Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flying and Jumping

Time flies when you are a. having fun and b. miserably stressed.

In June, we decided to start looking for a new house.  In the weeks since, we found a house, we had an offer rejected, we found a different house, had an offer accepted, installed new carpet, listed our house, sold our house, have had inspections all around and are in round 2 of negotiations x2. 

The answer is b.

Stress does terrible things.  It eats up time.  It devours energy.  It gnaws on nerves.  It certainly doesn't get anything fun done.  The summer is nearly over and I've put away the list of things we wanted to do.  We've done some. I've squeezed them in.  The kids don't really know better.  They've had fun.  They are having fun right now while I procrastinate just a little longer about starting dinner.  I'm listening to them play Wii.  Big Brother is deliberately letting Little Brother win, coaching him through the movements to ensure a first place finish.  Or at least second place.  Anything to get him on the podium at the end of MarioKart.  It's raining outside - or trying to - and they are as happy as clams.  So the list of things to do was really MY  list.  They liked the sounds of it, but have been just as happy with their soccer games, the occasional outing and a lot of doing nothing at all. 

The catalyst for the move wasn't a desire for a slightly bigger house.  That's a bonus.  Or a bigger yard.  That was a wish, not the reason.  We were looking to set the kids up in one of the best public schools in the area.  It has all the resources and benefits of a great school district and it's small.  One elementary school, feeding into one middle school, feeding into one high school.  The average Senior class is only slightly larger than either my husband's or my own graduating class from our small Catholic high schools.

Yes.  We're Catholic.  We are both 12 year (he's actually a 16 year) veterans of Catholic education.  Our kids have up to this point attended Catholic school.  We're jumping ship.  We have withdrawn them from their small Catholic school, putting them in jeans and sneakers and shipping them off to public school.  

It wasn't an easy decision.  It wasn't a quick decision.  But there was a straw.  It was broken.  And we're confident that this decision is what is best for children. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yarn Along #4: Something Sweet

It is rare that I get in a knitting funk.  In fact, I really don't recall the last time I was in such a funk that I didn't feel like picking up my needles.  But a funk there has been.  Days and nights went by and I just stared at it, dissatisfied, disgruntled,disinterested.  Actually, it scared me.  Not feeling the itch to knit, to create, to sift through my yarn, read the knitting magazines, search through Ravelry - it left me thinking something was wrong with me!

In fact, my head and heart were just so full of other stuff that I couldn't squeeze one more thing in.  The school year is over.  My brother is married and has gone and returned from his honeymoon with his beautiful bride.  The dust has mostly settled from other assorted dramatics.  Now, I find myself knitting again and counting the evenings in stitches and rounds, settling down and feeling much more comfortable in my own skin again.

Part of the problem was the prayer shawl I had started, restarted, started again, and again.  That's a lot of frogging.  I've actually shelved it entirely and I feel sad because I have nothing to give that person.  But I really have nothing to give that person.  The assorted dramatics were not the common family wedding, end of school year things, but some unpleasant and very exhausting ordeals.  It took so much out of me to just carry on, that there was nothing left in me for the shawl.  I hadn't before realized how different knitting a prayer shawl is from anything else I knit.  But it is different.  It is much more than k, p, yo, k2tog, ssk and co.  A very good friend cautioned me from giving too much when my cup was already empty.  In this case, my cup was already empty, I had nothing to give so the wisest thing to do was to put it aside and to rest.

Last week, I felt my mojo return, just a little, just enough.  I had a project, a simple, small, fun one, to complete.  A far off deadline.  Perfect candy colored yarn.  I cast on and in only a few days had a completed project and a great big sense of relief.  On Sunday, I cast on for a second and am nearly finished!
I made it up as I went, but may publish a pattern on Ravelry once I finish this second one.  If I do, I'll post a link in a future Yarn Along.

ps...still reading Dracula.  Will finish.  Will pass on.  But so far, it's really kind of eh.

The First Day of Summer, but really the second

Technically, Friday was the first day our family was on summer vacation.

