Monday, May 31, 2010

Thirty-Two Seconds Of Sunshine

There were approximately 32 seconds of sunshine at the house today. Of course, it happened when I was taking the garbage out, not when we were out for our walk, but whatever.
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Amoryn was happy, and wanted her "hiccup" (hood up). I'm glad that I knit that sweater in an 8; I love it so well on her that I'd be sad if she outgrew it too soon.
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She ran, and then...
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...she read the book she insisted comes along. My girl; I'd ask mom for a similar story from my childhood, but we never walked to the mailbox. (It was uptown, & a drive.)
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Question: Is Eleni a) asking how she'd look with a goatee or b) deciding whether she likes blackberries?
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Answer: She's not so sold on blackberries.
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I am sold on some fiber that I got today - at least, to look at & squish. Haven't started spinning it yet; it's Pigeonroof studios. There's a merino/cashmere/nylon blend that is nice, in a color that actually looks a little like Eleni's goatee, and a bfl/silk blend that I am completely & unreservedly in love with. It helps that it's the color of sunshine. Spinning it will be the final test, but I think I'm going to love them for a little while before I actually put them to the test. You know, a honeymoon phase.
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And now I'm off to go & relax in the tub with a book. Maybe tomorrow there will be more sunshine? Maybe?*
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*If you've heard the forecast and I'm wrong, please don't tell me.



Saturday, May 29, 2010

Well, This Sucks

So, this was the yard on Tuesday...
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And this is the yard right now...
Yes, that's right, it's Saturday.
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Here are the "spring" tulips.
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And our mayday tree, in the front yard. The footsteps belong to the paperguy; none of us have been silly enough to venture out yet.
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I'd love to tuck up & do nothing but knit today - but sadly, the day is otherwise spoken for. I'm almost done the basement reorganization, and we're making hamburger today. (Don't ask. If you're lucky, I won't blog the photos.)
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Plus, I need to go to the LYS to wind a skein of yarn - the man dismantled my skein winding table (I have the ball winder & swift set up together) so that he could put the bedding plants in the window. "How often do you really use that?" Ha. If it were for anything other than the baby plants, I might have bristled. But I want the babies to do well, so... an excuse to go to the yarn store!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Happier Day


Slide, originally uploaded by Kourtney_R.

But still not a photo from today, no.
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The man is home, and several visits from different people I love really added up to make it a nice day. Even with the sNOw.
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(As a wise woman I know noted, there's "NO" in sNOw for a reason....)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nooooooo!


Nooooooo, originally uploaded by Kourtney_R.

Well, you might think that this photo is a shot of Am just having tripped & face-planted... but as I recall, she was just lamenting that I wouldn't give her another buttered cracker.
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Possibly I asked her to wash her hands. At any rate, it was awful, and (obviously from the sunshine) not taken today.
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It's definitely how the snow is making me feel. I'm not making that noise, however; the girls are both asleep.

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PS: When Am hits the excess zone for no apparent reason, I'll sometimes take photos of her. It lets me step back from the moment, and realize that later, the cracker tragedy will be funny. It might also be really valuable for bribery later in her life.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PS, Two Things:

Item the 1st) If you run into me out in the world, and I have a smear of avocado/sweet potato/prune/miscellaneous on me, can you please let me know? I appreciate it. (Trust me. It's so much less embarrassing when I KNOW that I'm currently smeared in food, then when I think I'm not, and I turn out to be. Really.)
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Item the 2nd) In the name of encouraging a charming young crafter I know, if you're on Rav, can you please go here..
Gina Brown's competition ... and vote for #14? It's possibly the most charming invertebrate I've ever seen.

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(There's also a spectacularly patient cat; I figure she deserves a prize just for being a hat model!)

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I'd talk more about how much some encouragement that my gramma's friends gave me when I was younger meant to me, but you know, speaking of younger...
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The baby is awake. And looking for a fresh bum & some milk, I'll bet.
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PPS: Spellcheck, that's how I spell gramma, so let it go, okay? And "crafter" is so a word. "Craftier" isn't a good substitution in this situation at all. But it is kind of funny that I can't spell "spellcheck".

