Monday, December 31, 2007

Year-end reflections, 2007

The blogstalking assignment (yes, I know I've ignored 6 weeks of this, but I'm hopping back on the bandwagon again here) for this week is to do a reflection on 2007, and maybe a resolution or goal for 2008. Well, there are 4 hours left in the year, and I really don't know what to write. But I'll give it a shot.

Tangent: it snowed this afternoon. I just heard a snow plow go by. I really hope that the guy gets to be home to smooch his significant other by midnight. I know from experience the suckiness of having your spouse working on NYE (and Mother's day, Easter, Independence day, etc.)

Now back to the subject at hand. A reflection. I don't know what to write here. One thing that was mentioned was to state my "proudest moment." Hrm. I am drawing a blank here. I learned entrelac, I started knitting lace, learned to plaster a wall. My son learned how to use the potty (with my help). My daughter started kindergarten. I guess those all count.

As for resolutions, I typically don't make them. Partly because I think that if you need to make a change, you should make that change right then, not wait for January to do it. But really really really, I just know that I'll think about it for 3.7 weeks, then it will slip my mind. I assume that I tried to come up with something for New Year's 2007, but I have no idea what it was. Oh well.

If I were forced to make a resolution, it would be to exercise more. I love doing yoga, but have problems getting around to doing it outside of class. Mr. Deplume moved our recumbent bike up into the TV room, so maybe I'll get into the cardioi more. That would be a plus.

I dunno. This is a cop out year-end post, but it seemed like something I should do. I've grown tired of it now, and will sign off to snuggle with my family for the last time this year. I hope you all have a good night, and a lovely 2008.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Toe up from the Flo' up

Yes, lamest blog title ever. But what the hey. I'm just excited that I've managed the short row tow for my first ever sock. All the advice about learning sock knitting states that I should start with a child-sized sock in worsted weight yarn, so I can get the hang of it before starting a real sock with real sock yarn and teensy needles.

But I like to do things the hard way. So I started off with a ball of Trekking XXL, US1 needles, and Wendyknits' Toe Up sock pattern, and went to town. I did the first couple of wraps wrong, but I'm not much of a perfectionist when it comes to things that will be between my foot and the floor.

So I've managed, with only a little cursing, to complete one toe. I've gone a couple of rows past it, too, but the kids haven't been very cooperative, so progress is slow. Of course, if I stopped spending all my time playing around on the CPaAGG, I'd have more time to knit, too. The kids aren't totally to blame. ;)

I hope to get more done this weekend, but first on my list is my home's stairway. I got it primed, and some plastering done, and I'm really itching to finish it. It's been ugly for two years now-- time to find Teh Pretty.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I survived Christmas

After about 5 days of blind panic, knowing that I would not be able to get ready in time, Christmas got here and went off without a hitch. Except that apparently, I don't have enough spoons. We had the same number of people for Thanksgiving (21), and no one complained about lacking a spoon then. I'm not sure where they would have gone, so I'm stumped. It's one of the great mysteries of life, I guess.

I still have to take a dozen folding chairs, two card tables, and the extra utensils back to the basement, and find a place for the turkey carcass, but the house is in pretty good order. While I sat around after dinner, my sister was in the kitchen washing dishes. I felt guilty, but not enough to cause me to actually get up and help. I'll have to make sure to get her house cleaned up next time she hosts us all (her house is more suited to cookouts-- she gets Independence, Memorial and Labor Days and I get Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving)

We decided to get a family picture around the tree, and out of the 30 shots, this is the best one. It's not standard, but it really captures us, I think.

That's all for today. I just finished the toe on my very first sock ever, so I'll post that later, if I get around to it. I'm quite proud of tackling (mostly) a short row toe on the first try. I attempted short rows once before, on a sweater, and it all went horribly wrong. This was much better. For now, I'm chalking it up to beginners luck. We'll see how I do when I get to the second sock.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I've been busy ripping apart sweaters. Now I just need to find someone with a postal scale I can borrow, so I can figure out my yardage. I hope to knit up some of my reclaimed yarn in January, once the Christmas decorations are put away and the inevitable holiday mess cleaned up.



Friday, December 14, 2007

You people really hate homework, huh?

here are just a few of the search terms entered to find my humble little blog so far this month:
homework is wrong
homework is very bad
what's wrong with homework?
homework oy
pictures resembling homework
down with homework wallpapers

Y'all have me laughing here. From British Columbia to Florida to Finland, no one likes doing homework. I understand, I really do. It's why I never went to grad school.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I finished Tudora

tudora FO
Originally uploaded by NormDeplume720
It was an easy and quick knit. I shortened the height by two rows, likewise the buttonhole band. I have such a small neck, I knew it wouldn't be a problem. And I was right. No modeling photos yet, as I've been sanding plaster and cleaning the kitchen today. I'm totally not fit for photos today. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hey look- I cabled!

I've finally succumbed to the draw of cables. I don't know why I resisted, but I did. I think it's my resistance to doing what everyone else is. I'm not punk rock anymore, so I have to embrace my inner nonconformist somehow. But I digress.

I immediately fell in love with Tudora when I saw the new Knitty. I'm drawn to small projects, as I lack the patience for sweaters. So I pulled some Paton's Classic Merino out of the stash, some 3.5mm needles, and cast on. I'm over halfway done now, and cannot wait to wear it.

Friday, December 07, 2007

This just in...

News flash from my three-year-old: Eating too many cookies makes you flat.

Happy Friday to all, and to all a good wine.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I need a back rub.

A month ago, my husband entered my name in a drawing for a free massage. A week later, I got a call from Susie with Turban* Chiropractic and Acupuncture in Morton, Illinois. Having recently survived The Consumption (the doctor called it bronchitis, but I think he was just trying to avoid reporting to the CDC), I jumped at the chance to have a massage. Especially one I didn't have to pay for.

