Saturday, February 27, 2010

Reporting live from the sitting-down area...

This is my Sock In Progress - back on the road with me again. Austermann Step "mit Aloe Vera und Jojoba Ol."

There will be no livin' with me, now that I've figured out how to post these crap-tastic pictures from my Treo.

Only three hours in, and I am already sitting feet-up in the relative calm of the hallway, wimpering over an extra large triple-shot mocha.

But no whipped cream, please - I'm on a diet.

Photography is forbidden on the market floor, so you'll have to just envision a crush of knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers swarming booths jammed to overflowing with pure Awesome.

It's worth getting over any fear/dislike you may have around crowds.

I got some beautiful stuff, and some cost-effective stuff, and some whimsical stuff. Since nobody has the Baby Ull that was on my shopping list (or anything comparable at a reasonable 'gift for coworker's Impending Arrival' price-point) (if the price is right, the yarn is wrong; if the yarn is right, the price is GAH!!!!), I think I might be about ready to wrap it up and head home.

Except...I still have $100. (I'm not sure how. It certainly wasn't because I was being particularly cautious, goodness knows.)

I think there might be a law about leaving it in my wallet. After all, when I entered the withdrawal in Quicken, I clearly categorized it as Yarn:Personal.

I think Quicken automatically reports that to the IRS.

Yeah. Better get back in there and keep things honest.

After I finish my coffee. And maybe the heel flap of the Sock In Progress. And my Super-Sized Prescription Motrin kicks in...dudes...the walking,the crouching over discount bins, the beating other knitters away from the 60%-offf cashmere with a New York phonebook-sized book titled something like "The Loving Craft of Knitting"...really hard on my achy old hip joints...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Nailed the landing!

I finished seaming up the sweater tonight.

Then I tried to take a picture of myself wearing it.

Then I gave up and took a picture of it all by itself.

Because the bedspread doesn’t reflect stuff behind it, like, say, the result of the primary housekeeper not keeping house for two weeks because she was busy with something else.

Like the knitting Olympics, for example.

Ahem. ANYWAY! Ta da!!

This was a pleasant knit with a nice result; no errors in the pattern. I went for the small size, because it seemed to me that the medium was going to be too big on me – I think I was right. The small is a touch snug, especially for something that is so form fitting; but if I hadn’t messed with the measurements, it would have been way too long in the sleeve and the overall length. This hits right above mid-thigh on me, and the sleeves are long enough to be doing that flare-thing as shown in the pattern, but not so long that I’m constantly having to twitch at them.

I’ll just have to remember to stand up straight and suck in my gut a bit. That ‘silhouette’ shaping on it is pretty unforgiving to those of us who slouch.

Now, my husband doesn’t think it goes with jeans, though. Humph. What does he know, everything has to go with jeans, they’re about all I own goes with jeans.

The yarn (Rowan Cashsoft) is nice and soft, moderate in warmth (which is nice for California)… but I have a sinking feeling it’s going to pill like the very devil. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I’ve already had to shave a few little jewels off of it, before it was even finished or washed – shoot, before I’d even soaked it for the blocking! BUT, according to the label, it can be machine washed…which, mind you, I do with just about all my hand knits including the ‘hand wash only’ ones, trusting my fancy front loader’s ‘hand wash / silk’ setting for even my alpaca lace shawls.

Hasn’t failed me yet (she said confidently, thus ensuing that the next thing she tries to wash that way comes out feeling like an Army surplus blanket).

Well, I’d better get to bed. Thanks to the rain, I’m heading to Stitches market tomorrow; can’t pull weeds, might as well go fishing for wool!

Rainy days are perfect for wool-fishery. I hear they really bite when the rain is coming down good and hard. Probably have five, six big old skeins jump right into my market bag, you wait and see…

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Logic like Vulcan, cute like kitty

This is Eldest, eating ACTUAL FOOD.

She talked me into this tonight. The middle school was having a Baja Fresh / Coldstone fundraiser tonight.

I had diced the remains of last night's chicken, ready to become a casserole. And it was going to be CROWDED, and EXPENSIVE, and NOISY...

"But mommy," Eldest said, in her best 'I am about to use your own words against you' voice. "You SAID you would do the next fundraiser onceyou had a paycheck..."

Sigh. She runs rings around me logically.

As usual.

Also pretty darned cute. The way she wrinkles her nose and giggles when her victory is complete?


(The second sleeve is done! just need to block it and assemble! WOOT!!!)
(sent from my Treo)

Day 15

Stayed up way too late. House looks like bomb went off in a dump. Children going feral. NEARLY OUT OF BEER!!!!

But, am shaping sleeve cap and should finish second sleeve on the train home tonight! Olympic blog button, you are MINE...

(sent from my Treo)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day Twelve

Well. Today has been one of those fun kind of days. To make a long story short…the main freeway (“main” being pronounced “only”) between my house and the East Bay was shut down by an accident involving a crane and some power lines.

I had planned to take ACE but missed my train…due to knitting needles.

The good news is, I noticed I had misplaced the #6s I’m using for the sweater before I was on the train and it was too late and I’d lost my entire four hour block of knitting time. I think I might have cried, right there in front of God and everybody. And/or screamed, and/or cussed, and/or required medication.

The bad news, of course, is that I noticed I had misplaced the #6s I’m using for the sweater before I was on the train and it was too late…and therefore spent too much time looking for them and missed the blasted thing.

They were under my knitting chair; obviously, I only thought I put them safely away in my knitting bag last night before bearing the first sleeve triumphantly to my bedroom only to realize that I couldn’t block it right then and there because I use my bed for blocking (the pins go through the blocking pad into my comforter, which I find to be perfectly acceptable but which makes The Lady My Mother look at me with that pained expression that clearly asks, Where did I go wrong?) and I kinda needed it fairly soon.

So, obviously, I found them...and then learned about the freeway closure and, since the freeway being closed makes driving a tad on the challenging side (just a tad), I decided to work from home today.

Now, you would think that working from home would mean more knitting time, because that would mean that you are a rational, thinking person who believes that if one is working from home, one would work one’s “normal” working hours and leave things at that.

But one is not one, if one can follow one. (Can one? Because one is not sure one can…)

What I always end up doing is working when I would have been commuting. Instead of waiting until 8:00 to log in, I log in right after I drop the Denizens off at the sitter’s – this morning, that was at 6:45. And then I worked until 12:00, when the husband got home from his final day of jury duty eager to spill the sordid details – we took an hour’s lunch so he could tell me all about it, and then I was back at work and didn’t stop until 5:55.

Sure enough, at 4:00 I was in another meeting. And building more spreadsheets. And the uploader was running super-slow. And then my laptop got all wiggy, so I had to reboot.

And then it was 5:55 and I was all, CRAP! I GOTTA PICK UP THE KIDS!!

And then it was 7:00 and everybody is standing around staring at me expectantly and I was all, oh yeah, FOOD…

And then it was 8:00 and what have I gotten done today?

About eight rows on a sleeve. Not good…

But, I like to focus on the positive. So, check it out: One sweater front and one sleeve, blocking.

front and sleeve

With supervision.

the inspector is on duty

Lots of supervision.

sweater with boy

And there will be even more supervision tomorrow, because this bundle of adorableness has been banned from school/daycare tomorrow due to a rotten cough and (more importantly) a nose that is attempting to set a world record for continual running.

