Friday, August 31, 2007

What to do next

I finished up Elly the other night, and as I stitched the corsage in place, I realized I didn't have a replacement project in mind. Life has been hectic lately, and I've been in survival mode, focusing on one day at a time, doing little to no future planning. The end of Elly just happened and left me a bit stranded in the knitting world. Sure I had the Widdershins socks to keep me knitting, but I am not a monogamous knitter. I need variety.

I reviewed the colors for Project Spectrum and thought of working on either my orange or my purple project, but I thought the new Project Spectrum color scheme began in September. Nope, they started in August. I was already a month behind. Then, I had to be honest with myself. I really didn't want to work on my orange socks or my purple scarf. I wanted to knit Sahara. I wanted to feel the pretty pink silk flow through my fingers. I wanted to wear the finished top while there was still some warm weather left in the summer. I dug the yarn out of my stash and started the pattern review process. I think I'm going to like this little top.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Happy Birthdays

The sweater for Little Lolli Lolli Lollipop is almost finished. I've seamed together all the pieces and I've even completed the crochet edge. I only have to complete the corsage flower and the teeny tiny sweater will be done. I am completely on schedule for her September 4 due date. Unfortunately, she's not on track for her due date. She's an early bird and was born on Friday August 24. Welcome to world Lolli Lolli Lollipop! I was hoping she would wait until yesterday so we could share a birthday, but I guess it is much better to have one's own special day.

Now, I'm sure Foxy is wondering how in the world her little person received the name Lolli Lolli Lollipop. Little Clover gave her the name. When we were talking about the new arrival and I mentioned her name, he looked at me with complete shock and said, "They named her already?" I told him yes, and he was a bit disappointed. He told me he wanted to name her because he loves naming babies. I told him he had to wait many, many, many years and then he could have his own baby to name. I offered him the chance to pick her name for the blog. We tried out Munchkin, Monkey, Bay Bay, and finally settled on Lolli Lolli Lollipop. After typing it a few times, I think we should have picked a shorter name.

So, what did we do to celebrate my birthday? We had beer and nachos at a baseball game.

The Iowa Cubs were in town and we arrived in full force wearing the appropriate clothing.

The sight of the Italian family all wearing Cubs gear shocked two of my friends who don't follow baseball (or the Cubs) as closely as we do. I think we scared them a little. They did manage to enjoy themselves in spite of our shenanigans. I hope everyone has this much fun on their special days.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Of Rainbows and Clovers

It has been eight years since my mom died. In previous years, the weeks leading up to this date are generally filled with anxiety and dread. My mood darkens and I turn inward and keep the sadness to myself. I think of all the should haves, could haves, and become rather selfish in my grief. Then, the anniversary of her death comes and of course, tears usually accompany this date. I miss her.

This year, though, I could look at the numbers 23 on a calendar and be okay. The thought of the date wasn't dreadful at all. It seemed more like a regular day. I could think about it and think of the anniversary and not instantly dissolve into a moody revelry. I could remember my mom and smile. It may be a slightly wet smile, but it is a smile nonetheless. I could talk about my mom and how long she's been gone and not tear up. Honestly, I like this approach better.

This year, I was able to remember my mom and think about how fortunate I was to have her. My mom was fun and knew how to laugh. She could be silly and spontaneously burst into silly songs. She also gave great hugs just when you needed it. She loved. She was beautiful. Although these sentences about her are in the past tense, I still feel that she is with me. I know I've mentioned her knack for finding four leaf clovers and following her death, I saw rainbows everywhere. Since then, whenever I see a patch of clovers or a rainbow, which I still see frequently, I have the feeling my mom is saying hello. It's weird, but it is comforting. I may no longer have her hugs or her laugh, but I do have her rainbows and clovers and that works for me. I love remembering my mom and on this day especially, my memories help me smile.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are we done yet?

I thought my school supply shopping ended on Sunday, the day before the first day of school, but I was oh so incredibly wrong. I revised my assessment and thought my school supply shopping ended Monday, after visiting three stores for book socks and a pencil pouch to replace the pencil case I sent to school. (For those wondering what in the world is a book sock, it is the modern replace for paper book covers, or grocery sacks we used in my house to wrap the outer cover of schools book to protect them from natural wear and tear).

I really did visit three stores Monday night searching for a pencil pouch. The first big box store was completely out of pouches. The national drug store chain was also out. I finally stopped at the regional grocery chain and found a plethora of pencil pouches. I hoped I would never have to shop for school supplies again, and I didn't for a full 24 hours. Then, today happened and Little Clover informed me he needed two more book socks. I think I am finally done (at least for a year).

