Wednesday, February 28, 2007

So. Much. Stuff.

Have you ever looked around your house and thought to yourself, "Where did all of this stuff come from anyways?"

I moved to Virginia 4.5 years ago with only what would fit in the back of a Grand Cherokee. I had some books, some clothes, photographs, a sewing machine, a couple heirloom jewelry boxes, a computer and a cat.

I know have enough junk to fill a 1500 sq foot house to the rafters. I have stuff I don't even recall acquiring. The sewing machines have multiplied. There is stuff stashed in every corner, drawer, shelf and even the attic. I know that my mother gave me a lot of it. I know I picked up a few things here and there at ikea or thrift shops, but honestly. Do I really NEED all of this crap?

Thus begins the great purge of 2007. We are going to have to move this year. Probably in the summer. My father is retiring and they will be selling this house. We will likely be moving into a townhouse or apartment for a while until we decide our next move. Not only will we not have room for all this stuff, but quite frankly, I'm not moving the crap.

I find it to be a bit disgusting as well. Is it truly necessary to have all of the stuff that we tend to have in our homes? Do I really need that fancy candle or kitchen gadget? The most thoroughly disturbing thing is stuff that there are more than one of sitting around unused. Or items never even removed from their boxes. I shudder to think of all the money spent on these things that could have better served us in a savings account or other investments.

I am hereby declaring a "stuff embargo" on our household.

No more senseless stuff. If we already have one, there is no need for two. If we don't have one, do we really, really need it? Sadly I'm going to be applying this to yarn and knitting stuff too. I did buy myself some nice treats recently, but this also means that maybe it's time to sell the other two wheels. Maybe it's time to downsize the other craft stashes to compensate. Also, if it hasn't been used in 6 months, it's out the door. Gone. Bye, bye. I've already started freecycling some things. Maybe we'll have a yard sale as soon as weather permits and apply the money to our savings, or towards good quality furnishings to replace the junk we've hodge-podged together now.

Viva la Purge!!!!!

Monday, February 26, 2007


Is what hubby looks like when you buy him a new toy:

Note the twitching and drooling. He has been reduced to cretinism with joy.

This is the way the Girl looks when she has strep:


This is the way the Boy looks all the time:

So so lost. Utterly dazed and confused.

This is how Bud looks when you point a camera at him:

He is currently displaying what I like to call the "do you have any cookies in your pocket face".

My family. Oh, how I love them. Oh, how I long for another cruise. Leaving Now.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

If only I had a Time Machine

I'd be able to fast forward life a few days to the day that the UPS man comes to visit me. I think If I'm home when he stops by, I may just kiss him.

He is bringing me a Lendrum Complete ST and a Strauch Petite drumcarder from Woodland Woolworks. Itcomes with a free order of anti-anxiety meds for hubby.

I went up to the Springwater Fiber Workshop in Alexandria yesterday to check one out. They have tons of wheels and things, but perhaps I caught them at an off time since the shelves all seemed to be pretty empty. I was given a 6 month order time for a Lendrum, so I went head and ordered from WWW instead. For some things, patience is not an option.

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm so smart.

And I have proof.

See? See what I did? I can entrelac! I am the Queen of Entrelac. And I want to entrelac the piss out of everything! Muahahahhahaha

I picked up a copy of the new IK and followed Eunny Jang's tutorial. After some false starts and confusion I got it figured out. Hubby loves it so much he requested a sweater and placemats. He loved it so much, he's asked for another round of knitting lessons.

Yes, you heard me right. He wants to try again to learn. Between the entrelac swatch, the sneaky way I got him to look at Kaffe Fasset's pattern library and a promise of two manly-hued skeins of Malabrigo, he's decided to try again. He tried once before with some awful acrylic yarn, and he did fairly well for a beginner. Better than I did for my first time, I'm sure.
I saved his first and only knitting attempt. I love it, despite his attempts to throw it away.
I can't wait for my yarn order to arrive.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Yarn Porn Friday and a visitor

Todays yarn pr0n is brought to you by the letters N, O, R, and well. O.

A big ol' bowl of pretty wooly colors. Yum

We were also graced with a visit from my brother in law, Andrew. He's a cutie and is just engaged. We did our duty as the older and wiser ones to teach him the world's best coping mechanism for children. Beer. We met him for dinner tonight in Richmond, and I wish we could have spent more time with him. Last time I saw him he was the Girl's age and still a rotten little twerp. He's still a rotten little twerp, but in a much better way. I hope he's back soon. I forgot how much I liked the little poop.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


4 am comes very, very early in the morning. That's when we left home to get to Philadelphia. The trip up was pretty uneventful and we missed the majority of all the traffic. We got to the hospital just fine and Trystan had his exam. We can't get him a new brace for his leg since the muscles are too tight to move his foot to a neutral position. We have to return in 3 months after working with him on muscle stretching exercises. if those don't work, we're onto more extreme treatment methods. I really hope the stretches and exercises work.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Philadelphia? I've heard all kinds of horrible things about it, and while it has it's problems, It is a great town. I've spent time there with friends who lived in the area and there is nothing like it I've ever experienced. Where else are you going to go and find buildings all over the place that look like this:

