Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Random Stuff

A quick summary of our week. (So far.)

School stuff:
  • Little Miss went back to school on Monday. She seems to be over whatever that was. Thank goodness!
  • Her little boyfriend was very worried about her while she was out sick.
  • Her teacher had to tell me about the boyfriend. Little Miss briefly mentioned a boy that had told her she was the best girl he ever knew, but the teacher had to tell me that he stole a kiss in the hallway last week. Apparently, he had to mention it to the teacher. She didn't know until then either. :)
  • She has another little boyfriend that she sat with during a video the other day. She actually knows this one's name, at least.
  • The teacher and I are debating whether or not Little Miss can read already. Neither of us are completely certain, but we sort of suspect it. Little Miss has not yet slipped up and given us any sure proof. But her teacher says that she should be ready to take some sort of little reading test soon.
  • So far, Little Miss is not putting up any fights or complaints about doing her homework. This is awesome. I hope it lasts. It might only be because homework has only consisted of one worksheet which requires favorite artistic techniques such as coloring and cutting/pasting, along with a tiny bit of writing practice. We'll see how it goes in a few months.
  • Mornings come way too soon around here. Especially when a certain Baby Girl insists on waking up at 5am. :(
  • I really, really hate mornings.
  • That afternoon pickup routine is a mess. Or, at least, it was on Monday. Yesterday was better. Slightly. We'll see if that continues. I hope so.
  • Either way, it still takes sitting there for a full 40 minutes to get the kid in the car and get back out on the road...
  • I have a feeling Baby Girl is going to hate doing that every day.
  • I get to find out exactly how she feels about it this afternoon. Yay.(Updated: Baby Girl did reasonably okay with the waiting. Thank goodness. Let's hope that keeps up.)
  • They're already sending home things for the kids to sell door-to-door. :( I hate that. (Also, if you'd like to buy candy bars or cookie dough, let me know.)
Crafty stuff:

  • The Camp Loopy challenge shawl is still not finished. But some small progress is being made.
 
  • I'm hoping to get a post done soon to go into a bit more detail, but it hasn't happened just yet.
  • I have ten days to get it finished, washed & blocked, photographed and uploaded.
  • I'm not sure I'm gonna make it.
  • My niddy-noddy came. I rewound my tiny little skein into something a little neater.
        
 
  • It's still very, very tiny.
  • I don't know exactly how tiny. My best guess is about 20 yards. Maybe.
  • I should have gotten the larger niddy-noddy.
  • My Box of Fun came on Monday. It had lots of pretty fluff in it:
                                    
                                                                  Cayenne and Spruce
                                                                    by Sweet Georgia
 
                                                                 Wood Elves Gradient
                                                           by  Fibernymph Dye Works

                                                           Leprechaun Socks Gradient
                                                           by  Fibernymph Dye Works


Fruit Loops Gradient
                                                            by Fibernymph Dye Works

                                                                  Shawn Spencer
                                                           by Woolen Mill St. Yarns
  • All of those are BFL, except the last one. (The last one is Corriedale roving.)
  • BFL apparently stands for Blue-Faced  Leicester . (That's a type of sheep.)
  • I have no idea what most of those will look like when they're all spun up. It will be a complete surprise.
  • I really hope they're pretty when I get them spun and that I don't manage to completely ruin them...
  • I can't actually use any of my pretty new fluff yet. I only have one spindle and it's full.
  • I'm trying to correct that. (It's my waiting-in-the-car-for-Little-Miss-after-school project.) (Updated: I fibbed. I finished up that yarn during naptime, because I couldn't stand it. But my problem still isn't fixed because I only had a blue roving with me during the car wait. I couldn't hold out. I needed something to pass the time. I started it. The pretties will have to wait another day or so...)
  • I think I need a couple more spindles, so as to avoid the problem mentioned above...
  • My second ever attempt at making yarn is currently hanging up to dry. I like it. I think it's a bit better than the last.
  • My third attempt is currently on the spindle. (It's an almost navy blue.)
  • I finished the first of Baby Girl's socks the other day.
  • I turned the heel of the second sock yesterday afternoon. (While waiting in the school line.)
  • I'm gonna need lots of waiting-in-the-parking-lot projects to get me through this year.
  • On the plus side, hopefully, I'll get quite a bit of stuff finished this school year? I hope...

