Friday, February 17, 2006

Frankie say relax!

I have never understood when people complained about waking to bird song. I love the sound of birds. Okay, not the sound of a hundred starlings on the lawn pecking for bugs and things (in fact, that scares me a bit). A few starlings on the lawn are cute and interesting. A hundred starlings on the lawn are freaky and wrong. A side story. When we were kids, my sister and I were watching Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" on tv. It was one of those week-end creature features. My brother and his friends thought it would be really funny to put gloves on sticks and hit the basement windows. Did I mention that all four of us kids were pansies when it came to scary movies? Picture four little kids on a couch in the dark, clinging to each other in mortal fear while watching movies like Jaws, Alligator, and of course...The Birds. So there they are, hitting the windows with gloves on sticks. Right at the part when the birds start coming in through the chimney, and here we are sitting next to a FIRE PLACE. I don't think I had ever been so close to wetting my pants in my life! We were so scared that we moved a chair in front of the hearth and ran to put the chain on the door. Because, you know, birds always use the door and were magically afraid of chains. Sheesh, we were dorks ROFL. Anyway. My brother and his friends got tired of their game, and tried to come in (probably to play asteroids on the Atari *snork*). The door opened part way, then hit the chain "SHUNK!". Sister and I were standing in the hallway, watching the door thump open against the chain, in pure and utter terror. My brother, in his infinite wisdom, slid his gloved hand inside to try and take the chain off. Our terrified little brains saw this black fluttery thing, and screamed THE BIRDS ARE GETTING IN! Sister acted quickly. She ran and slammed that door on that bird as hard as she could. And when the door did not close (after all, there was a HAND IN IT) she slammed it again. And again. And again! That bird was not getting into our house for sure! My brother was not happy. Suffice it to say, his hand and the door were broken pretty good (and so were we, as soon as his hand got better enough). Side story done. A couple of years ago I fell in love with a canary at a local store. Peach coloured, and it seemed he would call after me when I walked away. My DH and DD purchased the bird for me as a present, since they know I loved him so much. He has been a constant delight! He a bird. And he has so much personality, way more than I expected. He isn't "tame" meaning I can stand next to the cage and he is fine, but if I put my hand in there to clean he freaks out. You see, he still isn't sure that we aren't going to eat him ;). But he eats and sleeps and sings with abondon even if we are right there. And what I like the best, is when I sing, HE sings! My singing is not exactly American Idol material. From the time DD could speak, when I tried to sing a lullaby she would put her hand over my mouth and say "No sing, mumma". I can make the cats hide, and Ruby gets all nervous. She wants to run and hide, but since she usually runs and hides behind my legs it causes a bit of a paradox for her. And a pug in a paradox is nervous looking indeed. On a good day you almost expect her eyeballs to drop right out, never mind when she is feeling paradoxical. For reference, please refer to the closeup photo. LOOK at that eyeball. See what I mean? But Frankie? Frankie likes my singing just fine. He trills right along as I belt out songs from Annie. Or Peter Paul and Mary. Or the Wizard of Oz. Never mind he also sings to running water and crinkling plastic, he loves me dammit! He is quiet as a mouse until he hears movement or talking from upstairs. Then he unleashes his song. I love lazy Sunday mornings - listening to the joyous singing coming from downstairs, DD reading to her stuffed toy, the gentle puggy snore, Dh's deep breathing (read snoring and snorking, which he says he does not do so we will humour him and call it deep breathing). It is just a few moments when time stands still, and makes every moment of the rest of the week worthwhile (see previous posts LOL). It doesn't take much, and the spell is broken. DD is hungry, the dog needs out, the cats want fed, and even Frankie starts flinging his seed hulls to let me know he needs a refill. And here he is, beloved Frankie. So named because he is a crooner. He has a dirty beak from eating his greens, and the pic is a bit grainy. But isn't he darling?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Up to my armpits.

