Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The knitter's TO DO list

Make that pile. Well, really just part of the pile I wanted to tackle this week. But instead I end up nursing what's going on a four day migraine and playing cards with the girls -- one nursing strep throat herself. Sometimes life interrupts our best laid plans. You'll forgive my brevity, won't you?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What happens...

This is what happens when your husband gets a hold of craigslist. Everything suddenly somehow is up for sale. I'm starting to hide things.

This is what happens when he wants to buy a sailboat using the funds he intends to acquire selling the old stuff that has accumulated over the years.

Just please don't ask how or why we have a 1960's lawnmower that "runs and cuts good". Yes, it's older than everyone in the house.

And please don't ask why I used knit in the title of my blog since I seem to frequently get so far off the knitting track with these posts.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Crockpot days

It's hard to imagine that in two days they're predicting 85 degrees and sunshine because we've been waterlogged here lately. It's been chilly and wet, enough to tempt me to start a little fire in the woodstove yesterday but I held myself back. It's really not that bad yet, but perfect for the crockpot. I was about to grab the yeast to start what's quickly becoming a weekend ritual, homemade pizzas, but instead I went straight for old faithful. So I made a big pot of chili that we'll have with good bread and cheese. yum. That's my kind of dinner...the one that's completely made by 2:30 in the afternoon.

The market is supposedly on for tomorrow, so expect to see me a little soggy under my tent. If it's bad enough it may be an abbreviated day.

I've some work left to do so for now I leave you with some random thoughts of the four-year-old kind. The little gems that I was given on yesterday's ride home from preschool:

"Mom, what are tonsils?"

"Did it hurt when the doctor cut your tummy open so you could have babies?" (at which time I explained that I'd not had my tummy cut open or c-sections of any kind)

"Then how did the babies come out?" (a short, factual explanation sufficed)

"What does it mean when someone says, 'I just can't take it anymore!' ?"

"How do they make keys? Do they just smash a bunch of pennies into the shape of a key?" (no, they make them with machines and cut them out of metal)

"I know, they make them in factories!"

"I want to ask you more questions about science because I think you know almost everything!"

at which point I burst out laughing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


"Mistakes are good, mistakes are your friend. They're are an irreplaceable opportunity for learning", I heard myself say last night to the two neophyte knitters I've been tutoring in the craft the past few weeks. They weren't so happy or enthused as I was, feeling more as if they'd just wasted a bunch of time rather than received a profound gift.

I know the feeling. I used to get mad and frustrated when I made mistakes in my knitting, or in life for that matter, but now, more often than not, I smile. I smile really big. Because I know their benefit. I'll even go so far as to not call them "mistakes" at all but rather a chance to learn, grow and change.

Acknowledging the fact that I've done something I wish I hadn't, or something didn't turn out the way I wanted is just part of the equation. The real question in my head is, will I repeat the same behavior again knowing I don't like the outcome? Will I remember next year that if I want my basil to live longer I need to water it more often? Or more importantly will I follow through with the watering? I know myself. I will kill more plants before their time and I'll suffer the consequences though they're small.

But there are other patterns of behavior with bigger things at stake that I'm destined to repeat. Some lessons take longer to learn like, being hard on myself for every little thing gets me nowhere but down. And, committing to too much and then resenting the committments is a disservice to everyone involved.

So here's the personal pep talk it seems my brain is leading me to with this post:

"You're worth being treated well and with respect. There is no big trophy or pat on the back for being overly self-critical. Fun and laughter are good medicine. You've been given great gifts...God really does love you. You have wonderful things to offer the world and your family. Remember that and do them. There is time enough. And when all else fails and you just don't know where to turn, stop, be still and listen. Some things really aren't as big as you make them. Or if they are really that big, you're not alone, there's always someone to help you through the muck."

And that goes for you too!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So as not to forget

"We have a lucky house. It's right next to the sunset." --Lauren, on our walk tonight.

And earlier today,

"Amy, will you be my mom until mine comes back?" --anonymous

He hugs me tight and looks up at me with his innocent eyes, then takes my hand and pulls me along.

"Yes" I think to myself. There's room enough in my heart for his a thousand times over.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Life imitating art

It was another banner morning for yours truly, again over the morning routine and the need to get out the door in time to catch the bus. I'll give you some quick background. Lauren is my dreamer. We like to say she lives in "Lauren Land" where only she can go and they know her there. It must be a beautiful place because she can so easily get lost in her head, oblivious to the world around her. Lest you worry, believe me she's happy there, perfectly peaceful and in a state of bliss. She even blurrs the line between this world inside her head and reality at times. Case in point: At back to school night the grandmother of a classmate of hers (who I know well) came up to me and said, "Well where were you today?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Lauren said you were coming to have lunch with her today."

