Sunday, January 29, 2012

The end of January...

I would like to say it has felt like this month has flown by, but really, that would be a lie.  It has dragged on and on and on...  It has been a productive month, and I have few complaints about it, but it has truly felt never-ending.  We are quickly getting ourselves back into the routine of school, work, studying, and life. This weekend, like others before it, have been filled with bowling tournaments (Aurora), hanging with friends (Rei and Brie and Patrick), work (Eric), and homework (me, Eric), along with the regular detrius that goes with running a household.

Yesterday St. Louis had a major parade to honor the service vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even cooler, they had a weekend reading of the names of all the soldiers who lost their lives in this war, all 6,000 + of them.  I found that to be really cool.  At the end of the parade route was an assortment of opportunities and resources for returning vets as they rejoin society, something (at least in the interviews on the news last night) many appreciated.  Brie's guard unit was going to march, but she and Jason didn't participate, and we had other things going on, so we didn't make it over to the parade, but I was thrilled to see so many had participated and attended. We were there in spirit!

I have finally given myself permission to take the time to do a few things I want to spend time on, and it's been nice to just do them. I have one border just about done being beaded and backstitched on an 11+ year old project; I finished my December challenge socks, and I am about a third of the way through my second January mystery sock (loving the colors and the design has been interesting--there are parts of it I adore, and others I say "meh" to, but overall am enjoying making). I finally finished the hem on a skirt that has been hanging on my dressform for months, and I "put on and stuffed" a bra on it to better match my measurements/shape for fitting purposes (I had been frustrated because the fit in the bosom just wasn't working for me--fit great on the form, but was shaped wrong on me!) I used an idea from a knitting "fitting" book I own to adjust the form's shape and I am eager to now try it out on a new garment. (The kids just laughed at me as I was stuffing, measuring, shifting, stuffing, and measuring me and the form til things were right... Thank goodness it has a lycra cover that goes over everything to give a smooth profile when it's set! The bra is hidden, and the form is "shapely")

I took a cue from my wonderful Mother-in-Law and bought a square plastic box to house a new block of the month applique quilt I want to make (she has one that houses her handwork that she takes with her--I thought it was a great idea!). I started laying things out to work on blocks 1 & 2 on Friday night, but discovered I need an ironing board, iron, and some other things I didn't have in my room to do the prep work, so I have that on my agenda for later today, after the last assignment is done and I am working on laundry. I am in the mood for hand sewing/quilting, and my hope is that if I can get everything prepped and basted into place it will be another project I can safely do when Skye is playing around me. Knitting things with simple patterns is ok when I am around her, although she is fascinated with the yarns, needles, and pattern pages, and really wants to help; cross stitch is out because of the threads, beads, and scissors, along with multi-paged patterns and frequent color changes...  My hope is that as I do things around her it will spark an interest in learning these traditions, but I don't want to squash it by being a tyrant and telling her "NO" all the time because she is just too hazardous to the process--and the tools can be hazardous to her...

My big kids are doing well.  Liisa is looking to get more hours at the airport hotel she now works at, and is enjoying being on the front desk of a full service hotel; she is also working part-time still doing dog grooming and really enjoys that too. Tony is changing jobs, having finally gotten a job in his field (welding) and he is stoked to be doing it. As he said, automotives is his fall-back job, something he can always do if necessary, but it will be fantastic to be doing what he went to school for and make a steady, predictable income, with benefits (rather than work on commission, which can be variable).  They are still waiting on a closing date for their house, and Andrea told me today that their realtor had a heart attack and surgery recently.  Wow.

Reimond finished his semester this week, and from what I have heard, has ALL PASSING GRADES!  I am so pleased!  I was so worried about this change of programs for him, as to whether it was an answer to a prayer or one more challenge to be overcome.  Clearly it has been an answer to a prayer: he is doing amazing, he is learning new things/skills/ideas, he likes and respects the teaching staff, and he is finding success.  I couldn't ask for more for him!  It has also been fun to see the friendship that continues to grow between he, Dan, and Patrick, especially now with Patrick being back home. The boys tend to spend a lot of time together, and it pleases us to see that.