That’s right. I’m working from home again tomorrow. With direct and constant supervision.


Oh well. I shall consider it...extra difficulty points. Yes. That's what it is. I am going for the EXTRA POINTS.

Right. Speaking of which, I'm going to get back to it.

Curling is on, after all...


Oh, but it looks good on YOU though…

So last week, I glanced into the mirror while washing my hands and noticed a crease on my forehead, right between my eyebrows.

Huhn, I thought. What on earth has been pushing THERE?!

Because obviously, it couldn’t be a wrinkle. Wrinkles don’t just appear like that. Not canyon-style ones, anyway. Fine lines, sure, whatever, but the kind where you can feel them when you run your finger over them, even if you’re making a really silly face trying to smooth the skin?

Nah. They don’t just appear like that. Obviously my glasses were sitting funny on my face or something.

Only it was still there the next day.

I tried to remember if I’d run into something – like, say, the edge of a ruler. Yeah. That might do it. A good direct smack from the edge of a ruler might have put that line there. And…cause memory loss…right? Smacks to the head do that, right?

Suuuuuuure they do…

Eventually, though, I had to face the awful truth: It’s a wrinkle. A real, true, honest, deep wrinkle.

That isn’t what bothers me, though. What bothers me is that it is definitely a frown line.

Which, you know, gah. So not fair. I spend 95% of my time laughing, but do I get a laugh-wrinkle? No. I get a frown line.

Naturally, I turned to my beloved husband, my soul mate, my sensitive partner in all things Life, and went, “WAH, FROWN LINE!!!”

To which he rejoined, “But honey, you’ve had all those wrinkly laugh lines all around your eyes for years! It’s not like the frown one is the first one you’ve gotten or something! And those really cute ones around your mouth, they've been there forever!”

Oh yes, he did. And then proceeded to catalog every fine line and saggy bit of my face for me.

Because he is was helpful that way.

His funeral is Thursday.

In lieu of flowers, please send beer.

And wrinkle cream.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 11, PM Edition

I love the ACE train. stuck in works for me.

Almost done with this sleeve! Shaping the cap now. Feeling rather smug and clever.

Smackdownl therefore undoubtedly in the offing...

(sent from my Treo)

Day 11

Hey-hey-hey! I finished the front over the weekend! This is the first sleeve, about 75% done!

I might actually NAIL this thing... (she said, waving a red cape under the nose of the bull...)

(sent from my Treo)

Money Monday: February 22, 2010

The tomatoes are eager to get the party started.

tomato starts

This is over 160 tomato plants, all growing so fast you can practically see them doing it. As you can see, I’m repurposing the Aerogarden for this – last year, just setting a tray along each side worked brilliantly, so I figured hey, why not use ALL SURFACES!

And it’s working really, really well. Every morning, I rotate the trays so that they take turns with the light/shadow thing (the tray in front gets less light, the one directly under the lamps gets arguably too much of it) and which direction they’re leaning – they sprouted in record time and are making alarming progress toward being ready to transplant.

It’s still kind of stormy, cold and lacking in sunlight out there. BUT, this is California – when spring arrives, it won’t be a slow gradual kind of thing. It’ll be all “storm-storm-storm-CONSTANT SUN AND 70-DEGREE-PLUS WEATHER!”

That’s how we roll out here.

These little tiny sprigs of green are roma tomatoes – a determinate, which I learned last year means all plants ready to harvest at the same time. According to the seed company, each of those plants should produce between 3 and 5 pounds of romas, all the same time – which should be around the first of May.

According to our local master gardener, it won’t be unusual if they actually produce between 5 and 8 pounds per plant – we have ideal soil and growing conditions for them, apparently, and they tend to take off like gangbusters with very little encouragement.

That’s anywhere from 480 to 1,280 pounds of tomatoes, all ripening up at once and expecting that I’ll, uh, do something with them.

There are moments when the enormity of what you’ve bitten off really sort of comes to you, no?

And when I pause to contemplate that this is nothing compared to what I’d have to do to actually feed this family, 100%, with homestead-grown food…I get a little dizzy.

But of course, it’s also pretty exciting. Just on our slightly-bigger-than-average home lot, we have the capacity to grow half a ton of tomatoes! More, if we wanted to devote more of the yard to them – but we’re not, because at the same time we’re also growing peppers, golden beets, carrots, peas, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, artichokes and green beans.

You know, in this first cycle.

There are three more, after this one.

We are growing, in short, an insane amount of food this year. Right here. In a regular old suburban backyard, plus a couple patches up front. And we’re not even using all our yard! We still have room for chickens if we want them, and if I could talk fast enough to get the Denizens on board we could free up another large patch of growing space by donating the play structure they barely use and turning that into another back forty(feet). (They are resistant to the idea. Go figure.) (I am, however, totally going to use the support beams around the sandboxes and hang some of those upside-down strawberry pots there. I figure I can easily get two on each side of the two sandboxes, which will give me up to 240 strawberry plants which…what? why are you looking at me like that? it’s just wasted space, people! NOW WITH STRAWBERRIES!)

Seriously, though, it’s astonishing to think how much is possible for us. Our options are wider than we realize, limited only by the bonds we ourselves choose. Seems like every day, I look at some corner of the house and think, Waitasecond, we could… and some beautiful possibility erupts before my eyes.

In a lot of ways, my homesteading thing is less about money and more about living a life that doesn’t worry about the stuff as much. It’s certainly no less work to attempt to produce at home what you’d normally just buy at a supermarket or mall; in fact, I’d say it’s more work, and dirtier work, and riskier work, too.

Just because I plant it doesn’t mean it’ll grow; even if it grows, it doesn’t mean it will produce food; and even if it produces food, that doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily get any of it.

You’d be amazed how hungry little tiny bugs can be, y’all.

And let’s say I get all my tomatoes in and process them and line up the quart-sized Mason jars and can up a whole whack of sauce – that doesn’t mean I’m home free. If I mess up, get the acids wrong, have a faulty seal or improper storage temperatures, I may well pop open those bad boys a couple months later and be confronted by the unmistakable funk of spoiled tomatoes.


But, it’s a start toward self-sufficiency. It’s bound to be full of mistakes and setbacks, and whining, and finding myself with a garage bursting with tomatoes that need to be dealt with NOW!, before they turn into fermented tomato yuck all over the garage floor.

But I keep thinking about what it would be like to be able to have household labors provide for household needs. I imagine what it would be like to not have to use paycheck-money for food and clothing, but to use money we got from selling what we make right here in the Den for it.

I think about how much better our lives could be, if we could do that. Not necessarily financially – we’d be taking away 65% of our net income if I stopped working for a paycheck, far more than we’d be saving because I was homestead .15 an acre for Pete’s sake – but emotionally.

I hate to admit it (because I dislike responsibility – it’s so grown up and some junk), but I’m the center of the household. When I’m here, even if I’m working full time for a paycheck, things have a way of running right along. The kids are happy, they’re doing well in school, we spend less money and have a better lifestyle anyway.

