car. I'm not sure what or who convinced me that the battery was the problem. It may have been my own glorious logic..."Something doesn't work? Hmmm...must need a new battery." Or it may have been some know-it-all man I encountered on the T or elsewhere. In any case, I bought a battery and one chilly, but beautifully sunny afternoon I planned to put it in. I asked L if she wanted to hang out with me while I did it (after all, there always seem to be useless men about while other men are fixing things....I figured it might be tradition, or at least some good juju). She asked if I had tools, and I responded quite confidently, "Yeah, I have a screwdriver and a pair of needle nose pliers. What else could I need?" She hid her skeptical grin and came outside with me anyway. After staring at and poking the old battery (in the car) for a good twenty minutes, I said, "I think I might need some other tools." Yuh think??
L called her dad. He came equipped with tools and that weird car know-how that actually gets things done even when it looks like all he's doing is staring at it and poking it also.
There, done. And the car started for the first time in a month. Sure, there were reinforcements, and I felt a little defeated, but the fact that it was done, STILL somehow reinforced my idea that I could do everything. Not to mention that when L recounts this story she likes to say something like, "Of course I went out. Seemed reasonable to me that she had enough tools. Besides, if V told me that she was going to re-side a house this afternoon with a hot glue gun and some recycled milk bottles, I'd believe that it would be done by 5pm." See, L thinks I can do everything too. She very sweetly reinforces my delusions.
N does not. Maybe because he has to feel the brunt of my delusions or maybe he just thinks the realism is healthier, but still, I would prefer the asinine reinforcement to reality. For instance, when we went to get the couch, I was sure N and I could handle it. Turns out, even though I'm strong enough to lift a pull-out couch, I'm not really strong enough to do anything with it once it's dangling from my strained fingers 2 feet off the ground. I had to call in reinforcements. And I was very perturbed by this. When the damn piece of shit heavier than 10 fat ladies at the opera very comfortable and attractive couch was in the apartment, it had taken the combined effort of 5 men, most on the large/strong side, and me (about to cry at the thought of not getting a non-returnable couch wedged through the door....but trust me....the welling tears in my eyes HAD their impact!).
So last night, once again, N tries to remind me that I cannot do everything. Though it makes sense logically (duh N, no one can do EVERYTHING), it just still does not register at all to me. The Hellidays are here, and we all know that there is EVERYTHING to do, and there will be no rest until all the cleaning, cooking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, knitting, partying, cleaning more, traveling, visiting, relative/in-law appeasing and EVERYTHING is done. This is not the time of year to start to be realistic about not being able to do everything. It's just not the time. Maybe January.
Happy Hellidays Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I would like to make an appeal to everyone in my life to stop having sex in March/April (or at least use birth control). These December birthday's are killing me. There's N, J1, JDad, my niece, Little A's Dad, Little A's "best" friend, M&B's baby is due in December, and our beloved babysitter and friend S. Did you count? That's *8* extra gifts. I keep forgetting them because there are just too many. Anymore might just put me over the edge. Please have your pets selves spayed or neutered in March/April. Or at least think of me and my plight when you're about to get it on. Or better yet....think of my flabby stomach...that should do the trick!

Picture Day: T minus five weeks, Progress and a giant pile of crap

The enormous pile of crap will not be seen. But let's just say that I knit my little fingers off yesterday, trying to finish one of the submissions, and well, it's just the enormous pile of crap I'm saying it is. It was so pretty in theory. So very pretty. And such an enormous pile of crap in reality. It made me moody. I don't really deal with failure well.

Luckily, casting-on makes me feel better. And I cast on many a thing! The first was the second of these socks:

And for a stranger view:

In case you are wondering, the above socks are now for JMom, and these:

are for my niece. We won't discuss the politics involved in this decision. Suffice to say, 14 years old, 30-something years old.

I also cast on a couple of the guy's socks. And typical of guys, these two are in a heated competition to the toe:

The one on the left is for my brother, the one on the right, my dad. Of course, when the one on the right is done, it will complete this pair:

(No comments on a wonky picture please. I was quite delirious and tired when I took that one!) The one on the left will:

Complete a whole lot of nothing. Let's hope it's Buddhist enough to be complete in and of itself and not hop a plane to Colorado to go looking for its mate.

