Thursday, September 27, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) YouTube Funny Video of my day: This one - the William Tell Overture for Moms. Thanks, Aunt Chris! Very funny!

(2) Bad thing of the day: the cheeky mice that have been coming over at night to eat the dog's leftover food have found the birdseed bag and chewed a big hole in it. Good thing it was outside. Bad thing I got up before they left - I let the dog out and three of those little $%&@ mice ran out of the seed bag and over the wall. The worthless dog didn't even see them. Really. Good thing he barks at strangers. I decided today was eviction day for their little lair in my pile of broken bricks (note to self: those bricks need to get out of here. Next week. ASAP.) so I took a big three-pronged rake and moved bricks around and then hosed down the pile until the big guy (he's a mouse that has been living on dog food - he's big) went over the wall. I screamed and ran in the house. (No, I did not even attempt to use the rake to kill the thing, as then I would have a dead mouse to deal with, and that would be worse.) Now I have the heebie jeebies and am going to clean something. For a few hours. For the record, I hate all vermin. Mice, rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs included. Sorry, all you animal lovers. I'm from a rural area where the only nice animals are the ones good for milk, eggs, or killing and eating. (Yes, that does make me a bit freakish. I don't care. I like me this way.)

(3) In all the insanity of my life, I managed to finish the second sock. Pictures next week.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Updates

I'm home again. I've been gone for the past few days, out to my parent's house to visit with my mom and dad. They are now home, and trying to take it easy and rest and recover. Not easy things for my parent's to do - they are usually busy all the time. While I was gone, Stu's cousin, Stephanie (Auntie Steph to the kids) came over to hold down the fort here. She took the kids to school and made sure they did their homework and all that. She's fantastic! (Shouts out to you, Stephanie!) My BFF Stephenee (yeah, I see the irony there) also helped out with Samuel (shouts out to you too, Stephenee!) and I am so grateful to the people in my life who told me they would drop everything to help my family out if I needed to leave for a while. (To those of you who offered and I didn't call, don't worry - you are on my list. The next big crisis, you're up!)

My dad is doing much better. It is amazing. I went in to give him a hug, forgetting that he had CPR administered by an Air Force Sergeant and has a few cracked ribs, forgetting that his incisions are still healing. But he can play cards - he remembered how to play and was even beating my mom and me at our favorite family card game (Liverpool Rummy, if you were wondering). We didn't finish the game because we were all tired, so we watched an old movie and went to bed early.

I read a book, and listened to another one in the car on the way there and back, so check the Bookshelf in a few days for some new posts. Oh, and I'm almost done knitting those socks :) Sally and I found some yarn that we both like for me to knit her a sweater, and I'm deciding on a pattern that I like. I'm thinking about this sweater . But for now, it's time for an after school snack and homework.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Three Things Thursday

(1) The Girl Soccer Player
(2) The Boy Soccer Player

(3) This is one of the reasons I love my kids playing soccer - they wear uniforms. They are a part of a team. They belong. They make new friends. They run and laugh and sweat and love it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Knit Bit: Project Rundown

I've been looking at the new Knitty that is up, and dreaming about knitting my own Mr. Greenjeans - subbing the yarn with a KnitPicks yarn, dreaming about what color I would pick. Yum. I also keep thinking about knitting my own Harry Potter-esque v-neck school sweater, but I can't decide to go with Gryffindor colors (scarlet & gold) or Ravenclaw (blue & bronze). I've been working on trying to finish some projects, like the first pair of socks:
I'm very close to being done. I've finished the gusset decreases and now I'm just knitting around and around the toe part. I'm inspired to finish because I want to knit some of these socks next. Here's a Christmas project I'm working on for my dad:
I figure that he probably isn't getting any computer time right now, and if he sees it, he may forget about it. (And that's not USC colors, it's Marine Corps colors. Sepmer Fi!)
Here's the Baby Moderne Log Cabin progress:
Of course, I am already off pattern, and doing my own thing. But isn't that the beauty of the log cabin? You can do your own thing and it still looks good. I am thinking I may buy some flannel fabric for the back and do a little hand quilt action. And here's the colors I am using for the boy version:
Yes, dear pregnant friends. First girl and first boy out gets these beauties. Aren't you so lucky to have me as your friend? (The answer is Yes, yes you are!)

