Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Orangutans and Canadian Geese

Knitting a sweater for a giant man is fast work. Did you all just faint?

Let me backtrack.

If you recall, I'm knitting Andrew the Baseball Jersey from Knits Men Want, out of my handspun.

Photo from the book, by Jared Flood. Because I'm knitting mine SO FAST that it would be a blurry shot.

I cast this on last Tuesday (11/08) right before our birthing class, literally, the INSTANT that one of the skeins of yarn was dry. (The rest were still damp, in case you were curious.) I was so stressed that my deadline would slip excited that I haven't taken a single picture of the finished skeins. Of which there is only a little left from the first batch at this point.

(Side note: I don't think I'll need any of the extra 9 oz that I spun for the body. I'll likely need all of the sleeve color, plus the extra 6 oz that I spun, since Andrew is an orangutan. A lovable, supportive, orangutan who helps me put on my shoes. But seriously, the man has a 75" wingspan. That's the same as a Canadian Goose, in case you were curious. I googled it.)

In three hours of class, I managed to knit all three inches of the ribbing. For Andrew. Who has a 48" chest. There was a lot of self-high-fiving in the car on our way home.

I even had him try it on- using the incredibly clever Try-it-On Tubing that I got as a gift last week. I don't know why, but I was surprised that it fit the way it's supposed to. I swatched. I did math. But on 24" circular needles, nothing looks big enough to circumnavigate my redwood of a husband.

I was pleasantly surprised; Andrew was not. Apparently, my being an AMAZING knitter is no longer a surprise to him. That's what being together for 10 years will get you, I suppose.

In one week, I've knit all 18" of the body, which is the "divide for the armholes" part. I think this is partly due to the fact that I'm working with handspun- which we all know is the most satisfying thing to knit with, ever- and partly because knitting a giant tube of stockinette stitch is possibly the most compelling knitting in the world right now.

Maybe not the most compelling, but definitely the most satisfying. My brain is itching to knit a lace shawl- or maybe finish one that I've already started - but there is something really great about being able to just grab something and knit and knit and knit.

It doesn't hurt that no matter how exhausted I am, I still have enough brainpower to work on this sweater. Tomorrow I divide for the front and back and do the armhole decreases.

Let's just hope I don't get caught up on the sleeves. 45 days until 2012!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Selective Memory

Me: Do you ever remember a time when we were growing up when you weren't exhausted?
Mom: [Uncomfortably long pause] ... That's not the part I remember.
Me: Is that because you were too sleep deprived to remember?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Andrew: What makes Kosher salt Kosher?
Mom (simultaneously): How it's slaughtered.
Me (simultaneously): They say a prayer over it.
Andrew: [Pause] You two are seriously unhelpful.
Mom & Me: [Hysterical laughter]

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jasmin 1997

My Mom has a friend named Mary Ellen, and when Mom tells people about Mary Ellen, the first thing she says is "Mary Ellen always has something nice to say about everyone."

Impressive, right? Also, it really speaks to her character. Having been raised with stories of Mom's time in Boston (where she and Mary Ellen met and became friends), it worked it's way into my developing brain.

When I was in high school, I started actively saying nice things. (We could refer to this as "Jasmin 1997".) Not insincerely, but when I looked at someone and thought "Wow, X looks good in that shirt" or "Hot damn, that's a great haircut", instead of keeping it in, I would tell them.

Some people thought it was strange. Some people were put off by the bluntness, since my intention was really only to say the nice thing and move on with my day. Especially on the high school scene, where you have the Mean Girl/Queen Bee phenomena, and cutting someone down is more fun (or more empowering) than saying something that would potentially lift them up.

At some point, I stopped. I don't know if it was hormones, or classic teen angst, but I just ... stopped. For a long time. I would occasionally pay a compliment to someone I knew, but strangers? Not so much.

I was at a store the other day, and the girl at the counter had the best dye job I've seen in ages- and I knew it was a dye job the same way that most people knew that my hair wasn't naturally hot pink. So I told her.

After the shock of a Random Compliment wore off, she felt really good, too. Like, spring-in-her-step, tossing-her-hair good.

You know what? It felt really good to say it. Maybe it's time for Jasmin 1997 to make a comeback.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Excitement Stew

A dish of Excitement Stew for your Sunday brunch:

- The new Michael Bublé Christmas album. I got it in the mail a few days ago and *almost* broke the "no Christmas music before Black Friday" rule. Almost. (You can bet that this will be what we listen to on Black Friday when Mom and I go to the Pajama Jammie Jam at Purlescence at o'dark hundred.)

