Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Leaves and Colors

I have been parenting solo since Friday, so, not much time for knitting or reading this week. But I met with the webcomic Namesake a few days ago, and ... well, that consumed my life for a few days. Now I'm caught up and have to wait for each page like a normal person. If you like fairy-tales, fanasy, and stories that are very meta ... you should read it. :) (Also if you like Oz. And super cute, not too sappy romance.)

I also recently read Eleanor & Park, which was ... okay. I really liked the beginning, which I thought was very original; not so much the second half. 

I've knit a few more leaves for Michael's blanket. Number 48 is on the needles out of 110, according to the pattern. I might stop at 100, depending on how big it is. (Although when you've come that far and only have ten left, I guess you might as well keep going!) 

My original idea was to stick only to leaf colors--green, brown, orange, red, yellow, plus some blue for the sky peaking through the leaves. But I'm wondering if maybe I should branch out? Maybe try some teal or some other jewel tone? I'm not sure. What do you think? I don't want it to look too "scrappy" ... perhaps I should buy more yarn in some of the colors I already have to keep it unified? 

A skein of teal?
Linking up with Ginny.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Naptime Miscellany

I am eating a taro bun right now, with coconut cream. Occasionally Keith stops by an Asian grocery and picks up all sorts of goodies for our freezer and pantry--pocky and potstickers and panda cookies and seaweed. I'm kind of addicted to the light-yet-chewy texture of these things. (Taro is also our favorite flavor of frozen yogurt at Razzy Fresh. I guess it's some sort of tuber?)

While I'm showing you pictures of my bookshelf (Tolkien is just to the left in that picture), this is our poetry shelf. It is a frequent victim of baby attacks because Dominic can easily reach it while standing on the armchair. And he always, always goes for this book. Never Browning, never Eliot, never Auden. I guess he has very modern tastes. (Also he likes yellow.)

Keith is currently away in San Franciso, for a wedding and to finish going through his mom's belongings. He left on Friday and comes back Thursday morning.

That's six solo bedtimes, people.

It's actually not so bad. (Knock on wood?) Every night once everyone's in bed I've been rewarding myself with ice cream and a glass of wine. Although the ice cream is all gone. The wine helps me sleep. Also at night I've been binge-reading this webcomic (recommended by Molly--thank you!!), but now I've caught up, which is awful. Truly. I hate catching up to webcomics! To be reading pages and pages each day and then suddenly you get three pages a week! It's torture.

Monday, May 11, 2015

I was there, and now I'm here--a CWBN Mid-Atlantic Conference recap

Julie just posted her CWBN Mid-Atlantic recap, so I am finally going to hit publish on this. :)

Photo by Rosie Hill
I've been blogging for ten years.

That's a little embarrassing. I think I've covered my tracks well enough that you won't find the super-old stuff. (Please ... don't try. ;) )

When I started this particular blog, I wasn't quite clued in to the whole blog scene. I was burnt out from grad school, from self-conscious writing for workshops, and wanted a place where I could use my writing to express delight in things.

But I always write for an audience. I've never successfully kept a private journal. I want my words to be read. And as I followed more bloggers, gained followers I'd never met in "real life," and absorbed the blogging culture, I thought: what am I aiming for exactly? Am I just writing for friends, people who are already interested in me for my own sake? Or am I trying to gain an audience of some sort? Do I want to be a "real" blogger, and if I'm not, does it even matter if I only post once a month or less?

When Julie emailed to invite me to the CWBN Mid-Atlantic Conference, it was so validating. I may not have a header on my blog, or an "About Me" page, or even any photos in half my posts. But Julie had remembered my blog! And even where I lived! That meant something, right?

So I signed up and decided this would be my line in the sand. After this I would write again ... and be a "real" blogger.

God blessed me so much through that day, and I feel like I could type on for pages--about Julie and her wonderful hospitality, and how great it was just to sit and chat with her at her kitchen table in her beautiful home; about finally meeting fellow twin-moms Rosie and Abbey in person; about meeting and talking to so many wonderful women; about Leah and Cristina's great presentations, and Meg's talk on prayer that brought tears to my eyes. If I tried to go more in depth about these things, I would never finish this post.

