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The base of my bag, finally underway!

The base of my bag, finally underway!

It’s been a busy few days around here! Starting, of course, with the PIP passing his germs along to me, for which I owe him big time! I managed to avoid catching anything from the kids, only to get it from him. So now he’s over this plague, and it’s my turn to constantly hack up a lung. Yay…no, not really. At least I’m past the point of actually feeling like I’m sick.

While I am still playing around with the bag pattern from the mochila crochet group, I decided to try my hand at my own design once again, using the Easy Bead Pattern rosette template, and decided that I don’t like the program. At least not for anything in the round. I’m thoroughly confused by it, so I can’t get it to work the way I want it to, and as a result, I have scrapped a number of efforts. I just wanted to create a starburst pattern, not even anything very fancy, but I just can’t make it work for me. So now I’m kind of designing as I crochet. I can tell you this much: it ain’t a starburst!! I don’t know what it is, exactly…I’m just kind of winging it and hoping to learn from it, and whatever happens, happens.

Puzzle game loot!!!

Puzzle game loot!!!

Last week, a friend of mine called to ask a favor: could they come over for the day while their oldest kids were at school. Their apartment building was being bombed, so they had to clear out for the day, dog included. Naturally, my answer was yes. It was only going to be her, her husband, her two youngest children–she has five girls–and the dog. All the other kids were going to be at school…or so we thought! It was an extremely windy day, and just before she was due to arrive, I got a phone call from a wireless number I didn’t recognize. I didn’t answer it, due to my hatred of telemarketers, and was looking up the number on Google when it rang again, from the same number. This time I answered it, and it was Aneira. The circuit breaker at school, she said, had exploded. The students had all been evacuated to the church across the street, and could I come pick them up. This meant I needed to call my friend as well, because her middle daughter attends the same school, and I didn’t know if she’d gotten any notification about this. So I flew up to the church to sign them out, stupidly asked where their backpacks were (duh, evacuation!), and headed back home with the girls.

My friend, it turned out, had not only gotten word of the evacuation at the elementary school, but also gotten a call from her seventeen-year old, whose high school had had a tree fall down, so that school was allowing students to leave as well. We had a party shaping up at my house! The PIP had several of his friends down in the mancave, and now we had six kids instead of two! But, amazingly, my two actually somewhat behaved, so this wasn’t a bad thing. But then, we heard Bryony scream. If you’re a parent, you know the scream. It’s not anger or frustration, it’s pain, and you go running.

Turned out, Bryony tried to plug in her robot cat to charge it, and the prongs came out of the charger and stayed in the outlet. And for whatever reason, she forgot everything she’d ever been told about the dangers of electrical outlets, and tried to pull the prongs out. Thankfully, she never got a grip on them, but she connected with two fingers and blam! Electrocuted. Mildly. Yes, she’s fine–this would be a very different post if she wasn’t, but she managed to terrify herself and me. My child, down to the bone. At about the same age, maybe a little younger, I had done something similar. There was a light switch in our basement that my dad hadn’t put a plate over yet, and there was this pretty little bright orange thingie inside of the box that I just had to touch. Lesson learned, and I’m pretty sure Bryony learned hers too. We cut the electricity to the breaker so the PIP could pull the prongs out of the outlet, and life continued on. My friend’s husband went to pick up their second oldest, the only one whose school didn’t have any problems that day! And when she arrived, I discovered something new that I really love: she had a game called IQ Twist by a company called Smart Games USA. It’s a puzzle game, kind of like Tetris, but a physical game, not a video game. And I love puzzles. Especially challenging ones. And this company makes a slew of them. Yep, I ordered five of them from Amazon…for me. They weren’t expensive, and fell well within my allowance limits. Now, of course, my kids want them. With the number of games available, I’ve got birthdays and Yule covered for years.

Glider toys!

Glider toys!

And, last but not least, I got to meet one of the women from the Colorado glider group, the third of us who had gotten gliders imported from out of state. She was in town to have her male neutered, and had brought me some toys that I had been looking for–and failed to find–in the dollar stores here! We spent an hour in front of a restaurant, yakking away. I really like her, very down to earth. And my gliders are going to love these toys! I need to drill some holes in the bottoms in case they go to the bathroom in them, but once that’s done, into the cage they’ll go! I can’t wait to see how they like them!!

Well, I’ve got about two hours before the kids’ school lets out for the day, and I’m going to give my bag some quality time for a little while. See you soon!

