Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Two Long Years

It's been two years since I've added to this blog. A very long and difficult two years. So much has changed, so many tears have fallen.

Since I last blogged, I have become both a widow and a cancer survivor. I've lost 70 pounds (the widow/cancer diet). My hair is much grayer, but butt is much smaller, my will is much stronger. Survival is no longer a question; living, truly living is now the problem.

How do you go on when you loose your husband of 20 years? How do you find the strength to face the days ahead? When does the fear of returning cancer leave your thoughts? How do you help children learn to trust in life again? These are the questions that haunt my nights.

There should always be hope. Finding joy in each day is sometimes a challenge, but one that I am grateful to have. I am grateful that my body is free of cancer (almost 1 year!). I am grateful that my children are with me. I am grateful for friends that I never knew I had. I am, and always be, grateful that through all of this grief, I can still see the flowers, still enjoy the sunshine, and still see hope for a new tomorrow.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Chick Trip 2009

The princess and I are getting ready to go on our inaugural girl trip. She's old enough to be a fun travel buddy, and I want to take advantage of her desire to do girl things with just the two of us.


Apparently part of this trip will require the wearing of matching t-shirts, so we bought bright pink shirts and will write on them with glittery purple paint.


She's very excited. So am I. The boys are vacillating between jealous and bored of the whole thing. Lucky they don't want to go with us - I don't think any of them would be willing to wear a bright pink t-shirt.

Finished my Anni socks for the month (Ripples socks from 10/07). I let the princess pick out the yarn. It almost glows in the dark.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Nothing Is Easy

The teen said that I needed to download Google Chrome so that we could watch youtube on the laptop in the kitchen. I'd ignored the continued nagging of Google for a long time (eventually it left me alone), but couldn't ignore the plea of my sweet teen.

So - we Google Chromed.

Now, I believe that you stay young by continuing to learn/do new things; but this is truly annoying. I had diligently saved the internet things that I need into my "favorites" box so that I could find them easily, but apparently Google Chrome didn't think I needed them anymore.

So - I searched the FAQ section.

After a few clicks, I had my favs back again; but I want the old way back again.

I don't want to search, I just want to find.
I don't want to know how it works, I just want it to work.

But in the spirit of learning/doing new things, I found the answer to my question. Not sure I like the new Google, though. Your history is displayed for all to see. No more hidden searches - everyone knows that I was looking at new spinning wheels. I know the kids played Runescape while I was gone.

Some things are better left unchanged.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile

The princess loves her little brother (the dog). One of her favorite things to do is to sit with cubes of cheese and some crackers and make herself a cheese and cracker sandwich.

Oh, and she also likes to share this with the dog. He sits and waits patiently while she doles out little pieces of cheese. Remember, this is the dog that snatched a HUGE piece of turkey off the table a few Thanksgivings ago.

She takes a bite of cracker sandwich then gives a little cracker sandwich to the dog. He'd rather not eat the cracker, but she insists: Eat the cracker boy. She won't give him more cheese until he eats the cracker. He doesn't want the cracker, he wants the cheese; but somehow he knows that there won't be more cheese without the cracker.

So, he eats the cracker.

The princess insists that the dog likes saltines the best. I'm not sure that's the case. The princess prefers saltines; I think the dog prefers goldfish crackers.

Oh, well, I'm not the one with the doggie tea party.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seussical Socks

The rain did not come
The shade went away
So I just kept on knitting
On that hot, hot, hot day.

I made me some zebras
And a blanket or two
Then I looked at the leftovers
And knew just what to do.

"Knit Cat Socks" I heard
From the voice deep in my head
Knit them now, hurry please
Before going to bed.

So I gathered the yarn
Scooped it up in my hands
Got some tea, got the fan
Sat down in my chair with a plan in my head
And I knit
And I knit
And I knit, knit, knit, knit

And suddenly, there they were
The most lovely socks in the land
They were cat socks, sir, cat socks for me
And all I could say was tee hee hee hee.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking For My Calm

Usually I love homeschooling; these days I'm rethinking my position.

The princess is screeching, the smiling child is in tears, the middle child is questioning everything I say.

It's HOT and we're pretty much stuck inside for most of the day. It's too hot to take them to the pool; cause the pool has no shade, and like I said, it's HOT. We'd all be burned to a crisp within minutes.

The man I married suggested just throwing in the towel and going to the movies. That would be great except for the fact that I can't reward the awful behavior that's going around. We're in a quandary.

The teen (bless his heart) says that I need a trip to Starbucks. Now, lest you think that the teen is being supportive and sensitive; he just wants to drive me there. He could just as easily suggested going to buy dog food - either way he wants to drive.

So, if you see me around, don't comment on the bald spots on my head. That's just where I've pulled out my hair in quiet desperation.