Why I've Been Gone

Hello blog readers! It's been quite a week around here. Let me catch you up (if you don't already know what I've been doing). School started, and my husband started his new job. I also started a new job - I'm working part time, temporarily, at our church. Our children's pastor is on maternity leave, and I'm filling in for her while she is taking care of her darling new baby. So, while Samuel is at preschool, I'm sending out emails and making copies (am I the only one who ALWAYS thinks of that SNL skit when I hear "making copies"?) and getting things ready for Sunday mornings. So, in the middle of juggling all these balls in the air, I get a call from my sister that my dad has been taken to the hospital while on vacation. While I should have been prepaired for such a call - my mom told me last month that my dad's doctor was talking about the possibility of a pacemaker - it pretty much pulled the carpet out from under me. Thankfully, God knew what was best, and although the timing was scary for us and it was very hard for my mom to be away from home and friends, they took my dad to a hospital that won an award for cardiac surgery this year and treated him and my mom better than I could have ever hoped from a large hospital. Also, my sister dropped everything and went to them to be with my mom. (She gets the gold star good daughter award - now she just needs a blog so I can put it up there!) I'm the information hub - emailing out updates to family and friends. Long story real short: my dad had surgery and his heart is better than ever and now he is in the recovery/physical therapy stage. Hopefully he'll get to go home this week. Say a prayer for him and my mom and my sister.

So, I've stopped crying twenty times a day (yes, people, I do cry sometimes) and I don't get up in the morning and check my cell phone and then check the airlines for flight times. I am breathing in and out without telling myself to breathe. For everyone who has called, emailed, or come up to me and asked about my dad, thank you. Your kindness, concern, and prayers have been so appreciated. To all the new readers out there who have stopped by because you found my link on an email, welcome! Feel free to leave a comment for me!

Coming up soon: more conversations with Samuel, why I love soccer, and knitting pictures. Bye for now!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mother's Day, 2007.
My dad and mom, my husband and me, and our kids.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I'm going to take a bit of a blog break for a few days. I'll be back later.
Meantime, I'm going to distract you with one of my favorite photos ever.


Ever.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Highlights

Well, school has started, work has started, soccer is going strong (first games this Saturday), and with all of the busy-ness and rigors of the schedule, I am feeling more rested and getting more work done. (I love a good paradox.) Both kids like their teachers and are making new friends. Our tomatoes are still going strong, but note to self: plant bigger varieties next year. We have cherry and roma, and I made tomato sauce last week. Actually, Stuart and Samuel and I made sauce, with me dunking the tomatoes into boiling water until the skin split, Samuel stirring them into iced water to stop the cooking, Stuart and I peeling them, and me chopping them up. Stuart and I both added things to the sauce (I added merlot and basil and garlic, and I don't know exactly what he added but that was some good sauce) and we ate it for dinner. Delicious. But very time consuming. I need bigger tomatoes next year. I found out that Jasper Fforde has a new book out - Thursday Next: First Among Sequels. I love his books. (I highly recommend The Eyre Affair. So clever.) I have to see if my library has it yet.

Now I have to go clean the kitchen, schedule a pizza party for Sally's soccer team, go to the pool supply store, go to the library, and make dinner. Busy - and loving it.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Notice the Features!

Hey there. I've been slowly adding some labels to my posts. If you aren't familiar with the blog world, what that means is that, if you read down to the next post, you'll see that it is labeled with "Conversations". If you click on that word, you'll see all the posts with that label on it. It's a great little feature. I just read a bunch of the conversations and had a good laugh. Enjoy!

Conversations with Samuel

Me: "Samuel, what did you learn at church today?"
Samuel: "Aaaahhhh. . . . . "
Me: "Was it about Samuel and David?"
Samuel: "Yeah! Samuel was wooking for the king, but he wooked at the older brudder, but it wasn't him, so he wooked at another brudder, but it wasn't him. So he asked if there were any other brudders and they said only a widdle short one and he was taking care of the sheeps. So he went to where all the sheeps were - and dere were wots of sheeps - and he found the widdle brudder and he was the king. And it was David."
Me: "That's right! Anything else?"
Samuel: "Yeah! There was another part, with a bear, and the bear wanted to eat the sheeps, and the man fought the bear because you can do anything with God!"
Me: "Aaaahhhh. . . . . okay."


