Monday, December 22, 2008

In which she attempts to catch up...

Wow... my poor, neglected blog. School was canceled for all of last week due to the weather here. Now we're in to the winter break. Christmas is Thursday, and I don't have as much accomplished as I'd like. I take comfort knowing that I am not alone. (I've been reading your blogs! I know you're all just as behind as I am. :))

Thursday before last (the 11th), I took the elf to the Raindrop Knitting Class at Gossamer in Portland. It's a very short drive across the bridge from Erin's school. I think I remember there being four other girls there. Someone mentioned that a couple of them went to school at Richmond and I did overhear them telling each other they could speak Japanese. Richmond is only partial immersion, with much bigger class sizes. Erin didn't seem to learn anything new, knitting-wise. However, I do think it was nice for her to do something with kids her own age. The teacher, Susan, did a GREAT job. She was very patient and spoke to the kids as equals. (I notice that many adults speak down to children). At one point, I found myself very impressed when after only two rows of work she switched Erin to loom knitting. She explained that children can only be expected to really focus on something for about as many minutes as their age in years. I completely agree on this. Erin is 6 years old and actually did a great job focusing for a little more than fifteen minutes before she started talking a lot and not paying attention.
The loom was a marvelously simple homemade contraption of four short popsicle sticks glued to a sturdy cardboard tube. It worked perfectly to keep Erin occupied for the remainder of the class and she ended up making a three foot icord.

All last week we kept ourselves very busy. We made gingerbread, gingerbread ornaments, popcorn garland, put our tree up, and many other things. I've made a fair amount of progress on my gifts list as well.

The gingerbread turned out fantastic. I am not a fan of gingerbread. In fact, I usually run the other way. It tends to have a falling out with my tummy and makes me feel less than presentable. I really wanted to make some ornaments though. Because we have allergies to deal with and it is easier to go from a Vegan recipe than from a regular recipe wih substitute, I searched Google for a Vegan gingerbread recipe and lo' and behold it came up with a hit from The PPK. I am a huge fan of this woman's recipes. I spotted the Veganomicon in Powell's when we were there for the Mason Dixon signing and fell in love after a quick look-thru.

Isa really outdoes herself, as she has converted my hate for gingerbread to pure joy-upon-sight of the stuff. I doubled the recipe on the site, intending for all of it to be used for construction materials in a glorious gingerbread city. However, I ended up eating more than half the cookies we made. Actually, to be honest I had help. Yes really! Even Connor was allowed to eat his own gingerbread cookie. The rest, I overcooked (purposefully, mind you!), strung with crocheted ties and hung on the tree. They're beautiful! And it took all night plus another day to accomplish. After adding popcorn garland, I just fell in love. Our tree is gorgeous. It has to be the most lightly trimmed tree I have every done, but it is simple and beautiful and really more work than you'd think.

If anything, you should strive for the opposite. i.e. "Oh, that? Simple. Quick. Easy." and not its horrible opposite "It took you how long??"

Next year, I resolve to begin Christmas prep in advance (hah!) and make felted ornaments and add some shiny orbs and candy canes. The perfect, and perfectly cheap candy canes in the store got the snub as I chanted my personal mantra "I could make better ones myself!"... Yes, if only there was a tear in space-time and I could crawl inside it to work on every monumentally over-simplified Martha-Stewart-esque task that I could ever dream up. If only.

This story will have to continue later on, as my patient husband is waiting for me to stream an episode of "Heroes" via Netflix, and I really should get back to work on the last two inches of my Fingerless Mitts Gift project. Until next time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Apparently, he's a biter too.

Yesterday, I casually mentioned to Jesse that whenever I saw Connor open his mouth to nurse, I cringed at the sight of those little teeth.

I jinxed myself. Over the next 24 hours I would be bitten hard... a total of three times. Prior to this, I had done well in avoiding the bites. I noticed that he would only bite (just a little pinch, mind you) after he was really done eating and just being giggly. So, if I noticed the behavior leading to the biting coming on, I would unlatch him and that would be it.

This biting shouldn't be difficult to avoid, as it occurs after Connor has fallen asleep. I'll have to watch him instead of getting so involved in the knitting. The first time I was bitten yesterday, I held back the shriek for a good five seconds, until it was apparent that startling him awake was the only way to get him to let go and the pain was enough that I just really had to scream.

This biting is accompanied by other telltale signs (more drooling, grabbing at the gums) that the eruption of more teeth will happen soon. Oh, goody.

Monday, December 8, 2008

She's a biter!

My sister-in-law is getting married today. Monday, you ask? Yes, it's at the courthouse. I say kudos to them! They're going to have a party afterward at their apartment, and I believe tomorrow they are leaving for Newport for the honeymoon.

