Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Home, safe and sound

My stash is home, where it darned well belongs. And better yet, it is in my bedroom, not tucked away in some dark closet with the moths! No! It is proud and out-loud in my bedroom, where I can caress it with my eyeballs every single day!

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It is a touch disturbing how happy this makes me. Or perhaps it gives insight into just how delicate I am still feeling.

This represents about 80% of my total yarn stash; the rest is in some bins under my desk, the drawers of a desk, a couple (small! thin!) boxes under the bed and possibly a shelf or two in the downstairs closet.

What? Why are you looking at me like that?!

Look, I don’t have a problem. I could stop any time I wanted. It’s valuable! It’s a collection! And besides, I know several people who are far, far worse than I am with the stash thing. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, for example – and look where it got her? FAMOUS! That’s where!! REPRESENT!!!!!!! {waves ball of wool in the air, lets forth battle cry}

All kidding aside, having my yarn stash in storage was a lot harder on me than it should have been. It made it really hard to scoot on past even the crap yarn at WalMart. And we shall not discuss how much money was spent on various occasions at yarn stores because I needed ‘just one or two’ balls of wool for an ‘emergency’ knitting project.

I fretted about it. Because again, all kidding aside – there is a lot of money invested in some of that yarn. Artists have their pricy brushes…I have pricy alpaca. And wool. And handspun. And so forth.

I worried that the Space Bags might have sprung leaks, and moths were chewing on my precious wool. I worried that the unit might flood. I worried that thieves might break in and steal it. Yes, I know, it is rather unlikely that thieves would pass over boxes marked ‘electronics’ and ‘gold / silver bullion’ and take instead the big but suspiciously light boxes marked “YARN 001” through “YARN 429”.

But still. You never know! You might get a ring of sophisticated yarn fences, who would have my stash up on eBay within hours!!

The last hour was about the most pleasant I have had in weeks. Opening up all those brown moving boxes marked ‘yarn’, peeling open the Space Bags and drinking in the yarny goodness. The tactile sensation alone was enough to make me forget about my aching jaw and back (I appear to have tweaked a muscle – which is hardly surprising, seeing as how I was so tense in the chair yesterday that I was afraid I was going to snap my spine) (oddly, tensing up my back like that did not seem to help Tooth #3 come out of my jaw). And thinking about all the projects I have planned with all that stuff is enough to snap me out of even a tooth-extraction-driven funk.

There is a lot of good knitting on those shelves (and boxes, and drawers, and so forth). Many contented hours. A lot of warmth and the feeling of having gotten something done when actually I was waiting for bread to rise, or a kid to come out of a ballet lesson, or for a prescription to be filled, or for bedtime to arrive.

It feels good to have it all back here with me, where it jolly well belongs.

Yarn stash in storage…pah! Never again! NEVER AGAIN!!!!!

(Except that seriously, I do need to go on a yarn diet.)

(No, really. I mean it.)

(At least, a small one. Use up one shelf or so before I get any new yarn into the house.)

(Except of course if I have to buy some in order to use what I have, because if I need another two balls of black or something well, what am I supposed to do? Not knit the brown because I don’t have enough black? That’d be stupid! And if the yarn store is having a sale that weekend, well, for Pete’s sake, that’s not over-buying, it’s investing. That’s different.)


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And now, some more dental angst

Tooth #3 is gone. It did not go gently. Or silently. In point of fact, it had grafted itself to the bone of my jaw and flat-out refused to be pulled out.

This just in: The only thing worse than the sound of a dental drill working on your teeth is the sound of a dental drill working on your teeth for an hour and a half STRAIGHT.

I may never recover from the trauma. Especially since they then looked me dead in the eye, cool as cucumbers, merciless @*^&@er that they are, and said, “OK, and for the next week you will need to limit your tobacco (ok, no problem) and alcohol (WHAT?!?!?!?!?!)…”

Are they crazy? ARE THEY CRAZY?!

And right on the heels of that proclamation, the nice lady added, “…and whatever you use for a headache should be just fine for any residual pain…”

Oh no. No. No, it isn’t. And yes, I made them write me a prescription for something a little bit stronger than Excedrin, thank-you-very-much. Because instantly, I had in my head a horrific vision of myself at 2:00 tomorrow morning, writhing and kicking and crying in my bed (people, I am not strong when it comes to dental pain) (or, well, any pain at all – my own, or anybody else’s. I cry when my children get vaccinations, this is how anti-pain I am) and wishing to GOD that I had demanded Vicodin rather than thrusting out my chest in my best “manly-girl” imitation and saying, “Yes, I’m sure you’re right, Excedrin will be fine…”

The full extent of Tooth #3’s debauchery was revealed today.

We knew there had been an abscess. And that it had been cooking away in there for quite a little while now. Today, we discovered that the abscess had made a fair amount of my bone “spongy”. This is a word which means, “must be drilled out of your mouth”.

In my humble opinion, the words “drilled out” and “bone” just don’t go together.

So a fair amount of bone was removed in order to remove the nasty bits. And then it was discovered that the abscess has managed to get into my sinus cavity. And friends, I really should have been wearing my iPod with the volume cranked up to about 11, because listening to the conversation between the dentist and his assistant was gross. “Hmm, don’t suction that, let it pool up a little bit…yes, that’s definitely fresh drainage…OK, I think we’ve got the worst of it…”


Ew, ew, EW!

OK, you know what? I need both of you to stop talking. Use sign language or something. I don’t want to know what-all Tooth #3 has been up to all this time.


I don’t want to know.

It took just under two hours, but finally the bone graft material was packed in, a membrane placed over the whole mess, stitches in place, and I was back upright and among the living. We had hoped to do the implant today as well, but alas – too much bone had to be messed with (and I’d been in the chair long enough, thank you all the same), so we now have to wait for the bone graft to set and heal and so forth. I’ll be waiting four to six months before going back in to get a screw torqued into my jaw.

I have already begun amusing myself with the thought of being able to respond to the question, “What’s the matter with you, do you have a screw loose or something?” by reaching into my mouth and tugging on my implant. “Nope, the screw is good and tight!”


Ahem. Yes. I am very easily amused. And also possibly I am still only twelve years old inside. BUT MY KIDS THINK I’M COOL!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What the heck just happened here?

I’m not sure what’s going on around here lately, but the husband and I have both suddenly launched into doing silly things we used to do Back In The Day.

You know, when we were young.

Before we had children. And a mortgage. Or even the vaguest notion of our own mortality.

Twenty (ok, possibly thirty) pounds ago.

My husband has begun attending Irish sessions and playing D&D games.

Today, I was planning out a weekend for myself. The last three having been utterly decimated by other things because my plans were not so much plans as a vague idea that I might do something that weekend, I was determined to find something I wanted to do.

And one thing led to another and I finally signed up for a weekend backpacking trip.

You know. With a backpack. Laden with a tent and a pad and a sleeping bag and extra clothes and socks and food and water and perhaps a nice camera, which will be useful to take pictures of the sock-in-progress that will obviously be along.

Because naturally, the first thing I decided upon was what knitting project to bring with me.


I don’t know what I was thinking.

I mean! I loved backpacking – twenty pounds ago. And I miss it, and hiking, and kayaking, and all sort of other ways I tried to kill myself back in the day.

But when I read that this was a ‘nice, easy’ hike of only seven miles to camp, I said to myself, “Well. Are you going to just sit around bitching about how you’d love to get back into that kind of stuff and waxing poetic about how someday you're going to take on the John Muir trail, while you get more and more out of shape and less and less likely to actually DO it, or are you going to shut up, put your game face on, contact the group and see if they’ll let a slightly fluffy almost-forty slowpoke into the herd?”

Um, they will.

Oh dear.


I had already determined a couple weeks ago (which was when it first occurred to me that an excellent weekend trip would be someplace with awesome hiking, seeing as how that used to be what I did with every waking moment that wasn’t taken up with tedious old work) that my old hiking boots are shot. I mean, shot. Well, not surprising, seeing as how they are over twenty years old at this point, saw extremely heavy use and were already somewhat past their prime back in the day and have now been in storage for ten years since their lasting wearing.

Apparently, my feet have grown a bit. Because zee size 7 boot, she does not fit zee tootsies any longer. Not when those extra-thick woolen hiking socks are factored into the equation.

I need new boots.

The tent I did own was way too big and heavy for backpacking, and also too large for one person (it is a four person monster – great for camping at a Renaissance fair with a harp [counts as a person in size] and about eleventy-million square feet worth of costume, but not so good for a backpacking crash pad), plus the poles were all bent and one of them cracked after a rather unfortunate encounter with a drunken not-a-Scot-but-likes-to-believe-he-is at a Renaissance fair about a decade ago.

My canteen is AWOL. Which is no big loss, believe you me. Nasty old thing. No amount of washing could get the iodine taste out of it – you could pour Perrier in there, and it would instantly taste strongly of iodine.

Irony being, I think I only actually used iodine tablets once or maybe twice in that thing.

My sleeping bag, praise $DEITY, is just fine. It’s even clean, which is a miracle. Good, warm sleeping bag.

But no sleeping pad. Which I’m pretty sure I’m going to not just want, but need, if I expect to be able to get up in the morning without help from a hoist.

I have no hiking clothes, trendy or otherwise – none of that ‘breathable’ anything. Slacks, or jeans. And all of my jeans have holes in the knees. My good hiking socks have been taking up landfill space for years now.

Worse, I have nothing appropriate for an outer layer for those cold mountain mornings. The one (1) fleece-like jacket I do own is a) not really fleece, b) not very warm at all and c) the zipper is broken.


Fortunately, I have some time between now and my weekend. Plenty of time to work in a trip to my favorite outdoor enthusiast mecca: Dom’s Outdoor Outfitters. Talk about bringing back memories…I used to live in that store!