I also cast on, AND COMPLETED:

my nephew's hat. It was thanks to Mary Poppins. I also decided that these:

are now for his mom.

And that this:

will be for my niece's December birthday (and not for me :( ). Because that make that little nuclear family done and that gives me more satisfaction than it should.

I ventured into the world of Double knitting, and after ripping out un-educated attempts a mere 8 times, I finally got a Griffindor scarf going for J1:

Think fast!

It's reversible. How cool is that! Little A campaigns for one everytime I get it out. Speaking of Little A....she completed her very first knitting project:

Hussy Swan Barbie was cold. We try to not mention that it's tied TIGHT, like a noose, lest she take it off and ruin our secret chortles.

Wait, casting on....THAT's what we were talking about. I started these socks for JDad, this is just the cuff:

Have I mentioned that JDad is a giant? Here they are next to JMom's socks:

Makes you wonder about their kids, eh? And how they have them???

Nonono, they aren't really socks. I'm a big liar. They are these. Felted slippers. They'll shrink. I promise. I'm making a pair for J2 also. Hoping I can find a Darth Vader patch or something to put on them to make them cool.

And last, but not least, the luxury knitting:

Is still sadly sitting in the exile bag. Though the enormous pile of crap almost made me dive into that bag without looking back.

So now, my Christmas list looks like this:
Little A's Blankie (this is actually crochet)
My crazy sister's L's socks
JDad's socks slippers (cast on, and just started)
J1's socks Griffindor scarf (1/4 done)
J2's socks slippers
Dad's socks (got 1 and 1/2, still need 1/2)

Brother's Socks (1/2 one done, 1/2 to go)
MC's chessboard (got it started, but I'll post picture and pattern when it's done)
S's gloves
Roo's something (Roo reads here, I can't SAY!)
T's Washclothes (got 1, still need 1)
B's baby something (still yet to be chosen)
And another something to M & B's baby (which will also not be disclosed since he reads here sometimes!)
Promised kitty to Little A's friend who has a Birthday on 12/5
Hat or something for Little A's dad. Maybe hat and scarf. Another tortorous December Birthday.
Nephew's hat - Done!!!
Neices's hat and socks (she's got a birthday December 28th!) - Done!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

We disagree.

The other night, N and I were lounging around flipping through the channels, chit-chatting more than watching anything. He landed on some made for T.V. looking movie called "The Executions of somebody...." I wasn't paying a lot of attention, but took note of the fact that it was pretty typical programming for N to land on. Within the first 5 minutes on that channel, we saw the same guy being injected and electrocuted several times. It wasn't my choice, that's for sure. (After I saw Dancer in the Dark, I had to completely stop watching any movie that even alluded to executions.)
All of the sudden, N turns to me and says "Do you believe in the death penalty?" Great. Fun. My first response was to say, "Yes, I'm a pacifist vegetarian who believes in the death penalty," and just leave it at that, but I didn't.
I absolutely detest talking about the death penalty. And I tried to make it as brief as possible. "No, I do not believe in the death penalty, and I've known for a long time that we don't agree about this." I tried to say it without judgement or provocation and like it was the end of the story. I have known for quite some time that there will be no agreement here. In fact, we couldn't be farther from agreement. He not only believes in it, but thinks it's too "nice" or humane when performed here in the states. At this point, he regails me with a horrifying tale of how one is burned alive in Africa. (Turn away if you have a weak stomach.) The person is put inside tires, the tires are soaked in kerosene and then lit. The rubber melts and splatters onto the person and the inside of the tire eventually become so hot that their head, literally, explodes. To N's credit....he recounts this with appropriate horror and not like a blood-thirsty nut. And it certainly shows me why he thinks its too humane here. He also believes that its right. An eye for an eye. It's the least that murderers, pedofiles, and rapists deserve, he believes.
I can't believe it. And even when I've been surrounded my red-staters, telling me all their millions of "cut-and-dry" reasons why its "right", I've never been able to swallow it. My dad believes in Ghandi like he's Jesus. This quote: "An eye for an eye only leaves the whole world blind" hangs all over his office. Sure, it's a little trite (especially when cross-stitched), but it's always been apart of my whole belief system. You cannot stoop to the level of violence if you're goal is to prevent violence. It's logically incoherent and completely hypocritical. I mean, have we completely abandoned the idea of a peaceful society simply because cut-and-dry, eye-for-eye is easy for everyone to understand?
And part of me, doesn't even think it does that kind of qualitative justice. A person kills a person who loves life. The state kills a person who is already dead enough inside to kill another person? If we lived in a perfect world....the challenge would be rehabilitation. Not just for us....and not some BS I found God b/c I'm about to die...but the person who's dead inside would be challenged to go through their pitiful life and re-invent themselves into a person that values others. I think these demons and this challenge would be a lot more painful, for many, than just checking out. But all of this seems pointless to most. It's not how the system is. It would take astronomical changes to make it that way, end of story. It can't be the end of my story. And I will never believe that it is right.
But at the same time, I know that my evaluation of the whole thing is completely rational, and I am insanely thankful that this is not an emotional choice for me, that I've never had to feel the loss of a loved one to senseless violence. And I will never argue with those who have and do believe in it. My hope is that people can rise above revenge and look at the bigger picture, but I'm sure, for some, that's just not possible.
But to me, its still and will always be murder. Whether the state does it, or I go exact the revenge myself. It's still murder, and turns innocence into blood.

