Things That Make You Wonder

Somebody wrote something about me. Not good or bad, just a diagnosis. Although “just” doesn’t describe what those few words made me think.

Normally, when you see something written on a piece of paper with your name on it, you already know it. You know how doctors and people label you. I’m used to hearing labels. With three kids on the Autism Spectrum, I’ve heard lots of labels.

I knew nothing of this one. So now, I have to find out where it came from. I know it’s not from me. Did the doctor call another doctor? Did the doctor not hear me correctly? Where the hell did this label come from? Did he make it up? Lovely.

It’s one thing to know you’re a bit different, but to label me a puzzle piece, well, I’m not too sure what to think about that. At least they don’t think I’m crazy. I guess.

I’ve already talked to my oldest about Aspergers and ADHD. He knows that he’s a bit different. So if I tell my kids that a label is just a label, why does it bother me? Because no one said to my face, “I think you have this… And here’s why…”. Seriously? It’s worse than spreading rumors.

Sooooo a hunting I will go. Too bad Coffee Guy is gone, he’d have some input for me. His ideas and all.

One of Them

I used to work in a place where you would often see guys walking down the halls in blue jeans, T-shirts and tennis shoes. Everyone else was in uniforms or suits. These guys would drag their fingers along the wall, be staring at the floor, and talking to themselves. It wasn’t weird, just a little different.

Then, one day, I found myself walking down the hall, head down, working on an argument for something or other. Half way down the hall, I realized I was not just arguing in my head, my lips were moving, and I had actually vocalized what I was prepping for my speech.

It’s that moment, in a crowded hallway, filled with groups of people talking, that I realized I was quite alone.

It happened again today. I was sitting in my house, sitting across from my hubby, listening to music and playing a game on my phone. I was elsewhere, alone, talking to myself and actually saying words. And no body heard them. Quite alone.

I’m not sure if it’s just sad or what. Is it a life of quiet desperation? Hell if I know. I’ve already given all my secrets away. No need for a secret keeper anymore. It’s just me and these four walls.

Survival of the…

The weekend. Definitely survival of the weekend! Right now it is cool, the clouds are flourishing and reproducing at quite a rate. The sprinklers are running, to boot. :). It’s Monday. My husband’s alarm went off at 6. Ghenghis was still sleeping on his pillow in its new location- next to my bed. Time to take the dogs out.

After much creaking and groaning and very sore muscles in the hind quarters, I was up. Dogs and puppies out. Cats, too slow on the draw, still in. It is downright chilly. Everydoggy piled back in, coffee made, and a very long week to look forward to. For once, I am grateful for Monday.

Friday night, I ran to my spot to knit. It was wonderfully warm, if gusty. Just a little bit of heaven, with a good view. I think I crashed early that night. Maybe around 9ish? I don’t really remember.

Saturday was a heat wave on its own. The house hit 80, with the air conditioner on full blast. I’ll have to call housing to get the freon levels checked. They may be too full. The puppies languished in their little playground. I dunked them in water, if we went out. The grass turned an instant shade of brown. We lounged all over the house. I watched movies, as even knitting was too hot. “The Burning Plain” with Charlize Theron and “Identity” with John Cusack and a whole bunch of my favorite actors. It was a very dry, dead day.

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Yes, puppy pot pie.

The heat finally broke after 8. Hubby and I took the puppies out back, where they got to experience sprinklers. Hubby has set up a lazy man’s watering system, complete with timers. (Base housing rules state that we must water the lawn twice a day. They included a built-in watering system for the front, but we’re on our own for the side and back. Reducing fire hazards, you know). At any rate, the puppies had exactly three minutes to chew on the sprinklers, before they went off. Charlie and Peppin chased the water. Pots tried to get the grease from the grill’s grease catcher. Cleo was ever the intrepid explorer. It is fun to watch children find new things. My toes have hardly gotten gnawed on, since we introduced the backyard.

Saturday was almost tortuous in its laziness. Sunday was just the opposite…

My day started with a Lukas crawling into bed. Dad fell asleep in the living room. So I got my cuddles in, even if it was just dawn, when he crawled in. I vacated the bed when he decided to bring in a Gameboy. Video games at 0730? Not for me. We kicked hubby into the bed at 8. Puppies in, puppies out. We call it ‘Puppy Round Up’. It’s the time the twins get to abuse the puppies. I had to end it due to Belle, my Torbi cat, stalking puppies. They had no idea, blissfully ignorant in typical Odie fashion. Our puppies will be used to all kinds of child abuse and feline existence, but I can’t allow stalking. No puppy hunting!

Sundays are typically the lazy days. Unfortunately, having done nothing on Saturday, we had a list of things to do. After lunch, we went to the gardening section of a local hardware store. Hubby looked at me, and said, “This is your thing. I don’t do plants,” as he eyed the tomato bushes. Ha! I have a tendency to kill plants, but the twins wanted flowers. (Our front flower beds are supposed to be tended by us, with twice yearly trimming by housing. They smashed up quite a few plants last time they trimmed. Our beds are bare, but I have no intention of filing paperwork to add to their beds). We bought drought resistant flowers, soil, fertilizer, and two big pots larger enough to fit a twin in each. Of course, every time I picked out something, Dad and the boys were nowhere to be seen. So I not only had to pick everything out, but play hide and seek the entire outing. I swear hubby was trying to sneak over to the power tools. He has an addiction.