The only real fly in my ointment these days is still trying to shake this sinus crud.  I am so tired of feeling "off" from the raw throat, the headaches, and the drainage, not to mention the medicine side-effects when I give in and take more than just my daily allergy med.  It's been close to a month-month and a half now, and I am ready to feel better!  I don't know if it's the weather, allergies, or a low level infection that is keeping it going (or a little of all three) but it can go away any time now, and I won't be sad!  I am thinking I need to give in and take some sudafed....

Looking forward to February! Just a couple of days away!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Clearly I need a vacation!

Preferably somewhere warm, near water, and peaceful!  I have a migraine right now, aggravated by the grey gloom and glare of outside, and while it is somewhat tamped down by the meds I took, I just keep wishing I was sitting on a deck somewhere in the dappled sunlight, near gently lapping waves, with a cool drink and some handwork (cross stitch or hand sewing) on my lap, and no interruptions.

It's not that today has been a bad day. Eric is off and I am glad to have him home this weekend; Brie is also off this weekend, so after she gets home this afternoon my babysitting duties are at an end. Skye has been as good as gold of late, although she has been really cuddly and clingy so it's hard to get much done around her. It's just that I am feeling a bit claustraphobic. I have had very little down time to be "just me" and be left to my won devices.  I am sorta knitted out right now, and while it's still a satisfying pasttime and I have a pair of socks nearing completion, my hands and my soul are craving other textiles, specifically hand sewing and stitching. I am craving something mundane and repetative that allows my mind to be free to float, and most of the knitting patterns I have been doing of late require concentration and counting, so I am not finding it relaxing, especially when the baby is running around me.

I think I have found an intership program that would work for what I need.  I have sent my resume to a friend to review it (and she is taking it to the workforce center to use one of their resume wizards to revamp it some) so that I get some ideas of better ways to present myself, then I will send it off with a cover letter. My goal is to send it out early next week, looking to start it in July. I think that's realistic, especially since Brie is no longer deploying, so I won't have sole duty with managing Skye, and it will give us time to figure out how we'll manage childcare so I can do this. I am excited, nervous, and anxious, all rolled into one over this, because I would really like this to work out.

Eric and I are looking to go to a home show this weekend and look at what is being offered. We got a card in the mail for free admission, and I think it would be fun to wander with him and look at what is out there. Aurora is going to be gone at a bowling tournament all weekend, and I am not sure what the boys have planned.  Eric has a makeup class for a few hours on Saturday, so we are looking to go for the afternoon. It's supposed to be a gloomy weekend, although the temps are supposed to be back up into the 50's on Sunday (it's in the 30s today), so it'll be nice to have something to look forward to doing.

My head is still not happy with me, so I think I will try lying down (Skye went down for a nap before I started typing), and I plan to enjoy the break.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Noel's "Mister Bowler" socks

Noel's christmas hoodie

Justin's Superhero quilt

Liisa's left front

Liisa's right front

Liisa's hoodie back

My hoodie, done for practice

Alexis' Princess quilt

Andrea's dish towels

January SKA challenge sock, mystery sock thru the third clue

That's almost all I have accomplished since the beginning of December.  I don't have photos of the doll nighties and caps, and I haven't taken pics of the December challenge sock progress (due by 1/31) but I just turned the heel on those tonight.  I have been a busy girl and worked my fingers to the bone!

Christmas is officially over!

I spoke to my mom, my daughter Liisa, and my son Anthony, and they all received their Christmas packages from us, so I am officially done with Christmas. My assumption is that the other three packages we sent out were received as well.  I really enjoyed skyping with Liisa this morning as she opened her box and then shared in the package opening as she, Zack, and Zack's kids opened their gifts from us.  I had crocheted doll sized blankets and made nightgowns for the new American girl dolls the girls had gotten as Christmas gifts, and had to laugh when his youngest said "she's all ready for bed, but she doesn't have a bed!" We sent a Thomas the Train set for Zack's youngest, who is just 3, and he was thrilled too.  I embroidered a hooded sweatshirt for Liisa that had has all her dog's names on them (past and present) and she was thrilled, along with a ceramic coffee travel mug that also had puppy prints on it. For Tony's household I had made the quilts for Justin and Alexis, and I embroidered 5 flour sack towels for Andrea, along with a really nice decorative plate for her (hopefully soon) new kitchen.  When I talked to Tony he said that the kids were wrapped in their quilts and running around the house like wild children!  So glad they liked them!

