Friday, May 31, 2013

Monkey Wrench


We are not moving next week like we planned.

The buyers pulled out of the offer, citing financing issues. This happened six days before we were set to put the rest of our belongings on a moving truck.   We've re-listed the house and had a few showings.  We're taking a really big gamble and moving forward into the new house anyway.  It will be nice to be able to live "normally" again, whatever that is.  To have all of our belongings under one roof, have our dog back with us under said roof, etc etc etc.

Things have been kind of sucky for the past week.  There's been tears, yelling and name-calling (not at each other, but in the buyer/lawyer direction)  unpacking of a few boxes and a lot of eating out.  (When you think you're moving in six days, you usually don't go grocery shopping.)  The boys are feeling the stress, and so we're decided to take a day off from all of the house craziness and spend the day at an indoor waterpark tomorrow.  They need some fun, and we need a break too! 

Crossing all appendages, hoping for a quick offer and turnaround! 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Caring is Contagious

Another six months...another package of baby items to send to Stitches from the Heart!  This time I have 21 baby hats in all different sizes, and two little blankets good for a stroller or baby seat.

I talk about knitting a lot.  A LOT.  And I mention my baby hats and Stitches from the Heart occasionally's a worthy cause that just passed the one-million-mark of baby items donated!  Upon hearing about it, my friend Linda gave me some hats that she knitted, and one of my residents gave me 25 (!) hats that she and a friend crocheted.  I'm happily sending them out with mine.

  I'm so proud to be a part of this, helping out babies all over the nation.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Math Lesson: Change Really Adds Up.

74.  Cash in our change jar. (5/27/13)

While packing this weekend, I've found a bunch of things that I just don't want to pack.  Like spaghetti sauce jars full of change.  I have fond memories of counting change with my brother, my mom was also a property manager and used to occasionally bring home laundry quarters.  She would offer us a little percentage of them and Bro and I would happily count them out while watching TV.  My dad is also big on rolling his change. One year my parents rolled enough change to pay for most of a trip for the two of them to Disney World!

When I realized that I had a FULL jar of pennies, I wondered what the heck we could do with them.  We don't have a local bank anymore so we couldn't just roll them and bring them in to be put into our savings account.  I remembered that a group of residents at work plays Pokeeno for pennies every Wednesday, so one lady offered to give me cash for my pennies.  

So Will and I sat down for a little counting lesson (or refresher, if you will) and counted out pennies to roll for the woman at work.  I told him we would count out enough to fill the paper rolls that she had given me and he could keep the rest.  He agreed eagerly, and we spent part of the afternoon counting, stacking and rolling.  In that time, we also found a handful of Canadian pennies, six dimes and a Sacajawea dollar!  All told, he made about four bucks and couldn't be happier!  I got to get rid of the pennies and re-live a childhood memory.  It's a win-win for all.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

That's $20.00 out of my pocket.

When I wrote my Day Zero list, I knew that there would likely be things that I wouldn't get to complete.  That's why I wrote a motivator at the end, I made #100 "$5.00 for every item not completed."  If I did none of them, that would be $500.  So I'd best work on it, no?

Well, it's been over a year.  And I can already tell you that there's four items that I am never going to cross off the list:

#1.  Read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  I had this book in the house for years, ever since Oprah put it on her bookclub list.  I finally bit the bullet and instead of carrying the huge book around, I downloaded it for free on my tablet.  I'm about 12% through it and man, I am BORED!  I am constantly checking to see "how much further" I've gotten and dating other books behind its back.  I'm not in high school or college any more, no one can force me to read something that I'm not enjoying.  Plugging along with something that I can't keep the characters straight is not my idea of a good time. This is the "Day Zero" list, not the "Zero Joy" list.