When I’m in an office somewhere else most of the time, things fall apart. Everybody gets cranky, the kids start acting like savages, I get pissy, which naturally leads to yet more feral behavior from everyone and pretty soon it’s like…Lord of the Flies around here.

Weird, huh? You’d think that more money would be like oil on the water, but it’s not. There’s just no substitute for being there for your life, and living it in a way that pleases you.

If you wake up in the morning excited about what lies ahead, life is good even if you have nothing.

If you wake up dreading what you must endure to get through another day, well…life isn’t so good.

As I look forward to paying off these debts and wrestling our monthly needs down to where one income can once again give us enough, plus a little bit extra…I know that making what I do here at home pay or save is going to be more and more important.

After all, we’ve got four kids barreling toward teenage-hood, college…weddings…the demands on that paycheck aren’t going to get any smaller, not for a long, long time.

If I don’t want to spend the next twenty years married to the BART system, I’m going to want to make this thing work.

…and also, it’s a lot more fun…seriously! You should see the dish clothes I make on my rigid heddle loom…OK, actually, you don’t get to see them, they stink. The hand-dyed cotton I’ve made to work with is awesome! But the weaving…eh…not so much awesome…but improving, definitely improving!...sloooooowly, one hard-won moment of free time at a time…(hmm…I wonder if I could weave on the train? It’s only a 32” loom, that’s not too big, right…?) (OK, and now I’m laughing like crazy, imagining myself sitting on BART with my big old loom propped up on the seat across from me, just casually shunting back and forth, “Whaaaaaat? I’m just weaving, people, sheesh, it’s not like you don’t see people doing this ALL THE TIME at home…”)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 7...

Finished the cables, on the final decrease for the medallion portion of this front track.

Should NOT have complained about the lost time yesterday...Knitting Goddess responded by having us run out of gas on a long, lonely, gas-station-free stretch of country road this morning...not five minutes after we were high-fiving about our award winning speed getting out the door and ahead of schedule bad-ass-ery.


BUT, got an extra hour of knitting this morning waiting for AAA to bring "free" gas, so, not ALL bad...I guess...

(sent from my Treo)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh! And she STUMBLES…!

Stupid work.

I spent the entire train ride tonight doing battle with a Minion of Darkness (a.k.a., my VPN token). First, I thought it was out of sync; then I remembered that my access was supposed to be cut off on February 14, BUT they extended it.

For my LAN access, and my building badge. VPN? {checking…checking…checking…} yah, I’ve got nothing about extending my VPN access.


I got a few rows in on the Viking Turid on the drive home, but the van was jiggling and wriggling and my book was wobbling and I’m on the cable part, so it was slow going.

THEN we skidded into town and promptly got stuck in church traffic. Our local Catholic church just built a MASSIVE! new center just outside of town which hey, guess what? That’s kind of where we live and play and drop kids off at the sitter’s and pick up our cookie order from our Girl Scout troop leader!

Not only did we get stuck in Ash Wednesday traffic, we got stuck in it twice!


So I got home and logged in on the wire, aaaaaand I uploaded the Ever-Lovin’ Report that was so Ever-Lovin’ Important and fired off an email about it, and then we jumped back into the van to pick up the Denizens so we could !!RUSH!! to pick up their Girl Scout cookies because after the day I had today, I NEED me some Thin Mints we promised we would, then we dashed home again so that my husband could meet with his trio for rehearsal and I could make dinner for the kids get right on the phone for my 7:30 – 7:45 call.

Which naturally went until 8:30.

The kids were cycling through this room like it had a revolving door. What’s for dinner? When’s dinner? What when what when what when…

Realizing about twenty minutes to eight that I was sunk on the “making dinner” front, I logged into the Pizza Guys website and ordered a pizza. THAT’S RIGHT, while in a meeting, I was multi-tasking and paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to the conversation for, like, five whole minutes.

Until I heard my boss going, “Tama? Tama? Woooooo, Tama? Did she drop? Did anybody hear her drop?”

“NO! I’m here, ha ha, right here…”

“So how did you gerbleck the fizzlehoffer in column t?”


“Tama? Hellloooooooo? The fizzlehoffer, how is it gerblecked?”


Why? WHY? You know, I can be in a meeting for two hours solid and nobody will call on me the entire time…until I try to sneak a peek at my personal email on my Treo. Suddenly it’s all about Tama and I mean, really…how do they KNOW?!

I never did answer the fizzlehoffer question exactly.

I’ve lost the lion’s share of this whole day.

I think it’s the equivalent of getting a ski stuck in an unexpected pile of slush.

Only, you know, without that whole “and then my knee was twisted all the way around, twice, and I had to undergo fifteen surgeries and take three years to recuperate” part.

Which is something I can truly embrace about knitting. Sure, you’ve got your carpal tunnel, your tennis elbow, your occasional sore backside from all that sittin’…but in terms of hard-core, blood-spurting injury

…eh, not so much…

Speaking of which, my personal favorite method of skin-split-but-won’t-stop-knitting-right-now treatment is one thin water-proof band-aid, followed by a flexible fabric one, topped with a standard cheap band-aid with a slick top…the water proof one helps the flexible fabric one stick, the fabric one provides the best cushioning because hoooooooo boy, does it ever smart when the knitting needle continues jabbing at the skin it already broke thank you very much, and the standard one provides a slick surface so that the knitting needle doesn’t stick.

And with that, dudes, seriously…I’m going to bed. I have to get up in less than five hours.


Day 6...

Into the cables now...first injury developed yesterday. Thumb skin-split. Wrapped in three layers bandages. Still stings. Small price to pay for Olympic glory. ONWARD!!!

(sent from my Treo)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 5 - morning run

Miraculously remembered visor with little lights - scored extra twenty minutes of commute-knitting. Woot!

(sent from my Treo)

Monday, February 15, 2010, two, one, two

..does my tech have it...?

(sent from my Treo)

Meanwhile, back at Olympic Knitting Headquarters…

We are off to a strong start here on Team Viking Turid:

Viking Turid - back

May I make a confession? I am stunned outside of all reason that I am already blocking the back of this sweater. This is unprecedented progress for me. As I know I’ve said before, I’m not one of those fast knitters. I envy people who are told things like “oh my gosh, you knit so fast it looks like you’re just moving stitches from one needle to the other!”

I don’t get that much.

Actually, I never get that.

Actually, I’m afraid what I usually get is “that looks hard.”

Which, you know, ahem. Shaun White makes it look easy. Jennifer Heil? She makes it look so easy I go, “Wow, I wonder if I could do that?” (And then I go, “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! RIGHT! And then? I’m totally going to take up shark wrestling! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!” – because I’m pretty sure I would not only look like a complete dork trying, but would probably end up in a body cast for the rest of my life if I even tried just the moguls part of what she does.) (Hmm…but the possibilities for Denizen Embarrassment are endless there…hmmmmmmmmm…)

I have to imagine they get really tired of people walking up and saying, “Dude, you make that look so easy!” – but at the same time, it is a testament to their mad skilz that they can take something that is so not easy and make it look approachable by, say, a wildly out-of-shape 40-something who has yet to take even one successful run on a pair of skis down the baby slope, which is a step down from the bunny slope favored by preschoolers everywhere.

