Monday, December 28, 2009

The return of work, and the Ivy League Vest

If you turn your head to the left a bit, you can see what's become of my Ivy League Vest. This thing just got really complicated and I thought I had it worked out. I read several lines of directions ahead and I didn't see any reference to the neck shaping anymore, so I quit doing it. Then after I got a good amount of work done in the last two days, I finally saw it "continue in pattern, including neck decs". It's the return of the dreaded "at same time" deal. Why, oh why did I start to knit this thing only to be forced to put it down for other projects like Christmas knitting, and baby knitting? I completely lost track of where I was and now I've had to pay for it. I had to rip back about 15 rows and I guess I should be thankful for that because I caught a stitch that had frayed so I was able to repair it before I put it on and it snapped, sending me into a frenzy. But now I have neck shaping going on every 2nd row 13 times, plus decreasing 3 sts for 2 rows, then decreasing 2 sts for 5 rows, then every other row 4 times (all while keeping track of the neck). It's enough to make me scream.

Now, my other return to work is actual work. I'll be going in to train at Bella Yarns on Wednesday and then I'll be working 2 full days each week, Tuesdays and Saturdays. I let Kim know that sometimes I have things that I need to do on Saturdays for church, and she said that Saturdays are the easiest days to cover so that should be fine. My classes are on Monday and Thursday again, and the shop has knitting nights on Wednesdays which I'll likely be taking over when Kim goes out to have her baby. Things look good regarding work :)

Yesterday I missed Sacrament meeting because my water was out. I called the office and asked for maintenance to come out and fix it, so I had to wait. Three and a half hours later after I didn't hear anything, I called again and was told that my neighbor's pipes burst and they had to repair it so they shut off the water to the building. They said it wouldn't be that much longer, but the water didn't come back on until 4:30-ish. That's 7 full hours without water. I didn't know what was going to happen because they forgot to come around to the building and let us know, so I didn't have time to get any water ready, and we were out of milk and had 1 bottle of soda. I finally gave up and went to the store (on Sunday, which I hate to do) to get water, only to have the water come back on about an hour later...thanks. Well today they came back and told me that there's a leak now and they have to turn it off again, and even though I still have water and milk and soda in my car (not the milk, that's in the fridge), I filled up the empty bottle of water, my Nalgen bottle, the tea pot, the coffee pot (for my husband) and the drink pitcher. I won't be waterless today I tell you! Now, off to have some tea and a snack, and try to do something about that mess in my glider.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

It was a very Thomas Christmas in our house, and at Grandpa's too. Alex got a huge train set with a motorized Thomas, and despite my best efforts he ended up with two Percy's but he doesn't care one bit. Dante got an authentic Rip Stick along with his bean bag chair, and some pads for his wrists, elbows, and knees. There are a bunch of movies and more books. I got 7 more Horror films to add to my collection, including the original version of The Fog, The Pit and the Pendulum, and Drag Me to Hell.

We got over to my FIL's on time, and spent a little time with them and then got back home to try to find a place for all the new stuff. My gifts were well received, and Dante loves his socks. He put them right on, and said that he likes them "better than [his] regular socks." I told him "now you know why I knit socks". He hasn't taken them off all day. What's better than that? How about when I asked the boys in the car, on the way to my FIL's, if they liked what they got and Alex said "yeah. Thanks Santa for Thomas!"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve from hell (that's right, I said it!)

This is the blocked sweater for Little Miss Alves. My husband asked me if it was going to be a problem that the sweater is blue...and the baby is a girl. I informed him that I have a blue sweater made from this exact yarn, and he informed me that I was not a baby. I didn't hurt him, but it was hard not to after the day I've had. (The sweater is all seamed up now.)

Today Alex woke up very early, and in a foul mood. I had to discipline him 6 times today...wait, make that 7. That's 7 times too many for Christmas Eve.

My car was fixed today, to the tune of $550.00, so basically all of my savings went to the car and now I've got zero cushion again. Plus I have an estimate for something or other that keeps tension on the belt and that'll be another $215 unless Jim can fix that. I wrote out the check, wished the man a merry Christmas, walked outside, and burst into tears.

Earlier today (before the car broke my will), I checked my account and saw that I have 7 unauthorized charges from the Willet Ave Extra Mart (one of them for $67.00 and another hitting yesterday for $37.00. You may remember that I was stranded in front of the Pawtucket Boys and Girls Club yesterday). I had to call the bank and file a dispute which involves paperwork, 10 business days, and investigation into exactly how my PIN and card were used when both were in my possession, and a canceled card. Thankfully I ordered one for my other account back in October (for Rhinebeck) so I moved all my money over, except for the $58.00 that I had to leave in there to cover a hold from AAA after they told us yesterday that my card was rejected twice and my MIL had to pay that money to put my on the account. If that doesn't drop off, I have to call AAA to have it refunded.

I went into the laundry mat to see how much money I had on the laundry card, only to be snapped at by the lesbian couple from across the walk way about whether or not I planned to remove the clothes from the washer that they wanted...only they weren't my clothes. After I told them as much, and that I was only checking the balance on my card, all they could muster up to say was "oh". This set of ladies have been hostile to us before and I can't help but think that they're overly sensitive and aggressive towards all heterosexual couples because of past issues. They have some type of preemptive hostility for possible future slights or discrimination. I could walk around like that too if I wanted, being both an African American woman and a Mormon, but it's just not worth the time. Anyway, no laundry was done today because I didn't feel like dealing with them again.
I didn't get to go with my husband and Dante to his Aunt's house for dinner because they got a late start and Alex was so bad (see above) that I couldn't take the stress. I stayed home and washed dishes, listened to the Twilight/New Moon Soundtrack, put the gifts under the tree, hung the stockings, and started cookies for Santa. After about 2 hours, I finally felt better. Then I got an email from a woman who I only know from Ravelry, checking in on me based on my post to the discussion board. It was really sweet and it touched me. Then my husband came home with not one, but two containers of food that had been made special, just for me by his cousin Stacy and my MIL. Two containers of broccoli and cheese rigatoni/bow tie pasta, and a container of marshmallow peep snowmen. It really made me feel special and that small gesture by my loving and generous Italian family-in-law helped bring my Holiday spirit back. So now I'm going to drink some eggnog, and finish the cookies, and look forward to seeing the kids react to their gifts and bringing my gifts to my FIL's house.
Have a Merry Christmas! I'm going to try to do the same.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

No good deed...

Today should have been joyous and festive. I've been looking forward to it for the last month. I took Dante, gathered all the donations and drove out to my Family's apartment to deliver. Aaron warned me that my battery light came on when he took my car out the other night and we made sure that my phone had a full charge. I drove most of the way with no heat in the car just to make sure things would be okay, and for the most part they were. The light turned off and we got out there to play Santa. So when we pulled in, their little boy was talking home in tears because he'd missed the bus to go to the Boys and Girls Club for the swim party. I tossed him in the car and drove him home to bring the loot. We got there and his mom was out (she ran to the store) and their dad was there with another child that I've never seen. Suddenly this wasn't working out at all like I envisioned it. Dante and I brought everything inside, and were on the way out to take the little boy to the Boys & Girls Club when I see Mom coming up the sidewalk. I suddenly remembered the gift card and cash in my back pocket for her, and went out to give her a big hug and let her know that there was a ton of stuff in the apartment for her. (I was glad to see that their dad brought gifts for them, so they had things under their little tree.) She was really happy, and that's the important thing. Now if I could end my story here I'd be all set, but that's no where the end.

I drive over and drop Little Man off, and no sooner does he get out of the car than the car sputtered and died. Right there directly in front of the doors to the Boys and Girls Club. Right smack in the middle of the "No Parking Ever" zone. I called Aaron, and chewed him out for never getting around to putting me on his AAA card as an authorized user. He calls them to try to do so, and they say it's going to be $58 (!!!!) and that the card is rejecting. He tells them that we have plenty of money and to run it again. She runs it again and it rejects again. Now he's getting Alex dressed again to come out and meet us, and call them again, when his mom calls. He tells her the issue and she calls them and pays to add me to the card. I'm talking to him when I get a call on the other line from the AAA dispatcher, who tells me that due to the fact that the car died while it was running, it would have to be towed and the wait would be 90 minutes...(!!!!) This is at 4:45pm. Dante and I are bundled up to the max but eventually it gets cold in the car and we're freezing out there. I call Aaron and let him know that he has to meet me at the Pawtucket B&G Club only to have him tell me that his mom is coming instead. Meanwhile, there is some sort of emergency at the Club that requires an ambulance and the nice gentleman from The Club asks me to move my car, at which point I let him know that the reason the hazard lights are on is because the car is dead...and I can't move it. This makes me feel like a major jerk, especially when they have to go the long way to take the kid on the stretcher to the ambulance through the cold. Now that there was an issue where the ambulance was blocked (my car being broke down), they proceeded to set up road blocks, and put a man out there in the cold to direct traffic. He's none to happy about it and he lets everyone who dares to pull up and park know about it. (He bit off a little more than he could chew when he barked at my MIL though, cause she gave it right back to him and he backed right down. More of me feeling like a jerk.)