Little Clover has been doing well in school. Tonight we had the pleasure of story time. He read "My Grandfather's Journey" to Italian and I. It is the story of the author's grandfather's travels between Japan and America. Halfway through the story, we hit the passage of the Grandfather standing in "endless farm fields" and Little Clover stopped reading. He looked at us and said, "That makes absolutely no sense. How can it be endless. He had to get into the field which means there is a beginning, and if there is a beginning, there must be an end." I love his reasoning, especially when it gives insight into how he views the world.

For instance, I bought a "Travel the States" workbook for him over the summer. My intent was to provide him with an educational outlet whenever we found ourselves in a situation requiring downtime or waiting. He's entering the third grade and the focus at his school is America history and geography, so the workbook seemed like a good idea. In addition to the American geography, it teaches map reading skills and state facts. Last week, we did the Virginia worksheet page. The Virginia page had a cartoon picture of Colonial Williamsburg. The instructions on the page were to circle all the modern things that did not belong in Colonial Williamsburg. Little Clover circled the spinning wheel. I said, "Wait a minute. They had spinning wheels in Colonial times." He replied, "Yes, but they said circle the modern things. You have a spinning wheel, so it's a modern thing." He had me on that one.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day

Today is Little Clover's first day of school. Despite my protests, he continues to grow up and not many things exemplify that more than the first day of a new grade. We had quite an adventure preparing for this day. We hunted for his school supplies and although we were pretty successful in the beginning, I ended up making three trips to the store, searching for loose leaf paper and manila folders. I probably could have saved myself at least one trip to the store if I had read the list properly and bought manila folders instead of pulling out the manila envelopes I had at home. I was pretty smug with myself, too, when I thought I had everything he needed. Then, last night as I was getting his backpack together, I realized my error and jetted to the store. They didn't have manila colored folders, just the brightly colored ones. I'm hoping his teacher won't notice.

Little Clover is a bit nervous about the new grade. He got the "hard" teacher this year and his first comment about it was. "Well, at least I'll be super smart next year." We'll see how things go, but we are expecting a year with lots and lots and lots of work. Hopefully, he'll still enjoy the learning process. With the colored folder fiasco, who knows. We may already be branded as the flaky family (which would not be an inaccurate statement).

The start of the new school year also brings the start of soccer season. I know have three hours dedicated to knitting as I watch the not-so-little people kick around the ball. The soccer hours are well appreciated now I've had a chance to recharge. The frogging of the Fancy Silk Sock and the Lotus Blossom Tank lifted a weight from my knitting. I've made plenty of head way on the new Widdershins socks and on Elly for addition to Foxy's family. I may just finish Elly this week.

I know it's been a while since I've had a newborn, but the size (or lack thereof) is kinda scaring me. Are babies really that small???

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Every now and then, you need to step back and take a long look at your life. Sometimes, life is going well and you evaluate what is making it good and you try to keep taking the same steps to keep the positive flow. You spend more time with your loved ones to make more memories and smiles. You take the time to relax and just enjoy. You "pay it forward" and pass on goodwill to others.

Sometimes though, you take a look and realize your life needs a readjustment. You may see the stress and the tenseness and wish desparately that you can call a "do over" like you used to when you were little and the game you were playing just wasn't going your way.

I called a do-over, packed up, and headed to the mountains. Before we left though, I called a do-over with my knitting.

I just wasn't feeling the groove with the Lotus Blossum Tank. After viewing the other LBTs on Ravelry, I realized I was knitting it a size too big and it needed to be frogged backed. Then, I looked at the Fancy Silk Socks and admitted to myself that it was too big as well and I would never be happy with it.

But here's the thing, do-overs are one of the many nice things about knitting. When you knit crap, and you can admit it is crap, you can rip it back and start over. Life, is less forgiving. Gone are the days of do-overs. Once you hit adulthood, you have to deal with what is making you long for the simpler days of childhood. Afterall, that is what separates adults from kids (especially the kids trapped in the bodies of adults).

So, this little vacation wasn't a do-over, it was a time out. It was time to spend with my family. It was a time to experience yet another Little Bear first. It was a time to kick back, act silly, and have a little kid-like fun. I'm now reset and ready to move forward.

Little Clover fly fished for the first time. Not only did he fly fish, but he also caught his first fish while fly fishing this trip. He's a natural and he claimed my pole as his own. I guess this means I get to buy a new pole.

