What, ME M.I.A.???

So I guess it’s been about 8 days since my last post.  Sorry!  You find yourself in bed with a nasty cold with symptoms too gruesome to describe, then there’s a nasty ice storm leaving the kids at home for a few days and the next thing you know it’s been a week!

I’ve been working on that second sock and I will have a progress report soon.  When I’ve been unable to knit (sleeping baby on my chest) I’ve been reading some fun books about ghost legends in New York State.  And then, of course, there is Lost, which just started up again last week, much to my excitement.  Which is a great segue into my best news: we ditched our old satellite system and got a new one all hooked up!  And it works!  We have tv again!  Not only that, but they had some nice flat screens on sale at Target so we picked one up for our bedroom.  We’ve never had a tv in our bedroom before.  Not one in 13 years of marriage.  But, since 95% of the time it’s just me and Oona in our bedroom, and with argumentative kids who will one day be surly teenagers wanting to watch crappy teen dramas, we decided it was high time to have our own tv sanctuary.  Great for those lazy icy days when you’re still not quite feeling well and just want to snuggle up with your favorite baby and watch Spongebob.


The Trouble With Tadoodles, and A Sock Battle Won

Yes, I finished sock # 1 of the pair.  I’ve never ever had a sock take me so long to complete when I’ve thrown myself into it.  I blame the cabling.  They will be quite a beautiful pair, though.  On Friday I had the heel turned and broke out the french press to fortify myself for the long weekend.


It was just girls on Saturday (Paul was in Connecticut) and with a forecast of cloudy, frigid, and possible snow I was full of giddiness at the promise the weekend held.

Anyway, the sock got done.

I think I’ve mentioned that we don’t get cable here.    Our neighborhood is too new, there’s not enough demand for it, blah blah blah.  We have satellite but it is iffy.  I’ve always had this complaint about satellite – we have bad karma with it or something because when it goes down, it goes DOWN.  It doesn’t come back up until Paul gets home and goes on the roof or does whatever looking at it sternly and it works again (no I don’t call people.  They can’t figure it out either and make me feel stupid to boot)  It did not work this weekend, and I knew that Paul would not have a chance to look into it so I got some dvd’s to watch.  It was great until the dvd player went on strike.  I won’t get into the details but there is now a pile of parts that used to be a dvd player on the table in the craft room and I had to move the knitting and baby playing operation down to the living room so we’d have some tv.  It also didn’t snow, but it WAS frigid.  Good thing we had gas for the fireplace.


All I have left on this is to close up the toe, if Sushi will let me.  I plan to cast on the second one tonight, before I lose my steam.  And let me add that I will NOT be knitting anything with cables for awhile if I can help it.  I think some nice plain mittens and hats are in order.  I also have some lovely self – striping sock yarn that will look quite fetching knitted up in a plain and easy stockinette stitch.  So the battle is won, but the war is far from over.  One more to go.

Oona has caught the ick that has been plaguing Neve (cough, stuffy nose, fever) and we had a rather long and troublesome night last night, followed by my realization this morning that I, too am on the receiving end   of this oh so wonderful virus.  Very soon I will be donning my warm pj’s, sitting by the fire with my little needles and yarn, and NOT letting Oona play with her Tadoodles.


Excellent concept: toddler friendly crayons.  Washable.  Water soluble.  A great idea unless your toddler is normal and likes to taste everything.  That’s when water soluble becomes a big, fat mess.

Turned a Heel

Yippee!  I turned the heel on sock #1 last night!  It seems like such a huge accomplishment with how long this sock has been taking me, and given how quickly a pair of socks can usually be whipped up.  I am choosing not to think about the fact that I still have to work up the toe and do it all over again. No, no I will not think about that second sock looming on the horizon. Or the fact that Oona has been pulling down the house all around me while I try to knit.  As an aside, it’s really difficult to work fiddly little cables on size 1 needles when your baby keeps yanking your shirt and yelling “BOOBIE!”

I had a picture of my progress but alas my camera died and I am too lazy to replace the batteries right now.  Instead I’ll post some this weekend, hopefully after sock #1 is finished.  (Wishful thinking?)

