It’s only halfway through the day and already good things have happened that are worthy of recording.
- I made quiche (affectionately known as Kitchen Sink Quiche, because apart from the two eggs and the milk, I toss whatever is in the fridge into it; today it was grated zucchini from the school’s garden, aged cheddar, diced ham, red pepper, and broccoli, all in a homemade crust) It was absolutely delicious.
- We brought the delicious quiche over to Kristie’s house and fed it to her.
- We got to watch Owlet and Rowan play together, which was thoroughly enjoyable, partly because they played so very well with one another and partly because it was my daughter playing with Rob’s son. That’s special indeed.
- Our garden has been producing lovely peas and cherry tomatoes, upon which we have all been snacking, and the Beefsteak and whatever the other kind of full-size tomatoes we planted is are nearly ripe. And my basil, chives, and parsley (which all got chopped and tossed into the quiche) are bushy and healthy.
- HRH installed the shelving we had stored away in the front hall closet and the attic office cupboard, and we sorted through and organized shoes (which all have their own shelves now instead of being in a pile on the floor, thank the gods) and all my yarn and fibre (ditto, hurrah!). I found the missing bag of organic Merino I got for dyeing, and a couple of other bags of fibre I’d forgotten I had, including a braid of lovely Ozark silk sliver in pale greens, pinks, and cream. It looks like watercolours.
- I sorted through the other set of baby clothes for 2-4 year olds and found the missing denim ball cap Sparky wore when he was a baby, as well as more soft shoes and lots of socks.
- We finished watching Sora no Woto with Marc M, and it may just be my favourite anime series we’ve watched together so far. It was beautifully told and illustrated, and had lovely music.
There, all that’s out of the way, now. Good things have been happening, too! In my last really, really rough patch I would try to blog daily about the things I’d accomplished or the good things that had happened. I can’t blog anywhere near daily, but I can attempt to get back into the rhythm of writing down the good stuff when possible, to remind myself that even when things are horrendously bad there is still positive to be accentuated.
Sparky’s two-week session of day camp came to an end on Friday. We had a parents’ tour that afternoon, where we went from activity to activity and the kids showed off what they’d learned. He very obviously adored science, because he sat right next to the teacher and raised his hand to answer every question. His focus and control in his karate class blew us away, and when the bell rang to move us to the next activity we rushed up to the teacher and asked her if she taught. She no longer does, although she gave us the name of the school in Boucherville she learned at, so we’ll look into that. (Seriously; this kid not only learned all the moves she taught them, but the first kata, and did it all in two languages he doesn’t speak.)
Drums was next. Now, there was a problem with drums. The first Friday, the teacher met us when the kids came out and said that there seemed to be a disconnect, and that Sparky was doing a lot of trying to talk his way out of working on what he’s been given in class. “He’s a perfectionist,” I said, “and if he thinks he can’t do something well right off the bat he tries to talk his way out of doing it at all.” “Exactly,” the teacher said, giving me that complicit aha-so-you-know look. He suspected Sparky might be happier elsewhere. He advised thinking about it over the weekend and bringing an answer on Monday. It was done with a lot of respect and obvious care for Sparky’s enjoyment of the experience. Over the weekend we talked about how it was okay to not be great at everything as soon as you started, and how he could always ask the teacher for help, and if the teacher was willing to send home the notation we could help him with the first two basic rhythms that the teacher was asking for by the end of the two-week period, and he was okay with that. So he stayed in drums. Well, on parents’ day, the four other kids did their turns and were all amazingly good, and right away we knew what had happened: Sparky was comparing himself to kids who were almost twice his age and who very obviously had previous experience with drums. And when his turn to show us what he’d done came, he sat at the drum kit and kind of folded in on himself, and just couldn’t even play. So his teacher suggested that after the choral concert at the end of the afternoon, we’d meet back in the drum room and he could play for just us, with no other kids or families around. He agreed to this readily, and we moved across the hall to his art class, where of course he’d had lots of fun.
The choral concert was great — I love hearing a group of kids sing, they’re always so enthusiastic and all over the place — and then we went down to the drum room again, where Sparky picked up his sticks and played his rhythms for us without a problem, including fills that he’d only learned that day or the day before. All of us were very proud of him. The teacher said that he suspected that it had been the noise and intimidation factor of the other kids’ skills that worked against him, and the fact that it was the biggest class of kids and so Sparky just got buried in the noise, being the youngest and the least accustomed to the experience. We all told Sparky how happy we were that he’d stuck it out and achieved his basic goal. And to top it all off, he had the excitement of breaking one of his drumsticks, splitting the tip. We told him that Marc Le Guen and Daphne, our friends who drum, would be very, very proud of him.
