Thursday, December 29, 2011

Potraits of a Coffee Mug Collection

My favorite coffee mug, a gift from my sister

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Library Loot

I'm always lurking on this fabulous blog about books and reading, but this is my first time actually posting with a topic, or maybe my second. I don't remember. But one of my goals for 2012 is to actually meet a reading goal I have set for myself, and I think this will help me.

I checked out a few books from the library last week and plan to have a marathon reading session today. I have D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton. I wanted the B book in the series, but alas, my library didn't have it. I also got Promises, Promises by Erica James thinking it would be a great read for a lazy day at home, like today.

I forgot to get the next Hillerman mystery and I couldn't find a couple others I wanted. Better luck next week, I hope.

Yarn and Knitting and All That Good Stuff

We just moved in with my grandmother, who is not a knitter but an avid sewer, quilter, and baker. I love the conversations we've been having about her history of sewing and her inspirations and ideas for new projects. I'm really motivated to keep knitting and take it to the next level with more interesting and complex projects and patterns.

When we moved, my stash had no home. Honestly, my stash has always been homeless, living in plastic bags in a pile in the corner. Shameful, I know. My grandmother gave us the loveliest antique cabinet. (I'll post a pic later) that is perfect for my stash. I moved it all in yesterday and was so pleased. There is plenty of room for the skeins to stretch out and breather, yet lots more room to welcome new additions as well. Yay! When I was showing dh all the unpacking I did yesterday, I also gave him a glance into the stash, and he said, "Oh, this is what you really wanted to show me, isn't it?" Ha ha! I guess he could tell how ridiculously happy I was to have found a permanent home for my beloved yarn.

I have a couple projects on the needles right now, but sorting through my stash, I discovered a couple more unfinished WIP. Two comfort scarves are patiently waiting to be completed and donated to Handmade Especially For You, a charity that provides knitted scarves to abused women. I was more diligent in this project earlier last year, and I hope to keep going in 2012. I have a goal set to donate three scarves a month. This seems like a small number, and if I pass it then that's great, but if I set it too high, well, you know how it goes. I don't want to get overwhelmed. So three is the magic number for now.

I am still trying to finish my double-knit potholders for myself. I truly need these since I have no potholders right now and keep burning my hands when I try to remove incredibly hot pans from the convection oven with doubled up napkins. Not good. My goal is to finish these by the end of the year. I think it can be done.

I am still working on the capelet for my grandmother, although it's looking more like a cowl. I keep learning the same lesson: if you don't use the yarn the pattern recommends, the finished product will not look like the picture. Hence the capelet knit in wool is tighter than the capelet knit with eyelash yarn, which the pattern required. Ah, well. A cowl is nice, too.

My youngest son has requested a pair of arm warmers. I have some great patterns for a stole and a hood that I can't wait to cast on. I need yarn. I'm thinking it's time to start buying some fancy yarn instead of what I usually buy, stop being so conservative. My mind is full of knitted bags, mug warmers, and scarves with pockets. Sigh. Feels like a great year for knitting is ahead.

I think my grandmother is my muse.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So This Was My Day

Today was a day for getting things done. I don't like to do housework when my dh is home because I feel that is time best spent together, family time. So I had a list in my mind of things I wanted to take care of around the house. For instance, dishes.

Washing dishes is not what it once was. I no longer have a dishwasher so everything must be hand washed and I'm not sure how I feel about that yet. On the one hand, it gives me a chance to clear my mind and focus on the task at hand, some quiet time to sort through my thoughts. But, it also makes my hands incredibly pruny and then incredibly dry. Dry hands are not good for knitting. Yarn snags on dry skin and I end up with little bits of fuzz stuck to the ends of my fingers and cuticles. Yes, I know, the easy solution is to wear gloves or put lotion on. I know. I just haven't gotten any gloves because I always forget when I'm at the store. Also, I have this lotion in my purse that smells amazing, and I really don't mind putting it on, when I think about it. Mostly though, I pick yarn off my fingertips and shake my head.

Another task accomplished today was the installation of my homeschool shelves into their designated space. Then I was able to unpack and organize a lot of my supplies, with an aim of getting thoroughly set up before winter break is over in another week. I was pleased with the way things are located in the house. Whatever is not essential is not in the living space. Having storage space is definitely a luxury we didn't have before.

I also went to a doctor's appointment, or so I thought. Turns out it was just the processing appointment. You don't get to see a doctor the first time, tricked you! But I guess that was good since the person I met with turned out to be a real jackass. He kept emphasizing how I needed to go back to school and finish my degree. Really?! Look, mutha*, I'm 30-awesome years old and so far have encountered nothing that made me regret having a family and not finishing school. I think he didn't realize my age. I look young and usually that works in my favor, except in the instance of the occasional jackass. Like this one.

I watched another documentary about the fashion world, "Picture Me", about Sara Ziff. I'm fascinated with these behind-the-runway glimpses of fashion. Modeling was never in my plan. My sister was the pretty one. (I was the pretty funny one, ha!) But I have always enjoyed reading fashion magazines and even now I never miss an issue of InStyle. "Picture Me" was a great look at Sara's career and choices, with input from other models. I think it's interesting how she chose the end, but you have to watch it for yourself! Check it out. Netflix Instant. I've decided to pay more attention to the way I walk. :)

Speaking of walking, no, I didn't run today. Back at it tomorrow I think.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Well, the end of the year is drawing near and I have made some goals for the next year. I really can't remember what my goals were for 2011, but since this has been one of the crappiest years of my life, I have decided I'm happy just to have gotten through it.

So, looking to next year, these are the topics on my mind.
  • Weight loss - isn't this always on the list? I need to drop at least 20 pounds.
  • Consistent exercise - I love running through my neighborhood and I want to set a mileage goal per week to keep me going. I'm thinking of trying some yoga, too.
  • Getting my Etsy shop going - seriously, I think my knitting is going to the next level and I would love to make a living off of it.
  • Hitting all the marks for homeschool - this means getting organized and staying that way
  • Managing my depression - so tricky, this one, but it can be done.
I just went on a 30 minute run through the neighborhood, to include a quick loop through the cemetery, and I feel great. My legs feel sore since I ran most of the time, but it's totally worth it. I can feel the extra weight I've put on and it's pretty gross.

This week I'm hoping to get everything put away in the new house and also get a handle on some kind of cleaning routine. What would be great is to get up early and squeeze in a run before the kids get up. We'll see. I haven't been running since the weather turned cooler and the short-shorts I run in weren't ideal. The new pants I got today were awe-some! I've never considered myself the athletic type, but more and more I see how my personality tends that way if I let it. I was in Lady Foot Locker at the mall today and could easily spend hundreds of dollars on everything I saw that I wanted. That's a good thing, I think.

Oh, I did think of a reading goal, too. There is a list of books recommended by Stephen King and I was amazed to see a handful of my favorites on there. I have decided to work my way through the list. I'm thinking if he chose so many I agree are wonderful, the others are probably great, too. I'll try it. Also, my dad is so pleased I've been reading Hillerman that I want to keep that up. I love discussing books with him, with anyone! Maybe I should find a reading group. Hm.

Thank you, faithful readers, for checking in. My hope is that next year I will be more diligent in writing on this blog and keep my life interesting enough that other people want to read about it. Hm.

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Short List

Here I am, on my own in the new house for the first time in weeks. Sometimes I forget how much I need solitude and time for myself in a quiet place. The library here is amazing and I can't wait to establish a regular presence there. My Saturday runs would be a great prelude to an afternoon in the stacks, knitting or reading. Ah, yes. Good times await.

Here is a list of things I have been doing lately.

  • Homeschool - I've really stayed on my game this month and we've gotten a lot of math done. I can see the kids are really getting it. Practice makes perfect. I gave them each a science project to work on and they've been doing great with that, too. I feel good about this meeting coming up. I just need to make sure I give myself enough time to write the learning logs. Boo.
  • I colored my hair black cherry. Really. I've had the itch to color my hair for a long time, and I finally did it. I love it. My hair looks almost purple and my DH said I look like a fairy. Love it! Of course, I had dyer's remorse a couple hours after I did it, when it looked so dark and black, but by morning I was resigned to it and actually smiled at myself when I looked in the mirror. Yep. I love it.
  • The new house is being slowly decorated and put together, mostly by me. I don't mind. For once in my life I am enjoying seeing my home come together. I am driven by the desire to make it my own. I put a Klimt poster on the wall and a coffepot clock in the kitchen. This place is feeling like home more and more.
  • My health class has been very helpful. I am able to spot mood shifts from farther off and combat the negativity with positivity. "I give birth to the light in me." I know it sounds corny, maybe, but to me it means that I'm no longer depending on another person to get me through, to turn the light on inside of me. I am turning the light on for myself.
  • I started reading Beach Music by Pat Conroy. This book was given to me and it's a big, fat read. I am really enjoying it so far. I love Pat Conroy novels, so it's almost a no-brainer. I can't wait to load up my Kindle though. And there's a movie for all the Janet Evanovitch Stephanie Plum mysteries, yes! And The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie! And the new Sherlock Holmes movie! Lots of good stuff coming out.
I miss writing. I don't have much time for myself. I need to remember to carve that time out and protect it. One big bonus about living here is that the kids can play outside unsupervised. They've already made friends with other kids on the block and spent almost all of Sunday outdoors. I need to remember to take advantage of that!