Then people watch me knit and they’re all, “Wow. That looks hard.”

You do the math.

ANYWAY. Yeah. I’m really surprised at how fast I got from hem to shoulder on the back of this. Although it wasn’t really fast – it was a matter of having a lot more time than usual, thanks to strategic ignoring of household and parenting duties. Woooooooo, let’s hear it for shirking one’s responsibilities! BOO-YEAH!

But then, this is the easy part of the course. A three day weekend, not a lot going on in the garden right now, most of the household chores under control (more or less) (OK, OK, mostly less), the cat mad at me because I got her nails trimmed Saturday morning (which means she does not want to be on my lap right now interfering with my knitting ability…she just wants to sulk around shooting me dirty looks and acting like I’m a cat murderer whenever I walk into the room…OHMYGAH, IT’S THE NAIL CLIPPING MONSTER FROM THE SWAMP LAGOON! RUUUUUUUUNNNNN!!!!!), the Denizens miraculously interested in Other Things (I don’t expect that to last, but am enjoying a little break from the constant cycling of little people informing me that they are bored, boooooored, SO bored, BORED! BORED! BORED!, but of course they don’t want to do anything I might suggest as a remedy for their boooooooorrrrreeeeeeeed little selves)…I got some business taken care of this weekend!

But I’ll be entering the long, hard slog part tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’m back to work. Back to the normal days where time is not my friend. Knitting in moving vehicles. Balancing what I need to get done for work with my knitting dreams.

Fatigue is already setting in on the right elbow. And my left pinkie, which I jammed so hard a couple weeks ago that for a split second I thought I broke it – I didn’t, but I surely did do a number on it. The swelling is mostly gone but it still smarts, and it doesn’t like holding the needles too much.

But, like any true athlete with devotion to their art (shut up), I soldier on through the pain, eyes on the prize and, uh, in it to win it and, erm, uh, well, yay, me!

…this is so crazy, I cannot believe the crazy things I get myself into sometimes…

Money Monday: February 15, 2010

Some expenses, you can eliminate. Some you can trim. Some you can merely defer, knowing full well that eventually you’re going to have to step up and pay for them.

For example, when I decide I’m going to ‘cook from my pantry’ – remembering that I am an uber-bulk purchaser who tends to buy meats by the whole animal and beans in sacks you need a wheelbarrow to carry – I can go for a pretty long time with grocery bills that don’t go over thirty or forty bucks a week for three squares a day plus snacks for all six of us plus friends and family that stop for a visit.

For a while.

But inevitably, there comes a time when I go out into the garage and am confronted by rows of empty bins and canisters; a time when there are no more dried tomatoes, no more powdered milk, no more flour or sugar or beans, when the freezer renders up one badly crystallized cut-up chicken and a stack of Swiss steak and nothing else.

That’s about where I am right now. The freezer is running extremely low (although thanks to a ludicrous sale on chicken we are set for that particular dietary staple for another month or even two), the garden is just barely starting to show signs of life while meanwhile what little I did manage to freeze or can last year is long gone…

So this week when I made up the menu plan, it felt like there was a lot more on the ‘supermarket’ list than on the ‘pantry/freezer/backyard’ one. Meh.

Then when I got to the end of the shopping trip and the perky cashier told me my total was $102.88, though, I had a minor crisis. A hundred bucks? Seriously?!

I know that’s hardly an earth-shattering amount to spend on groceries for a family this size. And there was a restocking of the cold-n-flu medicines in there, which have a way of adding up.

It’s just that, having spent the last six months or so cooking largely from the backyard and pantry, I’ve gotten kind of spoiled.

But it wasn’t eliminated spending – merely deferred.

Which is not always the wisest way to go about things. A large part of what makes bulk purchasing work out well financially is that it is also opportunistic and ongoing. You see something being offered for a good price, and back up the old truck to buy extreme amounts of it – storing what you’re not going to use immediately for the longer term.

It takes a certain amount of finesse, doing that. You have to understand not only the bargain itself, but the aftermath – where are you going to put it, how long will it last, how much will you reasonably use and how does that compare to the shelf life of what you’re about to buy?

The best of bargains turns into a bad deal if you end up throwing it away because you couldn’t use it before it spoiled.

It takes some time (in my experience, anyway) to work up to a level where you can pull it off well. There’s always some loss along the way, and the occasional Mega Disaster – thirty pounds of ground beef that didn’t get cooked, or a bushel of corn that went to the maggots in the garage while you were trying to scrape together the time to deal with it. Moths in the dried beans, maggots in the wheat germ…food storage can become an epic adventure when you’re shopping not merely for the next week or two, but the next year at one time.

Not to mention how often you’ll pull triumphantly into your garage loaded down with, say, a case of soap you got for a song, only to discover that…oh yeah…you kinda already had fifteen cases of soap laid down…oops

But once you’ve got the groove, it becomes a way of life. You become accustomed to things just sort of always being on hand; just about every day, I’m prying the lid off some pickle tub or other so I can dip out another twelve cups of flour or rice or whatever into the “inside” container.

And when you grab that canister and it weighs nothing, it’s…weird. When I’m down to the last five pounds of rice, I usually start watching for a good price on the next 50# sack…so to actually run out is, like…well, it’s like…dude…wait, what? Seriously? I’m out of rice?

No. WAY.

When you let your storage bins go empty, you can find yourself in the uncomfortable position of having to buy what you need at whatever price is on offer – when you’re really running low on food, you don’t have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for a really good deal on something.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t let that happen. And on the staples, like the rice / beans / flour stuff, I haven’t. But everything else, things like canned corn and beans, frozen peas and carrots, I have let dwindle down to nothing-or-next-to-it.

It feels really, really weird. I can’t tell you how often I’ll find myself standing out there in the garage, peering into the empty, dark cabinets going, “Wait…really? I’m out of corn? Seriously? Isn’t there just one more can in there, somewhere…?”

This week, we’ve really kind of hit bottom. Just about anything that isn’t a grain of some kind, I’m going to have to buy at the supermarket while we wait for the garden to start producing again – which made for that painful jolt at the register.

But, all for a good cause. As we head into the warmer months and start growing more and more of our own food, I’ll start working on how best to preserve it. Hopefully around this time next year, I’ll still be pulling our own produce out of the pantry and freezer, instead of having to buy someone else’s at the supermarket. So there, nyah.

This weekend, we did a tiny bit of weeding and a lot of grow tray planting – over two hundred tomato seeds are now safely tucked in their little dirt beds, ready to start growing inside for transplanting outside in a few weeks. There’s also a tray of peppers, jalapeno and bell.

In another week or so, I’ll do some direct seeding of carrots, more peas, bush beans, bok choy and lettuce. Our last frost was “supposed” to be last week, but that’s one of those things that I just don’t trust. Most of the time, we don’t get an overnight frost after February 6. Sure. But we also don’t usually get them before December, and this year we had them in early November.

I love Mother Nature, but I don’t exactly trust Her when it comes to paying attention to human calendars. Even if the whole point of the calendar is to track Her behavior.

Sometimes, I think She does this stuff on purpose, just to mock us.

Well. Suppose I ought to go cook something now – it’s a school and daycare holiday today, which means that I am home with the Denizens instead of at work today!