Speak of the devil...she just came through like a hurricane with her arms full of Christmas gifts for me to shove in my kitchen closet till tomorrow night. Anyway, back to the narrative.

So I send Dante over to get in her car and tell her where to park before she gets hauled away in cuffs for attacking a parking attendant, and then they come over and I let them know that I still had 30 minutes before the AAA truck would be getting there. I was freezing to death so Jim (bless his Wisconsin heart!) sent me and Linda back to her warm car and he stayed with mine. (Dante tells me that Jim goes out in the snow in bare feet!) When the truck got there, the driver wasn't sure how many miles away the Goodyear in East Providence was from our location, but said that he'd mark it down as only 3 miles so that we didn't have to pay anything for the tow. What a great early Christmas gift that was, considering that we're likely going to have to replace my alternator. So we left, and he dropped my Taurus off at Goodyear like a gift for their mechanics. I have to call them tomorrow to have them take a look at it, and then I have to make arrangements to visit my FIL on Christmas day. It's going to be a lot like joint custody for the boys and I...Aaron will drive us up, and his dad will drop us back home.

And then there's tomorrow. We're supposed to be at Aaron's cousin's for "Night of the seven fishes" (of which I won't be eating any). The problem is Alex's sleep issues. He's just got to be in bed by 6pm or Christmas will be full of tears and tantrums. People always try to weigh in with their "helpful" insights on what we're doing wrong and how he'll just have to "get used to it" and how he "knows he can get away with it". I've already (mostly) raised one child and I know what I'm doing so I don't need the unsolicited advice. He goes to bed just fine. He falls asleep just fine. He does not stay asleep and when he wakes up he can't get back to sleep. He's so tired that he has issues with impulse control, behavior, mood...all behaviors that look a lot like ADHD but his aren't because they all disappear when he's somehow finally dropped from exhaustion and gets some sleep. We have an appointment for next week to have him screened for a sleep disorder, which after doing a few hours of research last night, I have discovered is not very uncommon in children. It's called pediatric insomnia and recent articles show that it's hard to nail down the exact cause sometimes, and that many pediatricians learned most of what they know on the subject through experience with patients than they did in med school. So I'll have to go armed with stats and knowledge, and push my pediatrician to take the next step to see what's going on with Alex. Because all of the other "things to do" we're already doing, and it's not enough.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Tas three nights before Christmas...

Actually, this photo was from last week but it's super cute. Eddie was sniffing Aaron's glasses and all he could see was cat whiskers and nose. He's daddy's boy.

So anyway, three nights before Christmas. Lets see. Snowballs are baked. Tree is up. Stockings are out (but not hung yet). Gifts are bought (but not wrapped, except for the gifts for my adopt-a-family...I got those done tonight. Oh! and Aaron's iPod). Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation have been watched, (along with any other cheesy Netflix instant view Christmas themed movie I could get my hands on...I do not recommend Black Christmas [the original]...lame). Snow has fallen and has been cleaned out of my parking spot. Chocolate bark with candied orange peels and pistachios (pumpkin seeds for us) is in progress. Alex is misbehaving (typical of any toddler around Christmas). Christmas knitting is done. Why do I feel like I've forgotten something?

In knitting news, I've stuck with this baby sweater and believe it or not, I'm almost done. I finished the front and started the first of the sleeves while watching The Ghost and Mr. Chicken on Netflix. I love that movie!! And Alex liked it too (so much in fact that as soon as it was over he asked to watch the "Monster piano movie again". I started the second sleeve but I had to put it down about the time that my Zyrtec kicked in (monster allergy attack this morning) and I passed out in my chair. I'll finish it tonight and then pick up the color and hopefully it'll be ready for a Christmas delivery to Aaron's friend Joe and his wife, along with a blue cotton pair of socks. I wanted to avoid the standard pink for these baby girls so Little Miss Alves is getting blue, and Little Miss Nielson got a pretty green/yellow for her socks. I can't promise that I won't go nuts with the pink for her sweater though, or blanket (which ever I end up making) because I know that she'll eventually be blond and blue eyed and look like a little elf so what could be cuter than pink against that ivory complexion? Maybe lavender. Or butter yellow? Shoot. Here we go. Good thing I'll be working at a yarn shop. I'm so gonna use that employee discount! Now...does anyone know what I can do with the leftover sugar syrup I'm simmering my orange peels in? It just seems like a waste to toss it out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"Tell me where he is, and I'll break down the door."

The Snidely mustache is complete. I had to knit that with Cascade 220 held double, and as such it is twice as warm as normal. Today we went out and spent two hours digging out my car, (and the neighbors per Dante's suggestion), and Alex was just fine while he played in the snow but Dante complained of being too hot. I guess I'll have to pick up some alpaca after the first of the year (lets hear it for the employee discount) and knit it again. I'll recycle this lovely green yarn for something awesome for myself.

After digging out the cars and the parking spaces, we headed out to Sam's club for Aaron's iPod which was sold out! Girrr! So back into the car we went, and over to Wal-Mart where I lucked out and got one of the last two in stock, and only for $1 more. I bought he and I noise canceling headphones to go with our iPods, only to realize that the new shuffle has the controls on the ear buds...so he won't be able to use the pair I got him. Luckily I can use the ones I bought and although they aren't top quality, they do stop the outside noise and give me some base which is really what I was after. And they're more comfortable than my first pair (which crapped out after about 6 weeks!). Then it was back home for lunch and some Netflix instant holiday movies. Aaron introduced Alex to The Muppets Take Manhattan which was interesting to watch again now that I'm an adult. If I remember correctly, my mom hated that movie, lol. After stuffing the boys with PB&J (extra peanut butter), Cheetos, and hot cocoa, I just about passed out on the couch.

In terms of knitting, I've started and stopped three different baby sweaters in the last few days but I think I finally have one. It's been tough for me to work from my stash because the only yarns that might work are earmarked for a pullover for myself (although I have no specific patterns in mind, but I don't want to break up the set for fear that I'll run out and wish I had that ball back). The other yarns that would work aren't machine washable and it's just too much to ask parents with new babies to hand wash a sweater for a newborn. And then I had to search to find a pattern in worsted weight because I didn't want to be spending weeks knitting a sweater that the baby will only wear for the same amount of time that it took for me to knit it! I did find one in my Natural Knits for Babies and Moms book, and I started it a little bit ago. I've already knit the same amount of inches as I did in the DK weight after 2 days.

So what am I doing right now instead of working on the baby sweater? Well, besides writing this post, I'm listening to my Christmas mix on iTunes, and baking butterballs per my husband's request. I found the recipe a few years ago next to the chocolate morsels and I made them. My husband loves them and has asked for them every year after. So it's butterball season and I've got them going right now. Butter and yarn don't go well together so I'll be staying away from the knitting until I'm done for the night. In the mean time, I started to read Breaking Dawn again. I've re-read all of the other books from the Twilight Saga and I started this one last night. I love the love story in Twilight, but I love the actual plot of New Moon the best.

On Thursday (Christmas Eve), I'll be taking my family with me to deliver all of the things that I've received for my adopt-a-family. I've got some cash (which I'll be converting into gift cards), some donated holiday treats, and some toys for the kids. Yesterday my MIL and her boyfriend came over with gifts for them and about 5 boxes of kids cereal, lol. If you've never been poor, then you have no idea the power of sugary kids cereal! I remember how much it sucked to have to get Kix all the time because that's what WIC covered. I just wanted some Captain Crunch. And now these kids will have about six different varieties of sugary love for the mornings. I have more stuff than I have room for right now and it's scattered over my dining room, my kitchen closet, and behind my couch. I better get wrapping! And I want to thank everyone who helped me do this, because I remember being a single mother on welfare and worrying about what I was going to be able to afford for Dante for Christmas. I hated that feeling of helplessness, and I've tried every year sense then to help someone who's in a worse situation than I am. And this year, I couldn't have done that without all of you, so thank you for giving me what I wanted for Christmas.

