Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Time

This is my favorite time of year.  And it is becoming my even favoriter time of year now that I have the kids to share it with.  Look at how freakin' cute they are yesterday at the pumpkin patch.

The weather was gorgeous.  Everyone was in good spirits.  The pumpkins were abundant.

Makes me wish everyday was yesterday.

Photo credit: Blog*Bittersweet*Blog

Friday, August 27, 2010

Its Fun To Go To the Craft Store. Its Fun To Go To the Craft Store.

Photo credit: blog*bittersweet*blog

My plan was to post about knitting I am working on and failing to work on and knitting mojo and blah, blah, blah.  But on Sunday, the family is going to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live! and I just got back from the craft store.  Oh, baby!

My first thought was to make t-shirts for the kids.  Felt cut-outs glued on cheapy craft store t-shirts.  No - felt  is too thick/ bulky, can't be washed, glue might not hold . . . so fabric paint on cheapy shirts.  And maybe I can try out freezer paper stencils (which always look awesome on other peoples' blogs).

When I rolled up to the sale bins in front of the store, the whole thing started to go off the rails.  Bucket hats - $0.79.  There was a little green one.  And a yellow one.  So crazy-train in my brain takes me to the place where the Man and I have on Brobee and Plex bucket hats.  OK - shirts for the kids, hats for the Man and me.

Inside, I start picking out a shirt for the Boy - they don't have toddler sizes so even the smallest youth shirt will be too big.  They only have onesies for the Girl and she ALWAYS has a blow out if she's wearing a onesie and I am NOT having that at an all day event when she is supposed to be in the carrier - that I am wearing. But I pick up shirts and paints and brushes anyway and move on.

Some felt to make the red points for the Brobee hat?  Hmm . . . felt is kind of droopy.  What about craft foam instead?  And now is where it gets really fun (at least for me).  On my way to the foam aisle, I see a red baseball hat.  MUNO.  The Man is much more likely to be caught alive in a red baseball hat with an eyeball painted on it than sporting a Brobee bucket.

And then!  In the craft foam section, I find a pink visor that is exactly the color of - guess who - Foofa.  And a white one that can be inverted right on top of the pink one to make flower petals.  And a yellow one to fit inside the yellow bucket hat so it will fit the Boy and he can be Plex (his favorite).  And red foam for Brobee's pointy things.  And black and white foam for the Foofa eyes.

A final stop in the pipe cleaner - or, excuse me, chenille covered wire - section for black for Brobee's unibrow and silver stuff for Plex (but I am second guessing that choice now and thinking I should use black?).

I put away the t-shirts and all the craft paint except for the white and black - which I will use for eyes as well as a rectangle on the Plex hat.  And the extra bonus part is that fir less than $15 all four of us will look ridiculous on Sunday!

The photo above are my "sketches" - Plex looks like he is missing something - probably the side antennae would do the trick - maybe if the brim is folded up?  And does Brobee need a mouth or is it cool like that?  I think the Muno and Foofa are going to be my favorites - but we will see!

And I know - Toodee is left out.  I feel badly - and the Girl is probably a little more like Toodee than Foofa but that pink visor is spot-on.  Maybe next time . . .

Friday, July 30, 2010

What a Cool Idea!

As a parent of a toddler and an infant who thinks she is a toddler (girl baby - you are not even 8 months old! quit thinking you can walk, ok?) keeping a paper shredder out in the open where it might actually be used regularly is just not in the cards.

Behold this nifty gadget that was featured in a Real Simple Daily Email I subscribe to - the ID Blocker:

ID Blocker

I haven't tried this.  I haven't been asked to endorse it.

But is sure is cool looking.  And could be the perfect solution to that gigantic pile of papers in my kitchen waiting for me to set aside some time for shredding.  (Did you just laugh so hard you snorted?  Me too.).

Well at least maybe it will keep the pile from getting any bigger.

Photo credit: The Spoon Sisters

Thursday, July 22, 2010

There's a Place

I just returned two pairs of $5.00 shorts. They were intended to be a cheap mid-season fill-in for the growing Boy.  I felt lucky to find anything so late in the season - especially at the children's store in the outlet center near where I live.  All that being said, I would rather have an induced labor with no epidural than return something at that store again.

What is the problem you ask?