- New furniture. My IKEA dressers are giving up the ghost after seven years of hard use. Andrew might have fixed them once or ten times already before declaring them "done".

Andrew and I found furniture made out of REAL wood, made in Eugene, OR. Since I want to retire there, I'm excited to be supporting their economy. It's due to arrive at the beginning of December, so we're emptying out the bedroom, painting and having lights (and a dimmer switch!) installed in the meantime. Real wood furniture? Smells amazing.

- SharkBean. She's due to arrive in 10-14 weeks. She has already met Galina and Lily Chin. She's got a wooly future ahead of her, but for now, she seems content doing barrel rolls every time I sit down. Maybe she'll be a knitting and spinning pilot. Or a Cirque du Soleil tumbler.

In any case, that clock is ticking down at what feels like breakneck speed. I can't wait to meet this strange little person I've been growing.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Snipe hunt

One of the perks of living so close to my parents is that we have the same mailman. Ron the Mailman has been delivering the mail in our area for over 20 years, which is kind of awesome. He has watched the families grow and change, and in our case, grow up and start our own family. He has also heard me caterwauling singing in the shower, and thinks I'm pretty good.

Mailman Ron and I have a special relationship. He will tuck large packages behind our gate and leave a note in the box (when we get them), if something needs a signature, he'll take it to my parents' house and have them sign for it instead of making me find time to head over to the post office for a pickup. Let's suffice it to say that Mailman Ron always has my back.

I always know when we have a substitute mail carrier. Mostly because they are terrible, slow, misdeliver a LOT of mail, and most of all - they aren't Mailman Ron.

Mailman Ron is married to a lapsed weaver. He thinks all of my "wool mail" is hilarious because, let's face it, if it's not actually yarn or roving, it's books/needles/notions for my knitting. He doesn't really get why I spend all this time knitting and spinning when I could be *weaving*. He was over the moon when I told him earlier this year that I was officially a weaver.

Fast forward to yesterday. Andrew and I have been getting bids on how much it's going to cost to install some desperately needed cabinets in our garage. (Remember Project Workspace?) While one of the sales folks was figuring out our estimate, Mailman Ron walked up us sitting in the open garage. The garage that was positively GAPING, exposing the neighborhood to All of Our Things. It's tidy, so I don't feel too bad about it, but I felt a little naked. If that makes any sense.

(Let's face it, there are *much* worse things we could store in our garage. Use your imagination.)

Two of the looms (the table loom and the Gilmore X-frame loom) live in the garage right now, and are on the garage door side- clearly visible when the door is open. Apparently, Mailman Ron's wife had a mystery loom in their attic, and he had been searching for the missing parts. (He had been hunting for legs. For a table loom.)

After a quick peek at the two looms, and a short conversation, his mystery was solved. I'm not going to tell you how long he's been looking for the missing legs on that loom.

Long enough that it will be a while before that's a funny story for them, that's for sure.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Failing already

I have never been comfortable with failure. From what I have gathered (from anecdotal evidence, of course), motherhood is basically a never ending series of failures and guilt. Starting from conception.

Let me back up. When we first found out that SharkBean was on the way, I had already started reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th Edition", which is like *the* book to read, or so I've heard.

While it's incredibly helpful about pointing out What Could Go Wrong When You're Expecting, it felt more like What You're ALREADY Doing Wrong to Completely Fail Your Child. Or maybe that's my interpretation- since I read what *could* go wrong, and I tend to jump to "that WILL go wrong". That might be my personal brand of crazy, though.

I read "What to Expect" in short bursts, get well ahead of where I am, and put it down in favor of something else. Since we started Bradley classes this week, I thought I would get a jump on class by reading "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way". I know. I'm a nerd, the sky is blue, grass is green, and all three statements are obvious. (Who else shows up to a birthing class having read the book already?! This gal.)

I got to the nutrition section, and I got hammered with Mommy Guilt. I eat a balanced diet, but I could stand to eat more leafy greens. We all could. (Except Mom. She gets a pass on excessive leafy greens. See: Vitamin K and cardiac patients.)

Since I like to share all of my crazy with her, she is lucky enough to be subjected to my Freakout of the Day(tm). She usually thinks it's funny. Today she pointed out that - while she ate nutritious food - she didn't really count servings of leafy greens or protein. "... and look at how well you and your brother turned out!"

I'll admit, it made me feel better.