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Creative Options box on top, Yarnology box on the bottom

Creative Options box on top, Yarnology box on the bottom

Because today was payday, and I had my allowance, I trotted over to the local Hobby Lobby this afternoon, looking, once again, for a way to organize my tatting shuttles. I had purchased a couple of small, Tupperware-type boxes at the dollar store, but my shuttle collection was not only outgrowing the box (because I have a ton of the cheap plastic shuttles now, thanks to an Amazon credit), but keeping the shuttles together in the box meant that the ones with projects on them were tangling together. There had to be a better way to do things!!!!

So off to Hobby Lobby it was. I was looking for a box with sections and dividers. Once upon a time, years ago, I’d bought a couple of tackle boxes at Walmart that were made that way. Each one had four smaller boxes inside it that slid in and locked in place. When you opened the boxes, there were set rows, but there were small, adjustable dividers. They were perfect for embroidery floss once it was wound around those little cards. I still have one of those tackle boxes, still filled to the brim with embroidery floss. Though I gave up on counted cross-stitch long ago, the floss is still great for inkle weaving. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll find an interest in counted cross-stitch again.

Anyway, that was what I was looking for, and I found it!!! Actually, I found several, and bought two of the larger boxes, and one of the smaller ones. The larger ones are by a company called Creative Options, and retail for $9.99. Those, I found in the paper craft section of the store. The smaller one was in the sewing section, and is made by Yarnology, retailing for $3.49. Probably should have grabbed another one of those, too. Hindsight. Well, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back in Hobby Lobby again!

Both boxes have the adjustable dividers, and I set them up so there’s just enough room in each little section for 1-2 shuttles and whatever projects are attached to them, with another section just for holding bobbins for the Aerlit shuttles. Once you close the lid, no muss, no fuss. No tangling.

Another option for storage that just occurred to me as I was writing this is the Dot Box. I’ve never seen them anywhere but Amazon, which does not, however, mean that they can’t be found locally. It just means that I haven’t found them locally.

Dot Boxes are a touch more expensive, but they are really awesome storage for small things. I have two of them. Like the tackle box I mentioned, they are one large box containing a bunch of smaller ones, all of which can be bought separately so you can customize what you need. The ones I have, I use for my chain maille supplies, all of the little jump rings. I learned the hard way that the type of box I bought for the shuttles absolutely does not work for really tiny things such as size 11 seed beads. If the box is closed and gets jarred, beads manage to cross dividers and get mixed up. If you’re working with the beads and the lid is open when the box is jolted, the resulting mess is unholy. The first–and last!–time I used such a box for beadwork, I had a litter of puppies in the house, who had just turned two months old and loved nothing more than chasing each other throughout the house. At the time, I didn’t have a dedicated craft space, and I was working on the bed when an impromptu chase broke out. The box wasn’t just jolted: it went flying. It was a big box, and it was filled with seed beads. I cleaned up what I could, but found beads in that carpet for years afterwards. Lesson learned.

Dot Boxes are pretty innovative. They’re called Dot Boxes because once you remove all of the smaller boxes inside it, you’ll see raised “dots” at regular intervals in the bottom. And the bottoms of the smaller boxes all have the same dots, so when you put the smaller boxes back in, they sit comfortably on the dots of the larger box, and once you close the lid, there’s no movement. And each of the smaller boxes has its own hinged lid as well, so if you’re working with one small box, even if you leave it inside the parent box and that gets tossed, all of the other boxes stay closed and the mess you have to clean up is greatly reduced. Awesomeness. At some future point, I may have to give them a serious look for shuttle storage. For now, though, the ones I’ve bought will do just fine. The Creative Options boxes will be for storing shuttles at home. The Yarnology box will slide right into one of my larger purses so I can tat wherever I am.

Wow. Who knew I could create an entire post just talking about storage boxes??

On the home front, guess who is finally finished with school? This girl!!!!! I have finally graduated. I am now the proud possessor of an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) in Veterinary Technology. I even managed to graduate with a B average! I still have to take the VTNE–the national board for veterinary technicians–but I’ve got to save up money for that. It’s a $300 exam. I also have to be very, very ready for it once I have the fee, because it’s only given every so often, and if you fail, you not only have to wait a certain amount of time before you’re allowed to re-test, you also have to pay another full $300 fee! So I only want to have to take the test once! But I’m very proud of myself for finally completing my degree. Yeah, okay, it took me till I was in my forties to do it, but I did it, and, more importantly, my kids saw me do it. They saw me struggle and fight to do this and do it right, and succeed, and I’m hopeful that it made enough of an impression on them that they will do the same when it’s their turn!

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When you sit down and really think about the things you do and learn, sometimes it truly hits home that once upon a time, the things you consider fun were once essential life skills that made a difference in how people survived and at what level they did so.