***I forgot to add that I've started running! How could I forget that? There is a wonderful area to run through my neighborhood, up to the cemetary and back again is about four miles. I love it. The fresh air and the exertion are blissfully intoxicating. I love the freedom of being spontaneous and running out the door and back again. I just need to get up early enough to do it during the week now. I joined a challenge on DailyMile to run 25 miles by December 25th. I think I can make it. So far I've done about 8 miles.

I also checked my reading challenge to myself to read 100 books this year. I don't think I'm going to make it! I think I will give myself until my birthday to reach that goal!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Little of This and A Little of That

Today I went for a run through our new neighborhood today. The trees are changing colors (trees!) and I actually crunched leaves on the sidewalk as I ran. I loved it! The fact that I can put on my running shoes anytime and just run a few blocks makes all the difference. I have about 20 pounds to drop and while I can't do it by the end of the year, I think I can do it by my birthday next year. Just having the freedom to get some fresh air and run whenever I need to is a great thought!

So we moved, yep. Did I mention that before? We are in an area not too far from where we were living, but the atmosphere is totally different. The weather is more extreme, too. But I love it. I feel like I needed a change, a big change, and it actually happened for once. Good for me.

I'm still looking for a book to read, something to grab my imagination and not let go. Still searching. I've tried a few samples on my Kindle, but nothing outstanding. The search continues. I like it better when someone else suggests the book and reads with me. I have more of an open mind and stronger resolve to read, especially when it's a book I wouldn't normally choose for myself. Boo.

Knitting is still breathing for me. I have so many projects going. My main goal right now is to finish the white skein on the busy blanket I'm making so I can start the next color. The blanket is my own personal project and I'm using only coffee colors. White is milk. :) The next color is caramel. I think I might start adding a green stripe or two between colors, for Starbucks, you know.

I see the end of the year approaching and my mind is turning over themes for next year, goals and things to achieve. One area is definitely facing my fears. I'm so tired of being afraid of things. First up is going to be my fear of the Tower of Terror. Sounds dumb, I know, but that ride scares the hell out of me on so many levels! Elevators, heights, free falling, just to name a few. So 2012 will be the Year of Facing Fears.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scary movies got nothing on losing one of your children in a park while it's dark.

Last night was Princess O's last volleytennis game. (we lost) We were the visitors at a park we don't usually go to because the kids who frequent it are older and the profanity is flying. The playground is situated directly behind the stands that are next to the court where the game was being played. Daylight savings kicked me in the ass again because it was already dark before the game was over.

DH let the boys play on the playground, which made me very nervous as it got darker. This playground has no lights around it. None. The boys were playing in the dark with some other kids, a couple of them older. I didn't feel good about it, anyway, so I kept turning around in my seat to see how they were doing. Everything was going okay. The game was getting good. I didn't check on them for a few minutes.

Professor X came over to the stands to ask DH something and I turned to see where Mr. M was. I couldn't see him. I told DH and he asked the professor, "where's you brother?" at which point the professor pointed at the playground and then froze. We all stared for a few seconds waiting for Mr. M to appear, but he didn't.

DH and the professor walked (walked!) to the playground. I thought maybe Mr. M was hiding. He's done that a couple times, although we told him to stop. I saw DH start walking faster. He grabbed Professor X by the shoulders and said something to him. Then he started calling Mr. M's name.

That was it for me. I flew off the stands and began searching. We're all calling his name. DH is running toward the street looking at cars. Professor X is searching the playground. I'm frozen, just calling his name over and over, in disbelief this is real.

Then he appeared from behind me. I grabbed him by his arms and told him, "Don't you EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER do that again!!!) I was crying. Mr. M started crying. Professor X ran over to us and was crying. DH ran over and was visibly shaken. Apparently Mr. M was thirsty and decided to walk to the water fountain which is on the opposite side of the court, totally away from where he was supposed to stay. He says he asked the professor to go with him, but X was playing and refused. (The professor refuted this hotly, but who knows)

Has that ever happened to you? Oh my God. My legs were shaking. My hands were shaking. If we weren't at a game with so many people, I would have been bawling like a baby. He was gone for long enough that my imagination kicked in and started the story of never seeing Mr. M again, something horrible happening to him, or just never knowing where he disappeared to. Ugly, ugly feelings.

I didn't let him leave my side after that, and he didn't want to. He realized how badly he scared us all. Even DH was past being angry and just thankful to see him. Such a scary, horrific few minutes. I know I will never forget this. I know that one day Mr. M will have kids and I will tell them this story. Mr. M will experience something similar and remember that night at the park. These few minutes will remain burned into our memories forever.

Thank God there was a happy ending.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I still can't get y internal clock going. Although, in my defense, the calendar backs me up.

I showed up 30 minutes early for my homeschool overseer meeting yesterday and totally interrupted a meeting in progress. My ES (yes, the same lady who is the kids' teacher and had them an hour early the day before) frowned at me and said she thought our meeting was for 9am.

I felt my face blush deeply and a line of sweat broke out on my upper lip. I'm usually so punctual! Never this early! What was going on with me that I can't get my shit together??!! I told her I thought the email said 8:30am, but, of course, when I checked it, there was no time given at all. Dang it!

She was gracious about it and even laughed about it, a little, a very little. The meeting went well and thankfully she didn't ask me for the paperwork that I didn't complete. (A PE log of the kids' physical activity. Sounds easy enough, but it's a real pain in the ass to keep track of all that, and meet the standards, and show learning. See? Not easy.) We finished on good terms and went home.

Upon my arrival at home, the very first thing I did was look at my calendar. Aha! 8:30am meeting time! And I know I wrote that when she was at my house, so it was a verbal agreement that she didn't remember. Ah. I felt so much better. But, still, I can't believe how badly I've messed up my timing the past couple days. Totally unlike me. I blame daylight savings.

Did I mention I also screwed up the yard sale date and cause Gram some unnecessary stress? Yep, I did that, too. Dang.

So looking ahead to the rest of the week, it's got to be better. I am totally organized as far as homeschooling goes. I've cleared out a lot of my junk for the move. I sold the table and chairs yesterday, boo-yah! And I ate some fruit and got up early three days in a row. Yay me!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

So I blew it. I didn't blog for a couple days during NaBloPoMo. The goal carries over to next year! One of these Novembers I will blog every stinkin' day and be so glad I can finally cross that off the bucket list.

The push for the big move continues. I look around this house and I feel so overwhelmed. Then I remind myself that most people move everything in one day. Really? So it can be done. This great move can be accomplished. I have the rest of the month! A whole week off for Thanksgiving! It can be done! I'm just doing it slowly.

Yesterday I was in the Twilight Zone, no, not with Jacob and that other guy. I was using a clock that had not been changed for daylight savings. Doh! I left the new house an hour early and got stuck in hideous traffic that makes sense now, but at the time I was baffled. I dropped the kids off at their class an hour early. I even got out and talked to the teacher, and she never said a word to me about being so early! Maybe she didn't realize. I'm a very punctual person so I guess some people could gauge the time by my arrival, but dang. Not after yesterday. I went to the laundromat an hour early and it was crowded. What?! Everyone cleared out an hour later, but by then I was drying. I then went to pick the kids up from their class an hour early. By this time, though, I had noticed that my iPhone was giving me the wrong time. It was an hour behind! How could that be?

I had many scenarios to explain this. Apple was playing a joke on all iPhone users. Something was wrong with my phone. There is a way you have to manually choose daylight savings time, not everyone goes by it. See? Instead of thinking I was wrong, there had to be another explanation! I couldn't be wrong. Nah. I even asked my DH what time his iPhone showed. He replied with the time an hour off like mine was!

"Why is the phone showing that time?" I asked. "It's an hour off."
"What are you talking about?" DH replied. "The phones change automatically. That's the right time."
I blink. Blink again. Blink some more. Check the clock in the van, which no one had changed and I KNEW no one had changed, but I had been using it all day! It was an hour off the actual time. I mentally replayed my day and realized I had dropped the kids off an hour early. Dang it!

