Thursday, June 28, 2007

Warning! Rant ahead! (parenting advice welcome)

DD has had a problem with a fellow student for a year or so. Said child has done quite a few "girl bully" type stuff to her and we have basically dropped her long ago. But DD likes to be friends with everyone. Ho hum.

DD is also very high strung and dramatic. Emotional. Me, too, so I get it. She is more easily freaked out than some, admittedly sometimes about things that are not worth it.

However, she does not lie. Never. She accidentally lied once (forgot) and still remembers to this day how big a deal it was. She does not make up stories, she does not say mean things about other kids or gossip. At all.

Other kid has: tried to convince her that she had to get her ears pierced against her will; told her she had to have a password to get on the swings on the playground or get back into the school building during recess; made her buy food for her in the cafeteria; and this week, hit her over the head with a drumstick hard enough to hurt (out of sight of parents).

Other mother, needless to say, does not believe that her daughter has done any of it. Mother lion with her cub, etc., etc. I understand her defense of the other kid. But keep in mind that up until the cafeteria incident I tried to give my daughter strategies to work with and let them figure it out on their own. And the ear piercing caused two weeks of crying every night in bed before mine owned up to her fear.

But eventually I talked to the mom about it. She didn't really believe me, but apparently went around looking for evidence, found none and decided my daughter was a pathological liar, all without ever speaking to me again about it, so I thought she got the kid to confess and dealt with it, all good.

Well, after the drumstick incident, I went up to her tonight and told her about it and said I didn't think they should sit together any more in the auditorium. She followed me into the library and let into me about how my DD is terrible for making up all these stories about hers, she doesn't want my DD associating with hers any more (no kidding!), I shouldn't be going around making baseless accusations against her daughter, and so on. The girls, thank goodness, at this point have no desire to be friends anyway. But the thing is, how do you get the bully kid to leave your kid alone? Mine will certainly not seek out interactions with her. How do we control them at school? How do we really know what's going on?

My feeling is, I could have spoken to the administration about it. I could have started a big, huge to-do, but I thought we had a good enough relationship (acquaintance) to just talk openly about it and I thought we had. But she never came back and told me that she didn't believe it or that she thought my DD was lying. She never responded at all. The only person I made any accusations to was the mother. Not the teacher, not the principal, not any other parent. But she thinks I am being an "emotional bully" because I didn't have the girls hash it out in front of us.

I told her, next time, if there is a next time, that is how I will handle it. And apologized, if you can believe it. But I am all jumpy and adrenalized from the conflict. I think I've done the right thing, but of course have a fear that she will trash talk me and my daughter to other people, which I never have done about hers, bully or no. I guess I can only show people that I am normal and hope for the best. But I'm just sick to my stomach thinking she can make things more difficult for my children at school. Or convince the teachers or principal that I'm not a good person.

I had another incident earlier this year in the kindergarten class when a mother felt that I had pushed her daughter (I put her into line). And that almost went to the principal, too. So now I feel like people are telling the school to keep an eye on me, I might not be good people, you know? Like someday they won't let me go on field trips any more...

This sucks.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday blog post

Whew! That's a whole lot of creative energy in that title, huh?

Tired, that's me.

And photoless. But all is well. DS has learned to do a flip in the pool (something I so completely CANNOT do due to having a panic attack upon being upside down in water). And DD has swum all the way across! Houseguest has miraculously not returned (as yet) and I am still knitting shrugs. But I really must stop and do (sigh) some squares of (sigh, again) acrylic for our church knitting group raffle afghan.

However, I did wear shrug #3 yesterday out to dinner with friends and have promised one to DD's friend in blue (or purple or purple and blue stripes). I think blue, since I bought blue last week anyway.

Retro Redux shrug progresses slowly due to dropped stitches and frogging this afternoon. I'm just not good at fixing stuff like that with patterning in every row. I get all confused. Someday...

Tomorrow they all go in a merry band to the park for most of the day (although I have one extra in the morning, another extra in the afternoon) and I should get some spinning in there somewhere, not to mention a guilty acrylic square among all the lovely llama...

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Once more, with feeling!

One skein wonder #3:

Handspun singles in Berry Picking from Spunky Eclectic (a long time ago's club offering spun for this very project and then put in the stash). Domestic wool blend, I believe.

Irony alert: I'm not wearing either of them to the wedding! I'm wearing a very comfortable dress that I don't have to worry about instead of having to go out and buy a skirt or shoes or anything. But I do love these little sweaters and a new small knitting project for handspun yarns, yay!

Speaking of handspun, here's what's on the bobbin this week, to be plied tonight to see if it's nice enough for fair entry. I know, I know, there's not much there, but I only need 60 yards and I can make more later. Right now, it's all about doing a nice job on a variety of yarns by July 12.

