Thursday, January 27, 2011

International Sweater-a-Month Dodecathon

Well, I've finally gone and done it.  I've joined the IntSweMoDo2011.  The basic idea is that you finish 12 adult-sized sweaters in the year of 2011.  I joined up late, but its still technically January and I did start a new sweater for myself this month.  I've also got a stash of yarn large enough to complete at least 10 more so I should be able to do this without having to buy any yarn for this challenge.  I spent most of last year knitting shop samples, and projects for my kids or someone else's kids, and I really miss knitting what I want.  My goal this year is to knit for myself (or others, but only if I feel like it), and to go through my apartment and get rid of everything I never wanted, didn't ask for, and don't like.  I guess this is a year for declaring myself, lol.

IntSweMoDo2011 #1: the Effortless Cardigan, knit in Ultra Alpaca, color: Peat Mix, size 39".  I modified this slightly, knitting the body about 1 1/2 inch longer before starting the decreases so they would hit me where my actual narrow part hits (this is important because I don't have much of a 'narrow part' so I really want to make the most of it). 

Also, I just finished a pair of mittens for Alex with the left-over Cascade 220 superwash handpaint in the beautiful dark blue/purple colorway that I used to knit Aaron's socks.  He loves them.  Right now, I'm knitting an I-cord so that they don't get separated.  Knowing him, he'll just find a way to lose them both, lol.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Re-entry; it's much like they describe it.

I've had a really tough time adjusting back to life as usual since returning to RI on Friday night.  Thankfully, my flights were both smooth and the storm didn't affect me at all; I even got into Providence about 20 minutes ahead of schedule.  Unfortunately it was so cold that even though he had arranged for us to go out to dinner, my husband suggested that we just go home and order Chinese so I could get warm and unpack.

When I walked into my apartment, I felt really...disoriented (I guess that's the best word to describe it).  I was here but I wasn't.  I woke up in the middle of the night not exactly sure of where I was and it took a little while for me to get my things unpacked and put back where they were.  I actually forgot where some of the things originally were. 

All of my clothes smelled like smoke and needed to be washed again.  I smelled like smoke.  My mom has cut down a lot, but she has friends who come over and they smoke heavily so everywhere I went, I smelled like an ashtray.  I really felt self-conscious about it when I went to church, but otherwise it wasn't really a big deal.  That was easily remedied.  But the feeling like things went on without me was tough to shake.  Alex grew so much in that short 3 weeks, and believe it or not, he outgrew his new mittens (and lost one at Wal-Mart he's getting another new set complete with a cord to connect them to each other).  When I got up with Alex in the morning, he actually called out to Aaron because he didn't know I was there.  It took him two days to revert back to asking for me.  I couldn't exactly remember what we used to do and I was so used to my mom's schedule that I wandered around the apartment for a day or so looking for something to do and feeling like I should be doing something particular that I couldn't put my finger on. 

I decided to put that to use, and took down the Christmas tree.  We have new ornaments now so that required me to go through some of my storage bins to make room for the new things.  I've re-organized my hall closet and gotten rid of two garbage bags full of things we don't use and I didn't want.  Unfortunately, after Aaron lost his job and we got pregnant again, we were in a position to need things and not be able to afford those things.  We were blessed with people who had them and gave them to us, but that means that I live with mis-matched things and I can't make my apartment come together and feel like a home.  So I'm replacing the things that I was given (that I never asked for and didn't want but felt like I would offend someone if I got rid of them) with things that I want.  My MIL is a very generous woman and is hugely guilty of this.  She is incapable of coming over without bringing us something, even though we've expressed countless times that we don't have room for one more thing and it just clutters our space.  The clutter drives my husband nuts and makes him difficult to live with sometimes.  It makes us all feel anxious, and I've decided that I don't care who gave it to us or what the sentimental value of it was...if we don't use it, or I don't like it, or we just don't have room for's going!  I've already weeded through the kitchen utensils that she gave us that were her fathers.  If I've not used them in the last 3 years since I got them, I tossed them onto the counter to be shipped to my mom.  This year is about hard choices and making this place my own.

I'm officially on break from school for the next week, and I can proudly say that I have completed the last of my Gen Ed classes (yes!!).  Now I only have core requirements left and I love this stuff so it should go pretty smoothly from here on out.  I aced my final in my class on the Sciences, and I'm awaiting my grade in the class on the 1960's.  I've got a little longer to go than I originally figured; I'm looking at about a year and a half of school left, but it'll go pretty quickly now that I'm only doing psychology related courses.  I'm feeling pretty charged up about being so close to a college degree from a 4-year university.  Its a goal that I always thought I wouldn't have the discipline to achieve, but I always dreamed about.  My first go-round at college was just terrible and I really wasn't ready for it.  But now I'm really doing it!  My occupation is taking me in another direction right now, knitting commissioned pieces and designing patterns, but I know that I can do anything I want with this degree and if I don't end up working in a psych related field it still won't be a waste because I've proven something to myself.  I'm a straight A student.  I've made the Dean's list and the President's list every term since I started school.  I'm a member of Kaplan's Honor Society, and Golden Key Honor Society.  I've been invited to join three different Greek organizations (and I just might get around to doing it, lol).  This has really been about making sure that I could easily provide for my children and for our retirement, and about reaching my potential and facing a challenge that I gave up on 15 years ago.  And I wanted my mom to have this because she deserves to be able to watch me cross the stage after everything she sacrificed in my life, and all the crap she took from family and ignorant strangers.  I want her to be able to say to those people: my child is college educated, married with children, active in church, and a productive member of society; a strong woman... what have you don with your life.  Not that she would because she's a proper lady, but she deserves the option and she's gonna get it.

