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Monday, July 28, 2003

Happy Birthday Mom! 

Although I would die if you were reading my blog. She is the one person in the world who I never want to even hear the word "wooliemama."
My blog is apparently having many problems. First the comments were down, and now my pictures seem to have something terminal. I have a special project I'm working on that will have to be done by next Monday, so this weekend I should have lots of interesting stuff to show you. More tomorrow, because I promise you I ain't leavin' the house for love or money.

P.S. I'm going to teach Pman to knit. Adorable, no?

Monday, July 21, 2003

It's Like A Vacation... 

only without the lying on the beach, the relaxing, the laying down of responsibilities, the doing nothing. Isa left Friday for a two-week trip with her grandparents, so I have two weeks with just the wee ones and a lot of projects. As you can see, the blog needed a good freshening-up. Perhaps one day my little blog will meet a template she likes, they'll settle down, have a couple of memes, grow old together...

I need a little advice, Dear Reader. I know, I know, usually I'm giving advice, but I'm simply not in the mood to figure out real-life problems, mine or other people's.

Q: My local knitting group is having a picnic next month. I'm not sure if I should go, since I haven't been very active, but I really like hanging out with knitters. The down side is that I suspect they are mostly what Curmudgeon would call KnitDweebs. The few I've met have been pretty nice but they are a bit clique-ish and being on the list mostly pisses me off, what with the "me too" posts and other boring stuff. Seeing this written out makes it seem much less of a problem, but I am firmly on the fence about it. Should I go?

Q: Is it morally OK to cut up your children's baby clothes (outgrown, not current, of course) and use them in craft projects? I have saved my favorites, for what I don't know, but I'd like to use them in rag rugs, which would be functional and long-lasting. (I hope.) My mother-in-law saved some of P-man's baby clothes and gave them to Teddy, but they were pretty much useless and nasty, being made out of polyester and Goddess knows what else, and one huge heavy knitted bunting without legs dating from the pre-carseat era.(We were born in 1979, not the peak of children's fashion.) No doubt my children would feel the same way about their baby clothes. Am I right?

A poll-I won't even ask that ridiculous question about knitted Christmas presents. You're welcome. Instead, as a pathologically crafty mom (remind me to tell you about the 18 individual felt animal hats I hand-sewed as party favors for Isabel's 3rd birthday) tell me: What are your kids going as for Halloween and are you making the costume?

I wonder how mothers in my generation are scarred by growing up with Harriet, June, Mrs. Brady AND Martha. I know for me, cleaning the oven in stilettos sounds archaic and laughable, but I still feel guilty I didn't buy a jungle of potted ferns to turn the picnic shelter into a zoo for my kids' birthday party. Sick.

I wonder if apes are descended from us instead of the other way around. It's not much of a stretch to imagine that they are much more highly evolved than we are. Apes: sleep, eat, groom, play, mate. People: balance checkbook, do laundry, wash car, shave legs, wear ties. I rest my case. Check out this report we caught last night. P-man nearly gave himself a hernia laughing when they set an ape running around to the tune of "New Kid in Town." (It's just a transcript, no video.)

Saturday, July 19, 2003

It'll Last Longer 






Alice and Pman. (He thinks he looks weird.)



And my little man.

Bet you thought I made them up.



Rose's Socks

Tobycat and The Rug




Friday, July 18, 2003

A Conversation With Isabel... 

Isabel: Mom, mom, come see! It has 1, 2, 3, 4 on one side and 1, 2, 3, 4...
Me: What are you talking about?
I: Come see.
M:Is it a spider?
I:YES!
M:Is it moving?
I:No.
M: Then it's probably dead.
I:It made that web on your computer, huh.

Later...

I: Ssssh...do you hear that? It's the spider's spirit ghost.

SitCom Chic has been momentarily sidelined while I work an obsession out of my brain. I've been ruggin'. Apparently Little House on the Prairie made more of an impression on me than just about anything else in my childhood. I love the idea that clothes that are old, holey, or stained (thanks to Alice, we never run short of those) can be recycled into a soft, cushy, pretty rug with less effort than it takes to knit your average sweater. Recycling is so fun. I'm not a packrat like my mama, but I do have plenty of gatherings awaiting their turn as my project 'o the moment. I will get it all done, I swear. I've already planned homemade rugs for all the rooms in my house, getting ahead of myself like usual. Next up will be a crocheted denim rug for my room. I don't know if it's because I like cotton, the color blue, or I'm just a little too attached to Levi's, but our bedroom is totally denim. The walls are "Chambray," the bedspread is denim, and it's my little jeans oasis. Tra la la.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

I am about six inches into SitCom Chic. My children were very well-behaved today and didn't interrupt valuable knitting time with annoying statements like "We're hungry," or "Let us out of this closet!" I kid. I kid because I love.