This picture is NOT blurry. The yarn, she is blurry. Romney and Mohair together are extremely hairy. I love the color and will hope to pair this yarn with some Indigo/violet something for fair isle a la Anna Zilboorg socks.

My Mother's Day this year was very long and lovely (except for the tantrum, don't ask) and took many days to complete. I will regale you also over many days with my many gifts from DH, who I hope felt loved and cherished on his day, as well.

Hand colored photo of girl spinning and reading. Pretty difficult without a treadle, I would say. No drafting hand! Lovely photo, lovely thoughtfulness! Thanks, DH!

I will end for today with a gratuitous kid shot:

Isn't he the cutest boy ever? I know, except for yours. But this one is MINE!!

[DS: "I have a family that belongs to the family."]

We are spending the day walking and decorating luminaria for our local Relay for Life. Next year I will have to solicit donations on the blog. But Claudia is riding today, too, and I wouldn't want to mess with that. Go over and give! She has already beat her $30,000 goal but there are prizes...

Then I will be singing in a wedding so wish me luck! Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

And Now for something virtually identical...

One Skein Wonder #2:

Here's my cutie pie in her new shrug!

One Skein Wonder by Stephanie Japel, Blue Sky Cotton, started June 19, 2007 at 4:45 p.m., finished June 20, 2007 at 8:30 a.m. Woo-hoo!! Modified to be 11" across the back and 8" armholes.

Did I say I could make a hundred of these? I could!

This yarn is super soft and I think I may have found a new very quick project to make out of handspun. I figure I can make these in any gauge, as long as I like the fabric. Just increase till it's as big as I want and then do the finishing. It took maybe 130 yards for the grownup one, about 100 yards for this little baby one.

The pattern calls for 150 so that's safe. Which means at Worsted, 150 yards. DK, 175. Sport, 210. Fingering, 300. Lace (eek!), 660 or so. But a lace one would be at a very open gauge, so I don't know. These are estimates only! Nice part, I have lots and lots and lots of handspun and live in a climate that would support this garment, short sleeved in the summer, long in the winter, with many variations on the theme all the way to a waist length long sleeved, shawl collared version, I think. I'm sure these estimates are more than necessary, too, just because I didn't use anything like a ball and a half of Silk Garden. DD's was even less.

Shall I continue, a la Cara, and obsess about OSW? Yep. More to come!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I would say "Mission Accomplished" but that phrase is tainted.

So instead I will only say...

One Skein Wonder shrug designed by Stephanie Japel, Noro Silk Garden Color 244, a bit more than one skein. I needed the second skein for the edges of the sleeves and the ribbing.

Here's a photo after one ball:
I made it exactly to the end of the body knitting. Started Sunday night, 9:30p.m., finished Tuesday morning, 9:30 a.m.
The only thing is, now I want like a hundred of these. I went to my LYS, Unwind, this afternoon already and bought some Blue Sky Cotton and of course they were having a charity sale on some samples of Rio de la Plata so I got some wool for another and some gorgeous sock yarn. Not to mention, I could use loads of my handspun for these and have one to go with every outfit I've ever worn. But the next one goes to DD, who also picked out yarn today. Fuchsia.
The nice thing about this, especially after having knit my green Barbara Walker raglan earlier this year, is I think I know how to do this now. It's really just the beginning of a raglan cardigan, only you stop REALLY early and don't do any sleeves. I figure at this point, I could do one with a lacy back, long sleeves, more of a bolero front, wider ribbing for a shawl collar, whatever, and not even have to swatch! Perhaps the Spunky Eclectic Nightshade will be moved to another project...
Have a lovely!
And special thanks to my Mom, who braved her LYS to get this yarn for me last fall. She's not a knitter, but she ended up purchasing some beautiful yarn, of which this is only a sample. THANKS!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A cunning plan...

I am absolutely determined to knit a little shrug to wear to the wedding I'm singing in on Saturday. Only I don't know what I'm wearing to the wedding, so I can't decide what color. Or what yarn. Or whether I need to SPIN some for a project that I want to finish in 6 DAYS!!!

Can it be done? Yes!

Will the children consent to go to the park and stay for activities a couple of days this week? [crickets chirping] I sure hope so.

Thinking of my sage green silk shell or my cream silk dress (which may or may not actually zip up; probably not). Plus I don't have any nice shoes. I am going to end up spending my entire fee on yarn/shoes/babysitter. Oh, well.

I have also decided on the Felted Entrelac Knapsack from Knitability for my new purse. 60 yards or so per tier should work out. Must find a third yarn to put in, though, that will felt and look nice with the lavender/leaf peep.

Have spun about 3 yards of wool/mohair singles so far. It was quite a week.

Progress report tomorrow...

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Blogging Comes to the Rescue!