…wait…which is ‘work’ again…?

(They want waffles and bacon for breakfast. Heh. So would I, if somebody else were making it…)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gauge accomplished...

...ssssssh...I'm back to work now BUT I just had to let everybody know that I did get proper gauge for my Olympic project earlier! And it only took THREE tries! Size 4? No! Size 5? Nyet! Size 6? Bingo! Perfect!!

...also, I made the nice lady wait for an extra {gasp!} fifteen seconds because I was on the last row when she finally decided to call me...she was a little confused about it but then when I explained that it was for my Olympic event she was...even more confused, actually, and probably wrote down that I needed a referral to a psych ward on her little clipboard...

Less than four hours to go until Cast On...

(There will be no food served in this house for the next twenty days. Just letting everybody know.)


Knitty. Skew sock.

Awesome. Must do. Will do. After Olympics.

That skew-y heel is amusing me outside of all reason.

Whaaaaaat? I'm swatching, I'm swatching...but I'm also trying to catch up with things on my Treo, and as a Top Contender, Team Knotwork (ahem), I am more than able to swatch and read my email at the same time (I can also read the newspaper, or a magazine, or a book, as long as we're talking stockinette stitch and I'm not in a moving vehicle) (I know, y'all just WISH you could be cool like me...) (OK, seriously? Stop laughing. I know it has severe geek factor but DESPERATE TIMES, DESPERATE MEASURES. Little known fact [because nobody cares], I get somewhere around 400 emails a day in my 'personal' inbox. If I couldn't do other stuff AND read at the same time, I'd be sunk...)

But you know what? I need want a smartphone that is better at Internet stuff. My Treo is great for text-based email and of course I'm heavily invested in the Palm technology thing - especially the part where I can do spreadsheets and even Access databases on it - but any more I'm doing less and less of that and more and more trying to read my Wall Street Journal (OK, I'll give you a moment to stop laughing...geesh...) or your blogs (see, not laughing NOW, are ya...) or to open a picture attachment of, say, my new great nephew (important stuff, right there!), and the Treo just kind of, well, it's...less than great at it.

BUT, of course, when I look at say going to a Pre, well, I find myself saying to myself, "Self! For the cost of that, you could just about get yourself a bottom-rung Netbook, which would give you a bigger keyboard which, given that you are over twenty somewhat less than nimble-fingered when it comes to tiny keyboards, might be a good idea...

AND THEN I rejoin that what is awesome about the smartphone is that it is TINY and fits in my pocket BUT can handle all my calendar / task lists / email / OH YEAH PHONE CALLS.

Do I want to have a cell phone AND a Netbook to tote around?

All of which has nothing to do with swatching and guess what? I can't TYPE on this flip-flamming tiny-arsed keypad thingee and knit at the same time.

Hmm. Wonder if they have an iPhone app for using mental telepathy to write blog posts, so that your hands can be free to do other things, like knit swatches for a competition starting in less than eight hours (eep).

(Has to be mental telepathy. Can't be voice recognition. I can't imagine how awful it would be, listening to me muttering to myself on the train while knitting. "Blah blah blah...strike, strike, strike...blah, @^*&@ it, AAAAH! STRIKE! STRIKE! STRIKE!)

It is decided…

…I shall attempt The Viking Turid for my Knitting Olympics glory. Because Michaels failed me utterly and did not have baby yarn I liked. HINT, MICHAELS: Baby yarn should not be scratchy or fuzzy.

It would also be nice if they had something other than pastel pink, blue, yellow, white and green. Sure, those are the ‘most popular’ colors and all, but what if you’d like to make something a little less Easter, huh? What if I’d like a nice natural sort of color scheme, like rich browns or greens? Huh? What then, Michaels?!

(In related news, we need a yarn store here in town. NEED. ONE. If nobody steps up to the plate before this contract is over, I may just have to open one myself. Because I am civic-minded that way.) (GASP! I cannot believe I heard you muttering about “the lengths some people will go to gain more yarn stash”! Listen, I would open this shop purely and only to serve my community, because I am a giver that way…) (ooooooh, I can’t imagine the tedium involved in having to sit around knitting up this and that with sexy yarn and patterns that just came in, so that I can serve my customers better by giving them examples of what they can expect…) (and hosting those boring old knit nights, and putting together classes, and being forced to surround myself with every conceivable publication right when it comes out…oh…the horror…) (heh, actually, the part that horrifies me is the same stuff I don’t love too much about running our Enterprises…the paperwork and taxes, dealing with assorted governmental agencies that all want to jam their fingers into our pies, arguing with insurers and banks...not to mention that having a physical retail store would add having to keep regular hours especially on weekends, plus the added fun of dealing with a landlord, and of course, dealing with That Customer (every retail store seems to have at least one of these) (our local pharmacy has, like, a hundred of them), who wants to come in, be weird and/or argumentative and/or confrontational and/or excessively stupid for hours and hours and then stomp out without ever buying so much as a pack of mints. Yeah. Those are the things that make me go, You know, on second thought, a five hour daily commute isn’t THAT bad, right?)

ANYWAY. So, I’ll be on the hunt for baby yarn at Stitches (I was going to order it over the Internet and even had it in my cart online but then suddenly I was all, DUH!, because Stitches is only a couple weeks away…of course, this means that daddy will have to do the adult-supervision-at-Girl-Scout-cookie-selling one day that weekend but oh well. If he wants the socks – and he does – he better be nice to the knitter, yo…), and casting on Turid for the Olympics.


Assuming, of course, that I can get gauge with this yarn, and that it doesn’t knit up poorly at said gauge, and…well. The Imponderables, they are many.

So here, let me distract you with some socks! Because guess what? I found the camera! Yay, me!

finished socks

These were made with Opal Sockenwolle, in ‘Tender Dinghi.’ A friend bought it for herself, but wasn’t feeling the love for learning to knit socks just yet (she will be assimilated, eventually) so she shoved it at me and asked me to make them. Sweet!

This is just your basic sock pattern for a women’s medium-large sock. 2x2 rib at the top, straight stockinette down the leg and foot, the slip-one-knit-one heel flap thing (which pulls the heel in a bit for fit and seems to make for a harder-wearing heel, which I like), and my usual lazy toe decrease, which I use because it is easy for me to remember: Decrease round, knit FOUR rounds plain, decrease, knit THREE plain, decrease, knit TWO plain, decrease, ONE, then decrease like mad until you’ve got sixteen stitches left altogether. Then Kitchener and you’re done. Unless Kitchener still requires cussing for you, in which case, cuss and you’re done.

The thing I marvel at with these little babies is that they are identical twins. See?

matchy socks

This yarn had a wickedly long pattern repeat, is the thing. And I was making them a little longer / bigger than my norm, and when I realized just how long the pattern repeat was on these I started thinking, Hope she likes fraternal twins… because you know how that is: You get to the end of the one, and have to pull out 1,800 yards to get to the same starting point for the next one, and then you get, like, to the middle of the heel and whoops, now what…?

But then I got to the end of the first sock and lo!, it was mere feet from the starting point!

You would think I won the lottery, y’all, I was so excited. The whole train car was cheering for me! Probably because I looked somewhat dangerous with all those shiny metal needles in my hand. But who cares? THEY CHEERED!!! YAY, ME!!!!!!!!

