Friday, May 30, 2008

I have no yarn blogging for you. My stash is entirely packed and it was a real eye opener about just where so much money has gone over the last few years. The various sock clubs do seem to do a really nice job of taking the edge off my acquisitive yarn urges, so I am hoping this will serve as a reality check the next time I'm in a LYS and get the hurt for a hit of merino.

I have my Lady E, a Charade sock on the needles, and the BMFA S2S kit I am spinning left unpacked. If I get time to work on projects, that's going to have to suffice. And you've seen those before, so, ho hum, right?

I may not have yarn blogging, but I do have pancakes. And apple stuffed french toast. And cinnamon chai latte.

apple toast chai raspberry lemon

Life is good.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I haven't posted in a while about my daughter's headaches - mostly because the drama with the school has passed us and we are doing great with Independent Study aka homeschool.

Today we saw the pediatric neurologist and we love her. Very good doctor. I wish I'd had the insurance to see her earlier. There is some juggling of medication going on and we are essentially going to be trying to strike a balance between getting the effects we *want* (no headaches) vs. side effects we can live with (because no drug is side effect free.)

For all the complaints I've had about the school, lack of insurance, out of pocket costs for drugs, wonky medication side effects, the state attendance board, blah blah blah blah infinity - I have to say that we have, from Day One, had absolutely top notch medical care from the practitioners we've seen. Our GP has been fantastic and now this other doc he referred us to is equally fantastic.

We may still not know exactly where we're going, but we're in great hands and I'm really reassured and encouraged.

It's a huge blessing and I don't take it for granted, not one bit. I feel very fortunate to have access to such great healthcare so easily, yes even if it is very expensive, I have it, and I just want to express that. Thank you Universe, thank you doctors, thank you insurance, thank you employers with insurance plans, if thanks are appropriate I am rendering them.

We really are pretty lucky here in this country. I need to remember that when food prices and gas and everything else makes me feel more like a "have not" than a "have." In all the ways that matter and more, I have what I need.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've got to admit, I am maybe a little bit ADD with the moving. My house is a bit ripped up and that makes me feel anxious. Unable to focus, even more than usual. That's saying something, as I am Anxiety Queen on the best of days. I'm more than a little bit OCD on some fronts and having my house in such flux is horrifying on levels I can't even put into words. My functionality over time really does depend on certain structures remaining constant and when there is change on this level, I have to work extra hard to get things done.

In each room there is a packing project. Maybe two. Or three. Here there are pictures being dusted, sorted and boxed, over there are things getting washed and dried and carefully wrapped in tissue. Piles of clothes, faire garb (I don't know why I am holding on to the bodice I wore two sizes ago...), books, papers, yarn, art crap... OH DEAR GOD THE ART CRAP. Scrapbooking stuff, beads, fabric, floss, you name it I probably have it in a Tupperware bin. I found three years worth of old Mary Englebreit magazines in the bottom of my Art Crap Chest, dating from like, 1999 - 2001, seriously. I am totally gung ho when I start each packing project, then I find myself distracted and wander away to something else. All day long. Round and round I go. Quite a lot is actually getting done, but it feels disjointed and vague.

I am driving myself somewhat crazy, but finding it impossible to focus enough to do it any other way. I am excavating these layers that have been relatively untouched for several years and I feel the need to spend a little time on each layer as it is unearthed. I am revisiting the person I used to be. There are some things about her that I want to invite back into my life. I am trying to pick and choose which doors to leave open. Some of them I am choosing to keep closed. It is a journey.

****

When my grandparents died, their home was filled with Stuff. Most of it had history, had a story attached. Most of the stories we knew. Some of them were mysteries. In the end, story or not, it all ended up scattered. In the end, you can’t take it with you. I am trying to remember this, as I gaze upon my hoarded treasures. I need to use them while I’m still here or let go of them so someone else can enjoy them.

Crazy Aunt Purl had a great post today about stuff. Go read it, it's really awesome. I've been wrestling with the same conundrum all week. I think having less will make it easier to live a little more harmoniously. Unfortunately? I need to buy some specific new stuff for this move. This has been weighing heavily upon me. Polar bears going extinct, recession, gas, resources are limited. I feel guilty for buying more stuff when I know it is better not to consume. I have a lot of guilt for wanting more stuff.

I guess the way I’ve rationalized this to myself is to say that where there is need, I'm going to buy good stuff that is not as disposable instead of cheap crap so maybe I won't need to replace it in 5 years. I am going to take better care of what I have. And yes, dammit, if I have stuff that can be repurposed/remade/reused to some other function, then gods bless it, I'll make that work out too. I've got some *great* ideas to reuse things already on hand. My brain bubbleth over with projects. There WILL be tutorials!