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's a Kind of Magic

And I am completely enchanted by it. (Also, I now have that song by Queen stuck in my head. But I guess that's my own fault, huh?)

Here's what's been going on:

First I took something resembling this (except it was a weird dark purple color that Little Miss loves)



And then, I grabbed this (which has been sitting around here in a box for years and I'm really glad I grabbed it- finally- because, wow)


And finally, I threw in a little of this

which you got a glimpse of a while back (buried underneath the other book). Then I added a dash of youtube. The lady who wrote that book has a couple of very helpful videos that demonstrate what she was trying to explain in her book.


And now, several days later- Presto change-o! Like magic!

I MADE YARN!! (Sorry for yelling. I couldn't help it. I'll try to get a grip. Might take a few days, though. I nearly drove my sweetie crazy last night, what with all the dancing around and giggling to myself...) I'm so unreasonably thrilled about that. It's just the neatest thing.


                                    
First, I spun the roving into a single ply yarn. (This is the purple, shown very close to actual color, thanks to my sweetie, who is much, much better with the camera than I am.) It basically sucks, as far as yarn goes. It's very overspun (because she said it was better to have too much than too little, and I took her at her word). It has thick and thin spots hidden in all the kinks. It is very far from perfect. But I love it anyway.


The book says that plying helps to even out yarns, so, of course, I plied. Here's my two-ply yarn on the spindle.

                                    
Plying was awesome. It's even more fun than the spinning, and so very much faster. It took hours and hours to spin the singles. Plying it all took less than an hour total. It's still a very thick-and-thin yarn, but the plying does seem to have helped it.

Then I had to get it off the spindle. I used my crappy, cheap, in-need-of-an-upgrade swift, which worked fine. I guess. I've never wound yarn up on it before, only used it to hold yarn while I wind it up into balls. It seemed a little bit awkward. I have a niddy-noddy somewhere in the mail. It should be here in a few days, and then I hope to make this skein look a little better. I think it will at least be easier than using the swift.

 And finally, a quick bath. This is supposed to set the twist and make it real yarn forever and always.
 


 
And now, the hard part. Patiently waiting for it to dry. That patience thing isn't working out so well for me. (As usual.) Luckily, I have things to distract me. And I'm cheating.

The yarn has to hang to dry. I left it un-weighted this first time, just to see what it turned out like. But, when I woke up this morning and found out that it was still wet, well...


I had to move it. Now it is hanging right under my ceiling fan (in the only room of the house where I can be reasonably sure no one will mess with it too much), which is going full speed. Hopefully, it will be dry pretty soon and I can pet it and maybe get a guess as to how much of it there is... I'm not sure if I plan to do anything with it for now. It might just sit around for a few months (or years) so I can occasionally measure my new yarns against it to see if I'm getting any better.

My brand new, very-first-ever, made-it-myself yarn is still kinky and overspun (which I'll probably try to improve on the next go), but it is bouncy and springy and I think it isn't a completely terrible first effort. (I've seen professional yarns for sale that are very similar.) I'm pretty happy with it, and I can't wait to try it again. This is most likely going to make me want a spinning wheel even more than ever, but for now, I just want a few more spindles and some more roving. (My box of fun should be here in just a few days with the roving. Yay!)

I wonder if I can talk my husband into getting me a couple of those sweet little miniature sheep now?  Hmm...  ;)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Worst First Week of School EVER!

So far, at least. I'll admit that we still have a great many years in front of us yet. But I truly hope that this is the worst we will ever have...


