Thursday, August 31, 2006

Karma at last!

I am probably jinxing myself majorly, but here goes...

Found 2 balls of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, I would estimate about 50g each for a grand total of $6. Yes, folks - $6 for what ammounts to $24 worth of yarn.

I have what is probably the most fantastic haircut of my entire life (it has layers). I am planning to buy product for it tomorrow. Yes, I am still Jenn and not a pod person from the planet Mars.

The dress we ordered from Penney's in a size that I was sure was going to be too small on me FITS! It not only fits, but looks good on me as well - to go with my fantastic 'do!

And now for something complete different...

Because I need to concentrate on something nice dammit!

I've been working on makine some baby booties this past week or so and have devised a really cool pattern (if I do say so myself). I'm going to take the plunge and submit it to Knitty for their December issue. I think it actually has a decent chance of getting accepted too. I've just changed the pattern slightly again, for the better, and it looks fantastic. This afternoon, Michael and I are walking up to one of the three LYS's in town - Sophie's yarns which I haven't visited in well over a year since I spend most of my time on the other side of town. I'm seriously considering treating myself to another ball of sock yarn for booties to knit for one of the babies our friends are having or just for pics for the pattern. We shall see. If anything, I'll at least get to visit some really nice yarn *sigh*. Well, I'm off to look at Sophie's site - I caught a glimpse of the word "sale".

Alas - I was mistaken, but who knows what I'll find...


Our house was broken into this morning between 2am and 7am. I came downstairs and thought it was odd that John's jeans were on the sofa and some of my knitting was out of the bag, but didn't think to much on it because I thought Michael had been down first. I went into the kitchen and saw my change jar on the floor and then saw that everything had been moved from in front on our kitchen window. It looks like the sliced the screen open, pulled up the window, moved all of the recycling on the sill outside and then moved the bins sitting in front of the window to get in. They went through all of the bags in the house and took the couple of dollars in change from my jar, rifled through my memory box, $45 in cash from John's wallet, and nothing else - we had a lap top, playstation, games & dvd's, and an i-Pod in the livingroom as well, not to mention the couple of practically maxed-out credit cards in our wallets. They didn't even bother with John's cell phone.

All in all we were incredibly lucky. It looks like they hit one other house in our neighborhood and again only took cash. The cops came and wrote a report and a crime scene investigator came out and dusted for prints. I've even gotten a call from a detective working on the case who said he'll contact me if anything comes up from the prints they took. I have to say I'm pleasantly suprised, I was expecting just a police report and an warning to make sure our windows were locked properly, but they actually seem to be taking it seriously.

I haven't let myself feel everything yet, except for some revulsion every once and a while that they rifled through my knitting. I'm so happy that I had to sleep with Michael last night - at least he wasn't in his room by himself. Part of me so wants to have the complete emotional breakdown, but I have to keep it together for a bit longer - I'll let myself get hysterical tonight. Strangers were in my house!!!!! They touched our things!!!! We were only a floor away!!!!

I also wanted to say that I have the two best friends on the face of the earth - both of them took us out for coffee this afternoon and I can't thank them enough for the support that they've given us. I have to stop now before it all come flooding out.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Take a look...

I'm in the process of taking pictures of the three million projects I have on needles right now (not that big of an exaggeration). In the meantime, take a look at this to tide you over - her work is beautiful and I can only hope to dye as well as she.


Friday, August 18, 2006

On breastfeeding...

I've been working on a post about breastfeeding for some time, but haven't been able to put it exactly into the terms that I want to. I recently posted this on a message board in response to a thread asking for responses to reasons women give for not breastfeeding.

I stopped trying to exclusively breastfeed my son due to a multitude of reasons at three months and then continued to comfort nurse him for another month until he went on a strike that I just couldn't wait out. I did seek some help early on, but I just wasn't able to put it into practice because of a woeful lack of physical support and the stress was severely impacting my ability to be a mother (history of major depression).

I was *very* defensive in those early months after I weaned. I knew what to do but was unable to implement it given my circumstances and consequently felt a great deal of guilt and grief over it. I used any number of "excuses" to explain why our breastfeeding relationship ended and on more than one occassion pulled out the laundry list - long sleepy nurser, large breasts w/inverted nipples, could only nurse in football hold, nipple shield, pumping, supplements, etc. as if to prove that I had done all that I could. If someone responded to my laundry list with a bunch of suggestions of what I could have done differently in those early months, it would have sent me into a downward spiral of guilt and second guessing.

Now that I have come through my grief and am proud of the fact that my son got four months of breastmilk, I am faced with the problem of how to respond to others when they confess to having problems. There were some pieces of advice that I got that just infuriated me - my most hated was, "it gets so much easier after X weeks." Everytime one of those milestones came and it didn't get any easier I just wanted to cry, so that is one that I don't plan on using much. I do have an overwhelming urge to spout warnings about what led me astray on my breastfeeding journey and am constantly having to think twice before I speak for fear of coming across too over-zealous, thinking about how I would have reacted and did react when I received similar advice when I was struggling.

One of the things I have been concentrating on is debunking the myth about La Leche League. Because I was struggling so much, I projected my own feelings of failure and guilt onto them and consequently removed what may have been a great source of help and support, I was so afraid that I was going to be told I was a bad mother. I've also been able to relate my own story with out having to justify it, but with the caveats that every nursing relationship is different and that some bad advice and treatments (didn't start nursing with the shield until 7 days post-partum, that burns me the most) really impacted us.

It's a very difficult road to tread - advice that may give one mother enough to keep going may send another deeper into the guilt/failure downward spiral. Moreso than anything else is the realization that nuclear families and society in general is not conducive to breastfeeding. Yes, nursing on demand and pumping every two hours is a good way to help increase supply. Telling this to a mother who is already completely overwhelmed by her baby, family and responsibilities may not be. I agree with many others who have said that shaming and judging mothers has no part in lactivism, not when there are so many barriers to a successful breastfeeding relationship, and I am very happy to see a thread like this trying to change things.