I love the fiber arts–we know this. My blog is centered around my crafting fun and my family, so this statement comes as no surprise to anyone who actually reads my posts. And I also love to cook and find new recipes to try. Again, no surprise to anyone. But none of these things are considered essential skills anymore, unless you’re trying to get a job with companies that specialize in them. There are many, many people who don’t weave, spin, knit, crochet, cook…never mind have any proficiency in all of them at once, even if it’s only the basics. And lacking those abilities doesn’t make any difference to their lives because there’s no need to make one’s own clothes, blankets, curtains…there’s no need to cook one’s own food. Everything can be bought. You can walk into a Walmart and buy pre-cooked meals, clothing in various sizes without having to have them tailored to you…any and everything is available to you according to how much is in your bank account. How cool is that?

But what if it wasn’t? What would you do then? At that point, suddenly you realize that this talent you’ve developed because you wanted to is now in demand. The apocalypse has come, Walmart and Kmart are gone, and people have returned to the stone age. No longer can they just walk into a store and pick out whatever they want, hand over some money and walk out. Now they’ve gotta find a new old way of doing things, and there you are. You know how to make your own yarn. Your family has clothing to keep them warm during the day, and blankets to keep them cozy warm at night, because you’ve made them. And here’s an entire population of people who now need your skills, and you can basically write your own ticket. How cool is that???

But, in the absence of the zombie apocalypse, right now it’s just fun for me. There are things I simply don’t buy anymore, because now I can make them myself. In addition to the almond paste I mentioned in a previous post, I also make my own pancake syrup now–no more Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth’s! Throw blankets and scarves, those kind of go without saying, right? Bookmarks…well, bookmarks weren’t something I ever really spent money on anyway. I was always good with just grabbing a piece of scrap paper to mark a page. But I like to make pretty bookmarks too.

I have yet to really try my hand at making clothes, but that may be next, as I’m also trying my hand at hairpin lace, and I just don’t see any use for it in my house except as clothing! My dining room table doesn’t really lend itself to table runners or table cloths. Maybe my coffee table…

Something else I’d like to try is crotatting, or Japanese hook tatting, but I’m having a hard time finding a decent YouTube tutorial on either of those keywords, so if anyone knows of any good links, I can’t tell you how appreciative I’d be if you’d post them in the comments!!!

In family news, Bryony graduated from kindergarten, and though it was way over the top (they did the full cap and gown ceremony), my little girl did look adorable, although she thought she looked hideous. Yes, those were her exact words. I assure you, she was anything but hideous. Her hair was neat, her dimples were on full display, cuteness full blown…okay, stopping now. You get the picture.

My own graduation is looming as well. My externship is just about over, and in a week or two is my actual graduation ceremony. I cannot wait to finally be done with school. What was originally supposed to be two years has turned into four, and I’m ready to be done!

The PIP and I have settled into a routine. There is no more fighting, although there are disagreements on occasion. I can’t speak for him, but for myself, I think I’ve come to a place where my anger is gone. He is who he is, and he can’t help that. Yes, things could have been handled a lot better, but that, too, is water under the proverbial bridge. The important thing now is that no matter what, we are tied together for the rest of our lives by these two beautiful children we created together, and we owe it to them to find a happy medium. By no means have we found a perfect solution, but there is peace in the house, and the parents have returned to a united front with the kids, which means we have made progress!

We’ll never be what we were…I think we’ve both made strides in coming to terms with that fact. Too many key things have changed, the largest and most obvious being how the PIP defines his sexuality, but that is far from the only thing that has changed, although I guess you could say it was the catalyst for everything that has changed. We’re different people now. In some ways, we’ve grown farther apart, while in others we’ve grown closer. It’s hard to explain.

We still plan on sticking it out together, at least for now. There’s no way to know what the future holds in store for us. Everything is an unknown variable now. Maybe he’ll meet someone. Maybe I will. Of course, both of those scenarios are unlikely if we don’t start socializing outside of the house, and I don’t see that happening anytime soon!

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Almost there!

Almost there!

The past week has been rough in this house. Both kids home from school on spring break, and all of us sick. Every. Single. One.

Unbelievable. Well, maybe not so unbelievable. If you have school age children, it is virtually guaranteed that they are going to bring home some horrible bug that will barely touch them, but takes the parents down like a cannon. That was this week, on top of the snow that hit last Wednesday. That was a lot of fun, let me tell you. I was already sick, and we had a school field trip–my school, not the kids’–and attendance was mandatory. I hadn’t watched the news or checked the weather, so I wasn’t expecting snow.

First, I rolled out of bed late and had to rush everything. I get to the door, several minutes later than I usually le

Serenity and Companion yarns

Serenity and Companion yarns

ave the house, and see my truck is covered in snow. Now I’m going to be even later, because, obviously, I have to clear the snow off the truck. Meanwhile, I’m light-headed and nauseated and have a raging headache: I don’t want to do this at all, but I have to.