#18.  Give up Women's Magazines.  I'll be honest, I was irritated with women's magazines when I wrote this list.  I was tired of reading the same articles, "Drop ten pounds by summer!"  "The scary condition your doctor isn't telling you about" and my favorite; gorgeous-looking delicious and fattening recipes, followed by ads for fad diets that involve consuming only powdered shakes and vegetables.  (not together, mind you) 

But I love magazines.  I have my upbringing to credit when I tell you that I am a magazine junkie.  My family loves magazines, especially my parents.  I remember, my junior year of high school, I had kind of a pompous, full-of-himself English teacher.  One of his first "lessons" was to lament on how little the American family reads these days and watches TV instead.  "I'll bet if I call on anyone in this class and ask how many magazine subscriptions their family gets, it'll be a sad, small number.  How about you, 'Crafty Mama?"  He picked the wrong kid, because after counting on my fingers, I'd come up with thirty subscriptions.  So I'm not going to give up magazines....I'm just going to keep the ones that I really enjoy and stop reading the ones that I'm not.

#35.  Get a tattoo.  I love tattoos.  I think they're artistic and beautiful, especially if they have meaning to the recipient.  My sister-in-law has a cousin who has a baby foot tattooed on the back of each leg, and the cool thing about them is that the tattoo artist used the footprints of her two ACTUAL children!  The problem is, I can't pick out something for myself.  I'm so damn indecisive.  I don't know where to put it, and I cannot decide what I want.  I thought about an old-fashioned key (I love skeleton keys), the infinity symbol into a heart, or my kids' initials.  I cannot decide.  So I will likely continue to enjoy the tattoos that others have.

#69.  Write my kids' letters for their birthdays every year.    Sadly, I wish that I had done this.  For Sean's first birthday during the day zero period, I didn't remember til I was in housing court that day and I jotted a little note on the back of the only paper I had on me, a bank receipt.  And for Will's birthday?  I forgot.  I know, Mother of the Year.  My kids know that I love them, they don't need a letter from Mama telling them so.  I mean, it's a nice touch. But I'm not going to go crazy over it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Sock It To Me"

My latest socks....

These are for Will.  Because as any parent knows, you can't make something for one kid but not the other.  Plus Will loves it when I knit stuff for him and is super-appreciative.  That alone is reason enough to knit for him.  :)

Here's a surprise lesson in this pattern:  four double-pointed needles is easier to maneuver than three.  I honestly thought adding another needle to the mix would make things difficult, but it made the math easier, especially at the gusset.  This pattern was a dream, and the yarn was great too.  I only cast on each sock one time, no ripouts and only had a tiny bit of trouble at that gusset point.  I also discovered that I cannot follow kitchener stitch (grafting the toe closed for non-knitters) without giving my undivided attention to a Youtube video on the subject. 

Two pairs in, and I'm pretty sure that I'm addicted to socks.  I'm going to bite the bullet and make the next pair for me.  And I think I want to add some texture to them instead of round-and-round. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Webs Weekend!

....and it's all over.  The Webs tent sale has come and gone, and it was a fabulous time!  This year was a small group, so we all fit in my car.  After a couple of hours browsing yarn and petting it and deciding on what was coming home with me, this is what made it into my bag:

It's ok to say it.  "Holy Crap, that's a lot of yarn!"  Yes, yes it is.  I got everything on my list!  The only impulse buy in there is some baby yarn in the way back.  That's for baby hats.  This is my haul for the year.  In this pile is a sweater for Sean, cabled vests for next Easter for both boys, three pairs of socks, a sweater called 'February Lady" for me, a couple of Christmas/Birthday gifts and next year's mittens for the boys.  I can't wait to start working on ALL of it!  That's one thing about going to Webs...I always want to cast on a hundred things as soon as I get home!

After yarn shopping was lunch in Northampton and strolling around a bit, and of course, stopping for ice cream at Herrell's.  Now it's all over and Webs is another year away.  But hey, we all have the New England Fiber Festival to look forward to in six months!

My friend Maureen came down for the weekend to go to the sale, and ended up going home on Sunday morning.  My kids LOVE her.  That's because she plays with them and thinks they're as awesome as they think that she is.  Will told me at bedtime last night that he wished Maureen lived closer so we could see her more often instead of living in Maine.  Me too, buddy.  He also made a keen observation that when Maureen and I get together we laugh like little girls at a sleepover.  He's right about that.