You might be glad to know (if you're keeping up) that my check finally arrived today!!! Yay!!

And it looks like the whole thing didn't scare the writer off, which is great, if somebody buys the book!

So thanks to all for your good wishes on my rant. I'm absolutely sure that's what made the difference in the universe!

Before I scare you all away again with overuse of exclamation points, we had a great time at the pool today; we are a bit redder than we were and I would say tireder but that we were exhausted before. Kids and I swam, I knitted and chatted, had a nice afternoon with no tears or whining. Bored kids, just add water!

I decided to frog the sock back to the cuff as it was too short and the heel was too shallow for what I want to end up with. Added an inch or so of lace, reknit the heel on 60% instead of 50 and now it looks perfect. How fast can I knit the foot? Sock Madness would say in a day. It's only 49 stitches around, for goodness sake!

I shall leave you with some photos of VBS this year. The kids were so sweet and the fun was tremendous, as always. Thanks to Mary and Angie for always coming through great, to all the people who helped with decorations and volunteering, for including me in the whole process. I wouldn't miss it for the world!

The First REAL Day of Summer Vacation!

VBS was a great success! We had 95 children, preschool to 5th grade, and wonderful teen helpers. Games all went very well, with only one dud (yesterday). But the water game yesterday was great, so it all worked out.

Today, we don't have to get up early. Our favorite local pool opens at 1:00 and we will be there with bells on (and new swimsuits)! Daddy just got up for a cuddle, too. Our plans are relaxing, swimming, finishing off stuff for Father's Day and having fun.

I feel like a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Let's see if I can stay that way (please don't fight, kids!), get some knitting time in (easy at the pool) and remain in a spirit of peace and thankfulness for as long as possible.

And do some spinning...

Have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

VBS update! [UPDATED]

Yes, that's pretty much all I have going on this week, as when I get home I have enough energy to fall asleep. But today my friend S is taking her kids (3) and mine (2) over to her house to play in the sprinklers. S, you are a goddess!! I will hope to be spinning a bit and not sleeping it all away...

[Update I: had a lovely three hours, thanks S! Spun some, read some Harry Potter, blogged a bit.]

I will also try to take a couple of pictures today of all of the cutie kids. They are great!

[Forgot camera. Tomorrow!]

Speaking of spinning, here are singles of lavender Romney I'm almost done with. They are batts from Woolbearers in NJ:

They look more purple/less gray in real life. This light looked good yesterday, oh, well.

[This bobbin is full. So I wound it off for plying and started my wool/mohair, yay!]

They are destined to be some 2-ply to add to these: The red yarn is also Romney 2-ply from Spunky Eclectic in Leaf Peep (my favorite colorway from Amy so far). I'm hoping I will end up with enough yarn for a felted backpack. I SO need a new purse. It looks like they don't go together, but the Leaf Peep every once in a while has just a little lavender that goes perfectly with the other yarn.

I should be spinning yarn for Fair socks/yarns, as I mentioned last time. But I'm almost finished with this. As soon as I get the Romney plied. I have the fibers picked out for the first go round of Wool/Mohair.

Of course I have also finished Amy's Nightshade singles:

I love this yarn, but it needs something along with it as I ended up with less than 200 yards. I'm thinking a contrasting purple/green BFL roving I have some left of (also from Amy) and maybe a felted bucket hat. The Corriedale is too coarse for next to skin wear. But DH really liked the colorway. It's possible I will order some softer wool (or yarn!) in this color for something for him. But no money today, ho hum.

I have a personal financial issue going on and it's really getting on my nerves. I am an independent contractor doing transcription work out of my home, and usually it's really a great gig, as I can be free when I want, work when I want (when there is work), and be free for field trips and school volunteering, etc.

Last fall I started working for a writer, we had fun, I was very well paid, it really saved Christmas. So when he called this spring with more work, in March, I was thrilled. I billed him for almost $2000 of transcribing. After six weeks of waiting, he paid me an advance (the subject of the book is supposed to be paying his expenses) of half and that was great. But now we're working on 90 days from my bill and WE ARE BROKE. We have gone through the tax refund and my birthday money is paying the bills this month. I emailed him last week about needing the balance by the end of June, but he hasn't even written me back. Now, this is not like him and I hope to hear that he's been out of town or something, but I'm getting nervous. If that $900 (a not insignificant amount!!) does not come in by the time I have to pay July's rent, I am seriously f**ked.

[Emailed writer, something I've been doing every Wednesday, sigh. He says they are very sorry and he will be calling them every day till they fix. Which is good, since he doesn't get his advance back till I get my whole amount. What bugs me is the artist the book is about would really have no truck with this. It's his manager who dropped the ball. Wish me luck!]

Just a small rant. Sorry for the OT.

On to happier things! Games, splat balls, a couple of hours off, heaven!