Well, not MY armpits. THE armpits. I am attempting to knit my child a sweater. She picked the colour (reminds me of those light purple jelly-beans they sell around easter). Even though I swatched for gauge, this thing is going to be big. Not overly big I don't think, but big enough to wear over other shirts and for a few years to come. Which I guess is a good thing, since making it may just kill me. The "body" is done up to the armpits. Now I am working on the first sleeve using DPN's. What is it with DPN's? I can't get them at Zeller's. Walmart didn't have any. Michael's had TWO sizes to choose from, neither of which were what I needed. I am improvising, but it bothers me that I have to. I've already bought the wrong needles twice (circulars that I did not like and had to return for another brand that aren't ROUGH LIKE SAND PAPER, and straights called for on the OUTSIDE of the ball band pattern when the inside specifies those darned DPN's). It seems that no two knitting projects take the same size of ANYTHING. I have a complete set of crochet hooks. Two in fact, one set in metal and one in bamboo. Easy peasy to buy and find just about anywhere. But knitting needles? Sheesh! Minimum five bucks a pair, and nobody carries ALL sizes. Just a few groupings here and there. Oh, and did I mention - NOBODY CARRIES THE DPNS I NEED?!?!. Ahem. I have been looking at those needle sets, but I noticed that they don't have metric (which many patterns I have access to call for) and don't convert in any way to double pointed, which is my main problem right now. So for now I am too cheap to take the plunge since it won't actually solve my dilemna. It's funny, I am just learning how to knit, I've always crocheted. But there was a pattern I just could not resist so I decided to re-teach myself how to do it (my grandmother tried in vain years ago). It was legwarmers, of all things, for my niece who skates. Crochet does not stretch or drape the same as knitting, and you can get a denser fabric from single knit than single crochet just because of how the stitches lie. Straight knit, with ribbing at the top and bottom but I really wanted to make them. I tried first using Home Spun, but unless you have a death wish I have realized NOT to use Home spun for anything (knit or crochet) - it is devilishly and deceptively hard to work with. Hard to see the stitches, and it sort of bunches up as you go along like a fat caterpillar, you need to constantly smooth the working yard with your hand to keep going. I was told that if I worked in the opposite direction this would not happen, as it has a "nap". When something comes as a center pull skein, I assume it was wound in the correct direction. I do not have a ball winder (I can't even get the correct size DPN's, where in heck's half acre am I gonna get a BALL WINDER?). No way am I re-winding an entire skein of that hellish stuff to use it. What I was trying to get at though, is this knitting stuff is addictive. Even when it causes bad language, sore elbows, and fits of appoplexia when the item is way too large (even when you did a gauge swatch). Even though I don't look graceful and relaxed while I do it. You know how some people look so relaxed, their nimble fingers fly across the needles, inches and inches of knit appear like magic. I look more like a person having a seizure while wrestling yarn out of a skein, with a hunched back and pained expression. Those knit rounds are dragged out kicking and screaming ;). Here it is, a pile of candy coloured yarn in all it's glory. Take my word for it, this will be a sweater: There are two errors. One is a small hole where I did a join in the round, the other is a spot where I think I slipped the stitch rather than knit it. I will fix them both after, using the same yarn and duplicate stitch. I found them too late - no way am I ripping back 10 inches of knitting in the round to fix it! Now I check each row as I finish it. Live and learn, right?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Three full dinners and nothing to eat.

On Monday I made three separate dinners. None of which to actually eat on Monday, of course. Pork cubes in the slow cooker (to be made into tacos or burritos another night). Italian beef to marinate for lunch sandwiches and maybe a quick dinner over rice - another night. And braised beef steaks in tomato sauce. The meat has been stored in one container, the sauce in another for what could be TWO more meals. And do you think we have eaten any of that yet? Nope. Taco Bell Monday night because we were in a rush (yelling at other people's children takes time, you know). Yesterday, kraft dinner and hot dogs because it is swimming night and we have to rush out again. Tonight? Tonight is a kicker. I have a deadline due and haven't gotten my data yet (which is why I am HERE and not working on that). Once I get said data, I have to complete the project. I technically have until midnight to complete it, and I will go right to the wire as per usual. After all, what is a project without me tearing at my hair, renting my clothes, and screaming "don't talk to me, can't you see I have a deadline?!?!" and accusing the dog of distracting me on purpose by touching my feet. Fun stuff, ladies and gents. Now, DH and DD do not understand deadlines and the fact that the world MUST STOP when I have a deadline, and still insist on being fed and silly things like that. I say daddy should be able to come up with SOMETHING, but that never happens. The child would whither and pass before daddy will feed her. He may throw something together for himself, but she would go unfed and unhappy - sad but true. Seeing as she made the announcement that she would not touch a single thing that is ready to be heated and dished out, her option just may be cereal. I can tell this will not end well. The pressure is mounting already. The child will not be happy to eat cereal - we don't even have any FUN cereal, it's all unsweetened basic crap like Rice Krispees and cheerios - and her daddy will not be happy to forage for himself nor fix her cereal. There will be whining. There will be arguing. There will be accusations and blaming and begging. There will be rants with sentences like "how come nobody ever cares if I eat?" and "CAN'T YOU SEE I HAVE A DEADLINE?!?!?!". How do I know this? Because that is what happened on Monday and Tuesday right before I got the taco bell and made the kraft dinner/hot dogs, that's how. My wonderful husband stood next to me FOR OVER AN HOUR bothering me about dinner when I had projects to finish before we left and we had to leave soon. Made no motion toward the kitchen, and not for lack of direction, I can tell you. Did nothing to gather the things DD needed for swimming nor helped her change into her gear. We don't normally fight in front of our daughter, but there was nothing for it the last few days. I want him to start taking more responsibility, he wants me to be his mommy as well as DD's. Needless to say, our valentine's day was not so sweet. There is still a flower arrangement wrapped in tissue paper on the table, and a teddy bear in a gift bag unopened by the door. Neither one of us was in the mood to exchange niceties, so there they sit. Sad, isn't it? I'm glad I gave DD her carebear and chocolate in the morning, or that might be sitting up there untouched too. But now, I have to sign off. My email just rang in, must be the data I am waiting for. After all, I do have a deadline you know! To keep you occupied until the next entry, I thought you might like to see what I wake up to each morning: This is usually right before she gives me a good snot, right in the face. That is about as much as you can see of a pug face, when it is smushed right into yours. And once I open an eye? Tongue right up the nose.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The transformation is complete.