I also have a start on a baby sweater I'm making with the stealthily likeable Hokey Pokey. And another in blue cotton. It's too hot to knit anything big or wooly. In ten years Denver is going to be one big theme park, "OzonelessLand!" At least it's better than last year, when massive forest fires blew ashes in the windows and turned the sun molten red. On Father's Day last year, two long weeks before T. was born, we sat in my parents' backyard with our feet in the wading pool and ash raining down on us. Taking the kids to the playground makes me feel like Chevy Chase in the original Vacation, wandering deliriously through the dunes. Maybe I should take up fishing instead of knitting. I am bittersweetly looking forward to sweater weather.

I am really liking Cotton-Ease as well. It seemed a while ago that I only made unfortunate yarn purchases. But now that most people are driving me batshit, I am feeling very close to my yarn. It makes me happy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I enjoyed my children today. I was hardly even cross with them. I feel like a different mama when I'm not under big huge dirty-laundry piles of stress.

This notwithstanding, I've decided to give you some words that make me laugh.

Ahem.

"...folks who don't have children, and therefore are totally convinced that if they did have children, they would keep them "under control" and not allow them to be unpleasant or disruptive in shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, or other people's homes. As of yet, there is no known cure for this grandiose and delusional condition except to have children of one's own, preferably several hyperactive children spaced closely together, with a couple of teenage stepchildren thrown in later for good measure."

"Only highly evolved Zen Buddhists look at their difficult, out-of-control children and feel nothing but immense respect, openness, curiosity and interest as to why the Universe has brought these small persons into their lives and what they are here to teach them. To achieve the transcendent state of unconditional love, it is best to have a cat, although even here you may discover your limits."

Both quotes are by Dr. Harriet Lerner, The Mother Dance.

If you are looking for a book about mothering that puts feelings you didn't know you had into words, try Fruitful, by Anne Roiphe.

Despite an enjoyable, productive day, I am still experiencing the nasty hangover that comes with wading around the mucky, unchlorinated swamp that is my gene pool. Eeeyuch. Whenever my Crazy Uncle John comes into town, I leave feeling as if perhaps it wouldn't have been better to let my DNA die with me. Why perpetuate the species if this is the best we can do after thousands of years of evolution? My family drives me nuts. Last time my Crazy Uncle John was here, he made my brother break his (my uncle's)ribs. Made him.

Mean reds.

Yay! Now that the birthday blitz is over, time to reward myself with knitting fun! I've finally begun Sitcom Chic in a pretty lavender color. I know some people bemoaned the dearth of adult shades of Cotton-Ease but the popsicle-y colors suit me well. I really like bright colors a lot, as anyone who walks by my house can see. We are a little drapery-challenged over here in WoolieWorld, and several of our neighbors, upon meeting us for the first time, have commented on how much they like our apple-green living room and sunflower-yellow family room. They usually haven't seen the girls' peppermint-pink bedroom, and we haven't even gotten around to painting our kitchen "Fire Island Red" yet. (I kid you not. That is the actual name of the paint chip.)

Anyway, I'm only a few inches in but I am really enjoying it. I think it will be lovely when done. It seems like it might be a little more drapey than the gauge calls for, but I haven't checked. I'm really kind of a fly-by-the-seat-of-pants, let's-see-how-it-turns-out type of lady, in respect to gauge. At least when I'm knitting from a pattern.I figure that my knitting is almost always spot on, and a little bit of give one way or the other won't matter. Keep in mind I'm coming off of a five-year pregnancy/nursing streak, so I consider myself lucky if my measurements are the same from day to day. Ask me again in another five years. Strangely enough, when I'm knitting off the top of my head, so to speak, I'm very, very picky about gauge. It probably boils down to me trusting Bonne Marie more than I trust myself, knitwise.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Well, we had to let him go. My kid brother, that is. Cut him loose, axed, 86ed, FIRED. I love him, being my brother and all, but I sure as shootin' don't like him. he taught my children how to call names and how to make fun of people for crying, neither of which fly in my world. But, bigger news...