PS- the quote in the title is from "The Emperor's New Grove". Ezma is trying to get them to tell her where Pacha is, and the kids called her on her error. "shouldn't it be 'tell me there he is or I'll break down the door'?" Hilarious

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Peanut Butter Circle Toast

It sound a bit like "Peanut butter jelly time" if you think about it. Anyway, if I didn't already tell you the story, Alex asked Aaron for a bagel with peanut butter on it, only it came out peanut-butter-circle-toast. He couldn't have been more accurate if he tried.

Anyway, I was online yesterday and decided that Dante needed to have an incognito, but the needles I was using were a pain so I decided to go to the shop for needles and some yarn. I hung out a bit and knit with Emily, and then came home to finish up the cowl. It's simple and quick, and fun but about half way through I realized that I hadn't really bothered to check my gauge and it was way to small. Rather than rip it back for a second time that day, I decided to go ahead with it and give it to Alex instead; maybe I could get my cowl back. This morning I got up and stitched the Poirot mustache on it and handed it to Alex, who thought it was the funnest thing he's ever seen. He modeled it for everyone who came in the house today, and Dante thought it was cool and said that he'd like to have one so I'll be knitting one for him tonight, with my Cascade 220 Heathers in Olive held double so I actually hit gauge this time. Then the plan it to knit them hats with giant eyebrows to match so they can both look like silent movie villains. This should be fun! I think Dante will get the...cancel that thought...he just came over and said he wants the Snidely mustache.

On the subject of Christmas, I got my mom's box in the mail filled to bursting with stuff for her and a bag of treats for her new puppy. I made my pumpkin bread loaves and unfortunately I missed several people who had already left to travel to visit family for the holidays. I have a really tough time trying to remember that just because I never go away doesn't mean that others don't either, and I need to get the baking done earlier. So now I have 6 extra mini-loaves in my fridge and I'll be passing them out to family. The last (and largest) of Dante's gifts arrived today in the mail. I had to tell them that I had a huge yarn order, and then rushed off to hide it upstairs in my room. Alex is all set. I have one gift for Aaron, but Dante and I are going in halves on a new iPod shuffle for him and i should probably drag him out today to get that done, or maybe I can just do it after I drop them off at Young Men's tomorrow... I told Aaron not to get me the EZ book that I asked for, because the shop has a few copies and I'll have an employee discount in a few weeks so I'll just hold off. The tree is up, and decorations are out, and I'm spending most of my day chasing Alex away from them. I don't know if I'm going to live through the holidays at this rate :) Now all that's left is to gather what I managed to pull together for my family and to drop it over on Christmas Eve. I couldn't pull together what I wanted for them, but there are some gifts and a few goodies, some extra canned goods and juice, and some home made candy from the Nielsons, so hopefully it will be a merry Christmas for them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When it rains...

Isn't this the cutest thing? I "Mad Men"ed myself on the Mad Men website. Surprisingly, I did a pretty good job of picking out my facial features considering I don't look at my own face as often as other people do. I've been seeing these all over Ravelry and I really wanted one, so...

Now, I know that i told you all about my ADP interview, and that I have been offered a job with Bella Yarns (which I accepted). Well today I was also offered a job with ADP, and I think I might have accepted that too. I don't think the shop can give me more than 10 hours per week, and even though I will still have my unemployment, I have some serious dental work that needs to be done, and the only dentist I trust does not accept the craptastic coverage offered by the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (can you believe that's the full name of this tiny state?). So the plan is to work my 24 hours per week at ADP, taking advantage of the wonderful benefits which are available on my first day of work and the fact that I'll have my schedule at least one month in advance, until the yarn shop can take me on with more hours and/or my husband finishes his new classes and gets a job. Now this is all just speculation, assuming that I pass the extensive background check (I can't imagine that I wouldn't) and that the shop can only give me limited hours. If either of these conditions turn out to be incorrect, then I'll be at the shop only, which is not a bad thing. The only bad thing is that my new job will start four days before the start of Sock Wars.

So, I bet you're wondering what's on the needles. It's baby socks. They're like crack. I've knit two pairs in two days, and today I cast on for a third. One pair was greenish/yellow, one was blue, and this pair is going to be red and white. They just work up so fast, and they seem to be just the thing to help me use up the crazy amount of sock yarn left-overs I have around here. That being said, I'm going to get off the computer to go back to my baby socks, and Netflix. This week I watched Quantum of Solace, Pan's Labyrinth, Scooby-doo and the Alien Invaders, Jim Henson's Story Tellers (Greek Myths), some episodes of Fairly Odd Parents, Sponge Bob season 3, and right now...The Alphabet Killer. I still have a paper to turn in, and a final exam to take. Wish me luck, and will power.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Employment


Thanks to everyone who left me comments on yesterday's post. I really appreciate it, and Rachel, I'll definitely be talking to you...probably tomorrow :) Today, we all had a snack of some whole grain crackers and hummus (Dante ate his with Cheetos, lol). They ended up having chef boyarde for dinner because I got busy in the kitchen washing dishes so that we could bake for tomorrows Christmas social. The boys played outside for a little while because Alex really needed to get out outside so when they came in they both had a hot chocolate, and then later on Dante ate the rest of a second can of lasagna and then one of the brownies that I baked for tomorrow. I don't think the brownies are going to make it, because I tried to make them in my muffin pan with the idea in mind that they would come out like the two-bite brownies that I love from Sam's Club, only bigger. Well, they stuck to the pan even though I greased it first so it didn't work out like I thought. I think there will be cookies instead.

So this afternoon I had an interview with ADP for a part time job. The call center is close to Sovereign, and it felt comfortable in there. I guess I've gotten used to working in a cubicle. I won't say too much because one never knows who is reading their blogs, but I will say that I had a pleasant interview, the managers who interviewed me were lovely people, and the company seems like a great place to work. The offer many of the same programs that I loved about Sovereign, back when it was still Sovereign. I don't know when I will hear back, but when I do I'll have some thinking to do. I like the idea of working there part time.

Now, let's add some irons to the fire. I got home today to find a job offer awaiting me from my local yarn shop! I've dreamed of working in a yarn shop for years now and I just love it there. So starting the first of the new year, I'll be an employee of Bella Yarns. It's part time which leaves time for school, there's an employee discount which means that I probably won't be taking a paycheck home, and I'll be getting paid to knit on the job. I will likely be taking over the knitting classes when Kim goes out on maternity leave, and I'll be helping to get the web business up and running. The hours sound pretty good, but I'd be willing to work there for hours and hours just to be around the yarn, lol. Naturally the pay isn't near what ADP would offer, but I know that I'll be blissfully happy and that's really important. So now I just have to figure out what I might do if ADP does in fact call me and offer me a job. I might have to think about taking both so that I can get insurance and a 401K from the corporate job, and money for my habit from the shop. Cast your votes, lol.

In holiday knitting news, I finished Dante's socks. Photos and details on my ravelry projects page. It was hard to resist giving them to him now but I want to put them in his stocking. They turned out really nice, not bad at all for a yarn that I didn't really like in the first place. This pattern really worked wonders for it. It's the Gentleman's shooting stocking with fluted pattern from Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. I loved this pattern. It was easy to memorize, it worked up quickly, and it was a bit addicting. I worked up a pair of socks in what would amount to a Woman's 11 (man's small) in 10 days. The second sock practically flew off the needles. I used 2 skeins of Knit Picks Essential Tweed in Flint, which I've had in the stash for a few years because I wasn't a fan of the primary colored tweed flecks, but it worked out beautifully for this pattern. I cast on 72 st instead of the 84 called for, and worked a 3x3 ribbing for an inch before going into the pattern. Dante isn't big enough for me to knit these as stockings so I knit them as socks. I had church in mind when I made these so I wanted them to be something that would keep his feet warm, but also look good with dress shoes. I'll have to see how he takes to them (and if it's anything like the way he reacted to that bag of Cheetos that I bought at his request last night, then I've got it made!) Now I'm knitting baby socks with the left over Tofuties from my MIL's shawl, trying to concentrate on my last real week of school until January 6th, and trying to get house work done. Between the holiday knitting, and the siren call of Netfilx...I'm not getting anything done around here. Tonight it was Quantum of Solace. I love me some Daniel Craig as James Bond. Best Bond ever!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

IEP meeting, physical, and med check...