Monday, June 22, 2009

There Oughta Be A Law

So I decided that the root of all that is messy in my house is the pantry. If the pantry is disorganized we don't put things away; if we don't put things away they end up on the counter; if the counter is cluttered things get dumped on the table, and so on and so on.


Today the mailman (yes, it's a man) brought one of those coupon packets and inside was an advertisement for a storage/organizing/shelf building place. I decided to see what magic they could perform on my pantry.




Here's an example of what they can do. Jeez, if I had that much room in my pantry, I'd put a rocking chair in there, call it "mom's room" and close the door. Organization problem solved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Socks, Yarn and The Heat of the Sun


I finished the socks that I've been thinking about for two years. The picture doesn't do them justice. The colors are so rich, and it was mesmerizing to watch the colors change. Each time a new color would show up I thought it was the best color there was; then the next color would show up.




Since I spent more money on this yarn than on any other yarn, I waited to find a perfect pattern. Pablo Blue proved to be just about the best pattern. It's easy to memorize (and very easy to figure out where you are) and looks wonderful. I may even break my rule, and make another pair with the same pattern.]




Also, I got some Wollmeise yarn in a swap with a fellow Raveler in Germany. This yarn is highly sought after here, so I am very lucky. Now that I've seen the yarn in person, I think that it prized because the colors are so rich. I know it will be a while before I find a sock pattern for this new acquisition.




And, may I say, it's HOT, HOT, HOT!!! All of these beautiful wool socks and the only shoes I can bring myself to wear are flip flops.




Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When You're Hot, You're Hot

Between this insufferable, stifling heat and my hot flashes, I spend most of the day and night wilting. Staying inside with a bunch of active kids doesn't work for long, so I need to find some creative ways to keep cool and give the kids the energy buster they need.

I keep looking at the neighborhood pool, but it has absolutely no shade; so is not much of an option during the heat of the day. We just put in some new grass (to fill in the dirt patch left from taking down the derelict playscape), so the kids can't run in the backyard through a sprinkler.

What happened to the summers of my youth? I used to spend most of the day outside. Were the summers cooler? Probably - California is not as hot as Texas. Also, there were actual trees where I grew up - we're not so lucky here. Our lone tree is still a relative baby. It's an oak tree, and they grow pretty slowly.

Will the summer memories be happy ones for my children? As homeschoolers we tend to do more schoolwork during the hot summer months, so I worry that their memories of those 'lazy days of summer' will be full of math equations and grammar.

Yesterday we watched "The King and I" because the middle child and I had just finished reading "Anna and the King" and I'd promised to watch the movie when we finished the book. I've seen the movie before (or so I thought) and it wasn't at all like the book. Guess that's a good lesson to learn. We agreed that the book was much better.

Oh no! Time for the smiling child to listen to patriotic songs for school - something about a boll weevil. In the meantime, the middle child is practicing his guitar (the song is totally unrelated to boll weevils); the teen is doing calculus - even though I told him he didn't need to do any math this summer; the princess is waiting for me to do music flash cards, and the dog is trying to find a cool spot to sleep (it's his job).

No wonder I'm loosing my mind.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Socks and Such

I finished my Anni socks for the month - Lazy Leaves. The pattern was leaves, and since I had green yarn, I went with it. Love the socks, but since it's heading into the depths of summer, I won't be able to wear them for months. The one and only benefit, as I see it, to the extreme heat is that my lovely wool socks will last a lifetime.



Also, Saturday was Knit in Public Day, so we went to Yarnorama because they had advertised that they were going to set up for sock yarn dyeing. Well, the princess chose colors for me (red, blue and green) and I set to dyeing my yarn. As I was the first guinea pig, all of the ladies wanted to watch; then they wanted to "help". Soon I had additional colors added: Yellow and orange.


The yarn is colorful, to say the least. The middle child thinks it looks like clown yarn, the princess says it looks like lots of rainbows. Me, I think it looks like an explosion at the sno-cone factory (or, more accurately, it looks like the easter bunny threw up).

I've started knitting socks from this wacky yarn. No blobs of color like I expected; more like teeny confetti sprinkles. The man I married says they'll probably end up being my favorite socks. We'll have to see about that, but they are quite colorful and bright enough so that I can knit on them in the dark.

Haven't started the pattern yet (I'm almost done with the toe), but I think that I'm going to use the Waterfall Socks pattern from WendyKnits. It looks like a perfect "carry around" pattern - easy to memorize, not too boring, and looks pretty. Just hope she doesn't cringe when she sees what I've done with her pattern.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Choose Your Colors Wisely

I admit it - I'm a sock knitting junkie. I always have a pair of socks going at home, and also like to have a pair of socks to take along with me so that I can knit when I'm waiting.

