Monday, February 27, 2006

Do this!

One of my friends (who I promise I'll add to my blog roll soon, especially now that I have the link on my page) told me about this today. It's a charity knitting project and a great way to use up all of your scraps of yarn (and maybe win some very yummy yarn in the process). So get knitting!

Calling All Knitters

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I have to hit the space-bar 18 times to get through my blog page (probably more now).


Several years ago, my mom had a hysterectomy. On the second night of her hospital stay, she told my father that he could go out drinking with his friends instead of staying with her. I remember being livid that he did what she told him to do and that she didn't ask for help. I ended up going myself and staying with her until the hospital kicked me out.

Sometime early on in our relationship, I told John this story. I told him that if I ever said anything remotely like that he was to ignore me.

Neither of us followed through on this. John is in Lancaster playing with lead miniatures while I am home with Michael.

Thursday night my therapist told me that I should either cancel Michael's MRI on Friday or John needed to be home. I talked with John after my appointment and told him that I wanted the MRI over and done with and that I still wanted him to go away this weekend. I told him what my therapist said and followed up with saying that it was my decision to make and this is what I wanted.

My father hates hospitals (pretty much the same as John) and while I didn't agree with my mom for the decision she made that night, I can understand why she did it because I did the same thing - put my husband's perceived need above my very real one. Thankfully, both of us had people to fall back on, but it still doesn't change the fact that we both systematically put others' real and perceived needs above our own. This is an almost constant struggle for me. I've gotten better at asking for help, but too often it's happening at just before my breaking point. With a child, this is not a good thing.

Isn't it lovely when you realize just how much like your mother you really are?

A great article from an almost surprising source and personal tangents

This started making the rounds on a few of my message boards last month and it just resurfaced. It's from Mothering and titled, "Regrets" by Peggy O'Mara. Here's an excerpt that really spoke to me :

Trying hard enough is a real issue for women whose breastfeeding experiences have not turned out as they hoped, or who have been told they “failed” at breastfeeding. I spoke to such mothers at Hollyhock, and Mothering receives letters from them. Some of these mothers got bad advice; others got good advice, but still, nothing worked.

Women have told me that they feel so ashamed when they don’t breastfeed that they hide the fact from friends and never bottle-feed in public. What a reverse prejudice this is. While we want mothers to feel welcome to breastfeed in public, it is ironic that bottle-feeding mothers would feel unwelcome. They fear they will be labeled unenlightened mothers. Seldom do we suppose, when we see a bottle-feeding mother, that here is a woman who may have tried so hard to breastfeed that her heart broke when she could not.
It has most recently resurfaced on an Attachment Parenting board that I frequent and to wonderful response. Many posters have responded with resolutions to be less judgmental and more empathetic. It's also opened a short dialogue about parenthood which is very refreshing. I'd love to think that it's signaling a subtle shift in the board, but I'm sure there will be another rant posted soon that will completely dispel any of the warm fuzzies.

I'm far from perfect and I know I can be very judgmental sometimes (unfortunately it's usually focused on myself, but many of you already know that). I try my hardest to be as nonjudgmental as possible because I haven't walked a mile in their shoes and there may indeed be a lot of baggage and heartache behind the casual or flippant comment that sends my skin crawling (except hitting or spanking - there's never an excuse for perpetuating the chain of violence).

I spoke with my therapist the other night about what's going on with Michael, this driving need to do everything I can to help him, how time is of the essence and how important it is to start things yesterday, and the stress and guilt brought on by the resistance I keep encountering in myself. She brought up the fact that I'm already being driven by an incredibly huge thing - trying to break the chain. I work every day trying to be the parent mine were not and not to be the ones they were. The emotional and physical abuse is not something I'm going to pass on to my children with their hazel eyes - it stops here. She helped me realize exactly how consuming this is and how it extends to everything Michael. It's no wonder that the prospect of 3-4 hours of intense playing with him a day and special diets send me into a tail spin - there's nothing left for them. I do a lot already for him - much more than I thought, and while it may not be broken into discrete 30 minute one-on-one sessions, it still fits the spirit of what is necessary for him to grow and thrive.

Hell, there must be some reason why the first thing out of every new doctor or therapists mouth is some sort of praise for how good I am with him and how extensive my knowledge is of him and his issues.

I wanna be sedated!

I actually joked with my future brother-in-law that a few hits of even mediocre pot would go a long way in taking the edge off of today. I had to settle for Lindor Truffles and a half a bottle of white wine.

