30 April 2007

Click on the picture!

As of 20 weeks, everything is looking hunky dory! Halfway there...

29 April 2007

Alpaca? El Camino? Whatever...

Yesterday, the four of us went to check out the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival. In addition to judging of animals and fleece, they also had fiber demostrations, including fiber preparation and carding, spinning, needle felting, and machine knitting. There were also vendors selling (amoung other things) alpaca yarns...very soft and yummy and so many beautiful natural colors. The kids enjoyed walking around and looking at all the alpacas. We learned that there are two kinds: Huacaya, which have kind of crimpy hair and look like big ol' puffy teddy bears and Suri, which have longer straighter hair that parts along the center of the back and looks a little bit like dreadlocks. There are pictures (including babies, which are called cria), here.

In the afternoon, Kitty Daddy went to the library to look around and the kids and I did some gardening. Our tomato seedlings were looking pretty droopy...I suspect because they have outgrown their little peat pellets. We had made a trip to Home Depot and bought a big ol' bag of potting soil and four terra cotta pots to get started. Using the four pots, plus a plastic laundry detergent bucket, we got two tomatoes, two jalapenos, and two basil plants repotted. That is half of our little seed pods. We also have two plastic kitty little buckets that will be converted to planters and then we might get a couple more regular pots. We will also need some more potting soil if we want to finish up. They are out on the back porch, but I'm glad they are in containers, because I have no illusions about the potential for a late frost in the midwest! I will try and get some pictures up soon!

To make a completely full day, we went and tried to fly Kitty Daddy's Darth Vader kite and Bug's Scooby Doo kite before supper. It went okay, but we had trouble keeping them up. Unfortunately, the Scooby Doo kite was one of the el-cheapo ones, so it was pretty much shredded by the time we got done. We fared better with Daddy's kite, which he bought at a real kite store on the Oregon Coast during one of our trips.

27 April 2007

Spring is in...

...the toes?

The gray skies finally cleared up mid-afternoon and Kitty Daddy brought home some bubble solution for Bean after work. She managed to sit still through dinner, but didn't have the patience to wait for shoes. Since it has been raining for several days, the grass was more than a little squishy.

A big shout-out to my baby brother who is celebrating 30 years on planet Earth. I'm not quite sure how to explain that my baby brother is three times older than my dad...but, hey Studmuffin, this one's for you:

Hippo Birdies Two Ewe
Hippo Birdies Two Ewe
Hippo Birdies Deer Ewe
Hippo Birdies Two Ewe!

26 April 2007


Ummm...what day is it? April something? Oops. Not just April something, but my dad's birthday! I know when his birthday is, I just kind of lost track of where we were in the month! So, without further ado:

Hippo Birdies Two Ewe
Hippo Birdies Two Ewe
Hippo Birdies Deer Ewe
Hippo Birdies Two Ewe!
Congrats on an undisclosed number of years on plant earth! I asked Bug how old he thought Grandpa might be on this birthday. His response: "Oh, he's pretty old...probably ten." The real figure is somewhat north of there, but, what the heck, Happy Tenth Birthday Dad!

Seriously, who thinks of these things?

Okay folks, lets ponder the whole textiles concept for a moment. Weaving I can wrap my brain around. I mean, if someone gave me a pile of string and needed some cloth, I think I might have come up with the weaving together thing. The whole over-and-under thing is kind of intuitive. Crocheting makes some sense too...you use the hook to make loopy things that make the fabric get bigger. When you get to knitting, I start getting nervous if I think too hard about how someone came up with the two sticks and string thing. Once you know how, it's pretty cool and occasionally magical, but if I think too hard about how someone could have come up with it in the first place, I get a little woozy.

Now, inspired by Ms. Knitingale's and Knottykitty's entrelac adventures, I decided to try it out myself. Eunny Jang's step-by-step instructions in the Spring IK make it quite clear and easy to follow, but my head needs to explode if I think too hard about the fact that someone had to do this the first time. I would really like to know who was the first person to think, "Hmmm, I want to knit a basket weave all in one piece," and then actually sat down and did it. There is absolutely nothing intuitive about it and the way it kind of bunches up on the needles, you can't really see where it's coming from...you just need to kind of slog along and do it and then marvel at the end result!

This particular specimen will, with a fair amount of luck, hopefully become a new purse for me. I am using up the leftovers from the kids' felted clogs (hence, the lovely color combination). The part shown is the flap. On the blue block row, I joined it in the round and will be trucking away on the purse part. The plan is to felt it a bit and then line it. So somewhere down the road we can either be amazed that I flew by the seat of my pants and ended up with an actual purse or we can all have a good laugh at whatever I end up with.