This weekend with friends was just what I took away the stress of moving and packing for just a little bit.  Now it's Monday and back to reality, but at least I got a short escape!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's that time, again.

Cue the Christmas Music, it's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"  The Webs Tent Sale is on Saturday!

What?  You thought I'd miss it because I'm moving in less than three weeks?  Bollocks!  Pure rubbish, I say!  Not only am I GOING, I have a shopping list.  On it is a sweater for each of my boys.  And a couple of gift shawls.  And a lot of sock yarn.  Sock yarn is my new best friend.

To avoid last year's dehydrated and icky feelings, I've already got water ready to go.  And I bought a new bag, it's messenger-style so I can shop with both hands.  Sneakers at the ready, clean capris in the drawer.  My college friend Maureen is coming to stay the night Friday night so we can hit the road first thing Saturday AM.  She doesn't care that she has to sleep on the couch or we are picnicking with the kids amongst the's the Webs Tent Sale for goodness sake!  Come ready or not at all!  :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Freeing Myself

I made a terrible faux pas today.

I got an email today from my boss, John.  (not his real name of course.)  It simply said that our company was giving out jackets to all of their employees at the Company Outing this year, and asked for us to get back to him with a spreadsheet of all of the employees at our site and what size jacket to order.  At the bottom of the email was a forward from the HR director, with a size chart.

I stared at the size chart for what felt like a long amount of time.  Really what I was doing was trying to rationalize myself down to a smaller size.  "Self, this isn't a jacket that you're going to wear in the winter.  Get the smaller size."  Finally I decided that this was stupid...I should order the size that is comfortable and emailed him back.  "John, since it's just me at ____ Senior Housing, please put me down for a size 2X."  -"Crafty Mama"

Then, I realized in horror that I had just hit "reply all."  And every manager in his portfolio now knows that I wear a size 2X.  (And oh yes, I'm aware that I just published this on the internet.  There's a point to this, I promise I'm getting there.)  I was embarrassed and yes, ashamed.  I called my husband and told him what I had done and he was very soothing.  I felt better after I hung up.

Then I got to thinking.  And started to get angry.  Why should I be embarrassed???  I looked at the list of managers on the CC.  They're all people that I know in real life.  Every single one of them has seen me.  They know that I am fat, so the sizing isn't some huge surprise.  Why's Crafty Mama getting such a huge jacket?

WHOA!  Don't bust a nut over the fact that I just called myself fat.  I don't mean it in a derogatory manner.  It's really the only word out there that I am comfortable with in defining myself.  It's a no-bullshit, straight to the point term..  I'm simply calling it what it is.  This is not shocking to me.  It's not like I don't know....I DO know.   I am tired of feeling ashamed, and embarrassed.

I finally get to the point where if I am hot I will wear something without sleeves.  My office has a broken heating system right now, so today it was eighty degrees in there.  Without a window.  I wore a dress to work yesterday and I SHOWED MY ARMS.  Five years ago, I can remember apologizing to people for showing my bare arms.  Apologizing.  This is unacceptable.

I am tired of it being OK to bash overweight people.  I want to take that guy that owns Abercrombie and Fitch and punch him in the face.  You don't want fat chicks wearing your clothes? We don't want to wear them anyway, your overpriced, hyped, boring hipster clothes.  I'm happy to keep my money, and I'm thrilled to check out H+M's new plus size line.  Fat people are just that, PEOPLE.  We are PEOPLE FIRST.  I am defined by many things.  I am a woman, a mother, a daughter.  I am a manager, a business professional.  I knit.  I cook.  I soothe children.  I love libraries.  I adore adopted shelter pets.  I am me.  I may be fat, but my fat doesn't define who I am.  Am I healthy?  Not as much as I could be.  But mental health walks hand-in-hand with physical, and I am done beating myself up and wishing myself a smaller size.  I am a size 2X.  I'm over it, and the rest of the world should be too.