All this past week, I had been getting more and more nervous about the MRI. John was telling me about how Heather Armstrong dealt with Leta's last MRI and the cracks she made about Leta coming out of the sedation. I remember being able to read some of the fear and anxiety between the lines. Last night at 2 am I was struck with the thought, "What if he has a reaction to the drugs?" Once that thought enters, there's little you can do to beat it back. I've gone on, "What would I do if _(insert name here)_ dies?" tangents before. Once when John was very late coming home from gaming one night I had actually gotten to the point of planning the menu for the funeral luncheon. Note: I'm really not that morbid or obsessive, it's just how I deal with worry sometimes Once those dreaded thoughts came up about Michael I couldn't even get past the soul-crushing blackness of despair. I even woke John up at 3 in the morning so I could cry.

We got a late start this morning and didn't get to University City until 9:30 (when we were supposed to be checking into CHOP). It was a nasty day. The sun was out and the temp wasn't too bad, but the 20 mph winds put a wonderful spin on things. I always remember a bit from James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small series where the Yorkshire men refer to this as a lazy wind - one that can't be bothered to go around you. We stopped at Starbucks because for some reason freaked-out mom with a caffeine buzz seemed like a good idea. Michael's recently started saying "More" and making the sign as well when he wants something to eat or drink. Because of the sedation, he had to be NPO so that was one more heart-wrenching thing.

We get checked in, taken back. The IV is placed without too much trouble or screaming. They explained to me what drugs they were using and how they would be administered. They dimmed the lights and started. It was the scariest things I've ever had to do as a parent - watch my child be sedated. It was so heart and gut wrenching that words fail me. After he was out, I went out front to call my mom (and have a cigarette - I know bad, but I'm not apologizing for it today) and I just cried over the phone to her for 10 minutes. John and I grabbed a bite to eat in the cafeteria. In my freaked out state, my mind chose to focus on disappointment that the cafeteria used styrofoam cups instead of paper and to think about all of that waste taking decades upon decades to biodegrade and leaching toxic chemicals into the environment. They had cardboard disposable trays - would it be too much to ditch the styrofoam to make thing better for our children? I'm not one to go on those types of environmental rants, but today was a special occasion.

Michael received three different drugs - two tranquilizers (one was a close cousin to Valium), and phenobarb to keep him knocked out during the study. Normally, the phenobarb wears off pretty quickly (it was dosed to last about an hour), but the other two drugs will keep them asleep for a good hour more. Michael falls in with the 5% of children for whom this scenario does not work. They had to give him a second dose of one of the tranquilizers when he started to wake up right after the study was finished. I had to hold him, first on the stretcher and then in my arms until it fully took hold. He was arching and crying intermittently for 30 minutes, in a shallow sleep for another 30 and then a true sleep for almost an hour. During the arching and crying one of the nurses suggested that we offer him some liquids to see if that would help him settle. John and I had a tense second or so when Michael was choking. By the time the nurses rushed in, I already had him in the baby Heimlich - I forgot I could move that fast. It was what I needed to feel back in control, when the Mom gene kicks in and everything else is swept away while you do everything to take care of your child.

Since this is already too verbose and disjointed, I'll just sum up.

The nurse seemed aghast that I was planning on taking public transport home and tried to offer me a cab voucher. I've already broken the car seat rule once in a moment of "I can't handle one more thing so you make this decision for me." (John referred to it as pulling a Brittany) Secondly - the thought of an unrestrained, not drugged enough to be compliant but enough to be a serious hazard to himself-child in the back seat of a cab in Friday afternoon city traffic is way too far to go. We walked the 20 blocks back into town. No matter what, I had my workout today.

There is nothing funny about a child trying to walk after being heavily sedated, and if the parent tells you otherwise they are LYING. He couldn't even take two steps without falling. Take a look at this and you'll see what I mean. I panicked and called my sister to come over because there was no way I could handle this by myself.

I left the room several times while my sister was here and he didn't even make a peep, which is not at all what I was expecting. This either means he's fine or he's suffered some lasting emotional trauma that will take years of intensive therapy to overcome. It's probably the former, but I'm still in a bit of the mode that believes the latter.

He fell asleep in record time tonight and has not woken up once which has really freaked me out - I've gone in at least twice to make sure he's still breathing. Even though I have the bed all to myself tonight, I'm still going to sleep on the air mattress next to his crib.