Back when I was young and lithe, and could keep up with a backpacking group.

Which I’m not entirely sure I can do these days.

…oh gads, what have I gotten myself into…?

Meanwhile in knitting news

I finished the baby blanket this morning. The colors are most emphatically not as eyeball assaulting as they appear in this photo – my cheap digital camera just can’t seem to handle “subtle” very well – remember how my black and white sweater kept looking blue? Someday, I swear to Dog, I will lighten up and get a real digital camera. One that cost more than thirty bucks. Or came free with something else. Which is, uh, where this one came from. So I suppose I really shouldn’t kvetch too terribly much about the picture quality.

But I digress.

The Blankie

It measures 36” by 32” and is very soft and warm. The color is Red Heart Soft #7962, ‘Gem’. Which I do believe is discontinued, no surprise since it came out of that box of decade-old stuff my Gran brought back home to the stash.

I am exceedingly glad it is over now. Endless stockinette stitch is why the knitting machine was invented. Knit-knit-knit-knit-knit {flip!} purl-purl-purl-purl-purl {flip!} Lather rinse repeat until thank $DEITY you are out of yarn.

I do actually have one of those manual knitting machines, and about one skein into this project I was grousing to myself that I should have used it for the middle and then done some kind of knitted or crocheted border on it. Of course, first I would have had to find the knitting machine, which is another whole ball of angst-ridden screaming about why I can’t be more organized around here, so we’ll just pretend I didn’t want it in the first place some more, shall we?

It went fast and it is actually a sweet color for a baby or toddler. Some baby will love this blankie. Actually, a couple Denizens have hinted that they like it (Captain Adventure kept trying to pull it over himself last night while I was working on it), but it is going to be washed in Dreft and sent to Warm Hearts, Warm Babies, along with the preemie blankie and booties.

Booties are my personal mission until the end of May. Booties, booties, everywhere. I have an entire ball of random sock yarn – not enough to make even a pair of anklets for a grownup, but it will make a ton of booties. And a fairly good-sized remnant ball of nice, soft, fine-weight baby yarn as well. BOOTIE ATTACK!!!

I’m using a marvelously simple pattern for these, which produces a pair in roughly one movie’s worth of knitting (a pair and a half if the movie is boring and/or stupid, not quite a pair if it is fascinating or subtitled) – click on the picture to be taken to the pattern:


These stay on little feet pretty darned well – the one thing I always hated about booties was the way they never, ever and I mean NEVER stay on those wildly thrashing little tootsies. The crocheted chain is the key to success on these. And all my whining aside, it is a very simple thing to crochet a (unevenly tensioned) single chain 16” long.

Now that I’ve talked about actual knitting…OK. See, after I’ve finished a project, I like to completely empty out my knitting stand and “reset” the contents for the next project. It gives me a feeling of control, you see, and also my knitting stand has a Junk Magnet in it. Not only my own junk, but that of the children ends up in there. I have found entire sets of magnetic building toys, Capri Sun wrappers, sippy cups – you name it.

But I was still a little bit taken aback by what-all came out of there this morning. Check it out:

Good Grief

Some made sense. I mean, there was way too much of it in there, but at least it had something to do with projects I was either actively working on or had recently worked on or had worked on in living memory. There were eight sets of knitting needles. Two balls of miscellaneous green stuff that a burn-and-felt test indicates is probably wool. A big purple ball of Wal-Mart ‘Mainstays’ acrylic. Three patterns out of my pattern binder, encased in nice, neat plastic sheets. One ‘rogue’ pattern. Two pattern books dating from 1968 (those were from the box Gran brought back). Eight stitch markers. Four clips designed for holding together knitting while you are seaming it. Three random buttons. Several used-up post-it notes (used for keeping track of chart patterns). My wrapping-paper-cutter-turned-yarn-slicer, which I like to use on yarn because if Captain Adventure gets his mitts on it and starts running wildly through the house with it, he can’t fall down and impale himself on it the way he could even with a small pair of scissors. Two pens. Two sets of DPNs, one in size 8, one in size 0. Ball bands from at least four different projects. Two stitch holders. One measuring tape. The obligatory Susan Bates Knit Chek (the thingee with the holes in it, for checking gauge and needle size – important when one “somehow” ends up with EIGHT SETS of knitting needles in close sizes in one’s knitting stand).

And then…there were the ‘hmmmm’ things.

A piece of red felt (no idea).

A medicine dropper.

And a hat from somebody’s doll.

Artwork from Boo Bug. A picture of Boo Bug dressed up like a bunny.

FIVE CROCHET HOOKS. (Reminder: I don’t crochet.) (ONE I could understand. But FIVE?!)

A grocery list.

A spelling test Eldest brought home.

An embroidery hoop. (C’mon. Whence? And more importantly, Why?)

And, my personal favorite, a three page long flyer begging parents to consider taking one of the many, many, MANY positions currently open on the parent-student association. They only need a president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, sergeant at arms, fundraising coordinator, volunteer coordinator, and donations coordinator.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but does that not pretty much cover all possible board positions?

So, it is perhaps a bit possible that I have been less than diligent about cleaning out the knitting stand after each project lately. But it is now nicely cleaned out and has only what I need to make a whack of booties.

Because no baby should go home with cold tootsies.

Friday, May 25, 2007

SILENCE! Your Evil Overlord Speaks…

There is a new law in the Den. Thus sayeth the Evil Overlord: If thou leavest thy toys upon the floor for a period exceeding a reasonable clean-up time, behold! The Evil Overlord shall call down the Wrath of the Hefty Bag upon thy miserable head! Thy toys shall be scooped therein, regardless of psychological or monetary value, and given away at My earliest convenience to a Worthy Cause.

Thus it is written, thus shall it be.


{cymbals clash, palm fronds wave frantically, buff and tanned servants hurriedly prepare fruity beverages with copious amount of vodka}

Ahem. You may be wondering what has brought on this particular bout of Egyptian-themed madness.

Then again, you probably know exactly what has brought me to this state of pissed-off-ness.

Boo Bug and Danger Mouse were sent up hours ago to clean their rooms. As they have been every afternoon for about four days now.

Every night, I have gone into their bedroom at bedtime to discover a floor so covered in toys and whatnot that you literally dare not enter the room barefooted. I walk down the darkened hallway like a soldier crossing a minefield. I have become accustomed to walking like a flamingo picking its way across a swamp through the upstairs of the Den, because of all the toys scattered all over the floors.

The battles have raged. I have used commanding, pleading, bribing, timers, ‘making a game of it’, everything I could think of to impel my darling children to clean up their @*^&@ing living space.

Because people, I have enough to do without following all four of them around picking up their detritus. Just keeping the front hallway and kitchen areas reasonably clear is a full-time job – the kids’ bedrooms, IMHO, should not be my responsibility as well.

This afternoon, I snapped like a dried up twig run over by a mountain bike ridden by a 220 pound Marine.

We had nagged those children for literally two hours to clean up that room. They had come down protesting that they were ‘done’. Yet when I staggered upstairs for a little R&R (and to get away from Mr. Pissy, who has been crying, shrieking and otherwise unreasonable for several hours now and is really irritating me), I followed a trail of unimaginable clutter to their bedroom, where I was confronted with a scene right out of How Clean Is Your House. I shrieked, I saw red, I became enraged and then…


With a cold heart that knoweth neither forgiveness nor mitigating circumstances, I just got done with the first pass. I made three piles: clothing, trash, and toys. The dirty clothing more than filled their hamper (and explained what had happened to most of the clothing they had missed last week). The trash filled the (admittedly small) bathroom trash can three times. And the toys?

One box that once delivered 20 pounds of broccoli to a supermarket, and a large trash bag.

Among the items going to charity: Several brand new Bratz dolls, only just received this very week by Danger Mouse for her birthday. She has begged and pleaded and hinted and otherwise wanted those dolls for at least six months.

But when she learned they were in the box to go to charity? ::shrug::

Evil Overlord’s response? {KAAAAABLOOOOEY!!!!!!}

Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe I am just a touch too tired. I took Advil PM last night and you know what? It didn’t work. Not only was I not able to get to sleep until midnight, I then woke up at 2:00 and had trouble getting back to sleep. Third night in a row of this @(^&@, so possibly I am not at my most rational right now.

And then I decided it was entirely necessary to lay down 50 cubic feet of redwood mulch around my rose bushes today. My back, she is screaming. And my left hand will not tolerate any knitting, which is not helping my mood much.

But honestly…I find this to be deeply disturbing behavior from my children.

When I was a child (oh Lord, here it comes), I was hardly deprived in the toy department – but I sure as heck valued my toys.

I played with my Barbies (more or less) gently. I dressed them. That was the whole point. You took the doll and gave her a personality and you dressed her in clothes appropriate for whatever imaginary Event said doll was attending, and you played through the Event, and then she changed clothes for the next Event.

My children strip all the clothes off Barbie, cast them onto the floor, and then leave the nekkid Barbie lying in the middle of the hallway for days and days. It’s almost as if the entire point of their toys is merely to drag them out into the middle of the floor.

If my mother had done what I just did, I would have howled fit to raise the dead, and gone into a severe depression, and complained to my father (always a soft touch and a good ally when mom was on a rampage), and otherwise done anything I could, promised any crazy thing, to get them back. And I would have made good on the promises…for, uh, a while, anyway…

My children? **yawn** “So, does that mean I don’t have to clean my room now?”

What the @^*&@*^&@!?!?!?!

Are they really so…I don’t know, what is it I’m looking for here? It’s like…they are so blessed that they don’t realize it? They have so much that they can’t appreciate it? What they want is so easily obtained that they don’t value it when it arrives?

I feel like we’ve gone wrong somehow. They just have too much, and they value nothing.

