Friday, March 03, 2006

What must people think?

I promised you pictures, and here is one. DD insisted her stuffed puppy needed a dress. Who was I to argue? I made the pattern myself using measurements from the toy and a test swatch for gauge. The edging is crocheted on, I just winged it. Doing things like knitting sweaters for stuffed puppies illustrates a good point. I know I am odd, and I often get looks and eye-rolls and things from other people. I like to say I am unappreciated in my own time, and if I were born earlier I would have fit right in. Those unsold good-for-you chocolate chip cookies made with whole wheat flour from the bake sale? Those are mine. The carrotcake cupcakes that the kids each took one bite of and left (I mean, who doesn't finish a cupcake?!?!)? Mine. Those 100 percent juice boxes that sit untouched when the kool-aid jammers are gone? Yes, I brought those too. I make lasagne with tvp, heat chocolate soy milk and call it "hot chocolate", and make pie crust with whole grain flour and no trans fats. I do these things because they actually taste good, not because I am a nut. But it's hard to get people to try things. I am the only crazy mom around here that won't let her kid have artificial sweeteners (not even in gum) and think sports drinks are evil. Sometimes I lose these fights, even in my own home. My husband and daughter don't eat vegetables. I can't even call them "meat and potato eaters" because they are picky when it comes to meat, and suspicious of potatoes. Mashed, or nothing. And I make crappy mashed potatoes (I don't mind lumps, I have to strain them three times for those two critics and even then they complain). They will eat my rice as long as I don't put anything in it, and they will eat pasta as long as there are no vegetables in the sauce. They would prefer frozen chicken nuggets and rice-a-roni, and sometimes I relent. But they have to bake the nuggets - no deep frying here. Recently DH decided it would be okay for DD to have kool-aid jammers to bring in her lunch. Blue ones. Do you know what happens to blue dye as it passes through the body? It turns bright green, that's what. And little kids that don't drink sugary things often get the runs when they do. Bright green runs. When said child does not wipe certain things for herself yet, this means I have to be personally involved and now I am ticked off with myself for not maintaining my ground on the whole kool-aid thing. Not to mention the loads of laundry added due to "gas incidents" when young children get the runs. We won't get into the fanny soaking when poor tushies get sore from bright green runny poops. TMI? Well too bad. My life is TMI ;). The first time DD was ever sick, she threw up techni-colour. This child was not SICK as in with the flu, somebody thought that froot-loops were the same as cheerios and let her eat her fill. I say this is proof that some of this stuff is not good for eating. If our bodies reject it, that should be a clue! Sure, they get used to it over time and are soon enough able to eat those things for breakfast (who can eat something so sweet, so artificually fruity, first thing in the morning? *gag*). But think about it this way. The first time a person smokes or takes certain drugs they get sick. Over time, they don't get sick anymore because they become used to it. Used to these poisons. My daughter ate froot-loops and got sick. I don't WANT her to get "used" to them! I guess since I don't like these things I don't feel I am depriving my child of anything. She still will not drink soda. We never gave it to her, as I felt no child needs to drink pop when there was water, milk, juice available. When she was finally old enough to ask for it, she hated it. I see babies drinking pepsi out of sippy cups and it makes me cringe. We have been places where the sole drink option for the kids was soda. When I explain DD does not drink soda I get those looks again! At a recent meeting at the school, I made a suggestion that on special food days, they list carrots and dip as a choice alongside the usual potato chips and the inevitable kool-aid jammers. Another parent was quick to point out that my own child doesn't eat carrots. I agreed, but felt that many parents whose kids DO eat the carrots might like having the choice. Since the food is ordered ahead of time, only ordered items are bought so what do they have to lose? A supply company offered small containers of veggies (a couple baby carrots, a piece of celery, a slice of cucumber, and a few grape tomatoes) with dip for 1.00 each. That is an excellent price. The council decided that nobody would pay more than 1.00 for veggies if they can get the chips for 50 cents (with a healthy profit margin), so set the price at cost. Besides, nobody would be nutty enough to order them...it was pretty much to shut me up. More than half the students ordered the veggies. While this is a GOOD thing in my eyes when