For the obsessive knitter...

I saw these last night at AC Moore's. Darkness used to be a reason not to knit, but no longer. Oh, all of those hours wasted sleeping in bed, now I can knit and not keep John up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I want to hold your hand...

We were walking to the subway from story time this morning when Michael started to knod-off in the stroller. Since we were on a quiet street, I decided to take the plunge and let him walk for a few blocks. I was great! He held my hand the whole time for four city blocks. He threw a bit of a fit when I told him I had to carry him dow the stairs to the subway station, so I decided to try letting him walk down the stairs to the platform. He did it so well. I am petrified of the thought of him bolting and falling off the platform, but he just held my hand as we walked around to the bench to wait for the train. We will definitely have to try this out again.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Where has all the crafting gone....(and a rant too)

In between rantings and bemoaning my lot in life, there has been sewing and knitting going on - oh and frogging, waaay too much frogging. As soon as I get some decent pictures, I'll post a full update which I know you are waiting for with baited breath.

I'll leave you with this thought:

I live in South Philly - a.k.a deepest, darkest Eagle's country. I HATE football season. If people put a fraction of the time, effort and money they invest in supporting a football team - comprised of players who make millions of dollars and don't really need fans bedecked in green and silver paint to live their lives - into something that would actually make a difference in this world, think of what we could accomplish. It's a freaking sport people. Here's counting down the days until they are officially out of the Superbowl running and I don't have to see those damn E-A-G-L-E-S commercials any more - my heart bursts with pride that you can spell while 'faced, kudos to you.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Just for fun

What kind of knitting needles are you?

You are pink aluminum.Retro, straightforward and fun, you love classic things. If they're 99 cents at Goodwill all the better! You are moved by striking colors and tasty morsels, and you like a stitch-n-bitch session in the sun. Just remember, while you're being kitschy cool, don't get too cold. Ice cubes are best kept in your cocktails, baby!
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Monday, August 07, 2006

The briney deep...

Not to long ago, I broke down and started buying Perdue Shortcuts pre-cooked chicken. Everytime I did so, part of me screamed in protest - not only was I buying a mediocre to decent convenience food chock full of salt and multi-sylabic preservatives, I was also paying around $5.50 a pound for something I could make for less than half the price. The crux of the problem was it's a convenience food. This was one less thing I had to worry about - just pull a bag of chicken out of the freezer and I was good to go. No fuss, no muss.

My mother has been raving about brining for the past few years. We both subscribe to Cook's Illustrated magazine, and almost every mention of chicken is accomanied by brining instructions. I've never had a real problem with overcooked dry chicken - my mom tends to cook everything for too long and underseasons it to boot, thus the brining saves us from eating dried-out flavorless chicken. Since I've always marinated mine using the handy-dandy method of chicken + ziplock bag + small bottle of Ceasar salad dressing method combined with the correct cooking time, my grilled chicken breasts have come out pretty well. A child, trying to improve our eating habits, and John's confession that he doesn't really like chicken that has been marinated in Ceasar salad dressing have all put the kabosh on this tried and true method. As a result, I've avoided grilled chicken as a staple for myself because I can't stand the taste of it reheated or cold.

A few weeks ago, I was determined to stop buying Perdue shortcuts and start making my own - spending all of that money on a convenience food was just too much for my inner hausfrau. After three tries, I think I've come up with a method that works, at least for my taste - chicken that I can happily eat cold the next day without having to force myself to chew. Here's what I did:

Brining solution

  • 2 quarts water

  • 1/2 c table salt

  • 1-2 Tbl California Garlic Powder

  • ~2 Tbl sugar

To this I added 5 lbs of split chicken breasts and allowed it to soak for about 40 minutes. I removed each breast and rinsed it well and put it aside for grilling. Since I was barbecuing some of it, I used a dry rub on those. After the chicken had been grilled and cooled, I removed the skin, peeled the meat from the bone and cut it into strips. To give it a bit of sparkle, I tossed the cut chicken with a tiny bit of lime juice. The result is a chicken that is great both cold or hot and doesn't need a heavy sauce to cover that reheated-chicken taste.

The first two times I did this, I used boneless breasts. The last time I used split breasts. Granted, I did change the brining solution a bit, but I am much happier with the split breasts. The bone and skin really help prevent the chicken from being overcooked in some spots to raw in others. Once the breasts are cool, it's really easy to bone them, not nearly the pain you would think. The clincher is that I can get split breasts for $.99/lb at BJ's compared to $2.50/lb for boneless.

Enjoy and let me know if you like it!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Enough already!

It's too damn hot.

It's too hot to go outside and let Michael run off the steam he desparately needs to.

It's too hot to even think about going out for a walk, my normal method for dealing with toddler energy overload.

Even though I'm doing great, I'm still recovering from surgery last week and even walking a few blocks, let alone a few miles, in this heat is just impossible.

Even if I had a car to escape to the mall with, chances are pretty good that I couldn't afford the gas required.

Surgical recovery and carrying a stroller with a 35 pound toddler up and down stairs to the subway are pretty much mutually exclusive, wearing him is downright impossible.

I'm touched out and I'm tired. Tomorrow's big break in the heat wave is a high of only 89. I haven't seen the extended forcasts, but what little I've been able to glean from NPR seems to predict a similar heat wave for next week as well.

Send me healing vibes - I can't stay in all next week again. Even sitting in the Gallery is better than this. Here's hoping I can manhandle him down the steps to the subway next week or walk the extra three quarters of a mile to get to the station with an elevator.