The twins demanded a treat for good(ish) behavior. Off to Starbucks, then home. I let the big dogs out for a quick potty break, before digging in to the planting. (This is where the sore hindquarters come from).

After walking to and from the house, hubby told me to stand on the walk and he’d move the planters and hanging plants. The whole point of flowers is to improve the view. Right? The wind had picked up, in the meantime. I had to stop and pull my hair back with soil covered hands, due to lack of planning.

We succeeded in getting everything in, planted and watered. I watched the wind blow the flowers, and hoped they’d still be there tomorrow. I still haven’t ventured out to check. I am also hoping those flowers are also unkillable. I’ll get the boys to help care for them, so it won’t be all on me, if they die. The hanging flowers are also low enough to the ground that maybe the birds won’t build a nest there.

I managed to keep an ivy alive for about 6 months before moving it out to my deck, in Maryland. Less than a week later, a family of robins moved in. It died, and Ghenghis killed the baby birds. I still haven’t forgiven him.

If we hadn’t just spent a ton of money, hubby and I would not have cooked dinner. We were worn out. But, after emptying the bank account for flowers, there was no money for takeout. We partnered up to cook breakfast for dinner. I made omelettes, as hubby can’t. He made the pancakes, bacon and hash browns. He and the boys got ham and cheese omelettes.

I was quite surprised at how fast Lukas shoveled them down. The twins are not known for big appetites. Jamie was a little more peckish, but he ate a good portion. They just had a check up, and both went up 7%, on the growth curves. Jamie is at 7%, and Lukas is at 14%. For us, that is huge. We had been considering duct taping them to the walls, and feeding them icecream and butter. (Duct taping so that they would not burn off the calories).

Puppies poo. Puppies poo a lot! That’s what puppies do. On my tile floor. More and more. (Add snark liberally). We are using puppy pads, and the pooches seem to have gotten the idea. Four puppies wrestling, and the poo and pads end up upside down. My after dinner chore was to lock up the puppies, clean up the pads and mop. It is not fun. But it got done.

I think I’ve been reading way too much Dr. Seuss.

Hubby bathed the boys, and we got thru bedtime. After a bit of knitting, I did a last check on the puppies, and wandered off to bed, myself. You’d think that it would be the end of the weekend, right?

I believe in ghosts and other forms of existential energies. But things that go bump in the night, well, I know what they are. If it’s drawers moving in and out, cabinet doors banging, carpet coming up off the ground, it’s not ghosts. That would be Belle and Barb, my mousers, mousing. Likewise, a fast gust of wind followed by a scratching noise- Queen Victoria wanting something.

In time the time before puppies, Victoria guarded me in my sleep. From cats and hubby. Since she’s been weaning her litter, I thought she might like her old post back. And she did, until about midnight, when a tongue up my nose informed me she wanted down. I got up slowly, took her out back, then plopped her in with her (now awake) litter. Serves her right.

I am used to those noises. I know their interpretations. I was not prepared for the big thump that landed on my bed about 2 am. At 25 pounds, Ghenghis makes quite a thump. I’d have left him there. I saw the lightning, and knew what was up (besides me). He’s a big, amend that, very big baby, when it comes to storms. However, hubby followed right after him, and booted him off the bed. Up he got again. I sent hubby to get his big pillow pad, and asked that he put it beside the bed. I scritched Ghenghis’ ears, to no avail. He jumped back on the bed, as stealthily as he could. Not very stealthy. Hubby booted him back off. Thirty minutes later, enough ear and head scritching later, he finally curled up on his pillow and slept. He slept thru hubby’s alarm, but I didn’t.

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So it’s Monday morning, and I’m tired and sore. Tutors come at 1, hubby at 4, mail and packages after that. Back to predictable, planned days. Minus the school and quiet time. I’ve still got my coffee. And puppies. Lots and lots of puppies.

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Pause, Un-Pause

Ok, short and sweet of it last day of school. Next year’s lined up. 504 in place. Need to go see middle school. Did you realize doctor’s work year round, even though schools don’t? I’m already planning for August, and summer’s just begun. No clue about the next two months. This is the life of a mom of special needs kids. Summer will happen. Summer camp lined up.

Still need a pool pass, but which pool? Puppies are growing. And they keep pooing. Almost time to pick up kids, last few minutes of alone time for 3 months. Projects need knitting, kids need feeding. I’m supposed to enjoy summer? Ha!

Ok, back to work…

Coffee Mondays…

Blarg! It’s Monday, last week of school, and I have coffee on my shirt. Not liquid coffee, expresso grounds. They might be in my bra too, tmi.

Round one: I was definitely awake before I made my first cup. I don’t know what happened. Honest! I had just ground up the beans, went to put them in the portafilter, and my hand twitched. Expresso grind, (fine ground), went flying all over me, my counter top and , well, just everywhere.