For her bachelorette party/bridal shower, we all went out to lunch at Red Robin then to a nail salon to get mani-pedis. I was very surprised by the great service at Red Robin. My sister (Jaimie) informed our server that since I was breastfeeding my dairy-allergic son, I could not have ANY dairy. The server responded very excitedly that she could go back and check with the cooking staff to see if anything I wanted had any hidden dairy. Generally, I refrain from going out to eat. Most servers are less than happy to deal with me, and I have been told by servers that something didn't have dairy in it and it ended up being loaded. (these did not check to make sure).

At the nail salon, I opted for a simple manicure. Last time I had a pedi there was two years ago for mother's day. For two months afterward, my feet were itchy and stinky. (TMI?? bwaha!) I chose a granny smith apple-green nail polish and inadvertently created a color trifecta.

I was very embarrassed by my short nails. Usually, they are long, but my childhood habit of biting has recently returned. Maybe due to recent stress? Probably. I've also been clenching ym jaw a lot, which causes headaches and makes my teeth hurt. I'm trying to focus on releasing all that tension. It isn't working very well.

Anyway, I had a great time! Much better than I thought I would. (I'm not a social person, really :))

Connor is attacking my leg... and we need to get going anyway. We have a lunching playdate with Cori!

Radical Knitting

I love this video. It slays me. That's why I'm putting it here.

Just in case anyone missed it (I saw it on Ravelry first).

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Who put the 'F' in FedEx?

Okay, now does this make sense? I was looking up the tracking for a package I ordered at Amazon. It's a new baby seat.

It's coming from Texas.
They took it to Oakland, California. Just a state away. Not too far, really.
No, wait... Then they took it to Tennessee?

How is Tennessee closer to Oregon than California? Oh, I get it. That's where the wormhole is. Gotcha.

Or maybe they want to make sure that I don't get it before the estimated delivery date.

Actually, I do understand that if there weren't enough packages heading to OR from CA (who would have thought?) the package would "hitch a ride" to another city where a shipment to OR was already scheduled. In this case, a city in TN.

Oh, well. It sucks, but at least the seat is on it's way. $60 cheaper than anywhere local and with free 2 day shipping. Can't really argue with that.

Christmas FRENZY.

I need to use this space for a few notes.

We're in a recession; it's finally being acknowledged. We have an extremely small budget for Chistmas, so we decided to put it into materials. And, really, we don't need to buy a ton of materials because we already have a fair amount stashed away. I cringe when perusing the toy section of the store, anyway. It's mostly plastic!

Here's my WORKING (not final- just ideas) list:

My daughter:
a kimono, obi, tabi socks, etc
a baby doll basinet with frilly bedding and a doll quilt (I have a basket shaped like a cradle)
a cat doll and its clothes (waldorf construction), to go in the basinet
a kusudama (medicine ball- it's an origami ornament)
knit and felted slippers
knit lace gloves
an apron (frilly, like the 20s)
Christmas PJs
a calendar in Japanese
a "princess dress"

My son:
soft cotton book
soft blocks
a stuffed dog
some clothes
knitted play fruit and vegetables
a stacking toy
socks and booties
Christmas PJs
waldorf doll
wood push cart, like this one

Gwendy (their cousin). This list is also for her birthday:
Her mom has requested a knit bear, like Erin's
A spring dress
knit socks and bonnet (in the purple baby bamboo) Almost done, but not added to my Rav project page... oops.
A Christmas dress
Waldorf baby doll
Cloth pull cart for the doll

Daniele (a sister):
dog carrier purse
dog sweater (this is actually done. I caved and gave it to her already. Need to add to project page.)
quilted slippers
fingerless gloves

Jaimie (SIL). also for bday:
felted Pastaza slippers
The nifty Burt's Bees kit they sent after I complained about milk in the baby lotion

Everyone else:
Olive/grapeseed and various other oils SOAP
knit spa cloths
chocolate truffles
chocolate covered cherries (all the ingredients were at Costco!)

I have other things planned for individuals, but will focus on that later if I have time.

Where did all the content go?

The fair spirits who read my blog might be wondering where all the posts have gone so suddenly. Well, there was a decent amount of backstory going on there. It was all very dramatic. I happened to read some things and was brought down by the gloominess of it all. Since I don't feel like I am a gloomy person, I don't want to write that way. My life has just been very tumultuous over the past seven years (no joke!). Well, allow me to sum a few key points. I'll do this very matter-of-fact-ly.

I am a stay-at-home mama in my mid-twenties, with a baby boy and a girl in Kindergarten. She speaks Japanese fluently. I do not. (maybe someday!)
My mom passed away from ovarian cancer two years ago. She died hours before her 48th birthday. I was very close to her, think about her everyday, and am deeply hurt by her loss. Every day is a healing process and I have yet to come to terms with reality on this subject.
I'm married to a perfect match. My love for him is very deep and I fully expect us to go through the course of life together. End of story. I'd still like to take that honeymoon we missed, though. :)
I'm a very crafty person. I love or have at least seriously dabbled in: quilting, knitting, crochet, tailoring, painting (acrylic and water color), needle felting, beading and jewelry making, dolls, scrapbooking, cardmaking, toys, gardening, mosaic glass, woodworking, origami, floral design (I worked as a florist during college), candles and soap, website design and implementation, graphic design, programming, writing (fiction), publishing, etc etc etc!
I volunteer at my daughter's school. I wish I didn't. It is VERY hard work, many all-nighters and a lot of money invested. The parents who don't volunteer (of which there are many) are very unappreciative and sometimes downright rude.
I have four sisters. No brothers. I wish we were closer, but it seems like we're all too busy to make time for each other.