it comes to health issues (obesity and onset of typeII diabetes in youth) it also meant that the school made no money on those orders, and in effect lost money because otherwise the chips would have sold. Boy, that didn't help the looks I get when I show up in my knitted coat. To compound all of this, my child is a nutbutt. She says funny things at inopportune moments (like many children do). Like telling one boy her dad was going to "squeeze his head". And wouldn't you know who sat next to him on the bus during the field trip? The poor boy was scared witless all day, thinking my husband was going to squeeze his head. DH is not a head squeezer, nor has he ever done that do DD, but she said it and now the kid was afraid of him. It was finally cleared up at the END OF THE TRIP. A whole day of terror, poor child. This morning as we were waiting for the bell to ring, DH muffled a belch and said "Excuse me". In a very loud voice, DD said "Daddy, are you burping liquor AGAIN?". Brought the playground to a screeching halt, it did. While DH has been known to have a rye and ginger or two on a special occasion, he is by no means a drinker. To which point if he has a single beer in the summer DD will ask if he is drunk. She doesn't really know what that means other than what has been mentioned on some tv shows (people talk and walk all funny and people laugh, according to her). And a single beer certainly would not inebriate a person of DH's size. I asked DD if she even knew what liquor was. "You know. Beer and wine". When have you seen daddy drink beer and wine? "He drinks beer when he barbeques. And we have wine in the basement. He goes down there a lot. I think he drinks it down there". So we had a bit of a talk before she started school to clear this all up. She gets it now, but I shudder to think what she says when we are not there. Once, DH walked by with his shirt off (summer, AC not on yet) and DD gleefully informed my sister (on the phone) that "Daddy is naked". And I still can't look at the gas bar attendant in the eye, after DD declared I was in fact not wearing underwear. We were on our way to go swimming, I had my bathing suit on under my jeans, and no I didn't have actual underwear on, but still. I would stop going there, but the price is the lowest around and I am cheap. What is personal embarassment when you can save a couple of cents per liter? Another time she asked if a waiter would like to see my bra. "What? It's really pretty!". Makes me tempted, when I get one of those looks, to ask 'are you looking at me like that because I am just odd, or because my daughter said something and now you think I am odd?'. And I would ask, if I didn't think it might just make things worse. Here is the second picture. More knitting. Hey, I said I would post pictures. I never said they would be exciting. I have never knitted lace (never really knitted much of anything - yet) so I wanted to practice a bit. I don't want to waste expensive lace weight, so I'm using some leftover sock yarn. I am intrigued by the idea of a wrap that is light as air and not overheating, yet provides warmth and cover when needed. Perfect when the AC is on just a bit too high in a restaurant or light summer breezes. The stitches themselves are easy enough, but every time I get distracted I forget where I am in the repeat. I have ripped it back completely a few times because finding my place was hopeless. This is knitting for when I am alone and the house is quiet, for sure.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ice age

It rained ice pellets today. We got freezing rain sometime in the night. Not enough to encrust the trees etc. but enough to laminate the patio in the thinnest coating possible. So thin that it wasn't even visible at first. Poor Ruby bounced out the door and did a bambi-slide, all four legs splayed out flat. She spun right in a circle, then looked at me like "Ruh?" lolol. She managed to get up and continue her morning business, but walked reeeeallly sloooowly on the way back to the door. DH said "I wonder when the ice pellets will start?" and on cue, they started. Perfect, clear little ice chips. I was expecting those little frozen white balls that look like itty-bitty snowballs (or actually more like styrofoam bits). It sounded like hail without the rain part. Then it snowed for a bit. I sat and waited for frogs to fall from the sky, but as of yet no dice. Yes, I sent my husband and child out in this, yet haven't gone outside myself. Since I can't feel my feet or most of my legs, walking when it is slippery is not a good thing. Even if I don't fall, I get so stiff afterwards and my legs just crawl with spasms. The thought of those creepy-crawly spasms makes me want to scream and claw my eyes out. So I decided that DH could get DD off to school by himself. He wasn't impressed to go out in the cold, but I do this regardless of the weather for most of the year. It was his