So yesterday afternoon at 2pm I arrived, and was immediately given medical history forms. I've had massages other places where I've done similar paperwork, so I filled them out, skipping the insurance info section. When I turned them in, they asked me if I wanted to give them that info, so they could check with my insurance to see what chiropractic it pays for. Since I'm not in the market for a chiropractor, I declined. They tried again, I declined again.

Then the girl called me back, and took me to a room with a desk. No massage in here. I began to get irritated. I should have walked out then and gone to the yarn store. They left me alone in this office to watch a 5-minute video about how great chiropractors are. When over, the gal came back in, and interrogated me about all my aches and pains. I was then led to an exam room. Again, the urge to go yarn shopping struck.

I should have listened to my instincts. The Dr came in, gave me a thorough evaluation, told me of my high hip, my probable neck misalignment, and how he could put my rib back in (the break from a few weeks ago apparently "threw out a rib") and proceeded to try to truck me off for x-rays.

X-rays?? I'm here for a massage! You know: soft music, low lights, a masseuse?

Anyway, after a pretty hard sell on the x-rays (and of course, follow up care and payment plans), which I resisted, he deemed me eligible for the massage. He gave me a <5-minute "trigger point massage," then took me back to a cubicle with an aqua massage table. This was not one of the fancy types you see in the mall: this was a blue Naugahyde bench, whose upper half resembled a water bed. I laid down on it, he turned it on, and I sat through 15 minutes of loud jets of water pummelling me in the neck back and, because I'm a touch short, my butt cheeks. Have I mentioned that while sitting there, I was staring at two bare fluorescent light bulbs (the shop light tube-types).

I think I sprained an eyeball from all the eyerolling. I wonder if he can fix eye sprains, too. If, by chance, you win a free massage from Turban Chiropractic in Morton, IL, do not bother. You should just go fondle some yarn.

Speaking of yarn, I finished something last week. I made the Easy Triangle Shawl from Lion Brand's website. It was started at my church's weekly charity knitting group, but I don't know who I should give it to. Meanwhile, my daughter loves to wear it around. I stopped knitting after the ninth repeat, as I was bored of it. (I'm horrible about that) But between my premature bind-off, and the fact that I cannot block it (it's acrylic), it's just not really big enough to snuggle up in. Live and learn, I guess. Regardless, it is actually rather pretty in person, and I just might knit the pattern again in a yummy yarn.

* Name changed to protect the pushy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I promise I'll be back soon.

After 2 weeks of pain and setbacks and holidays, I think I might finally be back on the road to recovery. I managed to come down with a cold this weekend, which sucks, but such is life in the Midwest in November. But I've been knitting a little, and decorated one of the two Christmas trees in the house so far, so I owe the blog some photos. And I'm way behind on Blogstalking assignments, too.

So much fun, and so little time. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I still live.. mostly

Last Sunday, I considered posting here that I was feeling better, and might actually be posting something of note in the near future. I really felt like I was finally getting over the bronchitis that had plagued me for over a week. I've heard of typing things like that jinxing things, but I didn't know that even the very thought of typing such hopeful words could send the bad juju action my way. Sunday night, about 11:30, I sat up in bed to cough a bit, felt a pop, and was greeted with searing pain in my back. I had just coughed my way to a broken rib.

In case you had not heard, broken ribs hurt like H-E-doublehockeysticks. I fell back asleep, only to wake up a couple of hours later nearly immobile. I managed to whimper a little, then work my way downstairs to take some of the narcotic cough syrup the doctor has prescribed on Thursday. I got myself to the couch, cried a little bit, then fell asleep. When Mr. Deplume got up at 4am for work, I told him about my troubles. He offered to stay home from work for the day, waited on me hand and foot, and took me to the doctor, who prescribed me some very nice pain pills.

Some friends and family members took charge and brought some dinners and got the girl to and from school for me, and for that I will be forever grateful. After two days on the couch, mostly asleep from the drugs, I am again mobile, and mostly narcotic-free. I am still moving very slowly, however, in what can only be described as a cross between Tim Conway's Old Man character from the Carol Burnett Show and Leaning Tower of Pisa. It's not pretty.

Of course I am still cursing under my breath every time I cough, but I am moderately sure that I will live.

I even managed to knit a little this morning, finishing a pair of mittens for the boy. I don't think I'm going to attempt to catch up on the blogstalking I've missed, though. I buried enough as it is in stuff that needed to be done last week. Sorry, folks. You won't get to see a picture of my oatmeal.

Monday, November 05, 2007

An upper respiratory haiku

I post here to whine
hacking cough, fever, sore throat
will i recover?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Blogstalking Week Seven: oldest picture of me.

I'm so lucky that my parents have scanned many old photos into their computer , then sent them to me. Otherwise, the oldest picture I could find would probably have been from my high school production of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."

This here photo is of me (the baby), my brother Matt, who died when I was one, and I'm still a little angry about it (damned leukemia), and my older sister Kirsten. My parents still have those encyclopedias in their living room. So many school reports plagiarized from them over the years....

I hope Week eight is a real humdinger. I need a little kick in the creative writing patootie.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What's wrong with this picture?

I found some great new reusable shopping bags at the entry of the grocery today, so I picked up 5 of them. I've had a couple of nylon ones for awhile now, which are nice, but they run $5-7 a piece, and these new ones were $.99 each. I'm really happy to have the option now in my tiny burg. Since I was only picking up a few things, I only needed one of the bags. I had the kids and a gallon of milk plus the groceries to deal with, so the checker bagged the extra bags for me. I almost told her to take the plastic bag back and just let me carry the others (or let Rapunzel carry them), but the sight was so funny, I just let it ride.

Is it sad that my first thought was "I cannot wait to put this in the blog"??

