30 June 2008

Monday is fired.

You hear that, Monday?? Take that! You and your forgetting-stuff-at-home, busy-phones, stressed-out nonsense; I'm done with you! haHA!

In other news, I keep reading everywhere how the knitblog is dying, the knitblog is on its way out, beat our chests and rend our skin, the knitblog, o the knitblog.

Dudes. Seriously.

Perhaps I'm jaded or overtired or something, but it's just not that big of a deal to me. It feels like the blogs I read -- are distilled, somehow. Pared down. In a good way. Of course, since I started working, pictures have become something that happened to Other Blogs, so perhaps my perspective is skewed.

But then, I didn't get into blogging for the knitting. I always had the knittalk list for that, and when I got my camera, I was going to show off pictures, sure, and that was fun...but rapidly, what I liked more was the stories. The friendships. The people I keep in touch with that I would never keep in touch with -- much less meet! -- if it weren't for the internet. I know that there are those of you who wander over regularly to find out what Lucy's up to, what I'm mad at today, and, oh yeah, if I'm knitting anything. I mean, sure, it started all about projects, but woman cannot knit sock yarn alone, or something similar.

Really. I started reading blogs because of the Yarn Harlot, and I started blogging because I wanted to be Cool Like Her. But what makes Stephanie cool? Is it that she was The First (I have no idea if she was, I'm just saying). Is it that she knits like a demon when the force is with her? Or is it her take on life, her turn of phrase, her way of making you fall off your chair laughing?

Every time I go to the yarn store, Robb asks if I'm going to have a yarn accident. You know, where you fall down in the yarn store, and swipe your credit card on the way by? That's because of her.

Not because she knit the (admittedly beautiful) snowdrop shawl.

Because of her I realized that women still breastfeed, that women still have natural births, that there is recourse to other options than the one shown on TBS's A Baby Story. I could care about what she's knitting, but I want to hear about her children, her life, her friends, I want to hear about the singular way she sees the world, because it makes me want to be more like her. A crunchy, hippie mama in birkies with the courage to take on all the Muggles in the world.

The knitblog isn't dying. The knitblog is becoming mainstream -- which means that it's big enough to take in everything. Knitters who get distracted by gardens and babies and whatever else life throws at us.

Because we are all knitters. And just because that's what we started talking about -- we can diversify.


Saturday was for cuddles this weekend, cuz Mama had a fuckup. Lynne, if you read this, I'm not telling my mother because I will NEVER hear the end of it, and no one was endangered, so really, we're just letting it lie. But I'm writing it down here because I need to know that other moms have had oopses too, and to be told that I'm not a horrible mom, so please feel free to indicate this down where there's the little comment box, 'kay? You know what to do.

This weekend, we went over to Dad's almost all day for his birthday party -- Poppy turned 60 this year, and Lucy, Robb, and I went to help him celebrate in style. It was a grand time; and there were a lot of kids needing naps -- somewhere in the chaos of getting one kid up and another kid down, the monitor for the room that Lucy was in got turned off. I put her down at 6, sure that she was drifting off to sleep -- 45 minutes later, I was shocked that she was asleep, she never sleeps long if we're away from home. I decided to go upstairs and check on her -- and as soon as I got outside the door to the room (which someone had closed, to "protect" her from the noise), I could hear her screaming her head off.

I don't know how long the poor little bean was crying in there, all on her own, thinking that mama had forsaken her. I'm guessing somewhere between 15 minutes to half an hour. She'd thrown up all over herself, the pack-n-play, her blankie, her sweater. She had puke in her hair, down her front, down her back. And what really broke my heart was that as soon as I opened that door and got inside her view, she stopped crying and held out her arms. She'd just been waiting for me.

I brought her downstairs, all messy and awful and got her cleaned up while she cuddled as close as she could get. A couple people tried to suggest that I should put her down to clean her up so I didn't get messy (fucking idiots); I ignored them while I got her not-so-yucky, and then nursed her, right there in the middle of the public view. I had one aunt look like maybe she'd say something, and another aunt just kinda got in the way and started talking about the intermittent rain. Go Aunt Rachel!

The rest of the weekend was fine. I knit one entire sock out of some LL Shepherd Worsted in Jeans that's been hanging around for a VERY long time, and got all the way down to the heel of sock #2. My house is still full of moths, but I can't find any yarn that they're munching...could it just be eggs that were laid in the carpet that are hatching?

Very bizarre.

27 June 2008

One of *those* weeks.

I don't know if I've even touched knitting needles since this weekend.

