Friday, July 24, 2015

And then she said ... (miscellany)

(mostly written on Monday morning, sitting in my drafts folder since ... I am going to post because it's this or nothing!)

I had (have?) Big Plans this week to start a new habit. (Maybe because I've been reading this book?) I want to get up a smidge earlier--giving myself a half an hour before my kids usual wake time rather than my 10-15 minutes--and write letters and emails, keep in touch with those I love who are far away. (I love the old-fashioned-ness of letter-writing, but it is also immensely practical when one can't talk without multiple little hands and voices pulling at you and insisting on attention whenever you pick up the phone.) And then, caught up on all my correspondence, I would blog.

Welllll, getting up early. Such an easy resolution to make before you go to sleep, right? ;) Also it seems that getting up earlier entails going to bed earlier. Hm.


I think the moths are living in my air ducts.

One of the previous owners had a dog, and my theory is that they are munching happily on dog hair somewhere inaccessible. Or thriving in a bird nest in our chimney. Those are the only two explanations I can think of for why moths keeps fluttering through my living room and kitchen despite every last bit of everything having been vacuumed, laundered, etc. Repeatedly. As I work my way through the house I've even found them dead in my kitchen drawers. (And yes, they are CLOTHES moths in those drawers and in my bathroom, not pantry moths. I have double-checked more times than I can count.)

My house is very clean. I am very exhausted. I am going to call a professional sometime this week. I hope to avoid anything chemical; even exterminators say on their websites that this isn't a pest you generally spray for. The vacuuming, dry-cleaning, and baking of yarn should be enough. But it isn't.

And I am over this.

[Note: no moths spotted since Sunday. Fingers crossed. Will call exterminator if I see another one!!]

Happier things ... our fourth anniversary was last Thursday. :)

On Friday, my parents came over to spend the night with the kids, and we got away together, on our own, for the first night since having children! Keith planned it all and kept things a surprise. We stayed in a very nice hotel, had our pictures taken at the Point--the place in Pittsburgh where the three rivers meet, ate dinner at a nice restaurant, and watched a ballet. It was perfect and wonderful and I hope we do it again before another four years pass. :) It was also very nice to come back to where our children were waiting--to have that time to focus just on each other, to renew the roots of our love and then come back to its fruit.

It is not naptime. My children are happily wreaking havoc upstairs, and I have another room to vacuum (sigh). Until next time!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Knitting in the Time of Moths?

Hey look! I'm sewing leaves together!! Yay!

Or at least, I was up until a few days ago. I decided I've found a few too many moths in my pheromone traps and am now in full-throttle de-mothing mode. Which is exhausting. And despite having thoroughly cleaned the upstairs and moving all potentially affected laundry out to be laundered ... I caught ANOTHER moth last night. I feel like this either means that I don't actually have a moth problem--that they are just flittering in from the outside and that is why I'm not actually finding much damage--or else ... it means I have a major problem somewhere. Argh.

So the only times I've been touching this blanket lately have been to pull it out of the basket and give it a good shake. Just in case someone decides to munch on it.

I've also found carpet beetles, so I guess deep-cleaning is a good thing right now. But so stressful.

Anyway, the blanket is a little less than halfway put together. It will hibernate until after I finish cleaning, and then I need to knit a hat for my cousin who is entering Carmel in August ... and then I will finish this beastie. It is turning out beautifully--I'm half-tempted to keep it for myself, except Michael would never let me get away with it--but I am not enjoying the seaming process. Oh well.

Reading: Better Than Before, a book about habits that wasn't quite what I thought it would be, but the writing is engaging enough to keep me going. The Green Ember is a book much loved on this blog and so I thought I'd give it a read and keep it for the boys to grow into.

Linking up with Ginny!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Getting Close ...

I've bought the last of the yarn for Michael's blanket. After knitting up these skeins, I'll add as needed from a few odd and ends to make up the full count.

I almost didn't pick this book up because I felt the need for something narrative, but it turns out that this is basically a memoir, rather than a parenting handbook. I'm enjoying it. I've fallen into some bad habits of using food as motivation for good behavior ... Gregory in particular is addicted to "cackies" (Graham crackers). Time to change that!

Linking up with Ginny.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Naptime Miscellany--Moths and Other Oddities

This is what I get for offering to write a moth post.

One of the things I was/am going to mention in said post--you're never really rid of them. I think they can go dormant or something when the weather's cold, because they've been popping up now and then since April. All in our bedroom, which has almost zero wool in it, so I wasn't too concerned.

But it just keeps happening. Two or three males flying around that I squish or get caught in the traps.

Only this time I've found TWO downstairs. Deep breaths.

I am, once again, examining my yarn and other woolens from top to bottom, and STILL no traces of damage. They are like moth ninjas with a secret base somewhere, and it is stressing me out.

The fact is that moths are almost an inevitable part of life for any lover of natural fibers who lives in a certain climate. I was in the yarn store yesterday looking for something green, and I found a dead moth on a skein. In the yarn store! Once you know what you're looking for--and are paranoid enough to expect it everywhere--you will find them.

I'm not sure if that's encouraging or discouraging, but there it is.

