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July 2007
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September 2007

The germ has been planted

    Well, the yarn for my niece's socks arrived yesterday, so guess what I'm going to be starting?  You got it!  Cheerleader socks, for my favorite rah-rah girl.  I just hope I can get them finished before she graduates!  Of course, once the yarn arrived I had to go find the nearest yarn shop to buy more dpn's, because the size I need for her socks are already being used for - wait for it - another pair of socks for ME!  It's a sickness, isn't it?  And I think I'm getting a bad case.  Oh well!
    My cold is slowly improving - I think - I only woke myself up once or twice last night.  It is possible to make some incredibly bizarre noises when you're as plugged up as I am right now.  Once I woke up thinking I'd heard a very squeaky car horn, and realized that it was me honking.  At least it's funny; I don't mind waking up so much if I can do it giggling.  Darling husband has been known to make noises that (I imagine) closely resemble those a dying moose would make, which always starts me chuckling.  Thankfully he's a pretty good sport about his wife laughing at him in the middle of the night. 
    I just looked at the clock, and I need to get my rear in gear for the day, so I'm outta here.  Go forth and knit socks, my children!

The socks that lived

    As promised in the last post, I am providing pictures of the socks.  This is my first-ever finished pair of socks, and while they aren't perfect, I'm pretty darn proud!  As I've mentioned in the past, I tend to have lots of enthusiasm about starting projects, but I'm not so good at finishing them.  So this is really good for me, especially considering that second sock syndrome is a very common knitter's ailment and I somehow managed to avoid it.  Yay, me!  :-)
Pond_socks_004 I did find it surprisingly difficult to get a decent picture of my own feet.  Who knew?  The yarn is Regia - I think - got it in Germany and the ball band is loooooong gone, so I'm not sure.  It was nice to knit with, though, and the socks feel great on my feet. 

    I do think I've figured out my moodiness problem of the other day: I was getting sick.  So simple in retrospect, eh?  Both my boys have had rotten head colds since the middle of last week, and today I woke up with an aching head, sore throat, eyes that feel like burning marbles and an overwhelming desire to avoid sunlight.  So either I'm getting a rotten head cold too, or I'm turning into an allergy-ridden vampire.  I'm betting on the cold.  I don't think vampires are nearly as common as modern writers would have us think. 
    A nice bit of landscape to end the post...this is what I saw when I looked out the window this morning.


    I have been unusually moody today, for some reason.  Not that mood swings are something unknown for me, but I'm not usually quite as - ah - variable as I have been today.  It's a little strange.  I had plans for showing you my finished socks (yes, finished!  Really!), and talking about the afghan I started, and even describing the yarn I ordered to make my niece's socks.  But you know what?  Not gonna do it.  Nope, nope, nope!  Y'all will just have to take my word for FO's and afghans and everything else today, because I'm grouchy.  Go figure.  Grouchy Mom really is today.  I sure hope everyone else is feeling more pleasant and settled today than I do.  Anyway, have a GREAT weekend, and by Monday I should have some lovely sock photos for you.  Now I'm off to drink coffee and knit some funky acrylic stuff, because - well, because I can.  Later!

Gotta go faster!

    Whew!  This week is going way too fast.  Actually, this summer is going way too fast.  So why do I need to go faster?  Listen, my children, and you shall hear...
    First of all, I like to knit.  I am not a particularly accomplished knitter, and I have a serious tendency to "forget" projects halfway through, but I do really like to knit.  It's relaxing and engaging and I like the idea of making something out of string and sticks, although in my case the "something" is frequently "this will be _______ when I finish it".  Anyway!
    Earlier this week hubby's sister and her family came up for a 24-hour power visit - see the house, fish the pond, pet the puppy, hugs and out the door.  While they were here I was working on a pair of socks that I have been knitting for four unholy months quite a while - almost done, really! - and my niece said "Aunt Steph, will you knit me a pair of socks?  To wear with my cheerleading uniform?"  Well, first of all, who could turn that down?  I mean, come on, how many cheerleaders WANT to wear hand-knit socks while cheering?  Not to mention that I happen to adore my niece.  She's bright, articulate, affectionate and more fun than a room full of puppies.  So I said "Sure!"  And then the stupid button in my brain clicked into overdrive and I said "And I could make you mittens to match!  So your hands don't get cold while you're at the games!"  And she said "OOOOH, that would be cool, Aunt Steph!"  And I'm doomed, because it's soooo close to September and she actually starts school Monday and I knit really really REALLY slow, and where in the heck am I going to find solid kelly green sock yarn?  Not to mention matching worsted-weight for mittens?  Which, by the way, I have never attempted before.  I am so screwed.  I have to do this now or I'll lose my "favorite aunt" status, and that is completely unacceptable.  I'm just going to have to suck it up and go faster.  That's all,, just gotta go faster.
    So. Screwed.