So Dante is once again qualified to receive assistance and to continue with an IEP, at least until 2012. At my request, his resource teacher (lovely woman) tested him and he scored average in math, high-average in reading (10th grade level) and high-average in comprehension. He's passed his last 3 math tests with scores in the high 90's. Things are in good hands and I'm a happy momma. Then we go to the doctor's office and he get's his physical. His BMI is 10... (no, not a typo). He's 12 years old, 5' 3" tall, and 87 lbs. 87! So the doctor has suggested that he have a snack right before bed, and that I sneak in some olive oil, nuts, or other heart-healthy oils and proteins into his diet to help boost his calories. And I'll be working on it, but I've got concerns about forming bad eating habits by encouraging him to eat ice cream, puddings, and pumpkin pies (all actual suggestions) before bed. So now I'm a worried momma. I'll be focusing on granola bars, adding olive oil to his pasta sauce, eggs, nuts, avocados, and Carnation instant breakfasts. I'll have to do some serious research to make sure that I can get the most nutritious high-calorie foods I can find, and I really want to be sure that I don't cause the formation of bad life long habits. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Netflix will be the death of me

I have a wonderful friend who got my a 3 month subscription to Netfilx for Christmas! I woke up on Friday morning, and there it was...sitting in my email inbox just waiting for me. So I went online and claimed my gift as fast as my hot little hands would type, and next thing I knew I had 22 movies in my que, 13 in my "instant que", and one already on the way to my house! They had that puppy shipped out before I even had a chance to log out. And sure enough, first thing Saturday morning, I had a brand new movie sitting in my mailbox (which I haven't even taken out of the envelope because I've watched 6 instant movies in the last two days!). I look up, and hours have gone by. Today alone, I watched two Thomas the Tank Engine movies with Alex, Short Circuit, and The Corpse Bride with Dante, and I've got plans for a few more after Aaron finishes playing Call of Duty (issues with lagging). Yesterday it was Spongebob season 3, Labyrinth, and two collections of Saturday Night Live. This is going to be really dangerous, and if I have made any recent commitments to anyone, you might need to call me to make sure that a) I still remember what they are, and b) that I'm not stuck at the computer with my eyes glued to a Netfilx movie, knitting a sock.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Free-ish manicures and pedicures! Come and get 'em

This year, I am adopting a ward family and I really need your help. On the right of this blog post, you will see a small list titled Adopt a Family. There is a list of some things that this family really needs (check often because this list is subject to change), and I am offering manicures and pedicures for donations of canned goods, gift certificates to places like walmart, job lot, price rite, save-a-lot, and payless shoes, or other items on the list. If you're interested in getting a manicure or pedicure and would like to help me make Christmas for a family that will not otherwise have one, I would greatly appreciate it. Just call me, email me, or comment on this post and I'll schedule an appointment for you. I also do artificial nails, but that is a bigger investment of time and product so I would be looking for a larger donation if you want to have acrylics done. (For those who don't know, I am a licensed manicurist with 10 years experience, and a master technician with Creative Nail Design. Credentials available from their web site.)

I will be taking appointments through Tuesday, December 22 so that I can get everything over to their house in time for Christmas. If you are a knitter reading this, and you don't live near enough for a mani, pedi, or set of nails but you still want to help out, email me and I'll send you my home address, and a set of hand made stitch markers for your donation. There may also be a stash sale, depending on how well the fund raiser is going, and how much time I can take away from homework to sort through the stash, lol.

Now, if you want to know what you can do this holiday season to help...here's my idea. Look at the list of women that you visit teach (or that you know if you aren't a Mormon and don't have a visiting teaching program). Is there a sister on your list who really needs help and won't be able to provide a Christmas to her family this year? If so, talk to your companion to see how you can help. If not, talk to another member of the ward to see if you can help them with their sisters. If you're not in a position financially to help out (and this applies to many of us), try to provide service to that family. I don't have a problem admitting that I'm broke, but I have skills that I can use to try to help out, so that's what I usually do. We all have something that we can do for another person that will really help them out, even if it's simply going over and babysitting for a single mother so that she can go to a Relief Society activity once in a while, child free. Maybe we can go through out closet and give the clothes that we've (cough) outgrown so that newer sisters can have skirts to wear to Sacrament meeting. Maybe we just bake cookies, and go visit. What ever it is...what ever you can do, do it! If we just look at our lists, we can find someone who could use some help, and if we can't, we can ask around to see who does have a sister in need and we can help out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Indignation

This is not a post, it's a rant. You've been warned.

So today I got one of my peer reviewed papers back and the reviewer missed one of the main points in my thesis, and therefore couldn't understand why I referenced statistics relating to different races and how they are affected by different eating disorders. Then I got to thinking about how she said that my paper was mostly informative rather than persuasive, and I realized that she was probably right. I kept thinking about what I really wanted out of this, and what I want other people to want, and it led me to come downstairs a do some more research. Well, I was just pissed off by what I found (sorry, but there's really no other way to put it) and I realized that I'm going to have to completely rework this paper because there is something I want from this. I want our federal government to actually back research, prevention, and education with some MONEY, and I want the media to take some responsibility for the content that they expose our children to, and I want people to get up and take a STAND about this! I want people to demand better standard, and I want people to insist that insurance companies treat eating disorders with the seriousness they deserve and to fully cover treatment so that doctors no longer have to release patients well before they're ready to be sent home, so that they can relapse. I want a face to go with the cause, and I want people to be aware that anorexia alone has the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness...ANY other mental illness, for adolescent girls, and that it's 12 times higher than ALL OTHER CAUSES OF DEATH for women aged 15-24. I want people to do something, write a letter, complain to someone if they don't like what they see on TV and magazines.

Did you know that the average American woman is 5'4" tall, and weight about 140lbs, and the average model is 5'11" tall, and weighs 117lbs, and according to the NEDA, only 5% of the population naturally fit those standards? Did you know that "officials in Fiji reported a sudden increase in anorexia and bulimia with the arrival of television in their communities", according to the Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders? Did you know that the National Institute of Mental Health (who controls the allocation of researching funding in the United States) did not allocate ANY funding for the study, education, or treatment of eating disorders in 1999-2000, and that in 1997 they only allocated 1% of their budget, which then had to be split with obesity and diabetes? Up to 24 million people in America suffer from an eating disorder, in relation to 1.2 million who suffer from HIV/AIDS, and the NIMH provided 1.3 billion dollars to AIDS... and in 2005, they have spent roughly $1.20 per person with eating disorders, compared to $159.00 per person on schizophrenia research, and 75% less than on Alzheimer's research (NEDA)!

So why does the government spend so little money on this ridiculously serious issue, you ask? Because there aren't enough people out there demanding it! Americans will spend their money to vote for the next American Idol, they will go to websites to "demand" that a movie come to their area (just like I did with Paranormal Activity), they'll call or email to their cable companies to say that "they want their MTV", but they can't be bothered to write to their congressman or any other local representative to tell them what's on their mind. We just complain in our houses, or to each other, but not to those who can do something about it, and I'm just as guilty but I can tell you that after this paper is done, I'm sending it to a local representative and demanding that something be done to educate children, fund more research, and push the insurance companies to do the right thing! And I'm challenging anyone within eyesight of this blog post to join me to ask for change. An estimated 480,000 people die from anorexia every year (just anorexia, not counting bulimia or "eating disorder, not otherwise specified" as it's defined in the DSM-IV, and this is truly an estimate because there are so many people who don't go looking for help due to the stigma's surrounding eating disorders, and eating disorders and related deaths are not tracked by ANY government agency like other mental illnesses are (Renfrew). So I'm not going to let my anger pass. I'm not going to sit here so upset that I'm crying tears of frustration because this is just so STUPID! I'm going to follow through, rewrite my paper, and send it to someone who can do something, and then I'm going to contact NEDA and see what I can do because I really want to see this cause be pushed into the forefront like other causes so that no one else will have to google for over an hour just to find out how much we as Americans are spending on this, and who the spokespersons are (Jamie Lynn Seigler if you didn't know...cause I didn't know). So if you're feeling just as indignant about this as I am... DO SOMETHING!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The blog has been quiet for a while, but I've been working on my paper for my persuasive writing class, working on lab projects for biology, and knitting a shawl for my mother-in-law for Christmas. My father-in-law's socks are finished. So...what are our plans today you ask? Well, I'll tell you. We're going to Aaron's mother's for dinner. She and Jim have been cooking for days (as have I) and there will be turkey for the carnovors, and I made a veggie pot pie courtesy of a generous person on Ravelry for myself and anyone else who's interested. I also baked maple-roasted butternut squash from a recipe from Delish.com, Quick and Buttery Rolls from a recipe from the bees knees blog, and an apple pie from the America's Test Kitchens book that was my all time favorite birthday present from my friend Natalie. We'll be taking that all over, plus the pineapple cream pie that I bought from a former co-worker's child (fundraiser), and drinks for the boys and I. My hope is that we'll get over there in the next hour or so, so that I can get home in time to get Alex to bed by 5:30 as he's been waking up at 6am again. So, maybe I should get off the computer and go get a shower... I'll leave you with a photo of some of the stitch markers I've been working on. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Empty Nest