Sorry for the length and ramble, it's been a day. Besides, how many All Creatures Great and Small references do you get to see? Yes, I've read the books, multiple times even.

My humble apologies to Strunk and White.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ramblings after the witching hour

I should be sleeping or having fantastic sex with my husband right now. Instead I'm writing a blog entry having just finished my mothers' group's newsletter. Actually I'll probably have to do a whole host of revisions, but they won't get touched until Friday night at the earliest.

We have quite a day planned for tomorrow...

Michael is having an MRI of his head to rule out Ataxia. The ataxia doesn't scare me, but the ordeal of being his sedated for the study does. For the first time in a long time I am seriously mourning the fact that Michael isn't breastfeeding right now. I just feel like I could do so much more for him if I had that tool in my arsenal. I just want to hold him and hug him to me and you better beleive I'll be taking names and kicking ass if they don't allow me to comfort my child. I've never been this riled up about something for him before and it's probably all being blown out of proportion by my skewed emotional state.

The emotional state is raw. Very, very raw.

John spoke with someone on the phone yesterday about the library job. They took his info, told him where to submit his resume and informed him that they couldn't guarantee him an interview. He got a call this afternoon requesting that he come in for an interview on Monday. If they will pay him what we need (note, not what he's worth - we'll settle for enough to live on), this job is a very real possibility. We've decided that we'll continue living in Philly until at least the summer and he'll commute until we move. More stuff to digest, but I'll try to put off thinking about it until Monday.

On the crafting front:

  • The buffalo yarn scarf is finished! I just have to weave in the ends and I'll post pics.

  • If the boy is cooperative, there will be much dyeing this weekend. I want to do some test runs with my new dye pots and method before trying the self-striping merino again. Hopefully I'll have some details and pics to post by Monday.

  • The longies have lain untouched for all this week - since I switched to double-pointed needles I've been too afraid to knit while Michael is up and many other things have been competeing for my attention. I'm hoping to get some work done on them this weekend while my sister is sitting for me.

  • I started making a diaper wrap out of the felted merino, but I'm going to have to frog it because I goofed on the measurements. I really like the convenience of diaper wraps, but knitting flat is taking more time than I like. I'm hoping to rework the pattern some in the morning while I'm waiting for Michael's test to be done.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Color me surprised...

I'm working on my mothers' group's monthly newsletter (what I should have been doing instead of hacking blog skins) and looking through the clip art catalog and found two clips of moms breastfeeding (although the second one looks a bit man-ish).

Little freak-out

John called me a few hours ago saying that the library in the town he grew up in had an opening listed for a children's librarian. It was listed some time in January and he was doubtful that it was still available, but I told him it didn't hurt to call and see. It is still available, but they couldn't guarantee him an interview, so tonight I'll be working on his resume and cover letter.

He doesn't have any specifics on the job. Say what you want about Philly government, the librarians here are at least well-paid (decently) and they have some of the best health-care coverage in all the city unions. The suburban Pennsylvania libraries seem to pay less and their benefits are less than desireable. I may be working myself up all for nothing - they could be offering a pittiful starting salary with crappy HMO coverage, something we couldn't take no matter how attractive the position seems. We would also have to find out how good Montgomery County's EI services are for Michael.

This is John's dream job - a children's librarian in a nice suburban town. He worked at this library all through high school. He has a whole host of friends that live in the area as well as his father (not a huge selling point, that). It's also located in the single most unaccessable part of Montgomery County from a driving perspective - there is no direct highway access. It's away from my friends and family.

Let's wait and see what happens - Lord knows I have enough trouble without trying to borrow more.

Just checked, the max salary on the job listing is only 36K, which is not enough for us to live on by any stretch of the imagination. We'll still go through with the application, but I don't think it's going to pan out.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

How cool am I?

Very cool, but that goes without saying ;)

I was in Abington on Sunday playing the Call of Cthulhu role playing game. My character is a laudenum addict from 1920 Philadelphia and she managed to beat off this creature using an ancient Roman sword. I'm sure it had nothing to do with her prowress with said sword (especially since my rolls SUCKED), but the GM's must have been pretty bad too because he didn't get to kill my character off for her presumption. Who goes after such a beast with a Roman sword? Someone who just lost 3 points of santity (and that's with making the roll), that's who.

