Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Surprise snow

Last night it was raining, then it was rain and snow mixed, then it was just snow and then the snow started to stick! I took a walk around the neighborhood this morning and took some pictures. If you have a good internet connection I hope you will click on the pictures to get a better look at them. The third and fifth are my favorites. The second is the small maple tree in our backyard.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gratitudes and sleep

There is a meme that caught my eye the other day. There are actually two that are related. I found the first one, a list of 25 things you can't get enough of, here. The second is a list of 25 things that shit you to tears (a phrase I've not encountered before but apparently means something along the lines of "bug the shit out of you"), here.

Generally speaking, I love doing memes. I think it may be that they are like those little personality tests you can take that will tell you all about yourself and what your career should be. Anyway, at first I was mostly interested in the negative meme. The first one seemed kind of smarmy to me, but later that night as I was trying to fall asleep it popped into my head. I started thinking of things, and I suddenly realized that thinking of a list of things you like, when you are trying to fall asleep does not cause anxiety! Stop the presses! What?! That's right. The reason this is earth shaking news is that I have trouble with initial insomnia, meaning it takes an age for me to fall asleep; a good night takes 30-45 minutes, a bad night 5-7 hours. The game I used to play in my head was "what if I won the lottery." For example, the lottery that week might be worth 20 million. Divide that over 25 annual payments, and multiply that amount by 60% to estimate the amount left after taxes and you have $480,000. Ok, so that is enough to pay off all bills and the mortgage and live quite comfortably, but what about your friends and family. So I could go on for quite a while figuring out who would get how much, how I would give it to them, how often they might get a stipend, etc, etc, etc. My aunt thinks of this as a sort of advanced counting of sheep. Money has been causing me anxiety lately, so thinking about winning the lottery just isn't fun any more. If I just lay there in bed with nothing to think about, I end up thinking about things like someone taking all the children in my daughter's preschool hostage, or the bridge I'm driving on collapsing in an earthquake while Fiona is in the car with me, etc, etc. You can probably see why I might be up for a while. So, I am rather excited that I have come up with a new way to relax and fall asleep.

Just in case you are curious, chocolate and coffee have become regulars on the list of things I can't get enough of.

p.s. If you have any sleep inducing ideas, I would love it if you would share.

p.p.s. It is also de-lurking week, so please leave a comment if you stop by.

A little dab of Martha

I ironed some of my cotton napkins tonight. It took a couple of tries to figure out a trick to ironing them and not having them out of square. If I ironed the whole napkin and then folded it to press it again the sides never lined up because the shape of the cloth had been altered. So I tried just pressing the edges so they weren't rolled up and then folding the napkin in half and smoothing it with my hand so that when I pressed them they would be in a nice rectangular shape with all the edges lined up. Aren't I clever? No, it's just that I have never learned the proper way to iron things, probably because one hardly needs to iron anything now. As I was putting everything away I told my husband that I really like my iron (a newish Rowenta), but that if I had to use it everyday I probably wouldn't like it as much.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Matinee Jacket for baby M

I knit a baby sweater in the Matinee Jacket pattern from Baby Knits Vogue Knitting On The Go (the book is out of print but still available at the library, etc). It is a lace pattern that is pretty simple really. I started in March and finished in July. It was knit with 2+ skeins of Dalegarn Baby Ull in white on US size 2 and size 3 needles. The reason I say 2+ skeins is there was a lot left of the third skein. I did modify the pattern somewhat. I did some fiddling so that the lace holes lined up from the bottom of the arm holes up, otherwise things would have shifted and looked wonky to me. I didn't graft the collar onto the jacket. I suck at grafting and have developed a great fear of it. I did a three needle bind off. I don't know if I would do it again. It made the neckline really rigid and the collar wants to flip up all the time, but who is looking at the collar when a cute baby wears the sweater, right?

This was my most difficult undertaking ever in the realm of knitting. There were times when I knit an entire row, that would be 203 stitches just so you know, incorrectly and I would have to go back and take them all out and redo them. Please note this happened more than once. The right front has an extra row in it. I didn't notice it until I was done with the left front. I looked at it and decided no one would notice.

The baby who received the sweater was a month old when it was done. The sweater was also given to him on the hottest day of the summer. Oh well. It fit him well, and he was able to wear it well into the beginning of fall. His mother and his grandmother both liked it very much, and that was what mattered to me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I freakin' hate it that you can't tell which company owns what

Here is an article from the NYTimes about the purchase of Burt's Bees by Clorox. I also found out in the article that Clorox owns Hidden Valley dressings, Glad trash bags and Brita water filters, of all things. 84% of Tom's of Maine is owned by Colgate-Palmolive.

Yes, I'm happy that Clorox is going to try and green up a bit. I just think that things that are sold should have a provenance or something so we know who is ultimately going to profit by our purchases.

