How long does it take to transfer a picture from one’s camera to the interwebs? A week, apparently! Here’s my I Do swatch:
It’s washed and blocked — I should be getting 5″x3″, but as Cristi warned, it grows a bit, especially vertically. I’m working the pattern with the shortest sleeve setting and the largest widths. I’ll need to try it on EC before I do the final repeat on the back section, but I think it’s going to turn out gorgeous. After a week’s diligent work, I’m up to the elbow of the first sleeve. I’m quite shocked and proud of myself — at this rate, I should have it finished in plenty of time.
And now, for something completely different: check out the beautiful bitch who’s living in our compost bin:
This is a large mature female. Isn’t she shiny? You can see the red hourglass really well — Pokermon did a good job photographing a black spider against black plastic. I didn’t know they got this big — her abdomen is about the diameter of a penny, and once you add the legs and head, she’s a good inch and a half long.
Did you know that a female Black Widow’s venom is 15 times more toxic than a rattlesnake’s? Yikes! Of course, they don’t inject nearly as much, and a healthy adult has a 90% chance of surviving a bite even without treatment. In our household of five, two of us are healthy adults. I’m working hard to stay rational and remind myself that she has no reason to come out of the compost bin. It’s an ideal environment for her: dark, low to the ground, and full of flies and their larvae. It would be way too much trouble for her to come in the house and lurk under someone’s pillow.
And even if she did, my mother’s bedroom is closest to the door. Ha!
Don’tcha hate it when you seed a bunch of jalepeño peppers, then 3 hours later forget and rub you eye? YEAH, ME TOO.
Pokermon and I were privileged to attend Alison’s funeral mass on Friday. I’m crying just typing that. How do parents endure such pain? It was a lovely service, and the priest was good. He offered no platitudes about time healing all wounds, but rather he acknowledged that they would always feel this hole in their lives, and that pain is a fitting tribute to love. Being human is really damn hard sometimes.
We picked up the kids afterward and had a nice lunch out together, acted silly, and let them eat cookies. We’re so blessed.
In wonderful, fantastic news, Mom got her tracheotomy removed on Thursday! Glory hallelujah! Only she knows fully the trials endured with that thing, but I’m personally grateful that I never have to scrub snot out of the inner canula again. By my count, I did that 266 times. No more — ha! We both feel positively emancipated. Morning and evening care is now a simple matter of grabbing some pills. She really is improving. She may never be what she was before the meningitis, but every day gets a tiny bit better. Now, if we can just get her tremors under control, she can go back to work next month. We see the Movement Disorder specialist on July 7th.
The yarn came in for EC’s shrug, and it’s lovely. It is also a dad-gummed splitty fucking bastard. I’m really grateful for the wooden needles — they allow me to work loosely enough to keep from shredding the yarn (and my nerves) without everything slipping off the ends. I worked 5 hours on Friday night to get the first lace repeat done — then Saturday morning I ripped it all out. There were mistakes. Mistakes that in my mental exhaustion I had elected to “fix” with strategic increases and decreases, but which would have looked like ass once it was blocked. I’m proud of myself — I’ve matured as a knitter to frog so resolutely and without regret. I decided those 5 hours were practice getting a feel for the yarn and the pattern, and it was time well spent.
I’ll show you the swatch tomorrow.
I started a log cabin baby blanket back in February, mostly because my hands were twitching to stitch something. Mom’s in-home Physical Therapist was expecting his first child in April, so it was a good excuse to start a project. April came and went with the blanket unfinished. Meanwhile, some dear friends of ours were expecting their first child in June, so I finished the blanket 2 weeks ago with them in mind. I was really quite pleased with the switch — I liked the way the colors lay against each other, and I was grateful to give the project deeper meaning than just the sustenance of my own sanity.
I put the blanket and a card in a gift bag and left it on our friends’ front doorstep last Friday.
This morning, we got the announcement that their daughter was stillborn yesterday. Full term, perfect, with her mother’s long fingers. There was a tight knot in the cord.
Rest in peace, Alison Marie.
So Engaged Cousin and I went to Hanks on Sunday to get yarn for her shrug. Sharon was so helpful; she eventually helped us settle on some Plymouth Royal Bamboo — so amazingly soft and slinky and cool. When EC picked it up, her eyes got round, and a little “ooo!” escaped her lips — I knew right then we had a winner. I felt bad that I couldn’t purchase it from the store, but they’d stopped carrying it and only had a few balls left (in the wrong color) to fondle. So I indulged in my first-ever set of Addi Bamboo needles (lotta firsts on this project!) to appease my purchasing guilt and then ordered the Plymouth online.
Now I just have to wait patiently for it to arrive. I like the idea of knitting bamboo with bamboo. I’ve never used wooden needles before.
I did it. I signed up for Ravelry.
Why had I been resisting? A few not-very-well-thought-out reasons:
- When it was new and All the Rage, there was a bazillion month waiting period. I’m fond of instant gratification, myself. If I can’t have it right now, I DIDN’T WANT IT ANYWAY, so nyeah! The wait is down to about 3 days now.