So we're all starting to feel better here in the Washington house. Aaron and Dante both seem to be fine, Alex is on the mend, and I'm fine except for the fact that I have no voice today. But I cooked and I ate real food today for the first time in about a week and I ate till I almost popped. Breaded eggplant and baked beans! Allergy friendly and yummy. It's been tough to stay with my vegetarianism while being sick because so many of my normal protein sources are no-no's for me when I'm sick. No soy (which I usually avoid but now...soy is dead to me), no milk at all, no nuts. So it's been interesting trying to eat foods that are easy on the tummy, and don't bother my allergies. Yesterday I made a quicky soup with some Better Than Boulioun and some sauteed onion, garlic, mushrooms, and Quorn "chicken". It wasn't perfect, but it worked just fine.

In an attempt to get out of my apartment, and get away from my family, I went to the library to exchange some books and get new movies. I picked up two Olivia books and I just loved them (and so did Alex). She is just like any typical kid and it's really humorous. Then I went to Bella Yarns to replace my 2.5mm needles that I lent out (and have not gotten back yet) so that I could start on Baby's First Fair Isle for one of the two expecting couples (haven't decided who gets the blanket and who gets the pullover). I got to talking to the co-owner Naomi about the Cascade 220 that they carry in the store now, and somehow the conversation turned to my Central Park Hoodie. I let her know that I knit it with Cascade 220 16 months ago and after wearing it almost every day (as most of you will attest) it still looks brand new. Naomi asked me if I'd be interested in lending mine to the shop so I thought about it...and thought about it...and decided that I could part with my favoritest knit ever to help benefit my favoritest yarn shop ever. So today I washed it and blocked it, and it's mostly dry now. I wrote down the needle sizes, the number and color of the skeins that I used, and when I finished it. Tomorrow, I will be dropping it off at the shop and I sort of feel like I'm dropping my child off for their first day at school or something. I adore this sweater. I wear it almost every. single. day. To adjust, I have been trying to wear my February Lady Sweater more often, hoping that I will become accustomed to reaching for it instead of the other. I feel very honored to be asked to loan a garment to the shop as it makes me feel like I have really become a good knitter, but I will miss this sweater a whole lot and I worry that it will be lonely being away from home. Please go visit my sweater at the shop so that it doesn't get too homesick.

Friday, November 13, 2009

We're alive...

Dante is basically fine now. He's back to school. Alex is still sick but getting better every day. Aaron is over the worst now and also getting better. I've managed to hold off the flu, but I'm tired and not feeling 100%. We will be better soon, and should be fine for Sunday's Primary Program.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ground Zero

It's a mess over here right now. Dante came home on Friday sick from school and by Saturday night he had a fever just under 103. Saturday morning I had Alex up to the pediatrician's office for a H1N1 flu clinic, and Sunday morning he was running a fever too. I took them both in and they have a virus, but it's not the flu. Thankfully their fevers broke the same day and they've been fine. Sunday night, Aaron got sick with a fever just barely under 105! I almost took him to emergency but the "on call" doctor suggested that we just stay home and keep an eye on him to make sure he didn't get confused and disoriented, and then take him in to the office in the morning...because by the time he would have been seen in the emergency room...it would have been morning anyway. Well, he went up and they confirmed that he has the flu...and the only flu in the state right now is H1N1. So he should be sick as a dog for at least a week, and I'm tired already and feeling very rundown, and I have another week of this at least. Hopefully I won't wear out because I'm fighting this virus off right now and I really can't afford to be down with the flu when I have school and a primary program next week, and a very demanding 3 year old.

I did manage to finish the baby blanket, but per usual I only got a crappy photo before giving it away. I'll post it later. I also finished a pair of hand warmers for Dante that actually fit him for once. He promptly took them to school and left them there... Why did I bother?

Friday, October 30, 2009

The day that wasn't

Well, this is what happen when a person goes off in a blog post and brags about how they've never needed a lifeline, and how easy a project has been for said knitter (who will remain unnamed) and then that knitter gets 15 rows into the blanket today and happens to look down and realize that the entire day's worth of knitting has to be ripped because there was a dropped stitch somewhere along the way and it's turned into a giant hole that can't be fixed by any other method than ripping it out. So this knitter takes a 4mm circular and weaves it into the stitches of the row about 3 rows below this mess, and then rips. it. all. out... And then I (I mean She) still had to tink back two more rows to fix the error in the pattern that was just below that other mess, and it's just now back in order.

I've remembered that I actually do have another blog over here on blogger...the one about church stuff...and so if you feel like reading about Dante's Temple trip, follow the link.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finally, I caved to the pressure

This is the start of the baby blanket for Jim's newest grandchild. This is actually the back side, but I felt like it showed the pattern better than the front (pre-blocking). This is the Faux Russian Stole by Meg Swanson and I've been wanting to knit this for a few years. I've decided to omit the lace border in favor of a plain garter stitch edge and I think that this change, along with the color, will keep it boyish enough. It's a really fun knit, made much easier by my breaking the pattern up into three sections and using post-it's and stitch markers to keep track of what's going on in them. If you have never knit lace before, let me tell you something that a wise woman once told me...use stitch markers to keep track of the pattern repeats. I know!...it's simple. Why didn't I think of that?...I'm not really sure, but I do know that if you do that, and count the stitches between those markers on every row, you can't screw it up too badly. And then if you're still not sure, you can use a "life line" which is when you thread a scrap piece of yarn through the last row that you knit (and are certain that it's correct), which allows you to rip back to a section that you know is free from error if you mess it up too badly. Thus endeth Cambria's Words-O-Wisdom on lace knitting.

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be taking Dante up for his first trip to the Temple. I'm excited for this and I think he is too (but you never can tell with Dante). Hopefully I won't embarrass him with my excitedness. Then Saturday I have a lunch date with my friend from my last job, then the boys have a Halloween party at the Nielson's (while Aaron will be taking the Providence ghost tour with his mom and friends), and then it's back home for Dante to go out. If Alex does well at the party, we'll take him out too but if he's too tired it will just be The Boy. I'd like to bake something tomorrow for Halloween, but I've already baked an apple pie (yesterday) and a huge batch of molasses spice cookies (today) from a recipe I found on a great blog I just discovered the other day. The pie came out alright...I guess not all apples work out in pies. I bought a bag-o-apples at the market and didn't realize that I should have got a specific variety (according to the Big Book of Food (my name for it) from America's Test Kitchens, or that crusts could vary so much. Dante peeled, and cored/sliced the apples with a combo slicer-corer. Then he mixed everything up and I put the crust on, then into the oven it went. It looked pretty till I cut into it and found out that the mound of apples collapsed onto itself and the crust was hollow when I cut into it. It just sunk right down, and the apples were pretty mushy, but over all it tasted good. We're going to try it again, only this time I'll make the crust ahead of time and we'll get the right apples. As far as the cookies go...(again, learning from mistakes) they were too puffy and needed more sugar for my taste. It's nothing against the recipe, I just happened to have bread flour in the pantry and never realized that my flour combined with the leveners in the dough would make big, puffy cookies instead of the normal flat, cracked, sugar crusted ones from the photo. And I like a sweeter cookie so I'll make this again with all purpose flour and some white sugar. The boys like them so I guess that's what counts. Now I want to try the recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin cookies I found here, and see how that works out.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sock Wars V- Iron Knitter!

