Trunk Sale… And Catch-up

Imagine a large parking lot with cars filling every other space. To the right of each car, each vendor sets up their stall to sell various and miscellaneous goods. Up at the front, a bake sale with home made goods, coffee and hot chocolate (molten magma). If the weather had been cooler, you’d have known it was fall. Instead, those of us dressed for the early morning chill started shedding layers earlier than expected.

The vendor in the stall behind me was selling anything he didn’t want in his house, to include a sleeper sofa that my husband bought. The stall to my right was selling used clothing from brands that cost more than my car payment. Over to the left, with a tented stall, an older couple was selling interesting odds and ends. They also had hats, hand knitted by their college student daughter.

The trunk sale idea was to fill your stall with what you could fit in your trunk. There were lots of trucks, SUV’s, and minivans. Used and unused household goods littered the lot. Clothing racks, tables and camp chairs were typical in most of the stalls. Each vendor paid $20 for a stall. Not a bad deal.

The customers were very unique. There were men in fishing hats trailing behind their wives, whose arms were full. Young and expecting parents trying to save money. There were not the usual garage salers, that I expected to see. The bake sale adults gave their kids trays and wagons of goodies so that the vendors wouldn’t have to leave their stalls. It was worth buying a donut, just to see their eyes light up. The disappointment when a vendor didn’t buy a little something, was apparent on their faces. The lackluster turn out, didn’t dampen the atmosphere of bargaining until a few hours into the event. Spirits were good, even after the expected crowd didn’t show.

…..

I’ve been busy. I managed to knit up 11 ruffle scarves, 1 hat and neck warmer set, a long cabled scarf, and a cabled slouch hat. I sold exactly none of them at the Trunk Sale this weekend. Color me disappointed. Six weeks of prep, down the drain.

The boys are finally getting into the school routine. I’ve got my volunteer schedule set. I’m dropping Physical Therapy due to lack of enthusiasm on my part and the techs. My physical therapist understands, as long as I work at home.

And all that effort to grab knitting time, proved wasted. Yes, it was supposed to be a flea market/garage sale, but the organizers didn’t get the word out. It was also the weekend before pay day, vice after. We are also looking at a possible government shutdown, again. I can hope for other opportunities to arise, but I now have to plan for Christmas with no surplus cash on hand.

On the bright side, we did manage to sell or give away almost all of our baby and toddler gear. That cleared a quarter of the garage, so that I can spread my little corner out even more. That is exciting.

Jamie and the neighbor boys just busted up a ton of styrofoam all over the garage and my work space, so perhaps we’ll be able to clear them a play area, as well. I will probably be finding styrofoam in my yarn for a while.

I’d put pictures up, but iOS 7 has me thwarted.

Time Flies

The alarm went off this morning. I checked my watch and saw that it was a quarter to six. I rolled over to nudge my husband- after all, it’s his Darth Vader alarm clock, telling him to get up. He bonked it on the head for one more snooze and a last few minutes cuddling his wife.

He’s off on the start of a business trip, before the rest of the house is awake. My alarm is not a clock. It is the sound of Ghenghis, howling his head off. As I entered the kitchen/dining room, I saw the back door was open, and he was running in and out. The puppies and Victoria, frothing at the gate, jumped up and down like popcorn to be let out. Ghenghis sleeps with my oldest, which means my oldest in a zombie state put him out this morning. Ghenghis turned the latch and opened the door. Oh joy!

We survived last week’s antics with some very tired boys. I thought last week would be a once off. Sometimes, I wish my calendar would tell the future. This week will be twice as crowded, but a bit more organized. Two field trips, all three boys to the dentist, one boy to his pediatrician, five nights of ABA (Applied Behavior Therapy) with only three people, school supply give away to attend, and my birthday, which will not be celebrated this year. Oh yes, and Hubby will be gone, so I’m on my own.