It was not a normal summer day though because Daddy stayed home from work to take the now 3rd grader golfing for his first day of vacation.  The now kindergartner and I did our grocery shopping.  Then the afternoon was spent doing various chores and family stuff.  None of us could even remember it was Friday and not Saturday.

So after a busy long weekend, today is our first day of summer vacation.  With the bigger one off to golf lessons with Grandpa, me and my little buddy finished mopping floors, took the dog for a walk, did some laundry, read piles of books, worked on some math lessons and weeded the flower beds.  Then, with both my boys home and Grandpa gone until tomorrow's golf lesson, we packed a picnic lunch and went to a nearby park.  Now, as I type, it is rest time.  A required half hour of rest for reading, resting, coloring, anything quiet.

The stickler in all of this is the broken foot that I'm still nursing.  Broken last fall, misdiagnosed until the end of March, in an aircast since Easter, it is still definitely broken.  Our morning walk with the dog was more like a limp for 2 blocks.  The dog and the boy were both running/biking circles around me the entire time.  The trip to the park, just 3 blocks away, was the boys on bikes and me in the car.  I drove with my hazards blinking, creeping along to keep an eye on them and stopping in the middle of intersections while they carefully walked their bikes across the street.  It was a good thing though, after lunch and all that playing, the littlest legs just couldn't pedal one more inch on the way home.  With one bike hanging out of the trunk, one boy yahoo-ing in the back seat, it was a "race" home...at 5 mph and hazards still flashing.

I'm chalking the whole broken foot thing up to just one more way God is forcing me to slow down.  Slow down, take my time and also work just a little harder at those things I want.  It's easy to take the park 3 blocks away for granted, many a summer day as come and gone in the past and we've forgotten about it, but today we had to work just a little harder to figure out how to get there, how to get what we wanted because it was worth the getting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yarn Along #3: It is Complete

It is complete.

The other evening I finished the Twinkle, Vintage Baby Cardigan. 
I followed the traditional lace pattern as it was written for the body and the sleeves.  Instead of a ribbon, I knit an i-cord to thread through the eyelets and tie at the neck.  I really prefer it with the i-cord and i think it will tie and look nicer for longer than if I had used a ribbon.

In the meantime, I have begun another Prayer Shawl.  I'm using up wool that I have in my stash and have started with the Tree of Life pattern from Nicky Epstein's Knitting Over the Edge.  I had worked several inches of it last week, but ripped it out to start again with a different cast on.  I'm knitting up worst weight on size 11 and the basic cast on that my grandmother taught me wasn't working.  It was very loose.  So I looked up a video, practiced a bit and did a long tail cast on.  I love the way the edge will look and it is much tighter and finished looking.  I have started with a cream color and plan to knit right through this skein then do a strip of a deep scarlet red then finish it, with the majority of the shawl being in a beautiful caramel colored baby alpaca I've been holding onto.  The Tree of Life will only be on the edge, then I will switch to the traditional broken rib.  I usually don't like doing Prayer Shawls in the simple traditional pattern, but this needs to be masculine and I think this time the broken rib will do just fine.

I'm still strolling through Dracula, the Undead but have also picked up two nonfiction books since last week.  I'm reading Kimberly Hahn's Life Giving Love and Stephanie Pearl McPhee's At Knit's End.  I'm not a very fast reader anymore and bouncing from book to book might find me reposting about these same pieces for several weeks to come!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Yarn Along....Same Song, Different Verse

After frogging the progress I had made on the neckline and yoke of the Twinkle, Vintage Baby Cardigan , I've now completed the body and one sleeve.

It has traveled everywhere with me.  After school pick up, soccer practice, dental appointments.  I'm not afraid to KIP (knit-in-public). 

Last night, I started the second sleeve.  Somewhere I either missed or the directions missed casting on additional stitches before placing the sleeves on marker when I began working the body.  My stitch count was off anyways with the sleeves.  That remains a mystery as well.  But I easily remedied that with some kfbs at the beginning and end of the very first knit row of the sleeves and a couple cast ons - this is after I joined for in the round.  I think they are well hidden in the armpit and will be completely hidden when I stitch the gap closed.