turn. Although I was happy to have a scapegoat (schoolgoat?) this morning, I can't wait for DH to go back on day shift. He watches tv literally all day and constantly comments on it and tries to engage me in conversation about what he is seeing. I finally gave up trying to work this morning, and if he interrupts me one more time while I try to write this I might just have to hurt him. When I have time to talk and want to talk, it is like pulling teeth to get single syllable answers out of him. How was work? "Fine". Lunch okay? "Yeah". And so on. But if I am trying to sleep, trying to work, or generally busy and can't talk, all of a sudden he wants to chat. Since we got a pvr unit where you can pause and rewind tv, he has driven me crazy. "Did you see that?" and he will remind a commercial and make me watch it. JUST TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED I DO NOT WANT TO SEE IT! To me the tv is just background noise that I tune out while working. I don't pay attention. If something catches my interest I might look, but I can guarantee that as soon as I face the computer again my brain has already ditched whatever I saw. Don't quiz me on it. "You have to hear this" he exclaims as he rewinds the Regis and Kelly show, so I can see/hear what Kelly has to say. I don't want to be mean and I am sure she is a wonderful person. But Kelly Rippa has never uttered anything so important I have to hear it right away in her life...I am pretty sure this is no exception. Sure, it may be amusing (he loves how they tease each other and gets such a kick out of it) but I am busy doing something else and these constant interruptions of my train of thought are cheesing me off. I will be seven levels deep in a line of code, and he will ask me what a character said on a show he is watching. How the frick should I know??? I finally re-find my place and start to continue, and he interrupts again to share his personal interpretation of something that happened on Lost (which has been pvr'd and he watches during the day, and drives me crazy with questions and comments. JUST WATCH THE DAMN SHOW). He will come up with this crazy idea based on something that means nothing, and totally miss a big theme. While that is amusing in itself, I don't want to hear the play by play of a show I watched last night. I try to be polite, but by the end of the two week stint I am ready to scream SHUT THE HELL UP and cut the plug off the damn tv. See what the interruptions do to me? They make me use bad language. And I shouldn't use bad language because it doesn't sound right coming from me. I don't use the "f" word because people laugh when they hear me say it. I guess somebody who still uses the word "neat" as in "Wow, that was neat" is just not meant to say really really bad words. "Arse" sounds okay, it's common cousin "ass" just does not. I have tried explaining, and asking, and reminding nicely. But to no avail. Once, when I had a DEADLINE, there were so many interruptions I was ready to take my laptop and rent a room at a hotel to get some peace and quiet. I finally finished an extremely long and complicated piece of code that performed several math calculations. I hate math calculations. I hate writing code that makes math calculations. Between the writing, the testing, and the stopping to hear/see what cute things Kelly Rippa said, I was ready to have a nervous breakdown. I compiled it, and tried to run it. DID NOT WORK. AARGH! Go back and step through (which means running it piece by piece until I see an error, having to do the math calculations long hand at the same time to check them). Did I mention I hate math calculations? Anyway, the code stopped right at a very involved and complicated case scenario. I know this means nothing to you, but just amuse me and click your tongue and say "ooh, case scenarios, those are hard" if you know what is good for you. And somewhere down near the bottom, nested in an if statement, it was. Somehow, in some way, I managed to transcribe what dh said to me into the code. Right there, in the middle of the statement, was a piece of a sentence that my subconscious heard - from the ear to the fingertips apparently. And I remember that specific interruption when I gruffly said "You know, I am not really listening and this is very complicated and I can't be interrupted right now, so please, leave me alone. I HAVE A DEADLINE". When I found those fateful words "the Others" in the middle of that if statement I had a meltdown. Today is going to be another one of those days. Feelings will be hurt. Deadlines will be missed. But he is back on days next week and I am looking forward to the blissful tv-less silence during the day. I love my family I love my family I love my family. Just make them be quiet ;). No pictures today, but I promise TWO tomorrow. My camera batteries are charging.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I am an olympian, dammit!