Paul is headed to Connecticut to pick up my brother’s car this weekend and Maddie will be here to help out so I am going to plant my butt in front of the computer and watch old episodes of South Park and Family Guy while I get down to some serious knitting.

One Is the Loneliest Number

I avoided “second mitten syndrome” way better than I usually do with “second sock syndrome”.  Mostly because with the first mitten I had some issues and I was determined to work them out in short order on a second one.  It also doesn’t hurt that I was using a fairly chunky yarn in a straightforward knit stitch for little hands.  Neve now has a pair (though one is slightly mutant) of red mittens to keep her little fingers warm on the playground.  I’ll be working up another, better pair for her, and one for Emily, too, though she has a pair of fleece ones already.  Good thing, too.  Our highs this week are only supposed to be in the 30’s, with lows in the teens.  Now, I know what a lot of you are thinking.  “That’s downright balmy!!”  And you know, I’d have agreed with you once upon a time, when I’d stand waiting for the school bus at the bottom of an ice covered driveway at 20 below.  But that was in the days of the north country, when the snowbanks were so high in the winter you could barely see the houses in a neighborhood as you drove by, and there’d be enough snow that people would be skiing in May wearing tee shirts and shorts.  Those were also the days of living in homes with furnaces. Here we have heat pumps.  To me this means “has to work a lot harder and doesn’t always quite cut it”.  It could also be that after 13 or so years in the “almost South” I have just become a wimp.  Let’s just agree that here, for us,  daytime highs in the 30’s is COLD.  So I am glad that Neve has these.


I’m glad they’re done so I can get to finishing the socks for mom.  And the cleaning.  Good God the cleaning.  Oona’s been helping.  She found the under – bed fur babies and tried to flush them out.


Since it’s gotten colder they’ve been huddling together for warmth and Oona can’t resist aiming herself at them like a bowling ball.

And speaking of the cold, how is it that we still have spiders?  After dinner this evening I was cleaning up the kitchen and Emily pointed (I thought) behind me and yelled “SPIDER”!  And since I thought she was pointing behind me I ran in the opposite direction to get away from it, and toward her.  At which point she screamed and ran backwards away from me, pointing and yelling that I had walked into it and it was now on me. Lunatic that I am, I panicked and (of course couldn’t look for it lest I faint at the sight of it)  ran toward her, furiously swiping at my neck and chest and screaming at her to GET IT OFF ME!!! all while she was running away from me shouting GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!

Yes, dinner at my place.  Such a calm, sane time.

Introducing……..Food-Mo-Tron and Mr. Harold

We picked up two new residents somewhere along the way.  I don’t know how long they were percolating on the fringes of my awareness but they burst forth, much to our collective chagrin, right about the same time.  I think it was in mid October or thereabouts.  FoodMoTron was the first.  It started out innocently enough, as these things usually do.  You know how it goes.  You’re playing with your 5 year old to get her to stop jumping all over the place and the “I Am A Robot” voice picks up.  You think that since robots are calm that maybe playing along will help take things down a few notches on the hyper chart.  It did that, but it also took things way UP on the annoyance chart.  I asked her what kind of robot she was.  A fix – it bot?  A calculator bot?  A crazy bot?  No.  She was a food making robot.  A “FoodMoTron”.  I think this may have come from Futurama (yes I know it’s innapropriate for a 5 year old to be watching.  But I am alone and overwhelmed, so, whatever). Either way, it was amusing until dinner time.  I can’t remember what I had prepared but I do recall that it had taken some time and work.  And when we all sat down to eat, Neve pushed her plate away and stuck her tongue out.  Then she claimed that as a FoodMoTron she couldn’t “eat this”.  She could only “create food”.  Further, she wanted full access to the kitchen to accomplish this.  And when I refused, FoodMoTron became Evil FoodMoTron.