Who's ready to do battle against Dirty Mittens?! Yes my friends...its that time again. (I only heard about this a year ago, but just pretend that I've known all along, and you have too.) Sock Wars V, Iron Knitter gets underway in January and sign-ups are happening now. Now it's my understanding that the war works like so:
  1. you sign up to be a warrior, and when the war starts you get info with you target's sock size and color preference. Begin knitting your weapon!
  2. you finish said weapon before your target does (hopefully), mail said weapon to the target whereupon they receive it in their mailbox and are summarily killed dead.
  3. zombie targets (because they're dead) mail you their weapon-in-progress, and you finish it off and then mail it to the next target on the list, killing them dead too (you're a knitting fiend!).
  4. keep killing targets, and taking names till you're the last knitter standing! "carnage candy!" (Randy from Scream...pause here while I go put on Scream)
I've signed up for the sock war, but opted not to go for Iron Knitter as this is my first sock war and with school and 3 year-olds, and preteens with Young Men's activities, and husbands who like to eat (off of clean dishes no less!)...there just isn't time for that. I *did* sign up for The Last East Coast Knitter Standing portion of the competition in hopes of insuring that I can win a prize, which is sock yarn from Cocoa Beach Yarn Company. The winner gets 20 skeins! Knitter with the most kills gets 15, last East Coast knitter standing (this happens to be my category but it's the same where ever you live) wins 5, and the people who were killed by the winner, or the knitter with the most kills gets 1 skein! Way to go! That really takes the sting out of being dead, not to mention that you get a lovely pair of socks out of it when the dust settles. If you knit socks (and you know who you are...) go sign up so we can knock each other off!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

We have a working printer!!

My husband and I have been gifted two printers, neither of which work with our Mac for some unknown reason. The Lexmark (which is a copier too and works as a copier but not a printer) won't work on either the Mac or the laptop. Well I finally decided to ask my husband to try the other printer (gifted by Kelly and Jason) on the laptop and I'm excited to say that it works! I didn't have to go all the way out to the library in the storm to print out my sharing time lesson from Sugardoodle.com. Now I just have to get a ream of paper because we only have a little bit.

In knitting news, I've hit a really complicated part of my vest and I'm not enjoying it as much as I was. I have to keep track of neck shaping, while simultaneously tracking shoulder decreases and keeping track of the chart, and making sure that I have the new "start of round" marked correctly as well as the start of the pattern after each decrease area, and this magnetic board isn't so great when you get near the fold of the board because there's some issue going on with reverse polarity that causes my magnets to jump a few rows forward or backward when I'm trying to use them. Overall, they're still better than my post-it method but it's a pain when I have to keep track of so many things at once. So here is the latest progress shot, when I realized that I was supposed to be working the neck shaping but I hadn't started it yet, and decided to try it on so see if I needed to yank back, and realized that I was okay after all.

As I sit here typing this, I realize that I have three babies to knit for and I'm not sure who will be born when, and I really need to get cracking, and I might have to put the vest down...(breathing deeply). This photo helps me to really see the vest, and I think it's lovely despite my issues with not being able to properly choose three colors in dark, medium, and light shades to go together. The colors aren't quite true to life, but I can see that it's coming together really well and I think I'm going to love wearing it (not finishing it...every color change has two four threads to be woven in!!). Now to stay focused.

And did I mention the sudden desire to make stitch markers? I got a lovely set from my friend Rain, and I realized that I love having these and I should try my hand at them. These could be gifts for my knitterly friends, or maybe the start of a small little side job that might just pay for itself, and some yarn too. I'm trying to plan for when I no longer work and my husband does, and I want to buy yarn without having to justify why I need it. I'll be taking a spin over to Michael's and to my local bead shop to see what I can find in the next few day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Rhinebeck part 2

So, finally here is the long awaited final chapter of the Rhinebeck story. Where did I leave off?

Sunday morning we woke up and went to the Ihop on the way to the fair grounds (as everyone else apparently did) and got pumpkin pancakes, eggs, and hash browns. This prompted me to come home and attempt to make some pumpkin pancakes of my own, and that's when I realized that I should have put some sugar in the batter...because the pancakes just weren't good with all those spices in the batter and no sugar. Anyway, after loading up on protein and carbs, we got back on the road to Rhinebeck, getting a better look at the sights and wondering why I wasn't taking any pictures from the car to show how pretty Upstate NY is in the fall.

We got to the fair and started about 10:30am, looking for vendors that we missed the first day and with hopes for knitting on the Big Sock again (didn't happen). We spent more time with the larger commercial companies this time, and finally found the authors tent where I had my copy of The Big Book of Yarn signed by Clara Parkes (in the pink sweater, right next to Lily Chin in the purple sweater) who has to be the nicest person I've ever met! She graciously agreed to sign my copy, but only if I would take my coat off and show her the FLS I was wearing, lol. So I did, and she complemented me on the color (which those of you in my knitting group will know I was concerned about). She was so cool that I bought her new book, The Big Book of Wool which she also signed, and tossed in a butterfly of yarn for good luck! She was sitting right next to Lily Chin, and on the other side of the hall was Veronik Avery who I stood right in front of (under the auspices of looking through her book) and was too afraid to speak to her. Idiot. So instead, I took stalker photos of the authors from afar.
We made it over to the booths and I picked up a copy of the Fantasy Thigh-High Stockings by Diane Kostecki, and drooled over everything else (see yesterday's comments on the glass "don't-drop spindles"). I also bought two skeins of Socks That Rock: Shadow in medium weight, and Muckity Muck in light weight (which is much more of a shiny deep burnt orange/rust that is looks online). I also bought a signed copy of The Enchanted Sole by Janel Laidman from the same booth. I picked up a glass shawl pin from the Moving Mud booth, a skein of wool/alpaca sock yarn from Oasis Farm Fiber Mill in burgundy, 4 oz of Surino roving in Sage from Flaggy Meadow Fiber Works (70% Suri Alpaca/30% Merino) and 4 oz of 100% Cormo roving from Foxhill Farm (located in Lee, MA) in the natural dark chocolate brown, a skein of Beaches sock yarn from Creatively Dyed in Cardiff (gorgeous black/red), and a skein of Malabrigo Sock in Abril (very bottom left).

At lunch time we went to the Ravelry lunch meet-up again, and this time I met Patti who came up and chatted with me about how I was the only person who was actually knitting, and we got to be friends in no time. Next thing we know, we're standing right next to Jess (Mama Rav), Mary Heather (Do-Gooder), Sara (Hostess with the Mostest), and Ysolda Teague (in the yellow hat over my left shoulder). I found an opening this time and we chatted for a bit, then I worked in the photo op (and was told that they don't let people just take their photos...people have to be in the photo with them, lol...like that was some kind of punishment or something.) So we got a great photo, and a few not so good ones due to back-lighting issues, but that just meant that I got to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with greatness for longer than necessary. It was then and there that I decided that Ravelry is not only the best place on Earth for knitters, but that I had to have a Vivian or I'd die (see earlier post about how they were everywhere, and looked great on everyone).

We went through some more of the barns where I got my basket from a great little farm where they make organic goat milk soaps, and I threw out my receipt so I can't tell you who it was but they were the cutest little things ever.

Finally, after a long weekend of walking all over God's creation, Heather and I were spent. She was tired and fought through being sick, and my back had had enough so we called it and headed back through the sea of vehicles to find her little black Honda and get on the road. We decided to head further North and see what would happen, and were pleased to see that we could get home two hours faster than we got there. We went through the Adirondacks and came down through Massachusetts, into Rhode Island by way of Woonsocket on 146 till we got back into our neck of the woods at about 6:45pm. I was beat, excited about my new stuff, and couldn't wait to show my husband my photos but that all had to wait because I had a baby waiting for me at the door when I got home. Aaron let him stay up and wait for me to come home because he missed Momma, and I haven't been able to peel him off of me since.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Return from Upstate NY

In an effort to keep this from being a 15 page-long post, I think I'll split the two days.