In the end, I think that it is all about finding that balance. I am a hoarder. I can admit it. If I have one thing, then I want all those things. One teacup in a cute pattern is not enough. I want a set of four. One adorable tiny ceramic rabbit is not enough. Please I want ten. One book in a series? No, I want the whole series. And now I'm getting rid of so much stuff that seemed so damn important at the time. I am thinking of all the money I spent on that stuff and how utterly useless most of it is to me now. How meaningless. How much of it was based in wanting the trappings rather than the substance.

It isn't that stuff is bad. Stuff isn't bad. It's that sometimes, stuff gets carried away. I get carried away. There's absolutely such a thing as too much of a good thing. Boy howdy. /art stash> /teacups> /ceramic bunnies>

My battered, second hand dresser that I bought 15 years ago at a yard sale finally gave up the ghost. One side split wide open. One leg has been missing for years and I’ve been propping it up with an old copy of I, Claudius. It could probably be salvaged with wood glue, clamps and a block of pine. I'm not going to fix it or replace it. For the cost of a few extra hangers and a couple of baskets, I was able to reorganize my clothes so that they all fit into my perfectly functional wardrobe.

After all, who needs a dresser and a wardrobe? I really don’t. That they didn't used to all fit means I’ve probably got too many damn clothes. Or something. And on the plus side? Now I get to re-read I, Claudius.

I’m not on a Stuff Diet. But I am trying so hard to make better choices about how I consume. I am working at being a thoughtful consumer, working harder than I ever have in my life. I'll come away from this move with less stuff overall and I think I'll feel ok about the balance I am trying to strike with what I do end up buying. I think I will try to hoard less, or at least be aware that to hoard is my natural compulsion. I will try to be less of a Smaug about Stuff.

Like my buddy Linda says, we've got to do it for the polar bears.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Heloise?

This blog is about to turn into Hints From Freakin' Heloise, just be warned. There may not be much fiber for the next few weeks.

There might be some SCIENCE, though. We've been doing some quantum type experimenting.
I can has isotope?

Seriously though, I am in the grips of I WANT and GIMME. Mainly, I want some new stuff for the house. Nice stuff. Made out of solid wood, not particle board. Stuff that maybe I didn't pick up off the parkway as I drove through someone else's neighborhood. At the same time, I really love my savings account and I want that to keep growing.

After a frenzy of internet "wish shopping" I have settled on one or two things that I must replace new, but have also come to grips with the fact that I can't have everything I want if I plan to keep reaping the benefit of compound interest or maintain any kind of emergency fund. Which, given that I still have a very sick child and my return to work is a vague "sometime in the fall" date to be determined later, seems like a really wise idea. So... I've just gotta make the old stuff work. To this end, some old things are going to be repurposed, refinished and re-used in interesting ways.

There are Big Plans afoot. This is mostly a teaser, I have to buy some paint and things, but once I've got the stuff I am going to be posting some neatoriffic crafty tutorials!

1. Turning a bland old Ikea CD cubby storage shelf into a fun, colorful storage solution for children's china/a tea set.

2. Refinishing a pair of vintage (the finish is oh so ruined by hard wear and use) nesting tables into two units - a boudoir vanity table and laptop stand - both with added storage. They are currently doing duty as a microwave and plant stand, respectively.

3. Creating a multi-purpose unit - laundry folding table/storage for laundry supplies and catbox concealing space - out of... well, either out of an old Ikea desk or some old metal shelving, I'm still working that out.

4. Taking an old pillowback sofa that is impossible to slipcover without spending a fortune, and turning it into a smooth backed slipcovered sofa that is comfy and looks fabulous and brand new.

5. Turning a plain unfinished wood stool into a colorful, DDLM themed plantstand.

What makes me really happy is, some of this stuff was free to begin with. The tables, the couch, the Ikea CD cubby. I didn't pay anything for them, they were all hand me downs from friends or family. So not only am I keeping them out of landfills, but I am extending their useful lives a few more years with minimal outlay. Go me!

It's turning into an obsession, I'm afraid. The children are starting to protectively hide their things when I walk past them, looking speculatively around for stuff to hack into new incarnations.

Also! This is for sale:

full

Dusty Strings FH26
3.5 octaves, full set of sharping levers and soft case. Made of flame maple. Uses nylon strings.

It needs a tuning fork, has a small ding, and needs a new full set of strings, but is otherwise in perfect condition. It retails for $1965 new on the site. I am asking $1350 but will consider other offers. It was a gift, I love it, but it's unlikely I'll ever have time to really play it again. I want it to have a life, not sit in a case waiting to be played. This is the perfect practice harp or a small harp to take to events.

If you know anyone who might want it, drop me a comment or an email! akingprawn AT gmail DOT com

Thursday, May 22, 2008

bobbin the first bobbin the second

Through one bobbin and 1/4 of the way through the second, as the BMFA Sheep 2 Shoe Kit continues to completely eat up all my concentration and attention. I am afraid that other projects might be languishing in their baskets.

blanket in a basket

Actually I pulled it out last night but only got a couple of squares done. We were watching an entrelac-hostile movie.