From the same IK issue, I have been working on Roza's socks in KnitPicks's Gloss yarn. It is really lovely yarn to work with (though I will admit I haven't had the privilege of working with some of the reputedly "really nice" sock yarns) and after a few false starts, I am absolutely taken by the brioche rib pattern. Plus with the nice weather, we are spending more time playing at the park, so I actually get a little knitting time on my purse project!

I tried to take a picture of the brioche rib, but they didn't turn out. If you would like to see how it looks, the original picture from the pattern is here.

The other factor that has contributed to knitting progress is that, as a concession to Kitty Daddy since we don't have cable any more, we joined Blockbuster Online. They have a bunch of TV shows on DVD, so we can watch some of the shows we don't get to see on TV anymore. Obviously, the DVDs aren't up-to-date with the series, but it has been kind of fun to go back to the beginning and see them in order. We have started with Battlestar Galactica (2003 version) and have seen the mini-series and are through a good chunk of season one. We have season two next in the queue, then we will have to hold off until season three is available. While it isn't nearly as spontaneous as cable, it is a heck of a lot cheaper!

25 April 2007

Stash endangerment!!!!

Oh no! My stash has been infested by little critters! No, not moths (touch wool!), but something cuter, yet equally insidious...the next generation of fibery types. While I am delighted to be corrupting rearing the next spinning and knitting generation, I hadn't fully thought through the ramifications. After we got home from our wild and woolly adventure yesterday, the kids saw me petting my new fiber and wanted a piece of the action. So I showed off each of the three and they got to pet it too.

Anyway, today, Miss Bean scaled the piano to grab the bag and brought it over and declare "Pate! Pate!" The bright side is that I used that to bribe her into getting her soggy diaper off (didn't have quite as much luck getting a new one on). Afterwards, she wanted to sit on the potty and pet the roving. So we took out each of the three bags, gave it a pet, and sat it on the floor. Then she picked up the big bag that it was all in and we had to put the bags in one at a time. The we repeated the process at least four times. By the time we finished she was willing to say "Camo" (camel...I didn't want to confuse things with the Tussah silk) and "Kappa" (alpaca). Here are a couple of pictures I got. The first one is Bean getting to "pate" the "kappa":

The second was after she decided to start hugging the bags. I got a couple of decent pictures of her hugging the various bags of fiber, but in this one, she is also kissing it! I wish it had sound so you could hear the cute little smacky sound!

Incidentally, this picture, while adorable, also had to be heavily cropped. Do you see the "Flag Blog" button up on the top edge for notifying Blogger about objectionable content? Yeah, we're trying to keep it PG or below!!

From the sibling rivalry files: This afternoon, Bug liberated a toy that Bean was in the process of playing with, and Bean thought the best way to express her displeasure was with her teeth. So now Bug has a dental impression in his right butt cheek. Probably makes him wish he still wore diapers!! Bug has been in a phase of instantly needing anything that Bean touches. We're working on it. Bean is definitely a biter and I'm sure it's genetic. Although I have certainly learned not to act on it, I will admit that a swift bite seems like a good way to deal with a lot of things.

24 April 2007

Springy fun

After our snowstorm a couple of weeks ago, the weather has finally decided to do spring in earnest. Last weekend was lovely and sunny and warm. On both Saturday and Sunday we ran a couple of errands and then went to the park and hung out while the kids ran around. After some thunderstorms on Sunday night, we decided to skip the park even though the gray skies cleared up about mid-morning. Close Park has a couple of spots where the bark chips are kind of thin and the kids know where to find the mud!

Today we had a little morning adventures. Of the 8 ounces of brown, white, and black fiber I got back in February, I have about a half an ounce left, so I had been thinking about getting some more roving. This morning, the kids woke up and decided that they were sheep, so I took this as a sign that we should go to Susan's Fiber Shop. I got to wander around and fondle pretty yarns and rovings and Bug and Bean made fast friends with Ruth who was working there. I ended up getting a couple ounces each of three kinds of fiber: Corriedale wool, alpaca, and a camel/tussah silk blend. Since I still feel like I'm learning, my short term spinning plans are to just try out different kinds of fiber in natural colors. I noticed with the brown, white, and black fiber that the three colors felt different to spin and I suspect that the dyes were at least part of the cause. I am excited to try all three, but, oh my, is the camel/silk roving soft. I just want to pet it and love it and call it George. As excited as I am to try my new stuff, I need to finish off the last half ounce of what I'm working on and get it plied up before I do. After finishing in the shop, the three of us visited with some of Susan's sheep, including some lambies. Very cute...I wish I had remembered my camera! We finished up with a high quality, nutritious McD's lunch (and some time to play in the play area). As we drove home, it started raining again and has been gray and rainy since, so we are curled up with a video and hanging out.