As for reading, after finishing The Hunger Games, I searched through my book stash for anything that's been waiting for more than a year - or 3- to be read. I settled on Girl with a Pearl Earring.  It is one of the many stacks of books I've purchased at our local library's annual used book sale that I haven't read yet.  It was quick...and good!  I finished it in under a week, then couldn't decide what I wanted to read next.  I'm not ready to pick up the second Hunger Games book.  Yesterday, I decided to start Dracula, the Undead written by Dacre Stolker.  I started it, hoping it will be good.  There was a bit in the first couple chapters that didn't impress me - seemed a bit gratuitous.  But I have high hopes for the rest!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Undercranked and blown away

I love this video for so many different reasons.  Depending on the day it could speak to me for one thing or another or another.  When I first saw it, thick into preparing for this week's Bible Study on the Eucharist, Michelle's/Quantum Theology's words spoke to me "These flowers aren't coaxed into blooming, but blown into being...'You sent forth your spirit, and they were created; no one can resist your word.'  Resistance is futile."

Today, as I listen to the scraping of sandpaper on drywall and hope for a dry enough day for painting, prepare to attend a bachelorette "thing" for my future sister-in-law, wait anxiously for my brother to call with news I already know, place - or take out - marbles from the jar as my son works towards a goal of his own, I'm reminded that our idea of time is not necessarily God's.  Nor is our idea of progress. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yarn Along #1

I am currently working on the Twinkle, Vintage Baby Cardigan.  I'm making it in a cashmere blend.  I started it on very short sz 3 circs and changed to sz 4s with the increases.  I did this mostly because I don't have sz 3 circs that are long enough to accommodate the growing sweater.  But I'm finding it is helping to loosen up what has up to this point been painfully tight gauge.  The sweater will be for my 6 month old niece to wear to a wedding this June.  I have to admit that as pretty as the right side looks, I LOVE the way the wrong side looks with the widening strips of reverse stockinette, off set by the raised bumps of the stockinette stitches.  I'm tempted to make a second sweater but do it backwards!

As for my reading, I cheated.  I grabbed what I had on hand which is what I'm reading for a Bible study class I'm completing.  It is Swear to God, written by Scott Hahn.  My for fun book is buried on the nightstand right now.  It's The Hunger Games.  Yes.  I'm a fan of young adult fiction.  Guilty pleasure.

This is my first time participating in Ginny's/Small Things' Yarn Along! 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Work in Progress

I have a hard time living with works in progress.

A long to-do list makes me antsy.

I usually only read one book at a time.

I struggle to break large tasks into smaller ones.

The half knit hat stares at me accusingly.

So, to live in a construction zone is miserable.  Our main family area is torn to pieces while walls are redone.  This work of redoing meant tearing down paneling, new framing, re-insulating and new drywall.  We - meaning Husband- is on the mudding and sanding part of the dry wall.  But the work will be far from done when that task is complete.  There will remain painting, trim and molding and the new built-in bookshelves and the ledge the length of the wall to build, paint and install.  When his work is done, then there is the matter of the carpet.  Worn before and now battle scarred.

In the meantime, the entire contents of that room have thrown up in every other room of the house.  In a small house, with smallish children, that's a lot of contents. (I'm the overly organized type and make great use of space.  There wasn't a nook or cranny in the room that wasn't in use.) 

It's all very disconcerting.  Some days it's barely tolerable. Others, I feel skin-crawling crazy over the mess that we're living in and with, day in and day out and what feels like no end in sight.

It's this project that makes me come face to face with how difficult it is for me to live with works in progress.

And it's a sudden understanding that we are all - me, Husband, Boy 1 and Boy 2 - and every other person we meet, know and love - works in progress. 

Does God every feel skin-crawling crazy over the messes I make?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Deuteronomy 6: 5-9

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.