Monday, January 26, 2015

French Toast Fever

Brace yourselves!  It's a New England storm warning!  The storm to end all storms!  They're predicting more than two feet of snow in our area.  Better get all the ingredients for french toast (gotta get the milk and bread, gotta get the milk and bread!)  and don't forget the toilet paper.  :)  This reminds me of an old Bill Engvall routine..."There is a snow warning in your area!  Go to the store, buy bread, horde gas....if you are an elderly American you will not survive this storm."  :)

We've had a good year thus far concerning snowstorms, so hey, whatever.  We've got plenty of gas, food, batteries and flashlights, and (hopefully) entertainment.  Well, I've got plenty of knitting,  so bring it on.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Wired for Sound

I got my hearing aids last week, and so far here is what I've observed....

1.  I don't like hearing my own voice constantly.  I'm told that will fade with time, but for now it's slightly annoying.

2.  At first my ears were BIONIC.  I could almost hear someone putting quarters in the washing machine down the hall with the door closed.  But loud noises were shocking, the first time the doorbell rang at work I almost jumped to the ceiling!

3.  They're  cute and tiny:

And unless I tell you about them, you won't notice that I'm wearing them.  The purple part goes behind the ear so all that's visible is the clear wire.  And unless you're specifically looking for it, you're likely to miss it.

I have a strict rule (for now), either in the case or in my ears.  I also took them out and showed them to the boys, because I knew that they were curious.  And now they're not...and therefore less likely to touch them.

4.  Nobody's been able to sneak up on me since I got them.  This used to be a serious problem since I'm such a jumpy person.  But I can HEAR behind me now.  The first time I heard a conversation behind me was walking into Target last week.  A father was chiding his two daughters for not wearing hats in the cold weather.  I almost cried because of it.

5.  The volume level on the TV and the radio in the car has gone down substantially.  When I first turned the radio on my "normal" volume, I was shocked at how loud it was.

6.  And best of all....I can hear my boys.  Especially Sean, who talks softly in the backseat, asking for music or telling me about Minecraft.

So all in all, it's not so bad.  It's a bit of an inconvenience but worth it thus far.

Monday, January 19, 2015

That Neverending Cleaning Thing

The Craft Room Cleanout marches on.  The floor is finally clear, but every surface is littered with stuff.  I've got all of my knitting needles tossed into a laundry basket, which is kind of pointless since they're all poking OUT of the basket.  I've put aside a bunch of yarn from leftover projects and single, lonely skeins (Looking for love on that I'm putting to use in a new yearlong charity project.  I'm going to make hats and mittens for the local Youth and Family Services outlet, and donate them at the end of the year.  And man, do I have unfinished projects, a lot of cross-stitch stuff mostly.  Some baby blanket squares that just need to be sewn together, then donated.  Some things require more work, but many are just a couple of hours away from being a work in progress to a finished object!

two things I learned at Christmastime this avoid excess stress, upload pics throughout the year instead of all at once and WEAVE IN YOUR ENDS, DAMMIT.

But now it's time for another game of:   Finish or Frog?

This damned, damned sweater.  I started it in March of the wedding of my brother in law in Pennsylvania. Literally....I was working on it in the church during rehearsal.  All that's left is button and neck bands, and short sleeves.  Why is that, you say?  The sleeves have too many stitches to do them on double-pointed needles and FOR SHAME I have not yet taken the time to learn the Magic Loop method.  From what I understand it will take a Youtube video or two and I'll be good to go.  So....laziness?  It stays in the "finish pile."

This is a cute sweater.  I started it...oh I don't know, two years ago for my niece?  It certainly won't fit her now, and I screwed up royally on the lace bottom.  But for some reason I just cannot bring myself to frog it.  Maybe I'll put button bands on it and give it a good soak, then put it in a pile for gifts.  The only person that knows there are mistakes is me.  Well, now YOU know, but are you gonna tell??  :)

An adorable baby blanket that I started last year.  It's more complicated looking than it actually is, the hearts are pretty easy to make.  What happened with this project is that I started working on other things and didn't note where I was in the I'm going to frog it.  Perhaps I'll start it again later, it seems less maddening to do that than try to figure out what the hell I am supposed to do next.

 My 2012 Ravellenic Games project.  The idea is to start a project during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, and be finished with it by the end of the Closing Ceremony.  There are people out there that start adult-sized sweaters during this time, AND finish!  I chose a shawl, the Marrowstone Shawl to be exact.   Major fail, I got the lace edging done and never went back.  I should've chosen a freakin' hat.  Time to frog, my dear, no matter how pretty the lace is.