Crafting resumes tomorrow...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Too much time on my hands

I hacked a blog skin and viola! A fun way to put off what you need to do for three hours.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sunny, windy day

I am feeling better this morning, things never look as bad in the sunlight as they do at 3am. I also want to assure you (read: John) that I would never initiate a pregnancy in such an underhanded fashion - deceit is no way to begin a life.

Michael was in a very good mood this morning - despite being left to fuss in the crib until I could drag my but out of bed and the funk that I so wanted to continue to indulge. That's probably the best and hardest part of being a parent. The necessity to take care of this precious miracle is the antithesis of sulking. That's not to say that there aren't times when Sesame Street is playing a more active role in taking care of my child than I am because I just can't get my ass in gear, but when compared to the funks I used to have/indulge in pre-baby, it's nothing.

Diaper laundry becons, as does a search for knitting software. I bought a set of double-pointed needles yesterday to use with the longies I'm working on and I'm definitely seeing greater speed with them over using two circulars. I've finished one leg to just before the ribbing and I'm praying that I have enough to do the other leg. I'll probably just dye another hank of yarn to do the cuffs. I'ma also almost done the bufalo yarn scarf - the mix-up in the stitching was just a loop I hadn't dropped from the previous row. I also knitted up a swatch of the felted merino. It looks super thick (on size 6 needles) and I'm planning on doing some diaper wraps with it. Between that and the fitteds that I'm planning on making with my new sewing machine (YAY!), we won't have an excuse to not use cloth when we're out and about - prefolds and vinyl pants do not make for easy diaper changes. I've also decided that I'm going to turn my too big jeans into a pouch for Michael - the Sutemi gear is great, but bulky and the time I don't bring it with me is the time that I actually need it.

Yesterday we were out in town with my girlfriends and it was so nice - I didn't realize how much I missed hanging out with them. We got lunch, went to a yarn shop and then hung out with the kids. I'm so happy that I have this now.

Housework calls...


I'm probably ovulating, because I want to wake John up and have unprotected sex so I can get pregnant. In his half-asleep mode, I could probably pull it off too. There are so many reasons why now is not the right time for this and only my biological urge to reproduce as a reason to do it. One of the main reasons not to do it right now is because it's almost 3 in the morning and I've been in avoidance mode for the past three hours.

John got so much stuff done tonight - he's finally "sterilized" our computer room. There’s a big bag of trash next to the desk, the floor is clear, the desk is clear and all of my papers have been put in a pile on the bookcase - ensuring that I'll have to rip the room apart at least three times trying to find the scrap of paper where I wrote vital log-on information that I of course can't remember. John's gotten really good about not throwing out seemingly innocuous pieces of paper and envelopes because I have the horrible habit of using anything as scratch paper.

Whenever John gets in one of these cleaning moods - I get very weird. I've always been strange when it comes to cleaning. When the mood is upon me, I can get a lot of stuff done and even enjoy it. The problem is that I get easily overwhelmed and it's very hard for me to get to that place. Mostly I just watch the mess/filth build up and spend so much energy and angst avoiding it that it becomes this HUGE thing that I can never possibly do. If I have any depression happening in the background, this effect is vastly magnified to the point that I am almost completely immobilized. John is one of those people who deals with stress by controlling everything in his life that he possibly can - about as opposite me as you can get. For a while, he refused to even clean if I was home because I would sit and beat myself up for letting it get to that point and not doing it myself. He would feel better for having a clean room but not have any idea how to deal with me. He'll compensate by asking for my approval during the cleaning process, which I usually use as fodder to make myself feel worse.

The cleaning was the catalyst for my avoidance mode. The underlying reason is Michael's ASD diagnosis. I've been spending a lot of time in the "denial" stage of grief recently. Michael has made such great strides in the past few months - he's really a different kid than he was in the fall and in many ways my life is so much easier. The ASD diagnosis changes all of this. I can no longer just let him do his own thing all day while I avoid doing housework.

I've gotten up to an hour of floor time with him on most days, but even there I'm still not sure what I'm supposed to be doing with him. We've been given the name of a therapist who specializes in it, but I still haven't made an appointment to see him yet. Now that we've gotten our tax return, I can't use the money excuse any more. Currently, I'm waiting to hear back from EI about his 6 hour eval with their developmental team. I keep hoping that they'll tell me that he's fine and we have nothing to worry about so there will be no reason to trek up to Melrose Park to see this guy and pay money out of pocket to learn how to do this intensive therapy; there will be no reason to seek out a DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) doctor and start the whole rigmarole of special diets, heavy metal testing, chelation and supplements. My little boy will be fine with his couple of therapies a week and the bit of work I do with him. I won't have to change my life.