Tonight I took down the tree all by myself. Aurora had removed most of her ornaments already, but no one else had, so I took them all down, along with the lights and tinsel, and now that sad, droopy tree is ready for the recyclers. I will let Eric deal with that tomorrow.  I vaccuumed up a canister full of needles tonight, with more on the floor that I couldn't get to, but my assumption is that I will need to vaccuum again after the tree gets removed anyway.  Eric had class and was bummed about it because the kids were all off today. Dan and Rei went to help Patrick pack up all his stuff, and he is moving home as of tonight I guess. 

I am feeling much better for the most part, just need my nose to stop running.  I am sure the weather isn't helping much.  We had snow, ice, and freezing temps the end of last week, and it was in the upper 60's today!  Now we are awaiting storms, rain, then possible sleet for tonight.  Blech!  I don't mind the mild weather, but my poor sinuses and allergies are all confused, as are some of our plants--the rose bushes are sprouting new leaves, as are the forsythia bushes, and some of the spring bulbs are popping up shoots as well.  Makes me concerned about what will happen when real spring gets here in another 2 months or so.

I am plugging away at some other projects I have in the works, and am feeling fairly productive of late. I also started class last Monday, and am enjoying this term so far: topics in child and adolescent development. Speaking of which, I have readings to get done (about 65 pages) for this week, so perhaps I should turn to that... 

Project pictures to follow!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First cold of the new year...

It's 2 pm and I am still in my nightgown and knitted socks, alternating between being under the bedcovers and on top of them, depending on how chilled or hot I feel.  I spent part of the morning in a zipped sweatshirt and slippers downstairs with Skye while she was up, but her cold too is kicking her lil butt and she went down for a nap about 2.5 hours ago. Dan just brought me a cup of tea, which I am grateful for, and I should really be finishing up my homework instead of blogging.

I have been trying to complete the Christmas gift crafts from 2011, and am now finally seeing an end insight. I spent a relaxing 8 hours at my embroidery machine and completed some lovely objects I was excited to make; I also finished both quilts, a pair of warm woolen socks, completed (almost) clue two for the January SKA challenge, and plan to devote some tv time to working on finishing the December pair. I also got some rubbing alcohol to use to remove (I hope) the gel pen ink from my Misty Morning Vineyard cross-stitch project (silk threads, linen hand-dyed fabric), but haven't gotten up the gumption to attempt it yet.

My getting sick was payback I think for being so smug about being healthy while the rest of the household was sick...  It just took me longer to succumb to it.  My poor nose is red and raw from being blown, and my chest and head is all congested.  Blech! No rest for the wicked though' so I am alternating resting to the best of my ability with meeting my obligations. Eric was home yesterday on a sick day, missing school both Friday (when he started coming down with it) thru last night.  He is on the back side of it now, so I can hope I am heading there too. 

I got my new serger all set up on Sunday afternoon and spent some time playing on it.  I am so excited to have a working serger again I can't stop smiling! I put a "collapseable" table (like church social tables) perpendicular to my butcher block table the embroidery machine is on, so all I need to do to serge things is swivel 45 degrees to the left.  My ironing board is 45 degrees to my right (although it currently is at full height instead of level with the table).  I feel so productive and professional!  What they say about using good quality tools is true: it makes the experience so much more pleasurable, and it makes the finished product so much nicer.  I am starting to really find my pace with some of these things, and it makes me happy.  I will be posting pictures eventually of all I have made once they get sent to their recipients (so I don't blow any surprises).

We have all noted in the past few weeks that Skye no longer looks like a "baby."  She has truly acheived toddler status.  Her little round belly is firmer, her muscles are stronger, and she climbs like a champ (esp. when you don't want her to!) Her hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills are developing at a rapid pace, and she figures things out--I alway said she was a problem solver.  She is becoming more and more frustrated with her inability to communicate her feelings verbally, and has started biting, scratching, and hitting when frustrated, along with this shrill, ear-piercing screech, but I am doing my best to give her the words to help her understand and express herself.  She says a very few words right now, but she knows how to communicate really well with her non-verbals.  What a little munchkin!

My tea is here, and my head is bothering me, so I think I will close here and start reading the rest of my research articles.  Happy January!