Lastly....a pair of plain vanilla socks for me that I started in the old house.  I moved 18 months ago.  (Have you noticed that "Projects for me" always take a backseat?) I'm at the toes of the first sock.  Finish Pile.

And now, instead of "having to" buy a second bookcase, I have room for things!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Apparently, I'm a Secret Agent


I mentioned in my 2014 wrap-up post that I've got some hearing loss.  I'm not losing all of my hearing, just the middle frequency where conversation lies.  This type of hearing loss is called Cookie Bite Hearing Loss.  Let's face it, it's a cute name for something that kinda sucks.

How did I find this out?  Well.....Hubby was telling me like a year ago that I wasn't hearing things that he or the kids were saying.  I got pretty defensive, telling him that he mumbles.  And he DOES, just not as often as I thought that he was.  I insisted that my younger son is a soft talker, and he IS, but not as softly as I think that he is.  And if he's talking to me in the car, I can't hear him over the engine.  I don't listen to the radio in the car a lot anymore, I used to think it was because I enjoyed the silence.  Turns out that IS true, because my brain is tired from trying to parse out what everyone is saying.  And I was starting to stay home from things, to spare myself from not being able to hear anything from the damn background noise.

So when an audiologist was coming to my work for screenings (I work in elderly housing) I said "hey while you're here...." and was blown away when she told me that I had profound hearing loss and "would greatly benefit from hearing aids."  Honestly, I found it devastating, especially on the tail of just finding out that my kidney stones are caused by a disorder.  It was like a big "What NOW???"  I've had some time to mourn it and I've ordered my hearing aids.  They're small, but I ordered them with a "vivid lilac" plastic casing.  Because you know what?  If you are going to have to deal with this crappy thing, you should at least have some outrageous personality about it.  I pick them up Tuesday.

I found this blog, "The Cookie Bite Chronicles."  I recognize myself in all of them (minus the hearing aid ones, but I'm sure I'll get there.) To get an idea of what life's been like, read this post.   All the nodding and smiling.......I won't miss that.

I know that I feel crappy about it right now, but I'm sure that I will feel differently this time next year.  Especially when I can tell Brian that he still mumbles. :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Buried Treasure

As part of our annual clean-up this time of year, I'm going through the craft room and getting ruthless.   My knitting group is having a "destash" night later this month for tools, patterns and other craft supplies.  So far I've put together a bag and will likely have at least one more.

Every year I have this grand desire for handmade cross-stitch ornaments.  This is nothing new, and I usually fail.  Not so in 2015.  Because........I found ones that I finished in 2006!

Cute Winnie the Pooh ones, from the year my "first baby" was born.  They're still adorable!  And one afternoon of sewing and they'll be a good start for NEXT Christmas. 

And the little girl hanging her stocking, I honestly thought that she was lost in the move.  All she needs is a frame.  

See?  It pays not to get rid of stuff sometimes.  :)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Saying Goodbye to 2014

It's time for the annual sum-up-the-year post.  I've kind of been dreading it the last couple of weeks, and I've decided that I'm going to delete the annoying questions out of this.  Hey, I do what I want.  :)

2014: A Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I'm sure something, but my mind is drawing a big old blank right now.  

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I haven't done New Years resolutions in ages.   In lieu of New Year's Resolutions I would like to make a plan.  Because plans sound a lot sturdier than a fleeting resolution at midnight on 1/1/14.  I would like to be healthier. That is my plan for 2014.

Well.  I did say that I wanted to be healthier.  I've both achieved and failed on that account.  In 2014 I had surgery to remove kidney stones.  This was likely a problem that started five years ago and I finally got answers, that I have a so far not-named kidney disorder.  Not named meaning I don't know the name of it yet, not that there's no name for it.  Which is good, because I don't want a kidney disorder to be named after me.  :)  I'm seeing a specialist for this disorder in the New Year and I'm told that it's entirely treatable with medication.  And that it's not dangerous, other than the boulder-making.  

I also recently found out that I have hearing loss and that I would "greatly benefit from the use of hearing aids."  I've known for a while that I wasn't hearing things as well as I should, but was surprised to find out that it's a congenital loss and not from being exposed to loud things.  I'm not going to lie, when I first found out about the hearing aids I was pretty much devastated.  But in the last month I've somewhat come to terms with it and I've also stopped hiding the fact that I don't hear like most people.  It's been a bit liberating, actually.  We'll see how I'm feeling about it next week at the evaluation.  
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  My nephew was born in September.