Charming charms--with my beloved Serenity up top!

Charming charms–with my beloved Serenity up top!

Finally, I get on the road, and am immediately slowed to a crawl. It’s not the amount of snow, because there’s honestly not that much. The issue is the wind, which is blowing hard enough to create white-out conditions, despite the relative lack of snow. When the car just a few feet in front of you vanishes like it never existed, you are quick to take your foot off the accelerator! So what should have been a ten minute drive, tops, turned into an hour long drive. Then came the kicker: I finally get to the site and realize that I’m not late. In fact, I’m incredibly early. The field trip was scheduled for ten o’clock, not eight!! Well, given the weather, I wasn’t going back home to have to come back out again, so I went to a nearby Starbuck’s and hung out there for two hours, then muddled through the actual field trip, praying I could get through it without throwing up or my head exploding. Someone up there clearly took pity on me, because I made it, and then got home safely!

So, clearly, rough week! Despite it, I managed to get closer to finishing the bookmark properly than I ever have before! That’s where the title of this post comes in.

Cocobolo quad

Cocobolo quad

Firefly cast pouch and buttons--so cute!

Firefly cast pouch and buttons–so cute!

I actually made it to the final ring and chain before running out of thread this time, and with no mistakes!! I actually caught all my mistakes and pulled them out! Okay, not all: the sizes of my picots vary rather widely, so I’m going to have to give the picot gauge a try when I attempt this bookmark again. Yes, there will be another attempt. I want to get it perfect!

And I got fun stuff in the mail today, which was particularly nice as today is yet another anniversary of my 21st birthday. We don’t need to go into which anniversary, right? Yeah, we’ll leave that alone lol! Several months ago, I’d ordered a Firefly/Serenity themed yarn package from a club in the UK, and that arrived today with tons of goodies, including some adorable charms that I’m going to turn into stitch markers. I’ve already got some Firefly stitch markers from Yarnette’s on Etsy that are absolutely adorable, but who can’t use more Firefly???

And a set of four cocobolo wood shuttles came in from Ebay…they’re gorgeous! I can’t wait to try them out. I’m still waiting for the abalone shuttle from Lacis to make an appearance, and the two cheapies I ordered from the Wish app on my phone. I think it’s safe to say that I’ve got an overabundance of shuttles…

Well, the kids just arrived home, so it’s time to go hang with the family and celebrate my birthday. I hope everyone had a very happy Easter!

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It’s weird, the loops life throws at you. You never know which road you’re going to wind up on, what direction you’re going to find yourself going in. You started out heading east, only to find yourself northbound, having no real idea which of your choices or decisions put you there instead of where you had planned to go. A person who wanted to be a doctor is an artist, one who wanted to be an artist is a lawyer, the jock from high school is a teacher, etc. Even my brother, someone who lived for airplanes and aeronautics, who I would have sworn was going to follow in my father’s footsteps and become an aeronautical engineer, wound up in theater, which is at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum. If that threw me for a loop, I can only imagine what it did to him.

There’ve been some changes to life in our house, some big, some small. As I’ve mentioned, the other half now being out of the proverbial closet is one of the biggest. We’ve reached a sort of understanding, in that he is aware that our present situation is not going to last forever. I have no intention of being alone for the rest of my life–romantically speaking. He and I are tied to each other forever through the children, and I am grateful to him and will forever love him for those two gifts he gave to me, both of which I didn’t think I’d ever have. The reality is, though, that the door has closed on a romantic relationship between the two of us. As much as he would like things to go back to the way they were, to fix things, he can’t. You can’t make yourself heterosexual, any more than you can make yourself homosexual. I understand why he’d prefer to try, though, given the stigmas and prejudices still attached to being gay–how could I not? I’m black, and there are those who attach nearly the same stigmas and prejudices to that. But it’s been proven, rightly or wrongly, that where I can’t hide from the color of my skin, he can hide his homosexuality. He did it for over a decade, and did it successfully. We only have two children, true, but there were five pregnancies. I’d say he’s got a pretty good success rate at hiding!

We’ve reached a lull in the arguing. That’s a good thing. We’ve found a sort of balance, I guess, for lack of a better term. We had been there before, until his confession that love had nothing to do with getting us together. That had shocked and hurt me. It told me that this man was far more calculating and manipulative than I had given him credit for. That’s how it translated to me. The fact that we have reached any sort of balance at all is stunning to me, and I would have to credit us both on that. In temperament, I’m not the easiest person to deal with (if my brother is reading this, he just rolled his eyes at that understatement), and since having children, I’m a lot less open to some things than I used to be, from a parental standpoint. My partner in parenting would say that I’ve become rigid and less inclined to fun. I would say that I’ve matured beyond certain types of “fun”, and become more aware of consequences that weren’t all that important to me before the kids came along. But how my actions affect my children is now a major part of my thinking. So yeah, as an example, I’m not tying an elastic band around my waist and jumping off the roof of a building for fun! What if that sucker breaks?!