It upsets me, because for me one of the most valuable lessons I was ever taught was to appreciate what I have. It’s why I about dissolve into giggles about Homer the Odyssey (oh, I love that minivan so much) (heh…and I once said ‘death before minivan’…), and caress my various musical instruments lovingly every time I walk past them, and darn near kiss my iPod shuffle before I clip it on while cleaning. I think of how many people are worrying about having food today, and I stop for a moment to thank $DEITY that I have a minivan to wash, that I am wealthy enough to be fretting about having to dust all those stringed instruments sitting and hanging in my front room, that I am so vastly blessed that I have to remember to plug in my iPod to recharge at night.

I see my children being deprived of this. I see them taking everything they have for granted. I see their lives becoming shallow, empty of simple appreciation and perspective.

I know, they’re young. I know this is something that time and experience teaches better than parental nagging. But still…well.

I’m upset. I’m more upset that they are so blasé about losing toys they have professed to love just ever so much. It infuriates me more than any amount of backtalk or outright sassing.

I think of all the children right here in this very town who would be ecstatic to have even a quarter of what my children are allowing to be discarded without a second glance, and…well. Let’s put it this way: I’m taking these boxes of perfectly good, brand new or nearly so toys to a local family shelter.

Maybe when my little ones have lost a few kilos of playthings, they’ll start to value them a little more. And meanwhile? Some children who really do have little or nothing will score some trendy, cool new friends to keep them company in unfamiliar territory.

So it is written. So it shall be.



Thursday, May 24, 2007

Dog tired and unmotivated

I got a rotten night’s sleep last night, the second such in a row, and it was a commute morning (4:30 a.m. alarm) and I’ve got an extra child staying with us right now (I’m going to start calling him Captain Chatter – same kid from last year, and he has not outgrown his chattering) (whoooooo boy) (he talked for FORTY FIVE STRAIGHT MINUTES this morning while we did the school run [walk]).

By the time I got home, I was so tired I about wanted to go back to bed. But of course, I’ve got not one, not two, but three children in the Den right now. Two of them chatterboxes, one of them pissy.

I don’t know what his deal is right now, but Captain Adventure is Mr. Pissy lately. It may be because he has started refusing to take a nap, but really still kind of needs one. So about noon, he turns into this snarling ball of pissiness, and may $DEITY Have Mercy On Your Soul if you try to put him down for a nap.

Sounds like you’ve got a caged mountain lion upstairs. Seriously. I’ve let him go for over half an hour hoping he’ll give up and go to sleep, but he never did. Just kept ratcheting up the racket until, afraid he was going to actually cause his crib to shatter, I gave up and got him.

Little jerk.

Anyway, as with every other day of my life, I have a list of stuff I want to get done. A toy purge in the kids’ bedrooms. A dresser purge, too. And a long list of baking. And I got my kitchen thoroughly cleaned yesterday except for one small stretch of counter space.

You know, the one completely covered from the floor to the bottoms of the cupboards with paper, backpacks, bits of unwanted cookies, Capri Sun wrappers (mostly empty), odd bits of plastic and string and $DEITY only know what-all else?

Yeah, that’s the one I didn’t finish yesterday. Or start, either.

Mostly because my fridge was the stuff of nightmares, so I ended up taking every last thing out of it including the shelves, scrubbing the interior like I thought I had good sense, putting everything back minus a few (dozen) bottles of stuff that had been in there since approximately 1998, when we moved in.

OK, nothing that old.

But I did find a few nasty things, like some celery that had morphed into a liquid state and some cottage cheese with an expiration date of, I kid you not, April 2006.


By the time I finished that, I was exhausted and also the news was on. So I gladly plonked my butt on the sofa and responded to all demands with a well-informed, even scholarly, expression and a tart, “Excuse me, but you may have noticed that the BBC World News is on?”

And then I watched How Clean Is Your House, which is still my favorite form of voyeurism. I felt extremely smug and superior because my fridge? Flawless. Kim would not have been shrieking in horror and proclaiming that she was going to be sick, NO! REALLY! (She always says that. But she never is. Heh.)

My bathrooms were also clean, because I had motivated myself early in the morning to do them.

We shall, however, give the state of that One Counter and the utter devastation in the kids’ rooms a glossing over, OK? Likewise, we will not suppose what their reaction would have been if they had turned up in the morning before I had done that cleaning.

Today, I’ve made two loaves of bread, one loaf of banana bread and started to make cookies when I realized that I didn’t have enough flour in the ‘inside’ Tupperware. OK, so I’ll go get the main flour canister and refill it, oh wait. That’s right. It’s empty too. I washed it two days ago. Hmm. OK. So, it’s New Bag Of Flour Time.


Cracking open a 50# sack of flour is not like opening a 5# one. The 5# version you just open, dump into your counter canister and there you are. Done. Throw the wrapper in the recycling and all is happy.

The 50# sack, however…well first of all, you’ve got to get it into the house. While I’d rather use a team of horses and a crane, I’m stuck with human muscle. And since it is a commute day and there is no Manly Type around, I’m stuck with my human muscle, which is…uh…well, let’s just say it ain’t what it used to was.

But it is what it is so I got out there and wrestled the bag into the house. Then I went out for Bins 1 and 2. Bin 2 was sitting there all nice and clean and dry and empty.

Bin 1, however, was full of rice. Which I had put in there after receiving a huge sack of rice at a sharp discount some time ago. We do go through rice at a fairly good flip, but Bin 1 is going to be mostly full of rice for some time to come.


There then began a comedy worthy of a sitcom as I went through the Den in search of large capacity bins that were clean and had a good, tight seal. I got so desperate that I was eyeballing the level of the cocoa powder in Bin 3 (no good, more than half full) (hmm…so, how many brownies would I have to make to empty that sucker…?) and asking myself just how nasty it would be, really, to dump toys out of this bin and just fill it up with flour? (Because you can’t wash a bin and then put flour into it, even if you towel dry it – it’s got to be bone dry, or your flour will get all ucky.)

Eventually, I found enough clean, dry bins (no, I didn’t use anything that had previously held toys) (or leaves) (or bugs) and began ladling the flour from the bag into the various containers.

By the time I’d finished, I was sick to death of the whole thing.

And then I remembered: the cookies.

You know…cookies really are rather overrated, aren’t they?

This is the part where you just nod politely and say, “Oh yes, they surely are.” We all know they aren’t. But you are all going to be good friends and agree with this blatant lie for my emotional welfare, because I really don’t feel like whumping up a batch of cookies right now. I feel like sitting on my butt doing nothing until it is time to go get Eldest and Danger Mouse from school. For which, I am taking Homer. All praise be to the internal combustion engine and automatic sliding doors, hallelujah, amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Other Assorted Weird Things from the Weekend

Thing #1: I bought an entire flat of strawberries at the farmer’s market. This is a huge amount of strawberries. I’m not sure why I got an entire flat, when what I was staring at the entire time was a half flat; but for some reason I said, “No, you know what? Make that a full flat.”

What was I thinking? (Well, other than rum + bananas + strawberries + triple sec + ice + blender = Happy Hour) But that flat of strawberries has now been mocking me for three (and a half) days. They do not have a long shelf life. Many of them have already been discarded due to fuzzy mold growth. I’d better get drinking baking.

Thing #2: Eldest went to a birthday party Saturday. After I dropped her off…I took the other three to Wendy’s for lunch and Frosty drinks.

That's right! I took the children out for something that could be both exciting and messy by myself. And then I bought them kid’s meals. I never do that. It is both expensive and pointless. They don’t eat the food. They eat maybe a couple fries and a nibble of hamburger then declare themselves full.

The fact that this was a really dumb thing to do didn’t occur to me until we got home. It didn’t even strike me as I was forking over $14 for three kid’s meals and one junior bacon cheeseburger meal – it wasn’t until I was unloading bags of uneaten food from Homer the Odyssey that I suddenly thought, Wait…what the @*^&@ did I just DO?!

Thing #3: I lost my cell phone Sunday morning. Walked around forever trying to find it. Tore apart cupboards, moved piles of laundry from one side to the other, dug through backpacks and checked under every piece of furniture in the Den. Then I picked up a phone that was sitting right in plain sight and tried to call it in hopes that I’d hear my lost cell phone ringing. It went straight to voicemail. Possibly because I was dialing from my cell phone.

Seriously, I think I need medication.

And also, it was a very much extremely weird weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh yeah and…

I finished some stuff.

Here’s the baby blanket I was working on, and three pairs of booties, made from remnants of sock yarn:

Finished objects

The blankie was an easy knit, just alternating strips of the bobbly-lacy pattern from the 5-Hour Baby Sweater and straight stockinette. The booties are likewise easy little charmers – it takes about an hour start to finish for me to do one, mostly because of the incessant interruptions I have around here. I’ll bet if I could just start knitting and not be pestered fourteen times a minute, it would probably take about 45 minutes.

Unfortunately, the ties are crocheted. Even just doing a stinking chain, I cannot seem to have a nice, even stitch when I crochet. And while I know that the best cure for this particular lacking on my part would be practice…well. I hate the way my crochet looks so much that I find it impossible to practice.

Stupid crochet.

When my Gran came over Sunday, she returned a box of knitting stuff I (allegedly) (seriously, I don’t remember doing it) gave her almost a decade ago. In it was a few skeins of a Red Heart Soft in a rather intense variegated color. Machine wash and dry – baby blanket it is:

WIP 052107

As the variegations are rather…um…striking, I’m going to do just a straight stockinette on this one. While it looks good in garter, too, I think the stockinette will tone down the ‘pop’ a little bit and let the colors blend a little more. That’s my theory, anyway. Because this is a fairly intense colorway, and needs all the toning down I can bring.