Having a child changed my life so completely that I can't even remember clearly what life was like before he came. I made a lot of changes in the fall and they've all been changes for the better - things are so smooth. We may not have the best of routines, but it's been working. Now I have to change that and I feel like an unnatural mother for being resistant to it. How can I not want what's best for my child? How can I not do everything in my power to make sure he gets what he needs? Everything I've read about ASD says how much time is of the essence, how great it is that I have the diagnosis this early because this is the best time to do these therapies. What if my inability to roll with this punch ends up hurting him?

Then there's the stuff from outside. My mother told me the other day that she wants to start coming over every other Thursday night to take me grocery shopping so I don't have to make so many trips during the week and I'm pretty sure she means it this time. My sister called us last night at 11:30 because I had called her earlier in the day and was worried. My best friend calls me to find out what my schedule is so she can tell me what night she's coming over so John and I can get out for some couple-time. I've had more time alone with John in the past three weeks than I've had in the past three months. As happy as I am for the help and dates with John, I'm a bit resentful that it's taken my son being diagnosed with ASD to get these things to happen.

Like cleaning, this is just so big right now and I still can't get my head wrapped around it. I just hope I can do what best for him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Me: Would you like me more if I had her body?
John: Where would you keep it? Are you asking me if I want you to kill this woman? That's just sick, Jenn.

A couple of fun things

A cool story for those who are fans of Lone Wolf and Cub. Unfortunatley, it's not as funny if you aren't famliliar with the manga.

Hilarious flash cartoons at The Neurotically Yours Vault. My favorite is Squirrel Songs (the bottom row, 3rd one in).


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Another one to check off the list

Picture if you would - a nice family dinner in a Japanese restaurant. Michael making faces as he tries to eat some of my nigiri sushi and settling for some rice. The nice walk through town, Michael on my back and John at my side, looking at shop windows...

This did not happen.

Around 3:45 I was on the computer and Michael was playing with some tissue paper behind me. I turned around and found him surrounded by broken glass Christmas ornaments that I didn't realize were in the box he'd been rooting through. After I wisked him up, I noticed flakes of paint from the ornaments on his fingers and lips. I checked inside his mouth and swabed it with some toilet paper but didn't see any cuts or blood. Of course the ped's office said to take him to the ER to get films to make sure he didn't actually swallow anything. We got there just after six and just got home. He's fine, of course. I'm a bit frazzled (and that's saying it lightly) - trying to keep a very active, overtired, and hungry 20 month-old occupied in the ER for 5 hours is a job and a half. There is a lot of ranting that wants to come out right now, but I'm just too tired to write it. I have a half a bottle of merlot downstairs calling to me.

Happy Valentine's Day all...

Monday, February 13, 2006

How not to do it

Last night I got a bug up my ass and decided that I wanted to try the self-striping yarn again. Thinking big, I decided to use 4-3.5 oz. skeins of Pattons Merino and the same five colors I used before. I had my mason jars and my big pot at the ready, planning to do it on the stove-top this time rather than the microwave and hopefully avoid some of the disaster that was last time.

First I had to figure out the striping. This was a bit of a challenge because I tend to over-complicate things. After trying to do each skein individually using the peg board I jury-rigged for last time, I opted to do all of them together using just the general distance between my arms. Not as an exact measurement as I would like, but sufficient for my purposes.

I had the pot and the jars already to go when I hit my first snag - the wool for each stripe just fit in the jar. The stove-top method out of the picture, I decided to go back to the microwave method. I got a big mixing bowl and 5 gallon-sized ziplock bags. I put the yarn, 2 cups of warm water and 1/2 cup of vinegar into each bag. I mixed the 3/4 tsp of each color (violet, yellow gold, moss green, copper, and royal blue) in about 1 1/2 cups of water and added it to each bag. I made sure to dip the tails between the bags into both so it would be dyed as well and get that nice blend between the colors.

I put the whole thing in the microwave. I microwaved it on high for 4 minutes and let it rest for four minutes, for five times. At this point, I noticed green dye leaking down the front of my microwave. The leaking was minimal, but I took it as a sign that I should be done. The problem was that while the dye baths were lighter than they first were, they still weren't colorless. The colors with blues in them seem to take the longest amount of heat to absorb the dye, while red and yellow tones seem to go the fastest. This method also caused some wicking between the yellow-gold and the green (although that may have been how the bags were arranged as well), so the yellow gold color is a little muddy where the green splashed on it.