But on top of all this, I found out we’ll be having a flea market at the end of September. A glorified yard sale. I’m working on two baby blankets, a hat and a sweater. Now, I will also be knitting up quick doo-dads and what-nots, to put on display. Of course, I also have two bikes with helmets, a bike buggy for two and a bunch of baby stuff to sell. I’d like to get the garage cleaned out 🙂

Yup, us housewives, we sit on the couch eating Bonbons and watching soaps 🙂 The funny thing about that- I do kind of watch tv, but not really. I think the old radio shows from the 40’s and 50’s would be better. I sit and knit, or iron, or even get on my exercise bike and knit while I play some show off Amazon or Netflix. I listen more than I watch. I rarely do just one thing. What happened to letting your imagination fill in the pictures? I knit while reading a book on an e-reader. I have to multitask. There are not enough hours in the day. It’s a shame that audio books are so expensive, as well.

I’m still wearing the brace on my hand. I’m knitting much less, right now. Two more weeks, and I will quit wearing it. I suppose I should schedule my follow up with the doctor. Maybe I will. I’d like to see the look on his face when he sees that I’ve dropped a bit of weight.

Before he called my kids obstacles, I’d already taken care of how to get my exercise in. Putz. I was waiting on this new thing called a FitDesk. Bike and a desk, low rate cardio, I can hang my knitting bag from the desk, watch my laptop, and knock-out 45 minutes of work. No need for the gym, which won’t watch my special needs kids. I’ve also been taking the boys on outdoor bike rides, to prep for riding to school. Yup, I suppose there’s room in there for Bonbons, but I’ll settle for my morning latte- cut down from two or three to just one. I’ve been tracking my calories and increasing water. So far I’m down five pounds.

Our house was rented as of the first. School starts next week. Hubby’s gone this week, then the last week of August. There’s another trip planned in September. Strangely enough, I’m a bit less stressed. Ready to take control of all the things hubby’s been doing for the the last few months. It’s been a nice break, not doing all of the appointments or fighting with the insurance company, but all of that is mine again. Of course, the sound of Beethoven’s Fifth, I have to do the grocery shopping too. Ugh.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Time just flies, especially if you are busy. I will be very busy!

The Long Game

Have you ever heard of chess players who can keep the game in their heads, so much so that they can keep the next 20, 30 or even 50 of their next moves in their heads? They play the ‘long game’. Their objective is clear. They aren’t surprised or distracted. Each move played against them has a counter move. They may win or lose, but the idea is to hold on to that goal. A child prodigy could lose to an old fox, not by lack of intellect, but experience.

Chess can be a short game or a long game. Knitting is the same. Your first goal is the knit stitch, then the purl. After that, the world is your oyster. You can make scarves the rest of your life, or you could learn to knit in the round to make a hat. From there, sweaters with cables and then lace… the possibilities are endless.

At some point, you may want to sell what you make. Maybe you want to do your own designs. You start to play the long game. What do you need to do, to make your ends look good, hide your loose ends, tighten up your ladders. You find yourself drooling over technique books, not just patterns. You start playing. If you can afford it, you take classes. All of this is a long game. You have a goal- to make the best, maybe even to be the best. Or, you could just be a very good hobby knitter. It’s up to you.

To play the long game, you have to have a goal. As knitters, we tend to find one thing and repeat. Generally, we call them our hat phase, top down sweater phase. Some knitters become spinners. There are distractions, some new yarns that call to you, some pattern you have to knit. That’s okay, as long as you refocus back to your goal. Or maybe you find your goal needs to change. Knitting, like life, is adaptable. Sometimes your chess piece disappears. You adapt and go on.

My right hand is in a brace. My chess piece got swiped. I spent the weekend watching knitting classes. I can always improve my technique and learn new tricks. One of the instructors had a funky left handed purl. I copied it, adjusted it to my needs, and while not perfect yet, I’ve adapted.

So what about the sly old foxes? In this long game, it doesn’t hurt to shut up and learn, to ask questions. Sometimes losing teaches you new tricks. In knitting, you learn as much as you want to. That’s the beauty of it. The game can be long or short, takes twists and turns, but it never ends. You are your own competition.

Good Morning People!

I’m throwing as a lefty. I can’t not knit for 4 more weeks. I can’t do it. Sooooo… I’d say 10 years of piano lessons is paying off. As a teenager, I taught myself to write left handed. I’m not really sure why, but it seemed like a good idea. Maybe it was the geeky coolness factor. Piano lessons definitely played a part. All that training on teaching my left hand to think independently seemed like a superfluous thing, but it wasn’t.

