Friday, December 28, 2007

And the Winner is...

Well after many hours of careful deliberation and the assistance of Yarnhog and my son I was able to finally make a big decision - I ordered yarn. Now, I must pay my respects to all of you experienced knitters who routinely buy yarn. After my ordeal I can truly say that it is no small feat to buy yarn online. One has to jump through many hoops - and here begins my litany of complaints -

1. Yarn swatches are too small. Why can't I enlarge that 1" x 1" sample. Imagine the benefit of seeing a full screen size of yarn - now that's exciting!

2. All variegated yarns should have to have a picture of the yarn in a completed project. One can never know how the colors are going to play out. Will there be blotches, swirly whirls, or just plain yuck once they are knitted?

3. Why can't yarn be returned? If I can return underwear in an unopened package I see no reason why yarn stores can take returns.

4. After you have carefully made your selection and decided with all your heart to invest, one has to overcome the final challenge - Shipping. This has got to be the last great stand that all mail order company's take. They absolutely must charge a much as they can get away with for shipping. Because they know there is no turning back at this point - one has already wasted hours deliberating and studying, one must have the courage to pay $7, $8, or $12 for shipping. It's yarn how much can it weigh?

5. Now to all of you lucky, lucky knitters who can simply go to your favorite yarn store and actually see and touch and smell the yarn. Those of you who can actually compare yarns side by side in natural light or fluorescent. And who get to avoid paying shipping - count your blessings. All the rest of us need and I repeat Need to create a "Stash" - in other words our own store of yarn.

My final selection is Rowan's All Season Cotton #208 - Glad. It's a heavy worsted weight, it is machine washable and it was $2.99 a ball ( I refuse to use the word skein) however, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I bought plain old blue yarn -



But it's very pretty yarn! And now since I ordered Friday night on a holiday weekend I need to wait for my lovely yarn to arrive.. and of course finish my sweater.



P.S. I bought it at Webs . They are having a sale.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Help wanted

Dear advanced experienced knitters of blog land. You know who you are. If you knitted more then 3 scares and 1 vest then you qualify. I need your help. Today I spent way too much time wandering the Internet in search of heavy worsted weight yarn - I'm almost done with my "knit lace border top", just started the second sleeve, so like any knitter I need to place an order for my next project. I need to do it right away or I just might not have anything to knit for a couple days and I might be forced to finish other projects, like ironing.
Today I thought I might enjoy a stroll through the virtual knitting store. But I was sadly mistaken as I went from site to site and found that they have no uniformity. They are all different and I can't find anything. Why don't they all have a search button? Why can't I just type in,"heavy worsted weight yarn" and magically have all the yarns available appear. Why can't I, Why, Why, Why????
Some sites have the yarn categorized by the yarn type. Now I realize that all you "Pros" know, Noro, Debbie Bliss, blah blah blah, but I don't. I don't have the time to search through 15 different types of yarn only to discover that none of them are the right weight and even worse they are all way to expensive - worse because by now I have fallen in love with the color and the description.
This is why I need your help. I have read and seen on many blogs your beautiful yarns. Yarns still in the package, yarns in the finished project state, yarns, yarns, yarns,. Yarns so wonderful you photograph them still in the box, minutes after the UPS driver hands them over.
You know yarns and I don't .
Here is my order -
I would like a heavy worsted weight yarn - gauge is 16 stitches and 22 rows to 4 inches on size 9 needles. I need 850 yards. I would like it to be $5 or less, maybe more if it's really special.
Please help.
All suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
P.S.
I would like to know your favorite online yarn stores, and your favorite yarns.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Helping neighbors

Todays paper gave the story of a lady who wanted to help a man who had lost his house in the recent wildfires. Here in San Diego many, many people lost their homes in late October. Now if you ask a knitter what she can do to help, what do you think she'll do? This lady decided to knit blankets in the form of 8-inch-by-8-inch knitted or crocheted squares. One blanket needs 24 squares.

She received over 250 squares the first week, and I had never heard about it. The idea spread and now her goal is to make 1,588 blankets one for each family in the county who lost a home to the wildfires.

A group of 35 women met at the library the other day to knit, crochet and stitch blankets. Now that sounds like a good time to me.