My sweet little girl was excited to start her new school. She bounced out of bed and jumped into her new clothes and off we went. Everything was going well. There was the expected amount of nervous- from both of us. It's a big, scary thing for a little one to have to walk through an entire huge school, past all of the big kids. (It will be even worse when she has to do it alone. Which they want asap.) And a new teacher and all new classmates is a little scary, too. That's understandable, and I was a little nervous that there would be tears. But, as far as I could tell (and no one has mentioned differently), there were none. She wilted a bit when I left her, but she was brave and she made it through her half day of school. (Remember that. It was a half day. They were only there for four hours. This will be important to our story in a minute.)

She hasn't been very talkative about her first day. We've slowly managed to piece together a very few details about it:
1- Her new teacher passed out some pencils and glue sticks for the pencil boxes. And the table has a neat "tiny" cubby underneath just the right size to hold the aforementioned pencil boxes. (She seems to think this was the neatest part of the day- that the tables have a place to keep a pencil box.)
2- They didn't get to play outside because of "the mean old rain".
3- They read a story about the first day of school jitters and made something called "jitter juice"(which seems to be very similar to the punch my family makes. She said it had rainbow ice cream and two different kinds of Sierra Mist. She also said she didn't like it). *As an aside, I would very much like them to stop sending me little notes and lectures about proper nutrition now. They gave them soda and ice cream on the first day of class and the "nutritious" snacks that they prefer I buy her (from them) instead of packing from home apparently consist of cookies and popsicles. They have zero room to be lecturing me on what I should be feeding my kids if this is their definition of nutritious... Just sayin'.*
4- When I picked her up from school, I asked her if she had a good day. Her reaction was not overly positive. I believe her exact words were "not very good." But by the time we got home and her daddy asked her the same thing, she told him "yes." Make of that what you will.

This is the sum total we have managed to pry out of her.

This was a strange week, with only 3 half days (four hours each, remember), and she was only supposed to attend on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

So, on Wednesday, Little Miss was quite a bit harder to drag up and get moving. I chalked it up to nerves and off we went...

(Here's where the four hours/day becomes relevant.)
The school nurse called around 11 and told us to come get her. She had puked. (And has continued to do so.) The nurse says it's a stomach bug and that several other kindergarteners have it as well. Little Miss can return to school 24 hours after she stops puking.

I would just like to restate, for the record: FOUR HOURS! That's how long it took for that cesspit known as public school to make people sick. We're doomed. Doomed, I tell you! I hate schools. They're full of germs. I didn't realize it would only take four hours to doom us all, but apparently, that's all it took.

And, so, her first week of school comes abruptly to a close. Surely, she'll be fit to return on Monday. Please? (I love her dearly, but there's only so much puking I can handle. Pretty sure I've reached my limits here. And I hate seeing her so miserable.)

Worst first week of school ever.


PS. Camp Loopy 3 isn't making me super happy right now, either. But, I'll complain about that in a few days. (Probably in detail. Sorry about that in advance.)

PPS. On a positive note, they called my husband about work. Unless some sort of (very expensive for them) emergency arises, he gets to stay home until after my birthday! I'm super happy about that. The one really good thing that's happened so far this week. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Climbing Back Up On That Wagon...

... is a whole lot harder than falling off of it is.

I suppose, if you want to be exceptionally accurate about it (and, please, let us not confuse the issue with facts), I didn't so much fall off the wagon as jump enthusiastically at the first available opportunity.

You see, I have what I consider to be a legitimate addiction. My husband insists that it's just all in my head (isn't that what an addiction is? -basically just your brain screaming at you that you need this??) He claims that I could stop if I truly wanted to. If I wanted it badly enough, I could just walk away and never think of such things again. Theoretically, that may be true. Unfortunately, even though I keep stating very, very clearly that I am not going to go near that stuff ever again... I always end up with it.

And, no, this time we aren't talking about something wonderful and amazing that "normal" people just don't get. (Such as fabrics or yarns, for example.) This time we are, in fact, talking about something very bad for me. It isn't illegal or anything. In fact, most of the time, people seem to be shoving it at you. I get strange looks from people when they find out that I don't let my kids have it, because everybody (and their kids) uses the stuff constantly. (It isn't that I actively deprive my kids of it. It's that they will not touch the stuff. At all. Their choice. I swear it. I really can't be bothered to mind that they don't want it. I wish I didn't want it.)