All the teachers, monitors, and coordinators said how much they’d enjoyed having him, and asked if he was coming back for the last two-week session, but he wasn’t, because we’d only registered for one session since we didn’t know if it was going to be a good fit or not. We’re definitely going to send him back next year, though, hopefully for four weeks.
Owlet enjoyed the camp experience, too! She loved being social with everyone when we dropped Sparky off and picked him up every day. She especially loved the little girls, who would drift nearby and peek at her. She’d toddle up to them and reach over to touch their hair or their cheeks, or reach up for an adult’s hand. It was fun to sit on the grass with her and watch her interact with people, with delighted grins and the occasional hug. I think she’ll miss it.
Work has gone well, too. I finished the YA novel edit and sent it in (after working till midnight the morning before it was due, gah). The coordinator sent it to the author almost right away the next morning, and the author sent a note that very afternoon that was passed on to me, saying that she’d glanced at the edits and they were great, to thank me very much for my work, and that she was glad I’d enjoyed the book. That’s huge. It’s hard to receive edits as an author, so to get a thank you made my day. I try to deliver my edits in as supportive a way as possible, because as an author myself I know how crushing any edits of any kind can be. I also indicated that I was more than happy to do more YA fiction edits for the new imprint, which my coordinator was very glad to hear. So that’s two freelance cheques that should arrive in August. It feels so good to be working again.
I am participating in the Ravellenic Games this year (a mass knitting event that runs parallel to, and in celebration of, the Olympics), because my online July 2001 mamas knitting group is a fantastic bunch of people who wildly support my flailing attempts at knittery, and they were such good sports about me geeking out about spinning during the Tour de Fleece. I am knitting my very first cotton washcloth, and not only am I purling, I am now over halfway done, and I only cast on on Friday night!
I skeined up the Rambouillet I finished plying, too, and dear gods, it is possibly the most beautiful yarn I have ever spun,and I have spun some very nice stuff. The colours are a bit odd in photos, but in person they’re really lovely and subdued, and it’s just so soft and silky to touch.
I think I will cuddle and pat it for a while, and then I may earmark it for socks. Rambouillet is now currently tied with BFL/silk as my top wool to spin any time, anywhere. Oh, I am so very far behind on photographing and sharing shots of my handpsun over the last year. I know there are photos of the heathered red mystery wool I spun longdraw missing, and a bunch of the coloured fibre I did last spring and summer like the Louet Karaoke top in “Parrotfish,” some Projekt B batts and braids, and that sort of thing…
I think that’s about it for now. We’re currently in countdown mode for Owlet’s first birthday. She’s been walking for a while, but I keep calling her a baby. I’m giving myself the rest of the week to use that term, and then we really must officially switch to “toddler” or “little girl.”
I have a bunch of stuff to post, so I’m going to get the post covering the unpleasant stuff out of the way first.
I’ve had a really, really awful month, and a couple of things happened Saturday morning that brought it all to a head. I have been literally sick with worry and fear about finances and how we were going to handle this important conference I was registered for next weekend. I’ve been struggling to handle everything that’s been thrown in my way over the past four weeks. Every time something new happens I’ve asked myself if it’s the universe telling me to prove myself one more time and conquer the obstacle so I can go, or if I’m being told to understand that I’m not meant to go and to cancel, and every time I’ve worked it out and somehow arranged it so I can go. Yesterday I finally broke down under a one-two punch life dealt me, and I admitted defeat. I have to cancel, and it breaks my heart. I was really, really looking forward to it, despite all the panic about how I was going to manage it and how much easier it would have been all along to just say I couldn’t go. And it was going to be a long weekend away from my family, as much as I love them, with people I enjoy.
All along I’ve been worried that to give in and admit defeat would be taking the easy way out but good grief, how much more bending can I do? How much more grief and anxiety do I have to handle before I say that it was a good fight, but I’ve lost it honourably?
So I made the decision and cried about it a lot, and my family was wonderfully supportive and loving. I made the call cancelling my attendance last night, and it felt awful to do it, but the organizer fully supported my decision and my situation and helped me feel better about it.
The one good thing about it (apart from not going into total financial ruin) is that I will be home for Owlet’s first birthday after all. That means a lot to me. I can invite a couple of people over and bake piles and piles of cupcakes, and I can dress her up and we will have balloons, and then we get to do it again for her family-centred birthday celebration the following weekend.