I tried to fight it. I tried to avoid it. I did whatever I could for it NOT to happen, but the force was just too strong. I. Have. Become. My. Mother. When we were kids, we were all in the car. It was winter time. Mom kept a broom in the back to clear the snow off, it always sat in the back windshield. Some neighbourhood kids (friends of my brother, I think) decided to bumper hitch. What is bumper hitching? There are people who don't know what bumper hitching is? Yikes, around here many winter childhood memories involve bumper hitching in one way or another. Basically, when the roads are snow covered and you wear footwear that is slick on the bottom, you can grab onto the bumper of a passing car and sort of "ski" behind it. Yet, it is dangerous. Yes, it is stupid. Kids are stupid and do dangerous things ;). My mother did not abide stupid and dangerous things. Not only were we not allowed to bumper hitch (I don't think anyone was actually ALLOWED to do it anyway but I digress), she would not allow bumper hitching on her car (again, I don't think there were people that ALLOWED this). Our mother, upon noticing what was going on, did the unthinkable. She stopped, got out, got the broom, and chased the kids down the street with it. You would have thought that she was killing us. We were screaming and squirming "No mom, no!". She returned to the car, vindicated, and told us to shut up ROFL. For days we bumbled around the house muttering "She chased them down the street with the broom". We never did live it down, years afterward we would bump into childhood friends or people from the neighbourhood and they would invariably say "Hey, remember the time your mom chased us down the street with the broom?" or "Hey, remember the time your mom chased those kids down the street with a broom?". We flinch, say yes, emit some nervous laughter, and make an excuse to get on our way. The trauma was THAT DEEP (for scope, this event happened oh, about 27 years ago and it is still as fresh in our minds as the day it happened). Monday we were on our way out when we saw some kids having an altercation. An older boy kicked a younger boy in the back, who then fell into the street. A busy street. A busy street right after a blind curve. Quick as a flash, I was out of the car and screaming like a banshee. "What is wrong with you? You are bigger than he is, you are supposed to know better. He could have been hit by a car and killed. How would you like it if somebody bigger kicked YOU in the back? Or pushed you into the street?!?!". I am sure there was more, I kind of blanked out. To their credit, they did not sass me nor use bad language. And when I told them to GIT ON HOME they scattered like roaches when the light comes on. DH and DD were in the car, screaming and squirming and trying to hide by scrunching down in their seats. I recognized that look in their eyes. I recognized that trauma. I. Have. Become. My. Mother. On a happier note, bestlawn from the kt has combined my little dancing bunny with the address for the blog, and taught me how to paste it as a link in threads. So if you see me post at the KT and see that little dancing bunny, give it a click and you end up HERE! And here is a picture of Ruby, after stealing a candy from DD's valentine stash:

Monday, February 13, 2006

The ears have been pierced

Well, the house did not get cleaned, but the ears did get pierced. We let her choose the earrings, she picked gold with her birthstone. It was a good choice. She looks absolutely adorable, but so grown up *sob*! I was worried about doing the thrice-a-day cleaning with solution (you should see what I have to go through to brush her hair or wash her face, it is not pretty) but so far she has submitted her earlobes with barely a peep. She would NOT let me take a picture of one of her ears. "You are going to put it on the INNERNET. No. Way." rofl. Let's just hope she maintains this attitude into her teen years - we'll never have to worry about her posting pics of her half-naked (or all naked) self for the world to see. I have noticed, that when it comes to things like this - GIRLIE things - getting ears pierced or buying tights or selecting barrettes, that DH not only stands there like a lump but looks scared to death. He wants to be there. He wants to be part of "it". But a deer-in-the-headlights looks more relaxed than he does. What does he think is going to happen? It's not like we are going to force him to pierce something (we weren't in THAT kind of shop) or model little pink clothes. I admit though, it is nice that he was there. Because DD is going to remember that her daddy held her hand while they pierced the second ear (let's just say that she did not cry or anything but it must have hurt more than she expected). And bought her a princess doll afterwards, even though he is the king of the "you have enough toys already and if you cleaned your toy room you would see that" rant. Since I could not take a picture of her ears, I will show you a picture of her feet (in a pair of socks that I knitted for her). Who can resist stripey socks???? See 'ya tomorrow!