If you’re a knitter, you might know that ‘throwing’ and ‘picking’ are labels for English vs. Continental styles of knitting. Throwers hold their yarn in the right hand, and use the fingers to wrap the yarn around the needle. Pickers hold the yarn in their left hand and pick the yarn up with the needle. I’d never heard of those terms, until someone asked me if I was a picker or a thrower. Me, clueless, doesn’t happen often. I had to look it up.

Both ‘picking’ and ‘throwing’ require right wrist motion. I also seem to have a problem convincing the yarn to comply with my needles’ request. I discovered that I can still throw with my left hand. I’m working on my gauge, but after a few attempts, I think I have it down. It’s still a bit slow going, but if I ever need to teach a lefty, I have more experience. It might even help with double stranded color work. I must admit, I was rather jealous when someone posted a video holding a yarn on each hand, knitting beautifully. I tried. I couldn’t do it.

My mother told me to start reading again, to kill the antsy crawling up my fingers. I quit reading books a little more than a year ago. I had been reading a book a day. 350-500 pages, is nothing to me. The books are started and done.

Alas, I gave my Nook to my oldest when I sent him to her. Now, knowing that he is her favorite first grandson, much like my daddy was his mother’s favorite second son, my mom wants him to be able to keep his Nook. She’s sending me her old Kindle, to help avert major disaster. After several months, he wouldn’t want to give it up. It’s quite funny, really, how we both spoil this child!

Of course, I will have to work on a few things. I used to Nook and knit. I do watch the TV and knit, but I usually prefer books, as they provide a more in-depth view of a story. Working left handed and reading would be a challenge. The idea, though, is to not knit.

There’s just one problem with all of this. Knitting can be set down, the television turned off, but a book has page after page. I can’t put them down. Not until the end. I will have to cross that bridge, and it won’t be easy. I’m an addict, and I know it.

It’s going to be a long 4 weeks.

Sitting on the Water’s Edge

My right hand is in a brace. You might ask ‘why’ or ‘oh no!, What did you do?’. Those are the most common questions.

I could tell you that it started with a baby blanket and ended with a hat, but that might not make sense.

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I could also say that it began with an act of kindness that bit us in the ass. That would be the truth, as well.

The baby blanket is for a friend, who is due next week. All I have left is the sewing and stuffing. The blanket is a crochet confection made of cotton candy. It looks that way.

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Please note: it ain’t done yet- these are just the pieces. Designed by Linda Cyr with Red Heart’s Baby Clouds in Pink Lemonade. It’s a fairly quick project, although I used almost 6 skeins, instead of the 3 the pattern called for. I did check gauge, but I must’ve been off.

I haven’t crocheted that much in years. I normally only do lace borders or neck lines.

I stress at night. While my body likes a 9 o’clock bedtime, my mind really gets going after the sun goes down. Maybe that’s why I like sunsets so much. The calm before the storm.

So- due to some unwanted stress, I made a hat for my hubby. I knitted almost an entire night, then finished the hat in two days. One skein of Paton’s Classic Wool, the Naturally Comfortable
slouch beanie pattern by Lisa Gentry, and a trip to Alaska for my hubby this August, resulted in this…

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Hubby prefers it snug, and I will have to sew up the center hole a bit better. We don’t want him to have a cold spot on his q-ball. Better to find out now, but it IS supposed to slouch. Oh well, it’s his to wear.

So that act of kindness… We are not business people. We see the people renting our house (in Maryland), as a family. We let them out of their lease early, because the dad got transferred short notice. No 60 day notice for us, and we were out $800. They moved in with a 9 mo old baby, and apparently had a newborn while they lived there, as well. Dad had already left, and the mom was packing, by herself. We took pity on them.

I remember moving into that house with 6 mo old twins and a 7 yr old. My mom came out to help, and I was still overwhelmed.

We thought if they got out 2 weeks early, we could do a quick clean and turnaround. No such luck. They had trashed the house to a tune of $3300. new carpet, new paint over the three rooms they painted, new bath tub, minor repairs, including damage to the brand new kitchen cabinets we had just put in.

Before they moved in, that house looked better than it did when we lived there. All in all, a single act of kindness, totaled up around $6,000 of loss to us. We thought we might lose the house.

