Archive for December, 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


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FUBAR is one of my favorite phrases, has been since Kurt Russell used it in Tango & Cash years ago. I won’t translate it here because of language – I don’t know the ages of the folks reading this, after all, and I am a mom, which means I’m not going to be the one who teaches someone’s kid to swear – but it sums up the present situation mighty well.

The situation is this: Now that I am halfway through my degree, financial aid has run out. Isn’t that wonderful? Between tuition costs and textbooks, I need to find another $4000 to finish my degree. School is expensive. But I don’t want to stay on disability for the rest of my life, and I don’t want to wind up working at McDonald’s either, or any other minimum wage job, which will probably pay less than I’m getting from disability anyway.

You can’t get a veterinary technician position if you have not graduated from an AVMA accredited school and sat for the VTNE, and being halfway through means that there is already financial aid money that must be paid back starting within six months of leaving school. So practically speaking, it makes more sense to find a way to push through and graduate so I can get the better-paying positions than it does to give up and settle for a crappy job and try to make the bills and loan payments on what the crappy job will pay.

More than that, it’s a matter of pride and self-esteem at this point. I’ve never finished anything, for one reason or another. Not the track record I want my girls looking up to if I want them to grow up to be strong, self-sufficient women with good educations who can hold their own against any man on any playing field. My girls are beautiful and smart, and they deserve a better role model in their mother than that. Every child does, and it’s my job to give them that.

Private scholarships and grants aren’t an option here, for several reasons, so, hubby and I have each put up our most expensive, prized possessions for sale, in the hope of being able to sell them and cover what remains to be paid of my degree. For him, it is his precious Macbook Pro Retina laptop. Computers are to him what fiber arts are to me, so I know that it stings quite a bit to have that computer on Craigslist.

For me, it’s my Schacht Mighty Wolf, my only floor loom, my Black Pearl, the loom I never even got to use because school is just that grueling. Oh, yes, it stings to have put her up on Craigslist too. But between those two items, if we can sell them, tuition and books will be covered for the remainder of my degree. I can’t ignore that fact. But this is assuming they sell.

A friend of mine also suggested that I set up a page at gofundme.com, so I did that here. I don’t expect much to happen with it. The economy is horrible, and everyone has their own issues and families to take care of, and it’s Christmastime. But, hey, worth a shot, right?

There are a couple of other very slim possibilities out there to explore before I give up. If I go down, I’m going down fighting. This isn’t just for me, or about me. This is about what image I want to present to my daughters. This is about being able to get a job that allows me to support them without sitting on a government system, without having to rob Peter to pay Paul. This is about being able to buy them clothes and toys and being able to buy them new, rather than secondhand or poor quality. This is about my kids, first, last, and always. Once you have them, almost nothing is about you anymore, except in terms of how it benefits them in the long run. Yes, it’s my education, but it’s their lives.

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The maple tree outside my studio window

The maple tree outside my studio window

A few days ago, I frogged a blanket I’d been working on using a knitting loom. I wanted to make a cabled blanket, and yes, you can do cables on a knitting loom. I had begun this project a few months ago, and when I started it, I looked up instructions for doing cables on the loom. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me until far too late that I should have asked in the loom knitting group on Ravelry. Duh.

At any rate, all of the directions I found were quite helpful in all but one thing: none of them informed me that I wasn’t supposed to be relocating stitches on every row. Fancy that.

So here is the actual deal: you mark off four stitches. The stitch before and the stitch after that group are purl stitches. Within the group, you will take stitches 1 and 2 and move them to pegs 3 and 4, respectively. Stitches 3 and 4, therefore, are moved to pegs 1 and 2, creating a criss-cross pattern. You knit the entire row, except for where you’re doing cables, in which case you do the purl, criss-cross, purl. When you’re done with that row, knit back normally. But don’t do that only once!!! That was the mistake that wasn’t addressed in the instructions I found. You have to knit normally for at least two rows, if not more, to get the cable look.  Since I didn’t know that…yeah, you can pretty much guess what my so-called cables looked like. It was a mess. And when you consider that I started the cables almost immediately, and had used an entire skein of yarn already…you get the idea.So, ticked off at the whole thing, I put it down and left it sitting. For months. Until this past weekend, when I removed the whole mess from the loom and unraveled it, and spent an hour winding the skein around my hand because I was too lazy to go and get the electric ball winder out of the closet.

I was going to restart the thing properly. I really was. I set the loom up for it. The stitch markers are in place, waiting for me to get started. I did all the math to figure out how many cables I could do, keeping them equidistant from each other. The yarn is in a ball, waiting. And I didn’t start it. I thought about it several times over the course of Sunday afternoon. As I cooked dinner, I thought “After dinner I’ll do it.” During dinner, the same thought.  After dinner, I discovered I hadn’t logged out of World of Warcraft, which sucked me in once more. Then I thought, “While I’m watching tv with the kids.” Ha. Bryony, in her infinite three-nearly-fourness, decided to act up…again…tonight, which resulted in her being sent to bed early. Which resulted in several trips back and forth to my studio with spurious excuses of the pre-schooler variety: hunger, thirst, something horribly important that has to be related to me right now, a diaper needing to be changed, etc.  Yes, my child who will turn four at the end of this month is still in diapers. Why? Because she has a big sister who likes to tease and torment her any time she actually uses the toilet, if one parent or the other is not present. If I was Bryony, I wouldn’t want to use the toilet either.

News flash: the so-called “Mother’s Curse” really does work,  and it doesn’t have to be your mother who curses you…it could be your spouse’s mother. In which case, the fact that the curse spills over onto you simply makes you collateral damage. Also, if you have not yet figured it out, the Powers That Be made babies and children irresistibly cute to ensure that their mischief does not drive their parents into killing them. Don’t believe me? Think about how often you have threatened to kill, murder, or maim your offspring.

We’ve actually tried to cut back on that. People overhearing that (usually people with no children or siblings of their own) tend to flip out. My current favorite threat involves duct tape, a ceiling fan, feet, and an inverted child. The logistics of such a feat are utterly improbable, but my children don’t need to know that. I need every advantage I can get.

But I digress.

So every day this week, I have thought about this blanket. I have looked at the empty loom and contemplated this blanket. I have gone to sleep thinking that tomorrow, I will restart this blanket. And as the week draws to a close, I have not even cast on this blanket. And I don’t really know why. Sure, I’ve had things to do: a research paper due this coming Monday, elementary school projects that really mean work for the parents, refereeing the incessant sisterly fighting…yet at some point, I had some free time, and still did not start the blanket over again. I have a very clear picture of it in my mind, assuming all goes well, so the motivation should be there, but it isn’t.

This weekend. I will get started on it this weekend!

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