Now, off to bed.  I'm back to work tomorrow.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm commin' home!

Well, my finals are over and my mom is up and getting around (although slowly).  I've completed a pair of socks for my husband and my mom since I've been here, and I'm almost done with Dante's and a pair for Alex (which I'll be working on during the flight tomorrow).  I'll catch my first flight at 9:20am Pacific time and stopping in Phoenix, AZ for a one hour layover.  Then I'm off again at 1:30pm Mountain time for Providence and baring any issues, I should arrive at about 8pm Eastern.  My hubby is gonna have the boys stay at the grandparents over night, come pick me up, and take me out to dinner.  Assuming that I'm not wore out after about eight hours in the air, it should be fun.

I went through a lot of the boxes in my mom's and I found quite a bit of my stuff, like my baby pictures of Dante, my medals and newspaper clippings from sports, and my Letterman jacket...all of which are coming home with me so I can show Dante that I used to be cool.  My husband was concerned about the additional clutter, but I think I'm going to ask my friend Heather to help me scrapbook the clippings and the certificates, and I'll put the rest into a nice storage box.  Sadly, my bags weigh more coming back than they did coming in.

I'm going to try to get to the airport about an hour to an hour and a half early so I'll have time to check in, hit the See's candy store for treats for my boys, and relax.  I've got Dante's socks, Alex's socks, and my sweater in the knitting bag, along with a book (that I'm reading for the 3rd time now...maybe I'll hit the book shop too), and my Nintendo DS because this is going to end in a night-time flight and I won't have enough light to knit or read the whole way home.

Since I've been here I've had access to Comcast cable, and I've discovered the LOGO network...pretty interesting.  I'm not exactly sure what it stands for, but I'm pretty sure it's a gay/lesbian network based on all of the commercials (the one for the Fl Keys is pretty interesting, especially when I saw another commercial for the Keys on a different network...clearly the straights have no idea, lol), and the programing.  I'm really interested in watching Rupaul's Drag Race but I won't be here to catch it.  Anyway, (I had a point, I promise), they started showing a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon on New Years Day and I've been watching episodes ever since then thanks the my mom's DVR.  I'm a handful of episodes away from the end of the series...and it's time to go home!  Thankfully, Buffy is available on Netflix as an instant-watch so I'll finish it off when I get home, along with season 5-6 because LOGO skipped right over that.  I'll also have to go to Hulu to see if I can catch the end of The Worst Cooks in America, and Cake Boss Challenge.

It was a good visit with my mom (although I was here more in a work capacity than a visit).  I fell in love with her kitten, and her girls (dogs and other cats) all decided they liked me and I could stay.  I got to see some people I haven't seen in upwards of 14 years.  I got to say goodbye to a good friend and get some closure on that (I'm in a good place).  I got to go to church in the ward where I was baptized, with really good friends, and I decided that I'm ready to let go of the scriptures that they bought for me and get a new set with my married name on them.  I relived my sports glory (did I tell you I set five records in track & field over two different schools, got my photo in the paper several times, was athlete of the week, was voted unanimously the league MVP, and finished the season my Senior year in high school with a record of 27-1?? no? that's because I forgot, lol).  I saved lots of money by losing my license and not being able to get my rental car.  I didn't get to a yarn shop to get souvenir sock yarn.  Oh!, and when I went to pick up the report of lost/stolen license so I can get on the plane tomorrow...I found my license!  I had it the whole time.  So, I'll see you all (or I won't) tomorrow :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

In memory of my friend

Henry & I at Home Coming, 1994
 I've said before (or at least I think I did), that I'm in California helping my mom recover from knee replacement surgery.  Well my good friend from high school, Henry, was very sick and fighting cancer.  We knew he was dying but we didn't know how much time he had left and he was just trying to get through the holidays.  Henry got his wish, and he passed away late last night after a 4-year battle.