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mmm, May, Sticky Notes

Dear Eleni -
I am so excited that you are more & more of a person every day. Your little face lights up, and you are so very charming. Except when you bite when you're nursing. That's not so great. But the fact that you can tolerate a little teeny bit of milk products go a long, long way to redeeming the bites. That, and your gumless goofy grin.
Love, Mom.
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Dear Chocolate Bar That I Bought In Hawaii and Saved:
I'm so glad that I saved you, and I don't feel sheepish at all about the death threats I uttered to protect you.
Nummy.
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Dear Door-To-Door Saleschick Who Was Watching The Same Movie:
Actually, I mis-spoke. The first time I watched "He's Not Really That Into You", it was with no sound, on a flight, and I didn't get that Scarlett Johansen's character KNEW the guy was married. Just to clarify. Does change the effect a bit.
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Dear Person I Met Today Who Reminds Me Of L_____:
I can't decide if I like you, or, like L_____, you are likable in small portions and toxic in larger quantities. Thanks to L_____, I have learned that it's easier to err on the side of caution. I'll be giving you a wide berth should we cross paths again.
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Dear Everyone -
I think if this picture doesn't make you feel happy, you must be a little dead inside.
Or possibly a non-knitting wool-phobe who also hates tulips and is color blind.
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Dear Weather - Thanks for the sunny break today. I needed that after the frozen weekend of rain & gloom.
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Dear Butterflies:
Hope I didn't interupt your moment. I was just taking photos of the tulips.
Next time I'll bring my Ipod, set to "boom-chicka-wa-wa" music.
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Dear Amoryn-
I am very proud of you. You are bright, and funny, and you try really hard & do very well folding things & helping get supper ready. I'm so excited that you're a big girl who gets to wear underwear, but I will always try to make time to hold you & let you be "Baby Amoryn" for a moment if you need it. You challenge me in many ways; I'm realizing that part of helping you grow into an excellent adult is teaching me to be a better person too. There are some growing pains, but I have faith that everyone will come out a winner in the end.
Love, Mom.
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Dear Laundry-
Yes, I know that you're waiting in the basement. You can just lay there & wrinkle, thanks. I'm folding Am's clothes & El's diapers tonite & that's all you're getting out of me. I bought new knickers, I can let you linger for like, another week! Hahahahaha. Really.
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Dear Everyone-
I think I might be ready for a spinning wheel, but I don't want to buy one & have an expensive tool that I don't use enough to justify. Anybody got a spare that they can lend me? PM me on Ravelry, if so. If you have a spinning wheel for loan, and you aren't on Rav, zounds! Go there! Join!
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Dear Amoryn-
PS: Words can't express how very glad I am that you are now a nice cuddly kid to sleep with, not a kicking wildchild who likes to pull on eyelashes. It was wonderful snuggling with you this last weekend at the lake.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It Was The Best Of Times, ...

(This is really much funnier if you imagine that Eleni is narrating in Alfred Hitchcock's voice.)
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Good evening. We are about to present a tale... a tale told by a lake.
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Not a sunny and pleasant tale, oh no.
It's a tale with silliness, with bunny ears...
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With uncles who teach nieces to walk on the ceiling and fly...
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It is... A Tale Of Two Puddles.
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Okay, now you can turn the Alfred Hitchcock voice off - if you want, maybe you'd like to leave it on. Whatever. I'm not here to judge.
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The weekend was very much fun, although it was truly craptacular weather. We saw Gramma & Grampa's new house in M___ C_____, which is very orange on the outside; we went to L__ P____, and helped to get the docks in for the summer, and stared out the window a lot. Amoryn also made her uncle's day, and finally willingly gave him a hug. "My first hug! It only took three years!" Cousin Z____ was the coolest thing ever, and Eleni was her charming and snuggly self.
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And! I have cautiously reintroduced very limited amounts of dairy to my diet - I had my first piece of cheese in over six months, AND! I had a mocha! My very own princess coffee!
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It was heaven.
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As is this knitting project - it's SweetGeorgia's CashSilk Lace, and it is so very, very nice to knit with. I think that the only reason I'm not begrudging the approaching cast-off is that it'll be nicer to rub my face lovingly against it when it doesn't have knitting needles in it.
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Off to the tub! One of the nicest things about a cold, rainy weekend at the lake is the return to my luxurious tub, and the prospect of sleeping in our regular beds.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blood In The Water; Helpful Hints