Other things that I have felt like I was already failing SharkBean at:

- Talking to her. I don't, other than to say things like, "SERIOUSLY?! Could you ease up on using your elbows?!"
- Singing to her. This kid has gotten an eclectic mix of whatever I'm in the mood to listen to. Including stuff that holds an "R" rating.
- Finishing her sweaters. I can just hear her little voice now, "My mom is a process knitter."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tiny cows, jellyfish, and tradition

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Our family actually has almost as many Halloween traditions as we do for Christmas.

Historically, we have decided by August what we're going to be for Halloween. This hearkens back to when we were little and Mom wanted *plenty* of time to sew our costumes, and that never really changed. Until this year.

Somehow, Halloween fell to the background this year. When Andrew's eldest sister invited us for a Halloween party last Friday, I *scrambled* to figure out what on earth we could go as. All of my costume pieces are fitted and I am... a completely different shape.

What to do? I ran a couple of ideas past Andrew, and we landed on Priest (for him) and pregnant nun (me). Off I went to the Halloween costume store, in search of a habit.

I must share that I've never bought a costume before. I have bought components, but they were always Real Clothes. For example, a few years ago I bought my sailor costume from the Army/Navy surplus store. A beautiful, wool, sailor's uniform. I also wore the living daylights out of the pants afterwards. Real Clothes.

The Halloween costume store stinks. It smells like off-gassing plastic and poor decisions. But, with a day left to the event and I was badly in need of a nap, I marched myself through aisles and aisles and aisles of "sexy" costumes. I had started to lose hope that there would be ANYTHING to cover my bulbous midriff when I saw... The Sexy Nun costume.

Seriously? A Sexy Nun? Fortunately, they had her more conservative counterpart- just a Nun costume - right next to her. I grabbed it like it was hot and got in line.

Funny thing- the guy behind me was going as Jesus, and hit on me ALL the way until he realized that I was pregnant- which was when I waddled to the register. I've totally still got "it".

I brought it home, and it lived in the bag for a day. When we unwrapped it, even Andrew gasped at how strong the offgassing fumes were. (Andrew looked positively delicious in his priest outfit, for the record. Gabriel Byrne, Colin Hanks, and Joaquin Phoenix have got NOTHING on him.)

Sunday, Andrew and I hit the pumpkin patch because we had plans to carve a pumpkin.

For the record, SharkBean is the size of a $3 pumpkin.

The pumpkin patch lady was so charmed by my competing pumpkin photo, that she insisted we get a family photo:

My pumpkin brings all the boys to the patch. Oh yeah.
Sunday night, we fired up Hocus Pocus (which is my favorite Halloween movie ever, right next to The Halloween That Almost Wasn't) and got to carving pumpkins.

I love silly pumpkins. Andrew and I teamed up and came up with this:

Andrew did the left side, I did the right side.
Mom's was a more classic jack'o'lantern. But she's a classic gal, so it fits.

Ours, left. Mom's, right.

So, fast forward to last night. We're THAT house. You know, the house with the full-sized candy bars. I have a feeling that so long as I am married to Andrew, we will always be That House. It's not a bad thing.

Early on in the evening, we had some small kids at the door, but their littlest sister (dressed as the world's tiniest and most adorable cow) didn't come to the door. You see, the Tiny Cow was a babe-in-arms. I walked out to the edge of the stoop and asked if the Tiny Cow would like any candy.

I know trick-or-treating can be an iffy proposition with tiny people, so I didn't want to chase them down the street, but apparently, one of the neighbors was outright NASTY to the Tiny Cow. She refused to give her any candy. Where exactly is the holiday spirit in that? Every house has X amount of candy; I understand that Halloween is a first-come-first-serve situation. And it's not like she was a no-costume teenager.

(For the record, I overheard the Tiny Cow's older siblings exclaiming how we were SO MUCH NICER than those OTHER people.)

We had a parade of zombies, ninjas, and princesses. Best costume of the night went to a young man whose costume was a jellyfish. It was positively stunning. KidBrother Sam (who had arrived by this point) declared it the best costume of the night (he was right) and awarded the young jellyfish *two* full sized candy bars for his efforts.

KidBrother Sam also pulled out his phone to take a picture, to which I stopped him and said, "You can't take pictures of people's *children*!"

Sam turned to Jellyfish and asked how old he was.

"Old enough," answered the Jellyfish, causing all of us to laugh hysterically.

(Given that answer, I'm pretty sure that the Jellyfish was at least 30 years old.)

Oh, and for the record? We've already decided on what our costumes (including SharkBean's) will be next year. You can never start planning too early.