And for the first time in about a month, I woke up this morning without immediately plunging into an anxiety attack. That tells me it was the correct decision. I’ve also been able to eat today without getting ill in some way, which is another welcome change from the way I’ve been living. Things still suck, but they suck a bit less, and I can deal with the amount of suckage that’s on my plate much better, now.
As if that wasn’t enough, Saturday morning I finally went out to buy my iPad and was stonewalled there, too. According to the salesman, Apple very quietly discontinued the iPad 2 16 GB model last month, and it has stopped shipping to non-Apple stores. (I can’t find Apple-sourced proof of this online, just mentions here and there of various shops in both the US and Canada marking it as discontinued and no longer available.) And of course, the iPad 2–16 GB, WiFi only — was the one I was going to buy, because it was the least expensive of them all, and all I needed. So there were only two left in all the Best Buy stores in the province, and they couldn’t be transferred to my shop in time before I left. (This was still before I cancelled my trip entirely.) I couldn’t upgrade my purchase because I didn’t have the money; I couldn’t buy it elsewhere or online because I had cash and shop-specific gift cards. The salesman was fantastic; he came up with half a dozen solutions, most of which we tried to make work, and each one of them fell through. Eventually I admitted defeat. With the rumours of the iPad 4 being announced this fall, I might as well wait till then and get the iPad 3 when the price lowers.
It felt like being kicked while I was down. And although I tried not to think about it, I wondered if I’d run right out after my birthday and purchased it if there would still have been one or two left in stock. But it was a huge purchase, and I traditionally hover and bite my nails about large purchases before I feel okay doing it. I don’t know whether that worked against me this time or not. Cancelling the trip also reduced my immediate need for the iPad, which was going to be my main note-taking and entertainment unit as well as my Skype link back home so I could read to the kids and talk to them every night.
I’m trying to look at it as having something to look forward to for a while longer.
It is official: Owlet is walking. We have decided to formally confirm it as of Saturday. She’s been doing about three steps solo from here to there for a few weeks, of course, but Saturday she was following her brother around as he played with the cat and a remote-controlled R2D2, trying so hard to keep up with one hand along the wall or a table… until she finally got fed up, and just started walking determinedly after them. And now there’s no stopping her.
Saturday night was also the first time we left the kids alone with a non-family member babysitting them. Everything was peaceful and there were no hiccoughs. That’s a huge milestone for us, and opens up so many possibilities. Yay!
Among the wonderful things I received for my birthday, I got my very first pair of handknit socks from Ceri, about which I am positively giddy. It’s a lovely leaf pattern knit in a yellow and green Koigu yarn, the exact colours of willow leaves turning to yellow in fall. I adore them and I really ought to photograph them. I now need to start stalking the thrift shops for the perfect pair of shoes to wear with them.
Sparky is loving camp. There was an unfortunate beginning on the first day where the bell rang suddenly to signal the start of the day, and as he was already feeling trepidatious because he didn’t know what to expect and knew no one, he ended up in tears running after his first teacher and the rest of his little class as they all moved off casually, but the rest of his day was brilliant and he adores it. (I put a lucky penny loaded with love and kisses into his shoe to help him through the first couple of days, and I am told that it helped.) I wish we could afford to send him for all six weeks.
We’re working on slowing Owlet down when she eats. Most of the time she remembers to sign for more once she’s stuffed something in her mouth, so that’s an improvement. The other day we were in the car and I was passing bits of toasted bagel back to her. We had a run of green lights so there was a lull in the passing. She started making the “more” sign, but I didn’t see her, of course, because she faces backward and I was driving. She got very annoyed at me and started squawking to make me look up and see her making the exaggerated motion through the rear-view mirror. Hey, Mum, I’m doing everything right, and you’re not feeding me! What kind of reinforcement is this?
The Tour de Fleece spinning continues, and ends this coming Sunday. I plied and skeined my Teeswater samples, and I quite like them. In the top photo, the woollen-spun two-ply is on the left, and the semi-worsted two-ply on the right; in the lower photo, with the customary penny for comparison, the semi-worsted is on the top and the woollen on the bottom:
Stats for posterity:
Woollen: 16 wpi single, 10 wpi two-ply, 11g, about 28 yards
Semi-worsted: 36 wpi single, 20 wpi two-ply, 13g, about 75 yards
I don’t think I’m going to make it to the corespinning, because it would take a lot of time to find the right core yarn and decide on the fibre with which to wrap it, but today I started spinning my sample of the Cormo/silk blend Bonnie did that has been sitting in my stash for a couple of years now, and oh dear my. Zomg, people. Cormo. Cormo/silk. It’s like… like… spinning clouds. Or butter. Or buttery clouds. (But not cloudy butter.) It’s so soft. I was fully expecting to do just a couple of grams today, but it wanted to be spun really, really finely and really quickly, so I blazed through it at high speed and now I have just a couple of grams left to go. And then I think I’ll chain-ply it, because it doesn’t want to be a two-ply, and I’m not winding it off onto three separate bobbins for a three-ply.
