Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Hunger Games!

Yes, I am still working on the CAL from last week, and the week before, etc. Here is the newest block:

It's just an octagon in double crochet. I have to make 6 in the Main Color.

Also, my Stitch N Bitch group are getting together on the 23rd to watch "The Hunger Games"! For the occasion, we could purchase fingering weight yarn from that was hand dyed exclusively for our group. With my yarn, I'm making a cowl from a pattern on Ravelry. It's the Euro Cowl. Here is what I have so far:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Problem With Committing to Post Every Day

Is that if I get busy on the weekend and want to spend time with my family, I end up with lame, cheating posts like this one. I've been busy catching up on my knitting and crochet projects and feel like I have a deadline with them. And now it's 10pm and I just want to chill and not think up stuff to write. So, here's to hoping I'll start earlier tomorrow.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Because I Love My Kids

Okay, I am not a perfect eater. I do not always buy organically grown produce or buy meats that before they became my pot roast, were free range eating only organically grown grass. My ten-year-old daughter recently told me she no longer eats the meat served in her school cafeteria. I asked why and she said, "Search 'mechanically separated chicken' and you will know why!" This same day, my brother had the above link to the petition on his Facebook page. So I am sharing. I am also recommending another site: if you are interested in reading more about this.

Friday, March 09, 2012

FO Friday - Perry the Platypus Knit Hat

Okay, drumroll please.......

If I had to do it over again (which I probably will...), I think I would have definitely done a black outline around the eyes and made the eyebrows two rows of black instead of one. I might also have two rows of black outline for the beak...not sure about that. Maybe make the ends of the bill a bit more rounded? 

Also, keep in mind, the black yarn is thinner than all the other yarns. The orange is slightly thinner than the turquoise and white. This was just a prototype using yarn I already had.  When I do it again, I'll buy yarn that is all the same. I guess what I'm trying to say, is I think I can do much better. This one was for a friend of my daughter, so she only got to wear this for the photo. 

I decided to knit the pattern part flat. I C/O 72 and did a K1, P1 ribbing for three rows. I did one row of turquoise before starting the pattern, then just used a stranded/intarsia combo method. Once I got past the eyebrows, I switched to circulars till decreasing (I decreased at 6 points around) then DPNs as it became smaller.  I tied it off at the top, wove in all the ends, then stitched it up in the back. Not sure what the stitch is  called, but you can't tell it's been stitched up unless you tug at it.

Before I try this again, I'm going to do a version with just one color where the pattern is outlined by purl stitches on a knit background (or vise - versa).

I won't be selling these, of course since I'm not licensed to use Perry the Platypus. If they tell me cease and desist from making them, even for free, I might get a lawyer and tell them I'll cease and desist when they put a Perry Hat out there that is made like this (or better) --and not like this:

You see how the bill and eyes are just embroidered on top? That is just cheating! 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My Next Project

You'll see a photo of my progress on Wednesday, unless by some miracle, I'm done. Here is the project:
It's the Euro Cowl on Ravelry

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

WIP Wednesday - CAL

Today, I'm just showing the latest square of the Bernat Mystery Crochet-a-long. I'm not showing the sweater for my husband because I haven't been working on it much, and I'm not showing the Perry hat's finished! So you'll see that Friday! Yay!

Also check out: The Crochet Way

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

5th Grade Band Concert

We were busy getting ready for our daughter's solo concert. Okay, it wasn't just her. It was students from three elementary schools with solos. 10 - 12 kids from each school. I'll consider linking to the video tomorrow.

Monday, March 05, 2012

What Holds Me Back

What do I want? Aside from world peace, a self-cleaning house, and children just one notch below "Stepford," I want to do two things:

1. I want to be paid for my writing
2. I want to be paid for my knitting and crocheting

I am forty-five years old. Why have I not yet found a way to make either of these things happen?

1. I have never submitted any of my writing to any market. I don't even own a copy of the current (or any year's) Writer's Market...yet.
2. I have never offered any pieces of my work for sale. I don't even have an Etsy account...yet.

Okay, but WHY haven't I done these things? The reasons behind my procrastination in selling my knitting and crocheting seem more legitimate to me than the reasons behind my procrastination in submitting writing pieces.