(You might find this moderately gruesome, if you're prone to getting squicked out over blood.)
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I cut my finger the other night doing dishes. I feel quite stupid over it, as a) I cut it on the Slap-Chop b) I just barely cut it - if I'd been wearing gloves like I usually do, I bet I wouldn't have & c) my first thought was "Oh noes! My knitting finger!"
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Like most people, I actually use my hands (not just my finger) to knit. Any kind of injury on my hands is going to impact my knitting; but especially so on my left or right pointer fingers. I knit with the yarn in my left hand, so my left pointer is in charge of tensioning the yarn, sort of, and my right pointer scootches stitches. Still. When my first thought at being hurt is "Oh no, my knitting!", it seems a little ridiculous. (Incidentally, my knitting finger is my left pointer.)
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Being wounded in the name of craft isn't new territory, oh no. I was once sewing a white top for display (back when I was an assistant manager at a fabric store in MJ), and it was so darn slippery. I ended up sewing through part of my left pointer, and my first reaction was to lift the presser foot, whip the white material out of the way, and inspect it for blood stains. Once I established that we were clear of blood on the sewing project, I then turned to my finger... which was still attached to the sewing machine. No stitches or hospital trip needed; but hand wounds seem to bleed almost as much as head wounds.*
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Which brings me to my helpful hint: if you get blood on something, spit on it. Right away. But the spit has to belong to the person the blood belongs to. So, if you slice your finger & get blood on whatever, spit/suck on the bloodspot right away. There's some kind of enzyme in your saliva that will work to essentially dissolve your blood.
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I haven't done exhaustive road testing on this; my experience is limited to establishing that MY spit will work on MY blood. I'm not likely to do a proper experiment, with multiple spit/blood donors, and some pseudo spit/blood controls. Let me know if you do, though.
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And really, honestly, knitting just doesn't seem to cause as many flesh wounds as sewing, so this may never be useful information for you. But. Maybe it will be.
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Good luck, & happy spitting. I'm off to the garden, to get rained on**.
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(PS: This is the yard today - note the tulips blooming, trees budding out, and general growth of plants. Yay!)

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*Why do I know these things? I grew up on a farm with two hammerhead brothers.
**I'm so much happier gardening when it's not windy & rainy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Riddle Me This:

First, if you were my 4.5mm dpns, where would you be? I know I have several sets. And yet, no idea where. Not even a single (useless for what I want) dpn has shown its pointy face to taunt me, let alone a set. *sigh*
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Second, why does blogger pic the order it does for uploaded pics? I've been doing this for years now & am still surprised at the order they upload in. *sigh*
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Now, in random order:
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The junior spokesmodel for prunes. She loves them.
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They give her energy for jumping!
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And one day, she'll be able to join her sister in the back yard, where I'm sure she'll try & eat the rocks, too. You wouldn't believe how much the yard has popped since Saturday, I'll try to remember to take a pic tomorrow.
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This is how my family makes me feel. All lit up and happy.
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My family - some of them - also make me feel slightly tacky, as I get covered in mush.
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Other members of my family know how to throw a rockin' dance party.
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And she was so proud of bringing these flowers to me on mother's day... and I am so proud of her. I hope that I never forget her marching in, all beaming and happy. She may exhaust me, but she can also delight me in ways I didn't think possible.
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Potty training is going very well, although there was an accident today at the yarn store. She didn't do anything wrong, it's true, and I didn't scold her. But it's hard for me not to feel a little mortified when cleaning up a mess like that in public... but that's my deal. Am's deal is about the successes! Of which we have lots! And we celebrate! And get treats! And new Tinkerbell panties! (We can work with a bit of an attrition rate on the knickers.)
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And it's also true that I need to go to bed - I slept terribly last night, which is very strange for me. I don't do so well with not enough sleep. So, nighty nooties!