So, you would think the teacher would say something to me, like, "Hey, I'm not your babysitter!" but she never said a word! The kids told me she let them play the Wii for an hour before class. That was nice. At least they didn't have to write an essay about how to tell time and the origins of daylight savings.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Gift of Instant Sleep

This is Mr. M in the van on the way home from somewhere recently. I can't remember where we had been, but I turned and saw him asleep, still holding his cheeseburger no less, and I had to get a picture. This kid just knocks out! Anytime we're driving, in our car or someone else's, doesn't matter, if we're on the road for more than 15 minutes, Mr. M falls asleep. But it's not just a dozing sleep. I'll turn around and see him totally slumped over to the side, head hanging forward, completely out. It amazes me. He has the gift, the gift of instant sleep, any time, any circumstance, he falls asleep. He used to fall asleep while he was playing, with toys in his hands! We would find him sprawled out on the floor somewhere and just chuckle and put him in his bed. Neither of the other kids ever did that! I think it's genetic. My dad was always uptight and had trouble sleeping, so do I. DH on the other hand falls asleep anytime he is horizontal or his eyelids close for longer than 10 seconds.

DH has this gift of instant sleep, where he can close his eyes for mere moments and the next thing I know, he's snoring. Moments! Seconds! And he's asleep! Obviously he has passed this ability onto our son, sort of like a superpower. Can all men do this? I know my BIL is infamous for falling asleep during other people's houses...sometimes people he's only just met! I will say this, though, my DH works crazy early hours. If he goes in at 5am that is late. My BIL is a doctor, at a family practice clinic, but still mentally wearing. Maybe this ability is good for them, just shutting down. It's automatic. I don't know.

I sure wish I could do it!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaBloPoMo - Day 2

I'm really going for it this year. Usually I'm out of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) by day 2, but not this year! I've doubled my commitment and made it another day over my previous record. Yay me!

A couple recent events have been weighing on me and now I am finally going to blog them since I just now got the pictures off my phone. Yay me! I'm being so productive today already. (did I mention I've taken a shower, too? See what getting up early can do?)

The Yarn Harlot is one of my favorite people. She has a wicked sense of humor that I love and I read her blog faithfully. She is a knitter of the best sort, a realistic one. Her knitting drama is entertaining and absorbing, how else do you captivate your readers with a yarn about burning a sweater and then surgically repairing it? It was a tense few days on the blog with that one! Anyway, she was on tour and I was lucky enough to be able to attend her book signing in Pasadena (which I didn't realize was so far or I might not have gone). My knitting friend from the homeschool PE class and  I went together and it was great.

Here is the view from where we were sitting at the back of the bookstore. So many knitters, who knew? Not the bookstore! They were clearly overwhelmed and the books sold out.
The head has been removed to protect the identity of the knitter. This knitter had low-rise jeans on. This knitter's shirt had ridden halfway up her back. That's right, full view of her butt crack! At first, when the chairs behind this knitter became available, my friend and I thought we got very lucky. Then we sat down. For a few minutes we tried to have normal conversation. I was trying to be nonchalant about it, not sure if my friend would think it as hilarious as I thought. Finally, though, my friend started laughing and said, "I'm sorry, but  I'm just going to stare at you so I don't look at that!" We were both rolling! A great moment. Definitely one I will never forget. You know how butt cracks are, we couldn't look away! Why is that? I don't want to look at a knitter's butt crack! But there it was, looking at me. What should we have done? We discussed telling her, but decided not to.  I don't know why. Wouldn't you want to know? I would. But we didn't tell her. Eventually she pulled her shirt down, which helped a little, but what she really needed to do was change her jeans. I'm pretty sure her friend sitting next to her knew what had happened. She didn't tell her either! And now this knitter lives in infamy in my memory, her and her glaring butt crack. 
And here I am with the Yarn Harlot! We were some of the very last knitters to get books signed, but Stephanie was so friendly and funny in spite of having to be exhausted and sick of smiling. I think we look like we could be related. Right? Next time I'll bring a sock.

One dream I have always had, living in Southern California, is to have annual passes to Disneyland. My dream finally came true because the older kids had a homeschool class there and I "had" to go, and Mr. M "had" to go, so we got passes. Yay! Then I convinced DH to join us after work, and he got a pass, too. We've already had one date to California Adventure, but that's another blog.

So here are Professor X and Princess O participating in the homeschool science class. Princess O came away totally inspired and now has added Imagineer to her career list. She has big ideas for a Tinkerbell ride. Mr. M and I went on some rides while we waited for them. We spent a great day together and I'm so excited that we have passes now! It was a great family day.
Waiting to get on Star Tours, an awesome ride!
Princess O couldn't keep up the banter with Cinderella's wicked stepmother. This lady was mean and rude and we loved it. (The villains were out since it was almost Halloween)

And now it's Christmas and I can't wait to go back and see the parade and all the beautiful decorations!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November! Let the countdown to Christmas begin.

Halloween was kind of fun in our house this year. We let the kids dress up because the celebration we were going to actually encouraged costumes, which is sort of the point, right? The kids have been talking for the past couple weeks about being Jack Sparrow and Capt. America, but when it came time to buy the costumes, the money wasn't there. Costumes today are so expensive and elaborate! 

When I was growing up, I made my own costumes every year. Only when I was five and my parents were not yet divorced do I remember getting one of the cool costumes, the plastic tie-on "clothes" with the plastic mask that had slits for eyes and a small hole for the mouth. I think I was Strawberry Shortcake. Every year after that, I made my own costume out of things around the house. For instance, I borrowed my stepmother's dress and an old wig we had, put on lots of make-up and big earrings and went as a gypsy. Another year I used some poster board and markers and went as a vending machine. (that one got a lot of comments, like, what made you think of that??? I thought it was super cool.) So, why couldn't my kids use their own terrific imaginations and figure out what they could be with what we had at home? (The conversation went like this actually, "We don't have money for costumes so if you want to dress up, you better find something of your own.)

My oldest son, Professor X, is just like me. Forget the easy costume, a football jersey with a real NFL helmet. Oh, no. He wanted to be a zombie! So I spent 30 minutes cutting an old shirt to shreds and putting black eyeliner under his eyes. He then used a red marker to make "stitches" all over his arms and face. (which did not come off all the way even though it was washable, doh!) His idea sparked his brother's idea of being a pirate, a zombie pirate! But we couldn't figure out how to make an eye patch. Hmm. Then we remembered the old cowboy boots, and he decided to be a cowboy, a zombie cowboy! Another shredded shirt and some black eyeliner, and he was good to go, with the boots on the wrong feet, of course.

Princess O was more reserved. All her leotards were too small and she was determined not to be a zombie. Always the difficult one getting dressed! So I offered her one of DH's white dress shirts as a lab coat. She added a stethoscope they play with and carried her BABW dog with her. I popped the lenses out of the professor's old glasses for her and put her hair in a bun. Add some heavy make-up and voila! She was a veterinarian.

Three homemade costumes and three immensely happy kids. Good times! Check out the pic I tweeted in the feed to the right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today's To Do List

1. Homeschool Meeting (get the kids up stinking early to do one page of math so there is something to turn in...math has been sorely neglected this week in favor of bean plants and salt dough maps)

2. Art class for the kids (a big, fat coffee for me)

3. Knitting on some of my WsIP (I'm going to a Yarn Harlot book signing and all her recent signing pics show people wearing something knitted...hmm...I don't think the shawl will be done in time since I haven't even started it yet, boo)

4. Dinner (what to make, what to make...this will hang over me all day until I make a slapdash decision to have what we had last night again, turkey sandwiches...maybe I should just decide that right now)

5. Read The Hobbit (right now...with my's important to me so I should do that first, right? I mean, I can't just leave Bilbo in Smaug's mountain all day, can I?)

6. Volleytennis game and flag football practice (aka cheering for and supporting my children aka freezing my butt off at the park for three hours)

This is the top six of a longer list. There are some other lesser things I should do, like housework and phone calls, but, really, who cares? Not me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Well, we had a very laidback weekend. I was taking care of DH after his hernia surgery, which went very well and he seems to be getting back on his feet okay. We literally did nothing but sit on the couch and watch TV and doze. That's mostly what he did at least. I was there knitting or reading or farming.

I loaded up my Kindle with samples, looking for my next great read, and I think I've decided on Before I Sleep, by SJ Watson. It's a thriller and I need some type of escape from everyday life right now so this is probably a good one.

I started and finished Talking God by Tony Hillerman, a book that my dad suggested to me and even bought for me. Hillerman is one of my dad's favorite authors. When I visited Vegas this summer, my dad and I went to a used bookstore and he bought about 10 Hillerman novels, telling me that we'll read them together. And then I didn't read the one he gave me. And then I still didn't. And then I still didn't. And now, I finally read it, and he's already read all the others! Doh! But he was so pleased that I read it and wants to send me another one. I put off reading it because it didn't seem like a book I would pick for myself. But it was actually a good read. The story moved at a good pace and the characters were interesting. The ending was a little too neat for my taste, but on the whole I enjoyed the book. And I'm sure I'll enjoy the next Hillerman my dad sends, a lot quicker than I enjoyed this one!