In bigger news, I finished the girl's Halloween costume. last night. That's like 12 hours to spare! See? proof positive that I am not a procrastinator (a fibber, though, I seem to be). I made the flannel dress, hat, and hair, and my mama made the satin shrug and overskirt. I'm particularly proud of the wig. It started out a crocheted beanie, then I latch-hooked 100 pieces of "hair" to it. It is my very first successful attempt at crochet, as well as my triumphant return to latch hooking, a skill which I mastered as a kid, then laid to the side until now. Thank goodness I made all those odd rug kits in the 1970's, eh?

There are more pictures here. And of course at Ravelry.

My mama made the "Dooperman" costume. The boy is in love. He's worn it nearly every day since he got it last week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I made pizza last night. And it rocked. Homemade pizza is so very much better than the crap from any of the pizza joints around here. This little guy had homemade sauce, mushrooms, onions, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes and basil from my very own garden. I have always used the pizza crust recipe from the Kitchen Aid mixer cookbook, but this time I tried a new one on the suggestion of a friend. It is very good, although I didn't add enough flour (ran out. oops). It was really sticky and hard to work with, but the texture was great once it was cooked.

I haven't been dong much knitting, as I've been working on the girl's Halloween costume. Making a Rapunzel wig is tedious at best. I have a little more "hair" to add to it still, and I need to finish the dress. My mama is making her an extra overskirt and shrug out of pink sparkly material. She's going to be the prettiest princess a t the ball, I tell ya!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's official: I'm punking out.

Week six of Blogstalking: pictures of a day in my life. I tried to do this. I really did. On Sunday, I got up and started it in earnest. I showed my morning roost, which is usually coffee and a little Ravelry. I also got some work done while sitting there.

We played hooky from church that day, as there was to be a pageant, and no Sunday school. It just wasn't my cup of tea. So Mr. Deplume and the kids made pancakes:

Then we needed to head into town to buy a birthday present, and I needed elastic and bias tape for the girl's Halloween costume. She's going to be Rapunzel, which is much better than her original idea: a zombie.

While out, the small headache that was there when I awoke got bad. Very bad. We cut our shopping trip short and I came home and went to bed (very rare for me). The headache was so bad that I dreamed I hit my head on a cabinet. I've never ever dreamt about a headache before. That was odd. I woke up two hours later, feeling better, but no more pictures for the day. The pain wasn't completely gone until Monday morning. It didn't feel like a migraine, but it sure was a doozy.

I was going to re-try the picture thing yesterday, but forgot until it was too late. And I'm just not feeling it today. Since week seven's assignment will be out tomorrow, I'm officially throwing in the towel. You all will not get a "Day in the Life" from me.

Sorry. I know everyone was really excited to see me washing dishes and scrubbing crayon off the walls. Maybe someday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Check me out, being so very domestic

I'm not really a stranger to domesticity. I rather enjoy it. But I took the summer off of baking, as I hate heating up the kitchen when the air conditioning is on. So now that it is fall, I've got the baking bug again.

A few weeks ago, I started a sourdough starter. I tended it and kept it safe, and it did what it was supposed to do: smell like sour socks and bubble when fed. Until I tried to make bread out of it. Today was my second failed attempt, and I think I'm ready to throw in the towel. I'm fairly handy with regular yeast breads, and I'm going to go back to what I know. I'll leave the sourdough to the experts. ;)

So at 2pm my need for fresh baked goods had as yet been unmet, and I also needed to come up with a plan for dinner. I remembered that a friend had given me her homemade tortilla recipe. So pulled it out (well, I looked it up on the computer; I never would have been able to find a paper recipe on command) and made a batch of flour tortillas. They are certainly not the roundest or prettiest tortillas ever, and I didn't add enough salt, so they don't taste perfect either, but all in all, not bad for a first attempt. They are good enough that I'll be serving them for dinner tonight.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Last year, we grew pumpkins in our back yard, next to the alley, and someone stole the best ones right off the vine after the high school homecoming game. (We live a block from the town's high school.) I ended up buying pumpkins for the kids to carve. I didn't want the heartbreak again so this year we stuck with tomatoes, peas and pole beans in our garden.

Fast forward to this fall. Everyone on my block has a cute display of pumpkins, cornstalks, straw bales, etc for the season. Last Sunday, the girl and I drove to a little farm and got a bunch of pumpkins and gourds and some cornstalks for our front yard. This morning, Mr. Deplume goes outside to find a smashed pumpkin down the street. Then he saw another one. He just knew what had happened. Some assholes came by and stole all but one of our pumpkins and did this to them.

I am so angry I cannot see straight. To make matters worse, ours were the only ones destroyed! There are still a bunch of happy and healthy pumpkins in front of everyone else's homes. Have I angered a gang of small-town hooligans? By the way, it is very hard for me not to simply type a long line of expletives about what I think of jerks smashing our pumpkins, but I know this is a family blog, so I'm trying to keep it clean. I did leave a note for the farging bastitches, in case they come by again.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Total dork alert!

I like a good superhero movie. I looove Robert Downey Jr. (I even loved him when he was all addicted and wandered into that kid's bedroom and passed out.) So you might be able to imagine my anticipation for the Iron Man movie coming out next year. And to make it all worse, they made a really super duper kickass trailer for it. May 2008 is so very far away. **sobs into her mittens**

I'm Claire! Imagine that?!?

I love these wierd and unscientific quizzes. I figured I'd share this one. :)

Which woman from the Outlander series are you?

You are Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser. You are resourceful, practical and a strong woman. You're not afraid to stand up for yourself or do whatever is needful for those you love, whatever the risk to yourself. You have a gift for healing and you are a faithful lover.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blogstalk week 5: interesting statues

The trouble with this assignment is that my teeny town has no neat statues. There might be some, but I don't know where they are. The nearest city with stuff worth sharing is 30 miutes away, and I don't feel like driving that far for a blog assignment. (Sorry knittyfolks). So you get statue-like things from my home, instead.