[VBS was great today, although we are getting more bumps and bruises this year. Tomorrow on to ping pong balls!]

Have a lovely!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summer has officially begun!

Well, it has here. School is out, we have been swimming, VBS starts this morning. And I think this is the first year that I haven't woken up in a cold sweat at least once worrying about some game that didn't exist and not having all the supplies, yay!

I must brag (even with no pictures). DS was a level 1 swimmer last summer, all summer. He progressed, but not to swimming on his own, not really. Saturday, he just went nuts! Floating on his back, floating on his tummy, floating in a ball, swimming underwater, swimming with both hands and both feet with actual strokes, head in the water. I'm astonished and proud! I will be having a talk with the level 1 teacher on Monday about whether they should just bump him up right away or not. He doesn't need to be reminded of that stuff, he just needs to swim.

Meanwhile, I have tons of things to do, of course. My list for today:

Teach VBS
Clean up living room (babysitting this evening)
Prep for VBS tomorrow
Finish weekend work
Have kids make Father's Day artwork (or we're in trouble for shipping)

My REAL plan for free time in the next month or so is serious Fair spinning. I know I won't get anything knitted unless it's socks in sportweight or something like that, which could work, but I'll see what I end up with. Entries must be mailed by July 12, which is WAY too soon for my usual projects. But what I would like is one or two skeins for two or three categories of spinning. So far I have one skein of wool that's good enough to put in. One. I would like to have:


So I will be spinning a bit out of my comfort zone (wool) and making some batts and such. A month should be plenty of time to get some good yarns, if I don't have to knit them up as well. And if the wool/mohair comes out really nice, maybe some quick socks will be possible. But I'm too ambitious about what I want to knit. My blend is orange/yellow orange, which I love. I also have some purple/gold that I dyed, but I would have to blend it with something, which would mess with the colors. Or...I could spin a ply of purple mohair and a ply of wool for the other yarn and not have to muddy it up...hmm...But it would have to be stranded knitting to satisfy me. Need to do the yarns first and then worry about the knitting (plus I would have an extra 12 days if I drive the stuff to Pomona).

Is it boring to listen to my stream-of-consciousness? It must be, or I would have more readers! However, this blog is fun, regardless, so wev.

Wish me luck with the oh-so-religious games: Telephone, Musical Chairs and a variation on Red Rover (all in the VBS curriculum, not my fault!).

And have a lovely day!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Disclaimer or Two

First of all, Ravelry is fantastic but it will soon eat my life!!! Too much fun!!

Second of all, I have knit many, many more projects for gifts than I have ever kept for myself. But it looks like all I do is knit for me, me, me. This is not really the case. I just don't remember them all.

On to important matters. The Girls have bridged:

They have grown so much! Mine is the second from the right.

We had a great time at SeaWorld and I think they would all agree that it was worth saving our cookie money for two years to pay for it. We camped out with the Beluga whales and then spent the day at the park. The counselors (with one notable exception) were wonderful and warm and provided numerous activities for the girls both in the evening and the morning. I highly recommend Adventure Camp!

We are unfortunately saying goodbye to a couple of girls this summer and we will really miss them both (and their moms!!). But we plan to welcome four new girls from another troop in the fall, yay! And there's always recruiting at school next year, too. We have a great troop and I look forward to more fun next year (after a rest...)!

And here's a nice tourist shot, too:
OFC: There is spinning and knitting going on but I haven't taken pictures. And tomorrow you can have Kindergarten graduation, aren't you excited? About to finish sock one of second pair of Monkeys (4 repeats only). Wish I had done the picot cuff a la Cara, but next time will be fine. Spinning Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club Nightshade into worsted weight singles. Very dark and brooding, but not soft enough for socks. I think a felted bag or bucket hat, something like that. And spinning some of Joy's Hang on Sloopy (FINALLY). Joy is amazing at NOT bugging me about this but she really deserves her yarn.
That's about it right now. You can see why I've been busy, though, right?
Have a lovely!

Monday, June 04, 2007

*4 years ago today

It's my birthday today, yay! My best girlfriends are taking me out to dinner and a movie (years since I got to do this) and I will be stalking the mailman. Children are trying to be good!

Later I will have pictures from our awesome camping trip to SeaWorld last weekend and our bridging ceremony; we cried and cried.

When I remember these girls as first year Brownies, I am awestruck by how much they have grown, not just physically, but emotionally and in maturity. They are wonderful girls and I am very proud to have had a hand in their development. I hope to continue to do so for many years to come.

Upcoming events: Vacation Bible School, last field trip, swimming lessons, more days where we don't get dressed till lunchtime (that might be my favorite), trip out east to see the family.

More later!

And a Happy Birthday also to Angelina Jolie, Noah Wylie and Cecelia Bartoli!
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