Weird weekend

This weekend was weird. You ever have a weird weekend? Yeah. This one? It was weird.

It begins, as weekends often do, with Saturday. Saturday morning, we went to the farmer’s market. We got home. All was fine up until this point.

But then suddenly…somebody tossed a Weird Bomb into the Den. There can be no other explanation for the weird weekend we proceeded to have.

My husband went off for a men’s thing in the early afternoon, and was gone well into Sunday. This may have accounted for some of the weird, but as his comings and goings are both frequent and random, well. Actually, it can’t really account for much of the weird.

Also, I am taking a new allergy medication. Maybe that was part of the weird.

But probably not.

It was just a Weird weekend.

We were having Danger Mouse’s birthday party Sunday. So Saturday I was trying to get ready for the party – and the Denizens were doing everything in their power to make this impossible. Captain Adventure was in a constant state of meltdown, only happy when being held. The girls were fighting. Nobody was willing to eat anything I put in front of them.

Things weren’t where they should have been. Everything from laundry detergent to coffee beans simply were not where I swear I put them. I’m wondering if perhaps we have a bogart in the Den, because I can’t think of any other way so many basic things could have gone AWOL in so short a time.

Night came, and with it Things That Go Bump. It wasn’t just the children – I was hearing them too. Odd dog-noises from around the neighborhood. A lot of bumping. A few thumps. Loud radios going up and down the street. The children were having nightmares, including Captain Adventure (I think). He kept waking up and shrieking until I came in to cuddle him back to sleep, right up until almost 3:00 in the morning.

My bogart suspicions were being substantiated. Somebody was pinching that baby. Seriously.

And at 6:15, I awoke to find Boo Bug standing next to my bed staring at me.

I hate it when they do that.

I hate it so much.

Because it is creepy the way they will stand there, silently and unblinkingly staring at you while you sleep, waiting for you to wake up so they can tell you they just had a nightmare or want a drink of water or, my personal favorite, “Mommy…I hafta go potty”.

So go already! What, you want me to put an article in the paper?! For Pete’s sake, just do what you’ve got to do and go back to bed!

ANYWAY. So Sunday I’m standing there utterly overwhelmed with everything I still had to do. We were doing a ‘Bratz Fashion Makeover’ party (OK, you know what? Shut. Up. I can so totally hear you all sniggering.) so I had the hair curler thing to set up and the body art tattoos and the lip glosses and cupcakes to bake so they could decorate them OH DEAR $DEITY WHY DID I SAY I WAS GOING TO DO THIS?!?!?!

Just as I discovered that the box of cake mix I was sure I had wasn’t there (oh.come.ON! I so totally have a box of rainbow sparkles cake mix in that cupboard…) some allergen or other got into my eyeballs. In spite of my new allergy medication (which is supposed to prevent such things), my right eyeball began to swell. This is a freaky thing to behold, it really is. My whole eye turns bright red, and the membrane begins to swell out away from the main body of the eyeball. Science fiction stuff, people. “Oh look, it’s a Frog Woman from the planet Ack-Thefpah!”

And also it hurts.

A lot.

It wasn’t long before the left one started throwing in its oar as well. It started to get hard to see, and the tears were falling down my face like a waterfall but not doing their job, to wit, weeping whatever had gotten in there out and now I’m wondering if I dare risk taking another antihistamine, given that I just started this new prescription stuff but gee whiz I’ve got to do something, because I’ve got seven little girls arriving for makeovers in less than two hours…!

By the time the husband got back from his men’s thing and (bless him) started helping, I was a wreck. So was the Den. Because when I said, “Go upstairs and clean up that mess, and don’t play around!” what they heard was apparently something like, “Go upstairs blah blah mess and don’t play at it!” and created a Mess of Epic Proportions.

It may make the 6:00 news tonight. “This just in: House so overwhelmed by filth it defies description! Film at 11!”

And then my from-scratch cupcakes came out of the oven unfit for human consumption. In point of fact, I don’t think I could feed them to pigs without PETA coming after me.

What did I do wrong? I have no idea. But given that I was cooking blind and extremely distracted, it is entirely possible that I used baking soda instead of powder, or left out the salt, or put in a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of baking powder, or any number of other ways you can ruin a perfectly good recipe for chocolate cupcakes.


So I washed my eyeball with saline, swallowed a couple over the counter allergy tablets (Dear $DEITY please don’t let this put me into a coma although on second thoughts that would get me out of this party so maybe just a little twelve hour one would be OK thank you amen), jumped into the car, raced off to Albertson’s and grabbed the first chocolate cake that came to hand. TWENTY DOLLARS, for a store bought cake.


T-minus thirty minutes and counting! But the house, she is coming together! Goody bags are made! Piñata is filled! Happy Birthday banner is hung! Balloons are up! Ribbons festooned! OK! Hey, know what?

We’re ready!

The doorbell rings and it is Girl #7, who can only stay an hour. YAY! Danger Mouse and Girl #7 (who is a Best Friend) immediately disappear into her bedroom, leaving me standing at the bottom of the stairs saying, “Uh, don’t you want to do the hair and stuff? Because she’s only got an hour…OK…well, let me know if you need me…or anything…”

Doorbell rings again and one of Eldest’s classmates turns up. YAY! Eldest seizes hold of her, drags her up to her room. “Um…I have body art tattoos…OK, well, uh…OK!”

I’m starting to feel like the dork kid at this point. “OK, well, so, good seeing you! Let’s do this again soon, OK? Hello? Goodbye? Anybody?”

Doorbell! Hey, it’s my grandmother! YAY! She doesn’t ditch me!!

But I am putting curls into Girl #7’s hair at this point and forget to make coffee for us. She has hair like mine, poor creature – it will not curl, no matter how loudly you threaten it. But she is putting on many body art tattoos and appears delighted with the ‘wave and bounce’ we do manage to get.

And then she and Danger Mouse vanish upstairs again. They do not wish to do nails, or lip gloss, or discuss Russian literature with me. The second dose of allergy medication is hitting me good and hard right about this time, and I am both cheerful and extremely drowsy.

Or possibly high as a kite. In any case, I don’t mind that there is a lot of noise in the house or that I can’t understand a word my Gran is saying. I just keep nodding and laughing when it seems appropriate.

Time passes.

More time passes.

Yet more time passes.

I look at the clock. It is 1:45. The party is from 1:00 to 4:00.

I’m guessing…this is all we’re going to get…?

That’s right. Two (2) children. Out of sixteen invitations and six (and a half) confirmations, we got…two.

And one of those had to leave at 2:00.


That’s…pretty sad.

At 2:00, Girl #7’s mom arrived to take her off to her next engagement. We bid her farewell and looked around. Eldest and her schoolmate were off by themselves. Danger Mouse had nobody but Boo Bug to play with at this point, and I was absolutely floored.

We had cake and piñata for a dozen children, and only one (1) extra kid.

Fortunately, Danger Mouse didn’t take it hard. I was waiting for her to be upset that nobody came to her party, but her take on it was actually extremely upbeat; as far as she was concerned, there were new presents and lots of room to use them, so she was happy.

What the heck was going on this weekend, anyway? The moon isn’t full, nothing is in retrograde…seriously. I’m grasping at straws here, people.

The first time, we got way more than we technically expected. This time, way fewer. What gives?


This morning I needed more flour so I trudged out to the garage and yanked one of the 25# bins of flour out of the cabinet.

The shelf above it promptly collapsed.

It is going to be an interesting week around the Den, methinks…

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Cool yet kinda sad

I took the Denizens to the farmer’s market this morning. They loved it, especially the fresh croissants. Eldest cracked me up – she’s not exactly a ‘morning person’ so she was dragging along grousing about having a headache and **sigh** and grumble and can we go home NOW?!

And then…right there…in the middle of everything…STRAWBERRIES! Glorious, glorious strawberries! Shimmering in the early morning sun…and yes! We got some! An entire flat of them – they are huge and sweet and juicy and there is great joy in the house today.

Suddenly, it was all A-OOOOOOOOOKAY in her little world.

But the thing that was both cool and sad is this: The drive to the farmer’s market takes us past the pediatrician’s office. As we rounded the corner where we usually turn in to the office building, Captain Adventure pointed out the window and said, clear as a bell, “Dok-tor!”

First, we were all giggly-happy. “Oooooh, he just said Doctor! That’s right sweetie, that’s where the doctor is!” Pleased with his success, he began crowing, “Yeah! Dok-tor! Yeah. OK. OK.”

And then it struck me: My little boy has been to the doctor so often in the last few months that he remembers the way, recognizes the building, and is a little surprised when we aren’t turning into the driveway every time we pass that way.


Well, hopefully we’ll be thumbing our nose at that building a lot more often now. Because in addition to being on the way to the farmer’s market, it is also on the way to the yarn store. And the thrift store. And the best coffee shop in town. And also the scrapbooking mega-store (I don’t scrapbook, but I keep claiming I’m going to do books for the kids one of these days) (ahem, yeah, right) (but they do have awesome ribbons, which I buy for baby bonnets and such) (ANYWAY).

So someday, he’ll be back there surprised that we’re going to the doctor instead of one of those other things. And he’ll say, “Uh, mom? Why are we turning in here? Aren’t we going to the knit-in at the coffee shop?” and I’ll be bargaining with him…after you see the doctor for your well-child, then you can get something at the coffee store while mommy is knitting with her friends…

Thursday, May 17, 2007

School Daze

I just finished loading next year’s school schedule into my Outlook calendar. It took me almost half an hour to do this little data-entry task, and I was grousing to myself about it. Because when I was a kid, in addition to having to walk fifteen miles uphill both ways in the snow BAREFOOT with nothing but a hot potato !NO BUTTER! that served as both a hand-warmer and my lunch (yeah, right - The Lady My Mother was actually an excellent lunch provider and also was not above slipping cookies in there sometimes plus also when she made PB&J she would put a little butter on the jelly side so the bread didn’t get all soggy and have I mentioned lately how much I love my mother?), I don’t recall having very many days that weren’t 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

This is my memory of school. 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., from September through May. Then three glorious months off, and then right back into the grinder with us. We got two weeks at Christmas and a day or two at Easter and that was it, Jack! Every once in a blue moon there would be a minimum day and the rejoicing would be loud and damage to public property perhaps not completely inconsequential.