Because the dye wasn't completely absorbed, it meant that there was a lot of rinsing needed. After I actually washed the yarn twice with baby shampoo, I gave it up for the night. All day today, I have messed with the yarn, trying to separate it back into four seprate skeins and trying not to think about the fact that it was still loaded with dye (although a lot less than my last foray). Next time, I will definitely keep each skein separate. It's a bit of a pain to do it that way, but even more of one to separate them after dyeing. The less messing I have to do with the yarn, the better - especially with the softer merino. I can deal with little bits of felted wool while knitting, but it's not something I want present on a product I hope to sell.

After I balled the yarn, I turned them back into skeins, because I knew that I still had to wash the dye out. Last week I tried to felt a swatch of this same yarn in my washing machine and nothing happened. Using that info, I decided to rinse/wash the remaining dye out in the washing machine. THIS DOES NOT WORK.

Well, I have the makings for a very colorful and probably very soft/cozy shawl. I'm going to attemp yet a third try later this week. I'm thinking of getting a big ass aluminum roasting pan and some cooking bags and doing it in the oven (think baine marie). I'm hoping this third time is the charm. It's never going to be easy, but I'd settle for a method the yeilds a usable product.


I should be sleeping

Well, what else is new?

I'm definitely well again. I got to take a nap this morning/afternoon and that seems to have done the trick. Of course, Michael seemed his usual, happy self all day - until he threw up on my side of the bed. Between that and the 12 inches of snow we got last night, it looks like I'm going to be grounded for the next few days. Last year, he was still small enough (if you call 22 lbs small) for me to wear him when we had to/wanted to get out for a bit after a snow. Thirty-one pounds is a different ball game. Since the tread is all gone on my big stroller, I may actually have to come up with some sort of tire chains for it if I want to get out.

I did get some yarn dyed tonight - some more self striping but this time in merino rather than the Fisherman's wool. It wasn't nearly as messy as the last time, but I still have to work on the method.

Got some good validation as well - each board member of my mothers group was asked to send in a task list of sorts. The person who will be taking over my responsibilities replied, "HOLY SMOKES!!! What did I agree to?"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

House of plague

I started throwing up at 3pm. Michael started at 10pm. Now we're just waiting for John to join in the fun.

This is not how I wanted to spend my weekend.

Saturday, February 11, 2006


If there is someone on your friends list (or blogroll) who makes your world a better place just because they exist and who you would not have met (in real life or not) without the internet, then post this same sentence in your journal.

To all the yarn I've know before...

Now I can make you into neat, center-pull balls with a 10th of the work!

John took the initiative by reading my blog and seeing how much I wanted a ball winder and went out and got me one! We were talking about it a few weeks ago and I had decided that it would be something I would purchase with my e-bay profits, since I felt I couldn't justify getting it outright. He called two of our local yarn shops to see what they had in stock. He was trying to decide between the ball winder and a swift and he made the right choice. He also walked from Broad and Market all the way to 19th & South and back to get it. This hike is just a stretch of the legs to me, but it's some pretty hefty walking for him, especially with the state his feet are in.

I made 10 center-pull balls in record time. I still like the way a hand-wound ball looks better, but considering the time/effort difference, a ball winder is the way to go. It took every ounce of restraint I had (and trust me, there's not much there to be going with) to no stay up all night and turn my stash into neat, center-pull balls.

My mom and sister happily drove me down to AC Moore last night and I was able to get 3 hanks of Fisherman's wool and another container of the Wilton moss green coloring since my jar is almost out. Tonight I'm planning of measuring out the merino that I bought two weeks ago for self-striping and turning the three hanks of woll I bought last night into 12 2oz skeins. I'm hoping to do some major dyeing on Sunday while the boy sleeps. I'm planning on doing four colors with the 2 oz skeins with 3 gradations in each (1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 3/4 tsp) so I can get a definite idea of what concentrations of dye yeild what depth of color and start a color card.

Here are the longies that I'm working on for Michael. I'm hoping that I have enough yarn to finish them. If not, at least I got some more last night so I can hopefully dye it to match.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Ready, set, DYE!

