Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas crafts

Christmas finds me almost ready this year. I keep thinking that Christmas is tomorrow, because we get the rest of the week off work, but no, it's Saturday. Good, because things are still undone, but (even though I feel like it's Christmas Eve) I know I've got time to get them done. We're doing candies for friends and family; two more batches (one easy, one moderately involved) and we'll be done. I've got a doll to finish for Chloe; it needs jointing and clothes. I've got a quilt wall hanging to finish for Eric; it needs a couple of appliques (done McKenna-Ryan-style because it's a wall hanging) and some mild quilting and then binding. I've got a couple of bracelets to make for little girls, which will just mean stringing beads onto jewelry elastic, already purchased. I'm doing all right.

I've been knitting a stocking of my own design for Chloe, which has been quite enjoyable despite my tension troubles with colorwork. However, I realized a couple of days ago that it looked awfully small. I finally measured it last night and found that my 5 st/in gauge somehow shrank (increased?) to nearly 6, and so the stocking I thought would be nearly 15" around is more like 12". This is too small, especially since the length is correspondingly shortened, so I'm going to rip it out and start again in a bigger needle size. Sigh. But since it's been an enjoyable knit, it'll be okay...especially since I've got a year to do it. (I never expected to finish in time for this Christmas.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Every day goes by

I'm chugging along on Christmas crafts. To do: one woven scarf, one mitten (not actually for Christmas, just to avoid my child freezing her fingers off), several ornaments. Also cookies, etc. I'm looking forward to the holidays. I don't know why. Maybe because I'll have to make myself clean the house again. Mom and Dad coming to visit in three weeks is also good for that.

Life is straightening out quite a bit now that I'm into the second trimester. I haven't felt the baby move yet, but I'm okay with that. I'm regaining some foods, including chocolate, and now that it's citrus season I feel able to face the kitchen with reasonable fortitude. We've finally caught up on the dishes and laundry, and I'm working on crafting again, and even critting. No writing. I want to finish the Shoelace rewrite by the time the baby comes, but it isn't looking good.

Carol, her friend Charlotte, and I are working on a secret craft project. I'm not sure how secret we're making it--it's not like it's anything illicit, just blue-sky-ish for three busy moms--but that's part of the fun. Anyway, it will involve craft days and financial calculations and should be tons of fun, even if it doesn't work out, just like the Book Club Eric and I used to talk about. Pretty dreams are nice things. I'm starting to realize that's all they are. I'm really not very ambitious. Lazy? I'm not sure. Busy? Am I on the nineteenth story? Is that bad?

Friday, October 22, 2010


Alas! My sourdough starter is dead!

I really am sorry; I've kept it going for two years now, and made some good breads with it. It survived my previous first trimester, but this one apparently defeated it. I was rooting through the fridge last night for something to eat (a quest that was much easier to fulfill before I got a parasite growing in me) and thought, "What's in this old jar?" What was in it was sourdough starter and black mold. It went into the trash.

I have some dried starter from a year or so ago that I should be able to use to start over. I'm thinking I'm not going to bother right now, though. I'm not finding the time or the stomach to either make or eat a lot of bread these days, certainly not anything experimental, which sourdough usually is for me. And I've got cookbooks full of recipes for yeast-based breads. But it makes me a little sad; this is the first true casualty of this pregnancy, other than maybe the garden (and my jeans). Though I fully intend to grow a few things in pots next year. Tomatoes, if nothing else. I went out last night to pick the last of the tomatoes because there was a frost warning, and took Chloe with me. I put thumbless mittens on her to keep her warm, but she got out of them anyway and chomped happily on the tomatoes I'd just picked, getting seeds all over her jacket and pants. She's going to be so sad this winter, and so happy next summer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Knitting like mad, or at least a little eccentric

Workin' on Chloe's sweater. Not because it's gotten cold. Because I just realized we're leaving for Seattle in eight days (Eight! Days!) and I have to have Addie's kitty hat finished by then, because it's for Halloween as part of her costume, and we won't be here after that Wednesday. And the needles I need are the needles Chloe's sweater is on. So. Knitting tonight.

We're going to Seattle because I got great tickets--$700 including taxes and fees for the three of us--and I'm sick of Toledo and my job and I need to get out of this town and this routine. So we're going somewhere I'll hardly have to look after Chloe and can laze about all day, or go sightseeing or shopping, or take over the kitchen and make cookies, just as I like. And where I can see my family. I miss my family. The plan to move out there hasn't been working out. I've been job-hunting diligently, but no bites, not even any false alarms. No nibbles on the house other than one showing. I'm trying not to let it get to me. It would help if the shelf in the bathroom closet wouldn't keep collapsing on me, and if my dresser weren't suddenly, rapidly deforming under the weight of my clothes.