Hopefully now that everyone is reasonably healthy and the weather is nicer more consistently, we will be off on more adventures and I will be more regular with my blogging again!

18 April 2007

'Nuffs 'Nuff

Okay folks, I hearby declare that the next person to go to the hospital is me, but not until September! All you Oregon kin are just going to have to stay healthy already, sheesh. In case you are one of the few non-family members reading, I will explain. Sunday before last, my grandma started feeling like she might have a grand cold coming on and by evening was to weak to stand. An ambulance ride to the ER later, she was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia. Well, 92 years old and pneumonia are never a good combination, but grandma is a trouper and by mid-week had been released to a skilled care center for PT and OT and to decide where she would go from there. After not being able to summon help on Sunday, an apartment of her own just isn't an option anymore, so my parents have been looking into an assisted living placement if she meets her therapy goals. Anyway, since the Energizer Bunny has nothing on grandma, she was up and around taking short walks with her walker by last weekend. And, we are talking real, keep-the-walker moving walking, not slide (walker), shuffle (feet).

End of the story? Not a chance. Monday night, I got a call from my mom that it was dad's turn for an ambulance ride and an ER visit after feeling unwell and a couple of chats with phone-in triage nurses. He spent the night and just about the time mom was going to go get him and take him home, she got a message that Grandma was feeling weak and running a fever and would be heading back to the ER. They thought it was a relapse of the pneumonia, but turned out to be an icky intestinal bug that she caught from her roommate.

Enough already people! Although there really isn't anything I could do, even if I was closer, it is still a pretty helpless feeling being so far away and just waiting for updates! Just for the record, I am not being critical of number or timing of updates at all...I have been kept well in the loop...it's just the waiting and wondering that gets to a person, especially a couple of thousand of miles away! Things appear to be on a relative upswing again, but if anyone has a few good thoughts to spare, please send them our way!

On a less serious note, after two glorious, sunny spring days, we are having a cool, rainy, rather blustery spring day. The kids and I went to Keys Park anyway until we were chilled through. After that, we went to the 'Bou to get something warm to drink! Apparently, my skills as a freak magnet are alive and well. When we got there, it appeared that the weather gave everyone the same idea and it was fairly crowded. After ordering, the kids were situated at the kids' table playing with the toys and I was scoping out where to park my tush. There were a couple of big easy chairs next to the kids' table. One was empty and the other (right next to the kids' table was occupied by a woman working on a laptop. Except for the laptop, all of her things were on the little table between the two chairs. So I asked (very nicely) whether she might be able to switch to the other chair so I could be closer to the kids. I thought that the other chair might be better for her as she wouldn't have to worry about two little one bouncing around a few feet from her right elbow (and mentioned something to that effect when I was asking). Based on her response, you might have thought that I had gotten completely pissy and demanded that she get the he!! out of the chair and let me have it. Dude! I was asking! If it was really that big of an inconvenience, the answer could have been "no." I would have been perfectly fine in the other chair. It was weird and stupid, but I just about fell apart. Let's see...18 weeks pregnant...hormonal and moody much??? By the time the kids cocoa and my coffee were ready, I had pulled myself together and just turned the chair toward the kids' table. To be completely fair, this freak was far outbalanced by nicer people at the coffee shop. A lovely woman held the door so I could herd my crew in the door and after Bug waited very patiently for the mama bear foot rest to be available, the lady that had been using it complimented him on how politely he asked while she was packing up her bag.

Between the park and the coffee shop, I made some progress on my sock. Before today, I was only a couple of rows past the cuff and had made a couple of false starts on the brioche rib and was just not feeling the love. However, now that I have the pattern right and have made it through a few repeats, I am doing much better. My only remaining gripe is that my black yarn makes the pattern hard to see and would probably be best suited to plain ol' stockinette. We'll go a couple of inches and then decide whether the pattern is worth the extra work. I'll probably stick with it as the last several pairs of socks have been stockinette or simple rib and I just need the entertainment value of the design, even if it doesn't completely shine with the black yarn.