There is art, culture, bustling streets, open air markets, and oddly enough, smiling faces. People here are friendly in their gruff urban way. People here will actually smile at you on the street. Walk through a neighborhood in Philadelphia and it's equally likely you'll be pinned by an aging Italian man extolling the virtues of a strong marriage or be confronted by an artists studio pouring out of a garage. You can sit on your stoop in the evening and chat with the neighbors. Then you can walk to a corner hole in the wall restaurant where the food is like that your grandmother made, and it can be a year since you were there last and the staff still remember your name. I won't say that you can't find the typical urban filth. There are drugs, there are gangs, there is that lovely city stench. There is also an underlying current of community in everything. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is Brotherly Love as the city's motto states, but maybe just a love of your city. Pride in it. I love that.

After T's appointment I took hubby to Gennaro's on South Street for an authentic Philly Cheese Steak. The boy got a pizza burger.

Mmmmmmm. Pizza burger.

We also managed to hit not just one, but two yarn shops!

We stopped by Loop. This store is beautiful. The yarns are arranged by makers an colors against a white backdrop. It looks like a gallery, not a yarn shop. The fibers are luscious. Silks, cashmeres, alpacas, the softest wools. It was so gorgeous though I was a bit afraid to touch things. I know when I chose the yarns I wanted and had to dig a bit to find the skeins, the delightful shop girls came behind me to artfully rearrange for the missing skeins. Honestly, it was a bit overwhelming. I did score some delightful yarns though.

Schaefer Anne. The colors in this are to die for, and the subtle shifts in color are delicious. I foresee a shawl in this. It's just enough for a swallowtail. One of the girls in the shop showed me a sock she's been working on in Anne in a different colorway. It was so soft and silky feeling. Positively sinful.

I also picked up a skein of Malabrigo in Curacao and a skein of Silk Garden, which is not pictured here.

Love, love love these colors. an it's soooo soft.

Please note the matching skein of laceweight. I did not find that at Loop. We went further down South Street so I could show hubby around a bit, and after finally finding a parking spot we walked up and down the street. Hubby stumbled on a shop called Nangellini. For every carefully arranged cubby of yarn at loop, was an overflowing basket of fiber here. The owner, Nancy is an angel with her bright pink hair and her shop filled with art, bright skeins of yarn, finished objects and lots of comfy chairs covered in works in progress. Many of the yarns she stocks can be purchased online, and In fact I believe they were, (I spied some yarns which solidiified my resolve to finally make an order from them) but it gave me a chance to feel and fondle fibers. I picked up 2 skeins of Handpainted yarn's Laceweight including the curacao pictured above (Scribble lace perhaps?) and a skein of K1C2's Paintbox.

After a time getting out of the city preparing for Mardi Gras, we left PA and stopped in Baltimore for a quick drive around. What a total contrast in cities. For those of you who love Baltimore, I apologize in advance, but that city reminds me of an aging beauty queen. Think Mrs. Havisham. We drove through the Inner harbor area and I guess made a wrong turn down a street 3 blocks from the Inner Harbor in which hubby made a quick U-turn when he saw 3 men begin to approach our vehicle with less than welcoming looks on their faces. During our quick escape from the area we saw these two billboards right next to each other. What does this say about the city?

The sign in the distance reads "How many women have to die before domestic abuse is considered a crime?"

A hard city indeed.

Moving along we stopped in Annapolis and went to a little record store where hubby scored some Tom waits, Lou Reed and Bright Eyes Records. Then home to collapse. Hubby and I both woke up feeling sick as dogs this morning. Today will be a day for relaxing and recovering before returning to the grind tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back from philly

Very tired. Managed to find not one, but two yarn shops. Pics of the spoils and the city later. For now... must sleeeeeeeeeeeep.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Casual observation.

Have you ever spent a day at home. Nowhere to really go. Just puttering around, cleaning house and what have you. The phone will remain silent all day. At the very moment that you become engaged in something, however, such as watching a movie, or turning a heel, or using the bathroom, the phone rings off the hook. Not just one or two calls either. Everyone you have ever met calls you. One right after the other. I’m sure if I could create a feasible explanation for this, scads of people would be willing to pay me large sums of money to give speeches about my theories. It would probably unlock the answers to other burning questions that plague humanity, such as “Where does that other sock go when it disappears from the dryer?”

I’ll be working on this tomorrow when we are driving to Philadelphia and back. At least 8 hours on the road. My son has an appointment at the Shriners Hospital to get a new leg brace and continue working on his treatment plan for getting him more mobile. My son has Cerebral Palsy as a result of being shaken as a baby. He has a left side hemiplegia and has difficulty walking and moving his left arm. He can move them, and for all accounts is a pretty normal little boy, but he would like to be able to walk and move his left arm more freely without the inevitable CP claw. He has been a patient at the hospital for a while, however his doctor began to work on research projects and getting him another appointment has been a real pain in the ass. I am grateful to the hospital though, they've done him a lot of good and their services are free to everyone regardless of income. In fact the only time my income was mentioned was when he went to his first appointment, and this was really just a survey. The drive is grueling, especially since we usually do it in one day, but it is so, so worth it.