I'm also a little depressed a bout giving up the garden, though I've known that one was coming. With a toddler and a pregnancy, there's simply no way I'll get out there and do what needs doing. This seems ridiculous, until I remember everything else I'm also trying to do.

So, lots of knitting the next several nights. When I'm knitting I want to spin. When I'm spinning I want to read. When I'm reading I want to quilt or garden. When I' get the idea. But I do get things done. I've got to remember that, right?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Matters of state

Well, hello again. I've just recently closed down another blog, the garden one, so maybe I'll be able to remember to turn to this one. So far it's mostly been the baby blog and my worknotes (e-mails to myself).

Let's see. Important news: I am pregnant again. Go ahead, ask me if it was planned. I'm due April 26, and have just given up job-hunting because I couldn't in good conscience accept a job and then go on maternity leave five or fewer months earlier. I hate this, but there it is. Eric is a stay-at-home dad, teaching a class at a local community college and doing online tutoring at night, and it's working out well except that I need a new computer (or at least a new OS, but the new computer would be really nice too) and we don't make enough disposable income that I'm comfortable getting one. It's going on the Christmas list. Chloë is doing very well; she can walk and say "up" and "Dada" and can point to various body parts, and gives marvelous hugs. I'm alternately excited and scared of having a second one. We're just growing into this nice family. Nevertheless.

I finished my most recent craft project, a quilt for my new niece (born last Sunday, I shipped it today, so that wasn't as bad as it could have been). Currently in progress:

-a baby sweater for Chloë, nearly finished
-a kitty hat for Chloë's cousin's Halloween costume, nearly started
-designs for Christmas stockings for all of us
-various attempts at making fleece hats and mittens for Chloë for the winter

Chloë's already outgrowing the baby blanket I made her, and she'll be moving to a toddler bed next summer anyway, so I'm contemplating a big-girl quilt for her. Also one for the new baby. No ideas yet on either.

And I've started the Shoelace revision. Rewrite, rather. I've been doing some research and some thinking and have, I hope, a much better background and outline. Currently I'm some 3500 words in, mostly new. I joined the Novel Club, a quarterly novel-critiquing group, on FMwriters, and I'd like to have this finished to submit by March. Ideally I'd say December, but I know that's not going to happen.

My current plan: finish the above craft projects, start on the quilts, do this quarter's crit early, and plod through Shoelace. I've been taking my lunch hour at work to either craft or write, since if I don't I just end up working through, and that's been helpful. It's also been nice that Chloë has become more independent, and importantly very regular in her sleeping habits, so I have a little time every day to work--not much, but some. So that's the plan. (Rule the world/you and me/Any day--I watched Dr. Horrible twice this weekend, and now I want to keep watching it so I can acquire the music and not just keep singing the same phrases to myself.)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Frittering away my night

Gah. I have this huge list of things that need doing and I've done little bits of things tonight, and yesterday, but nothing's gotten actually done. I made cookies tonight, which was totally unnecessary; yesterday I read some archives of a new-to-me online comic. The quilt isn't quite done, the Mother's Day cards haven't been sent out, the garden isn't ready, the job-hunt lies dormant, the house is filthy. I hate feeling always behind. And this is without getting into things like exercise, or writing, or crafts. I suppose it does account for cooking, since I just said I pushed my actual list aside for cookies. Good cookies, I must say. But still.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Is it appropriate or wildly wrong to say something about old dogs and new tricks here?

We went to Penguicon this past weekend. I like ConFusion, the other SF/F convention we go to yearly, better, but there was a lot of fun stuff in this one. I didn't get to see half of it because Eric slept during my Chloe-free time (I let him because he had an upset tummy), but for example, one of the panels was on real-life superheroes and legal and ethical issues attending them. Intriguing and great fun. There was one on humor in SF/F, and one on DIY blogs, and lots of things I missed. (I did have a good time, don't get me wrong. I'm just not used to not being able to do most of what I want to do at a con.)

One of the panels I attended was "The Emergence of the Female Superhero." It was fun, though it started and ended with a discussion of whose superhero costume was the best. The discussion progressed through "what is a superhero" kickass women who are too self-conscious (as in, trying too hard to say "I'm a girl and I kick ass"--the panel's example was Buffy) and kickass women who aren't (Zoe from Firefly) and the Bechdel-Wallace test and so on.

