Monday, January 30, 2006

I don't know how I just did this...

...but I managed to not scream, "COME HOME NOW!!!!" at my husband, nor curse him for impregnating me. Michael is sick, Michael is sick, (this is my mantra).


The boy can now operate a zipper. The list of safe things is quickly dwindling.

Love is...

Holding and comforting your sick child while you are sitting on the toilet trying to go to the bathroom.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


Caillou: Why are you selling hotdogs, Mr. Henkle?

Mr. Henkle: You can find all kinds of things at a yard sale.

John: Yes, and you can put them all into a hotdog.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Can't catch a break

The boy has been crying for 20 minutes and it's starting to escalate to screams. I have to take over. Why doesn't thorazine come in a grape-flavored, chewable tablet?

At least I can knit for a bit (and yes, put off the article for another hour).

Get to work Jenn

Just found this:

ColorQuiz.comJenn took the free personality test!

"Feels the existing circumstances are hostile and i..."

Click here to read the rest of the results.

In my defense, I do have a Word document open and one sentence written. I wonder if John still wants to do that nipple treatise?

Maybe it's a good thing...

I've been complaining that I am essentially cosleeping with Michael, but not getting any of the benefits. Michael has been going through a particularly needy nighttime phase (off and on these past 5 months) where John or (in most cases) I have to spend the night with him, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor next his crib.

We've tried several times to bring him into bed with us, but it never works. Michael and I used to cosleep for naps (the only consistant way for him to nap for longer that 45 minutes), but that stopped around the time he started crawling. I just couldn't get him settled down after that. We bring him into bed with us, he tosses and turns for a bit then it's play time, or "let's see what I can gouge!" Last night he woke up just after midnight. John went in first, brave of him considering the hell Michael put him through earlier (apparently only Mom will do right now, and while Dad is fun to play with, woe unto thee for thinking he can do bed time). Michael started screaming and I heard the sounds of pacifiers being chucked, so I took over. I picked him up and rocked him in the glider for a bit until he fell back to sleep, then I got the idea to lay him on the matress so we could sleep together. Firstly, it's a twin and I am not a small person. Secondly, Michael needs space and moves quite a bit. After he pinned my breast down with his elbow for several excruciating moments, he went back in the crib. Oh well, there's always the next one....

(yes, I'm still procrastinating and the boy is due to wake soon)

My life and future happiness depend on them!

I NEED this sooo much!
Lego Ball Winder
Barring the gears and motors, I probably have all of the legos needed. I think I'm going to price stuff at Toys'R'Us on Saturday. If I can get them cheaper than $40 I'm going for it. I don't need to eat, right?

I'm going to make this over the weekend. I know I have all I need for this one, and I can give it a nice wash so it's a cool funky color!

I should not be allowed to use the computer when I'm trying to avoid things.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Note to self...


Aftershocks, signs, too much sleep, and cake at the Melrose

It has definitely been a ride these past few days and I am rapid-cycling through the 5 stages of grief. To say this is not fun is a major understatement. John and I are working on it though, and despite everything - Michael has been a continual Joy (except when it's 11pm and mommy needs to work on the newsletter that she's been putting off for a week). Some things have already started. A friend (childless, unmarried, a bit of a misogynist) of John's, and one of his coworkers (childless as well, but engaged) have already told him that there is no way Michael has ASD. Both seemed to think that this is part of some major conspiracy to label children. John was not bothered in the least and blew them off. I, on the other hand, did get a bit upset by this. I had my first hospitalization for major depression in 1991. I spent the next five years or so trying to convince my parents that I was not having a huge pity party, that I had a real disease. With this history, my skin is a lot thinner when it comes to this. This is also a big reason why I haven't told many people outside my closest friends.

On to happier things...

I do not appear to have adenomyosis!

I went for my second opinion last week and the doctor feels that I have a uterine infection and I'm on some major antibiotics for the next two weeks. I go back for a follow up in a few weeks and with a bit of luck will be pain free for the first time in months. I am so happy I went for the second opinion, especially since my GYN was ready to do a hysterectomy on me. It's also nice to have something good happen for once.


Michael has been using the signs for "More" and "Done" spontaneously for the first time in at least a month. We're not sure, but we think "shoe" means pacifier.