Here's what's been doing!

moss greenThis is 4oz. of Fishman's wool, 1 c of vinegar, and 1/4 tsp of Wilton's moss green paste food coloring. I did it in my crock pot on high for around 2 hours.

This is 4 oz of Fishman's Wool, 1 c of vinegar, and 1/2 tsp of Wilton's copper paste food coloring. Again, crock pot on high for about 2 hours.

cornflowerThis is again 4 oz of Fishman's wool, 1 c of vinegar, and 1 tsp of Wilton's cornflower paste food coloring. Cooked it in the crock pot on high for 2 1/2 hours.

My mom and sister a due in about 2.5 hours. John just got paid. It's sunny out and AC Moore is a mere 2 miles away. Do I do it?

My friends (who ROCK by the way) got me a POUND of super-bulky weight wool and a whole bunch of dye (well coloring for icing). Now I not only have to contend with what stitch I am going to use, but the color as well.

You know, if I took the bus...

I am in the process of knitting up a pair of longies (wool soaker pants) for Michael out of the green and blue posted above. I keep finding myself just staring at them because the are that COOL.

The boy is letting me know it's time to stop. I wonder if I can pay my rent in hand-dyed wool?

You know what, it's my birthday (well we are celebrating it tonight) and people with cars are going to be here in a few hours. The hell with Septa - I'm going to get a ride to AC Moore. Then I can stay up all night dyeing yarn!

Yes, I have a problem.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Idle hands...

I think it may be time to move some stuff. I found the boy in our bedroom playing with a box of condoms and a bottle of astroglide. My sister said it's never too early to learn about safe sex ;).

Marathon posting

I emailed the president of my mothers group on Thursday about resigning my position as membership VP. It's alot of work to do the job right (30-60 minutes a day) and I just can't keep up with it and I don't want our club to suffer for it. She called me on Friday and seemed to be trying to convince me to stay, saying we would work out something. I left it at that and have tried to get back on top of my duties. I got an email today adressed to the rest of the board saying I was resigning. It was a little bit of a shock, especially since she seemed so keen to keep me involved, but a relief. John is very happy - he's been wanting me to do this for at least the past month. Here's the message I sent out in response:

Where I’ve been for the past month or so...

I’ve been very MIA for the past month or so and wanted to offer apologies to all for not keeping up with things as well as I should. Some of you may know that I had Michael evaluated by Child Link (Early Intervention) back in November for a language delay. They tested him as having a 40% delay in communication, a 30% delay in fine motor skills, and problems with auditory processing (sensory integration). He qualified for services with them and is currently getting Special Instruction once a week and Occupational Therapy every other week. Along with the therapies, they also recommended that he be evaluated for Autism. We had this evaluation the middle of January and the developmental pediatrician diagnosed him as having Autism Spectrum Disorder along with his developmental delays.

As much as I thought I was prepared for this, it still hit us like a ton of bricks. We are currently working with Child Link to have a more intensive evaluation done so we can see how they can best serve us. We are also adding formal speech therapy into the mix which will be happening weekly. In addition to this, my husband and I are using a therapy approach called “floor time” with him for 10-15 hours each week (working up to 20) and exploring other therapy options outside of those offered by Child Link.

Learning about his delays has been a great help for me in changing my attitudes. I’ve been able to lower my expectations for his behavior to what is appropriate for him and we have both benefited greatly from this. Looking at Michael, autism would be the furthest thing from your mind. He’s a very active, happy kid. In the past few months he’s made great strides. His vocabulary is around 20 words now and he’s using them spontaneously and in context. He’s also started to engage with other children, something he’s never done before. He would usually just ignore them or stare at them with a questioning look or smile, not sure what was expected of him. Even though he’s such a personable kid and has made great strides, he does exhibit enough autistic behaviors to merit the diagnosis, mild though they are. John and I are both looking forward to his evaluation with Child Link so that we can get a better picture of where he is on the spectrum and what we can do to help him.

That said, I am resigning my position as Membership VP because I just can’t give it the attention that is needed. I’ve gotten great enjoyment from watching our club grow and flourish and a lot of personal satisfaction from my position on the board. It was a hard decision to make, but one that I feel is in the best interest of our club and my family. Now that he’s well (knock on wood) and we are getting some stability in his schedule, I hope to be able to attend more events and see all of you and your little ones. Thank you for your support.

It's very scary for me to "out" Michael like this, but I think I'll feel better knowing that I don't have to continually explain why he's doing certain things or what's going on. I'm also hoping that the wording will discourage some from questioning his diagnosis. I know that they have all the best of intentions, but my skin is really thin when it comes to this and I'd like to avoid defending my position over and over again.