I'm talking about soda. Or pop, depending on which part of the world you come from. (I seem to remember calling it pop, or possibly soda-pop, when I was smaller.) Specifically, colas (Dr. Pepper, by preference)- the more caffeine, the better. I've finally gotten away from the diet sodas- thank goodness!- but I still cannot quit longing for them.

I go cold turkey every time I try to quit permanently. There is no possible way for me to "just have one once in a while." Tried it. It fails miserably. Every. Single. Time. One turns into two, which turns into three, and before I know it that's all I seem to drink. Meanwhile, my virtuous, non-addicted kid is fussing at me like she was the mom, telling me how bad it is for me (which I know) and how it isn't nutritious (which is one of her favorite words)...

I was doing really well this last time. I was. I hadn't had a single soda in weeks, and I was nearly to the point where I could almost fool myself into thinking I didn't want them (LIAR!!) And then...

I don't actually know what went wrong. I just found myself drinking one. Maybe I was sleep deprived. That happens a lot- you would not believe how often that happens! (Okay. If you have very young children, you probably believe. If your kids are older, you might already be blessed with that lovely self imposed amnesia that our brains are programmed to provide us with as a self-defense, species survival mechanism.) Or, maybe, I forgot to pack a water with me/drank all my water and just needed a drink. That might have been the only decent option available.

Or maybe, just maybe, my husband is wrong. Maybe that headline I saw (somewhere or other) that claims that sugar is more addictive than most drugs is actually on to something. That would explain a lot.

And so, here we go again. I'm climbing back up on the wagon. And I will try once again to stay there.

And, if they would like to help me stay there, I would offer this advice to my children- especially the little one:

If I am not able to drink soda, my dears, then the only possible source of caffeine left to me is the one you must allow me to have. It is hot. You cannot climb on me/steal it out of my hands/ hang off of my legs while I'm trying to lift it. You must get over whatever unreasonable objections you seem to have to this beverage that will (hopefully) be able to get us all through our days with my sanity as intact as it is possible to still be. In short, you must let me drink my tea!!!

Seriously, what do you have against tea??!?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Are We Having an Alien Invasion?

Because all day, I keep thinking that the body-snatchers have invaded Alberta and that my husband is now actually a pod person...

I should explain, huh?

Where to start?... Remember a while back, when I went to the yarn shop and fell hard for that awesome buffalo? And I decided not to try and give my husband heart failure over the price of it?...

Well, it turns out that even without being willing to actually give him a total (although I did break down and tell him the price of each individual skein), I couldn't help but mention (possibly repeatedly) how much I loved this stuff, and how it was a totally reasonable price, considering...

Well, this morning I woke up to find my husband telling me to buy the buffalo.

I know.

 Shocked doesn't really begin to describe my reaction. After a few minutes to absorb this news, I naturally inquired as to the whereabouts of my real husband. It took several text messages and a facetime session to convince me that it was really him saying it. And, even then, I still thought insanity or pod people were most likely involved. Still...



What? I was supposed to turn him down? You know better than that, right? Happy birthday to me!! (That's the explanation he chose to use to explain his sudden generosity/insanity, by the way. Even though my birthday is a month away. I tell you what, if this is what surprise double-time days do to him, those people need to work on all the Canadian holidays...)

Here it is again... (Pardon the crappy pictures. It's a much more gorgeous chocolate brown than it appears here.)
                                       
The label doesn't show, so let me read it off to you. The important parts, anyway. This stuff is called
"Heaven". That's the name of it. "Heaven." No arguments from me. 100% bison down, 2-ply lace weight. It's from The Buffalo Wool Co. and supposedly there are 400 yards here. (On each skein. There are three skeins. I bought out the store. I would say I'm sorry, but I'm not.) Doesn't look like it to me, but then, it never does.

