winter

winter

Saturday, August 27, 2011

handcraft research

Just slapping a few links up for me to return to later.

how to make your own crochet hook

how to make plarn

I'm in the midst of planning yule gifts. One of my nieces has already requested that I make her Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors. To say the least, I'm going to be busy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ideas

going to this site for a few ideas for yule. will add more later.

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I'm pretty sure that Stargazer would have laughed when I told her I was planning on making some Yule gifts based in higher mathematical concepts. I've been interested in the Klein bottle hats. I saw a knit one and thought that it would be perfect to make for my brother in law. Then I realized that my knitting skills are not quite up to that level yet. At which point I found a crochet one.

And then I saw this hat and decided that I am going to have to make it for my son at some point in time. It's not really as math oriented as the other hats, but it was still a good find.

At some point, I want to make a Möbius scarf but I am having a hard time picking what pattern I want to use. I know that I'm not going to have the time to make up the DNA model this year. That, however, is alright because I am thinking that I'm going to make a scarf based on the Fibonacci sequence. I've made a few washcloths and an art piece (crochet for all of those), so I'm pretty sure the scarf will be a fairly straight forward thing.

Monday, August 15, 2011

changes...

Feh! I just screwed around a little with the layout on here. Partly because I was bored and not desiring to go to bed just yet and partly because I was annoyed with it.

I'm now consigning it to the fates and wandering off to bed. If I'm lucky, I'll sleep well tonight despite my back.

I hate monday.

I forgot that fact. Then today happened and I was reminded. The boys were just all out monsters for me. Jumping on the furniture was the least of my headaches. I found myself understanding why some animals eat their young.

I really hope that the weather allows the boys to get outside some tomorrow. If anything, I'll have them run laps around the house a few times or something to burn of some of this wild energy. Good Gods grant me strength and sanity. I love my children, I really do. But I spent a good portion of my day asking myself "What the hell was I thinking?"

You know what this means, of course, tomorrow they'll both be sweet as pie and well behaved.


...


Or did I just jinx myself? >.<

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Pride and Joy!



To the left is a picture of my youngest son. He's the little guy affectionately known as Snuggle Bug. It has become something of an ironic nickname for him. He was a very cuddly baby at times. Snuggle time, however, happened only on his terms.

Now age two, he is my little holy terror. My FiL and I have jokingly called him a shark. As my FiL has said, he has two modes: go and stop. Snuggle Bug is a very active little guy and loves to do things full bore.

Currently, he is quite thrilled to be doing things like jumping on the couch or climbing everything we own. Snuggle Bug absolutely loves going to the park and playing on the swing. He has recently decided that he is going to start giving the slides a try. As such, he has been trying to climb up them like he sees the older children do. It has made for much silliness.

To the right is my eldest child, known as Cuddle Bug. True to his nickname, he is a little lover. This (like the picture above) is a picture that is several months old. His hair is not as long now and that outfit no longer fits. That, however, is the way things go with toddlers.

Cuddle Bear loves his little brother and does a lot to try to help me out with him. He is, also, a rather independent child who doesn't exactly enjoy having a little shadow. I remember trying to get away from my younger brothers much like he tries to get away from Snuggle Bug. It's not that easy.

Cuddle Bear adores the color purple and fire trucks. He is a quiet child with the beginnings of a deep love affair with books. I'm fairly certain that he will be the one I find hiding with a flashlight under the covers with a book.

Birthday shenanigans & thoughts.

Yesterday, we held a combined birthday party for Cuddle Bear and Snuggle Bug. The boys had a ball playing with balloons as we were waiting for the guests to arrive. Beloved had been nervous and worried that we hadn't enough food for everyone. I, however, was fairly confident that things were going to go fine (after a brief spate of social anxiety driven panic). The weather was beautiful and the park was just lovely.

As the guests arrived, it quickly became apparent that not everyone we had invited were able to make it. I was a little disappointed but I recognize that life will throw curve balls at us and it can be hard to do everything you want in a weekend. (This was a big change from the last time I tried to throw a party and quite a few of the guests were unable to come. Then I got rather upset and felt rejected. It wasn't fun at all.) Even with the smaller number of guests, we still had plenty of folks to eat up the goodies we had there. The rainbow colored goldfish crackers that my MiL brought were especially well liked by the kids.

When the time came for presents, it became obvious that I had hit one out of the park. The firetruck that I found at the thrift store as a last minute purchase was the favorite toy of both boys. Thank goodness that Beloved's brother brought a monster truck for Snuggle Bug. He headed off the screaming fit right at the pass. For a good while, the boys alternated between which truck they were playing with. All of the adults made a point of complementing them on their sharing of the toys.