So I knitted my hand into a brace. It was bugging me before, but I pushed too hard.

We had put money aside, in case we lost our renters. Our realtor, who helped me carry the twins from house to house searching for just the right one, is still our realtor today. She cut her commission. Our property manager also cut her take. One act of kindness, leads to another. It may just be a house, but it was our first home, and may be again, in a few years. Everything goes full circle.

These were my thoughts, as I sat at my knitting spot. Not being able to knit, one handed. But I think I may have a new pattern in mind. If I can find the right yarn. If my hand gets better. I do my best thinking on the water’s edge.

It’s 3 AM

It’s 3 am, and I’m wide awake. I went shopping and picked up a couple of pattern books today. After taking my boys out of the house for a treat, I came home and my hubby dropped a bomb. Just more of the usual.

He could lead with decent news, but he doesn’t. He always throws the worst at me first. I just go numb. It doesn’t matter if there is a solution or not.

On top of that, my ABA tutors seem to be taking over my house. One makes veiled requests. The other tries to manipulate. And they think I’m dumb enough to not notice. Really, they don’t know what they say with their faces. I know there are no replacements. I will have to put up with them for now.

So I don’t sleep. I knit. I knit till my hands hurt. My fingers swell and my wrist refuses to bend. I’m knitting a hat out of one of the books I bought. I had some wool in my stash, just perfect for the pattern.

You might think knitting is a stress reliever, but it isn’t. It isn’t an attempt to make the world quit spinning, quite so fast. It is production. Making something. Creating.

Everything works to destroy. I like to make things. The duality of it, doesn’t escape me- in order to create you must change or destroy something else.

Funk Busting

I hate inactivity. As a housewife, or stay-at-home mom, or even a Career Child Development Explorer, there’s not usually an opportunity to be inactive. There’s always something going on. But given the last few weeks’ funk, inactivity has been the big problem.

I woke up this morning feeling like I had an extra twenty pounds tied to my extremities. My head was swimming through molasses. Really. I know it’s the new regime of meds, dehydration and all other sorts of things, but that first latte took forever to make.

The problem with being a SAHM is that the entire house is my area of work. Hubby is outstanding when it comes to helping out, but the work is all mine. I’m glad that routines are established. Everything has its place. A few weeks of my inertia, and it doesn’t come tumbling down, making things worse. Hubby’s kept the ship going, and if I can get back in the saddle, things will be fine.

My twins are eating breakfast now- 2 hrs later than usual. They weren’t hungry, and I was working on a clear head. I’ve updated my “On The Needles Page”. I could do that sitting down, coffee in hand. The pups got their romp at 0830, sprinklers on in full force. We’re supposed to hit 104 on the mercury today. They won’t be romping outside again until the sun goes down. It’s 10 now, and I think I actually escaped the molasses.

So funk busting plans…

1. Water the dying flowers out front. We planted them a few weeks ago, and the thirsty little beasts require water twice a day. I do not have a green thumb! I’ve barely been getting to the front door, much less, out of the house.

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2. Work on the puppy blanket, which is not on my “On The Needles” page. I didn’t want to get up and boot the computer to get all the info I needed for giving credit. The blanket is in that awkward stage, between looking fantastic and looking like a yarn tangle. My goal is to finish up the blanket portion and start the head and ears tomorrow. It is doable, but it’s only a goal.

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3. Laundry. We had a serious leak from our washer, which Hubby fixed last weekend. I think I can get a few loads through the machine. That still leaves the folding and putting away. 7 baskets and growing. If I can get the kids to help, I should be able to knock out 3 or 4. I’ll hide the rest. Hubby won’t notice. Well, probably, anyway.

4. Dishes- the other never ending battle. I might be able to convince the twins to help, before lunch time. Might.

There are half a million things to do. Vacuum, mop, clean the bathrooms, clip puppy toe nails, not to mention getting an ad in the base paper. Baby steps and goals. That’s how I’m gonna roll today. Baby steps… and coffee. Funk busting at its best.

In A Funk

I’m in a funk. Knitting gone wrong. House in a mess. Clutter is accumulating at twice it’s usual rate. Puppies getting too big for their britches. Hot weather and swollen limbs. Nothing but pain. Well, and poo. Lots of puppy poo.