Right now, of the three projects I am currently working on in my knitting, two of them are already going to specific people. The other, a "crochet-a-long" afghan will most likely not be for sale as I tend to want to keep afghan's I've made unless they were intended for a specific person. So really, I don't have anything available for sale. I already feel like if I'm not writing, then I'm knitting or crocheting, so I don't feel like I have much extra time to make things to sell until I have these other projects out of the way.

I also have fears. What if I make some things to sell, and then I end up with more orders than I can handle in a timely fashion? I don't want to be thought of as irresponsible or flaky. There are people who design their own patterns, and then only sell the patterns rather than the actual item. Great idea, only, I tend to work from the patterns of others. While I have designed my own knit and crochet projects, I have yet to actually write them down. I tend to design as I go.

For my writing, I have similar fears. What if they ask me to write about something, and I just don't feel I can even manage to do the required research --or worse, say that I can do it, thinking, sure, why not? I can research anything! Only to discover that I cannot, in fact, research everything. 

I've been working on my profile. I can only choose one industry. Arts and Crafts, or Writing and Editing. Which do I choose?  I ended up choosing "Arts and Crafts." I feel like it makes me sound like I'm a summer camp counselor. Of the two choices, I thought Arts and Crafts actually covered both areas. There is no question that is covers knitting and crocheting; but it also covers writing. Writing is an art. Writing is a craft. Had I chosen Writing and Editing, I would have felt as though I was misrepresenting myself. I am not offering my services as editor. While, sure I could help with some basic editing, so could pretty much anyone else who has a competent grasp of the English language.

I also tend have this inferiority complex about not having a bachelor's degree. I have this imaginary conversation with imaginary people who are looking at my profile. What if I put Writing and Editing instead of Arts and Crafts? The imaginary conversation goes something like this:

Educated Person: It appears you are offering your services as a writer and an editor. Is this true.

Me: Uh, sure!

EP: What are your qualifications as a writer? Have you published anything?

Me: I haven't sent anything out to publications, but not only do I have a blog, a friend of mine, who also happens to be a published author, lets me guest post twice a month on her blog about living with intensity of Gifted and Twice Exceptional children.

EP: Oh. So you are a blogger. Well, isn't that precious.

Me: Um? (continuing in spite of the veiled insult): In addition to that, for over ten years I have been an active member of an online writing group, where we take turns posting writing prompts every day and then we have the option of writing to these prompts and posting what we write.

EP: Is this a critique group?

Me: Not exactly. It's more of a morale group for writers.

EP: (flatly) Oh, well, good, because there is such a shortage of groups where writers all go and tell each other how great their writing is.

Me: There is? Oh. Well, if you want a serious critique from this group, you can ask for one.

EP: And there is someone in the group who is qualified to seriously critique your writing?

Me: No idea.

EP: Now, what about editing? Are you offering your services as an editor?

Me: I think I have a strong enough grasp of the English language to do some editing work.

EP: Have you ever done any editing?

Me: I edit my own work. I have edited some of  my kids' school assignments, and they both managed to graduate high school. I earned and A.S. degree in Paralegal studies, with straight A's....Oh never mind. How would you like a nice hat or a scarf?

Sunday, March 04, 2012

A Silly Conversation - NaNoWriMo Vignette #7

Here is my second to last vignette in the group of stories I was narrowing down to take to the Thank God It's Over Party at the end of NaNoWriMo 2011. If you missed vignettes 1 - 6 you can find them here, here, here, here, here, and here.

To make it easier, I'll list them too:

Vignette #1
Vignette #2
Vignette #3
Vignette #4
Vignette #5
Vignette #6

I have no illusions as to this being my very best writing. It is writing I did while using Dr. Wicked's Write or Die, while trying to type 500 words in 15 minutes. These were the results. I only edited for typos and readability. In this next one, the entire vignette is a dialogue. I used dashes because I felt the quotation marks were slowing me down. In the original, every line has a double dash (--) before the dialog. To help you keep track of "who" is speaking (I didn't have character names in this) I'll put a double dash (--) before each line of dialog spoken by one character, and a double asterisk (**) before each line of dialog spoken by the other.

Here goes....

A Silly Conversation

--So when were you going to tell me about Joe?

**What's there to tell?

--Well, I noticed you've been doing a lot of messaging with him.

**How would you know that?

--You left your computer wide open and I was just walking by and...

**And so you read my posts?

--I didn't really read them, I just noticed who they were from.

