Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stinker Kid

Had this random memory this morning:

So there I was...

At the park with T and D2. D2 was only a couple of months old so T was around 2 years old. We were at our playgroup and we'd been there for almost 2 hours.

Now T was always entirely too social. I got him a red bucket hat because it was easy to spot and that kid would be far afield in about 2 seconds. He would also take people by the hand, even before he could talk, and pull them around to show them something. Strangers. Heart attacks for me every time.

So, as I said, we'd been there for quite some time. I couldn't exactly chase him around like usual as I had D2 in the stroller and anyway, I was exhausted, sleepless and done for the day. I told him the obligatory 5 minute warning that we were leaving. After about 2 minutes, I told him it was time to go. He didn't want to leave.

I ended up carrying him a la Calvin & Hobbes mom (sideways) and he was kicking and hollering. Guess what he was hollering.

"Help me! Help me!"

Other parents were looking at me in a suspicious way and thankfully some of the moms in my group helped out by saying, "It's OK, T - mommy's just taking you home."

I remember wondering why I'd had kids at all. I also remember whispering to myself, "Ooooh T. You are so dead when we get home.

I took us home and put everyone to bed.

Love those boys, Ruth!

My latest Contest here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Meat Parade

Let's start this post with a reminder of my latest contest and the first entry I received....

The lovely and ever popular sophanne sent me this spectacular silvery stuff. That's 2 skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk and one skein of Rowanspun 4 ply. It's roughly 400 yards of Fabulousness which gets her 2 entries in the contest (one entry per 200 yards). I was so excited when I opened the package but then I remembered it's for the Yarn Bouquet. sigh. It's for the children. (That was for you, Rachel!)

Last week we had a visitor. Our dear friend D'lynn came for a visit. D'lynn is the godmother to our kids. We love her and wish she could visit us all the time (as in, she should move here!). The last time she visited was 4 years ago!

She was able to visit to visit us on her way home to Arizona to visit her parents. When my husband was 12, his family moved to Wilcox, AZ. It's a tiny town with literally one stoplight. Still. He met D'lynn somewhere around high school and they've been friends forever.

So when she came to visit, it was a pretty big deal for us! We let the boys have a sleepover at their grandparents house (their first time doing this) and took D'lynn in to Denver for a night on the town.

First, we ate at this Brazilian Grill restaurant. Wow! What an experience! You have a small cylinder of wood that's painted into 3 sections - red, yellow, and green. The red is for when you want to go to the salad bar or when you "need a break" (as the waitress told us. Perplexed us initially but when flipped it, we understood). The green is for when you're ready for the meat and when you're finished with your meal and would like your check, you lay it on it's side which means yellow.

We hit the salad bar - 35 items! All your hot sides and all your salad stuff was over there. Along with the usual suspects you'd find in a salad bar, I had a tiny hard-boiled quail egg and some cooked yucca root. They had this really amazing paprika-colored mushroom gravy for the mashed potatoes, too.

Then when we were done with the salad bar, we flipped to green. Oh. Dear. God. The meat just kept coming! There were 16 different kinds and we tried them all! You have these little spork tongs at your plate and the meat guys cut off a thin slice of whatever they are carrying and you grab it with your tongs as they are slicing.

If you go to the restaurant link, you can see that they bring the meat to your table on these giant sword skewers with little plates underneath (to catch the juice). And they just. keep coming. We had rattlesnake sausage (which tasted like... sausage), buffalo meat, wild boar ribs (kinda dry), chunks of turkey wrapped in bacon, marinated chicken chunks, spicy chicken chunks (one of my favorites), some other kielbasa-type sausage, whole sirloin, garlic beef (D'lynn's favorite), some other steak tenderloin (Dave's favorite), ham with pineapple, whole tomatoes with parmesan (on a stick!).

Sheesh! At one point we had a meat guy on either side of the table cutting stuff and one waiting to have at us! There was one guy walking around with two really long skinny skewers. One had little tiny round somethings and the other skewer had equally small triangles of lime. We were on red at that point, trying to eat the meat on our plate and catch up for round 2! We flipped, just to see what the guy had - chicken hearts! (ew) We passed.

D'lynn and I couldn't get enough of the pineapple. It was rotisserie cooked like everything else and if you've never had grilled pineapple - it's so warm and juicy. We were absolutely stuffed and at the end of our meal. We'd turned the cylinder on its side to signal surrender, er, I mean for the check. But the ham/pineapple guy came around again and I told Dave, "Go green! Go green!" D'lynn and I found enough room for one more slice of pineapple each. YUM!

It was expensive as hell and overall very tasty. Dave and I had seen this type of thing on TV during a BBQ around the world type show. It looked so delicious and juicy! In real life, it was all just a bit dry. The steak stuff was rare and tender and juicy but everything else seemed kind of dried out! Especially the buffalo. It was like jerky! D'lynn said buffalo is really lean and cooking it like that probably isn't the best idea. And so much meat! I actually had a dream that night of meat swirling around on swords!