Bremp. Bremp. Bremp.

For some reason, one day, the word "bremp"* was making Eleni laugh.
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She's stingy with her giggles, so the fact that she was laughing enough to get it recorded is amazing!
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And of course, I'm going to share it with you, Intarweb. As background, Amoryn had decided that I was cold, and needed to be tucked in, then I think she decided that I was a pony.
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And speaking of background, yes, that is a very large pile of very brightly colored little girl clothes. Why would I worry about folding them when I have giggling girls?

video

Apparently, I can say nothing else tonite; I've deleted at least four different useless paragraphs. More later! With pictures! And words!

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*More like "BREMP". Kind of like a flat klaxon.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh, Brain...

Here's the thing: I'm sure that I learned the difference between three (3) and four (4) several decades ago.
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However, you couldn't prove it with what I knit last night... at least I only got two rows done before I listened to the niggling little voices in my head.
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I didn't post a "duh"mb question to the designer on Ravelry. I didn't make an irreparable mess. I didn't even waste that much time.
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I just couldn't get the difference between three and four figured out. *sigh* Auntie Tink, I've got a lot of work to do before I'm anywhere near the same level as you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Me, Again?

Yes indeed, I'm trying to get back into the swing of regular blogging. I'm blaming my lapse on the painting. (The painting is to blame for quite a little bit - stubbed toes, paint stained whatevers, a full fridge, bad sleep habits, and most tragically - a complete distaste for this month's spindling challenge of "Paintings". I should be thinking Monet or Degas, but I can't get any further than 'CL1672-N'.)
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I am totally delighted with the colors the house is - and oh what colors! I'll do a pictorial her or on Facebook one of these days - I'm having no luck trying to take pics.
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I'm also delighted that spring is here. People watching seems to be so much more fun in spring, not just because you can see people (as opposed to parkas), but because everyone is feeling all uninhibited & unfettered. Today on our errand run, we (Eleni & I) saw...
1) Two dudes with one long skateboard.
2) A woman earnestly discussing her rosemary bush.
3) A man in a poncho
4) A woman with green hair in Carhart overalls & a tank, industriously shovelling.
5) A woman in sever black business garb from the neck down, with a GIANT rasta hat & maybe a flower? Or something?
6) Two people sharing a 'smoke', on the same kitty corner to the police station downtown. I'd hate to speculate about the provenance & legality of that 'smoke'.
7) At least four different couples in love, or at least spring lust.
8) At least four mother/child/stroller combinations.
9) The knitters! There was A___, C____, M____, J____, R____, and of course M_____. (For a bonus, B__ was there too - I usually don't see her on Tuesdays!) We stopped at Make 1 - in my original plan, Eleni was going to be asleep, so I could knit for a while. I was foiled by my small associate, who was awake! And charming! And drooly! So instead, I chatted, and ended up buying yarn. *sigh* I am a weak, weak woman when it comes to yarn.
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And now, I think I hear the oreos calling me, speaking of weaknesses...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not A Sticky Note Monday

