Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Your regularly scheduled blogging has been postponed...

Until my perspective is a bit better. I'm hoping a bit of "me" time tomorrow night will fix me up. We shall see...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Groggy blogging and seemingly random thoughts

The other day I took Michael out to the playground across the street. When we got there, another mom and her son arrived. Her son was holding two balls, so of course Michael ran over and promptly tried to take one away from him. I was trying to tell Michael that those were not his balls while the other mom was telling her son that he needed to share. They seemed to get the ball situation settled and started playing on the jungle gym. The other boy looked to be about 3 or 4, and after watching and listening to him for a few minutes, I had some thoughts stir in the back of my head. After a few moments, the other mom came up to me and apologized for her son if he became too rough, that he was autistic. That's what caused the spider sense to go off - seeing behaviors in her son that reminded me of Michael and the way she was speaking to her son, seeing my own behaviors mirrored. We didn't get to chat much, as her son is Michael on speed, if you can imagine it, but it opened up a can of worms, thus the groggy post.

Last month Michael had an evaluation with a behavioral specialist from EI to see what if any additional therapies he would need with the autism diagnosis. We had another behavioral eval the month before, but apparently that was the wrong one so it had to be done over. On the first visit, he asked John and I a slew of questions, typed a lot on his lap top, and watched Michael play. On the second visit, he asked me a slew of questions (John couldn't be there for this one) and watched Michael play. He didn't actually "test" Michael unlike his previous evals. He felt that Michael was not on the spectrum and definitely did not need any behavioral therapy. He also felt that the developmental ped was very conservative in her scoring of his initial autism test (can't remember which one she used) and that if anything, he's borderline. This eval was only for EI and doesn't change his diagnosis, we have to have a re-eval with the developmental ped or the like for that. At the time, I didn't know how to feel about it and have since settled on cautious optimism. My friends and family were all very happy and relieved.

We went to the zoo this morning. We haven't been in several months and we really looking forward to seeing Michael enjoy it. He knows many animals now and the sounds they make. He's also a lot more tractable on outings nowadays, so we had that going for us as well. We got into town, just made the bus, talked excitedly to Michael and each other about how much fun we were going to have. The trip wasn't all that different than the last time we went, and if anything, Michael was even harder to control. It wasn't anything really abnormal (none of the "Mommy, why is that boy doing X?" kind of comments and strange looks), but it was very disappointing for us. John took him into the petting zoo and he completely ignored the animals, instead he ran around trying to open or close every gate in the enclosure. It just wasn't the happy fun time that we were hoping for.

I admit that even though I said "cautious optimism" earlier, there was a part of me that started to jump for joy - no more special kid; I can go back to being a normal mom of a normal boy. The thing of it is that I've structured our life to suit him, so his differences aren't as obvious as they were today at the zoo. It's very easy to start to think that there are no differences, that everything is fine. I've been starting to think that maybe I've been selling us short; maybe we should try doing some more outings with my mothers' group. Right now I'm at that end of the spectrum where everything seems starkly sharp and contrasted, so I have to allow a bit for that skewed perspective. That said, it's not that far off. Compensating for both of our sakes has become second nature. That's not to say he hasn't made fantastic progress over the past six months, it's been incredible watching him. I just wasn't prepared for a trip to the zoo to burst my bubble.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dye Another Day

Here's what's been doing...

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My quick and dirty niddy noddy that I made from a 1" dowel and a pair of screws. I have to hit the hardware store to get some rubber washers to make it a bit more permenant.

The making of the niddy noddy led to this...

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Here are the individual colors and my method:

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1 tsp Wilton Burgundy Paste Food Coloring
1/2 c vinegar
cooked on stovetop about 40 minutes just below a simmer

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1 tsp Red Red Paste Food Coloring
3/4 c vinegar
cooked on stovetop about 40 minutes just below a simmer

Christmas Red
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1 tsp Wilton Christmas Red Paste Food Coloring
3/4 c vinegar
cooked in crockpot on high for 2 hours

Golden Yellow
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1/2 tsp Wilton Golden Yellow Paste Food Coloring
1/2 c vinegar
cooked in crockpot on high for two hours

Leaf Green
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1 tsp Leaf Green Paste Food Coloring
3/4 c vinegar
cooked on stovetop about 40 minutes just below a simmer

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1 tsp Blue Paste Food Coloring
3/4 c vinegar
cooked on stovetop about 40 minutes just below a simmer

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1 tsp Wilton Violet Paste Food Coloring
3/4 c vinegar
cooked on stovetop about 40 minutes just below a simmer

I wrapped my skeins, soaked them in a large bucket of water with some vinegar (less than a cup) for a good 30-45 minutes before starting. The burgundy was the first one I did and I had to rinse a bit too long to get the water to run clear so I increased the vinegar for the later batches. The golden yellow was half the size of the other skeins so I lowered the amount of dye and vinegar. As I rinsed each dyed skein, I also washed them using baby shampoo 2-3 times until there was no excess dye before hanging them to dry. I'm hoping to hit the post office today or tomorrow so I can weigh them and estimate the yardage for each color.

I also found a large ziplock bag with two more skeins of Fisherman's Wool - how cool is that? Variegation, here I come...

Note: I don't have the name of the other paste food coloring in front of me - will update later

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Instant Karma?