We went to Sweet Tomatoes (a salad buffet restaurant) the next day for some greens - to try and counteract all that meat. Whew!

After the meat fest, we went to Impulse Theater. An improv show - it was hysterical! We love those things. Last year, for Dave's b'day, he surprised me with going downtown to eat and then going to Bovine Metropolis (another improv show). Between the two, I liked Bovine better, it was a much more intimate venue. They had one Jeopardy-like game where the MC would give a category, someone in the audience would shout out the "answer" and the players would give their question. The MC said, "Small, dark and handsome." I shouted, "Colin Farrell" and the player, without missing a beat said, "What is a Colin in the wild." Love it!

We went to walk along the 16th Street Mall after that but it was dead so we went home. We were home by 10:30p. We're old.

I told D'lynn to pick something from my knitting books for me to make her and she picked this (Ravelry link). It's the Pimlico Shrug from Knit 2 Together. Good taste, right! And she bought the yarn from Purls of Wisdom for me to make it! It was about $120 and I asked if that was going to be OK. She said, "Are you kidding me? A beautiful sweater hand knit just for me? That's cheap!" You gotta love when they totally get it. I told her I'd have it done by Christmas. She also mentioned how cold it was in her office and her hands were always freezing, so I'll probably be making her some Fetchings, too.

Such a great time! Such a great visit! Such a dumb bunny I am as I took NO pictures. sigh. The visit was entirely too short. She came in Thursday night and had to fly off to AZ Saturday afternoon. She lives in Kansas and we hope she comes back really soon.

Missing her already, Ruth!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Yet Another Contest

My kids go to a great school. They have a few fundraisers per year and that way the children don't have to sell wrapping paper or other things people don't really want/need. There's the Fall Festival, the Winter Dance (which both my boys went to and danced The Robot all night long!) and the Spring Fling.

The Spring thing has a silent auction. My friend Rachel and I are on the committee to collect items for this auction. The mayor of our town is emceeing it this year so it should have a really good turnout.

Purls of Wisdom has donated a yarn basket with a pattern for a felted bag, the yarn to make it, needles and instruction. Yarnarts has donated a knitting kit.

I thought it would also be nice to have a big yarn bouquet to auction off. So here's my contest idea. Dig through your stash and send me yarn. Good stuff - I'm not normally a yarn snob but this is for my boys so snobbish I shall be (this time). Nothing you can get at the big chain stores.

For every 200 yards you send you will get one entry to this contest. What's the prize?

The Medallion Bag (that's a Ravelry link):

This pattern and enough yarn to make it in the colors of your choice! And, of course, the obligatory Stitch Saver of your choice!

My address is:
Ruth Moline
POB 3832
Parker, CO 80134

And the contest is open until May 10. After that I will have a drawing for the winner.

Fundraising fool, Ruth!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Contest Winners and Alphabet Challenge

First, I'm going to re-post about the Alphabet Challenge. Just so it will have it's own post. Here's what I wrote last week:

Alphabet Soup Challenge

You have to do the complete alphabet consecutively (as in "A is for.." "B is for.."). You don't have to do it every day but you do have to do each letter with no breaks in between for other posts. And they have to be legitimate posts. Can't be "A is for Apple" and then a picture of an apple, know what I mean? And they have to be done on separate days - no posting 26 times in one day. Once you've completed the alphabet, come back here and let me know. Or email me - my email is under my picture on the left.

I started this contest on March 12. Don't be discouraged if you're just now hearing about it as some people have started and already given up (I'm looking at you Olga - jk)

OK, the winners of my blogiversary contest are:

Heidi and Catsmum.

By my count, I used numbers in 26 of my titles over the past year. Kind of funny considering I just finished doing the alphabet. Maybe 26 is a theme? Nah. Just a coincidence.

With honorary mention going to ikkinlala for making me look up the definition for cardinal numbers. Ikkinlala - email me and I'll send you a Stitch Saver. (My email's under my pic.)

I've had a few requests to keep doing my Alphabet Soup. It was kind of tough! I'll probably make it a yearly thing. There were other things I would want to write about here and there but they wouldn't've fit in with the letter at the time.

So, we'll go on with our regularly scheduled blogging. Oh and tomorrow is yet another contest I'll be starting!

Contestarama, Ruth!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Z is for Zen

Last Saturday was rough.

I went around town with my friend Rachel asking for donations for our elementary school's silent auction. Came home for an hour and fed the kids and hung out with the husband. Took the kids to our little park for the HOA's Egg Hunt. Went early to help Rachel spread the 2,000 plastic eggs we'd filled a week earlier.