**Well, I guess you didn't read them because if you had, you would have known there was nothing to them.

--Was? So then you aren't talking to him any more?

**I was never talking to him. We were writing. He's my writing buddy.

--Oh, I see, is that what you kids are calling it these days?

**Calling what? We're doing NaNoWriMo and he happens to be one of my writing buddies. He lives in South Africa for crying out loud!

--Why didn't you say so?

**Why should I? I have lots of writing buddies both male and female, why are you so interested in Joe?

--I don't know, I guess that happened to be who you were writing to when I walked by.


--You know, people can travel form here to South Africa and from South Africa to California.

**I have no desire to travel to South Africa.

--Maybe your writing buddy would like to travel to California?

**If he does, I'll let you know. I'm sure he has plenty of other writing buddies. As a matter of fact, here, look, this is his profile. See? Look at all of his writing buddies!


**Really? Slut?This isn't a sex site, it's a writing site. You that, right?

--What were we talking about?


--I'm sorry, I feel like I just woke up.

**Are you taking Ambien(R) again?

--Yeah, how did you know?

**Uh, well apparently you can read in you sleep.


**You started accusing me of having an affair with one of my writing buddies.

--That's crazy! You're on a writing site!

**Well, you know, some people have gotten together because of NaNoWriMo...

--What are you doing?

**I'm just saying.

--Are you trying to make me jealous?

**No, I was just stating a fact. They even had a blog post about it on the Office of Letters and Light. This couple met on NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago. He was from the UK and she was from the US and now they are married and living in the UK.

--Oh my god! That is so cute! Where's the post? Do they have pictures?

**Yeah. Look, right here.

--Oh. My. God. Is that their invitation? How cute is that?

**I know, right? Okay, ummm I have to get back to writing.

--Okay...yeah, you get back to Facebook...

**Hey, sometimes I just need a little break...

--I know, kidding!

**Oh, hey! Don't forget to record American Horror Story tonight!

--You know I won't!

**I hope the have another Halloween episode next season!

--I hope there is a next season.

**How can there not be a next season? The show is incredible!

--Yeah, and you know, if I like show, then it's probably doomed.

**Oh, you're still mad about CBS cancelling Joan of Arcadia and for Ghost Whisperer?

--Well, come one, who wouldn't rather watch Amber Tamblyn over Jennifer Hate Hewitt?

**A lot of straight guys, probably.

--How would you know what straight guys like?

**Uh, I was in the closet for the first 23 years of my life, I think I have some idea.

--But you'll never really know for sure, will you?

**Who cares? I know what I like.

Saturday, March 03, 2012


We just got back from seeing Tin-Tin at the "cheap seats" and even though it wasn't in 3D in this theater, it was still a visual joy to behold! I'm looking forward to the next one!

Friday, March 02, 2012

My Post Over at "An Intense Life"

Today is the day I post on Christine Fonseca's blog, An Intense Life. The before last, I neglected to post the link to my previous entry on her blog, so here's that one too. Oh, and a poster of one of my most favorite parenting techniques:

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bereft of Bodywash

Today's CHPerc entry:

"Bereft of Bodywash"

Imagine you own a house.  You have roommates. They are friends of yours. You let them stay there rent free because either they are looking for work, or they don't make a lot of money and need to save the money to use toward fulfulling their dreams for the future, and you see their potential, so you want to help with that. To that end, in addition to not charging rent, you pay for most of the food in the house, and more often than not, supply their bathroom with the necessary toiletries, sometimes even deodorant, because, hey, that benefits everyone, right? If they run out of bathroom supplies, they need only to notify you, and make sure you put it on the next shopping list.

In this house, they all have rooms. Some share a room. They all share the main bathroom.  You have your own room with it's own bathroom. You have your own personal bathroom supplies such as, shampoo, bodywash, etc. They are allowed to use your bathroom if the other one is being used.  If they are out of a certain toiletry, and you haven't had a chance to go to the store, all they have to do is ask to borrow yours. You will say yes as long as they put it back so it is there when you go to use it. On several occasions, you have been caught in the shower without soap because they forgot to put it back. After the second time that happened, you learned to check to make sure you had soap if you knew they had recently borrowed yours.  If they had not recently borrowed anything, you would be prefectly within reason to have the expectation that your supplies will be right where you keep them.