Well, when I can't even cobble together enough coherence to come up with a sticky-note entry, it's a little ominous.
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The painting is almost done - the man just has to touch up the crown molding in the upstairs hallway. Then the only thing really left for the house (inside) for now is tearing out the upstairs carpet & laying hardwood. The hardwood's on order, thankfully, so there's a bit of a break before I have to scrape through my memory & come up with exactly what I recall about laying hardwood on a 45.
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I've finished a project, and am just beginning the last chart on another knitting project. This is exciting, but mostly because I have about seventeen different ideas floating around in my head right now. I'm trying to pick the "best" one - hopefully I'll decide by the time I'm done the current object.
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(The evaluation of "best" includes - but isn't limited to - a) will I use it? b) is it a pattern idea I can develop? c) do I have yarn for it? d) have I dreamt about it at all - really, sometimes I do dream about my knitting e) how long have I been thinking about it? & f) have I had any really recent strokes of brilliance about it?)
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I might be ready to pick up the Grey(t) cardigan again - I just couldn't bear to be knitting on something grey for a little while. I think that there's enough green in the yard to offset that now, and I'd like to have the cardigan finished. But I think I still need a new project to cast on - when my knitting muse is this busy, it's good to pay attention to her.
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The man recently got an iPhone, which means that I got his old Palm pilot! I've just spent the evening configuring it, and have some works in progress in various states AND pdfs for patterns in there, so now I can have my on-the-go knitting in a compact digital format. Exciting.
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Plus I could get a version of Scrabble for it. The man played about four games with me last year - just enough to whet my appetite, and now he doesn't want to play anymore. Ditto for his feelings on crib. On the other hand, I can't play crib & knit, so it's not a total loss.
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There's a couple new tasks on the horizon that are also going to lead to not-so-great blog posts. I've slowly & ruthlessly been decluttering, cleaning, & organizing the house, and the only holdouts now are the man's office, the top of the fridge, and the basement. Yeah, I know - it didn't sound so bad until I said "basement". It's mostly the books (which I'm re-organizing, alpahabetizing, and partially double stacking) and my work area, which is "tidy", but not so functional. (Like a pretty kitchen that's not so great to cook in.) Obviously, the plan is to increase the function & make the space a little more inspiring. The biggest problem is that the laundry hangs down there to dry, and totally kills the joy of the space for me. It's not always there, and I know that I could take it down and fold it, but I don't want to if it's not mine - and I don't want to risk setting a bad precedent. (I adore that that the man & I have/do separate laundry.)
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The other new task is... Amoryn is finally ready for potty training! It's been a long wait, but today, at her agitation, we went to real underwear. There were two mistakes, but a couple successes, and we're very proud of her. Here's hoping that the successes soon outnumber the mistakes. Until then, I'll be heavily editing what my first impulse to say & blog is.
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(Honestly! I know you're not supposed to freak out over the mistakes, but my first impulse when somebody pees on me is "AAAGH!".) (Believe it or not - that's an edited thought.)
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It's late now, Intarweb, and I can't think of too much to say. I'm delighted at the response that my Mistaken Shawl has received - there's been over 500 downloads on Ravelry! I know several people have yarn to cast on - I'm eager to see the projects start popping up. I feel a little bit like when Amoryn started to learn to walk - I'm excited, but my big part in the process is over, so stand back & let her go!
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And now I'm going to bed... and if you're reading this tomorrow afternoon, pretend that I'm having a nap. I probably won't be, but I bet it's something that I'll think about wistfully at least once!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ah, Motherhood...


(Amoryn, nursing her baby.)

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I had the sweetest ten minutes with my girls today. It made my day; possibly my week.
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The man was at a yoga class*, so I was putting Amoryn to bed by myself. Or rather, I was the only adult putting Amoryn to bed - Eleni was there too.
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I wasn't exactly wincing about the solo-adult bedtime routine, but I was braced for a little friction. Because Amoryn is three. And Eleni was awake. And Amoryn is three, and Eleni is teething.
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It was pretty much what I'd expected, until we laid down. Amoryn always hops into bed, snuggles up next to her fish with her bear & Rowr, & whatever guest-star stuffies or books have been deemed necessary. Then her dad or I lay down for a snuggle, or I recline with Eleni** for as long as she's content - usually about two minutes. Tonight was different though.
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I lay down on my side, and had Eleni propped up. Amoryn looked at us, then scooched over and stuffed her head under my chin. I could feel both of their little round heads on me - Amoryn's noggin weighing on my collarbone, Eleni's head on my ribs.
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And we snuggled that way. Amoryn shook Eleni's stuffed rattle, and talked to her, and Eleni just stared and giggled at her big sister. And Amoryn petted Eleni's head, and told her that she had to be gentle because "Eleni is delicate".
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It made my heart melt. It's still melting, actually. All of the little melty bits are seeping into the cracks that had started to form after a long day of being screamed at for various reasons***.
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Life is good. Especially at bedtime.

