I love you, Dad, and I’m grateful you are in a place where your strong mind and spirit can prevail. Peace.
This week’s show notes:
The Knitting Cubby
On the needles:
My new Vitamix! Yippee!
The Gym Bag
Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement by Rodney Rothman
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2) by Suzanne Collins
Greens are almost done and I’ll be amending the soil and replanting soon. I bought four different types of squash at the store and will put them in the ground. Lettuce and basil are suffering from slugs or something. Seeking a remedy. Tomatoes are in the ground, just waiting for August!
All is well in Portland.
But, we’re moving again.
It’s a good thing. Really.
800 square feet. A garden ready to harvest. Urban hipster neighbors. Expect photos soon.
The best part is it’s half the rent! When the landlord emailed with her approval I exclaimed, “Kids! We can afford to eat organic!”
I’m now researching CSA’s, grass-fed beef, free-range chickens and raw milk.
The last 8 months have been all about fitness (namely running, but more about that later). I’m declaring the next 8 months will be all about food. I think my cooking skills are up to the challenge.
Today marks 11 times round the sun for my dear, sweet babe.
How I love this boy!
In so many ways he brings me full circle.
My oldest was all about intervention. Induction leads to epidural leads to Caesarean. The birth of inexperience that deprived mother and son of something that neither of them knew they were missing.
My girl was a reactionary, vigilant, Bradley method, but nevertheless traumatic, undertaking. It was a meconium-drenched, fist to the forehead feat of endurance. Full of determination, steadfastness and passion we pushed through those early breastfeeding, lung-strengthening days, connecting over our joint determination to prove the establishment wrong. Not a bad way for the middle-child-girl-peacekeeper to begin her existence.
But Leo’s peaceful, solitary arrival in the wee hours of the morning was the quiet, intimate experience I’d always heard (but never quite believed) was possible.
From the moment he was born I couldn’t get enough of him. I finally felt that immediate, postpartum longing I’d read about. Leo and I knew that there was no recovery challenge we couldn’t face together.
My oldest was a sensitive, vibrant, fiery reaction to the unrest that happened around him (a new sister, new living arrangements, new people) that none of us could really understand.
My daughter was the peaceful being who asked nothing as she held the center while her parents spinned around the periphery, unfruitfully but desperately, trying to create a whole together.
Leo knew better and showed us all by connecting with and coming to understand his parents individually. Mom likes to hike in the mountains. Dad likes to sob about sad movies. “I can do both,” says Leo.
My dear boy, how I envy your ability to understand us all.
And how grateful I am to be your mother.
I love you.
Just a quick little post to share with you some of the knitting I’ve been doing lately.
I started a new project for my friend Amanda’s baby who will be born at the end of the month. Here’s a link to my Ravelry project page.
I’m loving how they’re turning out. I bought the yarn from a woman who attends the weekly knit night I started going to. Her business is called Blissful Knits and she has great, vibrant, modern colors. Super cute! I’m thinking of getting a couple more skeins for a hat for myself and another pair of longies for another baby being born soon.
I also finished the Alpaca Socks I was working on. Here they are in their already-worn, dog-hair-covered glory.
They are some of the most comfortable socks in my drawer. Love!
Yesterday I took the kids to a very Portland event called Wordstock. It’s the northwest’s largest book fair and author’s convention and because Alice is doing her 8th grade project on writing fiction, it was just perfect for us.
We sat in on a few conversations with different authors and got really inspired. The best one we sat in on was about the theme of dystopia and fantasy in novels. The authors referenced The Hunger Games several times and it was really inspiring to listen to their thoughts on the genre and the process of writing for it. Both Alice and Leo left with solid book ideas going and they just wanted to go home and write.
One of the authors was Lissa Price, the author of a book called Starters.
I started reading it last night and I’m already about a third of the way through. It’s a great read.
I left Wordstock feeling inspired to write, as well. There were a lot of great booths there with inspiring products, services and programs for authors. One of them, that I’d heard of before, is called NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month and NaNoWriMo is a project that challenges writers to write 50,000 words during the month of November. That breaks down to 1667 words per day.
That’s a lot of writing.