After the egg hunt, I walked the boys home then went to the yarn store for help with a twisted/split/some-damn-thing stitch on the Icarus I'm working on. Went to the grocery store to get lottery, then went home.

Nothing very difficult and mostly quite pleasant activities when taken singly. When packed in to one day - whew!

The egg hunt was, thankfully, a blizzard of short and sweet craziness. We let the kids loose at 3:15 and by 3:30 all the eggs were gone. We say "egg hunt" but it was in an open field so it was really more like an "egg pick-up". We told the parents that if they'd rather not have the plastic eggs spread all over their homes, they could have the children open them at the park and put the empty shells in the boxes provided.

The kids were all clustered around the boxes, opening their eggs and I was bringing an extra box over to a small cluster of them when I overheard one girl say:

8 year old girl: No fair! The little kids got more eggs to pick up!
Presumably her little brother: No they didn't!
Girl (with about 30 eggs in her basket): Yes they did!
Me: No, they didn't.
Girl, getting snotty: Yeah. Apparently.
Me: Yeah. Rude.
Girl, realizing she speaking to an adult: Sorry.
Me: Those eggs were just closer together because that area was for the 2-4 year olds. The babies got one box of eggs, you're section got 2 boxes.

So she gets this huge cache of free candy and trinkets and it's not enough. sigh.

Then, later, at the grocery store, I'm in this big line of people all waiting to buy lottery tickets (Powerball was $200 million Saturday night. One ticket in, I think Virginia, won it all. sigh.). Anyway, the hulking man in front of me keeps backing up and stepping on my feet. After the second time I was about to knee him in the ass but he was so tall, I figured I wouldn't be able to reach. There's this tiny woman about 3 people up in line - she's got a double stroller with twins (I'd say about 2 months old) and a little boy who's, maybe 3 years old, tops. One of the babies starts to fuss and cry and the little boy starts to sing to it. It took me a minute to realize that this little 3 year old kid is singing Elton John's Tiny Dancer to his baby sibling! And the baby stopped crying!

I laughed and said, "That's awesome!" The hulker in front of me turned and looked at me as though I were nuts. I said, "What? He's singing to his baby sister, that's cool!" He still looked at me like I was crazy so I told him to turn around and stay off my feet.

Sunday, we took the boys in to Aurora to eat at a place called Dozens. There was a 25 minute wait and the boys did really well. I was working on a sock and getting the usual crazy looks from people when a woman came and sat near me and took out her knitting!

I have no patience. I am not what anyone would call diplomatic (although, sometimes, I have more restraint then some situations warrant). I wish I was more Zen. But there are times when Zen is handed to you. Sometimes it's gifted to you by a 3 year old singing Elton John and sometimes it comes in the form of a like minded person with pointy sticks.

These gifts make my day and I try my best to recognize and appreciate them. Just as I try to not let the snotty, ungrateful girls and the hulking foot crushers of the world ruin my days.

Knitting helps.

Ze end, Ruth!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Y is for Year

One year Blogiversary! Splee!

So of course that means a contest.

A few months after starting this blog, I noticed that I used numbers quite often in my Titles. How many times have I done that since I've started blogging?

Correct answers will be put into a hat and a winner will be chosen. If I get over 50 entries, I'll choose 2 winners. Contest closes Monday, March 16, 9p Colorado Time. One entry per person.

Prizes will be of a fibery nature and, of course, I'll throw in one of my Stitch Savers.

BTW, my Stitch Savers have been featured in the new! They are on the Cool Stuff page (scroll way down). Double Splee! You'll notice, I sent Amy singer (knitty editor) a plain one and a customized one with her name on it. Never hurts to suck up a little.

I'm also doing a huge spectacular contest. This Alphabet Soup thing has been pretty fun. Whenever I thought something for the next letter would be a challenge, something fortuitous would pop up! So here it is...

I will give a $50 gift certificate + $26 to the first person who completes the Alphabet Soup challenge. The G.C. will be to the LYS or online store of your choice. The $26 will be donated in the winner's name to the charity of their choice.

Alphabet Soup Challenge
You have to do the complete alphabet consecutively. You don't have to do it every day but you do have to do each letter with no breaks in between for other posts. And they have to be legitimate posts. Can't be "A is for Apple" and then a picture of an apple, know what I mean? And they have to be done on separate days - no posting 26 times in one day.

Ready, Set, Go!

Can't believe it's been a year, Ruth!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

X is for Xenophobe

Xenophobia is the fear of foreigners or strange customs. I don't have this phobia but I have plenty of others.

I still jump to the bed and don't let my feet hang over the edge at night because of the monsters under my bed. When I was a kid, I used to take a running leap. One night a hand reached out and grabbed me!