I’m pretty sure I’m wrong. I’ll bet that if I were to ask my mother, she would roll her eyes, groan, and say, “OH MY GAWD, you guys were ALWAYS getting some freaky day or other off or it would be a half day and I would forget and then I’d get home from shopping and the two of you would be at a neighbor’s house eating all their food!”

And also, I am such a hypocrite. I’m groaning and rolling my eyes and carrying on about all these ‘excessive’ days off – but I tell you what, I am living for them right now. School is out in two weeks, and I am counting the days. Why?

Because I am immortal tired of the morning routine right now. I am sick of standing over my children with a whip every weekday morning shrieking, “C’mon! Brush hair! Brush teeth! Eat breakfast NO THERE AREN’T ANY WAFFLES! Shoes! ACK! Where are your socks? Your socks? YOUR socks! Your SOCKS!! WHERE!? Get socks! Get shoes! Hup-hup-hup…!”

I know I will be casting flower petals all along the pathways to the Hallowed Halls of Learning by the time school starts up again in mid-August. Because that is how these things work. A few short weeks ago, I was kvetching about how cold it was around here. Oh, the cruel, cruel cold! Oh the agony! Rain! Drizzle! Fog! So…cold….brrrrrrrrr…

Already, I have kvetched about the heat. Hot holy pancakes, I groused, why does it have to be so frickin’ HOT already?!

I kvetched endlessly about not being employed, then got sick of being employed and kvetched with equal fervor about how much it sucked to be employed.

So I’m sure that, after having spent considerable time bellyaching about what a hassle it is to get everybody uppity-up-up-up and dressed and pressed and fed and lunches made and out the door hup-hup-hup, I will soon be lying on the floor sobbing, “Why can’t school be all the time? Why? What time is it? Is it time to dump them on the educational system for six hours every day? Please? PLEASE IS IT TIME OH DEAR GAWD HELP ME LET IT BE TIME!!!”

Then, by the time that first ‘buy back’ day rolls around, I will already be saying, “Oh sweet merciful heavens, THANK YOU! I am so looking forward to having a nice, slow morning around here…!”

Sometimes I envision $DEITY wincing every time I start up a conversation, saying, “OY, here it comes, a few weeks ago she was asking me to let up on the rain and now…OH! There it is! ‘wah wah drought blah blah water bill’! I don’t know what to do with the woman, I just don’t…!”

Kind of not unlike the way I do when a Denizen who has just spent the last hour declaring that she is going to drop dead from hunger any second now {swoon!} then glances at her meatloaf, looks me dead in the eye and says coolly, “I’m not hungry.”

Captain Adventure Sez ‘I wan’some’

Captain Adventure is finally starting to talk. It feels as though coming home from daycare pulled out a cork, and out popped a whole bunch of words and phrases – or as if he went into ‘deep freeze’ at eighteen months and is now thawing out and carrying on with his journey.

He has learned to say, “I want some!” when he sees somebody with something good – like a sister with a cookie or a juice box.

He doesn’t just say, calmly and clearly, “I want some.” His eyes widen impossibly. He begins bouncing up and down. And he shrieks, “I wan’some I wan’some I wan’some I wan’some I wan’some!” in a squeaky, high, shrill voice. He also points, tugs at the hem of my shirt, shrieks if he thinks he doesn’t have my attention, and occasionally attempts to swarm up me like I’m his personal jungle gym in an attempt to get closer to the object of his desire.

You know, you spend two years trying to get the kids to walk and talk…then you spend the rest of their lives trying to get them to sit down and shut up.

We’ve got ‘more’, and ‘outside’, and are playing the ‘nose, ears, eyes’ game. He’s still a little fuzzy on the concept of proper names (although there is now a distinction between the sound ‘daddy’, which can mean anything or nothing, and calling for daddy, which comes out as ‘the daddy’) and doesn’t think to ask for ‘juice’ when he’s thirsty. But every day seems to bring some new word or other to him, so I don’t think it will be long.

When we went to the playground earlier this week, he imperiously pulled me by the hand to the swings, pointed at them and said firmly, “I wan’some – go! Go! GO!”

He’s still got a long way to go to catch up to the ‘average’ almost-three year old, but the progress is encouraging. He’s still way behind his peers, but more and more words are coming out of his mouth; and for bonus points, many of them make sense.

Still a momma’s boy, though. Strangers can only be regarded from the safety of Mommy’s arms, and really it is better all around at parties if she just sits down in order to provide Himself with a safe, comfortable viewing platform from which to ogle all those Other Humans Who Are Not My Family. Eventually he warms up and will play with the other kids or attack the snack tray, but lordy it can really take a while. Daddy is an OK substitute for a little while, but he lacks that essential je ne sais quoi so Mommy had better be ready at any moment to have him urgently climbing up her, pursued by other children or sisters or GADS some crazy auntie or other who wants {gak, choke} KISSES!

Kisses from Mommy, however, are OK. Usually. Unless he’s, you know, busy. Because it’s still a lot of work, being Captain Adventure…

Snuggle partner

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Baby blankets and Remodeling

In keeping with my declarations around ‘one for me, one for you’, I’m now knitting a simple preemie blanket to go to Warm Hearts~Warm Babies (a Knitting4Children charity):

Baby blanket

This is Simply Soft in a light lavender – I’ve lost the ball band, so I don’t know what color exactly. There’s actually another 3” or so on it by now – it’s a fast knit, and I’m a slow picture-taker. Very, very simple pattern: five repeats of the 5-Hour Baby Sweater pattern, followed by fourteen rows of stockinette, with a border of garter stitch at the sides. Lather, rinse, repeat until you reach the end of your yarn (or patience, whichever comes first). This is a preemie size, roughly 18” wide and planned to be about 20” long.

After this, I’ve decided that I need to do a whumping of preemie hats for the same outfit and send them along. I’ve got a sudden itchin’ and skritchin’ for little hats. Probably because I need more instant gratification in my life – everything else is insisting on taking it’s sweet time!

We are getting perilously close to having actual plans for the construction-type people to work with at this point. The architect has finally produced plans that are both acceptable in terms of what we need and the amount of cash we’re willing to put into the project. We have scaled it down considerably since we first began discussing it – and by ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, because left to himself the husband would be adding about 2,800 square feet plus a four-story castle turret and a koi pond in the kitchen.

The man does not dream small, people. He also has no fear of God nor man and really truly believes he (with the help of his trusty Shopsmith) is equal to any task.

As of the last volley of emails with the architect, we’re looking at putting in two nice-sized bedrooms (bigger than the existing ones, which will be nice) and a small bathroom, a total of just under 500 square feet. The roof will need to be messed with (dang), but since we’re coming under the magic 500 square foot thing we are spared a whole mess of other fees and permits. Woo hoo!

Aaaaaaaaaaand of course before we can do much of anything we’ve got to get the permits (allow two to six years months) and then onto the contractor’s schedule (“Eh, I dunno, it all depends…”) PLUS ALSO there will undoubtedly be ordering issues (“Gee, those windows have been on backorder for six months now, I dunno if we’re going to get any in before the next millennium…”)

In other words, pretty much everything is out of my hands until further notice. I’m just along for the ride. And also to write checks, because as CFO of the Den, it is my job to do so. And to keep track of expenses and to keep everybody honest about what costs how much and why.

It is going to be an interesting experience. I’ve never done anything like this. I’m expecting that I will be even more of a crazy person than usual the entire time sweaty men are in here driving nails into things and shouting, “Hey George, did they want a window here? No? Oh…oops…”

But I was reconciling myself to it. I was telling myself that all I needed to do was get through one day after another, and eventually the dust would settle and the sweaty men would be gone and we would have the glorious space after which we have been lusting ever since our family went from a sane four to an utterly insane six…

And then it dawned on me that when we are finishing up, that very last part where we put in the carpets…ALL of the furniture from ALL of the rooms (including, duh, ours) is going to have to go Elsewhere for the duration.

It was about this point that I fell on the couch in a swoon clutching a bottle of KettleOne and groaning, “But I just got all that stuff upstairs! I don’t wanna lug it all down again! Especially since I’ll just have to bring it back up a few days later! Can’t they just, you know, carpet around everything?!”

That this particular phase is months away means nothing to me. I’m already exhausted. EXHAUSTED I TELL YOU! The very thought of having to dismantle our king-sized bedframe and lug it anywhere has me near tears.

Thank goodness for my knitting. That, I can control. That gives me progress, real, tangible progress. I am competent at this. When it comes to baby sweaters, people, I really know my @*^&@.

Therefore, I herewith decree that when it comes to furnishings, the moving of same, painting and other ‘handiwork’ kinds of things…I should stick with what I know, and direct traffic from my rocking chair.

Knit two, purl one, knit two, purl one…chair in the corner, shelves against the far wall, gentlemen…knit two, purl one…

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Blue Nile Director Mary Alice Taylor Exercises Options for 20,000 Shares, Sells Stock.

She exercised options on 20,000 shares of stock at $0.25 apiece, then turned right around and sold them at about $55.50-ish.

She bought them for $5,000, then sold them for $1,105,000. Profit of $1.1 million bucks. Granted, after taxes that will be, eh, what, maybe $777K or so, but still!

