Wednesday, January 30, 2008

TV Talk

I so love the beginning of American Idol. I love the awful people. I love the freaks who think they are bringing themselves as a great big crazy gift to the American public. When will these people learn? If you aren't beautiful, you need to sing like an angel or you're gone. It's so fun to watch.

Is it just me or has Simon gotten nicer? His edginess isn't so sharp this season. He's actually caring about people's feelings and giving out nice compliments before saying no. (Bit disappointing, really.) And last night - maybe it's because I was raised in the midwest and have a bias - those people from Nebraska and Iowa were just so nice. So nice. Even the freaks were nice. I loved the girl who made it to Hollywood and her parting remarks were "I am the next Top Model" and her mom laughed out loud at her mistake. (I see myself in that mom.)

Tonight and tomorrow - Lost returns. Finally. I LOVE Lost.

I watched a great Hallmark movie, The Russel Girl. If you missed it, look for it on DVD. It was so good. Yes, it ended on a good note. Yes, I cried during the movie. Yes, I cried during the Hallmark commercials. Doesn't everyone?

Knit Bit: Redeeming Knitting

So I'm almost done with the main part of Sally's sweater (see the picture below) and I ask her to try it on for a fitting before I cast off at the bottom. Now, this is a sweater that I am knitting for her by request. She got all uptight that I knit a sweater that ended up fitting Samuel and wanted her own sweater. Fine. Ok. So we pick out the yarn (several catalogues and discussions over this) and I start looking for a pattern. I find one that she likes AND that I think I can actually knit. I start. She watches. She tries on several times. So I'm almost done with the main part - then it's just knit the sleeves and the button bands. This is when she chooses to tell me that she doesn't want a button sweater - she wants a zipper. Ok - breathe. I show her that it's a v-neck cardigan, so we can put a zipper in - no problem - but it won't go all the way up to her neck. It will go up to the top button area. This is when she tells me she wants a sweater that goes all the way up to her neck.

There is no way I can make this sweater do that.

I try very hard to NOT say the words that are going through my head as I calmly put the sweater away and I breathe in and out and then I look at her. I explain that I can't do what she wants, so I can finish it and she can pick cool buttons, or I can finish it and we can put in a zipper, or I can rip it out and make something else. (I offered that last one unfairly - there is NO WAY that I am ripping out this sweater. It's taken too many hours and it looks so so good. I'll finish it and give the darn thing away before I rip it out.) I look long and hard at her and tell her we shouldn't decide right away - we should walk away and wait. She decides to punish me by not talking to me. (Yeah, I was real bummed about that.)


That's when I decided I needed some redemption knitting. I needed to knit something that was just for me, something maybe not so functional, something I certainly did not need, something that uses some yarn that makes me happy.

I took myself to the library, and then had a lovely time looking through the yarn that I have stashed away. Here's what I came up with:
That first yarn is called Kimono Ribbon, and I got it half price at a going-out-of-business sale. I have two balls. The fuzzy stuff is Baby Lash, and it's leftover from a project I did last year. The book is called Exquisite Little Knits and I have chosen the Golden Threads Boa. Although I'm going to make a skinny scarf, and call it Pink Ribbons Scarf. I also picked up a book on CD to listen to whilst I knit.

It's therapy. And much cheaper than actually going to a therapist, and much healthier than self-soothing with food. (See how easy the knitting addiction defenses are coming to me?)

When I'm done, I'll wrap the scarf around my neck and then maybe I'll have the strength to finish Sally's sweater. If I don't, I have more fun yarn in the stash . . .

Monday, January 28, 2008

Knit Bit: Swift

I love bags. Normally, though, I favor quantity over quality. I like options. I've noticed lately that I only use bags that are black and have lots of organization. Although I like to BUY bags in other colors, I hardly ever USE them. My last bag was great, but was starting to rip. I had a fantastic little black backpack, but the zipper gave out. (Also, very little organization.) So I started to look for a new bag, something that would hold a little or hold a lot, and something that would last me a bit longer this time.

Enter the Swift. (I first read about it on this blog.) It was pretty much love at first sight. I wanted it badly. Unfortunately, I found it at the end of November, and couldn't justify buying it for myself. Fortunately, I have a husband who likes to internet shop and is not offended at all by gift suggestions. I emailed him a wish list, and he got it for me for Christmas!!!
Now for one of my secrets: often times, I want something and I want it bad and I make myself wait and then I wait the required amount of time to see if I really really want it or just wanted it for a few days and then I get it and then, well, then I don't like it as much as I thought I would. It's a very sad thing. I am very happy to report that the Swift was not like that at all. I wanted it - I got it - and I love love love it! It holds all my junk and I can find everything pretty fast. It is not very heavy with just my normal stuff in there. It can expand to hold a large knitting project, all my eye medications (that's in a quart size ziplock bag now), one of the kid's sweatshirts, my husband's sunglasses, and our camera. (That test was given during our trip, when I actually had all these items in there at one time. I could still carry the bag, too.)

