Wednesday, August 25, 2010

new beginnings

So this is the house. The place we'll spend the next 12 months, or longer if--with luck--we love it.

We had been torn between Raleigh and Phoenix. It was a very tough call. Ultimately, North Carolina seemed more suited for the life we envisioned for our family. Far, but not too far. Different, but not exotic. Warmer, but not without seasons. Beautiful, but not in a minimalist, desert way. Michigan has her moments of splendor, and in the fall, I truly believe there is no more exquisite place on earth. But it's time for something new. It's time for us to leave our home state, our birth place, and strike out on our own.

I'm sure we will battle homesickness. I will miss my parents. Daddy-B will miss Spartan sports. lil' b will miss his school. We all will miss our friends. Marmallow is alone among us, too young to really miss anything, which is bittersweet in its own way.

We've been packing, purging, bundling, and freecycling our belongings. Seven years of life. Seven years spent under one roof, in a home that has witnessed the addition of two children and the loss of a beloved dog. Seven years of accumulated memories and scraps of paper. Now we pick through and choose what memories to keep and which ones to discard.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the news is confirmed

We're moving! Goodbye Michigan, hello North Carolina!

We are very excited about this move, even though it means leaving behind all of our friends and family. Time for a fresh start and to escape the dreadful Michigan economy.

I will update again in a few weeks once our transition is complete. Hopefully I will have lots of pictures of our new home. If you or someone you know is in North Carolina, let me know. We'll be seeking friends right away.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

a little something

There's a bit of good news, peering around the corner.

I can't mention it yet, but soon.

So please don't think I've forgot to post. Rather, it's so hard for me to keep quiet that I've opted to just wait it out.

Please wait for me. The news is coming soon, I promise.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

this is the way we spin the yarn

I am amazed.

Roving + spindle:
Equals a small ball of single ply:

Add spindle again, and you get totally sweet two-ply:

I saw someone do this on etsy to show the yarn width, and it seemed like a great idea. After all, when I put so much effort into making it thin, I'd like everyone to see exactly how thin it is:

Yep, two strands of this yarn is enough to blindfold Lincoln.

That is some skinny sock weight yarn.

I spun it using the Andean ply method, which I learned courtesy of youtube. I was trying to figure out how to spin a two ply out of two singles when one single was enough to fill my spindle. The Andean method is great, because you just double a single back on itself and voila! It doesn't overtake your spindle and you get a nice petite skein at the end.

I've never actually done a gauge swatch before, but I suppose I will have to with this to determine my needle size for the socks. I now believe I will have plenty of roving to make my socks in this colorway, so I'm pretty excited. Maybe even two pair? We'll have to see.

Also, I joined the Spin-List on yahoo, and some woman chastised me for referring to myself as a "spindler." I seem to use the two words (spinner and spindler) interchangeably, but this woman was actually pissed off that I choose a "cute, made-up word" to describe my new endeavor. I think she has too much time on her hands.

Monday, August 9, 2010

woodland progress

It's slow going. But it's finally starting to look like a sweater. I must be honest, I skipped ahead of the sleeves and seamed the shoulders and finished the neckline so I could at least slip it on and admire it a bit.

The sleeves have not been neglected though. I've finally reached the straightaway on these, and I have about 3 centimeters before I start shaping the shoulder decreases. They look short in this picture, but they are actually up to my bicep and are 44 centimeters long right now.

I had to show a close-up of the little button holes. I am really proud of these, even though they were ridiculously easy. I've never done button holes in knitting before, and had sort of developed a phobia about them. I know there are lots of ways to make button holes and some are a lot more challenging than others, but I wasn't expecting this to be quite so simple. I've already started scouring etsy and local artisans for seven perfect small buttons.

It occurs to me that the above shot actually shows two things I learned to do in this project: button holes and cables. Again, the two shown are the easiest versions of both, but now maybe I'll be brave enough to tackle cables and button holes that are slightly more complex.

I've been spinning as well. No pictures of that though, as it all sort of looks the same. I think I may be spinning too thin now, as when I let it double back on itself, I wind up with something like laceweight. And I don't really want to make socks out of laceweight.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I had intended to keep up with the Wandering Wednesday bit from GardenMama, truly I had!

But it seems my feet are always busy in rather dull places, and when we're in fun places, my hands are full of baby instead of camera.