It's been a hectic few days emotionally, personally, workally, homelifeally...just all around. Rough. Busy.

Sleep schedule? Gone.

Laundry? Not done.

Cleaning? I laugh at you. I laugh hard.

This week, I have run around like a chicken with my head cut off, taking care of sick Robb, potentially sick Lucy (it's so hard to tell when she can't tell me where it hurts. Is she sick, or just the crankiest baby ever? Actually, that's never been true, a 10-minute crying jag is a REALLY long time for her, so I don't mean to complain), trying to ensure that both Lu and I have health insurance next month (and Robb will, for the first time since we've gotten together!) Next week, I go to training for the next level of my job. That will be fun, and possibly a knitting extravaganza. But if you don't hear from me, that's why.

I have no pictures of knitting to show you, but if you wanna see pics of Lucy -- check here. Part of Phanfare's new app is letting people see pictures without signing up. Hooray! Take a look. :)

Until then -- I just wanna nap.

23 June 2008

In which Fate bites me in the heiny.

This Saturday past, Lucy and I decided to get off our butts and go for a nice walk. Well, I decided, and Lucy got to come along, because she's not allowed to stay home by herself yet. Not till she's at least two. (I'm kidding, call off the hounds).

It was a really wonderful walk; sunny and warm, but the sun was in the right way to keep it off the PaleRedheadedGirl, and there was shade at just the right intervals.

We went to the library, where we returned the extremely overdue novel by someone Harris that I couldn't read past the first page, and the less overdue Duma Key by Stephen King (loved that book, truly did, keep meaning to write a review, but it's just not in my brain of late). We then (of course) continued on to the lovely LYS so that everyone could tell Lucy how adorable she is (I keep telling Robb we need another child, just so that Lucy won't get spoiled completely rotten). I bought the new Norah Gaughan pattern book, and controlled myself admirably -- which is to say that I did not spend $150 on yarn that I can't afford, when I know that if I just wait out the cotton season, the DK room will once again fill with more affordable, workhorse yarns for winter. I did, however, succumb to one of these.

When Lucy and I got home (I'm sure I could think of something picturesque to say about this weekend if I tried, but too much Buffy this weekend has made it unlikely), I thought to myself, "Self, we should really finish something before we cast on for those Flat Feet socks."

I'd like to pretend that I had a long, internal monologue where I weighed the options one against the other, and finally lost the war, but struggled valiently, and got credit for trying. But really, I thought the above, and the internal response was:

"Who are you kidding? Grab the size 1s!"

So I knit all Saturday and most of Sunday, between bouts of Lucy cuddling. I did finish the final sleeve of her new sweater (one of these days I'll post pictures again, I swear). I thought about seaming and finishing it. I thought about finding the sewing needles.

I didn't do it.

So it was totally my own fault that the sock I spent two days knitting, and was halfway down the foot -- gauge was totally on, but WAY too small for my foot. And when I'd fiddled enough to make it fit, I then skipped the "Row 2 and all other even numbered rows" direction. For the next twelve rows.


Ribbit, ribbit.

19 June 2008

Blushing over here, already.

Thank you to everyone who had such nice things about my (essay? piece of quasi-fiction? mini-memoir?) yesterday. All through that day, I found myself wanting to share it, and wishing I had my camera. And then, Tuesday, regretting that I didn't have my camera so that I couldn't share that day with all of you.

And then I realized that I've come to rely too heavily on that damn camera. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I have it...but I started this blog because I love words, and I want to share the words in my head and my heart. I don't need a camera for that.

Maybe my writer's heart is finally healing from all that shit I went through three years ago. That would be nice.

Actually, I've been obsessed with writing lately (surprise!). This is actually what got me thinking -- I've been wanting to write children's books (nothing new there) but particularly picture books (very new!), and I'd like to somehow write picture books that would show a style of parenting more like what I'm doing instead of what a child sees in most picture books; something that would reflect the life that (I hope) she will have growing up. A world of breastfed babies and toddlers, a world with slings and wraps instead of strollers, a world where Mama makes baby food instead of buying it off a shelf in the store. But I don't know how to include that sort of thing in a story without being didactic, without being the illustrator and -- uh -- I can't draw. Not to save my life.

But the ideas I'm being drawn to -- a photoproject of breastfeeding mothers. Who aren't just breastfeeding newborns. A project that says that boobs aren't just for sex. A book of positive birth stories -- ones that include situations like mine, where I *did* end up needing an emergency c-section, one that only the most hardcore jerks say was caused by doctor distress. (Dudes. She pooped her water and they had to suction out her lungs. She was in distress). The anti-"A Baby Story". Where someone tells mothers who "aren't dilating" to get up an walk around for a minute. Let gravity help you, for pity's sake.