First up, the trophy given to my husband by his father, upon the birth of our daughter, 5.5 years ago. His dad really loves a good desk decoration. Unfortunately, my husband gave up his desk job 4.5 years ago, so this became a nick-knack in the house. It's cute, but doesn't really match the decor. (Please note the poetic license in that last sentence-- people who have been in my house know that there is no 'decor')

Next, my favorite little guy. He looks to be handmade from metal fittings, and spray painted green and copper. My mother accidentally bought him at an estate auction. If you are unfamiliar with auctions, sometimes the one thing you are looking for ends up in a box with other crap. This is both good news and bad: it typically means that the item you want will ultimately be pretty inexpensive, but it also means that you bring home a box of junk you neither need nor want. This is one of those happy accidents. My mom didn't want it, but I find it to be pretty clever, and he found a home in my front garden, between the clump of ornamental grass and the rose bush.

Last up, an afterthought. This is another gift. We like hot sauce, we like smooching naked, perfect for us, right? But it doesn't go with my decor either. I keep thinking I should open it and use it, but I don't think it would fit in the fridge.

So there you have it. Another phoned-in blogstalking assignment. As penance for my slackerosity, I'll include some knitting content. This is 1/2 of a pair of mittens, from the pattern Gifted, by Kate Gilbert. They are made using Wool-Ease double-stranded and US 10-1/2 needles. After working of lace for awhile, this feels like using drumsticks to knit. The "P2tog TBL" on giant sticks is particularly challenging to me, although it might be easier on less-slippery needles (I'm a Knitpicks Options gal). I really prefer working on about a US5 needle. Once the Luna Moth shawl is done, I'm going to learn socks. Who knows, I may fall in love with even smaller projects. I do like a challenge. :)

gifted WIP

Monday, October 15, 2007

I've been fooling myself.

Since I only started knitting last year, and I'm a frugal gal, I assumed that I had not amassed much of a stash. I only buy when I get a good deal, I'm particular about what I buy, etc. But my eyes have been opened: I decided to repurpose an armoire to make it home to all my knitting paraphernalia. Until now, it's mostly been in those giant Ziploc bags in my basement on some shelves. A little here, a little there, a little on the bookcase in my den. I had no idea I owned this much yarn.

Now I know that this is a paltry showing compared to many fiber addicts, but I really am very cheap. And picky. And I only began knitting in earnest less than a year ago. I'd better get the old needles humming if I want to reclaim my "non-stasher" title. Or maybe I never deserved the title in the first place.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Four days ago, it was 92 degrees here. It is currently a blistering 55. I wanted fall to come. I really did. But I did not want to have to go directly from air conditioning to layer upon layer of wool to keep warm. I have not turned on my heat yet. I only turned the AC off 3 days ago. But it is sooo ccccoooold in here. I just made an afternoon pot of coffee (a rarity around my house). I have baked two days in a row. The baked goods do make the house smell nice, but all the homemade goodness will put me in danger of outgrowing my only two pairs of jeans. I outgrew two others this summer already.

I just want to curl up in front of a fire. But we don't even have a fireplace to keep us warm. *sob*

4:30 p.m. update:

I gave in and turned on the heat. It's supposed to be 38 degrees tonight. With that sort of chill outside, I'd freeze my bazangas off before daybreak. Not to mention the boy who seems to be allergic to blankets.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Blogstalking week Four: Stuff I love and/or hate

This week's task is to name three things I love and three things I hate. That's a lot of picture taking. So I thought I'd be clever and take just three pictures to signify all six items. It almost worked, too, but try as I might, I could find no love in the third picture. My internal need for things to work out "just so" has kept me from posting anything all week. Until now, that is. I am boldly laughing in the face of my obsession with this, and posting my irregular and imperfect loves and loathes.

First up, the easy one. I love my Tivo. I had planned on discussing my hatred of commercials. But then I uploaded my photo and realized something. I apparently hate dusting, too. Actually, I don't hate dusting so much, I just don't get around to it very often. I'm a sub-par housekeeper. I hate that about myself.

Second photo. This is a bit of an easy one, really. I love knitting lace. It feeds my need for instant gratification in a way that making garments just cannot. There is a LOT of knitting, then waiting for the other parts to be knit, then seaming, blabbadee blabbadah before a hank of yarn becomes a sweater. Conversely, with lace, each row is a new part of the pattern. It is constantly changing and growing and blossoming into a piece of art. This particular one is my beginnings of the Luna Moth Shawl from The pattern is pretty easy, though, which can lull one into a false sense of security.

Which brings me to hate #2: I hate when I get cocky and neglect to count the number of stitches in each row. I managed to get one extra stitch in row 35, and because I was so sure that I rock at knitting lace, I went ahead and not only knit row 36 on top of it, I put a lifeline in. It wasn't until I started the next pattern row that I realized my error. That's a lot of tinking. Argh.

Third photo. This is the one for which I have no love. I hate my bedroom closet door. I hate this thing with a white hot passion. Why on earth would anyone take down a perfectly good closet door only to replace it with a hollow core sliding door that slips of its track at least once a day. And for reasons unbeknownst to me, it doesn't fit correctly into the lower track, so It swings loose at the floor. The cat enjoys batting at it while I sleep. I used to think that she was trying to push it open to get in there for various and sundry nefarious cat purposes, but I was mistaken. She bats at it so that I will wake up. When I stir, she runs over to me and purrs and rubs her little kitty noggin on my hand. The little shit is waking me up on purpose for midnight tickles. I hate that too.

And don't get me started on the fact that instead of real moulding around the door openings, the previous owners used lumber. Plain old 1x4s. They neither mitred nor sanded it before slapping it up on the wall around the room. Another thing about which I have no love.