(What more can I say?)

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*The yoga classes tend to be over supper or bedtime. We take turns; and it's much easier now that Eleni's schedule is more established.
**Despite some things I've read that suggest to have separate bedtime, I find the group bedtime works better when I'm with the girls alone. It's just too stressful for me to listen to Eleni screaming because she's at a snuggly part of the day; and I think it's less stressful for Amoryn too.
***"You're feeding me peas? I have a wet bum! I want a hug! Put me down! Pick me up! Nooooooo!" You know, the usual mothering routine.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Surely, You're Mistaken*

I've published another pattern on Ravelry!
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It's my "Mistaken Shawl" (Rav link), available for free - download now !

My grandmother is one of several women** in my family who taught me to knit. When I was visiting her years ago, she showed me something in what she called a “mistake rib”. I've never found it in a stitch dictionary, but it's a real pleasure to work.
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This shawl is based on the mistake rib and is essentially reversible, with the satisfaction of three knits for every purl in the body.
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It's worked from the center neck outwards, with increases at the beginning and end of every row & increases at the center on wrong side rows. The left & the right are mirrors of each other, with a narrow ‘spine’ at the center. Because of the nature of the increases, it gives a longer swooping shape, and can be worn wrapped around your shoulders or wrapped around your waist.
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The big lofty yarn and softer gauge make this shawl a quick, satisfying, and snuggly knit. Here in Alberta, it's just what we need to get us through "spring". (I think we'd all settle for May showers... it's the May snowstorms that are tiring!)
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Again, it's my "Mistaken Shawl" (Rav link), available for free - download now !.
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*It's the Mistaken Shawl, all right, and don't call me Shirley. (Extra points if you recognize the movie reference.)
**Along with the women who taught me to knit - Mom, Gramma, Aunt Helen - I'd also like to send thanks & love to my "test knitter" A____, and my two gracious models M_____ & E_____.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Does This Strike You As Funny?

The man got a couple things from the electronic store yesterday, and he left one set of instructions on the couch (obviously never referred to or read).
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As a compulsive reader, I started skimming it on my way to the recycle bin.
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Then I stopped, absolutely taken with the first part of the instructions. I think you'll see what I mean...
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IMPORTANT SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS
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1. Read this instructions.
2. Keep these instructions.
3. Heed all warnings.
4. Follow all instructions.
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After that, it gets a little more practical, and is about don't bathe with/shave with/use to prepare food/ use in automobiles/etc. I am fond of the very formal English that's in some instruction manuals, but I feel exceptionally warm towards whoever wrote these instructions.
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I bet they have toddlers. I mean, obviously, the people who really need this level of instruction aren't going to read the manual. But the author is trying so hard!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Contemplating the Distance


Contemplating the Distance, originally uploaded by Kourtney_R.

Ah, yes. I haven't blogged much in the last week because it would have read more or less like this...

Dear Diary - Today I primed & painted a wall.

Dear Diary - Today I put second & third coat on first wall and primed second wall.

Dear Diary - Today I put first & second coat on second wall & primed third wall.

Et cetera. A little dry, but certainly a great accomplishment. The main floor is all painted, and we love it. There's just the upstairs hallway & the kid's bathroom left, and those should be easy because there's no deadline we're working against, there's not a lot of stuff in those rooms, and there's not a ton of masking or edging to do.

Speaking of doing - this yarn is my April entry in the Ravelry spindler's group. The theme was "Going The Distance", which makes me think of Cake. I ended up spinning this little sample of yarn on my Kuchulu - and spent the whole time mulling whether I was willing to "go the distance" for that weight of yarn for the rest of the fiber... which is a yummy merino/cashmere blend that I've hand-dyed into sort of sunset colors.

I still haven't decided about the yarn.