Too much sleep...

Michael woke up at 7:30 this morning in a pretty foul mood. We brought him downstairs and he wanted nothing to do with his morning milk or food. He just kept walking to the bottom of the stairs, whining and saying "shoe" over and over. I opened the gate and we went upstairs. He went straight for his room and climbed under his crib to get his pacifiers. Since he seemed so tired and I knew he didn't get enough sleep the night before, I tried to put him back down and knock-off for a bit myself. Imagine my surprise when we woke up at 10:30! I felt so human this morning, no annoying anxious aftershocks and a happy, well rested child. When 1 came around, I decided to try and put him down again for his regular nap. Since I still had a bit of that sleepy good feeling, I decided to lie down too. We both woke up just after 4, thus ensuring that noone would get to bed at a decent hour tonight. It's going to take days for us to get back on any semblance of a schedule.


Saturday night I called my friend Sarah. For the first 5 minutes of the conversation, I launched into what was going on with Michael. Every time I paused, she would ask, "but how are you doing?" I did finally answer. She then told me that she was coming over on Tuesday night. About 30 minutes before she was due, the anxiety set in. Sarah is one of my closest friends and I would trust her with Michael in a heartbeat. What I worry about is how Michael would do with her, he's such a handful sometimes and at least right now his ASD diagnosis makes that seem worse. I did manage to make myself go out with John (not that Sarah would have allowed me to stay anyway) and stopped fretting after we had walked about 4 blocks. After the "screaming like he lost a limb" for a few minutes, Michael had a ball while John and I enjoyed carrot cake at the Melrose. Sarah wrote herself in for next week. Thank you.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Because I Love to Count

John swears that this happens all the time, but I have yet to witness it myself.

John: One, Two, Three, Four...
Michael: Ha, ah, ah, ah

I think this is a sign that the boy is watching too much Sesame Street.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The ultimate in avoidance mode...

I haven't been to bed yet.

Michael ahs been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I've been preparing myself intellectually for this for weeks, ever since I got the call saying he had an appointment for the developmental ped. I agree with the diagnosis although the casual observer would tell me there is nothing wrong with my child. I've been presenting the brave front - mom who is reading all the info she can so she can be the best advocate for her child and reassure her husband that everything will be all right. John and I had our first fight about it last night, because I've been blocking him out in my effort to keep things together. This scares the shit out of me. I am scared about the amount of work that I have to do to get Michael the help he needs and the amount that I have to do to help him. I am scared about my ability to balance it all - to take care of him and me and still have something left for John. No matter how prepared I thought I was and how much I know that this doesn't change how miraculous, wonderful and loving my child is, it's still a devastating thing. I'm just tired - tired of having to be the calm and collected one, the one to "take charge". For the first time, I'm actually allowing myself to cry over this. I had started this witty almost glib, "this is just another unexpected part of parenthood to take in stride" kind of post, but this is how I really feel. I think I'm going to wake John up so he can hold me.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

This is so F!@#$% COOL!

It brings back fond remembrances of the Beastie Boys being kicked out of White Castle.

"Lazy Sunday" the Chronic of Narnia Rap

You can look at the lyrics here

My favorite line is "You can call us Aaron Burr from the way we're droppin' Hamiltons."


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Time for a gross-out, not to be read by the faint-hearted.

I just sneezed a great gob of mucous down my front. Isn't a cold grand?

There is much ado this week, both on the craft and life fronts but I still need time to digest it (and take pictures).

The cessation of evil is on at least a two-day hiatus and will resume this weekend - I made it through the first 36 hours very well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

And so it begins...

The last one has been smoked and the pack has been destroyed.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I have to write the lead article for my mothers' group's newsletter this month and am having a real tough time with it. Do I make it light and airy or a critical essay on the strugles a woman faces being a stay-at-home mom in this day and age? Probably light and airy is the way to go, but the social commentary keeps creeping in. I think I need to put it away for the night. John suggested that he write an essay for me titled, "Our friend, The Nipple". If my block continues I may take him up on it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Adventures in Dyeing

Michael and I made the trek out to AC Moore's yesterday and got all manner of cool stuff. We also had to battle the rain, 20+ degree sidewalk banking, and idiots who park their cars in front of the ramps ot the corners, but that's a rant for another post.