And no, I do not have any brilliant suggestions about the penitentiary system. And yes, I recognize that it's costly and doesn't do shit to rehabilitate anyone. But I don't believe that budgets or systems have ever been a good reason to kill.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I have been a lame blogger-girl this past week. I am resolving to be better. But, as I'm sure I mentioned before, it's REALLY nearly impossible to type and knit at the same time!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Picture Day: The ill effects of Noro

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to make a felted hat. She bought 1 ball of Noro Kureyon and kept it safe until she was ready to begin. On a particular Friday night, she found herself exhausted and trying to find some knitting to do on her brand new couch:

She had imprudently failed to cast on the second of her Dad's Christmas socks right after finishing the first one (which is the only way she's found to at all counter-act second sock syndrome). And so she was left wandering the apartment to find some good mindless knitting to try out the comfort of knitting on the new couch, with very little brain power.
Then she remembered! That Noro! It was just waiting for her! And what could be more mindless than that! So, she found the Noro and started to knit this:

It took almost a two full balls of the Noro to do this hat, which meant that she had to have a trip to the yarn store with Roo. Yes, it is quite large and before felting it, it fit her lamp shade. She had to explain to the lampshade that, though stylish, it really was a fire hazard to let it keep the hat, so she felted it:
It's still a little big, so she thinks one more wash will be in order.
Now, as mentioned before, the girl did go to the yarn store, with her friend Roo. And though she went only with the intention of buying one more ball of Noro for the hat, she somehow left the store with 3 balls of Noro. I mean, how could she refuse this:
She couldn't even resist starting to knit it. And knit, she did. The bag that you are viewing has already seen 1 1/2 balls of Noro, loving stitched together by the girl. She's worried that she may need a third ball if she decides to add a flap to the bag. It's quite quite an alarming scenario, because as she learned before, one ball of Noro=three balls of Noro. It's a vicious cycle. And so, the girl has placed this bag into the "indulgent" knitting bag, along with the lace scarf. These are completely un-Christmas presents and therefore too indulgent for this time of year. She's quite sad about their separation and caresses them whenever she passes by the bag. We are sure that the indulgent bag will be opened again before the week is out.
Right now, you're thinking that the girl is very foolish indeed! But the girl did think ahead. She realized her problem with the Noro and tried to be a frugal and wise girl. She decided to try some self-striping dyeing on some of her stash yarn which had been previously recycled from various sweaters. This was her first attempt:

It was a valiant attempt, but alas the girl had not found a good way to wind the individual sections without a lot of tangling, and she cried over the loss of a good many yards of mess. After her eyes and the yarn were dried, she staunchly balled it up:
The girl was proud of the striping, but one of the colors kept pissing her off. She switched between hating the red and the green, and finally decided that whatever it was, she needed something to mellow it out. And so she dyed this, with the intent of plying the two together:
She also embarked on building a simple drop spindle because she really wanted to ply these two yarns, not just hold them together.
The girl also made another attempt at dyeing a self-striping yarn, and though still not thrilled with the colors, she was thrilled with the method, and plans to perfect it over time and use it as a defense against the callings of Noro when she has no mula.