It has fantastic knitting features, like a special knitting pouch to hold a small project (mine holds a cotton dishcloth and a baby hat in progress).
and all sorts of hooks to attach stuff to the bag and clear zippered pockets to hold all your stuff and a button closure with an expandable strap (three button holes).

And it is black and grey (which are Raiders colors, and my husband is a lifelong Raiders fan, so all things black and grey are Good Things). Here's me heading out the door:
(Photo credit goes to Samuel, the photographer in training.) If you are a knitter or crocheter and like to carry around a project, you'll love this bag. I'm glad it's made of 1050 denier ballistic nylon so I can use it for a nice long time. Thanks, honey, for a great gift! You're the best!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Knit Bit: Slippers

I finished the slippers on Sunday, and I felted them on Mondy. Felting proved to be all the fun crafty magic that it promised to be. It took one run through our washer on hot to get the job done. Here's the before picture:
And here's the after:
For those of you that are interested, felting is shrinking your knitted items on purpose. You can do it by hand or in the washing machine. It makes a fabric that feels, well, just like felt. (go figure) It only works with 100% wool yarn, so check the label before you try it yourself. (It is quite hard to get a nice picture of your own feet, and since my normal photographer (Sally) was at school, this is the best I could do!)

For the knitters:
Fuzzy Feet (from knitty.com)
Knitpicks yarn: Wool of the Andes in Amber Heather
US 10 1/2 needles (though next time I'd use US 10 for a snugger fit)
Yesterday was a nice, cold, rainy day. I put on my sweater and was cozy and warm. (Yes, it is the same yarn that I used for the slippers - I ordered way too much of the stuff for the sweater and I still have three or four balls left.)

Favorite Foto Friday

Watching tv with Sally & Daddy, 7:03 pm.
(His bedtime is 8:00 pm.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Conversations with Samuel

Me: "Son, please get your jammies on."
Samuel: "These are my jammies!"
Me: "That's a big shirt. Where are your pants?"
Samuel: "I don't want to wear pants."
Me: "Why?"
Samuel: "Since."
Me: "Since what?"
Samuel: (gives me The Look) "SINCE."

---

Me: "Samuel, stop that."
Samuel: "No, I like it."
Me: "Why would you like that?"
Samuel: "Since."

---

Me: "Samuel, what would you like for lunch?"
Samuel: "Noffin."
Me: "Aren't you hungry? I can make you a sandwich."
Samuel: "No." (gives me The Look) "Since."

Three Things Thursday

Three Things That Make Me Crazy

(1) Ricola commercials - what exactly the correct pronounciation of this product? Is it RI-cola or REE-co-LAH? They pronounce it both ways in the commercial, and every grammar law floating around in my head tells me that one of them is the right way and one of them is the wrong way.

(2) Jack in the Box tacos - they have a slice of american cheese on them. That's just wrong. Sliced american cheese is for cheeseburgers or sandwiches. Tacos need shredded or grated cheese. Everybody knows that. (The fact that they are 2 for 99 cents does not redeem them whatsoever. The fact that Jack in the Box makes just about the best shakes anywhere almost allows me to overlook the wrongness of the sliced cheese taco. Almost.)

(3) Wiggly teeth. They freak me out. Pretty much all of the kids at our church that are of the age that their teeth are falling out know this about me, and if they have a loose tooth, they come and find me and wiggle it in my face. It's kind of a fun thing that we have going on, but still. Can't stand to watch those wiggly teeth. (I could barely stand it when they were MY teeth. Traumatic years.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Best of 2007

My blog friend, MrsFish, does a year-end book review that I am totally going to copy here. Although she does a Top Ten, I'm just going to do a Best of the Year list. Click on the titles to read all my deep dark thoughts about the book.

Without further ado:

The Best Books I've Read This Year

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - a fantastic book and by far my favorite of the year (please write more, Diane Setterfield!!!)

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde - He's just so darn clever! Each book is better than the last. How long can he keep this up?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling - Yep, you knew it would be on my list. A great ending to a great series.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion - A book that puts into words those things that we all feel but have trouble putting into words.

The Birth House by Ami McKay - Fascinating book about a young midwife.

Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner - Chick lit, for sure, but a step up from her normal style with a little murder-mystery thrown in to the mix. (The title comes from Goodnight Moon, a classic children's book.)

What was your favorite read of 2007? Leave me a note in the comments!

Eye Update

My eye is doing very well. Realize, though, that this could change at any time, which is the most frustrating thing to me. It could look fine to the doctor, feel fine to me, and then one bad night later, it's trashed again. But I am feeling more and more confident that this time it really IS better.

I am using a very thick ointment at night (Muro 128) which I think is the best thing for me. I'm also using a humidifier (found that tip on the internet, and Dr.K. said it may help) every night. I'm taking flax oil with omega-3s (on the advice of Grandma and Mom) and vitamin E (on the advice of Mom) and I'm also trying to drink more water (my own idea - it can't hurt). Today I bought some Silk soymilk, since it has lots of good things for your eyes and, again, it can't hurt. I'm replacing my normal creamer with that in my coffee. With all of these changes, I'm hoping that my body will appreciate my efforts and stop messing up my poor crazy eye. Thanks for asking about me and for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Little Donuts

Today has been a lovely morning. My darling kids let me sleep in a little bit (7:15, if you are wondering). When I woke, this is what I found:


Samuel was dressed already and Sally is reading to him. (Thanks, GrandBaa & El for the gift card. The kids each got four books yesterday and are very happy about using their own card.)

I had to reward such good behavior, and there's no better way to start a school holiday than with Mom's Little Donuts. I had a slight panic when I couldn't find the recipe, but Mom saved the day again (thanks, Mom!). I am posting it so next time I can't find it, hopefully the internet will be working and I can find it.
***********************************************

Mom's Little Donuts

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 egg

Mix all ingredients into a thick batter. Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel, then roll in a mixture of cinnamon & sugar. Enjoy while they're hot!

*It's the nutmeg taste that really makes these good, so don't skimp - use freshly grated nutmeg and use a full teaspoon (or more!).
From the recipe box of Sheila Chew from Musings of a Mommy
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The kids love to bake with me. This is Samuel grating the nutmeg:
Here's Sally stirring:And of course, the eating:
January and February are fun months. Now we're going to read some more books, and maybe later we'll play some Uno or do a craft. Hope you are having a fun day, wherever you are!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Cute Baby Photos

Sally and her cousin, M. Sally was a big help with the baby, talking to her and making her laugh. Here the baby is fast asleep in Sally's arms.
Samuel and baby M. I love how both of their eyes are closed. He wanted to help so badly, but he's not old enough to actaully be a help.

Living Room Carpet


The long and drawn out Living Room Project nears the end. Remember last January when I started painting the hallway? Then in February we got the ceilings scraped. In March I painted the ceilings, and in April I got around to painting the entryway and the living room. The project stalled until I got back on track and put up the vertical blinds in September.

And now, ladies and gentlemen: new carpet.

It's a frieze style carpet in a color called "Desert Straw". I like it very much. If you come over, please forgive me for yelling "TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES!" at you. It's been a long year.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Knit Bit: WIPs

WIP stands for Works In Progress. I am often asked "How many projects do you have going?" and "Why don't you finish one thing before starting another?" Good questions. I'll answer the second one first: I have different projects for different knitting opportunities. For example, sitting in the doctor office or riding in the car needs a simple project that I don't need to look at the pattern - that's my dishcloth knitting. (I'm about to start baby hats, too, because I've made enough that I don't need a pattern.) Then there is the kind of knitting that you need for TV watching - something bigger that isn't too complicated. A blanket or a sweater. Then there is the learning knitting - the stitch that I've never done before, or the pattern that is very complicated and scares me a bit, or anything with double pointed needles. That is knitting that I do when I have some time alone and can concentrate. See? I need variety.

So how many projects do I have going right now? My main projects (and I don't count the dishcloths in these) are the Baby Boy Log Cabin Blanket:
which I love to distraction and I am wondering when I will stop and I have started to contimplate what kind of border I am going to put on it (attached i-cord is an option, but I've never done that; crochet edge is what I'm thinking about, and I may do two or three rounds in different colors). It must be finished in the next month because the baby boy that it's being knit for is almost due! :)

and the Sally Sweater:
which is such a great color and the cables are easy. (Mr. Greenjeans Pattern from knitty.com) It will match the hat that I made for her for Christmas. (This is my American Idol knitting, by the way. What did you think of Glitter Girl? Yeah, me too.)

Then there is the Husband Socks:
which I can only knit if my eye is well and I have time and space to concentrate. This is the project that had to be ripped back about fifteen rounds because I found a few mistakes and couldn't live with it. (Sorry for the blurry picture. These will look so great once they go through the wash.)