Some of you may have heard of a Knitting Olympics. A famous knitter mentioned it in passing then got burried in the avalanche it created LOL. I never formally signed up, but I did decide to try it. The deal was, to pick a project that challenged you. Cast it on during the opening ceremonies, planning to finish in time for the closing ceremonies. That simple. The idea of choosing something to personally challenge myself was intriguing. I spend hours looking through knitting patterns (mostly on the internet), coveting the finished objects but rejecting the patterns because they look too difficult or call for real wool. Let us just say that seeing "yo" or "k2tog-tbl" in a pattern causes my eyes to glaze over, and the idea of making something that needs to be carefully hand washed lest it turn into a labour intensive doll sweater doesn't do it for me. I want something mindless and easy to knit that will turn into something beautiful and amazing in my hands. But lets face it. If it was mindless to knit and called for novelty yarn I can get at Walmart, the finished item would be less than magical. Even though it was started a bit before (well, before the opening ceremonies but after I read about the proposed knitting olympics on the blog written by the famous knitter), the sweater I am making for DD (pictured in a previous entry) was my own personal olympic project. I knew I would never finish in time for the closing ceremonies (I am just past the cuff and increases on the second sleeve at this point, I have about 10 inches of knitting to go just for that). I didn't send in my name, and I won't enter the draw for prizes. But it's the first time I have knit a sweater, and boy have I learned from it. I have learned that when a pattern says "increase" but leaves the method up to you that different increases look..well..different in the finished fabric. I used M1 for the increase after the cuff but knit in front and back loop of the same stitch for the sleeve increases, and would probably do the reverse next time. I have learned that if for some reason you like the WS of your ribbing better than the RS and choose to change direction and use it that way, you will have a hole where you started unless you do something about it. I have learned sweater bodies and sleeves are made of miles and miles of plain knit in the round, which does not make for an exciting knitting encounter. Mindless and easy for the most part, yes. But mind-numbingly boring as well. I already knew to make it from machine-washable acrylic rather than wool or anything that requires hand washing. And other than swatching a little bit of lace (my next challenge) I have been very loyal to this sweater and not started another project. Okay, I did try and start a tank top from Matrix ribbon before giving that up for feeling like a scrubby pad, but that doesn't count because I only made like three rows before ripping it back and setting it aside. In those respects, I feel like an olympian. And no matter how long it takes to finish, I will surely do a victory lap around the house. There is going to be hooting and hollaring, banging of drums (and oh do we have drums to bang), and a grand melee. Even if it is late at night or early in the morning. Even if people are sleeping. Even if those sleeping people don't like being woken up and don't understand victory laps after finishing knitting projects. And I'll be sure to let you all know as well. Here is a crappy picture of the very uncrappy and expensive drum set usually found in our basement. They aren't set up like this anymore (thank goodness....talk about a floor hog) but there is still a drum or two in easy reach for victory laps.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Who is that man?

Who is this "DH" I speak of, and why do I call him DH? When I was new to the internet and bulletin boards, I was intruduced to those lovely abbreviations. DH, DD, BIL MIL FIL, dsis, dbro, SO, and so on. I latched onto DH and DD and in fact sometimes I forget where I am and what I am doing and use them IRL (in real life - tee hee!). And I get blank stares. "Who?" lololol! Those abbreviations have become, in effect, nicknames. It's not that I have a problem with using our real names, but I prefer Dances, DD, and DH. The animals do not get internet pseudonyms because that would be weird. *cough* Moments ago I started humming the theme from mission impossible and snuck upstairs to take a picture of DH. Blog fodder, you see. I needed blog fodder. So rarely do my imaginary friends on the internet get to SEE this fabled DH. Why not post a picture then? The first picture is not suitable for family audience, however. He saw me out of the corner of his eye and tried to escape and is only half in the frame. In the half that is visible you can clearly see his zipper is down. No, not because he is a pervert but rather because many of his jeans have problem zippers. Maybe because he inists that he still wears the same size jeans as when he was a teenager? So they get lower and lower and lower and the tortion forces the zipper down over time. Not that I am suggesting anything. *cough* The second one is better, but he is talking on the phone and said something right at that moment so he had funny duck lips. The third, he is still talking (and turning around in circles to avoid me, which is clearly not working since I am circling him as well) but his lips don't look as funny so that is what we are going with. See what I have to work with here folks? All I want is a picture to post on the internet for the imaginary world to see. What is wrong with that? Of course I was laughing like a loon (while he sternly tried to ignore me) as he was talking to his mother. And of course she wanted to know what tom-foolery I was up to now. And he told her. She probably won't sleep for a week, knowing I am posting a picture of him on the internet. What is somebody sees it? What if somebody comes looking for him? What if women start calling for him. I laughed so loud and hard, that I started snorting and made Ruby all excited (mummy!). Dh wanted to know what was so funny. *cough* So here it is. Right now he is saying "How would I know what she is doing?" tee hee! He isn't nearly as mean as he looks, and don't let the "Bike Week" t-shirt fool you. He's never been on a motorcycle in his life. Okay, maybe a little dirtbike when he was a kid. Bikers come up to him all the time, and he sort of just goes along with it while I *cough*. Now that my goal of getting his picture and posting it has been met (no mean feat, he tried to get the data card from my camera. Don't worry, Ruby bit his slippers but good for even thinking about trying to take something from me) I need to run an errand. You know, something for my cough ;).