::WHEW:: Not too bad, huh?!?!

Hey, I just realized that we’re related. Or at least, I have a relative named “Mary”, and another one named “Alice”, and I’m pretty sure somebody married a Taylor somewhere along the line…Auntie!! How the heck are you?! Well, shoot, I wouldn’t dream of mentioning it, but since you ask, I would rather like one of these…always been partial to sapphires, heh heh…don’t suppose you’ve got, like, a ‘newly discovered long-lost niece’ discount or anything…?

Wrists Hurt. Need chocolate. And also beer.

My wrists are killing me. It’s definitely carpal tunnel syndrome or possibly some bone-eating fungus I’M SERIOUS! Except that it will vanish in the next day or two, right around the same time I would be able to get an appointment with a doctor about it because it is NOT carpal tunnel or a bone-eating fungus, it is…well. It recurs about monthly. In other words, periodically. Around the same time I start retaining more water than the Hoover Dam and perhaps become a tad more emotional than I am at other times.

This is yet another reason why I am coming to loathe the phrase “as we age”. OH YES THEY DID! “Gee, my wrists become incredibly painful every month, to the point where normal activities hurt ridiculously and no, seriously, I’ve even had trouble turning a door knob not to mention dropping things for no apparent reason…” “Well,” ponders the twelve year old {alleged} orthopedic specialist. “You know, as we age !GAK!”

The !GAK!, of course, being the point where I get a good grip on his stethoscope.

I swear to Dog, if I were to walk into the hospital with a kitchen knife protruding from my eyeball, the doctor (and, is it just me, or are they getting younger and younger every minute?!) would say, “Well you know, as we age, kitchen knives tend to start appearing in our eyeballs…”

I. Am. Not. Aged. There is cheddar cheese older than me, people. Granted, I have no scientific proof of this – but I’m pretty sure there is. Somewhere. In a government lab maybe.

The irritating thing about this (the wrists, not the ‘as we age’ thing – there’s a whole novel’s worth of posting about how irritating that is) is that there is nothing which helps. It will hurt just exactly the same amount whether I knit / cook / clean / pick up children or not. It will hurt just the same whether I take ibuprofen or not. It will hurt in the presence of alcohol, hot or ice packs, with or without caffeine. I’ve tried every combination and the ‘nothing’ route (no computer, no knitting, no caffeine, no alcohol, nothing), and, well, nothing likewise did nothing for the condition.

The only thing that gave me good relief was a prescription for steroids that knocked it out in under 48 hours – but people, I am not popping a monthly deal like that. My chin is hairy enough without any chemical help, thank you all the same. Because you know, as we age...

On the bright side, however, I don’t have to give up or add anything for the duration. Just grit my teeth and get through it, knowing that it is only a couple days a month and that if I could get through four c-sections I can surely handle this. And resist the urge to self-diagnose myself into having diseases I know I do not have, thanks to modern diagnostic methods which included CT scans, MRIs and about seventy-eleven vials of blood being violently ripped from my body by Satanic vampires posing as innocent lab technicians drawn out of my veins.

Chocolate helps my mood tremendously, though. I like chocolate. Chocolate is an inherent good and there should be Federal programs in place to ensure that every person receives a daily supplement of chocolate. Mothers should receive automatic upgrade to FedEx delivery of a box of Godiva every single day in thanks for all the breeding we do to keep the tax base of this great country alive and well for generations to come. Hallelujah, amen.

Another inherent good: Sub-woofers. Also having LEFT and RIGHT speakers. Put them all together and you’ve got yourself a real good time. I learned earlier that if I turn this system up enough, I can drown out the Denizens even if they are banging wildly on my door screaming about injustices perpetrated by their siblings while their father bellows at them from below to KNOCK IT OFF AND LEAVE YOUR MOTHER ALONE ALREADY.

Little known fact: I sing much better when my backup is !!LOUD!! And the more I drink, the better I sing loud with the booma-booma YEE HAW.

However, it is true perhaps that as Yoda reading instructives from Japanese translated by student of Russian swap program I begin to be heard like.

Possibly this is because, as we age, we are less able to metabolize vodka and cranberry juice? Hmm. Possibly. Perhaps I should switch to beer. Yes. Perhaps I should. Could somebody please send chocolate, and also beer?

Thank you I am with sincerities.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Guess what? I GOT A PRESENT!!

It’s an iPod shuffle, and the nice FedEx guy delivered it this very morning! Apparently, my husband bought it for me as a Mother's Day present last week when it transpired that my Samsung ‘player’ (which has never yet accepted any music except the two songs that came with it, and also cannot do anything but play straight through an audio book – if you stop at any point, you must start again from the beginning) would not accept anything from iTunes.

It is so cute! It is so…tiny.

It is SO going to get lost in this Den.

He even had it engraved: It says ‘Escape the Chaos’ on the back of it.

Awwwwwwwwwwww. Lookit how cute it is…only mine is silver not pink…

Only mine is silver…

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Finished Object: Celtic Lattice Vest

OK, the vest is done but for the buttons, which I will be attaching as soon as it finishes drying. They are pewter buttons shaped like trout – a little more ornate than what I’d usually put on them, which was why I went with just plain black button bands instead of the pattern. I don’t want them to get lost – they’re nicer than what I generally put on my projects.

So! Here it is! Being blocked…

Celtic Lattice

And here’s a close-up of the detail:

Celtic Lattice Detail

This was a sheer delight to knit. The pattern was not too challenging, but not boring either. It was knit in the round all the way up, with steek stitches (excellent article regarding these over here at See Eunny Knit, if you’re curious about how they work / why anyone would be crazy enough to use them / how come they aren’t nearly as scary as they sound).

The one change I would make if I did it again would be to widen the steek stitches – Cheryl uses three, I think I’d use five. I know it uses more yarn, but I found it difficult to run four lines of machine stitches down that narrow a band. I accidentally cut through the machine stitching in a couple places (oops), but didn’t realize I’d done it until I was picking up stitches and the loose ends pulled up and created A Problem. FEH!

Fortunately, the yarns I used are very old-style wool: They fuzz together and hold onto each other, so I don’t expect I will be punished any further for my misdeeds now that the cut edges have been covered with the facings and washed. Also, thanks to the wool being of this style, I had almost no ends to run in at all – whenever I needed to join in a new ball, I did the ‘splicing’ method (great explanation here in spit-splicing via Little Yarn Shoppe of Horrors), where you unravel each end, overlap the two unraveled ends, moisten (yes, I used spit) and rub like heck between your hands to twine them back together. If you spin, this makes perfect sense. If you don’t, you’re going “huh?!” and really ought to check out the link. The wool felts a little tiny bit with this mistreatment, and you then carry on knitting with it as though it was always one continuous strand. It works brilliantly on wool, and the ‘stickier’ the wool (e.g., more likely to felt) the better.

Another interesting technique I haven't used much: Instead of casting off and then sewing up the facings, Oberle has you tack down the live stitches to the inside. I found it was easier to keep track of what needed to be tacked down where, and that the finished product was "stretchier" - none of that 'oops, now the armhole is pulling in' afterward. Nice! I'm going to remember this little trick for my Dale of Norway sweaters, which always-always-ALWAYS seem to end up with too-tight neck openings for the Denizens (entirely because I cast off too tightly and then tack down with a vengeance).

I didn’t find any other surprises in the pattern; I did my usual thing when instructed to “pick up X stitches” along the button bands, neckline and armband: I worried more about picking up evenly than “X stitches” and adjusted on the second round – but the only adjustments I had to make was to remove one stitch on one armband, and add two on the other! That, friends, is a bulls eye.

The Dancing skein was more than generous enough to finish the project – I have quite a little bit left over. I’ve really loved this color. The finished vest has a lovely ‘wash’ to it, with a lot of depths and shallows throughout.

All in all, a fun project. And there are a few other vests I’ve got my eye on in this book; I’ve got some great alpaca that would make a gorgeous Stone Walls. Oberle now has two books out that I'm finding more than one or two things I'm interested in making. Yay! Another designer I can stalk. Er. I mean, watch for new things. (She does have a book of knitted jackets coming out soon, if memory serves...)

But first…an 18” preemie blanket, in good old purple acrylic (suitable for machine washing, drying, and washing, and drying, and washing, and drying, and washing, and…)

My room, my very own room

My mother’s day present from the husband was to do whatever I felt like doing while he took care of ‘everything else’– so first I finished the last armband on the Celtic Lattice vest, washed it and pinned it to block, and then I trekked up here and began going through all the crap covering my bedroom.

I swear, doing this kind of major organizing Event is a lot like knitting lace to me. First, there’s all this fussy-work. And it looks all messy. And you start saying to yourself, “What the @*^&@ was I thinking?! Why did I start this?! This is horrible and it will never, ever be good!”

And then the wash-n-block happens and suddenly (after many hours of sweat and cussing) (I have moved that extra desk to at least three places in this room, plus out of the room and back in again) (and then I wonder why my back is sore – that ain’t no pressboard, people, that is solid oak), there’s this incredible thing. And you can’t believe you did it, and you want to run up to random strangers and say, “Look! Look at this cool thing I did!” (Uh, hi there, Internet - Check out my bedroom!! Is it not cool?!)

We used to have a very large room that neither of us spent any real time in. Wasted space, big time. When we first bought this house, I had fond dreams of spending hours in here – it is a lovely, bright, airy room, awesome lighting for any craft you care to do. And so big! HUGE! I mean, HUGE-HUGE! Our master bedroom is almost as big as my entire first apartment, all kidding aside.