I decided I was going to try and make self-striping yarn. The soaker pattern that I've been working on for him has 102 stitches in the body, so I knit up a swatch of 100 stitches with a generous tail at both ends and measured it - wouldn't you know it's about 100" long, something I probably could have found out pretty easily on-line or in one of my many knitting books in a matter of seconds, but I like to do things the hard way as you will find out (or as my friends/family are all too aware of). First, lets look at some pictures!

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This is the yarn as I took it down this morning.

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Here's a skein that I made up so I could see what it looked like. There is something really cool about having a skein of yarn that you made yourself.

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Here's the swatch I knitted up so I could see how the stripes worked.

Now onto the things I should know better about...

I bought five colors of Wilton paste food coloring and decided that I would use all five in my yarn - if you are going to make something, you may as well go all out. I knew that it took 100" of yarn to make one stripe, so rather than arange several chairs thoughout my living room, I decided to make a board with a series of pegs on it that I could wrap the yarn around and eliminate the need to rearrange furniture.
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This seemed like a really good idea at the time and I got to use my Dremel to drill the holes for the dowels, which is always a plus. After a bit of thinking, I came up with a way to wrap the yarn so I could get the five sections I needed for each color and the length necessary so I could have some stripes be narrow and others wide. After a few false starts I got the entire skein of wool (8 oz.) onto the board. I hit my first snag when I tried to remove it - there was overlap in places and on one set of pegs I wrapped a few too many times on a couple of rounds so I ended up with a tangled mess. No worries, it would all come out in the end.

Next I mixed my dye. The only other time I've done multiple colors, I hand-painted it onto the yarn. This time I decided I would start out with a bowl for each color and then transfer it to ziplock baks so I could set the dye in the microwave. First off, Wilton paste food coloring is super concentrated, so you can get that dark, bright color in your icing without diluting it. With the red yarn I made a few weeks ago, I used about 4 oz. of yarn and 1/2 oz of food coloring. It took many, many rinsings to get out all of the excess dye. Not remembering this, I again used 1/2 oz. of food coloring for each section (weighing between 1-2 oz each). I gave up trying to rinse it all out after 40 minutes, and dye is still coming off, my hands are a lovely shade of magenta after knitting the swatch. I'm thinking of doing some more yarn in the green color later this week (~ 4 oz.), so I'm going to try using only 1/4 oz. of food coloring and see how that goes.

In my zeal, I forgot a very important thing - yarn too has volume. I had my dye mixed in 5 over-sized coffee cups, filled to within 1/2" of the top. Then I added the yarn in each cup. By the time I got to the third cup, dye was already starting to leak out of the first one, onto the cutting board I was using to balance everything on, then onto my stovetop, and down the front of my stove until it hit the rag-rug on the floor. Here's my amazing, technicolor cutting board:
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I also need to remember to wear gloves - I've washed my hands so many times (twice with toothpaste) and it still looks like I just got off my shift in the abetoire. I also seem to have forgotten everything I learned about color theory, because the blue and the purple really have no place with the green, gold and copper colors.

Despite all of this, the yarn does look super cool and the depth of color is amazing. The paste coloring fights being disolved in liquid, so you end up with these incredible gradations of the component colors. Hopefully the next time I do this, things will go a bit more smoothly.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Getting this life in order.

Sesame Street is playing way too pivotal a role in raising my child these days and I need to do something about it. In an effort to help me be the mom I want to be and to control my ever creeping depression, John and I are going to work out a schedule for me and the boy tonight. I've done this several times over the past few months and have followed it well for a few days and then returned to my slacker ways. We are going to start very small and only concentrate on Michael and cooking at the outset. Once we have that in place, we're slowly going to start introducing more housework so John's not doing everything.

Ever the procrastinator, here are my resolutions for the new year:

  • Quit smoking (currently slated for Sunday, so beware because it will definitely be a "look of death" kind of weekend and following week).

  • Take better care of myself - i.e. take meds when I have pain, sleep, and go to the doctor when I need to. This also includes asking for help from people who repeatedly tell me to call them if I need anything.