We all began to really dislike FoodMoTron from then on.  Anytime Neve did anything bad she’d say “I am not Neve.  I am FoodMoTron”.  And the moment Neve magically reappeared, she “knew nothing” of the bad behavior, because “it wasn’t me, it was FoodMoTron!”  As her robotic alter – ego she would tease Oona, push Emily around, get sassy with me and Maddie, draw on walls and furniture, etc. We carefully avoid robot references now to avoid any new appearances by FoodMoTron.   Clearly this was Neve’s outlet for naughtiness.  What’s funny about that is that Mr. Harold is the opposite.

Mr. Smitty Harold showed up right before Thanksgiving.  There were some Groucho Marx style play glasses leftover from Halloween and Neve appeared one evening wearing a pair and doing an imitation of an old man.  She introduced herself in this funny voice as “Mr. Smitty Harold”.  I learned that Mr. Harold is wildly rich and generous (he gave me hundreds and millions of dollars and cents), likes to clean (he cleaned the entire playroom in an hour, and did a pretty good job, too), likes to tell on Neve (“she didn’t flush the potty, and that makes her pretty gross!”), and, somehow, is my new husband , “but don’t tell Paul when he calls.  I don’t want him to know that I will be sleeping in your bed tonight.”

Um……I didn’t let Neve/Mr. Smitty Harold sleep in bed with me that night.  It was too weird, even if it IS my little Neve.  I have received several love notes from Mr. Harold.  They all call me “Boofull”.   In general, as Mr. Harold is rather helpful around the house and not given to much sassiness we all don’t mind him so much.  It does get to be tiring though when he begins insisting that as an adult he can drive the car and do whatever else he feels like, which is, I am guessing, the whole manipulative point to this character.


One Done But………………..

As in many other things, in knitting there are projects where you think you know better the mechanics of how a project should come together than the pattern writer and so you go rogue, and you end up with a big mess and realize that “duh”, you didn’t actually know better, and should have followed the darn pattern.  And then there are times where you ignore your gut, because you don’t want to go rogue and end up screwing up another project.  And you still end up with a big mess.

I finished one mitten according to pattern.  And screwed it up totally when it came to the thumb.  I followed instructions to place all the thumb stitches on scrap yarn and keep on knitting them and  it turns out I cannot correctly accomplish this.  I should have just placed all the stitches on a holder and worked around them because that would have better achieved my desired result.  Oh well.  I still have a usable mitten for Neve, but I am not too pleased with it.


For the second one I am going to do more research and see how it should REALLY be done, and hopefully I’ll have mastered the mitten by the time the second one is complete.  They knit up rather quickly when done in one color, which satifies my need for finished objects.  I’d like to make some stripey ones and patterned ones as well, and I doubt they’ll go as quickly, but should be fun nonetheless.

And by the way, did you know CVS locks all their printer ink on the display hooks so you have to ask the cashier to walk back ad get it for you?  All I wanted was a black printer cartridge and I felt like I was purchasing some sort of contraband.   Friends dont’ let friends print recipes from Martha Stewart online!!!

In Which I Am (Literally) A Bang – Up Driver

Happy New Year!

The tree is undressed and waiting to go into storage, the majority of the festive touches are packed away, and the toys have found their permanent homes.  We marked the dawning of 2009 in front of the t.v., everyone being too stuffed – up, snotty or congested to go to any fun parties.  Our neighbors had a gathering I would have liked to attend, but I couldn’t bear to be the Typhoid Mary of the neighborhood.  New Year’s Day we spent eating more pigs – in – a – blanket and apple pie while Paul worked on the deer damage to my car from December 2007.  I’ll tell you what: car paint and refinisher is some nasty awful smelling stuff.  If we all come down with some nasal or brain cancer, we’ll all know why.  It’s like filling your house with the strongest smelling nail polish you can find.  Blech!  But more on that in a moment.  First an update on the newest knitting projects that I am egregiously behind with.  A pair of socks I started right after Thanksgiving (intending to gift them to my mother) with Blue Moon Fiber Arts’ Socks That Rock in colorway Grimm’s Willow Wren.


As you can clearly see, they did not get finished in time.  But fear not, I am determined to get them off the needles and onto her feet before January has left us!  They are a bit time consuming, what with all the fussy cabling, but very enjoyable to knit.  The pattern is called “Slippery”, from Knitty.com.