I'm hoping we will have time to stop by after the appointment at Loop. Hubby is desperate for an authentic Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. We all have our priorities.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I am still alive. Sort of.

I have been a bad, bad blogger. Time has run so short in the last few months, and blogging was the LAST thing I thought of each day as I passed out exhausted. It's been rough lately, But hubby and i had a good long talk last night and we both agreed that although our lives are hectic, we can't function anymore without taking time for ourselves.

It is time to come back to the blog.

I love to write. I always have. I was published years ago, and even given some awards for what I wrote. Very exciting, but as the years went on I realized that my time for it was nill, and when I was inspired, it was usually at a time where I could write nothing down. This blog is my writing outlet now. Time to dust off the old thesaurus and get things on track. it will probably also be the only journal I put more than two entries into before it finds the bottom of a pile of books.

So much has happened in the time I was gone that a detailed accounting of all the time would be a novel. I'll summarize.

-The chickens have all shuffled off this mortal coil. The first death occurred when Barbecue became egg bound and the egg broke inside of her. Peritonitis quickly ensued and hubby put her down. This was Halloween night. The neighborhood opossum decided the rest were a fantastic midnight snack, and despite the chickens having a secure area at night to roost, chickens are stupid, stupid creatures. I am still pained thinking about this. I adored my chickens. The dogs found the first chicken dead and cried and nosed her trying to get her to get up and play. Hubby assures me that when we finally find a place to settle that we will have more chickens.

-I went on a cruise with my dear friend Beth who is sadly blogless and a non-knitter. I've offered to teach her many times, she politely declines. Instead she commissions small projects for her family and pays handsomely for them. Back to the cruise. We went on a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise on Carnival cruise lines. I've never been to the Caribbean, and although we really didn't see much other than the typical tourist traps, I am dying to go again. You don't know luxury until you've had 7 days of people making your bed, food and drink available 24/7, and generally, nothing to do but what you feel like doing.

Returning to real life after that is a horrible let down. When you get home at night you really expect to walk into your room and find a towel animal and a mint on your turned down bed. I tried to pay the children to do this for me. They were so bitter about not getting to go with me, that they declined my offer of cash, despite the huge amount of crap I brought back for them. Hubby just about fell over laughing when I suggested at 1 am that we call room service for champagne and cheesecake, then go dancing.

-The girl turned 12 (gods help us) and the boy turned 10. Nothing makes you feel older than your children having birthdays. Nothing.

On the upside, in eight years I can legally set them loose on the world and try picking up the (few) remaining pieces of my sanity.

-We had a FULL house for the holidays. We brought home 4 of the kids from Hubby's group home to spend the holidays with us, and my uncle came up to spend the holiday as well. I could often be found escaping to my mothers house, pouring a drink and mumbling under my breath about 6 children in the house. Christmas Eve hubby took them all caroling. None of them had ever done it, and none of the neighbors have ever had carolers. They were stopped at each house for photos. They came home and we each talked about Christmas traditions and made a CD of the kids singing carols and creating a Mad Lib Night Before Christmas. We took all of the kids to Midnight Mass while my mom and uncle hung back and did the Santa thing. We returned home at 2:30 am to 6 children with eyes bulging out of their heads with excitement and were up until at least 5 am unwrapping gifts. (I must add in here that I received many lovely knitterly gifts and am very proud of my family that they finally figured out that if they need to give me a gift it should involve either yarn or liquor.)

Seriously, the best part of the holidays was knowing that each of these kids had a safe, happy and healthy holiday. Each of them at some point thanked us for having them, and told us how much it meant to them to have such a holiday and feel like a family. Hearing this made any gifts given or received become completely secondary, and I finally really appreciated what the holiday was about first time in years.

-In knitting news I have whipped the arse of 2 techniques. Fair Isle and Lace. I've made multiple fair-isle hats, and I even managed a Kiri Shawl for my mother for her birthday. Now if I can just whip the arse of knitting my father his long overdue aran sweater, I'll be golden.

-All of my time since then has been spent trying desperately to keep the house in order, work full time, keep the bills paid, spend as much time as possible with hubby during his 100 hour work weeks and when there is time, knitting. We have some big decisions coming up. My parents are selling both of their houses (this includes the one we live in now) and moving to Tennessee come summer. It is time for us to move on, and we are not sure yet where or when we will be going. Just that we are going. This also means thinning our household out of all the crap we have acquired in the last 3 years. How we managed to get all this crap is completely beyond me, but we've done it and now it's time to get rid of it, and get down to the bare essentials of what we really need and is really important to us.

Now, to convince hubby that every bit of fiber and yarn in our home is really, truly vital.