My sister reminded me that today was free iced coffee day at Dunkin' Donuts. I decided that free muddy coffee was better than no coffee, so after Michael and I were done at the playground, we walked over. Of course when I got there they were out of ice and no longer serving iced coffee. Since I had my heart set on coffee, I decided to trek over to Starbucks and get some, also the extra walking definitely didn't hurt. I walk in, the cashier asks, "Iced venti hazelnut Americano?" I smile sheepishly and say yes, then reach into my pocket and - no money. I hastily call out that I don't have my wallet and to cancel the order to which I got a resounding, "Don't worry about it, it's on us!" from the staff.

It's not the multi-million dollar lottery that I was hoping for, but I'll take what I can get.

It's almost been two years...

and see how he's grown...

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Got guage?

It's been so long since I've actually knit soakers that my guage is completely off. When I first started knitting them, I knit pretty consistantly at 5 stitches to the inch (blocked) on size 6 needles. Since much time and knitting has passed, I now knit looser - 4 stitches unblocked at last measure. All of the patterns I've written are based on 5 which means once again I have to do the math over and rewrite them. At least I didn't transcribe them into my knitting journal yet.

Creature of habit

I walked up the street today to hit McDonalds for lunch (I know, I know) and passed by our local Starbucks, planning on hitting there on the return trip. When I got into the store, the barista told me that he saw me through the window, made up my iced venti hazelnut Americano and waited for me to come in and get it. When I didn't appear, they tossed it - seconds before I walked in.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

On the home front....

It light of the purchases I made last week, my stash has to start earning its keep. Here's what's been doing...

  • Soakers

    I've dusted off the patterns and started working some up. Here is my first attempt at "shorties":

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    Front View

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    Side View

    The proportions look a bit off to me - it's supposed to be a size "small", which is pretty arbitrary to begin with. I made some changes to the pattern and after a lot of math and gnashing of teeth (and transcribing patterns to my knitting journal in pen and then realizing that everything was off) here's the reworked pattern in size medium. I'm just getting ready to kitchner the crotch and then do the legs:

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    I am still torn about the waist - the size small has 1.5 inches of ribbing while the size medium only has 1 inch. I'll get some oppinions and then go from there.

  • Loot from Maryland Sheep and Wool

    We bought a bag of fleece, but that hasn't been touched except to divvy it up between Knitty Mama and me.

    Cautionary Note
    Even though The Joy of Handspinning recommends that you scour your fleece in your washing machine - be very careful. I just spent $60 for someone to come and fish a small ball of fiber from the water pump in my washing machine. Needless to say, I will be scouring using a basin from now on.

    This is the beautiful fiber that I got:

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    It's hand-dyed alpaca/silk/merino. If you are new to spinning - DO NOT TRY THIS FIBER - you will be spoiled forever. Anything else feels like straw, it's that beautiful to the touch.

    Here's a small skein (46 yards) that I spun and plied from this roving:

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    Here are the spindles:

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    Bottom Whorl Spindle

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    Top Whorl Spindle

    I definitely prefer the bottom wholr spindle, but I used the top whorl for plying and it worked very nice.

There is more but the boy is making demands so I must dash!

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

I can't stands no more!

and now for a whiney rant...

  • Wahing machine not draining during spin cycle - have a sneaky suspicion that this is being caused by a clump of wool in the hose from my scouring some fleece for the past two days
  • Have done two courses (14 days and 30 days) of very nasty antibiotics (one kills off gut flora, the other is used as a prophalaxis for malaria) in an effort to get rid of my pelvic/uterine pain. Had a rash, nasty photosensitivity, no gut flora (see above), and merry hell wreaked upon my depression -- still have the pain though. Next step is a laparoscopy.
  • Behavioral specialist doesn't feel Michael is autistic - still not sure how to feel about this one - choosing guarded optimism until he has a re-eval with the developmental ped next winter
  • Water retention
  • Fucking mice - I hate the little fuckers and am breaking my own rule about serious swearing to share this with all of cyberland

The boy is alternately crying "Cookie" and "Mommy" so I have to go

Monday, May 08, 2006

Woolapalooza '06

WOOO HOOO!!!!!! Maryland Sheep and Wool ROCKS!

Bought roving, bought fleece, bought sock yarn, bought spindles.

Had a deepfried twinkie and it was seriously one of the best things I've ever tasted.

Knitty Mama and I are already making plans for '07 - they involve a van, camping gear, and visiting all of the yarn shops in the DC/Baltimore Metro areas.

I managed to not buy a lucet or a kit to make my own silk. I only went $30 over budget.

Pictures coming soon - time to dream of knitting...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Just to give you an idea

of how my day is going...

Yes folks, that's RED gatorade that I forgot was in the cup on the desk. Can I get a do-over?

Slow on the uptake

Last night I was lying in bed and finally got that Mama C-ta is a play on mamacita.

Here's my list:

I thought "Chef's Salty Chocolate Balls" from South Park were just cookies.

Had no idea what the line, "Stupid English Kenigguts," meant from Monthy Python and the Holy Grail meant until I saw it spelled out as "Knights" on one of VH-1's "I love..." shows.

Firmly beleived that the chorus of CCR's "Bad Moon on the Rise" was, "There's the bathroom on the right," thanks to my father. Found out this was not the case when I excitedly announced what I thought was the name of the song at an eighth grade graduation party.