While trying to clean up and compact the boxes while taking out the trash, I got my foot stuck in the beer packing. Yes, that is Old Style, the best beer flavored water from the North.

We like to play puzzles and games when camping. The objective of this game is to jump all the green frogs until only the red frog remains. Xavier Guy is seriously contemplating his next move. It took him a while.

I started the Fancy Silk Socks in May. I finally finished the fist sock three months later. I began these socks on the drive to our camping trip and finished it four days later. I think I needed the change in scenery.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Showing off socks

Tennessee was tax-free this weekend and I took advantage of it. Little Clover and I hit the stores early Saturday in the hopes of knocking out our errands quickly. Our first stop at the uniform store was a complete bust. The line to get in was a 45 minute wait. I don't mind lines because I always have a bit of knitting in my purse, but I do mind waiting in line with an unequipped child. I had completely forgotten to bring anything to keep Little Clover busy in long lines, so we left for our next stop, the shoe store, which was closed. I was getting frazzled. I drove to yet another shoe store and was finally able to buy something. From then on, we ran our errands without further problems and even had time for a Mommy/Son lunch date.

I then decided to take a little bit of time to do some Mommy shopping. I dropped Little Clover off at home and headed to the mall, where I hunted for the perfect pair of shoes. I browsed, I picked up a shoe here and there. Before I knew it, I was holding five shoes that tickled my fancy in different ways. A sales person found me and asked if I would like to try any on. I gave her my size and all five shoes. She brought them out and noticed I was looking at the shoes rather intently. She asked if I was looking for anything in particular. I said yes, I want shoes to show off my socks. She looked at me, decided I was serious, and then started to back away. She obviously doesn't knit socks.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Now you see it

Now you don't.

Those of you familiar with Delta summers may think the heat motivated me to chop of my locks. Actually, I donated the 11 inches to Locks of Love, a charity which makes wigs for children with cancer. Check out the site and if you can, try growing your hair. It's a painless way to give.

As my hair got shorter, my knitting has gotten longer. Imade some progress on the Fancy Silk Socks. I'm considering ripping them out. They are a bit big in the leg and I like my socks to be a bit tighter fitting. My next pair of socks will definitely be the Widdershins again, just so I can fully dissect a toe-up heel flap sock. The more I knit top down socks, the more I love my toe-ups.

Even though the socks are still growing (inspite of the thoughts of frogging), the Lotus Blossom is sadly on hold. Well, actually, it's not sad the Lotus Blossom is on hold. I've begun the baby sweater for baby Kay-Kay, my goddaughter's little sister. I must knit fast. She's due in just four short little weeks.

P.S. I finished the first set of singles in the bamboo. I think I've figure out how it wants to be spun. I think I'm doing a long draft, but honestly, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm just drafting out very long, turning sideways so I have enough room to draft. This is working much better than the inchworm technique I was using before. I think it is time for me to invest in Alden Amos's spinning tome.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I did it

Despite his athleticism, Little Clover is a thinker and an observer. Even as a small child, he was primarily quiet and attentive. He could sit and watch for several long stretches as a time and was meticulous and deliberate with his exploring. He was a sponge and not a baby of action. This made the baby years extremely easy. As he grew, he continued to watch and assess and analyze. He would ask complex questions about what he was seeing, but only after much time was spent on internal processing of his observations. Even in sports he watched and learned. The way he watches a baseball game reminds me of a coach. He watches the plays, comments on where the best play was, and learns the game. We watch baseball, football, hockey, tennis, and some soccer, but never cycling, never, ever cycling.

So, when I finally approached Little Clover and told him the time had come for him to learn how to ride a bike, he looked mortified. I didn't waver. I gave him a deadline. He negotiated. I negotiated. We settled on terms and then, we gave it a go. He was nervous and tentative and a little bit apprehensive. He had not had time to observe. Little Clover isn't much for speed (unless he is running and then I can't even beat him anymore), so he pedaled slowly, but he pedaled and he biked. He beamed as he realized he got and his confidence grew. He even accidentally turned, but then kept going in circles for a while until he worked out how to go straight again. As a mom, I got one more first. I watched my little person zoom off into the sunset on a bike as he cried, "Look at me!"

In knitting news, I'm on Ravelry! I now have a database set up of my projects (both in progress and finished) and my stash. The stash database is scary. I must now come to terms with just how much yarn I own. I have 46 different yarns for a total of 17,775 yards of yarn. That's 10 miles in yarn. Out of my stash, I can make 14 pairs of socks. My family will have warm feet.