Amusingly enough, the firetruck was such a big hit that the boys were at first indifferent to the big presents from Beloved's parents. Snuggle Bug, after a while, did finally start playing with his wagon. He seemed to really enjoy picking up gravel and dropping it into it. Then, with some coaxing, Cuddle Bear started to play with his tricycle. He wasn't as excited about it as we thought he would be. Then I remembered, Cuddle Bear gets to use one fairly regularly at preschool.

We had cake but no candles on it. Beloved and I thought it would just be a lot easier that way. We now have half of a sheet cake sitting in the kitchen. Cuddle Bear wanted to bring it down to his best friend, Ladybug* but the weather isn't exactly agreeable to walking down there. I am sure that Ladybug and Wort** will be equally delighted with sharing some cake tomorrow after school.

I was a fool and forgot my camera at home. Thus, there are no pictures of the party this year. I hope to get a good one of the boys playing with their newest toys later. Perhaps I'll get lucky and get a good picture of Cuddle Bear on his new tricycle tomorrow. I think the weather is supposed to be sunny and warm tomorrow. Today, it is raining. I'm not going to complain, however, because the drought still hasn't broken.

The rain we have gotten recently and my diligent watering has resulted in my tomato plant having more then just two tomatoes on it. I'm quite excited. The pepper plant seems to have finished flowering. If I'm lucky, it will have peppers on it soon as well. I am planning on bringing some of my fresh vegetables down to Ladybug and Wort's mother in the coming week. She's been ill and I think some homegrown produce would cheer her up. I may even bring some herbs down.

My marigolds seem to have recovered some from getting so terribly dried out recently. I've started to get blossoms on them. It is my hope to collect some and dry them for making an herbal tea later. The first few blossoms that I had harvested are currently being rained on because I forgot to bring them in. I hope that they'll dry out well for me in the sunny weather to come. I have been reading about how one can use marigold blossoms to dye fiber with a little bit of vinegar.

Some interesting articles about solar dying have had me seriously considering dying some of my fiber from my MiL with this technique. I may even go so far as to save some onion skins and some red cabbage to try dying with that as well. I have a few mason jars free and a gallon of vinegar. If it really is as simple as steeping it like sun tea, then I believe I am going to give it a shot. I like the idea of dying my own fiber with stuff that I have immediately at hand. I may have to do a little bit more reading before I give it a shot. Either way, I hope to get some pictures of this up once I get underway.

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* Ladybug is Cuddle Bear's best friend from preschool. She's about a year older then him but they get along like two peas in a pod. Beloved and I got a chuckle out of the fact that they're best friends. That was how he and I started out. If we're at their wedding 20 something years later, Beloved will be informing them that I had predicted it (in jest).

** Wort (from the old middle English word for plant and the nickname for Arthur in Disney's The Sword in the Stone) is Ladybug's little brother. He's five days younger then Cuddle Bug. He and Cuddle Bug play together regularly. Both boys seem to be becoming fast friends as well. It is something that their mother and I would like to encourage.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

It's called Separation of Church and State, moron!

I don't generally pay much attention to the Christian Science Monitor. There was something about their article about Texas Governor Rick Perry that caught my eye. So, I sat down and read the article. I was fully prepared for someone to be softening his very 'conservative' views in an attempt to make him more palatable to others. I was prepared for a bias in his favor because he is a highly visible and politically well connected individual who supports the aggressively evangelical face of the Christian faith in the United States. Thus prepared, I read the article and my jaw hit the floor.

I then did a little digging to see if they were actually sugar coating just how far to the 'Right' he was. Then I read what Forbes had to say about him and this prayer rally that went on today. I read the official 'about Rick Perry' page, the Wikipedia entry, and several other pages (including his Facebook page). As I learned more about the man, the more disturbing the idea of his having influence over a state, let alone on a national level, became.

Sure, he has done some impressive things. He's got a squeaky clean image and the camera seems to love him. His positions on economic matters are interesting. This, however, doesn't make up for the fact that he endorses the concepts espoused by the American Family Association of Tupelo and similar organizations:
  • The protections of the First Amendment apply solely to Christians.
  • Homosexuality is a moral threat to the nation.
  • Abortion should be illegal.
I could go on, but these are the three big turnoff's for me. The protections of the First Amendment are inviolate and extend to all citizens of the United States regardless of their religious affiliation. Any movements to some how curtail this should be regarded with great resistance. It is the First Amendment that makes our nation great. I'm not saying we're perfect, but the fact that you can, among other things, speak your mind freely and practice your religion freely is a strength.

I highly object to the argument that homosexuality is a moral threat to the nation. Homosexuality has been around for a very, very long time. The idea that it is suddenly this new threat is preposterous. Among the minds that lead to the development of this nation, were most undoubtedly homosexuals. Their sexual orientation didn't undermine the establishment of this nation. It's pretty safe to assume that there's a percentage of the population who fought to establish and maintain this nation through out history were homosexuals.

I think it's safe to say that homosexuality is a non-issue on the matter of the welfare of the nation. Logic aside, the argument of moral threats to the nation should be suspended. Why? Because moral issues are religious issues. Please, refer back to the First Amendment on this issue if you need to have that position of mine clarified. It's pretty simple.