Note: The Bible lesson described above is from 1 Samuel 16. There is no mention of a bear in that story. However, read 1 Samuel 17:34-37: "But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Samuel has been paying attention at church! I am so thankful for his teachers there and at preschool.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Triumph of Knitting Needles & Algebra

Several months ago, we made plans to work on our living room. We wanted to take down some old curtains (photo here) and that led to a damaged ceiling which led to the ceilings being scraped, recessed lighting installed, the ceiling painted, the walls painted, and then we lost our funding. (Looking back on my old posts, I realize that I never wrote about this. My husband has been looking for a job since early June. He had a contract job for most of the summer, which helped us quite a bit. He was offered a job two weeks ago and starts Monday. God has been very good to us again.) The living room project has been on hold.

But somewhere along the way, I think around the time of the lights being installed, we purchased vertical blinds. I was planning on putting them up before the carpet was ripped out, but then with everything on hold, I just couldn't even go into the living room. It was a deposit for toys and books and the stroller and people's bags and shoes and I just pretended that everything about that room was on hold. Occasionally I'd apoligize to my husband for my lack of effort with the living room, but good guy that he is, he told me he understood. Maybe he was ignoring that room, too.

So, finally, I decide to hang those blinds. I get down to the project, only to be derailed by the fact that there are no instructions. No instructions to hang them. So I call the company (after I look up the number on the internet - blogging gives you good research skills) and they email me the instructions, which takes over an hour to reach my inbox. Why is that? Anyway, it's too much for me and I print out the instructions and tell myself I'll hang them the next day.

Next day, I get all set again, only to be foiled by the instructions. How do I adjust the width? It clearly states on the box that these will fit a range of window sizes, but there are no instructions on how to adjust the darn thing. This time, I email them with my question. And wait.
The day after that, I get an email. I have to take them back to the store where they will cut them for me with a special cutter. Great. Now I have to take three sets of headrails back to the store with my two kids to get them cut. The blind project gets put on hold again.

Sometime last week I took the two smaller blinds (there are three windows in the living room, and the big one is 95 inches wide) to the hardware store to get them cut. The first one, no problem. The second one - hey! this has already been cut! - to smaller than my window. I guess that's why it was such a good bargain. Grrrr. (Don't worry, though - we've found a smaller window for that one. It's all good.)

Meantime, Stuart and I decide to totally rearrange our bedroom. We need a change, we tell ourselves, and this will be a great project and won't cost us a thing. Two hours later, a whole new room. We both love it. While putting the answering machine and phone into a bookshelf, my husband suggests that I poke a small hole in the back (it is a cheap bookcase with a cardboard type backing) and I tell him to hand me something pokey and he hands me a knitting needle. It worked perfectly. Later we are re-hanging some artwork and he is putting in a drywall anchor and uses another knitting needle to make a small hole where he wants the picture to go. Again, it worked perfectly. (I have awarded myself The “MacGyver” Badge (Level Two) for use of a knitting tool in a non-knitting situation. (Thanks to Brenda at Cast On for the badge!))

Today, inspired by the success with the bedroom, I once again set to work on the blinds. One goes up. It's great. I run off to the hardware store, leaving the kiddos at home with Daddy, and get the long headrail cut and get a new short headrail and have it cut to the right size. I pay for it with a gift card that I got for a return I made the week before - and I am only 48 cents short. 48 cents. That's not very much at all. Encouraged by the appearance of things going well, I come home and hang the last two blinds. For the long blind, I must use four brackets. The end ones are easy to place - four inches from the edge of the window. But those middle ones? Where do they go? Oh, that's just some algebra. I grab my pencil and the instructions, and after a few calculations, I have it. I put them up - perfectly spaced. (I am quite smug that knitting and algebra have come out winners in the last two days. It makes me very very happy. I will probably be very difficult to live with tomorrow.) I cut all the little louvers and click them into place. And guess what? It's done. The blinds are up. They work great. They fit great.

You know what this means, right? It means that something is going to break next week. Maybe now that I've said it out loud, it will be something small like a lightbulb going out. Or maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of an upswing. The universe righting itself, manifested through successful house projects. It's possible, right?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Favorite Foto Friday

Sally on the first day of third grade

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Knit Bit: Finished Blanket & Scarf

Here's the scarf that I finished last night for my friend:
It's made with Cashmerino Chunky yarn and it's delicious. The pattern is called Broken Rib or Mistake Rib. (For the knitters, cast on a multiple of four plus one. Then (K2, P2) K1 every row. It's a great texture.)