My DH suggested I read Tolkien, starting with, of course, The Hobbit. I started it on Saturday and I didn't want to put it down! I am so surprised at what an easy read it is. I guess I was expecting a lot of Middle English (or would that be Middle Earth?) language and description. There is a lot more telling than showing, but he tells the story in such a way that my imagination works out the scene on its own. Plus, seeing the movies definitely adds a lot as far as imagery goes and what I picture when Gandalf is fighting goblins or talking to elves. So this is one case where I am happy to have seen the movies before I read the books. Interesting!

It was a great knitting weekend, not for getting things done, but just for the sake of knitting. I have several projects going right now and I love them all! I worked on my busy blanket, a scarf for my sister, another scarf for my sister, and got a lot of ideas for new projects I want to make. I got to see part of a Knit and Crochet Today episode about adding a lining to a purse. So simple! I'm amazed at how sewing techniques are so simple, but the idea of them is so daunting to me. I just need to get in there and do it!

Today will be a busy day. I kicked it off with 15 minutes on the treadmill and now some blogs and coffee. Having the kids take care of their own breakfast is one of the best ideas I've ever had. I definitely have more time to myself in the morning and that is really good for me. I'm on the down part of this depression cycle right now. Boo. I can feel it. I need to be more proactive here to stop the drop from being as steep or quick. At least I can recognize it now. Plus, I didn't go anywhere this weekend and I think that might not be good so many days in a row.

So, here's to hoping this day will be a good one for me and for you! Cheers!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We have been so incredibly busy, so very, very, very busy. Professor X said he doesn't want to play basketball and I'm tempted to let him sit this one out since it would allow us some breathing room. Between volleytennis and his flag football we are at the park every day except one, usually Thursday, which is great since that's our TV night. But, until the beginning of November, we are locked into this busy routine.

Last night I prepped a lot of homeschool stuff. I've been flying by the seat of my pants and I think it's caught up to me. I've been feeling so stressed out the past couple days. I have the rest of the week set and planned out, so hopefully that will help me relax. I found an old school book that I used with Professor X in kindergarten, Making the Grade, and thanked God. I've been at my creative wits' end with Mr. M and science and social studies, but this book definitely points me in the right direction. Excellent. Two points for me for finding it buried in the homeschool closet.

I've been squeezing some knitting into my days. Yesterday I learned the airy garter stitch while I waited for the kids to get out of art class. Such a beautiful and simple stitch! I foresee a lot of projects with this one, scarves, arm warmers, bags, just about anything. I finally finished the arm warmers I was working on, the raspberry and the Halloween. I have to seam the Halloween pair carefully though so the black doesn't show through where the orange stripes are. DH said he thought it would look cool, and it might since it's Halloween and the stitches are black, but I'm undecided. I'll post a pic when I finish them.

I've been feeling a lot better this week so far. DH has a show tonight with his jazz band, really a big deal. They're playing at a well-known restaurant, kind of an audition to get a paying gig. But my point is that I will be on my own with the kids for several hours tonight. Night is my struggle. My brain goes into those familiar ruts and it's hard to pull out. My plan is to knit and watch TV until DH gets home. Hopefully that will help. I hate knowing that I can't trust my brain, but at least that means I know myself, I understand myself, I realize I have limitations. That has to be good, right?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Today I woke up to Mr. M and Pb (my adorable chihuahua) both snuggling with me in bed and the sound of rain falling once again. What a great experience for imagining we are living in Washington! I love it. I also love the rain today because it means PE class is canceled and we can finally catch up on all the homeschool things we need to do. But I doubt the kids will be as enthusiastic.

Dinners have been going great this week so far thanks to the crockpot. Last night my DH told me that my potato soup reminded him of a potato dish his grandmother used to make, high praise indeed! The way he described it, taking the first bite and immediately thinking of his grandmother's cooking, reminded of the scene from "Ratatouille" when the food critic tastes Remy's food at the end and flashes back to his mother's cooking. I mentioned this to my DH and he laughed and agreed. Funny how food can do that. And it's also funny how I'm an adult yet see parallels in life to Disney movies. But that's another blog.

For tonight's dinner, though, I am stumped. My creativity is sorely lacking in the kitchen lately. I have no idea what to prepare. So, you know of course, that means turning to the old standby that everyone loves, breakfast dinner! I think breakfast burritos stuffed with eggs, bacon, cheese, potatoes, and a little salsa sounds perfect. I just have to go to the store and get it all. Boo.

My mother is moving to WA. Strange that. Strange timing and all of it. But it's been her dream and now she's getting it so good for her. She asked me to make the road trip with her, but the thought of being trapped in a car with anyone for several hours is enough to make me relapse. So I declined. The power of saying no is really good.

I miss having the Internet on my phone. I can't send pics or check email or anything. DH is researching new phones and even had me watch some phone reviews on YouTube to see what I thought of the models he is looking at. I was impressed. He misses the Internet and pics even more than I do! This is a great project for him. I would just get stressed out.

I'm off to start my day. My mug of freshly ground Pike's Reserve is sitting next to me patiently.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I've been so busy these past couple days, I haven't really been inspired to write. But I don't want to lose the routine of coming here and emptying my brain, so here I am.

Meal planning is definitely going better. I got the crockpot out yesterday since I knew I would be out with the kids all day. I made some round steak with carrots and potatoes. It was delicious! After freezing during Professor X's flag football game, we were all happy to come home to a cozy dinner. Today Princess O has volleytennis practice, and it's been raining most of the day, so I made some potato soup, always a great hit with the family. So the house smells wonderful right now and I am less stressed because dinner is already made.

The Monday routine seems to be set now. I drop the older kids off at their classes and head to the laundromat with Mr. M to do laundry and schoolwork. He isn't too distracted by everything happening at the laundromat and we actually can get a lot done. I even stay and fold all the clothes since there's usually about 20 minutes between the wash finishing and picking up the kids. I really like this laundromat. The owners keep it very clean and it's not really crowded at all. There are tables and vending machines in addition to supersize washers. Plus it's close to the house and the class. Yesterday the owner saw me unloading the clothes into a cart to take inside and he came out and took it all in for me. Did I mention I won the raffle? Yep, a $10 laundry card and my picture is still posted with the other winners. So cool!

(I'm seriously procrastinating right now. I should be writing learning records for our charter school meeting tomorrow but I'm blogging instead. Oh, well. Everything will get done in its own time. Right? No? Oh, yeah, I have to do it still. It won't write itself. Boo.)

We have such a great time watching Professor X playing flag football. He's really into the game and very focused, which is not his personality outside of video games. I love cheering for him and watching him chase down the other team's players. He rips their flags off like a pro! The only thing I don't like is how cold it is outside! Of course, being in SoCal, I realize that's relative and I should just make sure I wear pants a heavier jacket so I will be comfortable. I used to live in Ohio and NJ where it was truly freezing. What a wimp I've become! Here is a pic from last night's game. I was struck by the color of the sky and the way the lights lit up the field. My DH was so nice and brought me a pumpkin spice to enjoy and get warm with, delicious! But see, the coach and most of the players, and DH, were all wearing shorts, so I know it wasn't really THAT cold.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Today is going to be very busy. I'll be running the kids around to three classes, going to the laundromat, then getting us all to the park for practice and a game by 5pm. I'm not looking forward to it. But mentally, I'm hoping this will be a good day. Keeping myself busy is one of the best ways to not stay in my head so much.

This weekend was really laid back. I basically sat on the couch with DH and watched TV, Parks and Rec and football. It was nice and something I don't let myself do very much, but now I will. I spent all Saturday watching a BBC miniseries called The Buccaneers about American girls finding husbands in London. The acting was so-so but the storyline was interesting. There were four episodes and in between each one I got up and did a little housework, mostly dishes, before I started the next. It felt great just letting myself sit and relax. DH slept through the first two episodes and then woke up for the last two and started asking me questions about who was who and what was going on. Really?! I told him I would explain it to him later because I wanted to finish watching! Ha ha! I loved his willingness to let me watch what I wanted, and then he took a nice long nap on the couch next to me. It was a great afternoon. I didn't mind that he fell asleep and he didn't mind that I wanted to watch a BBC miniseries all day. A good compromise!

I didn't meet my knitting goal of finishing the Halloween arm warmers, yet. I'm hoping to get them done today while the kids are in art class. I also have the raspberry arm warmers to finish and the scarves for my sister. I need my knitting mojo back! I have a lot to do. Plus Christmas is coming up and I really want to have my Etsy shop going before the end of this month. We'll see. I may need some more early mornings just for knitting! I wonder if that would get me up? I set up a chair and table on the front porch so I can sit out there to read, but it would also be a terrific early-morning knitting nook. Hmm.