Would you be interested in any of these things? Let me know.

Meanwhile, my lesson-from-God today came from a very unexpected source. There are a lot of "semi-transients" in my town; folks who do have homes, if you call rat-ridden slum efficiency apartments "homes", and the "semi" coming from the fact that they don't always remember where their homes are. One of these guys I've known for years. He's the kind of guy who, if I didn't know him, and saw him in a place I was unfamiliar with, I might cross the street to get away from him. He's a bulky sort of man, and his clothes are stained, and his hair is unkempt. I passed him as I was walking in from where I was parked, and then we ended up at the same coffee shop this morning. I got an iced mocha; he got an iced coffee. And he was standing in front of the straws. I asked him to hand me one, saying I didn't want to lean over his coffee.

He smiled at me, handed me one, and said "That's what neighbors are for."

He's very very right. Thanks for the reminder.

I feel like light today.

17 June 2008

Use your imagination

Because I don't know where the batteries are for the camera.

Here's the scene; a messy living room, small but lovingly decorated. All the furniture is Hand-me-down Chic, but none of it needs to be thrown out. A family lives here, you can tell by the brightly colored plastic toys in the corners the high chair strapped to a chair, the Exersaucer that is the middle of the floor for you to trip over, because there is nowhere else for it to be.

Crashed on the couch, wearied after a six month checkup and a frenzied effort to get Daddy out the door on time for work, is a pretty little red-headed baby, and her frazzled looking mother. The mother looks longingly at her knitting, which she hasn't touched since Friday, and looks realistically at the apartment (an utter disaster). You can see the thoughts on her face -- she could stay here all day, fighting the baby for time to clean, or she could cut loose, head over to her own mother's house, and let someone help her for a change...yeah, that sounds good...

She brings along two bags of laundry, because that's how she is.

Once the laundry is up and running (swirling), three generations of women head off to the local farmstand-with-garden store; one is an accomplished gardener, one wants a few plants in containers so she can make hotpepper jelly, and one is riding in a stroller and seems afraid of all the colors.

The women gather their purchases; bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, summer squash. Carrot and radish seeds. Potting soil.

Back at the grandmother's house, the mother tries to calm the youngest member of her family under the trees. Her hands are gritty with potting soil, it's not the same as dirt, but it's closer than she's been for a long while. Her daughter is tired, her legs are sore from the shots she got, but she won't settle down to sleep. They rock in a swing, soft humming merging with the strong breeze sweeping down from between the trees. It carries with it the promise of half a hundred more summers like this one, with dandelion wine and strawberry jam and hot pepper jelly.

If God is good.

15 June 2008

Blogging from my brother's

where we just had a father's day celebration for BioDad, and partially to test out the keyboard on his Mac, which is most likely the next computer I'm going to buy for myself.

This weekend, there has been much with the knitting, as I went back and forth between Town & Country for myself, and the Nashua Blossom sweater out of PureLife for Lucy. I'll try and get my act together and actually post pictures this afternoon or tomorrow, depending on, well, life.

Yesterday was WWKIP day, and Lucy and I went to the Farmer's Market (not much produce that is baby-approved yet) and then camped out with about twenty people and knit. It's Vermont, we didn't actually stand out all that much. But it was fun.

Tomorrow, Lucy has her 6 month checkup; I'll let you know her updated stats, so you can appreciate how adorable she is. And then, in the evening, Mom is going to be moral support tomorrow, and we're going to set up a container garden for me. I'm thinking of cucumbers, peppers, maybe some carrots and radishes. It's part of Norma's Gardenalong, and it should be tremendously fun. I'm trying to choose things that I will either want to eat straight out of the ground, or else will help me achieve my goal of starting to make my own jams and jellies. I've been craving hot pepper jelly for three years; it's time to do something about it!

More later. I love this keyboard.

09 June 2008

Where am I now?

I just got a very polite email from Joan asking if I had, by chance, fallen down the well, or if, perhaps, my staggering pile of WIPs had tipped over, burying me under them, leaving Lucy to be raised motherless, crying sadly in the middle of the floor until either my uninterested neighbors investigate, or Robb comes home to see one pale hand poking out from under a mountain of yarn. Can't you just see him, falling to his knees and crying out his rage to the gods as he gathered his poor daughter close, trying to spare her the horror? A knitter done in by her hobby...

Okay, so she didn't say that exactly. You know she was thinking it.