(OK, not really. But the lady sitting across from me at the time did say ‘congratulations’ and I don’t think she was being sarcastic. Being a little bit deaf does have its benefits, and having trouble hearing inflection [or anything else for that matter] when there’s other noise going on [like, say, a moving train] [or a party where lots of people are talking…I can’t hear roughly 65% of what is said to me at parties…so I nod and go, “Oh, right on!” a lot and hope I didn’t just say it was totally cool that their dog died or something] can sometimes be one of them…)

Right. Well, it being legal for me to do my gauge swatch before the opening ceremonies, I suppose I should use the rest of my sittin’ around waiting for my appointment start time to do that, instead of blogging.

…betcha Shaun White wouldn’t spend time blogging when he was supposed to be warming up…

…then again, betcha Shaun White can’t do Kitchener stitch without having to look it up, that’s right! In yer FACE, Shaun!!!!!!!!

(That dude seriously amazes me. I was watching him on X Games not too long ago and was just amazed by two things: The way he makes flying without wings look easy, and how he seems to know when he’s not going to make it long before it should be obvious, and “crashes” without, you know, crashing. It’s like, anybody else would be taking a major face-plant…he just sorta bumps his butt lightly on the ground, bounces right back up and coasts out of there shaking his head and muttering to himself…graceful even when he’s blown it. HOW DO HE DO IT?!?!) (Ya, ya, youth and skill…and I am sooooooo glad nobody can see me doing the skateboard thing on the Wii Fit. I’m the ranking champion around here [nobody else has even unlocked the ‘free style’ on ours, but if and when they do they will have trouble beating my CHAMPION RANKING, bwahahahahaha], but I suspect I look like a drunk turtle on a unicycle while I’m doing my thing.)

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The knitting what-now?

Eeeeeeeeeegads. Once again, the simple concept of time hath escaped me – I just realized yesterday that the Winter Olympics are starting this Friday.

I had a lot of fun with the Knitting Olympics last time. And I’d love to compete again. But talk about being the Jamaican bobsled team…dudes…not only have I not been exactly training lately, but I have by and large been what might be called a non-knitter.

I mean, I did finish a pair of socks during the Superbowl…but there really hasn’t been a whole lot of knitting going on around here lately. And even less finishing, which is sad and lame and all like that-there.

ANYWAY. I have precisely zero idea what I’d pick out as my insane feat of Olympics-worthy knitting.


I got nothin’.

Or perhaps more precisely, I’ve got an awful lot + an awful lot which yet somehow = nothing.

I have loads of yarn, and loads of patterns, but whenever I find a pattern that I want to do, somehow I don’t have the right yarn for it. Or I’ve got the right yarn, but not enough of it…or the color is wrong…OR I’ve got exactly the right yarn in four of the six colors I need, and the yarn is now discontinued, and it’s a funky sort of weight or something where it’s tricky to just substitute something else for the other two colors…gah!

Then I try to back into it, you know, piling my stash on my bed and picking through it, assembling yarn where I have enough for “something” in the right weights and colors, and then I try to pick through the books and find something to do with it.

Aaaaaaaaaand, somehow, I can’t seem to find anything that sings to me for that particular pile. Curses!

Even Ravelry has been failing me. I think I could grow old and die clicking through all the suggested patterns it has for me and my stash, and still not find The Thing that makes me go, “A-HA! That would be a perfect Olympic-type project!”

Now of course, I could go with something simpler. You know, like maybe “I shall attempt to finish all 10,672 unfinished objects currently languishing around the house.”

Except that they’re mostly unfinished because they require heroic feats of finishing work - things like crochet hooks (stop laughing, it’s not my fault I’m crochet-challenged! I was born that way!!), or sewing machines, or particularly fiddly matching-up-reverse-stockinette kind of stuff.

Stuff that’s kind of hard to do on a moving train, which is, let’s face it, where I’m going to get the majority of my knitting time. (Although it could be fun trying to use a sewing machine on BART, don’t you think?)

Or, I could go for the production knitting gold. Try to get four pairs of socks cranked out, or five baby sweaters, or ten baby hats, or something like that.

But I’m not a production kind of knitter, really. I have extremely well-documented attention span issues. Every good athlete must be aware of his or her own weaknesses. I mean, you wouldn’t expect to see Sean White going for the gold in marathon, right? Or Lance Armstrong strapping on a pair of skis, right?

When it comes to same-same knitting? Not my forte.

So. Right now (two days before opening ceremonies, ahem) I’m toying with a couple ideas.

One: A Fair Isle beret. Because I’ve never made one, and the idea of stretching a hat over one of my dinner plates to block amuses me. Because I am easily amused that way. I have tons of KnitPicks Palette in about every color they make thanks to a couple kits I’ve gotten over the years – plenty to make a beret.

Two: A baby layette for a newly arrived great nephew. That’s right. I’m a great aunt. Actually, I’ve been a great aunt for a while now, but for some dumb reason it didn’t really dawn on me until this most recent arrival that OHMYGAHHHHHHHD, I’m, like, a great aunt. Possibly because the parents of the previous great nieces/nephews are older than this particular niece, which allowed me to go blithely on la la la, I’m an auntie, I’m an auntie, la la la.

But then this child (who is so not a child anymore but you know how it is, you freeze ‘em when you met ‘em so she’ll always be twelve to me, even when she’s eighty) has her baby and I’m all, GAH! I’m a GREAT aunt!!

And alas, that’s ‘great aunt’ as in ‘old’ rather than ‘coolest ever.’ Le sigh…

Never mind! That’s Idea #2. The old sweater/blankie/hat thing. (Sweater and hat = no problem, it’s the blankie that makes that a crazy-talk proposition for a 17-day knitting window…) (Still, it also has that ‘actual immediate need’ thing going for it…although I’d have to go buy yarn [in spite of already being up to my eyebrows in the stuff] because what do I not have? Baby blankie acrylic.) (And no, this is not a mother who could deal with a hand wash / lay flat to dry kind of blankie. I wouldn’t do that to her. It would get felted, and she’d feel bad, and then I’d feel bad for making her feel bad, and where would that leave us? So. I’d have to trot out and pick up some nice, soft machine wash / dry baby acrylic, pronto.)

Third, I’m contemplating attempting the Viking Turid from Arans & Celtics. (Here’s a Ravelry link.) A bunch of Rowan Cashsoft in ‘lichen’ surfaced from the depths of the old stash that would suit it nicely, I think; and I like the pattern.

And fourth, I’m thinking about having myself committed to a nice, safe sanitarium because what is the MATTER with me? I can’t even get dinner on the table four nights out of seven, and I think I can set myself some crazy-fast knitting deadline and have any prayer of anything but tears and lamentations to follow?

(Personally, I think I may be looking for an excuse to turn in short days and knit on the train instead of doing that pesky working-thing. But we shall pretend it is for the Noble and Worthy Goal of Olympic Gold, because that sounds better.)

And now…I’m going to try to find the camera. The husband absconded with it when he took Danger Mouse to a mission last weekend, and it has not been seen since. Which is no surprise, because whenever it leaves the desk drawer it seems to vanish for, like, three weeks.