If you would like to help go to sandiegowildfireblankets.blogspot.com

The Knitting Drummer Knits While Playing The Drums

The Santa Story

A few days ago I had the privilege of eavesdropping on a conversation the children were having in the car on the way home from school. I drive home a kindergarten, 1st grader, two 2nd graders, 7th grader and an 8th grader. The younger ones started taking about Santa.

boy- Santa only brings 3 presents

boy2 - If your good

boy3 - I have NEVER gotten coal

boy -What's coal?

boy3 - I think it taste bad

girl - You have to be really good all the time and that's hard

boy2 - Who said you only get 3 presents

boy - My mom

Boy2 - She's wrong. You get more, but you have to be good.

boy - No my Mom's not wrong. She's really smart. I think she knows everything

boy3 - Did she graduate from the 16th grade yet?

boy- Yeah she graduated from college when she was like 37, I think

boy3 - NO way you have to be like 48 because it takes forever

boy - You go to college right after High School

boy 3 - My mom is 49 and she just graduated from college , she knows

girl - Santa likes girls better than boys because we get more than 3 presents, but you have to be good. Boys aren't good.

boy2- No that's wrong Santa likes all kids

girl- Santa leaves a bag of toys at my house , but you have to go to sleep early and you can't go down stairs.

boy - You guys are all wrong Santa only leaves 3 presents the rest you get from your parents.

boy2 - Parents don't get presents from Santa

Needless to say the conversation was enlightening. I began to wonder,
What stories do other parents tell their kids about Santa?
I know why the boy was told that Santa only leaves 3 presents because he has 3 other brothers and it simply isn't affordable to leave any more.

Do you even talk about Santa?
We never really did, that's not what Christmas is really all about. But all the children learned about Santa from their friends.

How old are your kids when Santa doesn't come anymore?
Some kids insist they still believe just to get more stuff.

A Christmas Meme +

I got this from Yarnhog who got it from someone else, and they told two friends who told two friends...I added one question to the original list.
I had fun answering the questions. If you would like to do your own version, simply copy the post and delete my answers.

1.Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags?
Gift bags all the way, all the time and by the way you get the gift not the bag.

2. Real tree or artificial?
We have what I call a pseudo-fake tree - an artificial tree with real cuttings strategically placed to both fill out the tree and give the house that wonderful piney Christmas smell. Try it you'll like it.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually about the 1st weekend in Dec. Two reasons - 1. It takes me a couple days to decorate the tree, 2. It takes me a couple days to decorate the tree.

4. When do you take down the tree?
Around New Years day depending on how I feel that day.

5. Do you like Egg Nog?
Love it!! Especially with Brandy.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A Magnus chord organ. I don't know what happened to it but I still remember playing the organ and singing all the songs.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, many. I seem to collect them. One of my favorites my mother bought me from Costco, the craftsmanship is really nice, but it's very delicate.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
My mother and my husband. My mother always says, " Well I don't know".. and my husband, well this year he made a list.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My daughter. I always wish I could buy her more.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
When I was 10 years old my family drove to Indiana to have Christmas with my Grandmother and all the relatives. I got 3 jewelry boxes. My dear Grandmother read the disappointment on my face when she gave me hers and added 3 silver dollars and gave me a hug and a kiss that I will never forget. Like I always say -everything is good.

11. Mail or email Christmas Cards?
I LOVE getting Christmas cards but I am seriously challenged with the ability to send them. I really regret not having done yearly family picture Christmas cards. I would love having the collection of pictures of my family.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
A Charlie Brown Christmas - yeah I know it's not a movie. I love everything about it even the story of how Charles Schultz wrote and produced the story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
These days one must have a plan or else you lose and have to spend Dec. 23 hopelessly wandering from store to store in search of Lego kit #9145.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Yes. I also return a lot. It's the thought that counts not the paisley leg warmers.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
My mother-in-law is Hungarian and she makes two treats, Kalatch and keiflies ( I used to think they were called flee-flee's). Kalatch is a pastry made with cream cheese and stuffed with minced walnuts. It's rolled up and baked. Keiflies use the same pastry but each nut is wrapped. I'm the only one who can and does still make these treats. They take hours but it's tradition.

16. Clear lights or coloured?
I love white lights, inside and out. I think they are magically beautiful.

17. Favorite Christmas Song?
Santa Baby - I sing it too my husband in my Teddy - it's one of his traditional Christmas gifts.

18. Travel or stay home at Christmas?
Travelling with three kids at Christmas time it too difficult. However if I won a trip to Hawaii I'd figure out how to work that deal in a minute.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer?
Of course.

20. Angel or Star on the top of the tree?
Angel. One of many on my tree.

21. Open Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas Eve we open presents from the relatives. When I was a little girl we opened Aunt Sue's presents. They were always a dud. One year I got dollar symbol dangly earrings - I was 9 and I didn't have pierced ears.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The malls and trying to find a parking space. Plus I hate how everything has the tag line, "The perfect Christmas present" Oh really, like Homer Simpson Chia pets are, "The perfect Christmas present". Funny not perfect.