Last week, marmallow had a fever. It royally sucked. She is teething like a maniac, and therefore very clingy, drooly and sad. But the fever... it was not your typical low-grade teething fever. So we went off to the doctor. Of course, when we got there, it was the much more reasonable low grade variety, which made me feel dumb for bringing her in. But the doctor, seeing as she is not quite nine months, was not content to send us home. So they drew blood. And collected urine. And made both of us miserable for much of Thursday afternoon. And then, Friday, the fever was gone. And all the results were negative. Thank God.

But lil' b was very good, and patient, as I doted on his sister and set him down with distractions all weekend. He would ask me to watch what he was doing, or check out his drawings, but other than that, the only times he swept into the Mom-as-Sissy's-Nursemaid scene was to flit in, like an angel, and kiss her forehead, or gently sweep her hair out of her eyes.

And his reward was a fever of his own. Sudden, like lightning bolt on a sunny day. I got the call yesterday and found him at school, bundled in his blanket and shivering on his teacher's lap.

Fortunately, caring for a big kid is easier in many ways. I can give him reasonable doses of medicine. I can explain why the washcloth on his forehead needs to be so icy cold. I can ask him what hurts, and how long it has hurt, and is it any better than an hour ago.

But it is sad and hard to watch your babes suffer, and only be able to do so much. With both of them, I closed my eyes briefly during the night, power napping between doses of medicine and waking to rush into their darkened rooms and feel foreheads, adjust sheets, and pray. Always praying. My brain knows it's likely nothing, just a basic childhood illness. But when my children are sick, or hurt, the responsibility and priveledge of loving them feel like stones on my heart. I feel frantic inside, while I try to be as soothing and reassuring as I can on the outside. Every time they really, truly need me, I feel the weight of the miracle. The life created inside a woman is the gift, but the life that continues, struggles, and thrives outside is the burden and blessing of that gift.

I am floored by the trust the universe has placed in me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

makes you think...

I read this over on Inner Pickle's blog today, and frankly, I can't stop thinking about it.

I don't know who the woman in the article is that she refers to. But it reminds me why I so often want to slap a little sense into people.

Let me begin by saying that I can appreciate parenting styles of all ilks. I know that every child is different, every person is different, and that each individual has his or her own path to parenting. Barring those people who are truly awful human beings and do horrendous things to children, I'd wager most of us are doing the best we can, the best we know how, with the best of our abilities. I wouldn't begrudge a parent nursing longer than I did (or would) anymore than I'd preach to a person who did not/could not nurse at all, for example. So I fail to understand how one person, a lone mother of an only, an easy, baby, could try so hard to make other mothers feel like failures. Is that not what she is trying to do?

Parenting is a series of choices. Yes. But they are not unlimited choices. I can not say, for example, that I would like my son to sprout wings and fly. Or rather, I can say it, but it is not something I can choose for him. Similarly, I can not choose for him to stay up and be manageable at midnight because I really really want to see the new jazz band. I can't choose that he can accompany me at a "21 and up" bar. But those are the big things. This inability to choose gets more and more subtle. I can, for example, choose to get my children vaccinated. I can not make it painless, though. And while I wholeheartedly chose to have both of my lovely babes, I can not choose to be happy all the time. I can't choose for parenting to be easy. And to suggest that all those stressed-out, I love 'em dearly but I'm gonna kill 'em parents out there are just CHOOSING to be unhappy... well it's flat-out irresponsible.

Why would anyone choose unhappiness? Is there anyone out there who enjoys complaining about the very thing she loves more than anything else, her beloved children? I don't. I don't like complaining because I'm covered in drool and have been for nearly a week, because deep in my heart I know that my whining is mostly because I feel incompetent... I feel powerless to stop the pain of teething I know my precious baby girl is going through. I complain because I'm seeking out the Sisterhood of Mothers. The women who, with wisdom, kindness, and humor, can bolster me and prop me up, and let me know that it's okay to feel powerless, that we've all been through worse, and that we are here for each other. Not so that some self-righteous, smug twit can tut-tut at me and tell me that I'm choosing to be unhappy. I'm choosing to make it hard.

I wish I could put that back on her. When she says she finds it "easy" to get up with a crying baby in the night, I say I don't. I find it hard. Probably for the same reason she thinks it easy. I find it hard because this little, wonderful person, whom I love completely, is so very dependent on imperfect, fallible me. How can such a responsibility be taken lightly? How can you look at the hugely important task of caring for a child and call it easy?