After almost 20 months...'d think I'd know better. I decided to put Michael down for his nap earlier than usual so I could get into town and see my girlfriend before heading off to a playgroup. Of course he didn't fall asleep until 2 - the time I was hoping to leave the house. The best laid plans...

Happy Birthday to me...

Nothing says birthday like making a big breakfast for your husband and child ;)

Since the coffers are almost bare, we're putting the real celebration off until Friday. John has told me that I will be very surprised. I did get a few phone calls from friends this morning (thaks guys!) and one of my sisters is coming over tonight, so that's something to look forward to.

I have the best sister in the world! Anne showed up with flowers, a six pack of hard cider, money and pizza. Since it was just us eating, I actually got to have the pizza that I wanted - not the meat fest that is John's idea of pizza - artichoke hearts and mushrooms! The money is very welcomed and at this time so much more usefull for me than a gift certificate - now I can get lunch and coffee tomorrow on my day off! Thank you Anne!!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


John and I went out last night for some desert, taking advantage of my sister watching Michael for a bit. Since money is *really* tight and we shouldn't have been spending it in the first place, we decided to charge it. That meant we couldn't go to the Melrose, so we decided to try out the Italian restaurant across the street. I called first to make sure that they even took credit and to make sure they didn't have a minimum charge - yes they took credit. no minimum.

We walked over and were seated. The interior was very nice and pretty empty, it being a Tuesday night at 7:30. Our waitress came to take our orders and asked if we wanted to know the specials. I told her no, we were only getting cofee and desert. When she came back with our drinks, she told us that they don't normally "allow" patrons to just get desert, but since it was quiet, they would make an acception. Let me spell out a few things:

  • There were 4 other parties in the restarant

  • Nowhere on there menu is it listed that there is a minimum charge per person or table

  • They only had 3 choices from their desert menu available

Needless to say I was extremely pissed! I know that waitstaff work very hard. I also know that we were going to be a quick easy table and had planned to leave a generous tip. If they had a per person/table minimum, I wouldn't have even gone there. I spent money we really didn't have to have a bit of quality time with my husband and it was a complete flop. What I should have done is paid for the cofee and left. I'm still debating whether I'm going to write a letter.


In my never ending quest to avoid doing laundry, I crunched some HTML and updated my links. Things have been a bit hectic of late (and that is a huge understatement). Here's what's on the agenda...

  • Soakers

    I have two soakers done that I have to take pics of - one was made using this yarn (the super cool red/orange) and the other was done using the self-striping yarn, dyed the hard way. I am planning on reworking my pattern yet again, so once I am able to make some quality time for Excel, I'll get it done. With a bit of luck I'll have the pics up by the weekend.

  • The bufalo yarn scarf

    This has not been worked on in earnest for at least a week, ever since Michael pulled my needle out (my fault for leaving it in reach, which is ever expanding, God help us). I tried to put it right, but doing that with dark brown yarn by the light of a 10 watt bulb is not easy.

  • Yarn

    I bought a whole bunch of Pattons Merino yarn over the weekend and I can't believe how soft it is. I also bought several new colors of Wilton Paste Food Coloring and 5 quart-sized mason jars. The plan is to dye some of it in the same colors as the self-striping yarn I made earlier for one of my girlfriends, and to do up two skeins in the new colors to make Michael a pair of longies (once I write the pattern). When this will get done, only Glod* will know.

  • Knitting Needles

    I finally got some time to get to work on these. I have 3 pair ready to be painted and 3 ready for the finishing sanding. My hope is to get them done and ready for Ebay by next weekend. This also involves my writing/hacking HTML for a blog and the Ebay listing so that could slow things up a bit as well. I really wish our laptop was decent so I could put Dreamweaver on it and do the work while I'm hanging out at Starbucks, enjoying some "Me" time, but since our laptop still has ME on it (which SUCKS big-time) and is in need of more RAM, I'll have to make do with doing the prep work on the PC and writing the code with a browser window and Wordpad (very tedious if you've ever done it).

We had a much better day yesterday. One of those days where you get hit so hard with how beautiful and miraculous your child truly is and how blessed you are to have him that it almost hurts. I've regained a measure of baby-zen, now I just have to conquor wife-zen and hausfrau-zen.

* A Pratchett reference