I started reading The Life of Pi. I saw this book at Barnes and Noble, was intrigued by the cover, and then bought it for my Kindle. The story is very interesting so far. Pi's family runs a zoo in India, and I love that. I'm fascinated with zoos and the whole wild animal in a cage dynamic. The author has a wonderful way of pointing out the benefits of the animals living in captivity versus the wild. It's also based on a true story, which is one of my favorite things to read, too. Should be good. I got bored reading The Vampire Lestat. I skimmed ahead in the book, got the basic gist of the story, and now I've lost interest. I don't know why I do that! I just have to know what's going to happen, but then sometimes that ruins the rest of the story for me and I don't care to finish it. I tell myself, "Well, I already know what's going to happen. What else can I read?" Dumb, right? I do this with movies, too, though with far less regret. I love to spoil a movie and then watch it. Love it. I need to know what's going to happen and I don't like surprises or being kept in suspense. I wonder what that says about my personality?

Our trip the fair was fun, but very expensive. We planned to eat there and oh wow, did we spend some money! I'll post the pics and all that on another blog. But we spent the day walking around, this is our 3rd year in a row going, and we realized we were seeing the exact same things we saw last year, and the year before. Why do we keep going? I don't know. We said this was our last year, but of course, now the kids want to enter projects for next year. Meh.

I'm off to start this busy day.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Aziz Ansari Woke Me Up This Morning

My fault. I follow Aziz Ansari on Twitter. In case you don't know (who wouldn't know???), Aziz is the best, most world famous, funniest, overfed, and hottest comedian ever who plays Tom on Parks and Rec (my favorite show). I have his tweets sent to my phone because I'm a loser who likes to feel connected to celebrities I like, and also my phone goes off all the time which makes me seem popular to those around me. But that's another blog.

Anyway, Aziz decided to tweet continuously this morning about his experience going through LAX security on his way to catch a flight to New York. Okay. I do not wake up early. His flight was incredibly early. My phone started going off and I grabbed it thinking it was my husband texting me. Nope. It was Aziz. Going through LAX security. Incredibly early.

I didn't really mind being woken up the first time, or the next or the next, because Aziz was competing against an older Asian man who was also going through security and his tweets were a hilarious play by play. There were several plays. It was awesome! (and what older Asian man DOESN'T wear slip on shoes all the time, much less through security at the airport???) So it was funny. The first couple times. But I still put my phone on vibrate because it was so early. So, so, so early. But totally funny, check it out.

The downside of this was that my husband calls me every morning to wake me up and talk about our plans for the day. But my phone was on vibrate now, so I missed his calls. For half an hour. He was freaking out. Yes, I am the person who people get freaked out about if I don't answer my phone when I should. I understand this completely. I felt so bad, but I was very quick to explain that it wasn't my fault. It was Aziz Ansari's fault! He made me put my phone on vibrate! He was competing against an elderly Asian man through security at LAX! His flight was too stinking early! Not my fault. I blame Aziz. My husband understood. I think.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Today's agenda is physical education nonstop almost. The kids have PE and then we have dinner and then we spend another night at the park for each of them to have practice with their teams. I wouldn't mind so much if it was still summer and the nights were warm, but I'm tired of freezing my butt off on the metal bleachers!

The best thing about today will be all the knitting. I can knit during PE and then again during practices. I'm hoping to finish the Halloween arm warmers and get them posted on Etsy soon. Soon! I love knitting at PE with my friends. There is a large group of women who knit there, but I really just sit with my friend and we chat and knit. It's usually a great, relaxed day and I'm ready for one of those.

Not much else is going on. I'm still struggling with dinner. Why is that? Shouldn't I have a handle on this issue? (ha ha, what issue do I have a handle on right now at all??? None!) I just can't get my act together on this one. I need to get back to the whole menu planning and grocery shopping routine. My brain just hasn't been focusing on this area. (ha ha, what is it focusing on? Nothing!) But, seriously, this needs to change. I miss fresh fruits and veggies. I hate seeing the kids eating so much snack food and junk. If I could change one thing about my life immediately, this would be the thing. Also, I would get someone to cook and shop for me, but I don't think that's going to happen. Although, my DH has really stepped up to the plate (literally) on this one and has even gone to the grocery store on his lunch break to help me out. That's major. But I feel like this is an area that falls to me, being the one who is at home during dinner prep hours, and I want to get it under control. We'll see.

Today's goal is to stay in the moment, not think too much about too much, and focus on what's good in my life. I have a good life. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And now, I'm back, after a brief stint immersed in a pitch black end-of-summer.

Today's agenda just changed a little. I was planning to spend the day on the couch with the kids watching plant videos and doing worksheets, but they just got called to make up a class they missed so off we go. The class involves making a map of salt, not sure what that entails, and I'm just happy the teacher didn't ask me to do it instead of her.

I love the smell of coffee in the morning. We took a quick trip to Seattle a couple weeks ago and I got a bag of Pike's Reserve beans from the original Starbucks. That store is must-see every time we go to Seattle. I ground the beans last night and am now enjoying a mug of delicious coffee while I work. Excellent start to the day.

My knitting projects right now involve getting some things finished to post on my Etsy shop. I am so excited for this shop! I love Etsy and the opportunity it represents for me. I'm focusing on some fall color projects, including some Halloween theme arm warmers and pens. I just need to stay focused and organized and hopefully I can get some things sold by the end of October. I should be starting some Christmas theme projects, too, which I am still designing, but those aren't even on the needles, yet.

What else. So many things have happened in my personal life that I just won't share here. I'm on thin ice right now mentally, like I'm sliding above all the turmoil in my mind, just trying to stay in the moment. The one thing I learned during this black interlude is that every rock bottom has a trap door. I fell through mine and now it feels like I'm free-falling, like Alice, through this incredibly dark tunnel, trying to grab what's around me, trying to stay in the moment, waiting for my feet to feel the bottom. Every day is a little better.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

So This Is My Day

First, the easy stuff. Homeschool was great today. Things go much more smoothly when I list the day's activities on the dry erase board and everyone can see how much we need to get done. Plus I let the kids shop in the treasure box when they were finished as a surprise ending to our day. I really need to stock up on some better prizes! I also noticed some of the candy in my candy box has melted. I'm debating about refilling that one, though. The kids have so much candy of their own I don't see how my candy box could be motivating. Except for Mr. M, of course, the Candy Kid.

I made myself talk to my friend on the phone for a long time this morning. I knew I needed to start school, but I've been trying to be more flexible with myself right now. She called just as I was gathering everything together and I just put it all to the side so I could focus on talking to her. The kids were playing together so nicely that I ended up staying on the phone for much longer than I had anticipated. But, I reminded myself, we have nothing else to do today besides school, so it was okay. I needed to talk to her. Sometimes I think I go too long without talking to my friends so lately I've been making that effort to reach out more.

Which brings me to my next thought. So many people know my circumstances at this point, yet the support is minimal. I know that I can't expect anyone to behave like I would towards a friend in my situation, but I guess I'm really surprised. It isn't like I'm not letting people know that I'm struggling. I'm pretty forward about it at this point because of how deep I find myself sinking. People are funny. I get no response when I would think the response would be overwhelming. Even my family isn't keeping in touch with me, which only serves to make me wonder even more, is it me? Wouldn't it have to be me? Maybe, big maybe here, the Lord is letting this happen to show me how NOT to behave when someone is reaching out to me for help. I just think that if it were me, I would be doing more. But maybe I just see that because I'm the one in need. And I am needy, especially today.

Today is a day where I feel so thinly stretched that the back of my neck is burning all day. I can't point to a specific reason, it's a jumble of tangled emotions. I feel like I'm floating through each day, making myself focus on the kids, these beautiful, awesome kids that are my tether to life right now. I see that Scripture about children being a blessing so differently now. I see a lot of Scriptures so differently now. What I really want, what I need is a pair of arms to fall into and someone telling me that I matter, that my life matters, and that I am loved. Today especially. But I know that won't happen today, or tomorrow, or tomorrow. The arms that hold me are tiny arms, and the words they say are what make me important. Meeting their needs drives my existence every minute of every day. I matter to them. And even though they can't possibly understand how much I need them, they need me just as much. And I'm holding on to that. 

Every day is such a struggle, such a heaviness. I feel picked over, all the good things gone and used up. Stretched so thin I have nothing left to offer. I am so empty. I know this is my season to sit and be filled. But where do I sit? At the Lord's feet, yes. And I need to be filled with what? Peace and joy of which there is none right now. There's just this awful emptiness to my days and nights, wedged into my heart, between my breaths. This awful echo of why, why did this happen, don't You see me, don't You remember me? And I know You do, but God, how long? How long do I have to be here?