Here's the baby blanket I made for my other friend:
It's made with Lion Cotton-Ease yarn - red because she loves USC and I couldn't find any pretty yellow yarn. It's my own pattern - a seed stitch border with a heart motif in the center.

Three Things Thursday

(1) I like to wear v-neck tee shirts.

(2) I hate turtlenecks.

(3) I love cardigans. I once confiscated my grandfather's cardigan and wore it for years. It was grey with brown and white stripes by the cuffs. I think I'll try and knit myself one similar to it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Conversations with Samuel

Samuel: "Mom, you know what peace means? It means I'm not in the house."
Me: "Uh, no. It doesn't."
Samuel: "Yes, yes it does."
Me: "No. There are two different "peace"-es. The first kind is like a piece of cake. What does "piece" mean there?"
Samuel: "It means like I want a piece of cake."
Me: "Like you want part of the cake, right?"
Samuel: "Yeah!"
Me: "The other peace is peace in your heart - that means you have no worries, you have no fears, just peace. Like peace in the house means no talking and no fighting."
Samuel: "Oh. And then there is the peace when you leave the house - peace out."
Me: "Yeah, there's that one too."

Monday, September 03, 2007

Expectations

It's the most wonderful time of the year!


I love September! It's not just getting the kids out of the house - it's the schedule, it's the getting up and getting ready because you have important things to do. It's the going to bed on time. It's even eating a good breakfast and putting on sensible shoes. Since I was a teacher, too, the first day of school is always nostalgic for me. On one of my favorite first days of school, I met several confused freshmen students coming in to my math class. They would look at me, and then look around the room, and then sit down. Finally a very confident freshman came in, looked at me, and asked me, "Where's Mrs. Chew?" "I'm Mrs. Chew", I told him. "Sit down." He kind of shook his head, then told me that there was a rumor floating around that Mrs. Chew was a mean old chinese lady. I laughed all week. The rumor persisted even to Back To School night, when several parents told me that they weren't expecting, well, someone that looks like me. "Expecting a mean old chinese lady?" I would ask them. "I get that alot."

Eye Doctor

I went to the eye doctor on Saturday. I'm very familiar with the eye doctor - I had eye surgery when I was one and a half, and I've been going to the eye doctor almost annually ever since. I'm happy to report that my eyes have actually got a bit better in the last year, and my corneas are very healthy. This is really good news for me, since I am quite sure that glaucoma is in my future. Why? Well, let's take a look at the risk factors:

Glaucoma Risk Factors

Elevated eye pressure (yes)
Family history of glaucoma (yes)
Advanced age (not yet)
African American descent (no)
Cardiovascular disease (no)
Diabetes (no)
Myopia (near sightedness) (yes)
High blood pressure (yes)
Migraine headaches (no)

See how risky I am? I'm very careful to have the puff of air test and do those horrible visual fields regularly. Saturday, however, I got the added bonus of having my eyes dialated. This is something I've had done several times before, but I must be getting old, because it really did me in. Oh, my eyes are very healthy - absolutely no traces of glaucoma anywhere - but I had to take to my bed until those drops wore off. Seriously. I'd look at my eyes in the mirror, the pupils huge, and it almost gave me a panic attack.

I ordered up some new glasses because my other ones broke. Can you believe that? I was just sitting on the couch, knitting and watching Scrubs (what else?), and tink! The lens fell out and I looked down at the twisted, broken frames. Serious bummer.

Happy Labor Day, internet. We are going for a swim because it is very hot here.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Knit Bit: Finished Sweater

I finished knitting the blue/grey stripes sweater last week, so while the hubby went for a little trip to Vegas, I sat down at the kitchen table and sewed up the seams:
(nice, eh?)

and added a crochet edging
(I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really enjoying this crochet edging stuff)

And when I was all done, I sat back and admired my work
and thought, Hmm, this seems rather big for an 18-24 month old. I wonder . . . . .

Yep. It fits my four year old.
This is him trying it on, and Sally is sad because I didn't knit her a sweater. No matter that I've knit her a hat, mittens, a market bag, several scarves, and lots of doll clothes. No, she's upset that this sweater fits Samuel. She even tried to steal it. . . .
Silly Sally. Don't steal your brother's sweater! Mommy is more than happy to make you your very own.