This is the closest pattern they had to the one the sample scarf was done up in. (I briefly considered trying to buy that scarf, too. But I resisted. It was hard.)
 I tried to get a closer view of the actual pattern here:
 It is close to what I saw in the shop, but not exact. And I'm not certain that this is what I will use when I get around to knitting it up. But it is definitely in the running.

As for the Camp Loopy challenge, I'm still plugging along. It's going very slowly. I may have made several small miscalculations.

For a start, lace is probably not something I'm going to do much of for a few more years. I've found out that I have very little time to spend on it. Because there is counting to be done. And I cannot count when someone is jabbering at me. I know this now, because I tried. Didn't work. What this means is that I now have no time to work on my shawl, because the nap times I thought I would have have completely vanished. The only time I'm getting any work done is after I stick the girls into bed (but before I pass out myself- a very small window of time, especially when one or both of the girls makes sure to drag me out of a sound sleep at least once or twice a night) or first thing in the morning. If I happen to be dragged awake before the girls. This has cut down on my knitting time considerably.

Secondly, I've chosen to knit a shawl. This means that every single row (okay, okay- every other row) gets bigger than the last... The problems with that should be obvious. The longer it takes to do a row, the fewer rows I get done per day.

I'm starting to think that I might not get this thing finished in time. And that's a sad thing to be thinking already, because it's only the 5th day of the month. Maybe my husband's kidnappers will finally let him come home and I can get an extra row or two in every day. Maybe? I hope.

Here's what I have so far:
 
This is exactly 58 finished rows. (The shortest ones.) I have twice that many to go. And then I have the tips of the leaf points to go back and add. Plus the blocking at the end...
 
I better get back to work!
 
 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

There's Your Problem...

We had a really rough day, the other day. Everybody was super grumpy/whiny/out of sorts, and nobody had a single shred of patience to be found.

Yesterday started off really badly again, albeit not as irritatingly early. I woke up too soon, the baby woke up earlier than I wanted her to, etc. I was allowed (most of) a cup of tea before the crying began, which was so very much better than the day before, but for a couple of hours there, that was the only improvement I could find.

It wasn't my Little Miss's fault. She spent most of yesterday morning playing nicely in her room. Most likely simply trying to avoid us. I don't blame her. Baby Girl was a super grump. Right up until I started rubbing her back. (Which was a couple of minutes after she placed it within my reach.) Suddenly, there was peace. Suddenly, there was calm. Suddenly, I looked down and saw my sweet, precious baby peacefully snuggled up against me with a look of perfect contentment. It was the exact sort of look that I suspect can be found on my face in the (now rare, since he's always away working) moments that I can snuggle up and let my husband rub my back.

That's when it hit me. That is most likely the entire source of strife that we experienced the day before. (And quite a lot of the other times.) Baby Girl is far, far too much like me.

Little Miss has some things in common with me. For instance, she would really rather just be left completely alone for an hour or so after she wakes up. Also, she has a temper. Also, she has a fair bit of stubborn in her. (Although, while some of it may have come from me, I still maintain that quite a lot of the stubborn came from her daddy. He is so very stubborn as to be unable to admit that he is stubborn.) But, in addition to all of that, my sweet Little Miss is, as my mother first pointed out to me, quite the little drama queen. (This might be my ultimate downfall. I have very little use for or patience with drama. Already the incessant tantrums threaten to put me over the edge several times a day, and she isn't even in kindergarten yet. I can only imagine- with a great deal of trepidation- the hell that awaits me during the teenage years.)

But my precious Baby Girl...

I have a lot of faults. I would be the very first to admit that. I'm stubborn, impatient, short-tempered, and have next to zero tolerance for willful stupidity. (Which, unfortunately, seems to be rampant in the world today.) I tend to feel the urge to curse far, far too often. (I've been working hard on this since the kids came along. Mostly, I do okay when they're around. The rest of the time, I resort to curses that are only obscene in whatever science fiction universe they came from. Real people would probably just stare in confusion if my kid repeated them. I'm kind of okay with that, since it's really probably the best I can hope to achieve at this point. You can probably blame my daddy for that. I doubt he would argue the point. Much.) The list goes on and on and on. I know all of this, and I try to fight it. I try to rise above it. Mostly, I fail. But I try. I have always considered science fiction stories about clones to be a horrific idea, and I have never, not once, seriously entertained the idea that cloning myself would truly be beneficial. Because if I had to live with me, I would probably be plotting murder within seconds. (This is one of the reasons that my sweet husband is so very special and impressive. He presumably knew all of this, and he married me anyway...)