I’m feeling somewhat inspired to take it on, though. Though I love the writing I do in my blogging, I would love to do some more creative writing. I’m still pondering the idea (because 50,000 words is a LOT) but whether I participate in the project or not, I’m going to try to give some more attention to creative writing.
To that end, I took some time today to get my iPad a bit more set up to use for writing and blogging. I suspected that I had not been using my iPad to the height of its functionality, but today, after spending some time researching various apps that are out there, I realized how true that is. I’m excited to do more work on my iPad now that its all set-up. Recently I’ve been feeling like I could really use a Mac Air but with my new and improved iPad, I think I can avoid that purchase for awhile. The one thing that I could still really use, though, is a proper keyboard. I occasionally bring my computer keyboard and use it with my iPad, but there is probably a better solution. Most of the time I stick with two finger typing on the iPad touch keyboard.
The other thing I took away from Wordstock is a desire to do a lot more fiction reading. I realize that this may take some of my knitting time, but I think it’ll be worth it. I’ve always been a creative person, but I’ve been feeling lately like my imagination could use a more regular infusion of content. Reading more is just the thing.
I’ll try to keep up my GoodReads up to date so you can all see what I’m currently reading.
That’s all for now. I’ve got more knitting content, as well, but I’ll save that for another post.
Just a quick little post to sing the praises of eMeals! I subscribed to this service this weekend and I’m loving it so far! The way it works is that they send you weekly menus and grocery shopping lists for 7 dinners each week. You can also subscribe for the 5 packable lunches plan as an add-on. I selected the “clean eating” plan with the packable lunches and so far so good. I went to the store armed with my printed list last night and my family has been enjoying new, creative meals ever since.
Well, kind of. Last night Alice spotted the goat cheese before it went into the pasta and both she and Leo balked. I, however, enjoyed many bowlfuls of pasta with asparagus and goat cheese.
Not exactly what I imagined. But it was delicious.
This morning I packed roast beef and corn salad wraps in our lunches and everyone came to me at recess raving!
And now, as I type, Leo is preparing the marinade for tonight’s flank steak. The instructions are so simple, and I’m not just relying on my own intuition, so my kids can help with the dinner prep. We’re starting to break free of our dinner time ruts and it feels good!
This morning I’ve been lazing about — paying bills, eating oatmeal, drinking coffee and taking a little bit of time to enjoy home. Lately it’s been feeling like the workweek blows through like a hurricane and we need these Saturday mornings to catch our collective breath after the storm has passed.
Though part of me has a strong desire to busily spend these Saturday mornings helping my house recover from the deluge, the other part realizes that the soul nourishment of downtime is so much more important. Let the mess sit for a little bit longer. No one will mind the broom handle, disheveled school bag and dirty floor cluttering the shot.
So I’ll sit in my comfy chair and read and knit a little bit longer. Saturday mornings are to be treasured.
Want to know some of the essential components of my Saturday morning?
Knitting Pipeline Podcast – Paula’s voice is so sweet and comforting. And her “nature notes” and poetry remind me to slow down and notice.
McCann’s Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal – My sister started putting peanut butter in her boys’ oatmeal to give them a little boost of protein in the mornings. It has now become my favorite Saturday morning indulgence.
Bodum Brazil French Press – I am completely sold on french press coffee. Perfect!
It’s been a long time since I posted and a lot has happened in these few months. But we’re gradually raising our heads above the fray, finding our old rhythms and establishing new ones.
Our biggest news, of course, is that we’ve moved to Portland, Oregon. Though it’s taken awhile to find our niche, we’re settling in nicely and loving it. We found a lovely rental house in the southwest part of town that is expensive but came complete with a garden and plenty of craft storage space in the basement. It’s been beautiful, sunny and much warmer than I expected. Portland does rain for 9 months of the year but it is inland so it isn’t plagued by the summer coastal fog I’ve experienced for so much of my life. Sunny 80-90 degree days were the norm all summer. Just lovely.
I’m completely reveling in the fact that I live in an area where the growing season is longer than 3 months. The people who lived here before us were kind enough to plant a couple of tomato plants, which Alice picks her afternoon snack from everyday after school. We can hardly eat them quickly enough — and we’re a family of tomato lovers!
Even though we arrived late in the season (mid-July) I couldn’t resist putting a few things in the ground. The most successful of these are the sunflower seeds that I had hiding out in the bottom of my toolbox. They’re just lovely now and they provide a friendly greeting in the front yard everyday when we come home.