"Oh really? That's the first I've heard of it." I said.

This is cute and a nice little story, but the real truth of the matter is I see myself so clearly in her and it's a bit scary. The mirror of motherhood is turned on me.

So this morning, we're about to fly out the door including a shoeless, sockless Lauren. I'm quick with her and snip about the fact that getting ALL the way ready for school means putting shoes and socks on as well, it's a reminder I repeat almost daily.

At the bus stop I took her in my arms and said, "Lauren I'm sorry I was so irritated this morning, I'm just getting frustrated that you don't remember all the parts of getting yourself ready. I'm sorry."

"It's okay mom, I like you anyway." Big hug back. Pile on of John, Lauren, Allie, Sunny all at the end of the driveway (a.k.a. the bus stop). If you know the book above, you see it's almost verbatim. Only, in our version she says LIKE instead of LOVE. Should I be worried?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Variation on a theme

Through the years and years (and years) of flute and piano lessons I took, it seems like I was always playing some "Variation on a Theme" or other. Here's my latest take on neckwear, looking eerily similar to the pumpkin colored one a couple of posts back. This time, there's no extra that just gets caught in my coat zipper anyway.

Seriously, if there's one thing (or three) I need this winter it's a warm neck (and hands, and feet). Thank goodness I live in Virginia, the midwestern cold growing up nearly froze me to death. I even got frostbite one winter on my earlobes while skiing. Well, that was Colorado, wind chill was -30. I'll never forget it.

The little cowl is made with that oh-so-wonderful Inca cotton I bought a while back. I have another skein of it sitting here waiting for me that's variegated--carmel and cream--soooo pretty. If you take a close look you'll see it's closed with two vintage mother of pearl buttons that keep piling up somehow and spilling off of my workspace.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My little mushroom

This is one of her pauses between wildness.

Looks like the drought is over, mushrooms are everywhere. There is a huge perfectly circular ring of them in the farmer's cow pasture across the road. Wish I could get a picture of it.

Another organic scarf is in the works and may be finished by tomorrow.

Note to self this week: turn OFF the news.

Monday, September 15, 2008


New in the shop for Fall. It only took me 26 times to get 4 or 5 pictures of myself that were useable. And look closely, that's not garter stitch, something fun and new.

More fun with that bag full of O-Wool a couple of posts back.

Love that stuff. Now I just need to start combining colors.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ears, paths and a sore tailbone

I spent all weekend long sitting in a chair in a dark, freezing cold hotel conference room listening to a speaker talk about balance, dizziness, the inner ear and every kind of malady imaginable that can impact a person's balance. Very helpful content, a highly competent and even entertaining speaker, and something I have to know about and deal with every time I work at the hospital. It still didn't take away the fact that the whole weekend was blown, it cost me $400 and my tailbone is killing me. But hopefully I'm better prepared to help people. Time will tell.

This hiatus from working full time to stay home and raise three kids has been every single bit worth it and a choice I would make again and again if I had to. I like being able to keep my hand in what I was trained to do and the time off has uncovered other hidden gems like the sudden urge to knit when I was pregnant the second time and how I taught myself. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be knitting and selling what I design and make.

But the combination of both plus the introduction of other interests such as writing, yoga and just wellness in general does nothing but confuse me. I feel like I'm standing in the middle of a grocery store and don't know which aisle to go down. Like I didn't bring my list and so have no idea what I even need to bring home.

This is the crossroads I somehow knew I'd come to when my kids all were in school full-time. I've been wondering all this while what my life would look like at that point and how I'd end up filling my days. So this last year of preschool is decision-making time, or at least that's what I seem to be pressuring myself with lately. And maybe that's just the thing that's making me feel all squirmy inside. Maybe it's the pressure alone that I put on myself to have it all worked out. To know ahead of time what every little thing will look like and where the college tuition will come from and how we'll have another bedroom and bathroom when the kids are teenagers and when we'll get chickens and so on and so on.

Maybe, just maybe, if I take each day as it comes, all these things will sort themselves out. Huh. A novel thought. I think I just had a breakthrough.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bear with me

a lovely sight

I've been all a jumble this week, not really because of all the minutia going on that I like to list from time to time (which most of you could probably do without and I probably could too), but because of what's going on behind the scenes, the unmentionable, the unblogable, the heartbreaking, the lifechanging situations of several people around me. Luckily, and I really mean by the grace of God, I'm not speaking of me or Kevin or the kids. But we are all affected, sore in the stomach, with heavy hearts and find ourselves making statements like, "This is all just temporary, brighter days are coming" (Kevin). And it's not really our kids that know, these are the ponderings of the adult mind, searching for the adult solutions to life's darker days and all the ways in which we can be present for loved ones who need us. May they want us right now.