The moral of this story is that Noro is not only, beautiful and easy to work with, but incredibly distracting and addictive. The girl is in deep sorrow (uh...insane frenzy) now after spending almost an entire week being distracted by the seduction of the Noro when she really should have been diligently working on he niece's socks:

This cat, acting in the most Christmassy of spirits, knew that she had been bad, and bit her ankles this morning. The girl thinks he's just a little plucker who deserves some jail time. And took a mug-shot of him so that the police could book him.

Next picture day will be filled with the delights of adventures in plying, and more and more and more and more socks. How many socks can you look it and still think it's "neat"? I'm sure you'll find the answer here soon.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Christmas is coming, the thighs are getting fat.....

Sing along if you would like, but I've got knitting to do!
The next time I concoct a plan that includes that word "every" in ANY part of it, shoot me, please.
I knit EVERY goodie bag for Little A's last birthday party, along with crocheting EVERY kid a set of kitty ears. It was an adventure at the end, and I swore to myself that I would never be that stupid again. WHY? Kids don't need or probably even WANT knitted goodie bags. The kitty ears were different...they all wanted those, but still.
They August went by quite swimmingly. Little trips and visits and all things that usually fill an August. Sometime in September, I became truly stupid again. And said to myself, "I'll knit everyone's Christmas gifts this year!" I thought it the perfect plan. I had an excuse to stash beyond my dreams, knit furiously, and relinquish myself from the torture of the malls. It also seemed perfect because my family doesn't really need anything anymore, or at least not anything that I could afford. We give each other gifts, and it's all just dumb. But my parents won't let go of it and let us draw names, so we're still getting and giving to everyone. Well, I reasoned, my brother certainly needs socks more than a mini-pool table for his desk. He'll USE the socks, and they'll keep him warm in that freezing wasteland he calls Indiana. Same with my crazy sister, and my dad! The kids were easy...puppies, mittens, you name it! I had a plan! I'll knit for everyone! Shoot me please.
Because now, although I've been moving along at quite clip, with (for me) minimal distractions, the only thing there is to do, is knit at the speed of light until December 25th, 6AM. Right before Little A wakes up and finds her mother unconscious, in front of the tree, drooling on the rug, and Santa's gifts, with a knitting needle clutched in her crippled hand.
So I must knit faster to finish:
Little A's Blankie (this is actually crochet)
My crazy sister's socks
Her son's hat
Her daughter's hat and socks (she's got a birthday December 28th!)
JDad's socks
J1's socks
J2's socks
Dad's socks (got 1, still need 1)
MC's chessboard
S's gloves
Roo's something (Roo reads here, I can't SAY!)
T's Washclothes (got 1, still need 1)
B's baby something (still yet to be chosen)
And another something to M & B's baby (which will also not be disclosed since he reads here sometimes!)

You'd think I hadn't even started, wouldn't you?


Oh, and don't forget to finish those submissions. EECK!

Stay tuned...picture day should be coming tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Lucky number 7