So I meet up with my friend and traveling companion Heather, and we get on the road about 4:30pm Friday afternoon. We almost had to go back for my phone (which I found) but we finally got underway and the drive was pretty smooth. We drove up through Connecticut and stopped for dinner and a pit stop at this great little Mexican restaurant called La Boca (which actually had vegetarian options on their menu marked by a little V. I ordered the cheese enchiladas with a cream cilantro sauce, refried beans and rice. There was so much food we had to take it with us and we didn't have room for desert. Then we got back on the road and pulled into our motel at about 9:30pm. The room was pretty big, the beds were big and mostly comfortable, the heater worked almost too well (which resulted in my getting up several times the first night to turn it on and off as we couldn't figure out how to make it kick off on its own). Heather wasn't feeling well and I didn't want to freeze her out or sweat her to death.
We got up the next morning and Heather got into a hot shower and dosed herself to the gills with cold meds to be able to go with me (what a good friend!). We decided to hit Micky D's for breakfast of pancakes, eggs, and o.j.... what we didn't count on was a colorful and not-so-entertaining story from the table next to us about Eddie and the girl having a baby in the hospital..."Didn't you know...she's having the baby in the hospital right now". Then after a quick pit stop, we hit Route 9 North toward Rhinebeck which took us through Hyde Park where the FDR Presidential Library and the FDR Home is located, along with the Vanderbilt Mansion. Then it was into Rhinebeck which is a pretty little town, especially in the fall. We got to the fair grounds, where I discovered that I left my ticket to the fair at home in my wallet and I'd have to pay for entry again. Nice. But two-day admission was cheap enough so I ponied over my 17 bucks and we went on in. There were tents and open barns everywhere with stables stuffed full of fiber, animals, spinning wheels, spindles (I bought one), roving, batt, top, yarn of every type and color including several luxury blends like yak, bison, cashmere, and qiviut. There was a giant slide and a carousel, a magic show, a tent with workshops (like the beginning hand spinning class that I took and got hooked on), and a pavilion with some of the larger producers of yarn carrying Socks That Rock, Orenburg shawls and books, glass knitting needles and spindles, and an "author's tent" where I met Clara Parkes, saw Veronik Avery, and Laura Cho (who I met at the Ravelry lunch time meet-up and took a photo with).

We didn't eat anything at the fair because we were high on fiber fumes and didn't want to waste any money on food that could be put to fiber, lol. I must have blown through 2/3 of my budget that first day! We stayed till the place closed on the first day, and decided not to go to the Ravelry party afterward because we were both tired from walking all over the place, cold, and hungry, and partly because our first interaction with a large group of Ravelers was a bit awkward. Other than meeting Laura, taking pictures with Bob, and having Laura volunteer to take a photo of Heather and I with Bob (how awesome is that!!), it was really sort of intimidating and felt funny. We did end up in the front row of the big photo though! And I did meet some cool people in the spinning class like Gretchen and her mom who made me feel a whole lot better about my Central Park Hoodie. She had on the prettiest hoodie ever and I'm wanting to knit one for myself...except that I'm not nearly as slim and it might not look so good on me, lol.

As far a knits in the wild...I saw tons of FLS's, tams and berets as far as the eye could see, cowls and Ishbel's everywhere, about 8 different Vivians including the ones that Jess and Mary Heather were in. Jess was wearing the very same one from the photo shoot! but more on that tomorrow as that's day 2 stuff. I also saw Rosie in her Clasica Coat, walked past Anne and stared like an idiot because I couldn't believe I was seeing her, gawked at Joe when he walked into a booth right next to me, and was asked if anyone had ever told me that I looked like Lisa by the famous Yarn Harlot stalker lol when I went to knit on the Big Sock.

At the end of the day we followed Beth, our ever patient spinning instructor out toward the parking lot where she told Heather that she was her favorite student ever because we'd asked Amy (of Spunky Ecletic) if she needed any help carrying her new spinning wheel out to her car when Heather said that we didn't say we were offering any help...just asking if she needed it, lol. When we found our car amid the sea of other cars, and got on our way back to the motel we planned to eat at Olive Garden which I guess everyone else planned too because there was not a single parking space and people were standing in the foyer waiting to be seated. We decided to try the nice little Italian place that shared a parking lot with the Super 8 and Holiday Inn. I got the quiche and salad, and we skipped desert for the second night in a row. Then it was back to our rooms where we dumped our haul on the beds and played in it like kids at Halloween till Heather dropped off to sleep surrounded by yarn and I knit on a sock watching Tyler Perry movies on TBS till 10pm when I, too, passed out for the night.

Tomorrow...part two of Rhinebeck!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rhinebeck, here I come!

This is being typed right now as my partner in crime is driving home from work on the way to pick me up so we can leave for Rhinebeck oh my gosh I'm so excited that I seem to have forgotten where my punctuation keys are

I have the GPS, the camera, my phone with charger, travel toiletries, the Beetlejuice sock, my book for the book signing, two sweaters and the sexy vesty, two pairs of knitted socks and my boots, jeans, long sleeve t-shirts, snacks, makeup, cash, a Nalgen water bottle, and freshly waxed eyebrows with me. Most of my school work for this week is finished. My baby is fed and happy. (Stitches heeling nicely...I'll have to thrill you with the tale after Rhinebeck if I remember...remind me.) I'm feeling antsy and excited, and like I'll miss Alex because I haven't left him overnight before.

I have two mini-loaves of whole wheat bread that I bakes fresh yesterday, all sliced up and bagged for sandwiches. I got individual serving peanut-butter, dried pineapple, granola bars, and some travel packed tea and cocoa for back at the hotel. (I wonder if they have a microwave in the room?)

I packed my neck warmer and hand warmers, found my mittens and ear warmers, and my umbrella. I'll grab my winter coat on the way out. (That seems strange for mid-October.) I've packed and repacked my stuff about three times now. I'm sitting here with bouncy legs just waiting to hear from Heather so I can bolt, but worried about leaving Alex. He's really been a good boy today and I want to throw him in the car and take him with me (except that I would not be able to do any of the stuff I wanted to do and it's just too far for him to go). Thankfully, I'm not working right now so I can sit with him on the couch all day long on Monday if he wants to. I think I'll just call at night and check on him.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy happy, joy joy

I know this is supposed to be a knitting blog, and there should be pictures and projects and finished objects and stuff, but right now life is more than my knitting (a sad realization) and that's what I've been feeling the need to write about. So that being said...today was a really great day!! I had a friend's little boy over to babysit for a few hours and it was so much fun for Alex. He loves playing with his friend (even if he still doesn't share very well) and they had a great time watching PBS and playing with Alex's toys. Just as I was getting them both settled in for lunch, Mom came to get him and I was a little sad that she'd gotten back so fast. I was looking forward to seeing how excited he was about having dinosaur sandwiches with Alex.

Later, we all got in the car and went up the Lincoln to pick up Dante's other prescription. Then it was off to Sam's Club for milk and lunch meat, which turned into a $60 trip (as these things usually do). We got home and Dante produced his progress report which was excellent! Every class shows his behavior, effort, and grades as good-excellent, and his math grade at the half way point is 75%! Not bad considering he shouldn't have passed math last year. My friend Melissa (who tutored him this summer) gets all the credit. I had him call her and leave her a message letting her know that he did so well, because I thought she'd like that. I have a meeting on the 23rd with his teachers and I'm feeling much better about the way everything is going so far.

Class started today for me. My biology class has video lectures and the text, but the text is really just a supplement to the lectures and chapter 1 was only five pages so I was able to get caught up on the reading right away. I'll even be able to make it to knitting on the weeks when it falls on a Thursday because my seminar is from 7-8pm, and knitting is at 8. This is a far cry better than last term when I thought I'd never survive. And to add to my excitement...I got a call from a wonderful gentleman from the State of RI dept of labor and training, informing me that he's processed my claim for unemployment and I can file a claim on Sunday so there's going to be no interruption in my pay. I was so excited that I could have jumped up and down (if my back could have taken it). Now I can look for a better job, and concentrate on school and getting my boys settled. Maybe I'll even get lucky and Aaron will find something before my benefits run out and I can stay home till I finish school!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

On procrastination and lunacy

Today I went out and tried to pick up Dante's prescription only to find out that I couldn't do that because I forgot to call Rite Share and let them know that I don't have a primary care insurance anymore. I called them for an hour and a half before I was finally able to get through (apparently, the State of RI can just leave their out of office message on until after noon the day after a holiday, thereby extending the holiday). After I got a hold of a person, I was told that it would take 24 hours to update so I'm still without meds for Dante until tomorrow...afternoon. I picked up groceries for this weeks dinners, and tried to get my Adecco office to fax something to my managers office stating that I've been laid off but apparently they can't do that because of some corporate policy. They won't accept anything by mail either. My office has to call their company income verification line, only they won't call anyone because they can't verify who they're speaking to so that leaves me hanging in limbo. I called the managers office and told them that Adecco won't deal so they must call, and now I have to follow up with them tomorrow to see what they plan on doing. I also called the pediatrician's office to let them know that I never received the 18mg script and they put one out for me today, which I'll pick up tomorrow because I can't get his meds till then anyway and that way I don't have to worry about driving all the way up to Lincoln only to find out that my doctor hasn't had a chance to sign it. I let the school know that he's without medication (he's testing so they need to be aware in case they need to allow him to take his tests in the resource room). I had an appointment with the school today, which should have been the only one other than the review of the IEP, but it turned out that I only got to meet with his guidance counselor and it seems as though they didn't remember that I had a scheduled appointment because she squeezed me in for about 10 minutes before having to kick me out because one of the kids was testing in her office. Good thing I'm not working, because I told them that I couldn't afford to take time away from work to attend multiple meetings this year. So if Aaron can get that part time job, and I get my unemployment again, I'll be in a good place to get his schooling on track.