Take along socks have to have an easy to memorize, yet fun to knit pattern. My current take along pattern is Pablo Blue. The pattern is great - several rows of pattern, but it makes perfect sense and is easy to remember.

The yarn, on the other hand, is problematic. It's beautiful, but the colors are so dark that it's hard to see what I'm doing. I sat waiting for the middle child to have a guitar lesson, and the room was dim, and I made a mistake that required so much frogging that I just decided to start over. This is against the concept of a "fun, take along" project.



So now the Pablo Blue socks have been moved to home knitting and I'm on the lookout for a new pattern. I'm going to use pink yarn - that oughta be easy to see.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How I Came To Be 31

For years I told my kids that I was 29. It was a joke, they knew it, I knew it; but somehow it made me feel younger. That is until the princess learned about birthdays.

Two years ago, the princess realized that on birthdays you become a year older. Until that time, this concept had eluded her; but after her 4th birthday she knew.

On my birthday that year she announced that I was now 30. Being as how that's a bit younger than my actual age, I accepted this new fact of life. Then the next year, I became 31.

All was well until my boys started trying to confuse the situation. How could mom be 31, they'd ask the princess, if the eldest child (aka Thor) was 25? For a while I was able to distract her with shiny things, but I knew that could not last.

"Mom is 31 and Thor is 25?" Her little brain works diligently at this math problem. Her beautiful, trusting eyes look up at me.

"Time was different when I was little." The answer seems to have quieted her for now.

In the mean time, the boys have been threated with dire consequences if they bring up my age again.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Sun Is Out

We've had quite a few days lately without the sun shining. I know that it's the end of January, but we're used to the sun. So today, it's sunny and not too cold (52ยบ), so it's time to be outside again.


In the spirit of fun, the man I married is going to work on the grill. Being true Southwesterners, we love to grill. We'll grill anything. We love our grill. But, alas, our grill has a problem.


Fire! Something has been wrong with it (as in - there is a blazing inferno everytime we try to cook), so the man I married took the thing apart and discovered that the burner is toast.


Normally this would mean a trip to the grill store (or an order over the internet), but our grill manufacturer has gone out of business. So, we will now have a Frankengrill.


He bought a new burner and will now configure it to work with our old grill. Fingers are crossed, meat is at the ready. We trust this man, so we know there will be meat charring on our grill in time for dinner.


And, in case all else fails, salad is good too.



edit: It's working! Hot dogs for lunch!

Friday, January 30, 2009

When Your World is Spinning, Make Yarn

I've always been fascinated by spinning wheels. Not really sure why, but I love them. In October I had the opportunity to watch someone spin on a drop spindle, and I was smitten.



Thanks to craigslist, I got a really great deal on a barely used spinning wheel. So, now I spin with drop spindles and with my wheel. Actually, I mainly use the wheel to ply, but who's counting.







Anyway: There is something hypnotic about taking a wad of wool and spinning, spinning, spinning. You end up with yarn! It's amazing. I keep thinking that there must be some piece of me that is autistic - I just love the spinning. It's like meditating without actually having to think. You have to focus, but you don't have to count (kinda like knitting stockinette). And the wool is very forgiving - if you make a mistake, or don't like what's going on; you just unspin it and do it again.



So now I have actual yarn that I've made. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with it. It's pretty to look at and pet, so it may just have to find a pretty bowl and sit around, wowing all who see it. I found a pattern for a purse that I'm thinking of making. I need a new purse, I've got lots of balls of yarn that need a purpose in life. Seems like the perfect match to me.

All I have to do is break down and use my precious balls. As my family is fond of saying: Those are some good balls.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Clean Dog is a Happy Dog?

Ed is a very dirty dog. When clean, he had a beautiful, curly, very soft, white coat. But Ed hasn't looked like that for a while.

It's the poodle in him: It matts at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, I believed the middle child when he told me that he wanted it to be his responsibility to brush the dog. The middle child lies.

What he actually does is to sit on the couch and brush a teeny tiny spot on Ed's back and then just pet him while everyone else does their chores. To be honest, the middle child does anything possible to avoid work, so I should have seen this coming.

Today I finally got up the gumption to give the dog a bath. Ed is very good when he's getting a bath. He stands still for the indignity of it all, and doesn't shake until I tell him it's okay. Unfortunately it's very cold outside today, so he has to stay inside until he's dry. Also, it has been very dry here, so our yard is mostly just a bunch of dry grass and dirt. This means that on a normal day Ed rolls in this mess and gets full of sprigs and twigs - but on a day when he's wet, those sprigs and twigs combine with the dirt (that was our lawn) and he becomes a brown muddy mess.

Not gonna happen on my watch!

So, for now, Ed must stay inside, must stay clean, and must deal with my haphazard grooming attempts. He looks like a poor little lamb who was shorn by Mike Rowe.

Do you think that the other dogs will make fun of him?