The truth is much more prosaic. The last week of any month at my job, apparently, is full of people saying "Oh, right, I have to pay for health insurance. Oops. Can you -- no, I don't want to be on hold -- no, I don't care that you can't help me, I'd much rather -- no, don't you -- no, you listen --"

Well, you know how that goes. I got sworn at for the first time today. Hooray, very fun.

Anyway, after a long week of that crap, I went home to a moderately more scheduled weekend than I've been allowing. This would have been fine, but I accidentally attempted to accomplish other things along with the scheduled events, while discounting the effect that the ridiculous ball of fire in the sky would have on my little winter baby. We had plans with Robb's mom, and they were good-and-fun, a new car seat was acquired, and baby care will be more evenly split between my mom and Robb's mom, good for all. I got a sunburn on my arm, and I think Lucy got a bit of a burn on her sun-side, plus she was just generally overheated. So Saturday night was one huge wash. She had a terrible time settling down for sleep, and kept me pretty miserable most of Saturday night.

Sunday was going to be my day to "get stuff done," and that's where I made my fatal error. Most Sundays, I've "gotten stuff done" but I've planned for things like "clean for half an hour." and "shower." This Sunday, I wanted to clean the kitchen, neaten the living room, clean the bathroom, put away the week's laundry, do more laundry, knit, watch a movie...yeah, if you have young kids, you know where this is going. I totally ignored the fact that Lucy had a miserable day on Saturday, completely refused to believe that this mood might carry over into Sunday. I spent Sunday refusing to accept the reality that I needed to give up on everything but my little girl. It got fairly ugly, and frustrated both of us.

I did start knitting the fronts on the Town & Country sweater, and in a fancypants move (stupid, stupid, stupid!) I decided to try something new and knit both fronts at once. Of course, I messed it up; I haven't made up my mind if you could tell from a galloping horse, which is how I'll decide whether or not to frog the darned things.

My big success this weekend was making my very own baby food; yummy tasty Braeburns, cut up and steamed, then put through the baby food mill. Mmm good. Well, I thought so; Lucy was not convinced. At all. HYSTERICAL faces she made; I seriously thought she'd try and pull her tongue out. Of course, then there was the coughing, and the nearly choking; that was less fun. I think the apples are still a bit too thick for her, I'm going to try thinning it with some breastmilk tonight, and report back tomorrow (who am I kidding, you'll hear from me next week if I'm lucky!). But the making of the food was way easier than I thought it would be, and I think it's something I can commit to doing, which is ever so good.

So, um, yes. Not dead. Or buried under wool. Though one can dream.

Also, Siren, I never heard from you...you won a present! Get in touch with me at kristine . lemay @ gmail . com

02 June 2008

Someone has a case of the "Mondays".

And yes, that would be me. Stupid, stupid day.

I told Robb to set the alarm for 6:15, in an attempt to start combating my snooze-button habit. Unfortunately, I didn't remember that at 6am, when the alarm went off, so I got up 15 minutes later than I meant to. That normally would be fine -- I know myself well enough that I allow for such variations -- but on a morning like this one, which was a finely tuned machine of efficiency, we had a serious problem. Houston-style. Between those extra 15 minutes and having to circle the block twice to find a parking space (twice as far as normal, therefore walking to work took longer, and GOD do I miss taking the bus), I didn't have time to make the deposit I needed to before work. This means that instead of jetting to the post office and then eating lunch at my half hour break, I have to jet to the bank, and then jet to the post office, and probably not have time to eat.

Depending on my mood by 1:30, I might go to the bank, then run my risks of missing the post office this afternoon. Why the hell not, the post office raising the stamp rates every three second has already cost me $35, why not just wait until freaking FRIDAY to send my bills.


I hate trying to be responsible and failing. It gets me mean.

Plus, I have boulders on the front of my chest, instead of boobs. And, can we say ow? Another 20 minutes before I go to break/pump.

Knitting content! Knitting content here!

One repeat left on the back of Town & Country. I've been knitting so many socks and so much lace lately that it's a real treat, using worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles. It feels like I'm zipping along beautifully!

I'm wearing Austermann Step socks, and they are soooooooo sqooshy and compfy and wonderful. I want another 20 pair! (all in good time).

I turned the heel on the purple STR sock; and we have a winner! Siren416 most nearly guessed the time it took for me to give in and cast on for the purple sock, and given what Alison and Karin thought about my self-control, I'm really quite pleased with myself for holding out for five hours!

Blogger is currently being odd, so I can't link to Siren's blog...when blogger stops being stupid, I'll try again. :)