First, the sales associate was not especially friendly, helpful, or efficient.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  After all, we're talking about a Place where I can buy shorts for $5.00.  When I first walked in he was all, "Welcome to the store.  If you need any help please let me know. Blah.  Blah. Blah."  I did need to ask for help. It went something like this:

"Do you have more little boys' socks?"
"Um.  Where did you find those?"
After showing the young gentleman where in his store the little boys' socks were located, he took a brief respite in the stock room for the duration of a good nose picking.  "Uh, no.  Only what is out."  And sure - I believed that the guy who couldn't find the socks on the floor of the store where he worked actually looked in the stock room.  Whatever.  Next item.
"Ok.  Do you have more sunglasses?"
A few minutes later, I found about a dozen pairs of sunglasses in the clearance bin.  And some little boys' socks too.
Terrible?  No.  Annoying?  Yes.  Frustrating?  Yes.

Second, I was the only person in the store.  Just me.  One customer.  Seeing as how I was the ONLY customer in the store would it be wrong to think it shouldn't take five-ever to do a return.  Seems like a reasonable assumption.

Finally - why OH why do they need my ID to process a credit card return?  And why OH why does the sales associate ask me for my last name after having had my ID.  In his hands.  With my last name on it.  Right there.  Doing its job.  Identifying me.  "Well I just scanned it so you are in our system."  It was very difficult to not lean over the counter and say "DUH" right in his face.  Maybe if I was taller it would have happened - but with the leaning and jumping and what-have-you that would have had to happen to do this the impact probably would not have been as profound (if it would have had any impact to begin with).

I did say, through gritted teeth, "You JUST had my ID for ten minutes."  He didn't seem to understand the relevance of this comment.

I just looked up the return policy (since the ID requirement is new).  According to the store's website my ID is now in their database.  The database is utilized to determine whether or not to authorize returns.  So basically, my ability to return merchandise which otherwise complies with the store's policies is now decided based on an algorithm in a database.  I decide one day after purchasing something to return it to the store with the receipt and the store could say, "No.  Sorry.  Database is saying no."  That is not going to work for me.  I almost never have my kids with me when I shop.  And if I do I certainly don't make them try clothes on in the store.  Maybe - despite being a large children's store - the policy makers have never tried shopping with infants, toddlers, children and various combinations thereof?  Returns are a necessity - not a luxury.

Retail randomness such as this does not play well with me.  This is a Place I will no longer be patronizing.

Photo credit:  Thomas Rockstar on Flickr

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I have a Twitter account.  I don't use it that often.  Occasionally, though, I feel like checking it out or sending a "tweet" or what-have-you.

I don't think I "tweet" that well.  I think what I do on Twitter is more "blurting" (which is different from "bleating").  It seems the perfect medium for shouting out to the world that I have a Stevie Wonder song stuck in my head (and that I'm glad it isn't a Hanson song instead!).  Or a good place to bemoan the usage of the (non)word "heighth" in everyday conversation (that one really gets my goat and it seems to be more and more prevalent.  Go away "heighth" you are not a word!).

For the most part, "tweeting" (or "blurting") feels so self-indulgent. It is like walking up to anyone you see, imagining they give a shit, just spewing a few sentences regarding whatever is on the tip of your tongue at them, and then walking on.  Every once in a great while someone will reply to something I share on Twitter but usually my thoughts just go out into the great void.  And that is okay.  Sometimes things just need to be said and no response is required.

If you (once again, see me assuming someone is reading this!) want, follow my blurts, click on the link on this page :D

Image credit: 7son75 on flickr

Friday, July 9, 2010

Doubt (or Perils of Urban Planning, Part III)

So this whole reworking the pattern thing is very hard on the sleep-deprived brain.  It is especially difficult when one is lying awake at night trying to sleep but somehow being compelled by evil forces to do long division with knits and purls and cable needles flashing before one's eyes like a bad '80's movie montage (presuming a movie was every made about knitting - imagine it - the crisis scene where the lady heroes of the film must redesign a sweater to avert a major disaster at the county fair which ends with them dancing around their kitchen while drinking wine).

Anywho . . .

After (stalkerishly) perusing all the ravelry photos for the Urban Aran - under both the original and modified (cardiganized) titles - I am rethinking my choice.  I am feeling that, despite modifications and what I imagine  to be some extremely aggressive blocking, this is a garment for a woman.  The element that I find most compelling - the diagonal cable panel - will forever pull in waist and make this a feminine sweater.  And I say this with all due respect to all the knitters who have made the sweater for men and the men who wear it.  This is just my opinion.

Despite feeling a bit like I've had the wind knocked out of me on this one, I have not given up on an Aran zipper cardigan for the Boy.  There are a few other patterns I am looking at - all of which would require some modifications to create the sweater I want to make.  So we're not done here yet.

We will build this city (maybe on rock 'n' roll?).

Also, I am having anxiety about having enough yarn to do the swatching I need to do to make this work and to make the sweater.  I have 1,000 yards.  But still . . .