But when we moved in, we sort of shoved the dresser on one wall and the armoire on the other and got busy with the kids stuff and then were working and sort of never got back around to ‘optimizing’ our bedroom. Eh, it worked. Whatever. I’m tired. Let’s just go to bed…

Well. I’m ready to use it now. Check it out! I have a knitting nook:

Knitting Nook

All right, it is a little short on ‘sitting’ implements and table and other stuff that tends to be considered standard for a knitting nook (or anything else except what this may seem to be to the unimaginative eye, to wit, an empty corner). But it does have a knitting basket in it, so it counts.

The business desk, with ‘ready stash’ yarn storage bin, a small file box (off camera – I keep very little paper lying around thanks to the miracle of paperless billing and a decent all-in-one printer/scanner/fax/copier, also off-camera), telephone, shredder and recycling bin PLUS ALSO thanks to the fact that we never throw any piece of computer equipment away a sound system - two small speakers on the desk plus a sub-woofer under the desk (I could SO rock this neighborhood right now) (but I won't, because I am mature that way now and a mom and a Responsible Citizen and would never, ever want to set a bad example for the Denizens by, say, cranking up Redneck Woman and yelling "HELL YEAH!" at the top of my lungs while pounding back Miller Genuine Draft, dancing like I was hit by the Wine Truck, and eating preztels right out of the bag):

Work Desk

The craft desk (utterly indestructible) (seriously. I’ve tried.), with yarn overflow storage extra drawers for whatever might happen along in need of a temporary home, and the barrister shelves we can’t put anywhere else due to the fact that they have glass doors and thus must be put in the one (1) no-kids-allowed space in the Den (currently full of books that I would seriously have a heart attack and die over if someone covered them in crayon, like my full set of Child Ballads, 1808 printing, series 796 of 1000 complete set the-very-thought-of-crayoned-pony-princess-stick-figures-in-them-makes-me-vaguely-nauseous):

Craft desk

Yes. That weird stuff on the wall is unfinished drywall texturing. It used to open into a retreat off the master bedroom, which we walled off to make a room for Captain Adventure. I don't want to talk about how long ago that was, or why we haven't painted either space yet.

Eventually, I want to get a nice comfy chair and a good sturdy little table to go in my ‘knitting nook’; for right now, cash is tight so I’m saying that the office chair is perfectly comfortable, thank you. I’ll repurpose something from around the Den to be a footrest (hmm, Captain Adventure is about the right size…) (oh wait, using a small child for a footrest…would that be wrong?!) and call it done for now.

I’m sure that if one of the ‘trading spaces’ decorators were to walk in here, they’d drop dead of bad-designing induced heart failure.

But I don’t care. I have a place I can go when the husband is watching something I really don’t want to watch, where I can work or play or watch something I want to watch or knit or read or whatever I want to do

Oh yeah. Life is good.

I’m going to go bring what little of my stash is actually here and not in storage up to its new home. And the vest being all done but the shouting, maybe start something new before dinner. I had promised myself that I would alternate ‘one for me, one for charity’, so I’m thinking I’ll cast on a cute little baby sweater or something.

In my room. Oooooh, I feel like a teenager again! Let me practice.


“Do you MIND?! I am TALKING to my FRIEND!!”

“…nothing! GOSH! Can’t I have any PRIVACY around here?! GOSH!”

“I wasn’t locking YOU out of my room, I was locking my STINKY LITTLE BROTHER out! GOSH! You are just, like, such a fascist!”

“No, it's just incense...”


…oh yeah, I feel youthful all over…!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Small but SASSY!

Our town’s farmer’s market opened today. As I have ranted before, our town sits right on the edge of prime California agricultural land – but year after year, our farmer’s market has been sagging from ‘eh’ to ‘why bother’ all the way down to ‘definitely to be avoided at all costs, run! run for your LIFE!’ over the last few years.

Last year was particularly pathetic. The ‘trinket’ vendors outnumbered the food vendors, and what few food vendors there were had very little on offer. Also, the last time I went the Mary Kay lady literally chased me in the street waving eyeshadow and enthusing about how she could give me a free facial in less than five minutes and I would LOVE! it, guaranteed!

Not to be catty (she said, promptly being catty), but if her own makeup job was any indication, she and I are on polar opposites of the makeup-wearing scene. I’m a ‘less is more’ type, and she’s more of a ‘you cannot possibly have too much color on your face!’ type.

I fled as if Satan himself were right behind me. Actually, I fled faster. Because Satan, you know, has a way of having stuff I might actually want, like a fiddle I could use to rule Nashville, or a stock calculator that never missed. Granted, the price is a little too steep for my liking, but at least the merchandise itself isn’t terrifying. But this particular Mary Kay lady was going to try to sell me fuchsia lipstick and people – that is just plain wrong.

However, I digress.

This year we have a new sheriff in town. Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association has taken on my wee little town (probably out of pity) (or because the fact that our town calling what we had a ‘farmer’s market’ was dragging the name through toxic waste and needed to be stopped at all costs) and is managing the whole affair.

So I caught up my big canvass bag this morning and headed out the door, determined to risk the Crazy Mary Kay lady. After all, the PCFMA website says right on the homepage: PCFMA does not accept the sale of crafts, jewelry or other non-agricultural, non-food items in its markets.

I arrived right at opening and found a lot of friends and neighbors milling around eating fresh baked whatnots from local bakeries, drinking coffee, and listening to a group of kids playing jazz. The market is still tiny, taking up one city block with enough space to park a truck between each booth – but guess what?


Also, no Avon, no Tupperware, no lady-with-the-cheap-from-China-sequined-bags, no insurance salesmen, chiropractors, mortgage brokers shoving flyers up my nose. The only thing being shoved at me were samples of peaches and cherries, which hey – I can handle.

It’s still small. It still has large holes in what is available (no carrots anywhere in the market, for example, or artichokes, asparagus, or broccoli), but I could definitely have gotten plenty of variety to keep the household happy if I hadn’t just received a big old box from Planet Organics with sugar snap peas, green garlic, broccoli, carrots, etc. etc. etc.

And having the organic vendors is new. While I’m nowhere near the ‘organic or nothing’ level, I am finding that the organics simply taste better to me. More like what I remember when I was a kid – whether that’s simply due to freshness or really is the lack of chemical intervention, I don’t know.

One thing that I found particularly exciting was a lady selling eggs. Chicken eggs, sure – but also duck and quail eggs. And when I paused to chat with her about her business (I do that, because I am nosy), she told me that her animals are all free-range. This, she tells me, means that her eggs are sometimes more flavorful (read as, people think there’s something “wrong” with them because *gasp* they taste like something!) and sometimes less, and that occasionally people are frightened senseless by the sight of two yolks or upset because the whites aren’t pure white. And let’s not get started on the worry that speckled eggs are ‘spoiled’ or whether or not brown eggs come from, you know, chickens

Heh. I’ve heard the same thing from the local meat market – people complain that the bacon doesn’t taste like ‘bacon’. Well, it does taste like bacon, which is the salted and/or smoked meat from the back and sides of a pig.

What it does not taste like is Oscar Meyer bacon, because these are local pigs who ate whatever was put in front of them – usually a combination of commercial feed and whatever was lying around the farm, from carrot tops to corn stalks. The meat market then has its own smoking and seasoning, not to be confused with the commercial same-same of Oscar Meyer.

But since the rather nasty conditions in which laying hens are kept are one of my very few eco-Nazi-hot-button-topics, I’m delighted to have a more chicken-friendly source of fresh eggs. Also, it is very cute to have a vendor who names her chickens and can tell which eggs came from what hen. “Oh, that’s Rosie, she’s been laying big eggs lately…”

So. To make a long story short (too late!)…progress! Our farmer’s market is small, but sassy! I’d love to see some cheese makers, and a little more variety would be nice (lots of cherries and strawberries, no asparagus, artichokes or broccoli); and I’d be ecstatic if we got an organic butcher into the act.

But compared to years past: FABULOUS. Very encouraging! I’ll be diverting my grocery money to the market as much as I can, and hope enough of my friends and neighbors do the same to make it appealing to the vendors we’re still missing.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Ooh, a meme! Hokay…da rules…

Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

Hmm. What to put up…

Thanks to some years performing on the street, I’ve learned pretend I’m not shy at parties anymore – but I guarantee you, I tried to avoid going in the first place, then worried all the way to your party about all the dumb things I was about to say or do in front of witnesses, and when I get home I lie awake cataloging all the dumb thing I said or did at the party and wonder why anybody ever invites me anywhere – unless it’s for the comedic value of all the dumb things I say and do. I'm still shy.

I read extremely fast. I can devour a novel in a single sitting. I can’t describe how I do it in a way that others can understand – it’s like, instead of reading each word, I take in the whole paragraph like a snapshot. I don’t know how I do it, but I do know that I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember.

I came to knitting in a very odd way. At Renaissance fairs, one of the street gigs I did was spinning. I’d spend two, three, four hours a day standing in the street with a drop spindle being ‘color’ for the fair. And then I had, whaddya know, all this yarn. So I signed up for a class at a local yarn store and the rest is history.

I have wanted specifically four children since I was six years old. I do not for the life of me know why. There were occasional periods of wanting fewer or more, but somehow that number ‘four’ just kept coming back. And now that I have four, that is plenty, thank you.

It took me about six months to go from “Sooooooo, this red one here is a ‘C’, you say?” to performing professionally (‘performing professionally’ being pronounced ‘being paid for it’) on the harp. Which sounds really impressive until I confess that I’d been playing the piano for twenty years by then, and also spent between three and six hours every single day including Sundays practicing. Yeah, that’ll catch you up to your peers PDQ…

I am a rotten teacher, especially at the things I do best. I don’t know how to explain how to do things that are second nature to me, then I get frustrated that you aren’t getting it and worry about what a bad teacher I obviously am (even if it really is the pupil being dense) and it all just goes downhill from there.