16 April 2007

Crawling back to the land of the living

I know I am going to regret either posting this or even saying it aloud, but we seem to be getting over the most recent cold. I'm still snotty and achy (mostly from coughing and puking...talk about a multi-muscle workout!), but have more energy that I can remember in the recent past. The white stuff that landed last week (over a half of a foot of the stuff) is gone and we are back to sunny and springlike. I think it is in the 60s today and the kids and I celebrated by walking to the 'Bou for frou-frou coffee drinks to take to "Close Park".

Our seedlings are growing fast and I finally got around to snipping down to one per peat pod. I will have to take a picture in the next couple of days. The tomatoes really look like tomato leaves and the basil smells good if you ruffle the leaves. Very exciting to a lady with a hopelessly black thumb! Maybe Namma's green thumb skipped a generation and one of the kids should be credited for success so far! Actually, both Grandmas do a good job not killing green things, so hopefully the kids have a chance...

Knitting and spinning have been piddling along. With cold after cold, I haven't even had the energy to knit much, so it has been pretty quiet. I will also try to catch up the WIPs status soon.

11 April 2007

Nope. Don't wanna talk about it.

Took the picture five minutes ago, in case you were wondering...

06 April 2007


Whoa! Major nostalgia hit for Mama today. Since it is spring break for the public schools, we decided to skip the branch library we usually go to and check out the county bookmobile. The branch we go to has a very small children's section (heck, the whole library is pretty small) and more than one other kid there makes it completely chaotic, so I try to avoid it when school is out. The bookmobile stops at local rec center/city hall (where we used to go to Thursday story time) from 12-1 on Friday. That's our regular library time anyway and when the weather is nicer, we can probably walk to the bookmobile and then walk over to "Keys Park." It will be a longish hike, but with the wagon, it should be manageable and great for pooping out the kidlings.

Anyway, the bookmobile was a kick...took me right back at least 25 years ago to the city library bookmobile that used to stop at the elementary schools once a week (OMG. It is NOT possible that I can reminisce about something more than 25 years ago, is it??). Our reading classes would take turns trooping out to look around and check out books if we had a city card. Of course, its pretty hard to make one bookmobile look all that different from another. Just strip out all the bus stuff and put bookshelves on the walls. The desk goes right behind the driver's seat (which swivels between driving position and librarian position). It's not like it is that big so you can get creative with the layout!

They had coloring sheets for the kids to take home, but no crayons (obviously, since there isn't a place to sit down and color), which distressed Bean no end. All the way out and all the way home, I had to keep reassuring Bean that we would get our crayons out at home. The pictures were cute, springy hatching chicks...which reminds me that it is time for another Bean vocabulary lesson. Today's lesson is "animals." Bean does the same thing as Bug used to do and uses the animal sound to identify some of the animals. I'm guess that the animal sounds are just that much easier for little people to pronounce than some of the complicated names.

peep-peep - chicken
hee - horse (or anything horselike, e.g., zebras, donkeys, etc.)
eh-eh - monkey
bah - sheep
kih-ee - kitty
gog-ee - doggy
buh-ee - bunny
wah-oo - whale or any fish
rap - giraffe
dut - duck
Oh, and Ms. K...I may have job applicant for you. Last night, Kitty Daddy was teaching Bug how to pronounce "Vesiculobullous allergic contact dermatitis," he has a very studly looking chest (if you like them cute and skinny), and is young enough not to make Mr. K feel threatened. I would recommend payment by Nekkid Ho rather than Boozy Ho because of said age thing...

04 April 2007

Department of Clarification

Thank you to those who reminded me that I'm not the crazy one here, but I think I need to clarify. I haven't really gone neurotic over the whole incident, I was intending to roll my eyes at several random moments of insecurity caused primarily by over-tiredness, not feeling good from cold #3, and random hormone wackiness. At sixteen weeks, occasional mood swings are not only expected, but probably required. I guess I either wasn't clear and/or the tone didn't come across in print. So, to summarize:

Us = normal, sane adults
Neighbor = total whack job
Me = Occasionally prone to want to
hide behind the shrubbery if I see the
whack job neighbor, but mostly okay

Bean is playing with some magnetic animal puzzles she got for Christmas. There are five animals (chicken, cow, cat, dog, horse) and each is in three pieces that go together with magnets. First, she put the animals together correctly, occasionally giggling wildly if the head was on upside down. Then she started interchanging body parts and I would try to make the correct animal sound (e.g., Mooo-eow, peep-moo (moop? meep? poo?), etc.) and she though this was just riotously funny. Of course, this led to Bug taking over the animals, since he thinks he should be at least as funny as Bean is. Of course, he doesn't quite get that four-year-old copying isn't nearly as cute as two-year-old experimenting. Now the animals are having conversations. That is a cute, funny thing for a four-year-old.