Read the previous installment here.  Start from the beginning here.

Photo credit: stolte-sawa on flickr

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Perils of Urban Planning, Interlude

It came!  It came!

The yarn came over the holiday weekend!

I love the color!  I can't wait to use it (but I will - I will, I will, I will!  Haste makes waste and all that)!

Now I just have to figure out what the heck I am doing with it!

Hooray for exclamation points!

Read the previous installment here.  Read the next installment here.  Start from the beginning here.

Photo credit: marine_perez via flickr

Monday, June 28, 2010

Perils of Urban Planning, Part II


And then (pause for dramatic effect) the pattern arrived Monday night. And my hopes and dreams were abandoned.  The gauge for the pattern as written is 15 stitches and 20 rows over 4 inches and the Rowan Denim is 20 stitches and 24 (shrinking to 32) rows over 4 inches.  This would bring the sweater in at a trim 33" which is somewhere between 8" and 10" bigger around than I would want it to be for the Boy. No way no how, based on the schematic, will this going to be the cake walk I had happily lead myself down the primrose path into believing it would be.


OK.  Enough.  Dry your tears and get it together, Woman.

Now I really have to work if I want this to become a reality. And I do want this sweater to exist in the real world. I desperately want to be one of those knitters who can create what the mind's eye sees.  DESperately.

So to work.

First, what makes the Urban Aran so great looking?  What elements need to be reproduced to at least elude to the Urban Aran?  Obviously an intricate center cable that can be easily divided into a cardigan and also worked up the sleeves.  The longer arms and slim cut.  Wide ribbing.  And those nifty diagonal cables.  I think the diagonals are really where it is at for this sweater.

So these are the elements I need to be able to incorporate into a sweater for the Boy to end up with something reminiscent of the Urban Aran Cardigan in Denim for a size 4T. To start, I found, at my local library through inter-library loan, the Rowan Junior book. There are two possible starting points for me here in terms of zip-up cardigans - one with cables on either side of zipper and one written for Denim, which will help take some of the math out of the thing for me.

I also found pattern on which could offer me something to work with - the gauge for the "boy" version of the sweater is the pre-washed gauge for the Denim and the "girl" version gauge is the post-washing gauge.  This is a ribbed zipper cardigan.  I see possibilities (which is better, I would imagine, than seeing dead people.  At least in this context.).  Also, this pattern offers me the (probably false) hope that my original plan to just knit the Urban Aran as written with the smaller yarn without having to do any math since the chest on the finished 4T size is 34" (and if I did the calculation correctly, the Urban Aran would be 33" as written in the Denim).

Also, my friend Mary suggested graphing the whole thing on knitter's graph paper.  So I've printed out a bunch of pages at a 1/1 scale and once I have read the three or four patterns and processed the information, I can start graphing!

More to come.

Read Part I of this adventure here.  Read the next installment here.

I Still Can't Believe I Did It

I took both kids to the beach this weekend.

By myself.  No other adults.  More kids than grownups.

Me, the two and a half year old, and the six month old.

And everyone lived.

And everyone had fun - including me.


Photo credit: diametrik via Flickr

Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer Yummer

Last night we ate the lemon cucumbers that we got from our CSA/Farmers' Market.


Photo credit:  rfduck via flickr

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Doing well at the World Cup gives a nation more street cred than doing well at the Olympic Games.

Go Team USA!

Photo credit: RO/LU via Flickr

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I Won! I Won! (or The Perils of Urban Planning)

I have been thinking about knitting with Rowan Denim for quite awhile. Maybe too much Mason-Dixon? Maybe the upcoming Smurf movie? I don't really know for sure. I have been thinking about an Aran sweater for the Boy. I have been thinking an awful lot about Jared Flood's Urban Aran Cardigan. And all this thinking has lead me to dream of how cool that cardi would look in the Denim on my Boy. So I've been reading a bit about the Denim on ravelry and Mason-Dixon which in turn lead me to an amazing looking adaptation of a man's sweater into a boy's sweater using the Denim. Now I am thinking, "I can actually do this."

So in my fully deluded state, I hunted down the pattern and ordered it from a shop in western New York.  And then, knowing I can't get the Denim locally, I started looking for a good deal online. This search ultimately yielded (the most reasonably priced) fruit on eBay. This weekend I was compelled to place a (winning) bid on 10 skeins of the Denim in Nashville. And, seeing as how I was the sole bidder, I won! I won! I won! The price was good, the shipping was free, and it is on its way to me now from the U.K.

It is on! Toddler Urban Aran Cardigan here we come!

To be continued . . .