As far as the rest of life, not everything has been focused on romantic relationships, or the lack thereof. I managed to pass Anatomy and Physiology. I even managed to pull it up to an 80%. Woot! So this sequence, I don’t attend classes physically, I just do the online portion. I don’t physically return to school until December, so I get to resume a little bit of normality. To that end, I’ve picked up some of my fiber arts again. You’d think I’d’ve gone back and finished one of the several projects I’d already started, right? Um…no. I started another one, a crocheted blanket using a technique called corner-to-corner, or C2C. I’d seen a gorgeous blanket made that way on Facebook and had to try my own. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’ve still got plenty of WIPs sitting around, and I’ll get back to them eventually! But crocheting a blanket is nicely mindless for me. I don’t have to worry about an actual pattern, I don’t have to really concentrate on what my hands are doing, and I can keep going until the blanket “feels” done.

The best news, from the children’s standpoint, is that we’ve added bunnies to the family. During the lab animal course, we naturally had to work on animals you 12115864_10153643218037290_4875488530126671227_nwould normally find in a lab situation, i.e., rats and rabbits. I’m a New Yorker. I’ve seen enough sewer rats that I don’t like their supposedly cuter, sweeter cousins. A rat is a rat is a rat, and I call the exterminator for them. Rabbits, though, are frigging adorable, and the school rabbits needed weekend homes. I took them both home for one weekend on a trial basis, to see how it would work with the dogs. It actually worked rather well, so we adopted one of the rabbits at the end of the sequence last week, then decided to get another one to keep her company yesterday. The grey one came from school and is absolutely fearless. Annoyingly, she has a marked preference for my PIP (partner-in-parenting), so he named her Snookums, which irks me to no end. I would rather call her Snooki, except that makes me think of that horrific show “Jersey Shore”. Still better than “Snookums”. Anyway. The brown and white one is the new kid. I picked her up yesterday and christened her Cynnamon. She is, at least for right now, a good deal shyer than Snooki, but she just left home, and moved in with two hyper kids, four huge dogs that must be terrifying in their curiosity, and two new adults. I would probably be a bit bent out of shape too.

So that’s it. Still here. Still clawing my way back to normality. Just like my other projects, it’s a WIP.

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My mother always told me that being a left-handed Aries made me walk through the world differently than anyone else. Being an Aries, she said, made me hardheaded and stubborn as a mule. Being left-handed meant that my trip from point A to point B was going to take a different, harder route than the rest of the world. There was a time that I vehemently disagreed with her assessment, but in looking back over my life, I can’t do that anymore.

If anyone happened to read two posts back, my letter to Roman Reigns, then you know what’s gone on and why I haven’t been here blogging. Right now, life is a daily struggle to get through.

I actually sent Roman the link to that post, and believe it or not, he responded to me privately. He called me brave, among other things. I’m not going to post his response here; it’s something I keep close to my heart. Suffice it to say, he has a fan for life in me. He has his haters and his doubters, but I’m staunch in my loyalties, and he has mine.

As I said, life is a daily struggle nowadays. I miss my crafting, but I simply don’t have time right now. Math and science have never been my strong points, and here I’ve chosen a career path in which they both figure prominently, so I’m struggling just to barely maintain a C average. In most schools, 65 is a D, and is a passing grade. In my school, there is no D. There are A, B, C, and F. A C is 77. I’m trying to look at it the way someone told me to: a 77 means that I’ve learned 3/4 of what I’ll need to know to be a vet tech. The rest will come as I’m working in the profession. It’s a good way to look at it.

As far as family life goes, Bryony has started full-time school. Kindergarten is all day, and she attends the same school as Aneira. There has been some acting out on her part since school has started, and I don’t know, honestly, how much of it is due to a whole new environment and people, and how much of it is due to the changing dynamics at home. Both girls are aware of their dad’s preferences, and it doesn’t appear to bother them at all. Things have changed for them, but not as much as for me. For them, dad is still dad, and he still treats them the same way he always has. The only difference is that he’s now extremely feminine. More often than not, they refer to him as Dad-mom, or Mom 2.

For me, it’s like another person that looks just like my other half has moved into my life. Everything has changed. His entire personality is different. Foods that he used to like, he now hates. Television shows he used to watch are now no longer worthy of his time. The things he likes to do have changed a little too.