There are lots of things in this life I do love, however most of them are not photographable. (is that a word?) Here's a quick list of some off the top of my head (in no particular order, of course). I love that when my daughter put on her hat and scarf this morning, she stated that she was "all bungled up and ready to go." I love that my son calls his favorite fruit "blannas." I love that our home is less than 3 blocks from the girl's school, so we can walk there every morning. I love that my husband is home most evenings, and that he's a really super dad. I love that my parents are both still here with me on this earth. I'd miss them terribly if they weren't so close. I love that we have a roof over our heads and a little money in the bank. I really do love my life, even if I bitch about it a lot.

So there you have it. Some things I love and some things I hate. Pretty close to the assignment. As my dad would say, "close enough for government work."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A rare FO sighting!

Bainbridge scarf
Originally uploaded by NormDeplume720
I finished the Bainbridge Scarf last night. Today, it is a blistering 90 degrees out. Figures, eh? I posted more details on Ravelry. I apologize to anyone not yet in Ravelry. If you want my pattern notes, just reply here and I'll let you know what I did. Of course, with that apology, I've probably just typed more than if I just typed it out here, anyway.

I was going to type more now, but the boy has had a lovely Sunday afternoon meltdown, and I probably need to go relieve the husband from kid duty. It's tough work parenting AND watching football at the same time, you know.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

How I get from here to there. And back again

**Please do not judge the quality of this blog by this entry. I wanted to get it in before the new Blogstalking topic comes out tomorrow, and I still have to do laundry, make dinner, finish a birthday present for a party tomorrow, and go to yoga class. This is a C- entry for sure.

I was going to take a picture of my 2000 Hyundai Sonata, complete with child safety seats and the boy's artwork (said artwork being ball point pen on the steering wheel hub). But then I realized that I only drive it about twice a week. The rest of the time it's all Flintstone power. That being said, my feet are much prettier than Fred's, and to keep them pretty, I wear shoes.

By the way, those are my new shoes, by way of Clarks and TJMaxx. Not only are they comfy and cute, they are also made outside of China. That's not easy to find these days. Even the fancy schmancy pricey brands are mostly made there. And none of their websites have statements on their policies on product safety or sweatshops. ("None" might be an overstatement, but I haven't found any. If you have any information on companies that actually disclose this stuff, please let me know. I'm always on the lookout.) In this day and age, that's surprising to me. It also leads me to believe one of two things: either those companies have no specific policies on product safety and labor, or they are hiding something. Either way, I'm being a very picky shopper.

Now this isn't exactly part of the Blogstalking assignment, but I'm also including what the boy gets around in. He's plenty old enough to walk most places with me, but having him strapped in gets us from point a to point b much faster (and safer, too). Since we're usually running late getting out the door to walk the girl to school, I am usually accompanied by this, the Nigel-mobile.

So that's the big story of how we get around. Small-town life has it's advantages, you know.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Purse Guts

Week two of Blogstalking, was to share the contents of my purse. This may have been more scary than the subject from last week. My purse is typically a jumble of spilled snacks, grocery receipts and miscellaneous bric a brac that I try to hide from everyone. It's embarrassing that I cannot even keep something as small as a handbag organized. But having seen some of the other pocketbooks out there, I felt the courage to do it. And here it is:

It doesn't look as bad as I though it would. lucky for me, most of the paper bits had sunk below the big, normal items, looking much better than reality. And here are the entrails of my purse, after having been removed. It's kind of like an autopsy table, although I didn't weigh anything.

Here's the rundown:

+2 nylon reusable shopping bags. I really need more of them. I got one from a local shop, and the other from
cell phone
+garage door opener
+brush -- I don't use brushes, I'm a short-hair gal. But my daughter is always in need for a good hairbrushing.
+patchouli perfume oil from the Body Shop. I don't actually wear patchouli every day, but this made it into my purse a few weeks ago and I haven't managed to get it back up to my room yet.
+wallet -- I hate this wallet: the dollar-section isn't big enough to hold dollar bills.
+New Kroger discount cards that I have yet to put on my keyring. In my defense, I only got the new ones last weekend.
+Lip glosses, balms, and lipsticks. My favorite of them are a Mary Kay gloss and a basil and cinnamon lip balm from Dreamseeds. The really sparkly lip gloss actually belongs to my 5-year-old daughter.
+too much change
+a rubber band,
+glass marble
+hair clip
+plastic buffalo
+spider ring
+one key to a car I no longer own
+one peppermint candy
+one peanut
+one dirty Smartie
+hand sanitizer
+and a pile of paper: receipts, coupons, shopping lists and candy wrappers. There were more of them in there, but I did clean my purse out recently, and the pile is pretty small right now.

Not Pictured: My keys, which were hanging on the rack by the door, and my sunglasses that were in the stroller, waiting for the next trip to go get the girl from kindergarten.

So, nothing earth shattering. But amusing, nonetheless.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The strangest squirrel encounter ever

I've been putting off writing this entry, as I'm pretty sure that words won't do it justice. But I have to try. The other day, I told the kids to go outside. It was a beautiful day. I didn't feel like sweeping the sidewalk or tidying the yard or picking the tomatoes that will end up rotting in the kitchen (FYI, when one is the only tomato eater in the house, one should not grow 8 plants of 3 different varieties of tomato). I of course brought out needles and yarn and cast on for yet another project.

A few rows into it, I hear Nora say "Hi, little squirrel" in her sweet little voice, echoed by Nigel's voice repeating his sister's words. Hrm. I've never known a live backyard critter to hang out long enough for not one but two children to say 'hello.' I immediately assume that the kids are saying hi to a dead squirrel in our yard. I decide to investigate further. As I walk across the yard, I tell the kids to stay clear of it, because sometimes squirrels bite or scratch, and it would hurt. This warning served mainly to scare the boy up onto the swing, where be started crying, because the beast was still sitting there, staring at him.