My knitting life has been on a long hiatus as I’ve been so busy preparing my new classroom and entertaining visiting friends and family. In all honesty, I was so nervous about starting my new job on the right foot that I didn’t really allow myself any knitting time. My new class has more students than I’ve ever had before, with a wide range of ability and a grade I’ve never taught before, so I felt that I just couldn’t spare the time to delve into a knitting project. The one exception was that I did complete a pair of socks — knit during times we watched the Olympics. I’ll share pics at some point.
Just this weekend, though, I had my first kid-free, plan-free weekend in months and I’m feeling quite on top of my classroom work, so I allowed myself to knit a bit. I started a new project and pulled out an old one.
This is a simple 6X2 ribbed sock made out of lovely Classic Elite Alpaca Sox yarn. I made my mother a pair of socks out of this yarn a couple years ago for Christmas and I just loved it. I bought this pretty variegated skein at a yarn store in Sacramento when I was there in February. I just love watching how the colors come together and it’s such a simple project I can feel content that while I’m knitting I’m thinking hard about schoolwork.
This is the Making Waves Cardigan that I started way back in June. I’m using Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Blue Violet colorway. Though I like the color, I am finding the endless stockinette to be a bit of a slog. But I suppose that is to be expected of a fingering weight adult sized sweater. I’m past the armhole division and am working away on inch 3 of 6 on the bottom half of the sweater.
I’m really wanting to finish my Making Waves Cardigan so I can make this. It is the Pomme de Pin Cardigan by Amy Christoffers. I just love that it has a comfy style with a lace pattern which makes it just special enough to wear for work. I think I will need to do some serious goal-setting for myself, though, if I hope to accomplish it.
That’s all for now. I am enjoying getting out and exploring Portland a bit. Today I plan to take the pooch out for a little hike. Completely justified, of course, by the fact that it is a possible field trip destination.
Oh, and guess what the other great thing about Portland is . . . FOOD! We have the most fantastic restaurants! I almost feel bad visiting one twice! Today I think I’ll pick up some Thai on my way home! Yum!
Spring has finally sprung here in my neck of the woods. We’ve even had a couple of days in the 70′s, which is warmer than average. We’re appreciating those warm days for the blessing that they are and we’re starting to slip into summer mode — breakfast with the sliding door open, bike rides and long walks with the pooch. So lovely.
Because we’re somewhat in limbo this year, I have not thought much about the garden yet. I think I will plant some starts when it’s time, but I’m not starting anything from seed. Though it is so encouraging to start to see the bulbs come up!
My knitting life these days is a combination of joy and frustration. I’ll start with the joy.
These are the Nanaimo socks — the most recent release from Cookie A’s 2012 Sock Club. I. Love. These. Socks. They are like therapy. Just a simple rotating knit-purl textured pattern that is a welcome break from the complicated socks I’ve been doing lately. My enthusiasm for these has caused me to put the Hibernia socks on the back burner for awhile. I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually, but I’m needing something a little more simple at the moment.
Now for the frustration.
This is my Stephen West Daybreak shawl. I do love how the bold colors are coming together. I do love the modern stripes. And perhaps “frustration” is too strong a word. “Tedious” is probably more what I’m looking for. This shawl is made up of miles and miles of stockinette and I’m finding myself just wishing it was done.
My irritation with this project is probably compounded by two things. 1 — I’m making the largest size because I wanted a nice big shawl. 2 — I underestimated the scope of this project. For some reason I thought I would be able to knock this project out in about a week. So here I am at two weeks feeling like I want it done. I’m pretty close — just about 16 rows to go, but they are pretty long rows. Soon.
I’m knitting this as part of two knit-alongs — one with Diane from the Knitabulls podcast and another with the Knitbytes podcast. It’s fun knitting along with people, sharing observations and seeing their projects. Oddly enough, mine is one of four orange and blue Daybreak shawls that I’ve seen in this knit-along!
That’s pretty much all for now. We’ve got just 8 weeks of school left so things are getting super-busy at the same time that they are winding down. I’m off to enjoy my usual Saturday morning tradition — coffee and knitting with Paula from the Knitting Pipeline podcast.