One morning, you step into the shower. You wash your hair. You turn around to put some bodywash on the sponge --no body wash!  You know you can't be out of body wash, it was still fairly heavy the last time you used it, just a day ago. You know it was one of your roommates. You know that no one has asked you to borrow the bodywash since the last time you used it. This has happened before, but it was quite awhile ago, and you were certain that they understood, and they assured you it wouldn't happen again.  What would you do?

In my case, these "roommates" are my children: 20, 20, and 10. (very soon to be 21, 21 and 11--if they live that long).  I am mainly speaking about the 20-year-olds in this case, since the 10-year-old kind of gets an automatic pass on rent and other necessities at least until she graduates high school. I thought about how we've been through this before. I felt like this was something I had no control over, and yet at the same time, I felt like I had the right to be in control over whether or not my bath products would be there when I needed them. I felt that I had drilled the thought that if you take something that does not belong to you without asking and getting permission, it is stealing.  I knew that over their entire childhoods from the time they seemed to understand spoken words, if they began to reach for something that they weren't supposed to, I would ask, "Does that belong to you? No, it doesn't" (when they were older, I would wait for them to answer with "No." Then I would say, "Then you don't touch it!"  Very simple. It is a very simple lesson. If it doesn't belong to you, you do not touch it. I would even say things like, "When you see something and you would like to touch it, or pick it up, ask yourself, 'Does this belong to me?' If the answer is, 'No,' then do NOT touch it!"  It is a lesson that I have always felt, in my observation of most kids, that a very large percentage of mothers did not teach this to their own children, or if they did, it wasn't taught with enough consistency to sink in. I continued teaching this to my kids through elementary school, dwindling off somewhere around middle school. It seemed to stick for a while...but not long enough.

This was my reaction to what I felt was a violation of my trust, and a lack of respect for my personal property:  I got out of the shower, still soaking wet. I put a towel around me, because my 20-year-old son was home and sleeping in a nearby bedroom. I wasn't sure I wanted to scar him for life....though I did consider it, thinking it might make an excellent object lesson and perhaps work as negative conditioning if he did happen to see me in all my natural glory, storming down the hall to retrieve my bodywash from the other bathroom.  Also, because it was around 10am, I thought it would be a good time to slam every door I used as hard as I could. Beginning with the bathroom door in my bedroom: SLAM! My bedroom door: SLAM! The main bathroom door: SLAM! I retrieved the bodywash and went through the inner bathroom door that separates the bath and toilet from the double basins: SLAM!  Back through the outer bathroom door, SL--oh crap, I dropped the bodywash while trying to slam the door with the same hand in which I was carrying the bottle. Pick up the body wash, switch hands, SLAM! I think I hear my son yelling, "Mom!?" I smile, pleased that my annoyance has now been distributed.  There was a slight amount of guilt because the possibility did occur to me that he might not be the culprit. If that turned out to be the case, I would apologize.  Back through my bedroom door: SLAM!  Back through my bathroom door: SLAM!

I proceed to take my shower, change my clothes, then enter my daughter's room that she is sharing with her brother (his old room was changed into an exercise room a while after he moved out...the first time.)  My daughter was at work, so I sat on her bed to talk to my son.

"Nick, I need your help."

"Okay," he said sleepily.

"I need to vent about something, and the way you can help me, is by not trying to get me to be all Zen about it."


"I already realize I overreacted, but I still need to vent."

"Okay, I will just listen."

"Thank you."

I then proceeded to share with him the example above, asking him to imagine he owned a house. When I got to the part about how he would be perfectly within reason to expect his bodywash to be there, he said, "Oh my god mom, I'm so sorry! That was me. I'm so sorry. I forgot!" I reminded him, that while it is okay to use my things if he asks, that he did not ask. He said something about no one being home to ask at that time, but acknowledge he still shouldn't have done it. I informed him that in the future, if he doesn't have any bodywash, or soap, he needs to look under all the sinks and in all the bathroom drawers, then he needs to call me before doing something like that again. As it turned out, in one of my bathroom drawers, we did have several bars of soap specifically designed for use in the shower. After our discussion, I put two of those bars in the main bathroom and put "bodywash" on my shopping list.

Yes, this is photo of the exact brand and scent of bodywash that was missing.  So, basically, my "Happiness" had been stolen! ;-)