Friday, November 30, 2012

Why Nothing Gets Done, Phase II

I blame my knitting group.  Yes, I'm in a knitting group.  Don't hate.  And yes, if you're keeping count, that's gardening, canning, AND knitting.  I'm officially an 85-year-old survivalist.  Here's why.  Anyhoo, one of my knitting friends showed me a quick reference in this amazing, crazy, wonderful blog called Attic 24.  It's written by my new very best friend in the whole wide world, Lucy.  She's the cheeriest, English-est, grooviest gal ever.  So, what started out as a quick look at a stitch reference turned in to my latest obsession.

And when I say obsession, I'm not kidding you.  I spent almost every free moment for a week and a half reading every blog post she's ever written (and she's been online for four and a half years).  If she posted a picture of her teacup, I drank tea.  If she shopped for yarn, I went online.  If she went outside to tend her flowers, I looked outside to see if anything was dead and moved on to the next page.

It was a freaky kind of spell she had me under.  She does so much more than drink tea and shop for yarn.  She makes the most wonderful crochet creations.  I just want to go live in her slightly chaotic life for a while.  We won't mention that she's a lot messier than I am, and sometimes I want to go live with her just so I can help her out.  I mean, I cleaned out the junk drawer this week as a reward for paying bills.  Regardless, I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading.  Her joy in a rainy day, her desire to spend the maximum time possible in pajamas, and her ability to say fuck it to the mess on the dining room table (my words, not hers) are all something to which I aspire.

And yet.  As much time as I spent staring at the screen, wanting to know more about her, to BE her, I thought, why don't I just crochet something?  So, I did.  I used her general pattern for granny squares. They were some of the very first things I ever learned how to do with a needle (or hook), but I wasn't sure I still remembered how to crochet, much less execute a granny (diction saves lives).  Recently, I've been pretty much exclusively a knitter, but it was amazing how quickly it came back.  If I really think about it, crochet was my first craft love.

Mostly I loved crochet because I so loved my great aunts, Grace and Lucy.  They were responsible for me and my brother after my grandmother dumped us on them after my mom dumped us on her.  Anyway, they were both retired and both loved kids.  So, with them, we hung.  And it was fabulous - unlimited cake access, unlimited TV access, unlimited whatever we wanted.  In my mind, both of them have gray-blue hair and smell like Coppertone.  They have plastic flowers on their flip-flops, and they share a bed with their 85-year-old mother at the beach motel on Dog Island.  They were pretty close to what a perfect family looked like, as far as I knew.  I loved them.  A lot.

Lucy always, always had some form of crochet with her.  Usually something very large and blanket-y.  She taught me early how to crochet and how to make a granny square.  I still have the orange, sunflower, and avocado afghan she made my mom when I was born (yup, it was the late '60s) and I still have the peach, blue and cream afghan she made for me when I went away to college.  It's on my bed right now.

 22 squares - 11/11/12
Enter Lucy (and how weird is it that my new inspiration has the same name?) and her happy, joyful, blankety-ness.  I gathered up some old bits and bobs of leftover cotton yarns from various knitting projects, and I made a square.  And then I made a few more.  Suddenly, it seemed like I was onto something.  I was LOVING it.  I ate in my room, so I could crochet.  I left out my contacts so I could see to crochet.  I bought 1.75 reading glasses so I could crochet with my contacts on.   And funny thing, that crochet made me feel as jolly and nutty as Lucy sounds in her blog. So I kept at it.

At some point, I realized that the few bits of leftover yarn just wasn't going to cut it.  I bought more.  And then I bought some more.  If you've been playing along, you will also know that I am on a strict budget.  This current project is taxing my resolve.  But the payoff is so worth it.

84 squares - 11/29/12
I only have to make 300 more!!

Gotta go.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving, by the numbers

We had a total of 21 people at our house for Thanksgiving this year.  Here's a look, by the numbers.

Houseguests: 4
Bottles of wine brought by houseguests: 6 (they will be invited back)
Hours spent in pajamas with houseguests: lots
Miles run in the neighborhood turkey trot: 3.1
Age of youngest runner: 10
Number of tables needed to seat everyone:  3 (one inside, two out)
Afternoon temperature: 76
Different types of cheese on cheese platter: 15
Different types of potato dishes: 3
Number of rolls: 60
Number of salads: 1
Pounds of turkey: 26
Pies: 5
Dishwasher loads for prep, dinner, and dessert: 12
Score of the game: TCU 20 - Texas 13 (ugh)
Days to recover: 7

Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Glimpses

It's possible that the slightly manic phases that I have in which I actually do what I'm supposed to do, including shower, dress, check the mail, fertilize the garden, bake, knit, write, etc., are not a sign of impending mental illness, but are the self-actualization of what I thought this stay-at-home business would really be like.

Is that even possible?