I got a massage yesterday. Normally you walk out feeling good, but after three months of playing hookie, my back was in knots. For a few days, I will be hurting until the soreness goes away. I go back in two weeks. Maybe the rest of the knots and kinks can get worked out.

So… Why all the stress

Lukas, the oldest twin, has been having seizures. Itty bitty ones. Jamie has them on a bigger scale, but he’s diagnosed and on meds. Lukas is new to the seizure thing. Nothing showed up on the normal EEG, so he’s going to have to do a 48 hour backpack EEG.

He’ll get a few dozen wires stuck to his head and wear a backpack with a little data recorder in it, connected to the wires hooked to his head. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Unless you are an active 6 yr old who has better things to do. I’ll be chasing him around with the pack.

Then there’s the mysterious diagnosis on the referral. I’ll just have to wait till August to find that one out. But I have new and old meds to try out. I went of the Butran patch a week ago, but I can’t drive until I know how I will be on them. I’m phasing them (the new drugs) in this week. The kids had Superhero camp last week, and I was too paranoid to risk driving them on unknown meds. I slept most of today, because of them.

I wasn’t allowed to drive for a few years due to my epilepsy. For me, that is torture. I hate asking for help. I couldn’t ride my bike everywhere. Most bases and forts are set a ways from town, and Ft. Gordon, GA was no different. The whole base sprawls. As a single mother, it was hell. The worst thing was not driving off my stress.

I love highways, and Highway 20 is an incredible drive on nice days. Atlanta is only an hour and a half west, and Savannah (not on 20) 45 minutes East. For a girl from West Texas, trees still are a novelty.

Having only two kids at home and one surly teenager out of my hair, is supposed to be less stressful. But I called to check up on Sebastian, who is at his Gammy’s house, and my mom tells me that my Dad had an angiogram this week. His heart isn’t great, but they think the meds he’s on are doing their job. So nothing further is to be done for now. That’s what I get for waiting on my kid to call. He and Dad are doing fine, I guess. I could wish I was closer, but if wishes were horses…

Superhero Camp was a bit stressful, too. The first two days were particularly difficult. Camp was two hours every morning for a week. The boys were introduced to new people and things to do. They settled in on the third day, but I had to stay for most of the first two days. I also had to rescue Jamie from an ABA tutor, who went with physical prompts before she should have. We only touch the boys for positives- hugs and high fives. That got settled quickly.

The twins did end up having a great time. Lukas loved the capes that were made for them. Jamie did not. They loved gymnastics, flying and water play. It ended up being a wonderful experience for them. Just a wee bit stressful for me, especially after being called a ‘helicopter mom’ indirectly. Labels and more labels.

Knitting wise, I’ve been a bit stymied. I made a dress for my niece. It’s cute and lacey, but for some reason I just haven’t blocked it. It’s hard to let things go. I don’t by not finishing them. Just like the baby blanket that still needs its ends sewn in. It’s sitting on my machine. I’m working on a baby blanket, yes another one, but it is crochet.

I also have hubby’s ‘Aran’ sweater in my knitting bag. I’ve reached the front shoulders, and I think I found a mistake in the pattern directions. I worked on it tonight, but had to pull out two rows. I’m frustrated with it. I did go to catch the sunset while working on it.

The biggest knitting factor has been pain. When the heat kicked in, my hands and feet got big. Swollen. Every joint in my body let me know how unhappy they were. It makes for hard working conditions. That’s on top of all the other things that normally hurt. (Fibro myalgia, back aches, etc). Really, how much stuff do I need to put up with?

Then there’s my side job- Puppies. At ten weeks old, they are cute and cuddly. If you walk up to their pen, they sit. We’ve been working in the ‘sit’ command with treats. If you put your hand in, the little rascals are like piranhas, tugging and pushing for treats. Horrible little cads. But cute. They’ve decided playing and chewing on the poo pads is a sport. Like we don’t have enough toys in there? They are terrific and funny, running so fast they collide. I will not miss the poo though. I am having trouble putting an ad out for them. I wonder why?

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Needless to say, writing anything down has been difficult. Sometimes just moving, is difficult. Losing my muse, has been difficult too. I’m in the down and outs, but I’ll claw my way back up soon.

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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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).