4. Did anyone close to you die?  Not this year.  

5. What countries/places did you visit?
We took the kids on a fabulous trip to Disney World!  It really was an awesome time.  First plane ride for the kids, and lots of magic and memories.  
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Answers and resolve.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

Nothing.  My brain is turning to mush for remembering dates.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I don't feel like I had any one "biggest" accomplishment.  And I think it's ok to feel like you "survived" and that being an accomplishment.  Seriously, lots of overwhelming stuff this year.  

9. What was your biggest failure?

Again, I don't see a biggest "failure" either.  

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  See Above.  

11. What was the best thing you bought? tablet.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Anyone who "paid it forward" this year.  Anything that gave your fellow humans hope, be it food, shelter, or just a cheery "hello" on a dark day.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Looters and rioters.

14. Where did most of your money go?

child care and utilites.  Exciting stuff.  

15.  What did you really get excited about?

Surprising the kids with Disney.  It was a tough secret to keep but was worth it.  

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Not to be a pessimist, but a little sadder.  

b) thinner or fatter? about the same.  

c) richer or poorer? Neither.  Just lucky and happy to have the essentials.  Heat, hot water, food and shelter.  I'm rich in love and family.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

nothing, I'm pretty happy with the ratio

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying about things that one cannot control.  Getting frustrated when trying to view the future in a crystal ball, only to find out that I don't HAVE a crystal ball.  

19. How did you spend Christmas?

We had a lovely holiday celebration at my brother's house.  

20. Did you fall in love in 2014?

No.  But I continued to love.

21. What was your favorite TV program? 

I don't really have a favorite, I don't think so anyway.  I did enjoy Newsroom and was sorry to see that end, along with How I Met Your Mother and True Blood.  

22. What was the best book you read?

Unsure.  I read like 40 of them but none of them stand out as my "favorite."

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?

That if I play current pop music while on the treadmill or while cleaning it's easier to stay committed.  

24. What was your favorite film of this year?

I enjoyed the heck out of the Hunger Games movies.  Brian read the books but I didn't.  And I can't wait til the last movie comes out next year.  

25. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Ah.....the Great 38. I spent the day with my husband, lunch and a movie, and got a pedicure.  It was a pretty good day.  

26. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Honestly, I could've done without all of the health crap.  

27. What kept you sane?

Brian.  Making time for myself.  My kids.  

28. Who did you miss?

My far away friends and family.

29. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:

Misery is contagious.  Fortunately, so is happiness.  And happiness starts with YOU, because it comes from within.  And sometimes, happiness is a choice.  Choose it.  (I'm keeping my answer from last year, because it still applies.  Perhaps even more so now.)

30. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I'm beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way

Oh there ain't no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way
Oh there ain't no other way
Baby I was born this way
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Lady Gaga, "Born This Way"

Handmade with Love

Here it is.....the post you've all been waiting for......:)

I make a lot of Christmas gifts and this year was no exception.  I also was able to stay sane and not make myself crazy in getting them done in a timely fashion, starting early.  I did however, have to abandon two projects that I knew wouldn't get done in time.  I'll work on them in the next month, possibly making them the first finished items of 2015.

 Babylegs for my nephew, Jacob.  Essentially they're leggings, but the pattern is called "Babylegs."  He's going to look adorable in these!

 Yes yes, Brown Dog (oops, I'm supposed to be calling him Brownie now....but he'll always be "Brown Doggie" to me!) finally got his blanket.  Hint:  it's a dishcloth!

 A cowl for my sister-in-law, Kim.  It's folded here, but basically it's an infinity scarf that she can double around her neck.  Very fashionable.  :)

The next three things are shawls from my favorite designer, Martina Behm.  She is a German designer that favors simple garter stitches that turn them into something really elegant.  Two of them are the same, "Hitchhiker", the one with the pointy edge, for my mom and my aunt.  The other is Martina's "Trillian."  Mom complimented the green Trillian that I made for my friend's birthday last year and so I knit this up, in FEBRUARY.  I felt so accomplished!

 Next up is a trio of hats for my niece, Abby.  She ADORES hats and immediately started putting them on.  

And last but not least, are "Howlcats" for the boys.  Howlcats are awesome, because they can be a cowl or a hat. I picked this pattern for the boys based on how cold it was last winter.  (Which was NOT to be seen on Christmas day, it was in the sixties.)    Here's Sean wearing his as a cowl, playing a game that the boys invented called "Bandit."

 And then here's Will with his as a double-knit hat.

And new for a little knitting geekery for New Year's...

In 2014, I started 59 projects, and actually finished 51 of them.   My final tally for yarn used is 11.7 miles.  Whew!  No wonder why my arms and hands are a little tired.