I've figured out what makes seven such a lucky number. It's because the age of seven is the happiest and sweetest time in one's life. Seven is the primest of numbers. It's the time when you start to "get it" but you don't have the attitude and hormones of the years to come. It's before school gets hard and almost everything is fun, in someway.
I've always gotten along well with seven year olds, and now that my sweet Little A is seven, she's just nearing some kind of buddha like perfection. She's curious, funny, kind, smart, clever, sweet, sensitive, easy-going, creative, even tempered, and probably 50 some other wonderful qualities that I can't even think of. I love to watch her mind work. I love to see her piece things together. I love that (though it kills me to see her cry) she cried when Wallace almost died in Wallace and Gromit and that she won't recommend March of the Penguins to anyone because its just too sad when the penguins die. I love to hear her read fairy books and road signs, becoming ever more aware of the world around her but still fully existing in one where magic is a given. I love that she'll turn down M&M's if I offer her raspberries. I love that she never wants anyone to feel left out of anything (even if you want to be left out of the most recent spell of My Little Pony). I love that she thinks farting is the most hysterical thing in the world. And most of all, I love that she is so full of love. She doesn't play favorites or take sides. She just loves everyone with all of her heart.
Little A is amazing, and I wish I could capture this time in her life and replay it over and over again in my head. For those hard days when she's annoyed by my motherly control, for those far worse days when someone breaks her beautiful heart and I don't have the right words to fix it anymore and I have to see her fight and sometimes lose her own battles. And all I can hope is that she remembers this time too. That she'll remember that it's fun to be curious and that its possible to talk to her mom. That she'll remember how to be happy when she's a sullen teenager. And I hope more than anything that she'll always remember, deep in her soul that she is loved with absolutely no conditions and will always be.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Picture Day: Guilty or Not Guilty?

You be the judge.

Prosecution: The defendant has given away a perfectly viable Christmas gift TWO months before Christmas. The defendant maintains that her obsessive knitting of the past 2 months is due to the "endless Christmas presents" that she must complete, and yet HERE, we see that this obsessive nature has nothing to do with Christmas. And that Christmas, is in fact being used as a paltry excuse to spend countless hours knitting and purchasing more yarn.
Defense: I FINISHED something. Get it? I FINISHED them. Besides, don't those hands look sexy in them? I had to give them to N. I HAD to. For the grand purpose of furthering N's acceptance of both the knitting and the yarn. He had to receive a gift. And besides, I swore to myself that I would give him these on the first day that snow was predicted (not Christmas) and I hit it right on the money. So there.


Prosecution: The prosecution contends that this sock is not for JDad, and that he has once again been robbed of an intended gift.
Defense: Uh, guilty. It's for my dad now. Too big for JDad. He'll have the best socks ever once I perfect my stitching.


Prosecution: What are these? Where did the defendant even get this yarn? Or when did she make them. The prosecution has never seen this evidence before and therefore moves that it will be dismissed.

Defense: Dismiss this buddy: I finished JMom's birthday gift TWENTY days before her birthday. TWENTY. Count them. This has got to be a first! I told her to not get used to it.


Prosecution: The prosecution would like to point out that this is a picture of the SAME socks that we moved to dismiss.

Defense: The defense would like to point out that those stitches don't cross. They're perfect little slutty spread leg stitches.


Prosecution: This, possibly above all, proves the defendant's obsessive behavior and questionable sanity. Though the defendant may not wish to admit it, all of these containers are filled with yarn. All of them.

Defense: Thank god that camera didn't get into the rest of the apartment. I mean, um....but look how organized and happy it all is. Ready and waiting for beautiful new projects to come.


Prosecution: Did you hear what the defendant just said? New projects? Perhaps the defendant has forgotten about this one?? Perhaps the defendant has selectively forgotten that this one has been in progress for a year and a half. Perhaps the defendant has forgotten that she promised herself this blanket would be done for Little A's SIXTH birthday, the following Christmas, then Little A's SEVENTH birthday, and now the on-coming Christmas again. Perhaps the defendant has forgotten all of this.

Defense: Perhaps the defendant has forgotten all of that. I like that theory. Lalalalalalalalalalalala......


Prosecution: And what do we have here? Another new project? And not even a project that the defendant can use in her "Christmas" defense....because the prosecution, has learned that the defendant plans to keep this new project, for herself!

Defense: Well, you see....I had to. It wasn't a choice. It was self-defense! Yeah, that's it. Self-defense. Since M told me that I knit wrong, I had to pay attention to my knitting, and ummm, so I thought if I made a pretty lace scarf that I had to pay attention to, it just wouldn't seem all that bad....see? It was self defense!!!!?


Prosecution: The defendant's child is clearly in on all of the defendants obsessive, insane behavior as she is clearly trying to distract all eyes with unbelievable cuteness.

Defense: You're just jealous. I mean, I plead for leniency and move that she only be fined 1 piece of Halloween candy, and preferably, the Smarties.