It makes you wonder how old woolen textiles have survived so long. I guess it's a combination of climate control (winters without heat surely killed off many pests) and the fact that people didn't own an excess of clothes that were put into storage; most things were in regular use.

In other knitting-related weirdness ... my mother-in-law hadn't knit for years and years, but she had a canvas bag with some yarn and needles that Keith brought back from San Francisco. In it I found this odd tool, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was. An unusual cable needle? Something for a craft other than knitting?

I posted the picture on Ravelry, and most of those people were just as stumped ... until a veterinarian came along and said it's a grooved director, or incision guide. A surgical tool used for guiding scalpels and other instruments where they need to go without cutting other tissues.

My MIL was never a vet, or a nurse, so I'm not sure why she even owned one of these, let alone how it ended up in her knitting bag! How funny, right? I wish I could ask her for the story behind it. I wish in general that knitting was something that we could have bonded over. There are a lot of things I wish, and I am realizing, a lot of hurts that I still have to process. But I hope, someday, we will meet again, and be able to know and love each other in a way that wasn't possible in this life.

And she can tell me why she had a surgical tool with her knitting needles. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Life-Changing Magic, and other things

You know the deal. Even when I can't keep up with anything else I can manage a yarn along post.** ;) I was a bit under the weather last week as I recovered from my first ever case of mastitis after almost 3.5 years of nursing. I have so much admiration for mothers who struggle with this on a regular basis early in their nursing relationship ... I think I may have given up if I hadn't so much experience behind me already.


Are you bored of leaves yet? ;) I pulled a skein of Tosh from my freezer , baked it in the oven, shook it vigorously to make sure no moth eggs came tumbling out, and ... it seems to be fine. No damage that I have noticed! Fingers crossed.

(I'm thinking of typing up a post--hopefully with pictures--about how to survive a moth infestation with your sanity intact ... helpful? Or have I talked about moths too much already?)

So many thoughts about this book. As I read it, I always picture a single person living on their own--or at least in a child-free household. I don't think her ideal really encompasses the necessary and healthy level of not being in control that comes from living with several little people who are figuring themselves and the world out. She writes of how tidiness can transform our lives by helping us make decisions about not just what we own, but who we are. I think this is great, but if you're living with people who are still figuring that out in the most basic of ways ... there's going to be some messiness. :) (Also, is it just me, or do her descriptions of herself as a cleanliness-obsessed child make anyone else a little sad??)

But I really love her philosophy about possessions. They are not bad. Your home is not a thing to be conquered, but love, and the things you own can and should bring you joy. But you shouldn't be so attached to things that you can't let them go. The material things around us are good and meant for our benefit and happiness. But they should not determine or own us. I love it.

Also I really need to try out her folding technique and see if it helps my husband's t-shirts fit in his dresser, because none of those are getting discarded anytime soon ... much to his wife's chagrin. (If there is one recurring disagreement in our marriage, it is about the number of t-shirts that's reasonable for one person to own. ;) )

I also just finished What Happened to Sophie Wilder. Oh my goodness. It took a bit of patience on my part because there was just a touch too much of the "jaded literary people living an immature lifestyle" stuff that can plague literary fiction. But I could tell it was going somewhere different. And it didn't disappoint. The ending of this book pulled the rug out from under my feet, in such a good and heart-aching way. I am still a little bit in shock. And still thinking about Sophie. As though she were a real person, who truly did wrestle with the truth as she knew it to be, versus the lived truth of suffering in mind and body. It is not a hard or a thick read, but it truly does seek truth, and it is excellent fiction, and so I recommend it highly.

Linking up with Ginny.

**Although I am loving Instagram lately. If you're on there, we should hook up! :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Stacking up!

After hearing an interview with the author on the Read-Aloud Revival podcast, I just finished The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma. What an excellent book! A well-written memoir is one of my favorite things to read, and I can highly recommend this one.

(I am loving podcasts these days, by the way. Now that I have a smartphone I can listen to them in the car! I use the Stitcher app, but I don't know much about what else is out there. How do you listen to podcasts?)

Michael has attempted to stack books like this for the purpose of standing. It doesn't usually turn out well.
Thank you all for the feedback about colors for Michael's leaf blanket! A few of you were unsure what the final concept was. The pattern I'm using is the Family Tree Afghan. The leaves all get stitched together to form the blanket, and right now the plan is to spread out the colors as evenly as possible. :)

Last Saturday I bought some more green and blue yarn in shades close to those I've already used. I really, really love this yarn in DK weight, and the colors are just perfect.

Big stack of nonfiction from the library!
On days where we mostly stay at home and nothing crazy happens (ha), I can usually knit a leaf and a half. This is leaf number 65 of 110. (Or possibly 62. There are three leaves I've decided I don't like. But even though there's not that much difference between having 62 and 65 leaves, it's really hard for me to see that number go backwards ... so, right now I'm still including them in the final count!)

There's a layer of shawls under those leaves that I will have to block soon, just to make room for more. 

Sadly, somebody (don't know who for sure but I have my theories) got into my knitting basket and used one of my needles as a drumstick. It took me a while to find all the pieces. This pair belonged to my grandmother, and were among my favorites to use, so ... sadness. :( Luckily my bamboo needles get about the same gauge. 

Linking up with Ginny!

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.