Photo credit: Breibeest via Flickr

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Fresh(ish) Start

I was going to start a new blog - a clean slate, tabula rasa - all that nonsense. But there is really nothing wrong with this blog. All that is needed is this cleansing post and it should be okay. Think of it as recycling.

I will probably still use flickr as source for photos. I will probably still do weird little research-project posts like this, or this, or this. I will probably still refrain from posting photos of my kids. The big change will come in that this will no longer be a "rule" based blog.

Instead I am just going to write. I may write about: myself, my kids, my husband, other family members, knitting*, a good meal I ate out or cooked, the beach, a book I read, a movie I saw, something cool I bought or wish I could buy, exercising** (don't hold your breath, people), a recipe, or something or someone I am feeling judgmental about with no real basis for casting stones. Whatever.

So welcome to my "new" blog - where I write about whatever I feel like.

*My paltry attempt at blogging my knitting will be absorbed in the instant blog.
** My paltry attempt at losing weight and the equally paltry attempt to blog it will also be absorbed in the instant blog.

Photo credit: hellosputnik via Flickr

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Life is a Dream

Today's photo is another example of why I love the internet. My first thought when I saw this was, "Ooooh. Pretty." Then I thought, "Gee, this looks a bit like the plaza where we hung out in Amsterdam a jillion years ago. How will I ever figure out where this is?" So I looked at the picture in its largest size and I could make out some words on the pedestal of the statute. So a-Googling I go and I find out that Pedro Calderón de la Barca is a famous Spanish playwright whose life and works are feted in Madrid by this statue. Which means (a) this isn't Amsterdam and (b) I get to learn something new. Calderon de la Barca's most famous play is titled Life is a Dream
and it chronicles a story about free will vs. fate. Life as an illusion is an overarching theme (hence the title). Heavy stuff. But for my purposes here today, it is the simple, face value, aw-shucks, gee-whiz, cock-eyed optimist interpretation of the title that I am drawn to: I gave notice at my job today and I start my new job in about two weeks! WOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!! I have felt stuck, trapped, etc. where I am so being able to move along is really a dream come true!

Photo credit: David Boyle on Flickr

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The title of this photo is "Barnies Lieblingsplätzchen" - Barnie(s) presumably being the cat. I never studied German yet I was intrigued by this German (I assumed) word. It means "favorite place" or "favorite spot." I love the way it sounds (at least in my head). It makes me think of the way I imagine the sounds of: the end of the evening collapse on the couch OR finally getting to pick up the knitting during the kids' nap time on the weekend OR finally falling into your beach chair after getting every one settled, umbrellas up, blankets out leave me alone go play by the water OR settling into your seat at the movies with Milk Duds and popcorn after months of DVD-only viewing (hello, old friend - I've missed you so). "LiblingSPLATZCHeeehhhhhhn." What a lovely feeling. None of my little spots are quite like Barnie has here - a soft blanky, sunshine warming the seat, the bolstery arms surrounding him like a big ol' hug. But it isn't all about the accoutrements. Lieblingsplätzchen is more about where your head is at then where you lie your head.

Photo credit: gillyberlin on Flickr

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pipe Dreams

Galapagos Islands. My strongest association with these islands is not Charles Darwin and his Beagle but rather Vonnegut and his novel.

I remember being on a Vonnegut kick when this book came out in paperback and devouring the whole thing in a weekend. I was so entranced by the characters and the evolutionary concepts being put forth. It was over twenty years ago now so the details are fuzzy* but I couldn't get the book out of my head. This is the kind of book that made me dream of going into science. Obviously that didn't happen. But I do still love reading science fiction. Maybe it is time to break out the old Vonnegut paperbacks again. I might understand more than I did back in junior high.**

*Pun optional
**Junior high=middle school of yore

Photo credit: cdorobek

Fish Face

Fish. Okay. I guess, though, it doesn't really matter what the picture is since I need to explain my months-long absence (I love that I write here as if people are actually reading). I guess I was kind of busy at work. And if I wasn't really truly busy, I was trying to seem busy. And I have been pretty miserable at work for quite some time so I think I was feeling that the tone of the blog was a little too bitter for any one's good. There has been some sweet - I was lucky enough to have a gorgeous baby girl in December. The Boy has adapted quite well to his sibling, although he is exhibiting the signs of toddlerhood/terrible two-ness on a regular basis; nothing especially unusual, but probably somewhat exacerbated by having a 3 month old sister getting all up in his world. Anyway, things are feeling a bit more normal these days, so I hope to be writing more again. Still going to use the same formula as before so I (we, dear reader?) will see where Flickr takes us!

Photo credit: b.roveran