But during lunch we sat in our assigned small groups, and mine was perfect. Abbey and Marie Bernadette have written about it. We were all in the same place--wondering if blogging was something that really belonged in our lives right now, and what it meant for us aside from "branding" and all that stuff that seemed to be for bigger bloggers. Having that conversation openly with others was such an encouraging experience, and I came away from it feeling very refreshed.

I admit I felt a bit sad leaving. There was talk of getting together again during the summer, which is something I couldn't do without it being a genuine road trip; and going back to "just blogging" together was a bit rough.

But ultimately, two words sum up my experience of the conference: refreshment and affirmation. The immediate community I experienced there was a reminder--this is why I blog. I have my communities here in Pittsburgh, which are vital to me. But connections made online are very real for me, too. This blog is a place where genuine companionship, even intimacy, can exist. And I want to be here.

So for me, right now, blogging doesn't look like "branding" myself. But it does look like making this page a more welcoming space (an "About Me" page and updated profile pic?), and engaging more often and more promptly with the comments you all are so generous with, and hopefully posting more often--inviting people in, asking them to stay awhile, to share a part of my life over tea and knitting, conversing about the wonder and beauty and struggle that is a part of our lives.

So thanks for being here. :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Yarn Along

I took a break from blogging.

I signed up for the CWBN's Mid-Atlantic Conference, which was last Saturday, and gave myself until then. Until then to just let it go, not try to write or even think about writing. (I am always thinking about writing.) Partly because a break just seemed to make sense in light of the last post. And partly because I'd been struggling a bit about writing here.

The conference was wonderful! I feel refreshed and a bit more purposeful about blogging; I've been reminded why I do it, which was something I really needed. I have a half-completed post about it in my drafts folder as I type this. (Which may mean nothing. Sometimes the draft folder might as well be the garbage bin. ;) But I have determination!! And exclamation points!!!)

In the meantime, I am, of course, knitting and reading.

The blanket is for a baby (not mine!), gender unknown. The book is Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night, picked up because Haley and and Christy talked about it on Fountains of Carrots, and the other books they've read together have all been ones I love. I am probably committing some sort of book crime, because I haven't read the other books in the series first; I can tell I am missing out on the depth of Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey's relationship, but it hasn't really given me much trouble. I am enjoying it quite a bit.

Linking up with Ginny as usual.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I've been thinking and meaning to write about Lent for ... well, I guess about 40 days. But Lent has been deeply personal for me this year, hard to write about without writing about everything in my heart. I never got around to distilling it in any way.

I will just say that God has planned our Lent in ways we never imagined, doing any and all work Himself; and then came Passiontide.

In the wee hours of the morning on the 22nd--Passion Sunday--the police knocked on our door.

My mother-in-law died in a tragic accident on the evening of Saturday, March 21. It was the most unexpected of deaths.

Michael got sick and started throwing up while the police were there. Keith was already suffering from health issues. And several hours before our family left for the airport, Dominic started throwing up with the same illness Michael had just gotten over, meaning that I had to unexpectedly leave my nursing babies behind for six days while we went to San Francisco. Keith was so ill when we got there that he spent the first day in bed.

And then, the suffering that comes with the death of a parent. With any violent and unexpected death.

I haven't been sure what to write here, in part because I wasn't sure why I'd be writing it. There is so much I cannot say on this blog. But I am telling you for the obvious reasons, I guess--we tell our friends when family members die. And also to ask for your prayers for the repose of her soul, particularly as we approach Easter and Mercy Sunday. There is so much hope in the face of death in this time of the liturgical year. I have so much trust in His timing, and we have encountered much goodness in the face of our sadness.