And I suddenly realized yesterday, while snuggling with Baby Girl, that she has quite a lot of these traits, too. Poor thing. Not only has she got an even bigger dose of stubborn than her sister did, she has the super short temper, the frustration that comes with having no patience to speak of while simultaneously being forced to wait on everyone else, the look that says all too clearly "good grief, I can't believe my survival depends on you people! Get it together already!" All of it. Also, unlike her sister and father, she has trouble sleeping soundly and therefore wakes up much more easily (like me) than she probably wants to. And to top it all off, she isn't really much of a morning person either.

So, now, one of my worst (so far. I'm trying not to borrow trouble from too far in the future) fears has come true. Not only do I have to live with myself, I get to live with myself and a drama queen- through the teenage years. (This seems like an appropriate time to raise my eyes towards the heavens and pray for the patience, wisdom, and strength to survive it all with my sanity- what's left of it, anyway- still intact...)

We had a much better afternoon yesterday. I don't know why, exactly. It could be that this little epiphany has caused me to put even more effort into things. Or, possibly, it's because my wonderful father-in-law came over to play with the girls for a while. (They were, as always, super rough on him.) Maybe Baby Girl overheard me begging my husband for a short vacation to anywhere, in order to preserve what little of my sanity remains. (That conversation lasted for a while, night before last. And yesterday morning during the repeat performance of grumps...) She could've decided to show me a little mercy. Or, possibly, everyone just spontaneously recovered from the severe case of the grumps that we've all suffered from for the last few days.

Maybe it's some combination of all of these reasons. I may never know. But, I'm very grateful. This morning has been a bit better. Right up until a few minutes ago, when I attempted to make myself a cup of tea. That's when the fighting and whining started up again. What in the world do these girls have against tea??

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a couple of kids to separate, some hair pulling to put a stop to, and maybe- just maybe- a cup of tea to drink before it gets completely cold...



Friday, August 1, 2014

Off to the Races...

Today is the first of August, which means that the Camp Loopy challenge 3 hosted by The Loopy Ewe has officially begun.

And I have officially started to wonder what in the world I was thinking, planning to have time to actually finish an entire project in just a few short days...

Here's what I have so far:

                                        (Sorry for the not-so-great shot. It really is all there is to see, though.)


What you see in that photo is 16 rows of the first attempt at actual lace that I have ever done. And, yes, it really does look just like that at the moment. I would be super discouraged if I hadn't been told that lace just looks crappy until it's blocked. I'm already discouraged enough without adding that in...

Now that the time has arrived to actually knit the shawl, I've finally realized that there really are not likely to be very many hours this month with which to knit. I had a vague feeling that this might be the case, but today has finally proven it for certain.

I was counting on nap times to help give me a few extra minutes for knitting. But Baby Girl has been resisting naps furiously these last few days. This morning, she actually passed out for an hour or so. Yay! But, when I tried to capitalize on the time, I suddenly had a five-year-old attached to my hip. (The same five-year-old who had spent the previous two hours playing in her bedroom and completely ignoring my existence. Yeah, that one.) And that's when I discovered that the only time I'm likely to have for most of the month is whatever amount of time I can keep my eyes open after bedtime. Because I don't think I can knit this pattern without counting to myself. And I cannot count with anyone sitting next to me and talking to me incessantly.

My project might not get finished by the deadline.

But, so far, I love the yarn. And the color. And so far, I'm able to follow the pattern and not get too confused. And, boy, I hope I didn't just jinx myself with that sentence...

And, now, I'd better shut up and get to knitting. :)