Breakfast in Bed

M.M. brought me breakfast in bed yesterday morning. She woke up really early (why does that only happen on non-school mornings?) and to buy myself a little extra horizontal time I asked her if she’d get me a glass of water. Next thing I knew it was 40 minutes later and she showed up with a big tray. I couldn’t believe she’d managed to carry it upstairs.

It was ginger snaps – 3 in a little dish, plus the whole jar in case I wanted more, spelt pretzels – again, a few on a little plate and the whole bag, and a little bowl of broth, which she had made by mixing a bouillon cube with cold water. And, of course, the glass of water I’d asked for in our fanciest mug, with a thin delicate handle and a ring of gold paint around the rim. I was suitably impressed and delighted with all the effort she’d gone to, and she was so cute and excited to have done it all herself. I wish I’d had my camera to document the adorableness of it all. As soon as she’d delivered the tray she ran back downstairs to get me a little vase with a flower.

Happily I didn’t have to actually eat much of the breakfast… I shared with M.M., nibbled on a pretzel or two, guzzled the water and asked for a refill which she eagerly fetched. M.M. actually drank a lot of the broth and seemed to enjoy it despite the chunks of undissolved bouillon cube floating in the ice cold water.
I really loved it, and she really loved doing it. Win win, indeed.


Grief Sucks

Code id by nose,
Messy living room
Dirty dishes.

The recycling is not taken out.
Child put to bed late
Meals perfunctory, unplanned.

Mood: grumpy
Reactions: irritable
Affect: apathetic.

Low-grade internal refrain:
It's not fair! What happens now?!
Everything's OVER! Make it better!
Make it stop! Why is everybody bothering me?!


A Real Conversation in My House

M.M.: waaaahh, I don't want to be sick anymooooore!

Mama: Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry

M.M.: You're making me be sick! You don't want me to go on my field trip!

What can I say? It's true, of course. I love it when she feels horrible, cries, whines, snot goes everywhere. And I definitely don't want her to go on a field trip. Bwah ha ha ha!



Really? No. Really? Rain and/or clouds every day for the forseeable future? When we've already had rain and/or clouds every day since at least last Friday? No way am I dealing with this. 



… The package has departed Anchorage, Alaska on its continuing eastward journey…



I am awaiting my brand new MacBook Pro, a replacement for the lemon of an iBook that exploded 4 times in the past 3 months. It was astonishingly easy to get them to agree that I deserved a replacement, and I'm so very excited. Thank you, Apple!

But I don't have it yet. I have been obsessively checking the FedEx tracking page every 5 minutes for the past two days. It's starting to really get to me. The damn thing's still in China for Pete's sake!

I thought about posting the link to the tracking page here, but I got nervous that it would lead someone to my door at the exact moment that the new computer arrived. The better to burglarize you, my dear. So I'm acquiescing to my paranoia that one of the zero readers of my blog will go to the trouble of coming all the way out here to rip me off. 

But trust me, it's still in China. And I will be checking again 5 minutes from now.


Here is my to-do list from yesterday, a typical day with a 4 year old:
  • Get Dressed
  • Go outside, visit neighboring horse (take snack)
  • Adjust P's high chair
  • Re-hang fallen coat hook 
  • Lunch
  • Rest time
  • Start Dishwasher
  • Go to Target
  • Mail Big Bear order
  • Call about concert tickets
  • Fold/put away laundry
  • Work on organizing attic
  • Call yarn shop
When I looked back over this list yesterday evening, I saw that I had actually accomplished close to nothing outside of basic child-care. Nearly all of the crossed out items were things I literally could not have gotten through the day without. Stuff that does not count as, you know, productive. Getting stuff done. Making the list smaller. Today's list is essentially the same. This is why I got out of the food service business: you spend all day working your fingers to the bone, walking your feet off, and the next day it all has to be done again. Sisyphean.

I really wonder how I think I am ever going to hold down a job. Other than, you know, needing to eat and all. 


Lace-Leaf Hat

I finished this hat for my cousin who recently had brain surgery (apparently completely successful, thank goodness) and had to have the whole back of her head shaved. It's still not warm enough to be going around with no hair on the back of your head! This hat is springy in color and design, but warm and cozy enough for cold winter nights, made from half-llama, half-wool Cascade Pastaza. Hooray!