But please, as you finish reading this, say a prayer for us, and pray for the repose of the soul of Nancy Blum.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Still crocheting flowers! I'm working on purple now--a lovely lavender color called Comfrey. It goes a little slower for me than knitting, because crochet seems to be much less friendly to multi-tasking. You have to look at it. No reading, or watching television (at least not without a lot of pauses to look up). However, I suspect it might just prove perfect for listening to podcasts, so perhaps I should do that today.

I finished Story of a Soul and am now focusing on The Hidden Face. I'm also reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn before bed. I started it a few weeks ago and couldn't get into it, but now am enjoying it quite a bit. Funny that this is the second work of fiction in a row for me that takes place in New York.

This is the first time I've read it, but for some reason I've always thought of this book as one that everyone's supposed to read in high school. Like Catcher in the Rye, or Animal Farm, or what have you. So ... do people read this in high school? Because it seems a bit old to me. Which I guess may not be a bad thing ... but I feel like so many books are read in high school and then never again, which means that so much is missed in them.

The oven timer is beeping at me, and so I must pull my cookies out of the oven. They are Michael's consolation prize for not going to the library today, since I looked at the clock as we started getting socks on everyone and realized it was far to close to naptime. :( Given the choice he would still have preferred the library.

Linking up with Ginny's yarn along.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Seven Quick Takes (23)

1. Well, this has been an exciting week. On Monday Michael tripped and split open his forehead on the corner of a wall. There was blood everywhere. I have a vivid image of him standing in the kitchen trying to wipe blood out of his eyes but not being able to keep up with it as it dripped off his chin onto the floor.

We were able to stop the bleeding pretty quickly, and my mom stayed with the babies while Michael and I rode in the ambulance--a trip he did NOT enjoy. Luckily Keith arrived just in time to help me restrain him while they cleaned and glued the wound. Ugh. :(

Then the next day he picked the glue off. So he's had a huge band-aid every since, and it bleeds a bit every time I change it, but according to the doctor there's not much more to be done about it.

2. The next day we said "bye-bye" to binky. Ever since then Michael refuses to nap, and "quiet time" has been ... not so quiet. I am not ready for this!! I already knew and appreciated how much sanity naptime gave to my day, so this week has been really frustrating. I've had so many projects I'm itching to start and now no time to do anything. Hopefully a new normal works itself out soon.

3. I've been letting him bring books into bed, but what Michael would really love to do is build things with his door shut. And I would totally let him, except that his palaces of blocks and magnetiles or long looping tracks inevitably crash on his wooden floor, waking up his brothers. He is really good at building and puzzles ... I think he's a very spatial thinker.

At my parent's house, and with a little help, but in his signature style.

4. I've been knitting a lot lately but in a very non-committal way, jumping between hexipuffs and crochet flowers and leaves for Michael's blanket. All little parts of larger projects.

5. I've also had some non-knitting projects in the works ... I bought lumber for this table (before naptime ended ...), written up a spring-cleaning to-do list, and hung up teal paint samples in various places ... But it's all mostly on hold until this naptime/quiet time thing is sorted out.

Apparently Keith and I had an agreement some time ago that our kitchen would be white with teal accents, maybe a backsplash. He reminded me of this in dismay when he saw those swatches up on the wall. But I've definitely developed a taste for more color and would like to experiment a little. I think he's right that anything except, perhaps, a very light teal on the walls would be too much. What I'd really like is painted cabinets ... but since ours are laminate, that doesn't make sense. (Well, 75% of them are laminate. This section is wood; another is metal.) Which makes me a little sad. I'm determined to paint something though. Maybe the door frames?

6. I forgot to post about what we ate last week. On Friday and Saturday we had this curry with homemade naan, and other nights we had frozen ravioli with pesto, a quiche with broccoli and carmelized onions, and mushroom soup.

7. This week's meals:

Monday: Honey Lime Sweet Potato Tacos
Tuesday: Clam chowder
Wendesday: Broccoli pizza and mushroom and carmelized onion pizza
Thursday: Out to dinner at Burgatory with my family ... not particularly Lenten ;)
Friday: Fish tacos