Monday, August 29, 2011

So This Was My Day

I'm looking for my mojo, in case you find it somewhere. I'm pretty sure I've cried it all away down the shower drain, but there may be some more hidden away somewhere. I am intent on finding it. I can't stay in this place much longer or I may really just fall off the edge of insanity.

I hit the track today in an effort to chase down some of this suspected mojo. I felt something bubbling just under the surface of my skin when my feet hit the track and Linkin Park started telling me that it all comes back to me in the end. That song is one of the themes for my life. I love it. I think I played it a few times just warming up. By the time I switched to some empowering Pink and a little Kanye West, my swagger was back, just a little. When I was ready to run, I cranked it up and ran with Eminem telling me this was my moment. Dang! That felt awesome. I was pushing myself to keep going and feeling the sweat just sliding down my back and my face, and I'm pretty sure my mojo reserve started filling up again. Amazing. And did I mention that I looked superfine in my shorts and tank top? Yep. I did. I still want to drop about 15 pounds, but for right now, I look pretty good.

My other big accomplishment for today was hitting the laundromat. I'm starting to get into a groove there. It's not the easy routine of putting in quarters and then adding soap. No, not so easy. It's adding money to a laundry card and then putting the soap in the top of the machine in the right compartment (there are 4) and then figuring out how to lock the door (the arrow points the wrong way - it was an issue last time). But I am happy to say that I must look like I know what I'm doing now because the manager didn't come over and help me again, nor did any of my underwear end up in his hand being brought to me in the parking lot. Big improvement. Although one lady did cut me off for the dryers that I wanted by stashing a few items of clothing in each until her other load was done. But I got that bitch's number and if she tries it again, we'll see what ends up stuffed in a dryer.

On the homeschool front, things are going well. Mr. M got 100% on his spelling test today and I am so proud of that guy! He can't read yet, but soon. The other two have gotten into the routine of daily work and really enjoyed their new history and writing class today. So the year is off to a good start.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I have a few pictures I've been meaning to post. So without further ado...

See those cute toenails in those cute flipflops? Yeah, that's me. I'm sitting at the park, reading a book, in clear view of the two little cuties I brought to the wading pool. Where's the pool you ask? Look between the legs of the incredibly inconsiderate ladies who rolled in and laid their shit right in front of my chair while I was away for a minute. My chair was there. My book was on my chair. My bags are all around my chair. Obviously someone is sitting there. Now, really. Are these women so totally unaware of personal space that they have no qualms invading my area? Apparently. They rolled in and dumped their blankets and towels and trash all over the place not even three feet from my chair. Then they obstructed my view of the wading pool with their fat asses and cellulite thighs. They were eating pizza, too, and didn't even offer me any! I could have reached in the box and grabbed a slice and then asked them to pass me a drink from the cooler, but I didn't want to seem rude.

Besides, they were all speaking espanol and that's a dilemma for me. Do I say something incredibly scathing yet witty and hope they understand me or is that a waste of my words and mental energy? Then I also run the risk of them pretending they don't understand when actually the youngest of the women explains exactly what I said and they really do understand and then proceed to talk about me and insult me right in front of me knowing that I don't know what they're saying. See? It's a dilemma. So I chose the high road. I posted their picture and pointed out their ignorance on my blog where they will never see it. So there. But somehow I feel better. So let's move on.

I was laying on bed the other night and it was really late and I rolled over and saw this face. Do you see it? This is a little quirk of mine. I like to take pictures of objects that look like faces. Did I mention it was really late? Ahem. Moving on.
Here is Mr. M at a birthday party for a little girl we know from PE class. I love it! He's so cute and I honestly didn't think he could be any cuter, but if he was a puppy...enough said. I love this kid! There was one point in the party where I had my own private laugh. The birthday girl had requested a Disney princess for her party. When the princess arrived, she came around the corner and I was like, what the? The dress was perfect, Sleeping Beauty. The wig was a little messy, like she didn't know she was supposed to brush it after she slept in it. But what got me was that she was carrying a boom box. Now, there are certain, ahem, parties where, ah, ladies in fun outfits and wigs and lots of make-up show up to, you know, get the party started, and typically they bring their own music, ahh, usually a boom box or some other such device. So when this princess came around the corner in her bright pink dress, messy wig, lotso make-up, and carrying a boom box, I started laughing and I turned to the lady next to me...and then I stopped laughing. This wasn't the crowd where I felt like I could point out the similarities between the Disney princess and the, you know, other lady who might come. But in my mind I laughed long and hard! (that's what she said!) The kids had a great time with Sleeping Beauty, though, and she did a great job with the face painting.

Today I went to the beach by myself. I was so proud of myself for doing this because usually I would find some reason to justify not making the drive or effort to go somewhere just for myself. I love the beach. I love the wind in my hair and the way my lips taste like salt after I've been there for just a few minutes. The ocean and the waves remind me of how small I am on this huge planet and that beyond the rhythm of my life, the world moves to the greater cadence of nature and God and the universe. I walked down the beach until I found a spot away from most people. I love the way the water rushes in and cools my feet and then flows out again tickling my toes with bubbles and sand. I could lose myself for hours at the beach. But not today. I only had two hours on the meter, so there you go. 

I spent some time just sitting watching the waves and trying to empty my mind. Sometimes it feels like I have the same thoughts ricocheting around and I can't get them out. Or I end up thinking about something on an endless loop. Thankfully, I remembered a small notebook I put in my purse, and I had a sparkly pen which is always more fun to write with, and I spent some time writing my thoughts out. I wrote down whatever I was thinking about and I felt so much better after a while. I guess I probably looked somewhat dorky, but who cares? I let myself relax in the moment and go with what I really wanted to do. So it was a good time. Although I think it may have ruined the pedicure I gave myself yesterday. Oh well. It was worth it!

I also walked the pier, which is an interesting experience. Walking towards the end of the pier that's in the water is a relaxing experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm walking out onto the ocean. I had my hair down and I love the feeling of it streaming out behind me, dancing around. A beautiful feeling, truly. I took my time walking and stopped a few times just to watch the waves and take in the moment. I didn't want to rush. When I got to the end, I made a slow turn and walked back. Total opposite experience. The flowing hair was now fighting to beat me back to land. It was getting tangled in my sunglasses and when I would try to wrangle it back, the tendrils would wrap around my rings and fingers and hold on tight. I think I heard laughing at some point, but that can't be right. Anyway, I finished my walk with a fist full of damp curls and some rowdy frizz in my eyes.

I hope one day I can look back at this point in my life and pull the good things out. Like today, going to the beach for myself was a good thing. There is so much right now that is wearying and tearful and just a grind to get through one day after the next sometimes. So the beach is going on the top of the good things list.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beach trip today! The homies and I took the kids and rolled down to our favorite beach. The waves are pretty much nonexistent and the water is not deep at all, at least for the first 20 feet out. The kids are free to play in the water and in the sand with little supervision. This is the first time I've gone down to the beach without a child of my own under five years old. I was free to chat and oil up for a tan since I wasn't chasing a toddler or refereeing snacks. Good times.

This was the view from our spot in the sand.  I love being right in the marina. We saw sailboats and kayakers pass by all day. Plus there is a specific swimming area marked out and there was a wide assortment of swimmers doing laps, too. We saw a few people in wetsuits, an old man with man-boobs in a speedo, and some lifeguards in training. Perfect place for people watching, one of my favorite pastimes.

This is not too clear, but at one point there was a sailboating class in session. Look in the center of the picture, far out there, and you can see all the miniature sails. The sailboats were small! We saw them maneuvering in response to commands from a bullhorn and it was really cool to watch.

Professor X and Princess O both enjoyed being buried in the sand. Personally, I would hate that. Professor X was pretending to be dead. Princess O was pretending to be at the spa, note the water poured around her and the relaxed look on her face. Can you see her toes? They really blend in!

And then there is Mr. M who is completely unpredictable. I love this kid!

He spent the day covered in sand, literally. He would get in the water, splash around enough to get wet, then come out and roll around in the sand until he was completely covered. All day he did this! I was very entertained and so was he. I have never seen another kid do this. But he was having a great time, covered in sand. Who knew? Then the music came on. One of my homies brought her iPod and speakers and Mr. M just loves to dance. He's serious about it, though. He's not dancing to entertain and make you laugh. He's dancing because he loves the music and is expressing himself. It was awesome! No pics though. Too bad.

Most of us had a great day. One kid barfed, big time, and had to be taken home. That always seems to happen to someone! The sun finally came out about halfway through our day and I got some major sunshine. I love that! It was a great time and I remembered how much I need to spend time with my homies.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This is the new project I started last week, a blanket for myself. I keep finding myself with time to fill and I thought it would be helpful to start something easy and long. I think this is a time-marking project, something to work on during this hard season of my life, and when it's done I can look back and have something to show for it, something I put my effort into to keep myself from losing my mind. I started with a garter border and went into some basket weave pattern, but I lost track of what I was doing when I got interrupted, so now it's just stockinette. I'm planning to let the patterns flow in and out of the blanket as the mood moves me and add some color, too. The yarn I am using is cheap yarn, but I love the color: coffee. Perfect.