Happy 5th Birthday, Darling Isabel!

(yesterday, that is)

My sweet son's first birthday was the 1st, and it sadly got lost in the four-kid melee. But I made it up to him by making him his very own huge chocolatey brown bear cake, all for his very own sweet self. (Even sweeter covered in frosting! Finger-lickin' good!) Their combo party on Saturday was an exhausting success, and if I just happened to pick myself up a skein of yarn, Red Heart Hokey Pokey, which I totally love and am not sure why, considering my aversion to all things acrylic, in a pretty pinky colorway with jimmies of color called Bubblegum, well, it would be only fitting considering that five years ago Sunday I became a Mommy. I always have at least one beer on that day, also appropriate when one thinks of the various drugs given to me that day.)

My, how they've grown. Isabel reads. Not fluently, you understand, but well enough to surprise and thrill me. One of the joys of parenthood for me is the uncomplicated pride and delight you feel when one of your children learns a skill, or does a good deed, or generally shows signs of growing up to be an exceptional being, after all. I also have the mixed blessing of knowing several really crappy parents, and even on my worst bad-mommy days, I take comfort in the fact that I don't spank them for not cleaning their plates, shame them for not making it to the potty, or leave them for hours with brand-new boyfriends I hardly know, and while it's not winning the Mama-of-the-Year award, it's nice to know I'm not screwing the kiddos up in all possible ways. Teddy is bustin' out all over with new little-man behavior, climbing everything in sight, waving hello and goodbye, nodding yes or no in response to questions, and generally having a ball. He's not technically talking yet, while his sisters both came out with their first words at about 10 months, but he definitely knows what's up and how to communicate, as well if not better than the girls at a year. He's a very expressive guy. This probably sounds a little weird and creepy, like perhaps I got hit hard on the head with the Postpartum Depression stick, but he looks at you like he knows what you're thinking. He can hold eye contact longer than just about any babe I've known, and people really respond to him. Even folks who don't like babies pick him up and squeeze him.

Well, if I was some Supermama Donna-Reed-Harriet-Martha cyborg(Like she's the world's best parent? See the movie? Her kid was in it for maybe 5 minutes. Hah.) parent and my kids had simply deliriously joyful childhoods, how would they top my act? At least this way they have something to improve upon. I think of it this way: even money says Isabel will be morally obligated to pay for my therapy instead of the other way around.

Repeat after me: If the universe wanted your child to live with Buddha, it would have had your child live with Buddha.

Big ups to Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, as Billie would say.

This is perhaps the best parenting advice I have ever heard.

And while we're on the topic, Mom, you were (and sometimes are) a really shitty parent. This doesn't mean I don't love you, because if I didn't I would have gotten the hell out of Dodge City Daycare many moons ago, but the argument that I turned out alright, didn't I, is bullshit. Some of us grew the mothers we needed to have inside ourselves. That's not an original thought, sorry, but damned if I can remember where it came from. My apologies, also for the lack of knitting content. Perhaps I am less a knitter than a girl who knits.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

I'm sure all the good bloggers out there are absolutely disgusted with me. Or they didn't even notice. Well, I've an excellent excuse. The goddesses in their infinite wisdom have visited upon me a trial, in the form of my four-year-old kid brother. We'll call him Damien, to protect my ass. I've been watching him during the week for about two months, since he was politely asked to leave his last caregiver's establishment. Like I don't have enough stress dealing with the kids I've been screwing up since birth, I get to clean up my mom's messes too? I know when I start fantasizing about broken limbs and comas that I need a break. I probably would break a leg to get out of this. I've been knitting baby sweaters, what else, as well as socks and hats (never know when the temperature will drop from 98 to 12, right) and a prolonged flirtation with crochet (one can't possibly be expected to celebrate the anniversary of our nation's birth without a new afghan. Cheers.)

Don't even get me started on all the other things that I've let slide while trying to keep four kids from killing one another.

Can I add something totally unrelated? I am thoroughly over all those perky little save-money-by-making-your-own-coffee-instead-of-going-to-Starbucks-every-morning articles I am constantly tripping over. Optimist that I am, I read on, hoping there will be a nugget of wisdom in there somewhere, like "How to pad your yearly income by selling unproductive family members for medical research" or perhaps "Have yourself declared legally dead! A smart money move that's worth the inconvenience!" These authors are obviously dead weight on their employers, whom I could save a great deal of money by writing more entertaining articles for half the salary.