Not all the changes are bad. He’s closer to the kids now, and more patient with them than he was before, and that’s a good thing. Still, for me, it’s like putting on a different skin. I don’t know this person, and I’m not completely comfortable with him yet. I don’t know if I ever will be. Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad he’s comfortable enough now to openly be himself. But I never planned, never expected, this.

For me, everything is in upheaval. I had a plan for my life, for my relationship with a man. I wanted the hand-holding, the ring, the traditional wedding. I have to come to terms with the fact that these things are not going to happen with the man I’ve spent so many years loving. I’ve even had to work on my body language, so that when we’re out together, my body language doesn’t scream “These two are a couple”, while his says “Oh, that guy is a hottie!”

There’s a part of me that’s angry, so angry with him for destroying what I thought we had. There’s another part that says it’s not his fault, and it really isn’t. Being gay isn’t a choice. Rationally, I know that. Emotionally, though, I’ve withdrawn from him a bit. Okay, a lot. He’s still my friend, but I need to protect my heart now. From him. How sad is that?

He wants us to stay together. He’s stated that he would be extremely jealous if I found someone else. I don’t really understand either sentiment, nor do I see staying together as really feasible, but I’ve agreed for the time being. It’s weird. He doesn’t understand why I’m no longer attracted to him, but in my mind he is now as much a girl as I am, and I’m very much heterosexual. I like guys, and he’s no longer in the club.

It’s scary to have your life turned completely upside down. For all these years, everything has been “we”, and now it’s back to “him” and “I”. There’s a separation there now. I can’t help it.

We’re muddling through, though, and trying to keep life as they know it as normal as possible for the girls. Ye gods, did I really just use the word “normal” in reference to my life?

So, yeah: really can’t disagree with my mom anymore. She was right, my path through life is a lot stranger than that of the rest of the world. No denying it. It’s certainly not boring, that’s for sure. I’m not sure where we’re going from here, or where we’ll wind up. I think it’s going to take a long time before we figure it all out. I hope we can salvage our friendship, at the very least for the sake of the girls. The gods know, we aren’t the first couple to find themselves in this situation, and almost certainly won’t be the last. It’s going to be a rough ride, all the way across the board. But I’m gonna keep watching the WWE and Roman, and keep telling myself “I Can and I Will”. If for no other reason, I am a mother: first, last, and always, and for them, I can and I will do anything. So please wish us all luck, and please don’t give up on my blog here…it may be awhile, posts may be few and far between, but I will be back here. Thanks for reading, and supporting.

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Yesterday pretty much covered that title. It was definitely an interesting day.

It began with my arrival at school. As I’m waiting to turn left into the parking lot, a woman in a Honda SUV coming from the other direction turns right into the parking lot ahead of me and parks next to the smoking area, where several of my classmates are hanging out. No big deal. I park a few spaces over and get out of my truck to walk over and join them. As I’m passing this woman’s car, she reverses into me. I’m screaming and pounding on her back window while backpedaling for all I’m worth, which isn’t nearly enough as my hip isn’t limber enough for quickstepping, and my classmates are also screaming at her. She never stopped. I finally got out from behind her, and she’s still going, continuing to back up until she bounces over the curb and very nearly takes out another classmate’s car. She looks at me as though I’ve lost my mind and drives away. ??!!! She never stopped. She never acknowledged me. Never asked if I was all right. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Amazingly, despite full-body contact with the back end of her car, I haven’t fallen over yet. I really should have, and then called an attorney. I just filed an incident report with the school and continued on with my day.

Then, after school, I got to go to work. Yes, I finally got a job, the first one I’ve had since getting pregnant with Aneira! Well…the first job outside the home anyway…I do plenty of working inside the home! It is a veterinary clinic, which is good, but it wasn’t the clinic I wanted. Still, it’s a job, and it has pretty good benefits, and I don’t have to stay there forever, but I’m going to run with it for now. The vet is pretty cool, and so is the receptionist, and I haven’t talked much to the other techs yet, so we’ll see. They seem nice, though. And gods, did my feet hurt after being on them for four hours straight! I haven’t done that in over ten years, and I’m not as young as I was then! I hobbled out to my truck, where hubby and the girls were waiting for me, and immediately went to the passenger side. I never do that. It’s my truck; if it’s moving, I’m driving, but not yesterday!! Yesterday, I just wanted my shoes off!!!

Lastly, I think I’ve got the design of the crochet hook case conquered (say that three times, fast)! So far, I’ve got two of the ten pockets done, and they fit my Crochet Lite hooks beautifully! I’m trying to write it down as I go, so I can repeat the experiment and make sure it really does work, but I’ve never written a pattern before, so we’ll see how that goes. This part is only the interior; I’ve still got to figure out what I want to do for the outer cover that won’t be a copy of someone else’s design, since I’d like to put it on Etsy if it works!