Fortunately there's music, and knitting or my anxiety would perhaps spin me into the abyss. I had the thought today that my kids are either going to love Pearl Jam and U2and Radio Head and Aimee Mann and Cold Play and and and....or hate it. This when I was blasting "Daughter" in the car, windows down, dancing down the highway in my minivan and 38 year old body. Ridiculous. It may deal with sad material, but I find it one of my most liberating songs ever. You'll see....

she holds the hand that holds her down...
she will...rise above...

lyrics from "Daughter" by Pearl Jam

So I pray for those I speak of that they will rise above. They may not know it yet, but I'm sure, no, I know that they will.

p.s. the other thing I do when I'm anxious is make jewelry
p.p.s. thanks for sticking with me

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The light of day

No early morning walk. Early morning fly through the routine and out the door to go to the city to have Sunny spayed. It's been one of those long days that doesn't want to end. Orders, errands, preschool, school school, work, sleepy puppy pickup, Legos, walks, love, food, more love, dinner, homework, reading, more Legos, showers, knitting, my eyes are starting to close.

Yes. She is fine. If I thought she was a sleepy puppy before, well today she's practically comatose.

Who put that pretty yarn in the grass? Weird, I know but I was right there at the shed. Why not? In spite of the wholesale order yesterday that nearly depleted my entire hat and bootie supply, I'm knitting a scarf with stash yarn. I don't claim to always make the best decisions. But I'm telling myself I have another week to prepare for the market. I have to miss it again for a PT continuing ed course. Phooey. I wonder if the speaker will know if I sneak my yarn in??

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Morning fog

I felt compelled to take a picture of the potting shed this morning on my usual walk. Something about it just grabbed me. The stark white against the dark early morning, the solemn trees standing there, the old rusted farm implements next to it, which unfortunately weren't detected in the photo. It's so quiet and still that I can't wait to see what the morning will look like as it meets the day.

I have a partner now in the mornings, of the canine variety. I'll spare you the pictures. Today, instead of literally dragging her out of her bed to come with me before she was ready, I decided to let her sleep and catch her on the tail end of my jaunt. It worked much better that way. Much less defiance and abrupt sitting followed by more dragging.

She's one of the sleepiest puppies I've ever seen. I just ran a short errand and put her in her crate (so she can't uproot any more of my plants--the little stinker). As soon as I got back I tried to let her out because as much as she shows me she likes her crate I still feel a little bad about putting her in there. I know, I know, I shouldn't. Well, this time she wouldn't come out. She laid down, she gave me big yawns and stretches, stood up, turned around and curled up in the back of it as if to say, "Leave me be woman! Let me snooze!". So I did.

After a huge orange juice spill at the breakfast table and lots of snipping by an impatient mom (ahem) on an already late schedule, there was an interesting discussion about the sky at the bus stop.

It looked like this on my walk:

and then a small opening broke in the clouds and the sun's rays split in large sections down through the clouds.

John: "Look mom, it looks like we're all getting sucked up into heaven. Everything, all the trees and people and the grass."

Lauren: "Oh, I hope we all get sucked up into heaven! I want to see Emma (deceased dog) and run and play with her!"

me: "I think it looks like heaven's coming down here."

John: "Wow, that would be great."

In my early morning fog, I almost forgot.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Waiting for Hannah

I'll admit it, I'm nervous waiting for hurricane Hannah to make it to Virginia. So I made homemade pizza dough. Maybe that's not really out of character, I like to make homemade bread and pizza dough. Sometimes the kneading has a special effect on the nerves.

It was Isabel that put the scare in me back about 5 years ago. John wasn't yet 3, Lauren was about 16 months and I was at least 6 months pregnant with Allie. We lost 20 trees in all, 10 in the front yard alone. What really did it were the two trees that hit the house and then raked down the side with subsequent wind gusts. It sounded like a freight train barreling through the house. Miraculously there was only cosmetic damage to the roof. But the rest of the night we took to the interior downstairs of the house which is the dining room. We camped out on sleeping bags, Kevin, pregnant me, two toddlers a dog and a cat. Very scary. The kids somehow managed to sleep but I was up most of the night going from window to window paranoid that another tree would come crashing in on the house.

Here's what the front yard looked like:

And John with his excavator helping with the cleanup behind the pole barn. Can you believe the size of that root ball? Wind. Just uprooted a hundred year old oak tree.