- I allowed myself to be influenced by others’ opinions. “It’s snobby and exclusive. And too much of a time suck. With Mean Girls on the forums. It ain’t All That.” Isn’t it annoying when you realize that some of your thoughts aren’t originating in your own head? I imagine it happens to all of us from time to time. I should do a periodic Mental Declutter.
- This is the biggest reason: I just don’t knit/crochet that much. I finish maybe 5 projects a year. So I figured Ravelry and I would be wasting each others’ time.
Well, I overheard one of Hanks‘ owners mention their Ravelry group when I snuck off to a S’n'B last Friday. I’d like to get more familiar with this store’s activities and patrons, so I signed up so that I could read the group forum. And you know what?
I love it. The layout is clean and user-friendly, and the organizational tools are really fun. It’s true I don’t have much to upload in the way of stash and projects, but instead of feeling like a dork about it, I find that I’m inspired to do more. The kids are old enough now that I can pick up the yarn more often (and Mom doesn’t have a doctor’s appointment every day). I’d like to develop my skills some more instead of just looking at a project and thinking, “I could do that.” Time to prove it.
And to take the plunge, last night I promised my cousin that I’d knit her an I Do for her wedding in October. We’re going yarn shopping together this Sunday. The only lace knitting I’ve done heretofore has been on socks, so this will be my first “real” lace project. It will also be my first adult-sized garment that isn’t worn on the feet or the head. I have 4 months. Can I do it? *gulp*
Watch my progress on Ravelry!
Okay. Y’all know I’m obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance — let’s just admit and embrace the addiction. That said, usually the heartbreak of losing a favorite happens after the Top 20 have started competing. Alas for Evan Kasprzak, who didn’t quiiiite make the cut. I’ll just stick his audition here so I can re-visit it whenever I want.
Come back next year, Evan! And call me!
- Get adequate sleep. A no brainer, eh? Pokermon, Wakko and I are night owls. Yakko is a morning lark. This means that after staying up to 11pm and beyond milking my “down time” (i.e. mindless websurfing) way past the point of diminishing returns, I crawl into bed. Often, one of the kids will call for Mommy during the night. Frequently, the dog will come panting to be let outside around 4am. Inevitably, Yakko wakes up with the first hint of dawn. Sometimes he remembers the “don’t disturb anyone before 7am” rule; often he doesn’t. For the last month or so, I’d been averaging 5 hours of broken sleep a night, and the lack is turning me into someone I don’t like. So! New rule is: the laptop is shut promptly at 10pm, read one chapter in bed, then lights out. And close the door so that I can’t hear the dog (don’t worry, I can still hear the kids).
- Nutrition. A few years ago I did a good long stretch on the paleolithic diet, and I felt fantastic. I eventually gave it up because, well, it’s inconvenient in social situations and a bit hard on the budget. I learned a lot about my body though, and one thing I learned is that I have a mild wheat allergy. It drains my energy, can sometimes produce irritability, and it makes me crave more and more of it. I’m also a terrible sugar junkie. Earlier this week when I was feeling really crappy I ate a 32-count box of cookies. Cathy (who has done a boatload of research on this stuff) said that my brain is chasing serotonin and to try 5HTP. My nutritional goals are: avoid wheat, corn and refined sugar as much as sanely possible, drink a glass of Emergen-C every day, take my Omega supplement every day, and possibly try 5HTP (the wiki makes me leery of side effects. Must read more). Steady blood sugar is your friend.
- Exercise. Do at least 20 minutes of yoga every day. 40-50 minutes is better, but no guilt allowed as long as I get 20. I really miss my Bikram class, but the time and money just aren’t available for it at this point. DVDs are better than nothing. I’ll go do one as soon as I finish this post.
- Environment. When I’m exhausted and depressed, I don’t do housework. In short order, the surrounding pigsty depresses me further, and the thought of tackling it is exhausting. Classic vicious cycle. Plus, my mother is a much neater person than I am, so I get major guilt for trashing her formerly lovely interior. I have a housework plan that keeps things comfortable, if not sparkling. I must adhere to it.
- Change of Scene. The kids and I are both Cabin Feverish. Before Mom’s illness, we were out and about much more for playdates, homeschool outings, etc. I’m committing to taking them somewhere fun and/or educational once a week. For the last few months, playing at friends’ houses while I take Mom to doctor’s appointments has been their only social outlet. Time to re-claim some normalcy.
- Time Off. My LYS has UFO gatherings from 5-7 on Friday nights. I talked to Pokermon yesterday, and he’s agreed to meet us at the yarn store after work on Fridays and pick up the kids so that I can participate. I went last night, and it was bliss. Turned out the owner recognizes Pokermon from her former job in a comic store, I have friends in common with the spinner, and the adorable lace knitter’s adorable fiance reminds me of Pasha from S3′s SYTYCD. Halfway through the session the owner got bored with the radio and put on Jonathan Coulton’s “Skullcrusher Mountain.” The whole evening was a brand new experience that felt like settling into a favorite comfy chair.
I’m feeling better already.
more cat pictures
I floved Thundercats!
(Seriously, I’m implementing A Plan of self-care that, I believe, will help. Earlier this week, I was actually considering medication. I don’t think it will be necessary if I’m proactive though. More later.)