The Brown Slippers are almost done:
and then they will be felted, which I have never done before and could explain why I am stalling at the end.

The Baby Beckett socks are so so cute:
and yes, they are big for a newborn, because they are sized for a 3-6 month old baby. (My first project using bamboo needles - I like them!)

There are a couple of projects that are stuck in the closet, started but not finished and not being worked on because either I lost interest or I know that it's not working out but I don't have the heart to rip them out yet. Like this Pink Baby Blanket:
It was just too wide to be finished anytime soon, and I like my baby blankets on the smaller side (20-30 inches). I knew it needed to go but couldn't face it. Today I ripped it out.This yarn will now make two darling baby hats.

I think that's it. Really that's not too bad, right? Right? (This is why I don't do the WIP post every week. Who said that a reality check is a good thing???)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Cousins

Yum - cake at Auntie Stacey & Uncle Jonathan's house


Going for a walk with cousins K & M at Grandma & Grandpa's house

My sister and her boys and me and my kids

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Information

I've been doing some more reading (now that I can read again) on RCE and this is the best article that I've found so far. Best quote:

"Physicians must understand that one of the most frustrating aspects of this condition is the unpredictable nature of the episodes. It can really turn a patient's life upside down."

Yes. That's it exactly.

Conversations with Sally

Sally: "Dad, I'm not mad at you and I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I don't feel like a hug right now. Build a bridge and get over it."

(She turns and exits the room)

Me: "Who was that and what has she done with our daughter?"

(We laugh and laugh.)

Things I Forgot

Alison, you are correct. Unfortunately, I cannot knit whilst on narcotics. I'm way too sleepy. My friend told me that they must affect me so much because I didn't use drugs or alcohol in high school or college. Lucky me, huh? I did do a little knitting on Friday (or was it Saturday? the days run together) and I miss it. I miss reading, too.

The boy got a little cold on Friday, and he's been running a fever on and off since Friday night. He seems to be better today, but I may keep him home tomorrow because of the cough. I'll have to see how the night goes. I got him and Sally some vitamin C gummy bears to have when they are sick and they love them. (Child-proof lid, everyone. Don't worry.)

Today my eye was bothering me a little bit and I got worried so I went into the bathroom to take a look. Guess what? I had an eyelash on the rim. It felt like an eyelash, and this time it actually was one. I was so happy that I scooped that little eyelash onto my finger and just looked at it. I almost cried. (BTW, scary nighttime eye ointment seems to work well. It's like vaseline, though. It's supposed to sting, but I don't feel a thing.)

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Week To Forget

I live.

Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes on my behalf. I went to see Dr. K. on Monday, and sure enough, my cornea was still damaged from Saturday's erosion. We decided that I needed another debridement, and I told him to go ahead and just do it quick. He did. This time, I heard the popping when he put the holes in my cornea so that the new cells will really hold on tight in those little holes. It was a difficult day. He sent me home with a narcotic perscription (codene this time) and I went home and went to bed for four days. Well, not really, but it felt like it. I had to go back on Wednesday and get the contact out, only to have to have an eye patch taped on half of my face. Seriously. The big bright spot in all of this is that my parents came out to take care of me and the family. Thank God for parents! The kids have been having fun with their Grandma and Grandpa.

Things look good, and Dr. K. really really hopes this time it works. My condition doesn't have a one solution that works type of deal, so we try the least invasive first and hope for the best. I did contacts, drops, one debridement, a second debridement. I really hope this works, because the next step would be the laser surgery.

I am also putting a humidifier in my room and I have started taking Vitamin E and Omega 3s. Also I have a new eye cream to use at night. I'm doing everything I can think of to prevent another erosion.

This is pretty sad blogging, too. I need nice, new, happy things to report. Hopefully next week will be better.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Good & The Bad

The Good

We had a great week in Northern California last week, visiting Stu's family and my sister and her family. It was a nice break from work and school, and everyone had fun. I got to spend lots of time with my new niece, who is a love of a baby and both kids couldn't get enough of holding the baby. I actually got her to laugh and it was such a blessing to hear! I also got some great knitting time in, making a dishcloth in the car and working on the socks for Stuart (I'm at the heel).

The Bad

Saturday morning, the day that we were driving home, I awoke to intense pain in my eye again. I damaged it very badly this time - I could barely open it all day long. Thankfully I was able to get some strong painkillers from a very kind family member and I made it through the car ride home. I'm going to the doctor today and I'm pretty sure he'll want to do another debridement. I probably won't be posting any more this week. Please pray for a complete recovery for my eye. Thanks everyone.