At one point, one of the participants said something about "I'm going to ask a controversial question: are we making too much of the difference between men and women and focusing too much attention on women?" He didn't say it nearly that directly, but that was how I interpreted it. Nobody else on the panel appeared to pay much attention. Later in response to a question I don't remember, he said, "Well, maybe the feminists in the room think so, but..." Nobody, panel or audience, appeared to notice, and that was the last thing he said. He sat for the rest of the panel with his mouth closed, looking angry.

When I told Eric about the "maybe the feminists" comment later he said, "And he walked out of there with his balls?", which amused me, but kind of made me sad because there was never a chance of him (the panelist) being confronted about his pretty apparently antifeminist mindset. It wouldn't have been polite, and it would have ruined a mostly enjoyable conversation about women in media (not totally, since a lot of it was about Castle, which I've only seen one episode of, and when the Bechdel-Wallace test was mentioned one of the male panelists instantly said, "But women never talk about anything other than men," which irritated me since that sort of joke is part of the problem). The discussion itself was never really about female superheroes, more about how women are portrayed in (fiction) media, which was still interesting; but I'd been hoping for a more positive perspective than a rehashing of all the stories in which women must be isolated or freaks in order to be featured as major characters.

I suppose I'm glad the panelist didn't attempt to derail the discussion by talking about how the problem of women in the media was vastly overblown and if people would just be sensible it would all go away and we'd realize there's really no problem. I hope he knew it wouldn't be well received. And I'm glad it wasn't my last panel of the con, or I'd have gone away more depressed than I did. As it was I went to the DIY blogs one and was pretty entertained, and newly interested in writing up my quilting patterns.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Ugh. I've had what I think is food poisoning all day, waxing and waning, and have just concluded it with a communion with the porcelain god. Amazing how immediately I feel better, though. I wonder if other parts of my life are like that. But not much. Mostly I need to take my pills, prep for tomorrow, and go to bed so I can do tomorrow the things I meant to do today.

Monday, April 05, 2010


I am thirty years old today. My baby is sleeping on the floor (having been sung to sleep by Mom, who's visiting for a week) and my husband is sleeping in the bedroom. I'm sitting cross-legged on the comfy couch in my living room, recently cleaned, and the sun would be shining in if we didn't have the curtains closed so Chloe could sleep better. I'm in my prepregnancy jeans and typing on my little netbook, and tonight Eric is making brownies for my birthday (I'm not all that fond of cake, so it's brownies and ice cream and strawberries instead). It's a good day to be thirty. I keep thinking that birthdays will change me, for some reason...maybe because everyone asks, and gets asked, the same stupid question: "Do you feel any different?" I don't feel any different, and I never will. I just feel like me. I think that's pretty good.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Technology love and baby love

Well, that was fun. Friday I had my e-mail hacked into; Sunday I got a pair of viruses on my netbook and only just now got them fixed. Well, I hope it's fixed. And it was actually Eric who did it. But anyway. What I'm trying to say is, I love technology.

Work is insane, and has been ever since my coworker went on medical/maternity leave. I consider it an accomplishment that I'm down to one to-do list from the previous two ("To do" and "To do first"). I'm sorely tempted to take tomorrow off, but then I'd only be further behind when I got back. Blechh. I'm very glad that we're getting a child-free overnight date on Friday, though. It's not so much that I want to be away from the kid as that I just want not to be obliged to do things.

I went to a fleece fair in Chelsea with Carol on Saturday. We left the babies at home, ran into some friends, bought stuff for ourselves, went out for coffee and ice cream afterward...why did I have a baby again? I guess because when I left work today, I left at five exactly, even though I wanted to stay and try to catch up, and I was eager to go pick up my baby because I knew holding her would make me feel better after my rotten day. It did until she started screaming, but to be fair, that wasn't until I put her down to get her in her carseat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Considering research

Chloë is in her crib, moaning, "Why did you wake me up just to put me in bed? Life is pain!" We just got back from a Tupperware party, where I considered getting her that red-and-blue put-the-yellow-blocks-into-the-holes thingy but decided I should leave for her grandmothers to get later on. Instead I got more containers for flour. I routinely have at least four different kinds of flour around the house now, and get nervous if there isn't an extra bag of AP at least in the freezer. (There isn't now. But we need to go to Kroger soon.)