Someday, I want to hike the John Muir trail all the way from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney. 211 miles, plus another ten to get down from the mountain. Of course, first I’ll have to whip my domesticated behind back into shape – I haven’t hiked more than three miles in almost ten years, which makes a 211 + 10 mile backpacking trip a little…unlikely, at this exact moment.

And, I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve done a lot of different things already and figure I’ll probably wear at least a dozen more hats before my time is up. I admire people who can put up with ‘same old, same old’ for year upon year – seriously. Because I am utterly unable to do that. My brother shot straight through college; I grazed through it like it was the Hometown Buffet. I’ll take a little science, and a little Italian, and some music, and a minor in mathematic, and maybe just a few courses in archeology…eighteen years later, I finally knuckled down and blazed through a CIS degree – but if you simply added up units and awarded degrees, I’ve probably got a PhD in ‘Miscellaneous Stuff’.

Lessee. Tagging…
Sugar Mommy
Amy Lane at Yarning to Write
Jan at Canter In
21st Century Mom (because I know you’ve just got NOTHING BUT TIME ON YOUR HANDS for silly memes)
Needletart, and I will be stunned if I’m the first to hit her.
Terena at Medusa’s Muse (gonna get you posting more if it kills me, girl)
briarrose43 at meanderings of a bored mind (ditto the ‘posting more’ jab)
Moira at Irish Trouble (hmm, I’m sensing a ‘posting more’ theme here…)

Whew. Man. OK, now I hope nobody’s mad at me for (not) including them. Party on, y’all…

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I am so angry with Citibank right now. They have earned my eternal hatred and also a potential well-worded letter of outrage.


Because! They sent me a $25 gift card to iTunes to thank me for being a ‘valued customer’. And I said to myself, “Eh, what do I want with this?! Huh, maybe I’ll just re-gift it…I just don’t see what all the fuss is about with this whole i-music-pod-casting-whatever thing YOU KNOW, vinyl was good enough for me, I just don’t get this whole download-thing …”

So I went to the site, you know, just for a quick peek…

It took me all of about ten minutes to burn through the whole $25. Seriously. And a lot of willpower to resist downloading about sixty-zillion ‘just one more!’ (which is also how I can go through fifty bucks at the dollar store). And now I’m finding myself wondering where we put those awesome speakers we used to have on the tower computer (didn’t that system have a subwoofer? Right ON!) and about these i-Pod things and how I might get my hands on one, because I’m pretty sure I’m the last person in the northern hemisphere without one, GOSH I am such a dinosaur…!

Also, I’m completely sure my playlist is proof that I am a terribly unbalanced person. Country, R&B, Soul, Rock, Classical, Alternative, Pop, Dang That’s So Old We Can’t Believe Anybody Wants It, Wait – did she just download Redneck Woman?!...


The sad truth is, the first time I got myself into serious trouble with credit cards (yes, there was more than one time – I am not one to learn a lesson the first time around, I need repetition and also to have it repeated and maybe reiterated a couple more times before I ‘get it’) it was on music. A $3,000 stereo system (at the time, I was making about $18,000 a year), buying new albums every eight seconds, going through money like water buying singles (remember those?) and blank cassette tapes to burn the vinyl onto so I could play them in my car…and then a CD player for my car (and this was when they skipped more than they played – I am still amazed at how far that technology has come!)…

I am so angry with Citibank right now. You know, this is just like walking up to a recovering alcoholic and waving a bottle of rum under her nose. “Just one little drinkie-poo! C’mon! You know you love it…”


I wonder if they have any 12-step programs for recovering music-holics.

Maybe I should just head over to the i-Tunes store…surely, if there is such a program, they’d have a link to it, right…? Ooooooooh! Check it out!!

…So don't delay act now supplies are running out
Allow if you're still alive
six to eight years to arrive
And if you follow there may be a tomorrow
But if the offer is shun
You might as well be walkin' on the sun

Crap. Iiiiiiiiiiiii’m a goner…they’ve got “my” music…quick, name a rewards program that carries i-Tune cards!!

(Double crap. How pathetic is that? Might as well put a sign on my blog: Will fill out surveys for i-Tunes…please, c’mon, man, hook a sistah up, I’m dying over here! They've got WILDFIRE, and I haven't heard that in, like, TWENTY YEARS!!!)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The budget report

Groceries-from-the-store this week: $44.72. (As usual [for the second time, ahem], the table of gory details will be at the bottom and as usual, skip it if you feel a sudden urge to scream wildly and run from the computer.) (Or heck, skip the whole post. I know, budget-stuff can cause narcolepsy [my favorite word of the week].)

I’m still getting a box from Planet Organics, but switched to a larger box every-other-week. Instead of $32 weekly, I’m getting a $38 box every other week – this is the ‘on’ week, so our total for groceries will come to $82.72. If the farmer’s market proves to be awesome! I will gladly give up the box in favor of buying from the farmer’s market on Saturdays…but as I ranted before, I don’t hold out a whole lot of hope on that front. I’ve been hopeful every single year, and every single year… “HI! WOULD YOU LIKE A FREE MAKEOVER?!”

No. What I’d like is zucchini. But thanks for offering.

Leftover cash: $57.28, plus $18 from last week [I held onto that last twenty pretty tight, but finally broke down and got a soda on the way home from dropping Danger Mouse off at The Brother’s house.]

I’ve got just under half a tank of gas left, but will definitely have to fill up before Saturday because we’re taking a little trip this weekend – while we might make it there and back again on ‘not quite half a tank’, well. It would severely suck to find myself in the High Gas Prices neighborhood when Homer the Odyssey is running on fumes. I’d much rather top him off at the cheap gas here in town than pay $4.11 a gallon (OUCH!) over the hill. Probably about $40 to top him off Friday.

You may note there is not a whole lot of ‘…and then I went to WalMart and bought $418.27 in, uh, stuff, followed by a quick trip to Taco Bell and then I got the most adorable set of whatnots at the Dollar Tree while waiting for Boo Bug to finish her ballet lesson…’ in here. It isn’t that I never, ever under any circumstances do those things – it’s just that I’ve got a goal and I’m darned serious about it.

Once I’ve paid off the first loan on my ‘kill list’, I’ll lighten up a bit. That loan has a payment of $350 a month, which I’m going to split 50/50 – half for me to spend on ‘stuff’, the other half to go into the snowball to pay off the rest. That brings my monthly ‘spend on stuff’ budget up to $775, which allows for ballet lessons and Taco Bell and even the occasional safari into WalMart.

If I keep the faith, I should have that sucker paid off in either July or August – it all depends on whether or not a largish check I’m anticipating actually shows up (oh-please-oh-please-oh-please), and my own ability to resist things like…new furniture for ‘my’ bedroom (may Disciplina forgive me, but I am lusting after California Closet ‘solutions’, and also big comfy chairs) and yarn.

Especially yarn.

Item Price
Dishwasher detergent $5.75
Allspice $5.39
100 tea bags (generic) $4.19
4 gallons milk $9.98
Apples $2.31
One crummy bell pepper $0.69
Watermelon! $3.99
Bag o’ Spuds $2.69
Big old bag potting mix $3.99
Block o’ Parmesan $4.99
Rendering unto Caesar (sales tax) $0.75
Total $44.72

It’s a long, long way from Organized to Here…

I have worked now for almost two hours in my room and do I see much headway?

No. No I do not.

I have this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And this:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

(Note the knitting magazine, still unread, but on top of the pile – I have my priorities, people)

There is more OH YES THERE IS, but thankfully the batteries died in the camera and I was thus spared any further documentation of the chaos.

The worst part, of course, is that I’m doing this to myself.

See, it’s like this. My husband and I were sharing the office downstairs. It was a little tight in there, and also the office is probably the worst room in the house for Peace And Quiet Or Something Like It. If anyone is watching TV, the noise comes right through the wall. If anyone is playing upstairs, it sounds like a herd of elephants is tap dancing overhead. And then there is the tiny matter that whenever my husband gets on the phone with a coworker (about seventy times a day), he is loud and I am ‘not supposed to be there’.

Yeah. Gets old, being run out of the office all the time. Or trying to work with Slash ‘Em Dead XIII: In the mall, everybody hears you scream, even people trying to read annual statements in the other room blaring through the wall.

So the decision was made (by me) that I would move my base of operations upstairs. I would move everything upstairs: my ‘quiet’ knitting space, my computer, my filing system, my writing, everything, to our bedroom. The way I have envisioned it, whether I’m writing or knitting or cussing out vendors on the phone, I can simply glance out the bedroom door to check up on the Denizens at any time.

It will rock.


IN THE MEANTIME, I have an awful lot to get through. There is all kinds of stuff that has been ‘temporarily’ stored in, on, under, or around the dresser and armoire I pulled out of this room to make room for my new space. Due to the impending remodeling project (which, by the way, is already making me a crazy person and we haven’t even gotten final plans yet, let alone anything resembling a bid), I’m being forced to kick it into high gear.

I am also being forced by my nature to get it done.

I’m not a neatnik, I swear I’m not – I have a healthy slob-ability inside me. But at the same time, clutter does distress me. It disorders my brain, it makes it hard for me to think about anything else. It makes me tired and unhappy, and I will fly into irrational rages when, for example, I can’t find my keys.

I have actually run through this house throwing everything on the floor like a PMSing teenager because I couldn’t find my keys. “If we didn’t have all this @*^&@ all over the place,” I’m usually screeching. “I wouldn’t be having this problem!”

(Which is a lie, because I have the worst habit of setting my keys down in a different place every single time I come through the door. If this Den was spotless and organized all the time, I’d still manage to misplace them. Seriously. I am a lost cause when it comes to lost keys.)

I know that eventually I’m going to get through this. One basket, one box, one insane pile at a time.

But it’s a long, long way from Organized to Here…