I didn't know Henry was sick because I've fought against the trend and avoided Myspace and Facebook like the plague.  When I got the call from home that he was sick, I decided that I needed to join because I didn't want to be blindsided anymore by things like this.  So now I got the news that Henry has passed, and I know the details of his funeral.  I still don't have an ID or a rental car, so I'm hoping one of my facebook friends will read my post and let me ride up to Sacramento with them.  I packed clothes for a funeral, but honestly I was hoping that I wouldn't need to use them.  I know that I'm blessed to be in town so that I can pay my last respects, but I really miss my husband and my boys and I could use a hug from them right now.  I will just try to remember than unlike my friend's wife, my husband is healthy and waiting at home for me.  Please send your prayers (if you are so inclined) to Henry's family and his wife Karen.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Surgery Complete

Well, we got up at 6am to get all ready for the day.  We got all our stuff together and left for the hospital at 8:30am.  There were some issues with the GPS; I had to change the 'home' address, and change some of the settings during the trip because it tried to send us 650 + miles out of our way to take us to the hospital.  Finally we got there (on time) at about 10am.  We needed to be there early just in case they had a cancellation, but alas there wasn't one and we sat there till they took her back at about 11:30am.  Then they came to get me at 12:30pm and we sat back in pre-op for about two hours.  Surgery was scheduled for 1pm...they didn't finally come for her till 2:30pm-ish.  The surgery went smoothly and they came to tell us that she was in recovery and we could go to see her in about 30 minutes.  It was about 4:30pm when they told us that, and we didn't finally get to see her till well after 6:30pm.  She was doing fine, just a little sore as expected, and starving to death.  Good thing I had several Bora Bora bars with me.  We finally headed out at about 7:45 and I got home at about 8:30pm.  That my friends is a full 12-hour day.

Tomorrow I'll be running some errands for her, trying to calm her dogs (who don't know what to do with themselves right now), and to try to get my homework finished on time.  Things aren't looking good right now, but it always works out.  Further updates soon.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Greetings from California

I didn't bring the camera with me, so don't look for any photos of this trip.  I figured I'd be spending most of my time in a hospital room with my mom, or in her apartment so I didn't bother.  I did however bring the GPS with me.  The GPS that I won't be using because I lost my license at the airport in Providence before I even got to the security check.  I checked my baggage with the skycap outside and got my boarding pass, and a split second after he handed my license back to me, I lost it.  I made it through security because I had my social security card and my Sam's Club id with my picture on it.  I'm getting lots of info about calling airport security, or the local police to get a temporary id so I can get back on the plane, but so far I'm running into a lot of dead ends.

The flight itself was very smooth.  After I dried my tears, said goodbye to my boys and cleared security, I heard my name being called on the intercom telling me that my plane had boarded and that they were waiting for me.  I made it on board and found a seat with two really friendly women.  We chatted for a bit and they helped me to relax about the whole ID thing.  Then after arriving in Chicago, we re-fueled and re-boarded.  I ended up with a teenage crocheter sitting right next to me, working on a pineapple blanket from a chart that she sketched of her grandmother's couch throw.  She was working with a skein of Cascade 220 in light blue (and if you know me, you know that I love the Cascade 220), but her skein got tangled into a mess.  Since we were on such a long flight, and because I took a liking to her, I untangled the skein and wound it into a ball for her.  I worked on my husband's sock and read a book I picked up from the library.  There was no food to speak of on the flight and instead of giving me a can of soda, I got a very small cup of flat soda, but other than that the flight was smooth and we got in a little early.  I ended up taking a shuttle home (to the tune of $53) as I couldn't pick up the rental car.  After getting settled in and eating some of the worst Chinese food I've ever had, I passed out at 7:30 PST.

The next morning I woke up at 4:45am, stiff and sore.  My mom's neighbor took me to the grocery store and I got groceries to last me for a little while.  I forgot how cheap fresh fruit and veggies are out here, but gas was more expensive.  We stopped at the gas station and the cheapest gas was $3.15 a gallon!  And also, I got carded when I went to get cigarettes for my mom...and I don't have my ID, lol.  So I just got some cash back and sent her in to get them herself.  You know, I was just really depressed by how bad this place has gotten.  I don't remember it being this bad when I lived here 10 years ago.  It's like no one had done anything to take care of anything since I left.  It's so bad.  I wonder how people I knew in high school can still stand to live here.  After I go home, if I never had to come back here again it wouldn't break my heart.

I went to church today at my old ward where I was baptised.  I went with my old friends the Knudson's and it was so nice to see them.  It was like I just saw them yesterday, only the kids grew into giants.  We went in and everything was so much smaller than I remember.  We sat in the meeting and I watched their boys pass the sacrament, and I was thinking about how Dante might have been doing that today too at home.  I always thought it would be relaxing be at church without the kids but it wasn't.  I really missed them.  Then Rebecca asked me if I would go up and bare my testimony with her and I said "okay".  After we got up there she said that she didn't think I'd do it, lol.  It was really nice to be able to share my testimony with the ward where I first joined the church, even if most of the members had moved away by then.  When the meeting was over, I stayed for Sunday School and got my brand new lesson book.  It was fun to be starting off fresh with everyone else.  The class was really enlightening and I enjoyed it.  Then it was off to Relief Society where we talked about the theme for the year, and listened to a talk from the Bishop.  Lastly, I was able to sit in on the ordination of a new Deacon.  I stood next to Rebecca's middle son and discovered that he towered over me (he's 16 and 6'3"!).  He's been frozen in my mind at 6-years old.  Then they took me home and now here I am, updating this blog.  I'll be knitting while I'm here (thank goodness I packed a suitcase full of yarn!) and I'll be working on school.  I'll be taking advantage of my time without a 4-year old to sleep in a little bit, and hopefully I'll get a chance to see a few old friends.  Stay tuned and I'll try to post regularly while I'm here.