Oh, and it was snowing earlier today. Just flurries, but considering that it was almost 80°F less than ten days ago...

03 April 2007

Random Tuesday

Although I am starting to beat cold number three, my head (and brain) are still fairly stuffed up, so anything coherent would be asking to much right now.

First, I mended the one pair of jeans that I can still wear. I have tried patches, but I never quite get around to sewing the edges down, so they curl and peel and don't last very long. This time, I tried left-over sock yarn to mend the rips. I am definitely disproportionately pleased with the result. I even dug around and found the socks that match so that I could wear them.

Incidentally, I fell in love with this sock yarn because it reminded me of faded demin. Did I call that one or what?? I am completely addicted to demin. On the rare occasion that I need to do the dress-up thing, I pretty much need to curl up with a pair of jeans and my thumb at the end of the day.

Last night, we grabbed a quick bite out at LMNO'Pies. Bug has started calling it "EmmaLemma Pies," which is cute enough, but he is usually having a hissy fit when he starts hollering that he wants (or doesn't want, depending on which way the wind blows) to eat at "EmmaLemma Pies." Anyway, last night after we ate, Bug stood up and announced, "I am an old-fashioned boy." We never did figure out what he meant.

Today, Bean took the cover/cushion off the high chair, slung the straps over her shoulders and declared it a "Kah-kah" (Backpack...we are all about Dora right now) and has been hauling it around the house having picnics and other adventures.

I think that Sunday's adventure has left me with post-traumatic stress giving me flashbacks to junior high school. I'm alternately freaked out that I might run into psychotic neighbor and paranoid that she is saying bad things about me to other people. Okay, not wanting to run into her I get as I am almost pathologically non-confrontational (as much as I fantasize about giving people a peace of my mind). On the other hand, the rational, grown-up part of me wants to slap me silly for the whole paranoid thing. First of all, I couldn't possibly care less if someone believes rumors about me anymore and, second, consider the credibility of the source. I'm not even convinced people would believe her if she were spreading rumors. I think I need a nap.

02 April 2007

A Day Late...

Okay, first off, I need to wish Namma (my mom) a belated happy birthday. She is our favorite April Fool! So here's to you mom:

Hippo Birdie Two Ewes
Hippo Birdie Two Ewes
Hippo Birdie Deer Ewes
Hippo Birdie Two Ewes!
I wish we could have been there to celebrate with you! Thai food and birthday cake would have been way better than our evening!

First off, our weekend was pretty quiet as I have been fighting my third (!!) cold of the spring. I think I got enough extra naps over the weekend that I am winning again, but if I get another cold, I swear I am going to throw myself in front of a bus.

Anyway, our grand excitement for yesterday was this. We have this neighbor that lives two doors down (yeah, that one mom and dad). Anyway, I guess they are moving and she needed to haul some things to New Glarus (about 45 minutes away) to put into storage and her car was so full that she couldn't fit her son's car seat in. He's a kindergartner. So she asked us if he could play with Bug for a couple of hours while she dropped the stuff off. He has been over a couple of times to play, and while he isn't our favorite guest for various reasons, Bug enjoys playing with him and he usually tires Bug out pretty well. So this is around 2:45 PM. We ask the neighbor when she will be back. "A couple of hours" would be 5:00 PM, but she says probably closer to 5:30, but no later than 6:00 and if anything comes up, she will call us and let us know. Anyway, 5:30 rolls around and we are all pretty anxious to send our guest home and get on with dinner. 6:00 arrives and departs and we are getting even more antsy. She has had plenty of time to drive 45 minutes, unload her car (a sedan, not a big van or moving truck), and drive 45 minutes back. That is even allowing an hour and a half to unload, which seems more than generous to me. Anyway, we finally sent Kitty Daddy out for McD's dinner around 6:30. We ate, got both of our kids bathed and in pajamas. Finally around 8:00 PM, Kitty Daddy finally called the police. They managed to track down his older sister who was working not too far away, so they took him off our hands. Quite the adventure. I'm starting to think that my dad has the right idea: wanting to move to a cabin in the mountains where there aren't any people. Sure the moose might act like dumb animals, but, dude, they are dumb animals, so they have an excuse! Either that, or I need to make another Ho. Chocolate always helps.

So, while the kids slept great last night, I slept horribly after getting wound up. And today, both kidlings are just about completely bouncing off the walls from combination overstimulation last night and Mom and Dad being stressed out. Sheesh!