But I’d like to find it so I can take a picture of the socks I finished. You know, to document that I have been doing something around here other than working, moping about work, and counting paychecks I haven’t gotten yet…

Monday, February 08, 2010

Money Monday: February 8, 2010

We hear a lot about consumer confidence these days, don’t we? Blah blah signs of recovery but consumer confidence remains etc. etc. etc.

Personally, I kind of feel we had a little too much consumer confidence these last few years. We were so confident that 1 + 1 = 10,000 that we were willing to spend money we didn’t have for things we didn’t need (but wanted oh-so-badly) on the theory that it would all come out in the wash, somehow.

Of course it’s perfectly OK to charge a $10,000 annual vacation, darling! Because Chase gave us a line increase, which is exactly the same as ACTUALLY HAVING MONEY, WHOOPIE!

I’ll be honest, I have trouble actually blaming people for that kind of stuff. Oh sure, we “should” have known better, yadda yadda yadda. But you know what? When “everybody” is doing something – you feel like a right jackass if you don’t do it, too.

Even if what they’re doing is leaping over cliffs to their deaths on jagged rocks below. C’mon, it’ll be GREAT! Uh…OK…don’t want to be the odd man out, here…wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee{SPLAT!}

Still, I like to think we can also learn from painful experience – thus I am rather pleasantly surprised to learn that we consumers are still lacking that overweening exuberance that led us to this place where we feel up to our eyebrows in debt is a natural way to exist; and that our question is not whether or not we can afford the item, but the payments on it; and that it is perfectly OK to be unable to save a dime of our current earnings, as long as we have an awesome! lifestyle right now.

Money is, push come to shove, a numbers game. It is math. Math has certain rules that don’t bend a whole lot, no matter how much you’d like them to do so. If you have $500, and spend $1,000, you’re going to have a problem.

Math is mean like that.

Now, the reason I have this particular bit between my teeth right now is that I have recently received a surge of consumer confidence.

Firstly, I have Three!Hundred!Seventy!Five!Dollars! projected to be left over at the end of the month.

You know, as long as some damned thing or other doesn’t break, come due, get sick or otherwise cost me money. {spit-spit, touch wood, do hoo-doo dance of evil averting}

It’s been a long time since I paid all the bills at the beginning of the month and wasn’t chewing my nails to the quick hoping everything worked out and I’d actually have the money in there when the creditors tried to collect it.

It’s heady stuff.

Furthermore, I’m starting to get the impression that I may be staying around my department a while. One of the major downsides of contracting is the uncertainty – I’m not an employee of the department, so if things go south for any reason I can be cut right out of the budget without a second thought, explanation or advanced notice.

I’ll be blunt: I’ve been awfully worried about how much time off I’ve had to take. Holidays, daycare closed, sick days, it seems like I’m always having to send out a ‘sorry, can’t come in today’ email. And because both of us are Mega Commuting, we both are coming in on the late side, and leaving on the early side. I’m frequently turning in only five or six hours actually physically in the office, with the remainder put in on the train or from home in the evenings after the kids are in bed.

Do I get my work done? Damn straight. I’m too prideful a woman not to – but, what about my face time? What do people perceive, when it comes to me? (Because it is, of course, all about me) (ahem…ya, not really but in my little version of reality, I am the Center Of It All)

So I’ve been nervous. I keep fearing that after this next big data push (this month, no less), they’re going to show me the door. Been swell, but we need somebody who, you know, SHOWS UP. Preferably with no kids. OKAY! So! There’s the door, here’s your hat, what’s your hurry, don’t let that sucker bang your backside on your way…

Last week, I got some indications that far from being shown the door, I’m being expected to remember how we did things now next November…and my building and network access was extended until February 2011.

Neither of which is exactly a promise, but it’s promising and thus I suddenly feel that perhaps I could just go ahead and buy that new microwave I’ve been lusting after, or we could do that little playroom update we had in mind, or, well, that’s a list that just never ends.

I’m starting to feel as though my paycheck is a sure thing – I’ve got eggs, and I’m absolutely convinced they will become chickens. A whole flock of them. BIG flock of them. Forty-two eggs, forty-two chickens, that’s right…

This is, of course, exactly the sort of thing that gets one in trouble.

Again…and again…and…sigh…again…

BUT! We are homo sapiens! With the unique ability to learn from past experience!

…and not do the same stupid thing more than one or two (dozen) times, even if it feels kinda good at the time…

Confidence is a wonderful thing. Over-confidence, on the other hand, is second only to pride in going before a fall.

Knowing this (ahem), I shall go forth and try to contain my newfound confidence, consumer and otherwise, and remember that I have been given a gift that is rare and precious right now. It can do wonderful things for us, and a wide variety of them, too.

It can give us the financial stability we say we want most; or, it can go toward an endless parade of nice new stuff, which will wear out and become just as shabby as the formerly-nice stuff it replaces; whereas in my humble experience, the feeling of being able to live comfortably below a single-paycheck means stays pretty fresh, the entire time you own it.

And I’m pretty darned confident about our chances to get that.

As long as I can resist getting too confident about microwaves and flat screens…

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait

The Superbowl is tomorrow.

I can’t wait. {bounce bounce bounce}

I understand there will be a soccer game or something. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, there will be a commercial! Well. Lots of them, but one of them is going to have a song in it. And pants. Which may or may not be worn.

That song is about to get stuck in all-y’all’s heads, all across America, worse than the theme to It’s A Small World, but better because it isn’t hopelessly sappy and associated with animatronics with forever-smiles glued in a slightly unnerving fashion to their faces.

It was written by a friend who is a demented genius. It’s like being slightly somewhat associated with greatness, y’all.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…I can’t wait until they throw out the puck tomorrow…! Because the commercials will be right behind it…!

(Kidding, kidding…I know it’s football…they don’t use pucks, they use wickets, duh…)

(If you want to hear the song again because you can’t stand having to sing something you couldn’t catch all the word to – you can find it on the Poxy Boggards website.)

( will be singing it...oh yes, you will...)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Let’s call this a “trying” moment

…because I am “trying” to keep a glass of water and a couple tiny tummy-calming pills where I put them.

I had a trying night, too – the kind where you try to stay asleep and can’t, because your body is trying to reject all food eaten in the last, oh, four years.

It finally got to the point where I was doing that thing where you’re in the bathroom cussing at yourself, saying, “Look! Just either do something and have this thing over, or shut the @(*^@ up and let me go back to bed!!”

Good times, goooooood times…

The worst thing about these episodes, for me anyway, is that they are totally like having a morning after without any night before to balance it out. I mean, if I felt this hung-over and wretched because I’d had onehelluva time the night before, well, you know…I’d always remember Paris, right?

But no. The whole day before, I felt a little seasick. I wasn’t sure why, exactly. There were all kinds of factors that might have been at work, from actual sickness (seems like everybody I come in contact with lately has some variety of plague) to a little too much acetaminophen, to way too little sleep.

Last night, I woke up at 11:00 thinking uh oh… and then spent the rest of the night enjoying the view of my bathroom from the floor. Mmm, nice tile work! Could use a good washing, though…

But at least I had a slightly damp towel to sleep on, so hey – lap of luxury and all that.