I also couldn’t resisit starting on a pair of classic bright red mittens for Neve.  All I have done so far is one cuff (gimme a break – I just cast them on last night).


I am a bit nervous about these, since I have never knit mittens before (the thumb poses a challenge anyway) and the book I have, although quite lovely, does very little to explain how the thumb should be executed.  So in true to myself form, I cast on anyway and am hoping I’ll figure it out as I go.  If not, I am sure there are plenty of excellent tutorials online somewhere.  I love the internet!  I never would have found the nerve to buy great yarn and try challenging projects without so much virtual knitting support!

These two projects have usurped all others I have been trying to slog through.  I want them done and then I will try to finish up all the other loose ends I have hanging over me.  Plus at Thanksgiving my grandmother brought me a beautiful hank of sock yarn from a yarn store in upstate NY.  It’s a yummy handpainted Superwash from Kraemer Yarns, which I have never heard of before, but us wool addicts always love discovering new sources of pretty yarn!  Point is, I am practically foaming at the mouth to roll it up and get it worked into some socks!

I still have some fun holiday related stories for you, but for today I will leave you with a shameful exploit in the life of a former transit bus driver.  You all know I used to drive big beautiful diesel transit machines back in the day.  35 feet long, 8 feet wide……you get the idea.  I was pretty darned good at it, too, if I do say so myself.  So Paul was probably more than a little justified in expecting me to be very good at driving the vehicle he chose for us when we found out we were expecting baby #3.  I had wanted to simply squeeze a car seat into my car.  I loved my car.  It was a big, beautiful tank of a car and I was set on fitting all 3 kids in the back.  Paul wanted something more roomy, and suggested selling my much – adored European sedan in favor of a used mini – van.  I suggested he might do better jumping in the lake.   In fact, I think I did say something like, “If you buy me a mini – van I will push it into the lake before I drive it”.  Hey, I was pregnant, nauseated and hormonal, and frankly, I despise mini vans.

Eventually he sold me on the idea of a VW Eurovan.  I still wasn’t too crazy about it, but it has that kind of boxy European quality I love and is much roomier than a standard mini van.  So he bought one.  Well, two.  He got them used on Ebay, neither one of them in working order, but good enough that he figured he could make one kick a** van out of the two.  They were dropped off a truck into our driveway in February ’07.  In August ’07 Oona made her entrance into the world.  In December ’07 Paul got the van done.  For the 4 interim months I squeezed all the kids into the back of my car just fine, thank you.  In the almost 10 months that he worked on the van he rebuilt parts of the engine, refurbished the interior, put in new headlights and tires, and then put in a monumental amount of time smoothing out dents, grinding away body rust, filling in patches with body filler, and repainting.  This part took months.  Months, I tell you.  I was afraid to drive the stupid thing.

So imagine his reaction when this past month (After a year of driving it exclusively, I’d like to note) I put a rather big dent in it backing it into the garage.

Because he has a lift installed in one bay I have to park the van in the second bay, and the walls are lined with shelves of automotive stuff, so it’s (to me anyway) kind of a tight fit.  If I don’t line it up right as I am pulling down the driveway I have a difficult time backing it in straight.  And when it’s just after morning bus stop and it’s dark and rainy and I need coffee I tend to be more “mistake prone”.   And then I have to correct.  And I have been known to “over correct”.  You know, like right into the shelves, or the garage door.  So I scraped up both sides a bit and dented the sliding door.


Now, let me further point out, in my defense, that we’ve been married almost 13 years, and in that time I have had no accidents, nor have I destroyed any car in any way.  The deer damage with my BMW was the worst thing that ever happened, and it was relatively minor, when you consider I was doing at least 50 when it jumped out in front of me (smashed headlight, cracked bumper, dented fender and hood).

But Paul is all about car perfection. So I wasn’t sure how the van dent was going to be received.

He took it pretty well at the time – bigger fish to fry, I guess.  But it has become increasingly clear that he hates me for it.  He’s been pointing out to anyone who’ll listen just how much work I’ve created for him.

Oh well.  We can’t all be perfect.