We went to Confusion this weekend, and had a pretty good time. Not as good con-wise as previous years, but there was good Chloë-time; she loved the new scenery and the new faces and all the people who tried to make her smile, which isn't hard. I went to some panels and took the swing dancing tutorial and stayed in the hotel room at night, playing with my new netbook while Chloë slept. I'd meant to try working on some writing, but I played a game instead (it came pre-installed on the computer--luckily it's only a trial version).

I'm starting to think about how to revise Shoelace. Mainly, I'm thinking I need to do a lot of research to better build the world. I'm not all that keen on world-building, and it probably shows. I first started realizing how lacking I've been in the research department at the Penguicon writer's workshop last year. And I think a recent conversation of Eric's and mine solidified it:

"I miss college."

"The best time of my life. It's all been downhill from there."

"Unfortunately you can't get a job where you're paid to learn all the time."

"Writers do."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's cooking

I cooked dinner last night, for what seems like the first time in forever--both that I cooked alone, and that we had a real dinner. It was a light one, at that--roasted vegetables (including kohlrabi, which is new to us; it tastes fine but needed more roasting time than the other vegetables, which was problematic), spinach salad, and onion-dill bread. This is the third iteration of onion-dill bread, the first two occurring when I was just starting out in bread-baking, and I think the practice shows. Eric says I should leave the recipe just as it is. I think I'm going to mess around with the preferment a little anyway, because it's so wet I'm worried about leaving it out for most of a day, but otherwise I'm happy about it.

It was great eating a real dinner, with a couple of different dishes, at the same time, without having to go to a restaurant. It's not the baby that's keeping us from doing it--not mostly, at any rate. Occasionally I eat while Eric feeds her some carrots or oatmeal or sweet potatoes and then he eats while I nurse her, but mainly it's that we haven't cooked and it's late, and he's got work to do, or we don't have anything in the house to make one of the few big dishes we both like, or we can't decide what to eat, or I start picking on his slovenly habits or the sorry state of the kitchen and the food discussion gets derailed. (I thought we'd argue more once we had a baby, but I thought the arguments would be about the baby.) It feels healthier as well as more comfortable, too. I've been getting into bad eating habits lately. This is not so good since my work clothes are still tighter than I'd like.

So I went to the farmer's market Saturday, and Costco Sunday, and this week I'll be cooking and maybe baking some more. We've got ConFusion this weekend, and I've got the Chloë night shift, so I won't be able to leave the hotel room and bringing snacks would be a good idea. And I like cooking and baking; it's interesting, it's satisfying, it's good for us, and it makes me feel more in control of my health. Never mind that the next thing I really want to make is gingerbread cookies.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Hello, New Year. Hello, blog. Hello, world. (return 0)

I think I'm ready to come out of hibernation. Or funk, or whatever it is that I've had. Postpartum lost-my-grip-on-my-lifedness. I still haven't finished Chloë's quilt, but I've worked on it, and I've made some things and gotten back to something like my old life, only slower. And full of a cute baby who now sits up, and babbles, and grins like a spreading dawn. And also likes to grab my lower lip while nursing and pull, but never mind that.

I have yet to write my Annual Review for 2009, but I'm hoping to very soon. I'd do it at work, only work has been insane. My coworker left for maternity leave early, and she and I job-share, sort of, so I'm now doing one-and-three-quarters jobs (I can farm out part of it). I think I'm going to be constantly on the brink of disaster until she comes back. But I'm handling the work, so far, and in a way it's nice to be so busy. I feel very useful, and mostly pretty competent (except when I've messed something up, but with this much work it's probably statistically inevitable that that would happen).

Current status: I'm still on writing break. Thinking about breaking it, but I feel like I need to warm up a little first. Also decide whether to go back to Shoelace, or start the something new I've been wanting to do for a few years now. Craft-wise, I need to finish Chloë's quilt (Baby's First Spaceship) and make one for Raegan, my new niece, and then another for a friend of ours due in July. I'd like to finish Chloë's by ConFusion, the weekend after next. We'll see. I also want to try more weaving--I got a little loom and made a project and liked it, but haven't had time to do a second one--and get back to spinning, which I haven't touched for months and want to. Work-wise, I'd like to be in a new job by the end of the year--not because I dislike the one I've got, but because this is the year we're going to do our darnedest to move out to the West Coast. Anyone want to buy a house? We're starting to talk about what needs to happen to the house to get it in selling condition by spring.

I can't promise I'm going to write here any more often than I have been, but I'll try. The more I write, the more I have to say, I've noticed, and I think I've been too quiet. So onward we go. (But now I have to go get the Medela out and then go to bed.)