I struggled and struggled, trying to find balance and peace.  And couldn't, so therefore, I immediately deemed myself a failure.  But lo, after 14 months, a glimmer of light.  Balance is for sissies.  The only times I've felt really committed and kick-ass at this thing is when I've run myself ragged either in the house or the yard or the world beyond.  I KNOW - sounds crazy, right?  But there's something so seductive about crossing something off the to-do list.  And even more seductive is crossing off more things.

What that should tell you is that moms who work full time AND do this shit are superhuman.  And by that I mean super from the Latin meaning over and above.  How did I ever do it?  How?  The answer is, I didn't.  I was exhausted.  And all my plants were dead.  And we ate at Sonic four days a week.  But it was the best I could do.

I'm still doing the best I can.  And I still miss teaching -- a lot.  And I'm still exhausted.  I'm just kicking ass in a different kind classroom.

And I'm good with that.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Austerity, Day 6

We went to the Longhorns game today, for which I was WOEFULLY UNDERPREPARED.  No, not for the football, for the food.  I hadn't eaten anything except for a cup of yogurt and a cup of coffee.  Now, if you're keeping track, that means that both my calorie and my caffeine levels were low.  Dangerously low.

So, I fixed it with a soft pretzel.  And a 44 ounce Diet Coke.  And we're not going to address the nachos either.  Or the pizza for the sleepover.  Let's just pretend this never happened.  It's a fucking miracle I haven't had anything to drink yet.

There's still time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Austerity Days 3 and 4

I am really awesome at this austerity thing.  Except for the gluten part.  So, I've been obsessively reading these English and Australian blogs about crochet and gardens and other really delightful things.  And one of the most wonderful things about those folks is that fact that they really do drink tea.  All the time.  And they always have a little snack for tea.  Every afternoon!  So, since I'm reading about it, it only makes sense that I should partake as my new bloggy friends are partaking.  

So, yesterday and today, I had a blueberry muffin (whole grain and homemade, but a muffin nonetheless).  And it was awesome.  

So there.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Austerity, Day 2

Today, I thought I was going to die.

When I woke up, I thought the headache was just one of those stiff neck headaches I get when I do shoulders at the gym.

And then I thought it was just sinus.

And then I thought I might have a brain tumor.

And then I wanted to throw up.

And then I saw stars.

And then I had to lie down.

And then I couldn't even make dinner.

And then I realized I hadn't had any caffeine since 7:30 am.

And then I drank a cup of black tea and took an Excedrin for migraine.

And then I watched the election returns.

And then I watched Mitt Romney's speech.

And then I watched Barack Obama's speech.

And then I watched all the talky people talk about Mitt Romney's speech.

And then I watched all the talky people talk about Barack Obama's speech.

I don't think I slept, but my head didn't hurt anymore.

Afternoon tea has a purpose.

Lesson learned.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Austerity, Day 1

I had a wonderful weekend.  G and I took a little girls' trip down to Houston.  S was booked all weekend with band trips, and T was still working on our new, architecturally-rendered (if by architecturally rendered you mean using the free Google app to design and measure and then pretty much making it up from there) shed, so I thought I'd go see my mom, who I haven't seen since June (!), and dad.

Any trip to see my parents necessarily involves the ingestion of a fair amount of alcohol.  Usually because we're enjoying each other's company.  Occasionally because we're driving each other crazy.  Regardless, my people come from a long line of people who enjoy a glass of the grape. Or the barley.  Or potato.  Or juniper.  Or whatever, really.  And we're really good at it.  Because we practice.

Anyway, I had an absolutely super time with my folks, saw some great, old friends from high school.  And ate.  Ate at all my favorite Houston places that I don't ever get to go to anymore. Ate road food on the way home. And I ate all the things I never let myself eat anymore, project-wise and health-wise. And that's when the party was over.  Because, today . . .

I. Feel. Like. Shit.

I can't do it.  I can't eat like that for three whole days, and I certainly can't drink like that.  So, since we've already delved into fiscal austerity, I've decided to take the plunge into nutritional austerity.  It's like my very own episode of Hoarders or Intervention.  Except I'm not saving others.  I'm saving myself.  Well, that, and I have no tattoos and all my teeth, but otherwise, just like that.  No alcohol.  No carbonation.  No nighttime gluten.  Seven days.

Pray for me.

Friday, November 2, 2012

In the Hood

I was at the corner convenience store yesterday, getting my daily Diet Coke.  In front of me at the register was a man buying not one but TWO forty-ounce Fosters Lagers and a large bottle of Pepto-Bismol.

As I went out to the car, I noticed that he was wearing a t-shirt that said "Innovative Business Solutions."  Indeed.

You can't make that shit up.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple. Tree. Haiku.

This was my mom's response to my Halloween Haiku:

As for Halloween
I didn't like it either
Too many children

I am not making this up.