Hmm. Well, that's quite a bit of info. On to other things.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Mushroom Hunt

As mentioned yesterday, I did indeed go mushroom hunting. My father lives very close to the mouth of the gorge and having grown up there (mostly there, anyway) I am very familiar with that area. Deciding on a trail to walk was not difficult at all. We ended up walking on a neighborhood trail called Robin's Way. It was not the ideal one I had in mind because it has more deciduous trees than coniferous and I figured the deadfall from the conifers would yield more mushroom growing conditions. However, I was not disappointed. I found a veritable treasure trove of clustered mushrooms that were a very pretty yellow color. I'm sure we would have found more parasitic mushrooms on the other trail, but the wind was blasting and my dad did not want to walk very far in it. Honestly, I was a little surprised that he came with us, and he actually became very involved in the hunting.

So, I strapped crabby-patty on in the ergo to take a nap and bundled miss Erin up in a sweater and coat before setting off down the steep hill. I made sure to bring a grocery bag to carry the mushrooms, and I was glad I did! I nearly filled it, and could have had the baby not been strapped to me. I was a little cautious where I stepped because I did not want to slide down the hill through the underbrush while holding him.

The first bunch of mushrooms we saw were imprisoned by blackberry brambles. The bright yellow mushroom caps taunted me, as they were less than four feet from the trail. I did not want to risk Connor getting poked, so onward we trekked.

The reusable trader joe's grocery bag ended up being a little over halfway full by the time we were done. I attempted to identify the mushrooms using an online source, and I am pretty certain they are Gypsy mushrooms; an edible and common variety. We also found some beautiful deep red mushrooms growing off the side of the cedar steps leading down the hill. I have no idea what they are, but it will be a cold day in... Hawaii before I eat any mushroom that I pick. So many of them look a lot like other species. No, thank you.

Today I will prep them for drying to use as dye.

Now, it seems that I should be going. There is a little person sitting on the floor throwing longing glances my way and grunting at me. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Am I in shock?

Just a quick post today. I accomplished quite a bit during the past weekend. My father in law helped me move out of our storage unit on Saturday. We got there in the morning and the parking lot was packed. I had hardly ever seen anyone there at all, as the building usually looks almost abandoned. But it seemed like everyone chose this past Saturday to move out. Such is life. It wasn't too hard. I'm not hurting too much from the moving, although I have had a more difficult than usual time carrying Connor. He's getting so big! So big, I can hardly strap him into the carseat, and can't at all when he is wearing a coat. The straps are pulled out all the way. I'm well aware that he is at the cusp of the weight AND height limit for our infant seat. Well aware. I've been trying for the past month to just buy a new seat even though it doesn't fit into our budget at all. We have less than no wiggle room, if you know what I mean. We also found out on Monday that Jesse's company is laying him off, and they chose the day before Thanksgiving to be his last day. How merciful.

I actually laughed when I found out. I saw it coming. By no means is it funny, as we have been stretched very thin these past two months with the beginning of school and Jesse's surgery. And now, Connor needs a baby seat.

Right now, everything is a blur. It's all surreal. I feel too numb to panic. Yesterday, Jesse's sister emailed to say she is getting married and invited me to her bachelorette party. Apparently, they're doing mani-pedis and then going out to lunch. It's in just a couple of weeks.

I think I am running on adrenaline. I'm sure we will be fine. Jesse has three very good prospects lined up. I just hope they manifest in time.

I'm getting the kids ready to go to my dad's house. We have business over there and we didn't take Erin to school today. This morning as they were getting ready, Jesse went to wash his hands and the soap pump squirted soap directed into Erin's eye. Not just any soap. Castile soap. That stuff HURTS way worse than regular soap. So we spent the better part of an hour trying to wash it out. She has thick, fleshy eyelids and can lock them closed if she wants. She was in so much pain, she was nearly convulsing as I was frantically trying to convince her to open her eye and let me rinse out the soap.
In the end, everything turned out fine. We took daddy to his physical therapy. She could see again after another hour and it wasn't hurting so badly an hour after that. Her eye looks normal now. No more green goo. So, we'll go visit my dad (like she's been asking) and then go for a walk to find mushrooms. I read a post on another blog about dyeing with mushrooms. Upon looking up one of the names of the mushrooms she used, I discovered that many of the mushrooms she found there in Norway are also found in Oregon! I think right now is prime time for mushroom hunting, so I will collect some to experiment with.

So much for a quick post.