23. What’s the corniest family tradition you do or miss doing?
We always read the night before Christmas on Christmas eve. My husband won't let us go to bed until we do.

24. What’s the worst thing you’ve seen related to Christmas?
A Homer Simpson nativity set.

25. Which looks best, theme trees or homey trees?
My Mom took a floral design class and ever since then she has a Theme decorated tree - they're wonderful, but I can't resist hanging some of my favorite ornaments.

26. Gingerbread or Sugar Cookies?
Both please and a cup of tea.

27. Do you like fruitcake?
I love it and I make a really simple and delicious one from a store bought date bread mix. My mother's is good too but she takes a week carefully lacing hers with brandy or is it rum - it's Good.

28. What is you favorite Christmas memory?
I was maybe 6 years old and our family had an early Christmas eve dinner. My mother was washing the dishes when my father decided to take us up to the mall to see Santa. Back then Santa wasn't everywhere like he is now. So we were delighted to go. When we came back Santa had come to our house. All the toys were there. My Mother simply explained that Santa had come while we were gone. GREAT We immediately got to playing with out toys. The only problem was that we lived in an apartment and we quickly asked if Santa had come to our friends house next door. Ooops. Well Santa only comes when the kids are either asleep or out of the house. He would have to circle back to drop off presents after the kids went to sleep next door. The neighbor ladies were definitely not happy with my mother that year. We loved her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Jason!!!



Well it seems like just yesterday when Jason was born but today he is 8 years old. Oh how the time flies. Jason is my last boy and final production in what seemed like a show that would never end. At 41 and pregnant I can honestly say that I wasn't to happy with the "happy" news . In fact it took me 2 weeks of intermittent crying before I was able to regain my typical gung-ho spirit, and I am truly blessed and happy that I did. Now surprises are not my forte but this little guy has definitely changed my mind. You see Jason is the baby after a very heartbreaking, difficult, painful, scary and dangerous miscarriage. The kind that sends you to the emergency room and you don't get to come home for two days. The kind that they try for three hours to give you a blood transfusion and finally give-up because they can't find a vein. The kind that makes you think "Well I can't have any more babies" But I recovered -physically. I made more blood and got busy. But deep, deep down inside I was sad at the way my body had behaved. I had another miscarriage before and it sent me into a whirlwind search for the answer to "why" or better stated, "Why Me" and when I could search no where else I finally surrendered to the reality that Yes indeed, "Stuff happens" and sometimes it happens to you. So I moved on content to believe that it was as they say, for the best. I got pregnant right away ( 7 weeks later) and had a whooping 10 pound baby! Damn straight I can't have a baby. I sure proved those doctors wrong. But after my emergency room miscarriage it was pretty clear that I couldn't reproduce so quickly. I needed to heal - my body and my heart. Then 5 years later I discovered that I was going to have a baby.

By now my two little boys were both in school and I had settled into a nice stay-at-home Mom routine. Life was pretty nice and I had adjusted. But... One day while I was saying night prayers with my big boy Brain I asked him what he wanted to pray for and he said, " A baby". Well okay. But I tell you the fear of God struck me at that moment and I knew that I was going to have a baby. Now my big boy is rather stubborn and determined and he continued with his prayer request night after night - even at school ( he goes to Catholic school). The rest is history. It wasn't an easy pregnancy - usual never ending morning sickness, aches and pains, indigestion etc... The only thing I do well during pregnancy is Push when the doctor says it's time.

When I learned that the baby was a boy ( final count - boys 3, girls 1) I proceeded to pick a name. Jason means -healer. I can truly say that from the moment he was born he has lived up to his name. Jason is my Christmas present for 1999. The little girl across the street was 2 at the time and excited about the new baby. She thought his name was Jesus and Christmas had come. Well it had come for me at least.

It is said that "Everything is a gift, everything is a blessing" In that regard it must be understood that even the bad heartbreaking things that happen to us are in actuality "good" . But it is difficult to accept saddnes as a good thing. All I know is that it is so good to look back and connect the dots that form the meaning and history of our lives. Jason my dear sweat little boy is the puctuation mark that has changed my life - for the good.

So today I celebrate Jason's birthday - He's happy to have a party (Chuckee Cheese what would we do without you?) and get presents and I am so very happy to have him and the memory of a very special event in my life.