So most of the above was the lunacy, and I should be reading my Biology book and trying to finish the Ivy league Vest for Friday but instead I'm randomly surfing the web, catching up on my bloglines reading, and watching Cars with Alex. But I did get my dishes done...all my dishes. Now I'm planning to bake some pumpkin shaped sugar cookies and put orange sprinkles on them because I saw those in the market and wanted them but realized that I had everything at home already to bake them and that I could save some money, which is important when I haven't got my unemployment paperwork yet and I'm not sure if I'll get it again. We do have a small cushion, and my trip is being funded by a check that I got from Sovereign a month or so ago from the proceeds of my employee stock purchase plan (which I didn't know I was enrolled in) so that won't touch the house money. Speaking of my trip, I need to figure out my snacks and get them together. I'll probably bring some pumpkin muffins and I have plans to pack some of the pumpkin cookies, but I need something more than sweets to keep me going if there's nothing sans-meat at the fairgrounds. Thankfully, breakfast is easy and I can probably find something for dinner at one of the local restaurants, so that just leaves lunch at the fair. Maybe there'll be a Domino's Pizza near by.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Slightly used kids for sale

Boy, I'm really feeling the consequences of being away at work for 10 weeks. Alex is growing more defiant every day (a product of being 3) and Dante decided tonight that he couldn't sleep so it would be okay to play his DS in bed until I heard him giggling at 10pm. He has school and NCAP testing tomorrow, plus he's out of meds. I called in for his prescription a week ago and I have it but I didn't look at it because I didn't need it yet but I when I did today, I found that it was only one of the two prescriptions that he takes. It's only 27mgs and he takes 45 mgs (in two pills because they don't make one at 45 mgs) so tomorrow, even when he gets his pills, it won't be the correct dose. So I took the DS away and I don't think I'm giving it back till the end of the year.

I had to go get a nap today and I slept for 4 hours. I'm just really tired from all the nonsense and I don't have much patience for my boys today. I need to clean my house, plan meals for the week and do some shopping, and my Dracula: Prince of Darkness DVD skipped right through the last two chapters of the movie so I couldn't see them kill Christopher Lee off!! My allergies kicked in this weekend and I have to buy some Zyrtec so that I can make it through the weekend surrounded by animals and hay and other non-familiar pollens and plants.

I finished Dan Brown's newest book The Lost Symbol and I enjoyed it over all but I think I'm not fully satisfied with the ending. There was definitely a twist at the end that I didn't see coming until right before they revealed it, which was good, but I thought that one part relating to the main character was a little far fetched, but I ran with it (without giving away any details for people reading that book). Now, after I go to UPS and throw a fit about how I still don't have my text book even though I spoke to them just under a week ago about redelivering it because my address was indeed correct, I will start reading chapter 1 for my class starting on Thursday. Biology... this should be fun.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The second scariest day of my life

To continue with my tough day or two, Alex really had a hard time in nursery today and he got tossed out three times. I put him in the corner twice. So after a rough day trying to plan how things out so Rachel can survive without us for her first ever sharing time, I went to my in-laws so that I could tell my MIL about my assignment being ended. Things were fine until it was time to go home and Alex was going down their stairs with Dante when he decided to break free from Dante and try to run down the stairs...which results in him falling down 8 steps and landing in a heap at the bottom. It was the worst sound I've ever heard and I jumped up and ran down to find him screaming and Dante trying to help him up. I had to holler at Dante to keep him from trying to pick Alex up until I could get an idea if his neck or back was hurt, and then I picked him up and took him back up stairs to check over the damage. I was really ticked off that my father-in-law who was sitting on the couch right next to the base of the stairs didn't get up at all to see if Alex was alright...not until I'd already gotten down the stairs and picked him up. I called his pediatrician and he said that it sounded like Alex is fine. The stairs are carpeted and there wasn't any swelling, bruising, confusion, loss of range-of-motion, or anything out of character for Alex so I could just watch him but he was most likely fine. And he is fine. But I'm not so fine. I was just so scared and the only time I've been this scared was when Dante's day care told my husband that I had already picked him up when I hadn't, because they hadn't bothered to check the kids against their roll.

On much more fun topics, I've chosen my pattern to shop for at Rhinebeck... Oblique. I'll be shopping for 1200 yds of aran weight yarn, preferably a wool-alpaca blend like the called for yarn. I'm also planning on some roving since I'm taking a spinning class, but not too much. just enough to knit a pair of hand warmers or something. And there's going to be some book signings, and my class, and a chance to knit on the worlds longest scarf, and The Big Sock, along with the Ravelry meet-ups going on. So. Much. Fun. Now my only worry is whether or not the fair will have any vegetarian-friendly foods as I gather that I won't be able to bring food in with me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

When God closes a door...

Yesterday, all the drama surrounding my new job came to a head. I had my first one-on-one with my manager and she told me that there had been another complaint about me from one of the girls. I had to give my side of the discussion on an embarrassing issue that happened a few days before (that two of the girls were helping me figure out and advising me on) and then I was questioned about a customer who would not allow me to assist her like I did something wrong. Add that to the two errors that I'd made that day (easily fixed but frustrating) and it was all I could do not to burst into tears at my station. I mean, one of the girls was trying to joke with me and I couldn't look at her or speak because I was that close to losing control of my emotions (and we'd just had a training about how crying at work reduces your credibility so I wasn't going to have that). After I got control again, the girl came over to apologize to me and I let her know that she hadn't done anything wrong but I was just really frustrated because the learning curve is so steep there and there's no formal policy to tell a person how to do things when they don't go exactly according to plan. I told them how I was frustrated because I was new, the system is so outdated and it can't do things that the systems at my other two banks could do, how I felt like I was trying to fit in and still wasn't, and it just got to me. The girl told me that it took her five month to learn what I'd learned in only a few weeks, and that maybe they forgot that we don't know this stuff and were holding us accountable for things that we couldn't do. they hadn't thought of it before. It took them seeing me that upset to start making an effort to make me feel like I was a part of that team, speaking to me without my first having to speak to them and trying to make me feel better...only it was to little, too late because when I got home the recruiter from the temp agency called and told me that the manager decided to end the assignment. Perfect ending to a perfectly horrible day. I was not told exactly why, but after I explained to the recruiter what I was dealing with there, she said that it didn't sound like a very good fit and that I was welcome to go into the local Adecco office to see if they can place me in another assignment. I'm going to speak to a friend of the family who worked in unemployment for years about my options because I would really like to take advantage of the offer I got earlier that I could continue to collect my benefits while I was in school.

You know, it's not that the assignment is over that bothers me. I really didn't care for the job and I knew that it wasn't working out but I was giving it my best effort. My issue is that I believe I know why she decided to end the assignment and it was for no fault of my own. My coworkers threw me under the bus because they were suspicious of me, and they were suspicious because of the way that she brought me onboard. They sabotaged me, and that's the part that upsets me. So after the tears yesterday over this whole Union Federal saga, I started to think about the other options for me. If I can get into this program, I can concentrate on school and continue to collect unemployment until it runs out. Aaron had an interview with Douglas Liquors yesterday for a part time job and they really liked him. They told him that it was between him and three others for a second interview. He told me that this is a blessing in disguise, and I know that it is because I trust my Heavenly Father but I don't know what I was supposed to learn or what my purpose was in this experiment. Maybe it was to show the group how their behavior affects other people. I'm not sure how they are going to take it when they find out this morning that I'm not there (I'm supposed to work today...my first Saturday). But on the good side, I can spend more time with Alex again, and I can collect until Adecco finds an assignment for me, and I have a better chance to finish my vest for Rhinebeck, which is next weekend. I'm going to knit something, and bake something, and clean something today...because I can.

P.S. on an awkward note, I have to bring my keys for the bank to the Adecco office, and I have to send my husband up to collect my personal things because it's clear that she doesn't want me to go back in there. I guess she is afraid that I'll cause a scene. I guess she never got to know me at all.