Blah, blah, blah....

    So I'm sitting here in front of the computer, reading e-mail and checking blogs and aimlessly surfing, and I come across an entry on one of my favorite blogs that mentions distractibility in connection with school work.  Now, this piques my curiousity, because goodness knows I am nothing if not distractible (unless I'm reading, in which case you could drop a bomb and I'd never know), and also, I'm homeschooling again this year (woe is me) and my youngest child in particular is also EXTREMELY distractible.  No idea where he gets it from. 
    Anyway, I read the post, and this mom is talking about her child taking three hours (THREE!) to do a twenty-minute homework assignment, and all I can think is oh dear LORD, is that what this year is going to be like?  Three hours per twenty minutes' worth of work?  AAAAAAAAAAAAARrrrrrrrgghhhhh!!
Kill me now!  I will never see daylight again.  All my waking hours (and probably some of my sleeping hours too) will be dedicated to getting my youngest child to DO. HIS. WORK, and by next spring I will be a shriveled husk of a woman, creeping about in the dark, screeching in protest when anyone turns on a light because my eyes have become so incredibly photosensitive from toiling away in the dark caves of trying-to-teach-this-kid-something.  This is not a pleasant prospect.  I am scared and slightly resentful at this thought.  What to do?
    Well, I suppose I could always try getting organized and setting a schedule and really enforcing work time and no playing until all the schoolwork is DONE, and...yeah.  I think this year is going to require a lot of prayer.  A LOT of prayer.  By Christmas I will probably have calluses on my knees, and the Lord will have earplugs, and my youngest child will need therapy because Mommy's so weird all the time.  Even weirder than normal.  Which is saying a lot.
    I think I need more coffee.

My brand new B&B

    Busy times here at Casa Grouchy Mom!  Today marks exactly three weeks in the new house, and we've already had multiple guests.  Kids spending the night, friends from out of state - and in! - even my mom and her sister spent a couple nights.  I think I'm going to install a revolving door and put out a Bed & Breakfast sign.  Meals on the deck with a view of the pond, and if you pay attention you can see some gin-u-wine Michigan wildlife!   
    Don't get me wrong, I love having company.  I'm just a bit bemused by the sudden rush!  I also have to admit that it would be easier if we had our stuff from Germany - entertaining without a kitchen table or chairs gets a bit tricky.  Pull up some floor, guys!  Plenty for everyone!   Um, yeah.  That's gonna get me hostess of the year, don't you think?  Not to mention the lack of beds and bedding, which we've been forced to remedy by frequent trips to Wally-world.  Thank goodness for air mattresses!  At least we'll all have somewhere to sleep that isn't floor. 
    In other news, the critters are doing well.  Clover is adorable - she loves to be with her people and get lots of cuddles.  Lily is still not too sure about being friends with a DOG (gasp!) but it hasn't stopped her mega-purr.  And the fish and turtle are - well - fishy and turtley?  It's hard to tell if a fish is happy!  We're enjoying them all, anyway.  And it's been raining since Saturday - pouring today! - so maybe the lawn will quit crunching when we walk!  Yay!


    My Mom and my Aunt Glenna, who are two of the coolest, funniest ladies I know, arrived today for a visit!  That in itself is wonderful, but just to sweeten the deal even further, they brought - a puppy!
Clover_004 Say hello to Clover, whose big trip north apparently exhausted her.  She made a few trips around the yard, took a brief dip in the pond (!) and is now snoozing in Luke's lap.  We're all smitten. 
Lily And kitten rhymes with smitten, so - meet Lily the kitten!  Darling daughter was perishing for lack of a kitty, so Sunday afternoon we happened to see a "free kitten" sign up the road and found this little girl.  She is a sweetie and purrs like a champ.  So far she and Clover aren't too sure about each other, but I'm sure they'll get used to each other soon.  Ah, our growing family!