So that’s my day in a nutshell. A hell of a day, wasn’t it?!

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The start of a jewel-toned Night Fury

The start of a jewel-toned Night Fury

I haven’t finished hubby’s black Toothless yet, but I decided to get a jump on things and start on Bryony’s this past weekend. She decided on this magenta-blue-purple variegated yarn, very jewel-toned, and very pretty once you start it working. Admittedly, I had my doubts about it at first, but I’m liking the look now. I got the two pieces for the head done, as well as the wings and wing arms, and am working on the body now. Since we are not going with black, the story is now that all male Night Fury dragons are black, and the females come in all kinds of different colors. This will be the explanation for anyone who teases the girls about having Toothlesses (???) that are not the proper color.

I’m trying things a bit differently this time, such as not assembling as I go along. This time I’m going to make all the pieces and then assemble them at the end. Also, I discovered that the reason I had all the quite-visible gaps in the black one is because as I’m crocheting in the round, I need to tug the working yarn after each stitch as I go. I wasn’t doing that, which doesn’t appear to make a difference when I’m crocheting flat, but apparently when I work in the round, I somehow manage to loosen each stitch as I go around. So far, it appears to be working. It’s not a sharp tug, either, just a slight one to tighten up the stitch just a tiny bit.

Another thing I’m taking great pleasure in is the ability to see my stitches! You cannot imagine the joy this gives me! I’m giving serious consideration to buying the lighted crochet hooks for the next time I do anything in black. I thought the lighted hooks were an amusing novelty item when I saw them on Amazon, but I’m rethinking my position now. They might have actually helped when working on hubby’s dragon. If you click on the link, you’ll see that they’re a bit pricey, but I’m really thinking they’d be worth it for the next time I’m working with a dark yarn.

In other news, I passed Pharmacology and Surgical Nursing. It was by the skin of my teeth, but it was a pass, and at this point, I’ll take it. I wanted to do a lot better in the grades department, but I’m finding out that I don’t test well. I can study from now till doomsday, but the second I find myself in a testing position, my brain shuts off. It doesn’t matter if the test is written or oral. I get nervous, and I’m done for. So as long as I keep my grades above a C, I’ll graduate, but after that comes the Test Of All Tests, also known as the VTNE, the Veterinary Technicians National Exam, which is essentially national boards. Passing is 75%, and the fee to take the test is $300…each time you take it. I am thoroughly dreading that test, and my plan is to take it as soon as possible after graduating, while everything still remains fairly fresh in my brain, as it were.

You know what? Let’s not even discuss this. I can feel the terror mounting even thinking about it. My blood pressure is high enough, thanks. Let’s go back to crafty stuff.

I’m also thinking about trying out another doubleweave blanket on my Flip. It’s been awhile since I’ve woven anything, and longer still since I’ve woven on the Flip at all. Since the last doubleweave disaster, I put it away and haven’t touched it. I think I’d like to get her out again. She’s not ideal for blanket weaving, with only a 25″ weaving width, but my big floor loom is long gone, and I miss her. I’ll never see a deal that sweet again. Anyway.

I also need to resume spinning all the Sibe fur for the rescue and get it back to them. Any spinners out there who’d like to donate their services in a good cause? Please comment and I’ll put you in touch with people who would be very grateful for it. If you know a spinner, please pass the word. As a matter of fact, if you want to donate some time or anything else to a rescue, whether you’re crafty or not, comment and let me know. You don’t even need to be local. I can probably put you in touch with someone no matter where you are, and the rescue groups are always grateful for any help they can get. So are the pups they support!

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Ignore the messy desk, but Toothless is progressing!

Ignore the messy desk, but Toothless is progressing!

Okay, I know I’m working the Toothless pattern a bit out of order. I know that. But I had to get away from the Magic Ring for awhile – I really had a battle with a 4 stitch Magic Ring for the wing arm, especially in black…you would not believe the number of times I had to redo it, and I was heartily sick of it. Once the wing arm was done, the rest of the wing was a simple back and forth of double and single crochet, such as you would do for blankets, and it was nice to do that for awhile instead of crocheting in the round. So Toothless has sprouted one wing, so far. There are definitely mistakes – the wing arm has lots of spaces where the stitches should be closer together and are not, and I have no idea why. I would like to blame them on the fact that he’s black and I can’t always see the stitches I’m working with, but I won’t know that until I make him in another, lighter color. I kind of feel like that’s a cop out on my part too, but on the other hand, I’m more than happy to blame it on this being my first try, too!