  • Be a better mom (see above).

  • Be a better wife

  • Cut wheat and sugar out of my diet and start taking a good multivitamin daily.

  • Stop comitting crimes against grammer and spelling ;)

The boy finally got his MMR shot today and I'm still a bit freaked out. I've always scoffed a bit about the stories you hear, "my baby was fine until he had his MMR shot," but when it's your own child you can't help but worry. The ped was pushing the flu vaccine as well, but my insurance only covers the one with thimerisol in it and with Michael's developmental problems there is no way I'm injecting mercury into his system. On a side note - he's GIGANTIC, 31lbs and 34" tall. I find myself telling people at the outset that he's "only" 18 (now 19) months old. John tried to put one of his 24 month body suits on last night and couldn't snap the crotch, these are the same ones that were a little too big for him 3 months ago.

Enough nonsequitors for today, back to knitting!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Two Men on a Mountain

Two men on a mountian,
Fighting amongst themselves.
The topic of their battle:
Do you beleive in Elves?

One man is defensive;
The other screams and yells,
"Didn't your mother tell you
There's no such things as Elves?!"

Perched around a toadstool,
The Elves enjoy the fight.
Each placing their wagers
To find out who is right.

The fight starts to quicken;
The Elves still place their bets.
They cheer each other on,
The fight's not over yet!

Two men on a mountain
The Elves are looking on
To find out if they are
Or if their kind's all gone.

Copyright 1995 JES

Crafts update....

because I know you've been waiting with baited breath.

This is the newest craft obsession du jour...
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Yes, I made my own knitting needles. The picture is pretty bad, but I started out with a 3/8" dowel, sanded the ends to a nice point, painted it with an acrylic wash and finished it with a few coats of Butcher's Wax. The color doesn't come across in the picture very well, but the shaft is painted chartreuse and the ends are painted indigo. I was very please overall. It only cost me $1.65 to buy the materials and an hour to make them. The points aren't quite tapered enough and the Butcher's Wax leaves a bit of a petroleum smell behind (which has faded), so for my next set I'm going to hunt down a paste bee's wax polish. It was so much fun to make them and to get dirty (paint and wood dust). Besides, who else can say they have chartreuse/indigo knitting needles?

Other projects:

  • The bison yarn scarf is coming along nicely. I think I'm going to go another 12 inches or so - that way I can get it to wrap around my neck once and to tie in the front. I'm hoping I have enough left for a little head band/ear cover.

  • I'm almost finished the first of a pair of wrist warmers. I'm not very happy with the thumb and am still debating whether I'm going to rip it out or just reinforce it with some duplicate stitching. Once I decide, I can get it's mate started and hopefully done in enough time to actually use them this season.

  • I started a poncho using my new needles. After a few false starts, I think I've come up with a pattern I like.

  • I ripped out the poncho that I had started back in September. It's a very pretty blue variagated mohair, but it was way too wide and had a few too many mistakes in it for my liking. Besides, that's one less project I have to worry about.

  • The way Michael's sweater is going, it may be ready in the next few weeks and hopefully it will still fit him.

  • I haven't touched the granny squares for the blanket I'm making to donate to CHOP, but I have a good number of squares done and I can knock them out in no time flat.

  • I got the first 3 sizes done on my soaker pattern. Once I get Michael's size done, I'm going to make one up in the yarn I dyed a few weeks ago and see how it fits. I'm hoping this is the one so I can get to work making an inventory and start designing the really fancy ones.

Off to bed...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Coming to terms

Now that the rush of the holidays is over and my period has started, everything about my adenomyosis diagnosis is hitting me like a ton of bricks. I thought I'd been handling it very well up until the past few days. I've been focusing heavily on the nuts and bolts of the disease and trying to be as proactive as possible about my treatment options, even to the point of scheduling an appointment for a second opinion. The problem is that I haven't really let myself feel anything about it. It really is a terrifying thing. I have a disease that will not go away. Even the most benign of the pharmaceutical treatments are ones that can make it worse for me with my mental history and how I react to hormones.