Yes, a live squirrel, just sitting there, with a 3-year-old boy treed on a plastic swing.

I picked him up from the swing, one-handed, and set him on the swing on the other end of the set. My knitting was still in my left hand at this point. I'm not one to set down a project in the middle of a row, you know. He was still rather upset about the happenings, but he was feeling more safe.

Nora decided that it would be best to take a trip over to the sandbox a few feet away. She quickly started cooking a sand cake. The squirrel headed off toward her, and before I knew it, he hopped onto her leg and started climbing up her.

As if she were a denim tree!

I ran over, shooed the damned thing off my daughter, who had quickly become hysterical, and swooped her up to the same swing with her brother. The little bushy bastard got the message and loped off toward the hosta bed on the other side of the yard. The kids and I took this reprieve to gather up the 2 baby dolls and 3 backpacks that were outside with us. I picked up Nigel and we started back for the door. Just then, the rogue squirrel hopped back out of the hostas and up to the door.

Nora cowered behind me and said, "Let's go in the other door." It sounded like a great idea, except for the fact that the back door was locked. The only way to get back into the house was directly. past. the squirrel. These are the situations that separate the moms from the boys, so to speak. I looked around, noticed the umbrella that had been left out, and told Nora to pick it up. I gave her explicit instructions:

Do not hit the squirrel with the umbrella, but poke it at him if he starts to run at us.

Nowhere in the parent handbook did it ever mention that I was going to have to explain to a 5-year-old how to protect the family from aggressive rodents, using only her gumption and a red plaid umbrella. Believe me, I looked. It's not in there. Was there an addendum somewhere that I didn't get? I probably should have mailed in the registration postcard, huh?

So we quickly head for the door, umbrella in Nora's hands, Nigel, baby dolls, and Bainbridge scarf in mine, and raced for safety. The *&^%@! tried to run into the house with us! We got in without him, so he sat on the step outside the door and stared at us. For like twenty minutes.

The kids now do a squirrel search before they go play out there. It was the single strangest encounter with any critter in my 35 years on this earth. It even beats the goat at the zoo that bit me in the head when I was 8.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

My Blogstalking debut

I've "signed up" to be part of the Blogstalk as created by members of Knittyboard. Each week, participants post about a common theme. This week's theme is "Who Am I". Geez, people, could you have started with a bigger can of worms? I'd rather show you the mold growing in the corner of my basement. But I signed up, so here goes:

I am Robin, a 35-year-old wife and mother of two. I proofread foreclosure notices for extra money. I am mostly a stay-at-home-mom. I like to knit, but knitting is all part of the swirling vortex of housework procrastination and guilt that makes up the lion's share of my life. The result is that I knit less than I like, my house is messier than I like, and I spend too much time on this, my computer.

That pretty much sums me up. The rest of my neuroses are hidden elsewhere in this blog. Except for the really neurotic neuroses: I keep them hidden under my pillow. ;)

I'll post later this week with progress reports on the stairway and my many knitting projects. I also hope to soon write of our recent harrowing experience with the 'friendly' squirrel in the back yard. But for now, I must get the girl ready for school. And refill my coffee.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Soygel versus Soyclean, redux

Over the last couple of years, I've blogged about all sorts of stuff, but no post in this blog gets more traffic than the one I made a year ago, with a review of Soyclean Paint Stripper. It's obvious that a bunch of you are looking for a nontoxic way to remove the ugly paint that previous owners put on your trim and/or furniture. I love that. So far I have tried Soygel and Soyclean, both considerably more expensive than the toxic ones at the big box store, and you don't want to get stuck with a $50 bottle of inert goo. So when I tackled another stripping project this week, I decided to conduct some, ahem, "scientific" tests to help you decide which soy stripper to buy.

Not long ago, my little guy decided that I needed to tackle the ugly wallpaper in the foyer/stairway. He was standing there, waiting to go outside, and ripped a 8"x12" hunk of paper off the wall along the stairway. I was not happy about it, as there is a LOT of wallpaper, which is covering dodgy old wallboard. And it is not a room that I stop to look at very often, thus making it pretty easily ignorable (I know that I might have just invented that word. I'm okay with that). Not to mention that I am still cooking in a really ugly kitchen, which was definitely higher on my "to do" list.

In my irritation at the destruction wrought by the Boy, I started to rip off more paper. In reality, it was my curiosity about what might lurk beneath, but I'll keep up the pretense that I was angry. I realized that there was beadboard under the wallpaper.

Beadboard! Real, live, wood that is not plywood or pressboard!

Later that afternoon, I hastily ripped off the rest of the paper, and started to hack at the plaster. I soon figured out that it was really spackle. Water soluble, premixed joint compound. So I scraped off what I could with a putty knife and tackled the rest with a spray bottle, scrubby pad, and rags. It took a few hours of the course of several days to complete this step.

Then I started to strip away the ugly "antique" colored paint on the beadboard and the several coats of cream-colored paint that had been slopped onto the stringer. Because I am a frugal gal, I opted to use the Soyclean paint stripper in my supply room. I had forgotten how overpowering the orange scent was. it gave me a headache and I had to open the windows and doors and put a fan in the room. It was not pleasant. I realize that my sensitivity to citrus scent is more acute than most, so this might not discourage others. I do not know if the scent is there for a mechanical purpose, or just for grins, but I wish it weren't there.

I waited 45 minutes (the bottle says 10-30 minutes, but I've found out that time is your friend when using natural paint strippers) and began to scrape off the paint. The one coat of antiquing came off pretty easily. The leftover goop was also easy to take care of with a wet towel and/or scrubber pad.

The glossy trim paint was another story. I do not know what kind of paint this is, although I think it was put on between the late 70's and mid-80's. But the Soyclean only made it rubbery, not allowing me to scrape it off. I waited some more time, but it just wouldn't budge. Because the Soyclean is only a thick liquid (think pancake syrup), it's hard to get a nice thick layer on top of the paint. I might have had more success if I were working on a horizontal surface and really piling on the Soyclean.