Lauren wasn't much concerned. John gave her those sticks in case she wanted to play.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kicking the doctor

Ahhh, look how sweet she is, just laying there all still, quiet and dare I say angelic. Well, just a few hours ago she was screaming and wailing, kicking the pediatrician and trying to wriggle her 34 pounds free of myself and two nurses. Sure, you and I might put up a fight too if we were being held against our will so someone could look in our eyes, but I promise you, the kicking, flailing, hitting and screaming came BEFORE we restrained her.

She woke up crying this morning and wouldn't open her eyes. I immediately said, "PINK EYE! No one touch your sister and Allie don't touch anyone else!" I got the hand sanitizer out and used it on everyone several times before we were out the door. As soon as the older two were off to school we headed for the doctor. Turns out there's a big scratch on her eye, not pink eye. Whew.

Nonetheless, the aftermath is not a whole big ball of fun. She's presently on nap #2 (thank you!) and ate lunch with her eyes closed. She's been walking around all morning bumping into things when I'm not right there to help her. Putting drops in was like a hellish deja vu, believe me. But of course she giggled all the way through lunch with DADDY. He came home especially to check on her. I think he's on eyedrop duty tonight. Oh yes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Prairie Goldenrod


Someone's not picking apples.

The backyard was so pretty today I just had to take a picture of it.

We're having interesting days around here with a preschooler who dearly misses her older siblings now that they're off at school but won't admit it. You think the puppy would be a distraction but did I mention she's fearful of dogs? It's a VERY slow getting used to the new puppy process around here.

Is it wrong to be really excited for preschool to start next week?

By the way, please shop at Whole Foods Market in Short Pump this coming Saturday because 5% of their proceeds will go directly to the Goochland Farmers Market! Also, if you go by the store and see the table the market has set up, you'll see some of my work.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Knishing with the dog

Yes, I realize the dog posts are excessive, but I figured I could redeem myself by including a bit of knitting. Kevin and I took off for a couple of hours yesterday while the kids were with grandma and grandpa and their cousins to see how Sunny would like the water/boat which is a must. We're so lucky to have several friends in the area who let us use their ponds from time to time and this is a real favorite. It's just tucked back in the woods and is so quiet and serene I wish I lived there. I'm figuring out a pattern (not a hard one) for a hat with that great yarn I bought a while back. The color is Prairie Goldenrod. Love that. It's just a simple cable hat, but as soon as I started on it I realized I came away without a cable needle or dpn so I used a comparably sized crochet hook instead. Worked beautifully.

Little miss Sunny was a trip. She walked straight into the water as if there were no diferentiation between it and dry land. Not a minute in the boat and she was over the side and into the water paddling around. We pulled her back in so she didn't swim to shore, she shook off and then laid down/slept the rest of the trip. There were fish flopping, frogs plopping, there was an onry goose and a howling hunting dog. None of this seemed to bother her. She decided to sleep and dream. Nose and feet twitching, the whole nine yards.

It was such a beautiful afternoon I really started to get a taste of Fall. It's still warm, but the light has started to change and the days are getting shorter. For a guy who doesn't knit and a girl who doesn't fish, what a blessing it is that we both love the water. It always brings us together.

Monday, September 1, 2008

She knits, she purls, she weeds

I've been playing catch up the past few days which meant a serious bout of weeding yesterday. The kids started back to school this past Monday and then Sunny arrived along with 2 1/2 days of rain. Now that she's all settled in it was the perfect time to tackle the back yard weeds. As you can see that doesn't just mean little weeds, it includes the vine and tree variety. That's how bad I'd let it get. In all there were two loaded down wheelbarrowfuls and I dug up and hauled away another load of daylilies. There's a whole lot more of those to go. I decided I wanted other things in the backyard and will just spread those out other places. If anyone wants some just let me know, they're yours.

Part of my excuse was the desert wasteland the ground had become during the drought and the other part is my fear of poison ivy. Being severely allergic to it and wanting to avoid huge, swollen and oozing limbs, I put off weeding as long as I can. I also now use a hoe and rubber dishwashing gloves which help, but I'm one of those who can just pass by the plant and get a horrible rash.

Sunny was a huge help. She helped me dig holes for the sedum I finally planted and came up snorting snoutfuls of dirt. She's doing so well we really can't believe how lucky we are. She's right there to play if you want to, or if no one's in the backyard she just goes to sleep on the porch. Last night she was so tired I had to pick her up onto her feet to get her to come inside to go to bed. All signs are pointing in the right direction. Now we just need to see how she likes the boat.