Abortion is not the problem. It has been made out to be the problem when the majority of abortions are performed for medical reasons. As a matter of course, the idea of abortion for the sake of birth control is not going to be the preferred method, unlike what many of the anti-abortion folks insist. Making the medical procedure illegal returns us to where women are at an increased risk of dying during pregnancy. Depending on how the law is phrased, a naturally occurring miscarriage can be illegal.

As a woman who has six miscarriages, I take great offense at this prospect. The idea that a woman who has already been traumatized by the loss of her child could then be facing murder charges sets my blood boiling. Unfortunately, the anti-abortion groups that have the strongest lobbing presence support laws that would criminalize women like myself. The medical community doesn't fully understand why miscarriages happen. To take something nebulous like that and criminalize it sets the precedent for greater injustices for the sake of the 'social conscience.'

I am dearly hoping that Rick Perry is just a flash in the pan. If, by some weird happenstance, he does prove to be the Republican candidate, I'll be one of the folks doing their best to get people NOT to vote for him. People like that, who regard the Constitution as applying only to them, are dangerous. It's only a small ideological jump to fascism.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Blessed First Harvest!

I'm still in pain from my fall back in early June. The muscle relaxant that the doctor prescribed for me isn't doing much to help. It makes things like weeding the garden difficult. After a long day, I must admit, it is something that tends to slip by the wayside. Still, I do what I can and keep my hopes up for rain. We're currently in the middle of a rather wicked drought, you see.

I didn't let that stop me from harvesting a little bit of my home grown produce. My pepper plant has put out only one pepper thus far. It was quite small but exceptionally flavorful. I used half of it in my macaroni salad that we had for dinner tonight. I also harvested a bit of basil and some of the nasturtium leaves. I chopped those up fairly fine and tossed them into the salad too. It was just as pleasurable to eat as it was to make.

I'll slap up the recipe at the end of this post. I tried to make it through the day with out any soda. I failed horribly. I'm realizing, however, that I get the desire to have some when I get stressed out. It has become (or has been and I didn't realize it) a coping mechanism. To say the least, I need to replace that with something that is kinder to my waistline. I am going to attempt an experiment of sorts with my force of will.

When I desire a cold glass of soda, I am going to replace it with a glass of water. I figure since I have a fair amount of lemon balm (which is doing beautifully despite the drought), I can start adding a few bruised leaves to my water. Aside from that, I'm going to resume adhering to the little amusing expression: keep calm and have a cup of tea. It is my hope that my will shall hold out and I can break this soda habit.

As my daily walking has been curtailed significantly by my injury, I need to cut calories where I can with out doing too much harm to myself. I don't want to get back down to being about 110 lbs. That was a dangerously unhealthy weight for me to be at and I have decided that I never want to be that skinny again. When I was walking about four miles a day and living on a fairly lean diet, I got to be about 150 lbs. I don't think I had ever felt healthier then I did at that weight.

It is a rather enormous thing that I have done just by way of walking and portion control. This time last year, my weight was up to 280 lbs. It was due to a combination of stress eating, medication side effects, and a somewhat sedentary lifestyle. Depression really takes a huge bite out of your energy and stamina for pretty much any form of exercise. Since then, I have dropped down to 195. I have been exercising fairly regularly.

I was attempting to get 8 miles of walking in each week. I had been making pretty good progress on that up until I fell out in the garden. Now I get roughly four miles in each week by walking down to get Cuddle Bear from the bus stop. I want to get more walking in, but right now it's painful. At times, my leg will even go numb. My Father-in-Law suggested that perhaps I had pinched a nerve when I fell. Given that the Tylenol isn't doing much for the pain and the muscle relaxant isn't helping either, I suspect he is right. Thankfully, the doctor is confident that I didn't break anything when I fell. Thank goodness for small mercies, right?

Well, I'm running out of stuff to ramble about right now. I'll slap that recipe up.
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Macaroni Salad (quick version)
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked macaroni (or other small pasta)
  • 1/2 small bell pepper (diced)
  • 1/4 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 cup whipped salad dressing (or mayo)
  • 3 nasturtium leaves (shredded fine)
  • 4 sweet Italian basil leaves (shredded fine)
Step 1: Cook pasta.
Step 2: Place colander in sink with frozen vegetables in it.
Step 3: Pour pasta and water into colander, rinse with cool/tepid water.
Step 4: Toss pasta and vegetable mixture to make sure vegetables are thawed.
Step 5: Transfer pasta and vegetable mixture to a large bowl.
Step 6: Add bell pepper, nasturtium leaves, and basil.
Step 7: Add salad dressing and mix together well. Make sure all of the salad is evenly coated.
Step 8: Chill for 15 min in the refrigerator.
Step 9: Serve!