Another thing I did to boost myself up a little was clean out my desk. Things in my room looked so bland. One thing I have always wanted to do is paint my bedroom and actually get a bedroom set. Never happened. So as I cleaned out my desk I kept finding pictures that the kids had colored for me and I decided to hang the artwork on the wall. I was surprised at how much it really does brighten the room and makes it cozier. I'll be spending a lot more time in here, I think, so I'm glad I made it look nice. My desk looks a lot nicer, too, with all the silly little junk put away and my books arranged more neatly. I put up some cards from my sister that are funny and also some that have birds on them. I can't believe I waited this long to really personalize my little space. I'm very pleased.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Job Search

Yes, friends, I am searching for a job. I know, I know. I realized in January how unhappy I was in my transcription job and was thankful that my ears put a stop to that one. I definitely felt like it was sometimes a lot of effort and time away from my family without equal compensation. But life goes on. And here I am hoping to get a part-time job, something for myself, outside the home. The kids are old enough to handle it now and I even think it will be a good thing for all of us. Maybe it will save a small part of my sanity. Who knows.

But the road to a job is fraught with peril. Remember the old days of filling out a one page job application and handing it to a manager? Right. Those days are gone. Instead, there is usually a four page application to be filled out online, basic information, tax credit for the company information, employment history, and then the list of locations and departments in which you want to work. Can you say intimidating? I haven't worked outside the home in about nine years. Just putting my resume together was a huge process of recalling dates and looking up addresses and phone numbers. A major pain in the ass. But necessary, I know. So the tedious transfer of all that information is step one in the application process.

Step two is where I get annoyed. Each company has an additional personality profile, sometimes 12 pages long! WTF? I get it. The company doesn't want to waste their time with people who ultimately will disrupt other employees with drama, steal things, or basically be too much of a Bilo to be an effective employee. However, some of the questions are really ambiguous. "I care about the feelings of my coworkers." Uh-huh. Well, honestly, I just want to do my job and go home. I don't care much for people I don't know and I certainly have enough drama in my own life without adding anyone else's. So how do you answer that? If I say yes, does the company think I will spend time gossiping and talking instead of working? If I say no, does that make me appear uncaring and therefore unable to relate to customers?

Another question was, "Companies must take risks for innovation." Huh? If I don't work there yet, how do I really know what kind of innovation? Are we talking about self-checkout or self-flushing toilets? Both are innovative ideas. Both involve risk, stealing or stagnation. How do I know what level of innovation we're talking about? I think I answered that one as neutral. Maybe I'm overthinking this. After 12 pages of personality profiling though, I think anyone would be a little burned out.

Another company actually had a language arts and math test after the application process. Wow. There was a warning at the beginning of the test that there were so many questions that I couldn't possibly finish the whole test, but don't worry, I'm only evaluated on the correct answers I give. So, does that mean I should just skip through the test and answer the easy ones? Was I supposed to figure that out? Dang. I just thought of that right now. Anyway, one type of question was, match the beginning letter of the word that matches this definition. That's right, you don't get a list of words but a list of letters. Here is an example, a tract of land for raising crops and animals...E,F,R,S. This is easy. The answer is F for farm, right? But there were a few I could not figure out at all! Come on, at least give me a list of words! The math questions were all word problems, too!

I mean, look, I'm not applying to a hospital. I'm not looking for a position to cure cancer! I think these companies are getting a little too analysis-happy.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This past weekend we went to the mall. The kids love going in the Disney store, but I don't know why. We never buy anything! I guess it's all the colors and characters they enjoy seeing, which I'm sure is some Disney hypnosis marketing trick.

When we entered the store, there was a lady, not young, arranging some shirts on a display. She was crouched down on the floor messing with the shirts on hangers. We couldn't see her face, but I heard her talking. I just glanced down at her and then looked at something my son was showing me, a new Cars character. It took me a second to realize the lady was still talking, and I looked over at her, as did my two sons. At this point, she was pulling her face out of the shirts, hair covering her face, glasses crooked. And we realized she was talking to US. She had been talking to us since we entered the store. Wow.

I wonder if this is some Disney policy. No matter what you're doing, whether you're down on the floor scrubbing or arranging clothing, you greet the customer! Heil, Mickey! Well, this lady was certainly very zealous about giving us a greeting. My boys didn't even answer her questions because she looked so crazy and disheveled. Her running monologue went something like this:
"...oh, isn't that cool? Aren't the new characters from the movie awesome? Have you seen the new Cars movie yet? You did? You didn't? You did? Oh, yeah, me too! I loved it! Did you love it? Who was your favorite character?" All this but speeded up like ten times. Okaaaay.

Now, I hated that movie. I seriously would love to go to Disneyland and demand they reimburse me for the two hours I spent sitting in that movie. I want two hours on Space mountain, with bathroom breaks and free snacks. Just me, in the front, going again and again. That's would be a fair payback for having to sit through the movie. It was awful! The first Cars movie is one of my favorites, not a desert island movie, but still good. Cars 2 sucked. Big time. I hated it. That's right. I'll say it again, hated it! Two hours of my life, gone. Wasted. I should have taken a nap during the movie, then maybe I wouldn't be so bitter about it.

So when this mental patient of a saleslady started rambling about how "awesome" the movie was I just laughed and walked away. I really, really wish I would have laughed and said, "Oh my God, that movie sucked!" just to see what her reaction would have been. I should have. Dang. That would have been worth seeing the movie just for that. Next time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekend of Me - Saturday

This is the weekend I'm spending on my own, no kids, no husband, just me. I didn't make any plans and actually the trip was really spontaneous, so I'm just going with whatever I feel like doing.

Friday night I spent doing some knitting and watching movies. I couldn't really settle into anything, but watched parts of Notting Hill, Sense and Sensibility, and then Sleepless in Seattle which I let play all night. I'm not used to sleeping alone, so I left Sleepless going all night. When I would awaken occasionally during the night and the movie was over, I restarted it. Silly, I know.

Today I woke up feeling so heavy, the weight of all my circumstances on my shoulders. A little time in prayer and in the Word, and a quick hello from a friend, and I was feeling mucho better. I spent the morning watching my all-time favorite movie, "When Harry Met Sally", and I finished the black arm warmer I've been working on, yay! Eventually, though, the walls started closing in and I knew I needed to get out amongst other humans for a bit.

I headed to the movies to see Transformers. I wanted to get the perfect seat, in line with the projector, towards the back, but of course, the theater was really small so the projector was in line with the main aisle ripping the theater in halves. Okay. I got a seat near the aisle about halfway back and had plenty of room to put my feet up and relax. Until the family of five decided to sit right in front of me. Really? You have the whole stinking theater and you have to sit right in front of me? You see I have my feet up! What the? It's kind of like when you have a nice new car, maybe even your dream car, and you choose a parking spot far away from every other car and possible parking spot, but some jackass decides to park right next to you. Yeah, it's just like that. Of course, I moved my feet so they could sit, but even when the dad sat down, he looked at where my feet had been, like he's checking to make sure I moved them. Jackass.

Thankfully, the movie did not disappoint. The action scenes were plentiful and the special effects were perfect. Thumbs up. And Shia is one of my favorite actors to watch. He's really good at running and jumping and looking frustrated by the government.

Afterwards, I headed over to a shopping center to browse around before heading back to my temporary pad. I was so bummed that the glass gallery that displayed glass chocolates is no longer a glass gallery, but more of a bead store. No glass chocolates in the window to drool over. I guess that's a sign of the times. Why buy glass chocolate when you can buy the real thing and actually eat it?

I headed to a very small yarn shop after that and found some interesting needles I had to have. They are stainless steel, made in China by a brand called ChiaoGoo. The package states on the front, "Knit Red". Now what exactly does that mean? I always joke around about China being Communist, so I could not resist getting these needles. Are they implying that I should be knitting Communist? If I use these needles am I a Communist knitter? Will my knitted projects be considered Communist if I use these needles? I love it! I can't wait to show them to my very uptight, conservative, Commie-phobic father! Good times!