James helped us hook the trailer up to the bike yesterday afternoon. It's a good thing he did, because I would not have been able to figure out how to do it in 100 years. In fact, I spent about 100 years trying one afternoon last fall. So then we rode home! Note the garbage can strapped to the back of the trailer. And if you enlarge many times, you can sort of see M.M. peeking out of the window of the trailer. Ha ha!

It was good fun riding, and I felt all green and earthy and shit, but I gotta tell you: it was embarrassing how strenuous it was for the old thighs and lungs. I had to push it up the little incline steep alpine slope after the turn towards our house. 

We went for another ride today, just to show that I'm no lightweight when it comes to sticking to my health-related resolutions. About 4/5 of the way to the mailbox I thought my legs were actually going to explode then and there, and I had to rest or die. When I got off the danged contraption I almost collapsed, and I was seriously worried about making it home. But I was determined to make that mailbox, dammit, and I persevered after a lengthy rest. By then we were right there at the gloriously smooth pavement, so (after another, even lengthier rest) I threw caution to the winds and went as far as the first road sign on the real, big road. It was a lot easier on the tarmac than on the dirt lane. 

We played some not-very-challenging hide and seek on the side of the road, waved to the two cars that went by and started back for home. On the way home, when I stopped to push the bike up the little incline steep alpine slope M.M. decided to 'help' me push the bike, and then,  (halleluia!) to run beside the bike as I rode! This meant that not only was she wearing herself out, but I didn't have to haul her 35+ pounds with my wet-noodle quads and burning lungs. 

Tomorrow will be 3 days of it… let's see if I can do it. 


Short Row Heel

Is there anyone out there who can knit a short-row heel in one go? I'm sure all those serious, real, knitters do it without thinking. I am not capable of this. All that counting – how can you keep track? The stitches, the rows, the yarn overs… the high numbers. It's not like a little pattern repeat where you have to count to six, or even 12 or 14. This is, like counting to 27. 

Except in my case. I got to the end of the decreases last night (on the second RPM, if you're wondering). I read the pattern. It said that when I ran out of stitches on the decreases I'd be up to 27. Wanna know how many I had? 18. Not even close to 27. How the hell did I lose 9 whole stitches. It makes no sense. 

So anyway, of course I'm going to have to rip and reknit. At least once more. Probably more, because that's just the kind of knitter I am, and because while the short-row heel mocks me, I love the finished product. So cute! So perfectly shaped! So clever!


Sea Change

I seem to have become a different kind of knitter. I have always loved the tiny needles, the skinny yarn, the eensy weensy stitches. Now, having worked on the bulky Christmas hats for the past 6 or 7 weeks, I have no more patience for the slow tedium of those little fussy kinds of projects. I'm all about the chunky yarn, the double digit needle sizes. Laziness? I suppose so. The instant gratification (or more-instant, anyway, since nothing about knitting is exactly instant) is so much fun! Finish a project in a few days instead of a few weeks or months! 

Also, it's harder to break those big mother needles. 


Of Primary Importance

"The economy is by far the most important issue facing the country"??? 

Someone on NPR just told me that's what South Carolinians said in exit polls at the primaries today. 


The environment. Healthcare.

These are the two most important issues the next president will have to cope with, in that order. The economy is a minor fraction of a footnote. The economy goes up and down. No, it's not good right now. Witness my lack of income for the past several years. But it's a pendulum and it will swing back.

Unless, of course, there is a catastrophic global climate crisis, like Florida being underwater, or honeybees failing to pollinate, oh, say, everything in California. Or unless more millions of American children and old people simply no longer receive health care because it is unavailable and unaffordable. I could see either of those scenarios turning apocalyptic and having a deleterious effect on the economy. 

Jeez, come on people!



As a single mama, I'm starting to recognize the feeling of not only parenting, but living in a vacuum. There's so little outside interaction in a typical day for me that I begin to feel as though the outer world were not much more than a shadowy dream. It makes it hard to get up a lot of urgency about things like paying bills, accomplishing work, really anything that is not directly and immediately part of getting through the day. 