I'm still sick and I think it makes me crankier than usual.

Monday, January 07, 2008


I spent last night either freezing because of chills or sweating through my pajamas. Having a fever sucks.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A bit superstitious

I'm a bit of a superstitious person. Superstitious may not be quite the right word. I've started making coffee again at home, which involves warming up a bowl of milk in the microwave until it is quite hot and then pouring an equal amount of french-press coffee into it. Every once in a while I heat the milk too much and a bit of skin forms. On New Year's Day when I poured the coffee into the milk a small heart shaped bit of milk skin was floating on top of my coffee. It is a little thing that means nothing, and yet it made me happy and I think of it as a good omen for the year.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It isn't flattering

I was just over at one of my favorite blogs and the author wrote about the terrible time she has had over the last couple of weeks. She prefaced it with her thought that personal whining is annoying and unflattering. I have definitely taken to personal whining on here lately. Crafting has fallen off, and I don't carry a camera around with me. I've thought about trying to have a beautiful, peaceful blog like Little Jenny Wren or Love Forever or Ann Wood, but I am not those people and I don't have their lives or outlook. Please understand that I am not badmouthing the person who said she didn't like personal whining, I completely agree with her.

I am exceedingly happy about something today. First the sad part, my sewing machine died in November. It is a Pfaff 130, an heirloom from my grandmother. It came with the original warranty card with her signature and the date of purchase, June 1, 1954. I was so sad when it died. Most of the gifts I had planned to make for Christmas required sewing. The person who came out to service it last year said that it wasn't really worth fixing and that once the motor went it would be history. I had him go ahead and service it, replace the foot pedal, and the cord because the insulation around the wires was cracked. It all cost in the neighborhood of $200. Ouch. So when my well loved machine stopped, I was sure that it was beyond help. Today I wandered into a sewing machine store to get an idea of the cost for a new machine. They wanted to sell me something that looked very nice for $800. I do not have money like that sitting around. On the way home I passed by an old sewing machine and vacuum repair shop that I have passed a million times. I decided to call. I told the man everything about how it was old, and I thought it was the motor, and that the last technician said that it was not salvageable, etc. He laughed. He said that this machine is one of the most indestructible ever built and that getting a new motor was not a problem. He then asked me if the person who had worked on my machine before was so-and-so. I said yes. He then told me about some that persons questionable business practices. Oh, and the quote for repairing the machine this time is $79.

Here is a representation of my 30lb black beauty. I will take many pictures of her when she comes home.

Happy New Year

I've been making a couple of lists lately. One is a list of things I would like to do/have/be in the future. I made a list several years ago and did/had/was a lot of the things on it. I'm not too keen on making resolutions as they seem almost made to be broken. Fiona and I worked on two lists today of things we like to do and places we like to go. On Friday we will go to the craft store and buy some card stock and brads so we can make a couple of spinning wheels that will have the list of things written around the edges. The idea came to me when I was thinking how some days I don't want to play princess for the 10,000th time that day, but I can't think of anything better to do. A friend recommended that I make a wheel of things that she can do by herself, when I am unable to or disinclined to play.

It has been a stressful month/month-and-a-half. There have been many nights when I've seen the clock tick over to 3AM. I received a prescription for Xanax about a week before Christmas. It helped me fall asleep perfectly. I also realized that I am a light sleeper. It wasn't until the second day that it dawned on me that I hadn't woken up when the cats climbed on me, or when I turned over and dislodged one of the cats, or when the dog scratched, or when my daughter cried out in her sleep (I know this sounds terrible, but it happens every night between midnight and 2AM, she has night terrors), or when my daughter climbed in bed with us. It has been amazing. I've actually woken up after eight hours of sleep and felt like getting out of bed. So, we are making changes, because I obviously can't take the medicine for ever. The cats are now shut out of the bedroom at night. It makes me sad, because I have loved having them with me. One would sleep between my feet and the other on my hips. We put a new door handle on the bedroom door, so that Fiona can open it without a lot of noise. We took the collar off the dog. I'm going to look into getting one that has the name and phone number stitched into the fabric of the collar. Of course none of this deals with the initial insomnia that I've had trouble with, but I've been visiting with my therapist rather frequently lately and things in general are doing a bit better.

I found this article on the New York Times* to be interesting. It is about how people deal with regrets.

I found this article on the New York Times to be utterly distressing. It is about companies creating virtual worlds for children to visit and pay money for etc, online. It makes me think of the writings of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson.

Here is a bit of fun. You can make a South Park character that looks like you. Here I am. My husband says the expression is just perfect, but that is only because he constantly says things that make me roll my eyes.

* If you don't have a login for the New York Times and it asks for one, you can use craigslist for both the ID and the password.