Honestly, though, I really did struggle with the wing arm, and after I stuffed it and realized the holes were there, it was one of those throw-your-hands-up and say  “I don’t care!” moments. I really didn’t. I was so annoyed with both myself and it by then, I just was not inclined to tear it back and try to correct the mistakes, especially knowing I still had another wing arm to face.

I know part of the problem is the size of the round I was crocheting at that point. The same thing happened on the tail. It was a combination of an inability to see the stitches well enough and the four stitch rounds. Apparently, six stitches is my limit on visibility in black. I just wound up ending the tail two rounds early, and it really doesn’t make an overall difference, but I had no choice but to fight with the wing arm. The battle was epic and long. I won, but I have promised myself that there are no more black Night Fury dragons in my future!

On another note, school continues to go poorly. I’m so much better at doing things than I am at the memorization. There’s just so much to remember: the chemical and trade names of the drugs, what they do, what their side effects are, how they interact with other drugs, the mathematical formulas…actually, I’m doing better at the math than I am at the rest of it, which is unusual for me. I haven’t given up, but some days I come closer than others.

Actually doing the work helps me more than reading the books, not that they don’t have their place, but doing the lab work cements it in my brain. Drawing the blood makes far more sense than a description of how and why to do it. If passing the class was entirely based upon the work I was doing, I’d be a 4.0 GPA in no time! Unfortunately, things are never that simple, so I’ll just keep plugging at it. Eventually, something will click!

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A delicious eggplant purple!

A delicious eggplant purple!

Well. Let me tell you, those turban headbands were a hit. Seriously. I made the one for myself – which was actually a bit too large, as I’ve discovered – and the girls each demanded their own. First, I made another white one for Bryony, which also came out a little large for her little head, but she loved it. Then I bought the hot pink and teal blue to make more headbands for them. The hot pink for Aneira took another two days, because I had to intersperse knitting during my breaks from studying (if you suffer from insomnia, pick up textbooks on pharmacology and surgical nursing. You’ll be immediately cured, I promise you). I made hers a touch smaller, and also upped the ribbing from a 2-1 rib to a 2-2, and it worked out beautifully. The teal blue for Bryony was a slightly thinner yarn, calling for size 11 needles as opposed to the size 13s I needed for my and Aneira’s headbands. I upgraded hers to a 2-2 rib and made it smaller also, and haven’t laid eyes on the white one since. Every time that kid walks out the door, I get a hug and a “Thank you for my hair thingie, Mama!” Big hits. I didn’t even get pictures of them before they were snatched by the children! And while I’d love to post pictures of the girls wearing them, I won’t. As I said, way back when I began this blog, this forum is far too public, and I won’t expose my children on it. Far too many predators out there, and they don’t need to see my kids. So I’ll try to snag the headbands back again for pictures. This may take some time.

I’ve finally started on the purple one for myself, once again only able to knit when I’m away from the books, which isn’t often, so I haven’t gotten very far, as you can see from the picture. The purple yarn calls for the size 13 needles, but, well, I didn’t realize that when I started it – because I forgot to look – so I’m doing it on the 11s as a 2-2 rib. The only real difference between the 13s and the 11s is that it’s a tighter knit, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Purple is my favorite color, and this is a deep eggplant shade that I love. I can’t wait to be done with it so I can see how it looks. I’ll take any shade of purple I can get hold of, but the deep, dark amethyst is by far the one I love most, while pastel purple is the one I like least. Pastels in any shade are nauseating for me, at least in terms of any adult using them. I’m not even thrilled to see kids in pastels. You have no idea how sick of pastel pink I was by the time my girls were out of baby clothes. Never have I been so happy to see clothes in other colors.

While the headbands made the grade, on the study front, I did not. Veterinary technology classes are considerably harder than veterinary assistant classes. In the space of a week, my grade has dropped from an A to a C, and I am supremely unhappy with myself for that. I don’t want to just skate into graduation by the skin of my teeth. I want to do this right, otherwise, what’s the point? To that end, I’ve already signed up for tutoring. I’m determined to get it right, one way or another. As I told the hubby last night, I never had a Plan B. This is it. It’s also not as though I’m still in my twenties, with plenty of time to pussyfoot around what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’m closer to fifty than I am to forty now, and that has an effect on the landscape. So I either do it badly or I do it well, but it’s getting done either way. If I really work at it and still don’t do better than a C, well, then, at least I passed. The grading system in this field is a little different than normal, though, and my grades aren’t as low as a normal C. A C here starts at 77% and goes up to an 84%, which would be a B anywhere else. So it’s some consolation. A B is 85 – 92 I think, and an A is 93 and better.

Time to get back to the books now…break’s over. See you soon!

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