Today I get to pick up the keys to my new house! I am SO excited! We will be completely moved in as of the 20th. The wait, it is almost over... I wish we could rent the truck today!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Internet dating.

Some of you may remember my little foray into internet dating a few months back. Well it has sparked some interesting email exchanges, I've met some nice folks, made a few friends and my Screenwriter and I have been dating now for almost 7 months thanks to internet dating, so I am mostly complimentary about it.

However.

Every once in a while, you get something like, "I have nice teeth and have never been to prison." in your inbox and you sit there and stare at the accompanying picture and you read that line over and over and you think....

"What??? Is it just that I am breathing and female? Is the breathing even important?[link nsfw]"

I'm so totally quitting while I'm ahead.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I am supposed to be cleaning out my closet for the Goodwill run I am planning to make this weekend. Instead, I am having some quality time on the couch with a few cats. Typing is slow going.

blood pressure medicine

Things came to a head with the Culver City school district this week and some drastic changes (not ones I'd planned on, on Monday) came about on Friday. To make a long story short, I am once again a homeschooling mom. Hopefully this will be short term, as I do believe that the youngest thrives in a school setting and it is my dearest hope that she will be healthy enough to return to one by 9th grade. We had to pull her from the school because the idiocy was relentless and I really just could not take it anymore.

In a nutshell.

Monday/Tuesday: Doctor and school nurse both suggest independent study since child has missed the previous 3 weeks of school. I am resistant to the idea, but think about it.

Wednesday/Thursday: Child not reacting well to current medication. Very depressed. Can barely get out of bed. Side effects not great, we are not seeing a return to school in our near future. I call school, ask about independent study. Am referred to the district independent study program. Am told that the program is full. Call the school back. Ask if there is any way we can do something through the school resembling independent study. Am told no, absolutely no, there is no way. My child must come to school physically, and teachers are not required to send work packets home. Call the independent study program back. Beg. Cry. Get put on waiting list. Call school back, beg, cry, no wriggle room. Does not matter that child is too sick to attend school.

A friend who runs a private school in Northern CA offers to enroll E in her school through the end of the year, maintain grades and a transcript, and help me with curriculum for the last 5 weeks of the school year, and will support us with paperwork when she enrolls in high school next year, god willing. For free. Just because she can't stand watching the fuckmuppetry any more. I take her up on it. I throw in the towel. I take my ball and go home. E is no longer enrolled in the Culver City school system. We are heartbroken. We tried so hard to be compliant. They made it so hard for us.

Friday: E sleeps through the night for the first time in 3 weeks and wakes up migraine free. Gets out of bed. Wants to shower. Cleans her room. Resembles a normal teenage girl rather than a zombie. Makes me wonder how much the stress of dealing with her teachers and school was contributing to the sleep disturbances that are contributing to the migraine disorder. Side effects from meds are not as bad today. She isn't crying all the time and zombified on the couch.

Friday: I am forced to quit my job so that I can focus on my child's health and education. Thank god for having savings that will cover a few months of lost income if we are very frugal. I cannot stress enough, save young, save early, save 10%. Compound interest is your friend. You will thank it one day when it saves your ass. Cry all the way home from giving notice but know that I have a good reference and that management is sympathetic at least.

I see a light at the end of our tunnel.

I am half expecting some nonsense from the District over this, but I'll worry about that if it happens. The main thing is, we're now free to focus on what we should have been focusing on all along. Getting E well. We have an appointment with one of the best pediatric neurologists in Southern CA set up later this month. We will get this under control.

In the meantime, I have to dust off my algebra hat, we have a LOT of catching up to do.

It isn't happy ending to our little saga, but it is, at least, on the positive side of the spectrum and a nice way to end this horrible chapter.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

BMFA - S2S Pink Granite

I decided to rip into one of my BMFA Sheep2Shoe kits. The colorway is Pink Granite and I'm loving how it spins up. Like butter!

Today has been spent working up my resume, which is going badly. I hate writing resumes. I hate selling myself. I don't feel particularly marketable.

Yesterday, I plied, washed, thwacked and set some twist.

enchantedknoll
These are the silk/alpaca blend singles I was spinning up earlier in the week. They've been Navajo plied (on a spindle) and I've got what looks like maybe a sport or DK weight yarn as a result. Very happy with it. Bloomed up beautifully and has a slight halo. Can't wait to make something yummy out of it.

So guess which thing I preferred doing? I'm here to tell you, it wasn't all those hours spent cursing at MS Word and my crap employment history!

I'm going to go read Jobhopper by Ayun Halliday again. It seems fitting.