As I try to express this sensation it's sounding like depression, but that's not how I'm experiencing it. I mean - don't get me wrong, I have periods of depression, and a lot of it stems from my physical and psychological isolation, but that's not what I'm talking about here. It's a sense as I'm turning down the bed for nighttime or folding laundry that oh yeah, there's other stuff out there and I'm supposed to be engaged with it, but damn, what is it? And it doesn't really matter, does it?

I'm sure it's not an entirely unknown feeling to partnered parents of young children, but I'm also sure it's intensified by the lack of other people's face-to-face influence on my daily life. 

Pink Kitty

The cat is turning pink. Have you seen the pictures of that guy who made himself blue? I don't think he looks very blue, actually, more like an indefinable dark, but whatever. The cat is indisputably pink on the back of her neck and her paws. Haven't determined the source yet. I'm a little afraid to find out. 

I have discovered a fault in my cabling in the brim of Coronet. I'm sad, but no way I'm fixing it.


Steam Heat

It's really cold here. The coldest it's been since I moved back a year and a half ago. I've really thrown caution to the winds and turned up the thermostat to 62˚. 

I do have a woodstove, a space heater under my desk, an electric mattress pad on the bed, and a fan heater in the bathroom, don't feel too sorry for us yet.


I finished my Coronet, in Noro Iro, color 60. It's a teensy bit … snug… and the colors are a little blockier and contrastier than I'd envisioned, but overall I love it and my head is warm. I nearly ran out of yarn, which is part of why it's not a little more spacious. 

I'm considering knitting another out of another colorway of Iro, for my aunt, but haven't decided. I don't think she'd be wild about the snugness, but then again I don't know that she's going to be wild about a hat at all. I've knitted one for everyone else in their household though and I'm worried she's going to take it personally if I don't do one for her. Expectations are so f*cked!


Hat Failure

That's harsh.  I made 7 hats I was proud of and gave them to people for Christmas. I had bought yarn for more hats but didn't have time to finish them by Christmas, so I started another after the Big Day. I just (sort of) finished it tonight, but I have no glow of pride. I thought I was going to finish it the other day, but when I took off my Myopic Knitting Glasses (patent pending) I realized that the thing was HUGE. It was like a Dr. Seuss hat. The fact that it's a cranberry color with skinny oatmeal colored stripes enhanced this impression. I couldn't believe how big the freaking thing was, and that it had gotten that big while I impatiently kept measuring to see whether I could start decreasing yet. 

I used the same yarn I'd loved using for two of the successful Christmas hats: lovely, warm, wooly Lopi. I used the same needles. I have not suffered any major blows to the head since knitting those hats. I don't know why I'm suddenly incompetent. So anyway, I ripped at least 3 inches (yes, 3 inches. This was truly Giganto Hat.) and started decreasing. I finally finished it tonight. It's still pretty big (I'm telling you, you have never seen anything like the Enormity that was this hat), but I'm not putting any more time into this Hat of Doom. 

Another problem is the striping. I was all whimsical and devil-may-care when I cast on. I loved both the yarns and I was excited to play with them and design a delightfully unique yet classic striping pattern. What I ended up with… well, it looks like an experiment I guess. The brim is oatmeal with single rows of cranberry. The body (head?) of the hat is the opposite. I thought I'd let the spacing be random, but once I got going I had trouble envisioning my charming folksy spontaneity on the head of my sartorially conservative uncle, whom the hat was meant for. So I reigned in my entropic impulses and made regular stripes of one row of oatmeal for every 3 of cranberry. Or every 4. Which was it? 3? 4? How many has it been, anyway? No big surprise, I was unable to remember or recognize or stick to my regimen. So mostly it's every 4 rows, but not always. 

Then there were the jogs at the beginnings of the rounds. I have more experience with socks and mittens on small needles, where the join is much less obvious, so I didn't do anything to correct the stair-stepping, and I didn't notice it until I was halfway done, by which point I wasn't going to rip. 

So, it's done (except for weaving-in), but I don't know what to do with it. I don't think I can stand to give it to my uncle. He might wear it, but… probably not. Maybe he could wear it only on the farm, for mucking out the horse barn or something. I'm not sure. It's lovely and warm and cozy, and I did spend a bunch of time on it, but…

Oh, and what with global warming and everything, it's really too warm for what seems to be the climate here now.  Seriously, we haven't had more than a week's worth of Warm Hat Weather yet this winter. 

If I manage to blog again soon I'll try to provide photographic evidence.