Monday, February 27, 2006

Baby showers are not for wusses

Who invented the baby shower anyway? Get that many women in a room and you can smell the estrogen in the air. Add cute tiny baby clothes and ducky wrapping paper and it starts condensing on the walls. Break out the itty-bitty-booties, and forget it. Female animals for miles start to nest and don't know why. It's the estrogen cloud, I tell 'ya! How insane is sitting and watching somebody open presents? Right up there with watching paint dry and milk curdle, I imagine. Gifts are only entertaining when you are doing the opening. Or while the person opens YOUR gift. But still, even I am not immune to the tiny clothes, the booties that would fit on my finger and look like duck feet, and the inevitable bunny outfit (or pumpkin, or santa, depending on the time of year). I awwwwwww and giggle and sigh with the best of them. Little things are just too cute. The response to the unwrapping of a small plastic chair can attest to that. It's just a little plastic chair! Key word, little. Showers are a funny animal. Where else do you find a whole gaggle of ladies scarfing down cake while insisting they NEVER eat this way. Look lady, we see those hips under that sunday viscose skirt and control top hose. We know you eat cake. We ALL eat cake. Get over it. Now go and sit down, and don't bump into MY cake hips on the way by. In any event, shower food should have a category all it's own. Mushy pasta, the inevitable baked beans that look like tar and taste like they came straight from a can. How is it possible to take a product, add 20 dollars worth of stuff to it, cook it all day, and have it taste exactly the same?!?! The odd pasta salads with ingredients that don't go together and dressings from a bottle. The inconspicuous potato salad that turns out to contain sardines AND sweet pickles and is somebody's great-aunt-something specialty. The deli tray of rolled meats next to a basket of crusty rolls that look so inviting. Nothing like spending an afternoon sitting in a room full of estrogen in a viscose outfit completely covered in bun crust crumbs. It gives us something to do while watching the mountain of gifts slowly disappear....we chat, pretend to watch, ooh and ahh, and brush crumbs from one part of the polyester tablecloth to another. Oh but wait, what about the shower games? Gift bingo. Favours or corsages with one special thing different. Words under chairs or plates. The contest for the centerpiece at each table. The fun never ends, folks! There is heavy competition to yell out that bingo and get your very own tissue wrapped gift. Candle holders from the dollar store. Pot pourri and oil simmerers from the dollar store. Measuring cups and other kitchen implements from the dollar store. When asked why I was not paying close attention during the bingo game, I replied that I really don't need any prizes. I have all the measuring cups I need, scented things give me a headache, and if I get one more candle I might have a stroke. I haven't burnt a candle (other than during a power failure or on a birthday cake) in fifteen years. We are starting to call our house "the wax museum" - I have decorative candles that are older than me. One year some of them were exposed to sun and got all faded and weeped oil. I sighed with relief at having a reason to pitch them out. I avoid bringing new ones into the house like the plague. DD is already discovering certain things about showers. They are long. They are not exciting. The prizes are not the point (she has "won" pencils at every single wedding and baby shower she has ever gone to) and are nice enough but nothing to rave over. You have to sit quietly and watch somebody you don't really know open millions of presents that are not from you. Shower food is odd and it is hard to survive an entire afternoon fueled by a single slice of rolled lunch meat, a piece of white cake, and a styrofoam cup of warm watery punch. If you are a picky eater, showers are hell. Now don't get me wrong. I don't abhor showers. I know what they are and appreciate them for just that. But try to explain one to a guy and he will immediately decide he would never go to one again. That is why stag parties are nothing but booze, gambling, and naked women - that is the only way to get a man to go to more than one in his life. He asks why I don't just send a gift or make excuses to not take DD along (she is good for most of it, but it is a long time for a bored little girl to stay quiet and sit still). My answer is that showers "build character". Those are the words I use when something just has to be done and that is that. Like shoveling snow, eating brussels sprouts, and folding laundry. Now I have to get back to more character building (read, work LOL). In the meantime, here is a picture of two of my babies. This is what happens when you have black fur and get too close to the cookie baking action LOL. DD is giving her the proper "babying" because the poor thing got "floured" - tee hee!