After I had my first hospitalization for major depression, I educated myself as much as possible about my diagnosis and the medications I've taken over the years. I've read up on alternative treatment options, hell I even had a course of ECT trying to treat the worst of it. As scary as mental illness was and is, it's nothing compared to how I feel about the adenomyosis. Perhaps because it's so tied in with my fertility. I spent many years convinced that I was not going to be able to get pregnant. We had been sort of trying for three years before Michael was conceived (ironically, right before I started charting my BBT to see if I was ovulating). Now that I have this, every fiber of my being is screaming to get pregnant now, that I may not have another chance. I know that isn't the case, but it's really hard to not listen.

The other hard thing to deal with is the pain. All of my post-partum periods have been painful, the cramping and back ache starts about a week before and lasts until my period is over. Before I knew about the adenomyosis, I attributed this pain to the fact that I'm having real periods and have been ovulating nearly every cycle. Now, it's like I can visualize those rogue cells in my uterine wall multiplying and spreading. Nearly constant pain is dificult enough on its own, knowing that it's this disease that's causing it makes it much harder to deal with on a mental level.

I spent most of the morning curled up in bed around a pillow and a heating pad while John took care of Michael. I can't live like this - I have a life, a child, and a husband to take care of. I do not have the luxury to sit around and feel sorry for myself, I have a small child who depends on me. I had a good cry this afternoon and will probably have another tonight when John gets home. When the boy wakes up, we're going to walk out to the shopping center and get knitting stuff (I have an AC Moore's gift card burning a hole in my pocket) and then we'll stop off at Ikea for a cheap dinner and walk home. I'm also planning on stopping at Lowes or Home Depot to get the materials so I can make myself a spindle and possibly some extra dowels to make my own knitting needles. Crafts march on...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Feeling blessed

Now part of the warm fuzzy feeling I am having right now is definitely due to the the generous measure of Bailey's I just drank (Thank you Sarah!), but I am just feeling so content and happy. I had my second New Year's Open house this year, and it definitely went better than last year. Every time I throw I party, I get a little bit better about not killing myself making everything perfect. The house was definitely not sparkling, the cookies were not all homemade, the crudite was not painstakingly arranged, and the curtain was hung between the kitchen and the livingroom because the kitchen was a disaster (I'm always afraid people will look at my kitchen and say in a shocked voice, "You prepare food here?!"). What we did have was some of our closest friends, my aunt and uncle from Maryland, my mom and dad, and my sister and her fiance. After the initial influx of people, everyone left to go watch the Mummers Parade (a huge Philadelphia tradition), which left me the house to myself and John for a good hour, and allowed me to have some down down and loose that frazzled, overtired look I always have at a party.

Michael woke up from his nap just after everyone got back from watching the parade. His naps have been averaging 90 minutes for the past few weeks, which really isn't long enough, but with all of the noise there was no way he was going to sleep any longer. He was already a bit off balance from our rearranging the furniture for the party, so coming down to a house full of people was really a bit much. He just laid in mine or John's lap for a bout 45 minutes while he got his bearings - it was the sweetest thing, having him sit in my lap with his head against my chest, taking comfort in my presence. Shortly after he got his bearings back, two of my girlfriends and their babies arrived. John was so happy - he always pesters me to tell him how Michael interracts with other children, and this was one of the few times he got to see it first-hand. Michael did incredibly well. There were a few *very* minor disagreements over toys, but it was more of the "That looks interesting, I think I'll play with it now," rather than the, "that's MY toy and you can't have it." I really enjoyed it because we are usually out and about when we're together, so this was a chance for the three of them to really play and interract.

Everyone seems to have had a nice time and I feel very relaxed (again, thanks in part to that wonderful mixing of Tewlamore Dew and cream). It sounds a bit strange, but one of the highpoints of the afternoon for me was when my two friends were nursing their children. It always warms my heart to see women breastfeeding, but it was extra special to have it happen in my own home. My only slight regret was that I was not able to do the same with Michael, but it was just that, a small passing thought, not the heart-ache that would have happened last year.

Despite all of the stuff that has happened to me this past year, it has also been one of the best years in my life. I have good friends, a loving family, and the most miraculous blessing of all - my son.

Now I'm off to rendevous with my husband, Mr. Bailey's, The Holly Grail and some practice for baby number two.

Happy New Years!