Evil, thy name is wallpaper

    The house continues to evolve into "our" house, as we slowly decide where all our things belong and adjust to the space.  I'm loving my kitchen with a passion that almost frightens me, seeing as how I hate to cook.  Why would I love a room that's meant for doing something I hate?  But there it is - I love it - I wander in and out all day long, caressing the countertops and patting the faucet.  It's sick.  But I digress....
    Really, about the only thing that any of us truly dislike about this house is the amazing quantity of flowery wallpaper it contains.  Almost every room is covered in some Victorian-looking paper, floor to ceiling, and while it's certainly good quality wallpaper, it is equally certain that it's not to any of our liking.  Thus, the decision was born to remove it all. 
    It sounds so simple, doesn't it?  We don't care for this wallpaper, so we're going to take it down and paint instead.  I did a little research on wallpaper removal methods, assembled my tools, and decided to start in the half-bath  (a smaller space) to gain some experience.   And that right there, folks, was the end of easy.
  See this?  This is just one bag of the many that I took out of that room.  You will note the lovely, bright, cheerful color and pattern for a small room.  I would also like to point out that the odd coral-rose color visible in the pattern was carried through, with loving thoroughness, to the trim and even the ceiling.  In addition, while removing most of the paper was a fairly straightforward (albeit tedious) process, there was a section behind the door that had apparently been applied using super-glue and demon snot.  After five (5!!!) applications of my no-fail, always-works, super-powered wallpaper glue dissolver failed to work, I succumbed to the inevitable.  I sanded, spackled, sanded some more, and called it done.  If anyone has a problem with it, they can call 1-800-who-cares. 
    At any rate, I eventually got the walls to a paintable state and dove in. After some sweating and griping and wiping of drips, I now have a lovely half-bath painted walnut wash taupe, with gold veil translucent sponging and some spritely poppy-decorated accessories.  I also have a stiff neck and painful hands, but what's a little pain for beauty?  I'll tell you this, though - I am taking a nice, long break before I tackle the next roomful of demon wallpaper.  See what's coming up?
Faith_bathroom The Victorian jungle bath.  I can hardly wait.

Odds and ends

    Today marks our first full week in the new house, and things are going well.  There are still some boxes to be unpacked and a couple beds to be assembled (thank God for air mattresses!), but otherwise it's coming along.  Of course, as always when you move into a new place, there are a plethora of unexpected "must-haves".  Things like - oh - four toilet brushes, because now I have four toilets!  New waste baskets for the whole house.  Some basic cooking utensils, because most of my kitchen goods are on a ship somewhere in the Atlantic still.  And cleaning supplies, because who moves into a new house without wiping everything down as if the last resident carried bubonic plague?  Not I!
    In spite of the buying frenzy (and subsequent "where can I store this now?"  frenzy) I am loving this house.  Loving it.  For one thing, we've never had this much space before, and I can tell already that it's going to make a huge difference in how easy it is to keep things tidy.  Mind  you, I am not a particularly gifted housekeeper, so I'm making no promises, but the space - and the storage! - should help a lot.   The kids all have their own rooms and the finished basement is enormous, so they'll have a place for their friends to come and hang out.  My kitchen is a dream - tons of counter and cupboard space, a nice layout, even roll-out shelves.  Sigh.  And the pole barn has sweet hubby positively giddy; finally, a place for all his toys - oops, I mean tools! - that he doesn't have to share with the family vehicles.    One big project this week is getting ready for the puppy.  We'll be bringing her home in about 10 days, so we need to have her run put up and all the necessary items waiting for her.  She's grown a ton already!  We can't wait to get her here.  After much debate, she's been named "Clover" - partially because that's what she likes to roll in!  It's going to be fun to watch her explore her new home. 
    Well, speaking of new home - I have more stuff to put away.  Off we go!

Home sweet home

    Yeeee-hawwww!  We're in our house!  After what seems like forever, we're finally all together again in our very own place.  Needless to say, it feels really good.  Of course it's going to take some time to get all our stuff organized the way we want it and really personalize the house for the way we live, but we're very happy.   Once I find my way out of the maze of boxes and packing materials I'll post some pics.  Happy times!