Yes it's true children are a gift from God


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Morning Shuffle

This morning has been a time when I think that Homeschoolers have out smarted all of us. They don't have to go through the morning struggle of extracting children from their warm beds and getting them dressed, washed, brushed, fed and out the door with a lunch (the lunch that of course no matter what you create usually gets thrown away because they want to play). They don't have to find yet another creative and entertaining way to wake the dead and lure them out of their coffins. They don't have to sign permission slips that were hidden inside the backpack, find overdue library books, homework or socks at 7:15 in the morning. Morning must be a peaceful time in homeschoolers houses. I can just imagine how the children calmly and happily come down to breakfast where they eat a nutritious meal (not a breakfast bar, breakfast shake or an orange in the car). After breakfast they all go upstairs to BRUSH THEIR TEETH, then they simply open their drawers and closets and get dressed - not yell out Mom " I can't find my pants - bottom drawer, where they always are" They begin the day by delicately transitioning into the morning routine with serene voices and soft music.

Later in the day Homeschoolers avoid the dreaded carpool event - where in our great wisdom Mothers pack extra kids into their cars at a time of day when children should have no interaction with adults. If it weren't difficult enough to navigate the ever challenging "pick-up line" at school - which for me is what I affectionately call the "Loopty Loop" because I have to go through 2 lines, we then have to survive the noise and chaos of driving 6 children home from school. There must be some kind of explosion that goes off in a child's mind when they hear the final bell ring at school (which at my children's school should be outlawed as cruel and unusual punishment to the eardrums), because when my kids board the van they change - ah the big, big change the one that their teachers have been circumventing all day long. The change where the subdued controlled almost robot like child, who carefully obeyed all the rules all day long can take it no longer, because at this time of day they have to scream, 'I'm a child and I need freedom" Well, okay I can understand that, I felt like screaming this morning, but not in my car, not in a closed environment, not in traffic. In my futile effort to manage the noise I feed them and then I end up with crumbs and wrappers all over my car, but I still believe the trade off is worth it.

I am certain that having the kids home all day long has it's own share of troubles but today I truly wish there was another way to get kids off to school.

When will someone make a real teleporter? Now that's an invention that the world really needs.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! When I was a little girl we never had lights or out- door decorations at Christmas. It wasn't as common as it is now to put up lights. Well my family didn't even put up lights. I've put lights on my house for many years but never gone the next step and really punched up the idea - until last year. Maybe it was the neighbors enthusiasm that spurred my spirit or simply that I finally got my act together but I put up lights on the house, around the yard, the garage door, spiral lighted Christmas trees (5), wreaths with lights (of course) and a super big poinsettia plant (Costco, of course). Now that's a lot of decorations! Our utility bill goes up and we trip a circuit breaker at least 3 times - the microwave, dishwasher, washer, dryer and refrigerator are all on the same light - one nuked hot dog can cause us to go dark.
Nightly we go through a routine of plugging in all the lights - 3 outside the front door, three upstairs in the kids bedroom and three in the garage - I know there has got to be a better and easier way - maybe timers, but we haven't gotten to that level yet.

After we light the house I go outside and enjoy my work for just a few minutes - it's getting cold in S.D. almost 50 at night sometimes - Burr, that's cold for me. And then I go inside.

It's the neighbors who really get to enjoy the lights. And in the regard I want to send a collective thank you to all the people who spend time putting-up lights and decorating their houses. I know it takes time, money, creativity, energy and guts (climbing on a roof can be dangerous to your health, if you know what I mean).

Thank you for your spirit and generosity, the season wouldn't be the same without you.

Thanks for the festival of lights!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fr. Mooney




Today Dec. 2nd was Fr. Mooney's retirement day. He was a priest at my church for 14 years but he has been a priest for 52 years. He retired because of Dr's orders. As he announced his retirement at mass today he calmly explained that he has a hole in his heart and he needs to rest. Many people may think that a priest doesn't do much -maybe only works on Sunday. But it really is a very demanding job. Typically a priest works 18 hour days and is always on call for emergencies. Fr. Mooney taught history and religion at many schools and USD where is was also dean of discipline. It is true that a priest never has a family of his own but it is also true that he is a part of many, many families. Fr. Mooney always began his homilies with a joke or a story - sometimes they were funny but mostly they were corny. It didn't matter because the way he told the story always made me smile. He was very passionate about his faith. He had a very big strong voice and sometimes when he talked he would get so loud that it silenced the church.
Many times today people gave him a standing ovation for his service to the community. In one family alone, he confirmed the woman, married the couple, baptised the baby and gave her first communion and there are many stories like that.
He loved to travel and had a travel club that he organized. Every year they took a big trip to Europe and throughout the year smaller trips.
I will miss Fr. Mooney very much because he was one of the old timers who really knew his stuff and never felt obligated to anyone to say one thing or the other. I often said, "Fr. Mooney is a fatherly father", because he had that strong, confident yet caring manner.
Fr. Mooney you will be in my prayers.