And here is a spinning story for you.
I was setting up to spin the last of the drafted Teeswater. Owlet came up to me and gently touched the nests of fibre on my lap. “Baa,” she said. (She has previously made the connection that the fluffy white stuff I spin is sheep. Or maybe just that it’s white and fluffy like the baas in her books.) “Yes, baa,” I agreed. She watched me spin for a while, getting all over the wheel as she always does, yanking on the Scotch tension cord, getting her hands thwacked by the flyer and the hooks as they spun, grabbing the footmen, and trying to stick her finger into the metal orifice as the single disappeared into it. Finally, to distract her, I said, “Where’s Owlet’s Baa? Where’s your sheep?” (A friend’s daughter gave her a little stuffed lamb dressed up in an Easter bunny suit, which she calls Baa, like all other sheep.) Without hesitating, she turned around and looked at where it was in a small basket of toys, then trundled off to get it. I got to concentrate on the Teeswater for a minute before she was back. “Baa,” she said, and pushed the toy at the orifice.
She pushed the sheep at the orifice. Where I was feeding the wool. The white, fluffy baa is spun, and goes to be fed onto the bobbin.
True story. The level of comprehension and complexity of connection involved astound me.
(This was written, then I forgot to hit publish. Your RSS feeds aren’t confused; I backdated it to when it should have appeared.)
Owlet is walking, albeit stealthily. This morning I watched from the kitchen as she stood up in the middle of the living room, bounced in place for a bit, looked over at her toys by the wall, and walked over to them before plopping herself down. Ha ha; we see you, baby. It’s not a secret.
Sparky starts camp on Monday. His info packet arrived a few days ago, and his personal schedule came by e-mail. Guess who needs his own set of drumsticks? (We have one. It’s just amusing.) He’s doing science, karate, choir, drums, and art/cartooning. We also got the info packet for the International School, so we have supply lists and fee deadlines and so forth. He’s going to start halfway through the last week of August, and the first two days are mornings only, with the Friday being the first whole day, followed by the three-day Labour Day weekend. The ped days at this school are scattered through the weeks instead of being clumped into a long weekend, which is nice in a way.
HRH has painted the front awning! (Or whatever the thing over the front door is called. We call it the awning, even though it’s solid.) It was a horrible faded purple, once brown, we suspect. I chose a lovely dark green, and it looks wonderful. He’s going to continue the green up around the trim that’s the same faded purple-brown later this year when it isn’t so stupidly humid and hot. Next year we’ll tackle scraping and repainting the white ironwork and it will be the finishing touches on the front exterior.
(That’s actually not a very good colour match for the real thing. It looks more blue than dark green here. But anyway.)
I’m participating in the Tour de Fleece for the first time this year. (I’ve also signed up for the
Ravelymics Ravellennic Games for the first time. Hanging out with my online July 2011 babies group of knitting mamas is doing weird things to me.) My personal goals were to spin for about fifteen minutes a day, to sample the Teeswater I got in a swap last year, to sample the Cormo/silk that Bonnie blended, and to attempt a new technique like corespinning. So far I am good on the first two, so now I get to choose one of the last two and give it a go. I’ve got one week left.
I received another freelance project, this one editing a YA science-fiction/paranormal title. My publisher recently launched a couple of fiction imprints, one for YA, and so this is my first pro fiction copyedit. It’s very exciting. I’m ahead of schedule because it’s good and an easy read. This is a nice switch from trudging through the fiction manuscripts from the self-publisher I used to work for, where I had to read them in order to evaluate them. I was instructed to edit this with a very light hand, which also helps. It’s also a nice switch from the last book I edited, a non-fiction book on manicure art, where I handed it back more red than black after rearranging and rephrasing and clarifying steps. Step-by-step instruction is hard to write for most authors, pro or not, so a lot gets reworked in the editing stage to clarify what the reader doesn’t know simply because they’re not the author.