I ended up wiping off the remaining Soyclean and heading back to my supply room for the tiny bit of Soygel I have left. I put it on the paint, waited an hour, and the paint came right up. Now, I know that my earlier efforts had loosened up the paint, but really, the Soygel is just better. It's really thick (like molasses, but not as sticky), and it is easy to get a nice thick layer of it on the vertical surface. As a bonus, it has no scent. It smells vaguely industrial, but not at all overpowering. No ventilation needed, which was very good, as the weather turned hot that day. So my not-at-all-professional opinion is that Soygel is worth the extra money when working indoors and on vertical surfaces. Soyclean might be just fine outside and in a situation where you dip the wood in the stripper. But I will not use it inside again, most likely.

Through my efforts, I was able to strip nearly all the previous paint off the beadboard, to find that it was obviously unprotected wood for some time, showing much ground-in dirt and staining. I ultimately decided to paint it trim-white and am happy with it. I'll share pictures when I'm done.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I forgot to mention yesterday..

I meant to make a confession in my post yesterday: I have been spending more time surfing on Ravelry that actually knitting. What the use of a great knitting organization website if I have no FO's to organize? If you are already on (in? at?) Ravelry, look me up. If you are not, go get on the waiting list. It's way neato.

Last night I worked on Otis a little. I would have gotten more done, but the Girl wanted to snuggle. And some day (probably sooner than later), she's not going to want to snuggle up on the couch with me ever again. So I couldn't refuse her. And I was tired anyway. I'd really like to get it done soon, though. Cooler weather is a-comin', it is downright chilly in the house this morning.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

My boy is now officially three

He was actually three at 4:37 am on Thursday, but the party wasn't until last night, and I've adopted the policy that you cannot get older without candles and a cake. And last night we partook in a Spider Man cupcake cake from Super Floor-Mart. The cupcake I had was mediocre, but the boy was really happy with it. He then went on to get lots of Chinese-made superhero toys. I hope none of them are recalled. We're already trying to locate a zillion hazardous Polly Pocket toys leftover from the girl's birthday. argh.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quick update

Sorry for the long absence, avid reader. (I didn't bother putting the 's' on there, as I'm not sure I have even one regular reader here, judging from the number of comments I get.) We were on vacation in the Thousand Islands region of New York for a week, then this last week has been filled with unpacking, cleaning, catching up on things, and preparing for the big girl's first day of kindergarten. The getting there was pretty traumatic for both of us, but she was her normal bubbly self by the end of the morning. I'm also very happy that she is only in half-day kindergarten, as I might not have survived waiting the whole 7 hours of the full school day to see how she did.

Knitting wise, really nothing has happened. I am still way behind on the Mystery Stole 3, and probably will not finish it at this point. I was planning on catching up to the current clue during vacation, but between sunsets like this and the bazillion people to have fun chatting with (it was a family reunion, with over 50 talkative types), no knitting was done. Besides, once I saw the wing on the end of the stole after my return, I lost much of my previous love for the "mystery" part of this knitalong. My name is Robin. I can not and will not wear wings. I did work a little on Knitty's Otis during the drive back from NY, but there are no photos of that yet. The drive to NY was filled with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, of course.

There is also a home project in the works right now, involving a beadboard wall that had been spackled and wallpapered by a previous owner. I promise before and after photos just as soon as the "after" has been attained.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Gah! I'm a blog slacker.

I've been missing again, I know. But I have been neither knitting nor working on the house much the last couple of weeks. I hope that once summer winds down I'll find more time for my projects, and their blog.

Meanwhile, I was stung by a bee on Saturday. On my eyebrow, no less. Last night I sliced open my thumb on a food can. I really do believe that I'm becoming accident prone in my 'advanced' age.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My weekend.

Friday, we packed up with Grandma and Grandpa Deplume and our pair of kiddos, and set off for St. Louis. I started knitting Otis from during the drive. After about an hour, I realized that this pattern is rife with "at the same time" type instructions. I had never encountered those before. And I had only skimmed this pattern before I cast on. This resulted in frogging an hour's worth of work. Ugh. Note to self: really read the pattern before starting any project. Duh.

After we got to the hotel we decided we were hungry and wanted to go out to eat. Not to mention, it was our anniversary, and I was NOT going to eat a vending machine turkey sandwich and white zinfandel for my anniversary dinner. The Grandparents decided that they were not willing to leave the hotel at 7PM for dinner, so the four of us set off in search of food. We found Oishi Sushi down the street. It was wonderful. Some Japanese beer, Pad Thai, and spicy tuna rolls made Mr. Deplume and I very happy. It was a lovely anniversary dinner. And the kids loved their rice and soy sauce (I did share my shrimp with them, though. They weren't completely deprived).

Saturday morning, we went to the St. Louis Science Center, where we would visit the Marvel Comics Superheroes exhibit. It was a lot of fun. Not exactly what I would have picked for my main birthday activity, but what's a girl going to do? The kids had a blast, and Mr Deplume did too.

Then we drove to Laclede's landing for lunch, and walked around the riverfront a little while. We then packed back up and were home by 6:3o pm. I promptly poured myself a glass of wine and sat in front of the TV, knitting, the rest of the evening. Not a bad birthday, although I didn't get any cake. On the bright side, I think that without cake, the birthday didn't happen, so I'm not actually 35 yet. ;)

Sunday, we played hooky from church so I could work, then we went to the playground with the kids and a picnic lunch. It was fun, aside form the friction burn I got on my back from attempting a ride down a kids slide. Later, we walked to the high school's football field, and flew a kite. I hadn't flown kites since I was about 19. It was the kids' first time. I think I had more fun than anyone else did. Sunday was a good day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It is just not my week.