The lady in the shop was a little weird. This is an extremely small yarn shop and I cannot imagine how it stays in business. I noticed this time that everything now has price tags on it whereas when I was in the shop previously nothing had a price tag. When I was ready to purchase the needles, I had to wait at the counter for a good five minutes for the shop owner to come over and help me. She seemed astonished that I was buying something. Now, granted, I'm in shorts and a t-shirt that says Talk nerdy to me, but hey, I'm also carrying my knitted bag. I must not look like the typical knitter she sees in her store so I guess it's probably good I didn't ask her if she had any needles with skulls on them. (seriously I want some of those! They're awesome!) Then, when I whipped out my ATM card to pay, she gave me a hard time. She asked me if I was sure I didn't have cash and I saw her look at my purse when I was pulling my wallet out. Dang! Really? I would think she would be happy just to sell something! I understand she has fees to pay, too, but when she told me, "I'll let it slide this time," I felt like saying, "Look, lady, I'm 36-years-old. I don't even need these needles! I'm buying them as a joke! So shut your wrinkled face!" But what did I do instead? I just looked at her and didn't smile. Ooh! That showed her! Yeah, right.

I headed to Target after that and hit the jackpot, Shiner Bock beer! Shiner Bock is a beer that is brewed in Texas and not easy to find here. It's my favorite beer. I like the flavor and I really enjoy drinking it even though it is a rare event. I bought what I needed to make nachos also and headed back to the pad. Since then, I have just been relaxing and watching episodes of Fringe. Good times.

All in all, this has been a relaxing day of putting everything out of my mind and focusing on being in the moment. Being a very social person, I do miss conversing and joking around with someone. So far I'm the only one laughing at my jokes. But I have a pot of coffee going, two more dvds of Fringe, and all night ahead of me. Maybe I'll start a Communist knitting project.   

Monday, June 27, 2011

No Knitting in Vegas

I spent the past weekend visiting my dad in Vegas. I had high hopes about getting some knitting done. Didn't happen.

My stepsister has an autistic son who basically lives with my dad and stepmother. He is 10 years old but doesn't talk or really communicate much at all. He watches television or plays video games most of the day. My kids get along really well with him, as long as they give him whatever he wants when he wants it. This isn't a problem for my kids because they are compassionate to his autism and understand that's just the way God made him. I understand that, too, but dang. It was impossible to knit around him.

I was knitting on double-pointed needles, which made the project very appealing to him, three needles in a triangle shape with a yarn tube hanging down. What kid wouldn't be drawn to that? Unfortunately for me, he was fascinated with my knitting and tried to grab everything, yarn, needles, my project, whatever, anytime I had it out. Okay. I put my knitting things away except for what I could hold in my lap, and continued adding inches. Until I had to go to the bathroom. Big mistake.

I, stupidly, left the project on the bed in our room, door closed, and dashed into the connected bathroom, taking three minutes tops. When I came out, I gasped in horror. There he was, holding two double-pointed needles and tossing the skein yarn with them like he was tossing a salad. My heart stopped when I saw him holding two needles because that meant he had pulled at least one out of my project, which I was more than halfway finished with when I put it down. My eyes quickly discerned ALL the needles were pulled from my now limp project, and they were scattered on the bed. It was a knitter's worst nightmare.

I approached him cautiously, not wanting to startle him into grabbing the project and running, and said, very gently, "Hey, buddy, what are you doing?" He replied, in his high-pitched voice, still tossing the yarn with the needles, "I'm making socks!" Wow. How can you stay mad at that? Seriously, my heart just melted. Even if I had to completely redo my project, it was worth it for the connection that was made with him through the knitting. If I hadn't been knitting, if he hadn't seen someone knitting socks somewhere at sometime, the moment would have never happened. Knitting reached an autistic boy. I love it.

I smiled. What else could I do? Once again, knitting is the great equalizer. Eventually my stepmother came in and, "Oh dear, where did he get those needles?!" and she got them back for me and ushered him out of the room. I then returned to my previous state of panic, gathered my limp project into my arms with the needles and severely disheveled yarn, and ran into the bathroom. I deposited everything on the floor and looking at it said, "Shit." That's right, I cursed. Once. Then I felt better and got to work. I managed to reinsert the needles to every stitch without dropping any, miracle of miracles! I do have one stitch that is only halfway through the strand of yarn, making a small whole, but compared to what could have happened, this is no problem.

I gave up the idea of trying to knit at all for the rest of the weekend because it just wasn't worth the stress. I was stressed out trying to knit and that just shouldn't happen.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Indians Opening Day

This weekend Professor X had opening day for his baseball team. The season has started off kind of rocky. I signed him up late, but luckily he got on a team anyway. Unluckily, he got a real jackass for a coach.

This coach called a ten minute parent meeting without a scheduled practice. So I had to go all the way to the park just to hear him introduce himself and repeat everything he said three times. I had reservations about this guy from the start. In his introduction speech, he mentioned that parents shouldn't get upset if he yells at their kid, that he's just a loud guy and not to be bothered by that. Hmm. Sounds to me like he's already had some problems. Another thing is that he doesn't have a kid on the team. He's a volunteer coach recruited by the park staff since his kids used to play sports there but are now too old. The point is he gets to practices late and doesn't schedule anything ahead of time. It's almost all spontaneous as he can work it into his work schedule. And did I mention he's ugly? Yep. He's really ugly. Our coach is a really ugly guy who yells. Not good.

My biggest issue with this guy is that he has totally slacked off on getting uniforms for the team. We had plenty of time to order them for opening day, but beyond a, "yeah, we'll have uniforms," not one word has been said. Opening day uniforms were gray baseball pants and plain blue t-shirts, whatever cap the boy wanted to wear. Really? That totally sucks! These boys need to feel like a team on opening day! They were a ragtag group of mismatched shirts and caps walking behind their banner. Almost all the other teams were looking good in uniform shirts with names on the back, team caps, and big smiles, as you can see in the photo. Our team, the Indians, looked like a group of kids pulled in off the street to hold the banner. Totally sucked.

But, wait! There's more. As the team is getting ready to approach the field, a good 5 minutes before they were announced, I walked over to the team, now holding their banner, and called out to Professor X that I was going to take a picture. As I moved in closer, the coach grabbed Professor X, who had turned toward me and smiled,  told him to turn around, away from me, and to pay attention. Jigga what? I could not believe the nerve of this guy. I felt myself getting angry, like I wanted to laugh in this guy's face and tell him off, but instead, I got a little closer, said X's name even louder, and took the picture as soon as he looked at me. Then I looked straight at that ugly coach and just laughed and shook my head. What a jackass!

I'm happy Professor X is on a team. He really enjoys playing sports and being with other kids his age. I don't know about this jackass of a coach, though. I have a feeling it's going to get ugly, even uglier than he is.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ideas to Improve the Track

I like to hit the track every day if I can. There's is something so invigorating about exercising outside. I love it. The interesting thing about going to the same track every day is that you start to recognize people, if not specific people at least characteristics of groups of people. Such as...

Older people walk just like they drive, slow and erratic. You never know when is the right time to pass! When I try to speed up and pass on the right, they swerve to the right and slow down. If I try to go left, they suddenly speed up a little and stagger left. There should be a separate lane them, lined with blue.
Incredibly overweight people are another group. God love them, they need to be out there, yes, but not in spandex, Lycra, or anything other body-hugging material. They take up extra space on the track, too, and move incredibly slow. They should walk have their own area around the outside of the track on the grass. A few extra inches per lap would be great for them.

Groups of people should not be allowed on the track at all. I understand walking with one friend, maybe even two, but more than that causes a traffic jam of humanity. These groups tend to walk slowly because they aren't really there to work out or get sweaty. They are there to chitchat while they walk in circles. Sometimes there will be a group of old people and the whole track will be jammed as we are only able to pass one at a time around the elderly organism.

There is another set of people who really blow my mind, the ones who sit next to their car, about 20 feet from the track, and smoke. Yes. They are smoking right next to the track. Isn't this illegal anyway? The wind blows the smoke right onto the track and those of us really exerting ourselves end up with two lungs full of disgusting pollutants that were just exhaled out of someone else's body. Isn't it common sense to smoke away from where exercise is taking place? Of course, these are the people who probably aren't exercising so maybe they are purposely to punish the rest of us. In a display displaced guilt, they attack the healthy with their secondhand smoke.

What we need is a referee at the track. Someone needs to have a Segue or scooter, a black and white shirt, and a whistle. The referee will check IDs. Old people inside the blue lane. Obese people stay to the outside. If their clothing is too tight, you can throw a flag down and the referee will provide a giant shirt or mumu to the offender. Group of people are not allowed within 50 feet of the track at all.

Then the referee can monitor the rest of us. Walking on the inside? Penalty! Running on the outside? Penalty! Talking on a cell phone or texting? Double penalty! And the penalties will all be enforced in the form of physical exercise, like push ups or sit ups, and you won't be allowed back on the track until you're done. The referee could also do helpful things like pass out water bottles and sweat bands. Maybe there could be a log and frequent visitors could qualify for the good parking spaces.

In the meantime, I have no choice but to get there early enough to find parking, make my way onto the track when traffic clears, turn up my iPod, and find my groove amongst the elderly, obese, and hordes. Boo.