Round two: After dropping the kids off, working the Kiss ‘n Go, and talking books, puppies and ballerina slippers with Mary, I was ready for cup #2. Put in a coupla pumps of coconut, two spoonfuls of Ghiaradelli cocoa mix, and the cup was ready. On to the portafilter (aka Mr. Via’s handle bar mustache), coffee grounds made it in just fine. I went to make the twist, and my hand wobbled. Half of a double shot’s worth of grounds spilled all over the counter (again!), over the drip tray, and in between coffee makers. At this point, maybe I should just have a caffeine free day.

Nope, not gonna happen. I’ll wait for round three.

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Ballerina Slippers

Sometime in February or March, I pulled out a pattern book for someone. Of course, I saw the ballerina slippers, and knew someone else who would LOVE a pair. The book is

    Knit a Dozen Plus Slippers

designed by Amy Polcyn.

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The pattern is very simple, consisting of a 20 stitch cast on, origami toe and heel, with slipped stitches on the ends. All stockinet. Unless, the princess you are making them for has a wide foot and tiny heel.

I used Bernat Baby Sport yarn. It isn’t as durable as wool, but mom can throw them in the washing machine.

I knit up the original by hand, up to the finishing touches. I then put it on the princess’s foot to check fit. Her foot came out of the top, and no I-cord would cover that up! So… Back to the drawing board. Then, I hand knit a custom slipper. Just one. You can see where I marked my increases. But I was aggravated, and forgot to write down which rows I increased, and which stitches I increased in. Making a duplicate was a headache. (Should I say I was busy and/or lazy)?

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I had made one slipper (not shown) to get gauge on my Brother KX-390. Just in case I wanted to knit up spares. In a snit, I sat down and did the math, with a picture of her foot in front of me.

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1. You have to take into account that your slippers have sides. In the picture above, I have Princess’s foot. The straight lines across have the measurements. Each one with about half an inch extension for the sides. Stitch counts are on the right side, marked at one inch intervals. Row count is also on the right side.

2. In between the one inch sections, I’ve marked the number of increases.

3. As I knit on the machine, I wrote which rows and how many stitches I increased. Those are at the bottom right.

4. I did do a ‘just before the toe’ decrease, to ensure a snug fit, and create a rounded toe.

I knit both slippers at the same time on the machine, to ensure they were the same. Now, I have a graphic pattern, should I decide to make them again.

I did the I-cording around the slippers by hand. I didn’t like how my I-corded laces looked, so I frogged it out, and put the slippers back on the machine. And yes, those are little pink heart beads, knitted into the I-cord, with the help of a tiny crochet hook.

I rather like the look of the finished product, but we won’t know for sure, until Princess puts them on. Either I, or her grandmother may put some felt on the bottoms. Not sure yet, but I would recommend it.

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Sometimes, working off a graphic picture is easier than trying to keep it all in your head. I may make a second set, to improve on some of the issues that I don’t like. I’m not happy with the bind off. I used a double e-wrap cast on. A crochet cast on was great for the hand knit version, but not the machine. The edge of the the actual slipper, pre I-cord doesn’t look like I want it to.

My biggest issue with the slipper was the pattern. It was a three size, fit all, with the only difference being the distance between heel and toe. Yes, the yarn will stretch, but not that far. A four year old will have slimmer feet than a six year old. It is very much a sock type issue. There are formulas for socks. I may take one and compare the results and adjustments.

The main thing that the slippers are done! I learned a valuable lesson- either write as you hand knit, or do both at the same time. Double knitting allows for you to make two of something at the same time. I just haven’t gotten proficient at holding two strands yet (among other things).

3 Day Mad

My mountains are a baker’s nightmare. The plush, velvety green of winter has transformed into a landscape more akin to a chocolate chip cookie brownie confection in a pan, slightly burnt. The grass is brown and the trees so dark, almost a blackish brown. Rising and swirling, the chocolate coalescing in big pools. Uneven. Still beautiful, in a disturbing way.

I’ve finished a baby blanket. I just need to tuck in the ends. Ballerina slippers done. A sweater to finish, and the finishing touches on the broken rib scarf. I’m debating on my next hand knit project. So much to do.

So- have you ever gone on a 3 day mad? Recipe: long term stress, short term stress, carefully laid plans, someone on the other end, ignoring those plans, a hang up, followed by a loud scream and heavy furniture flying. Ending up hiding on the toilet, a mess. This is just the beginning. It goes on. Once you’ve passed the initial rage, there’s the quiet, suppressed yowling. Then the sleep. Never enough sleep to heal wounds ripped open again. Wide effing open. Last time this happened, normal relationships were cancelled for five years. It sucks when someone decides to hurt you. And the mad, it’s still here. Roiling. Boiling. It will cool. Turn to a block that holds doors barred. When they come back, in ignorance, they’ll find the way barred and forgiveness lacking. The rage will cool. It will. The mad will settle. Until then, I will be productive.

I hope I never do this to my kids.