This weekend my computer started freezing up. I'd just be typing away, and suddenly, the old girl just stopped, staring at me. Catatonic. I work from home, using the computer. A working computer is not an optional piece of equipment for me. The first time I thought it was a fluke. The second time, I figured it was a cue to shut down some programs. It kept happening, with increasing frequency. By Sunday, it was scaring me. How am I going to afford a new computer right now? Property taxes are due this week! So I spent too many hours cleaning my registry, searching for spyware, removing old programs, and defragging. So far it seems to have helped. I have my fingers crossed. But just in case, I'm planning on buying a good backup software today.

Yesterday morning, after some nasty storms had rolled though, I found water in my basement. A lot. My poor cats had to slog through basement flood to get to their litter box and food. They were not happy about it. The dirty laundry that was waiting on the floor was soaked. Several boxes of miscellaneous basement-type stuff were wet. What a mess. I took care of the laundry, and let Mr. Deplume deal with the remaining basement water when he got home from work.

Yesterday afternoon, While my daughter was at a friend's house, my son and I started putting away the mountain of clean laundry. I left my room for a moment, only to come back to him playing in a bottle of paint. Black acrylic craft paint. I know that a master bedroom is a stupid place for craft paints, that's where they were waiting for me to find them a new home. The boy had already attempted to play with them in their last "safe" place.

Back to yesterday-- I walk into the bedroom to find him with the lid off, sticking a brush in. Then I walked closer. He had spilled it all. over. the. carpet (the only carpet in my whole house, by the way). Black craft paint is NOT easy to clean up. I dabbed and blotted and scrubbed and cursed and rinsed for about 20 minutes, then laid some damp towels onto it until I could get the carpet cleaner upstairs to try to shampoo.

Then the carpet shampooer was spitting out more water than it could suck up. It is definitely broken. Oh well, now I can get rid of the bulky thing without thinking of all the money I spent on it 4 years ago. Had I mentioned that the shampooer didn't work? I still have three large splotches of back on the sage green carpet.

Last night, I worked on the Mystery Shawl a bit. I'm racing along, and did one wrong decrease. I tinked back, and managed to screw that up. Or maybe I didn't. I tinked and cursed some more and finally got it right. I cannot help but think that I should have ignored that one backwards decrease and saved myself an hour of anguish. I'm now on row 70. I might get this thing finished before retirement, but I do not expect to finish it in August.

The day was finally over. I went to bed.

This morning. The boy walked into the kitchen, and within 30 seconds, did something unknown with a can of RC Cola, causing it to explode. The cola shot into his eyes and hair, causing him to stand there and scream. There was also sugary carbonated spray on him and his clothes, of course, and my floor, cabinets, counters, dishwasher and oven. The diameter of the spray was over 10 feet, and splattered well over 6 feet up, to the top of my cabinets. That boy has talent, I tell ya.

This week sure has been exciting, but I think I prefer the boring life, thank you very much.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I love my thrift store.

I love vintage stuff. Unfortunately, there isn't enough room in my home for every old thing I find lovely or interesting. But books I can find a place for. It started out with some old crochet pattern books my mother got at an auction for next-to-nothing (meybe even nothing, I never really asked). I ended up selling a few of them, as I cannot crochet, nor will I probably ever learn. But those books were so fun, that I started looking in the craft book section at my local charity shop.

Most of the time, the only books there are 1980's instructions on how to crochet collars onto hand-painted sweatshirts. There are usually a few afghan books too. And macrame. But this time there were knitting books. With flair. And they leaped into my basket.

Vintage knit pattern books
Originally uploaded by robinmommy21

First three I found were quite nice. I might actually make something from one or more of these.

Next up were these lovelies, titled "Mary's Dollies". I'm not into dolls or their clothes, but maybe someday I'll pass them along to someone who will use them.

Mod knit pattern booklet
Originally uploaded by robinmommy21
And then I found this beauty. Columbia Minerva Leaflet No. 2510, "The Super-Sonics," promises handknits that will "fly off your fingers with supersonic speed." It was originally 25 cents. How much did I pay for it? 25 cents. I felt it wrong to quibble about money on such a wonderful find. The clothes. The hair. The gauge. I'm relatively sure that I'll never knit any of these. Maybe I'll frame this and hang it on my knitting studio's wall. (No, I don't actually have a knitting studio. But a girl can dream, right?)

Detail of mod knit dresses
Originally uploaded by robinmommy21
"The Portobello," the dress on the right, has a stitch gauge of 6 stitches to 5 inches on sz 50 needles. I tried to come up with something witty to write about that, but all I can seem to manage is to chuckle and shake my head at it. And that doesn't translate to the written word so well.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

MS3 Update

MS3 Clue 1 chart a
Originally uploaded by robinmommy21
I've completed chart A. I was hoping to be further along by now, but it's been a nutty week. So I'm behind on the stole already. Oh well. I knew that keeping up would be a challenge. I'd love to spend the afternoon catching up, but there's laundry to be done. ick.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Remember the bag I was working on for a couple of weeks? I was so proud of having only used $2 of yarn to make it. I love thrift stores. Well, I finished it. It still was not exactly pretty, but it was destined to mainly be a project bag so I got over it. I had knit a test swatch when I began, to make sure everything would felt together, so I was confident in this, my first project including felting. I was so excited to plop it in the washer and a few hours later, have a new bag.

I threw it inside an old pillowcase and into the washing machine it went. My favorite old blue jeans and my fancy new bag. After the washer stopped, I went to retrieve it.


This is what has become of the pillowcase. I knew its contents had met a horrible fate.

And here is the bag. Poor girl. She probably never knew what hit her.

For a $2 bag, it will still be functional. She needs to have a few more wash cycles before she is fully fulled. But I don't think she gets to leave the house. She definitely is going to live out her days hung on the back of the office door. Poor thing.