What’s got me irritated is that, other than, you know, that…I feel fine. I don’t feel “sick,” I just feel “ill.”

And my entire digestive tract is apparently on a mission to purge my body of impurities. Including chunks of my internal organs, I suspect.

So, I’m sipping extra-hot herbal tea and dealing with my back and hip without any meds (which after a night on a cold tile floor is not fun) and feeling extremely sorry for myself today.

The worst part, IMHO? I don’t feel well enough to play the Wii. Even Animal Crossing, which is about as couch potato a game as the Wii has…and I owe that usurious little raccoon an awful lot of Bells, and this would be an awesome time to go gather them because the Den is empty except for my groaning self, but you know what?

Vertical is not going to be my position du jour.

I’ll try for a book. A nice book, which I can read from a variety of positions, including the one where I’m curled up in a ball with my feet halfway up the wall six feet from la toilette.

On the bright side, I have a toilette to curl up beside. And books to read. (Although some new ones wouldn’t be a bad idea…something that isn’t just knitting patterns, which while extremely enjoyable tend to get repetitive when it comes to plot… “cast of all stitches loosely in pattern…” I KNEW IT!)

What a week, eh? Oh well. You know, really…it’s OK. I think things are slowing down, and I’ll be feeling a lot better soon, and then you know what? I will get onto the couch and play some Animal Crossing. I have a wonderful butternut-carrot soup in the freezer, with a tiny touch of cayenne and curry in it – not enough to upset a delicate stomach, but plenty to please a recovering palate. (Actually…that already sounds good! That Imodium+ stuff has got to be one of the greatest inventions mankind has dreamed up!)

Even when I have it bad, I have it pretty good. How many of my brothers and sisters out there in the world would just have to suffer for however many days it took for whatever this is to pass? Shoot, dysentery (which would be what this would become, if it didn’t, you know, stop) still kills thousands of people a year.

They don’t get to crawl to a fully-stocked medicine closet, pull out two tiny pills that stop all the action in a flash.

They don’t get to listen to calming music on their iPod while they lie on the floor groaning all night; they don’t get to cheer themselves with the thought of which meal they’ll pull out of the freezer to tempt themselves with later, when this thing has passed.

I live in a place where it isn’t hard to lead a charmed life, really.

For which I’m grateful.

And will be even more so when sitting upright doesn’t make me nauseous. Bleh. Talk to y’all later, I’m heading back to my couch now…

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A day in the at-home-sick life

6:42: I’m “working” from home today because Captain Adventure was sent home with a sign around his neck that said, “LEPER! OUTCAST! UNCLEAN!”

Oh, I kid.

It was worse. It was a Stern Missive from his teacher that he must be kept home today because he had {shudder} diarrhea yesterday in class.


7:22: What makes this particular onerous for me today isn’t the usual onerousness that comes with the abrupt summons home to deal with sick offspring – it’s never convenient, it’s never a big “happy” moment, you’re never coming home all yay! I get to not work tomorrow because instead I’ll be dealing with a sick kid!

But you know what’s even worse than that?

Being home with a kid who isn’t sick at all. Particularly when that kid is an autistic five year old.

My girls are older, and typically-developing. If they have a day off school and they aren’t desperately ill, you can set them down with a book or whatever and say, “OK, now, mommy has to work for a couple hours, honey, call if you need something…” and they will do their thing for a couple hours, then pester you for lunch, then do their thing for another couple hours, and it’s like, you know, a normal work day only with very short coworkers.


7:58: Not so much with our Captain. You’re only prayer is that you can take advantage of his autistic-fixation ability (which makes you feel like a jackass, by the way) and get him engaged in something that will keep him relatively quiet for a few hours at a stretch. Blocks, maybe; markers, perhaps; or maybe the Wii.

{hmm…break to try the Wii thing…}

8:22: BUT, naturally, because he’s my kid, he isn’t the type who tends to hyper-fixate in the first place, and when he does, he doesn’t do it alone.

He wants you along for the ride, too. Or, more specifically, me.

I’ve tried blocks, coloring books, crayons and markers of every kind, I’ve turned on the computer and now the Wii…oh sure, he’d love to play the Wii!


8:35: Aaaaaaand here’s your remote, mommy! You will be Player 2! And you will also help me win! Because I’m Player 1, but you will do that remote too!!

If Mommy does not wish to play along but would rather, I dunno, attempt to work from home, I will hang off the back of your chair every four minutes going, “BUT MOMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE!!” and then I’ll start doing to you what you do to me when I’m being particularly autistic-inattentive: I’ll start stroking your cheek and saying, ver-ree clear-lee, “Mommy, look-it in-two mine EYES…I am speeeee-king tuh U! I SAY-ED, I WAN-NIT U FOR PWAY-IT DA WII NOW!”


9:15: Seriously, I’m going to lose my mind here.


9:35: What’s ironic about this, of course, is that most parents of autistic kids would kill to have my problems right now. My son has decided that when it comes to me, social interaction is what it’s all about. He wants my input, to converse with me about everything that’s going on, to have my direct and undivided attention squarely on him.

None of his usual eye-contact-avoidance, silent-treatment, I’ll-just-be-over-here-in-my-own-world-thanks with me, nossir!

And if I didn’t have a whack of reports coming due, and data loads to analyze, and a phone-in meeting in a few minutes, I’d be thrilled to oblige him…


10:31: You know what’s awesome? Trying to phone into a meeting with your son screaming “BUT MOMMMMEEEEE, I DOAN WANNIT TO PWAY DA WII, I WANNIT GO TO DAH PARK!!!”

And if he comes over and starts trying to punch buttons on your laptop while you’re trying to figure out and explain new errors in the newest data load? Double awesome!

I don’t think I broke anybody’s eardrums when I screamed, “STOP IT! GO PLAY WITH YOUR MARKERS, DO NOT HIT MOMMY’S LAPTOP EVEN ONE MORE TIME!!!!” directly into my hands-free microphone.

…in related news, I should be looking for a new job soon! I’ll keep you posted…(joking…I’m so thoroughly traumatized I’m not even close to interested to getting a new job, if I were to be sacked right now…) (I should be so lucky. I think they still like me, even though by now it is obvious that they hired a crazy person. Of course, being an experienced parent-who-works, I’m also a master at somehow, magically, finding ways to make up lost time so that my deadlines are met. Especially with a client willing to let me work from home, it’s actually fairly easy for me to just, you know, stay up ridiculously late so I can keep the spreadsheets flowing, ha! HA! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Awwwwwwesome…!)


1:15 p.m.: There has been absolutely nothing wrong with the Captain all day. Nothing. He is fine. No diarrhea, no cranky, no sadness, no signs of illness whatsoever. Over the course of six hours trying, I’ve billed about two hours. And now, I’m taking the boy out, so he can run like a maniac in the open air, wear himself out a bit, and see if I can’t set myself up to be able to actually work later tonight, and overnight, and into the wee hours of tomorrow, and then through tomorrow so make up for the lost time…which should be the point at which the tummy bug Captain does not have ought to be finished growing to the size of an elephant in my intestines.

I’ll probably discover I’ve got it after I’ve already gotten on BART.


I love working. Seriously. It’s just a never-ending barrel of laughs!