Big brothers suck. My dad, who was in the front pasture on our tractor, heard me scream and ran into the house. My mom was already in my room scolding John but obviously having a hard time not laughing as she did it. My dad was trying not to openly bust a gut as well.

The next night - he did it again. I almost wet myself. Bastard.

OK, Gentle Readers, anyone out there had therapy? Raise your hands. It's OK, despite what the voices tell you, we can't actually see you through the computer screen.

I had court ordered family therapy when I was in early high school. Not me, actually, my brother. He spent some time in juvie for messing with weed and stuff. It was a dismal failure as none of us wanted to be there. I was the only one who kept going but the therapist was one of those, "How does that make you feel" types and the stuff I needed to talk about was way too embarrassing to come out and say it. I wished he'd've asked questions instead of waiting for me to just talk. Most of our sessions were these really awkward silences. I hope he wasn't really expensive because he was pretty useless.

Flash forward about 10 years or more.

I'm in massage school in Tucson. You had to take "Movement" classes as part of your electives and I took Yoga with Ramdas Kaur. She was amazing. Her class always seemed to become these group therapy sessions while doing yoga and in the last 10 minutes of the class, she'd tie in the yoga with whatever everyone had been dealing with! I still don't know how she did it.

One time, we had to do this intense breathing exercise for 10 minutes. We were all into it but towards the end, everyone was fading out. She said, "1 minute" and everyone started doing the loud breathing exercise full force again. She said, "Oooooh, I see! 1 minute - do the breathing. 1 minute left, start to breathe. 1 day left of your life, start to live! 1 year left! When are you going to start? Let's take the good soap out of the dish on the counter and use it to replace the cheap Dial stuff in the shower!"

I had Dial in the shower and the beautiful, good smelling Body Shop stuff in a bowl on the counter. I called her later that week for an appointment. (She's also a counselor.)

Going to Ramdas changed my life. She's very Dr. Phil before anyone knew who he was. Only without the bullshit good 'ol boy stuff. She's very in to personal responsibility. Her main themes were:

Everything's a choice.
Yeah, but my family.
OK, but you're on your own now and everything's a choice.
But, these things that happened when I was a child.
Fine. I get that. But, you're not a child now and everything's a choice.
Yeah. But. sigh. You're right. I do have to make my own choices.


Answer the "what if".
That used to be one of my biggest problems. What if? What if I don't graduate? What if I do graduate and can't make a living as a massage therapist? What if I start dating this great guy and he screws me over? What if?

I learned that if you answer the question, the answer is always, "You'll survive and live and move on."

I tease D that if I had met him just 3 months earlier (before I started going to Ramdas), I never would have gone out with him because he was too stable and normal.

It's amazing what happens when you stop dating jerks and basketcases.

What are your phobia's?

Using the good soap, Ruth!

Monday, March 10, 2008

W is for Waste

Trash day in our neighborhood is always a stressful day for me. I live in a middle-upperclass area and the things I see people throw out always makes me so irritated. Especially when people move.

Our neighbors across the street moved last fall and it was absolutely disgraceful the things they threw out. There were bicycles, car seats, a four foot rubber plant - you name it! I just want to shake people like that. The Salvation Army (along with a number of other fine organizations) will come pick this stuff up!

A house around the corner had a full sized Barber's chair in the trash! Why not put it on the curb with a "Free" sign on it? Or have a garage sale? Or have a charity come pick it up and sell it to someone who could use a price break?

The boy across the street walked his bike over and asked if we wanted it. He's 9 so his bike was way too big for our kids and we politely declined. He asked a couple of other neighbors but no dice. I asked his mom if she was going to have a garage sale since they were moving and she snubbed the idea as "too much trouble" but her voice and attitude about it said, "beneath me".

It makes me think of waste on a bigger scale too. Particularly our military. I was in the Army 5 years. 2 of them spent in Germany. Had the time of my life over there! But it always seemed like such a waste. When I was stationed there (from 1992-1994) we had close to 30 bases in Germany. In 2005, they were going to close 11-13 of them but I don't know if they ever did or not. That still leaves around 18 American bases in a country whose entire land mass is about the same as Montana.

I never got a clear answer as to why we needed such a strong presence in Germany. Some tried to tell me it was because of strategic placement. Against what?? Russia, I was told. Seriously? Isn't the cold war long over? Maybe it's what the fall of Russia created? Nuclear weaponry being sold off, the whole Ukraine mess. I don't know. It seemed like a lot of bases for not a lot of solid reasons. The second place I was stationed was Schweinfurt. That translates to Pig Town, btw. Schweinfurt had 2 bases five minutes apart! sigh.

And just like another country we're in, if we were to leave now, there would be a big mess left behind. Several of the towns where these bases are would go in to financial ruin if the base were to leave. Most of the bases are in small towns whose entire economy has become dependent on their dealings with an Army base.

Iraq. I'm not going to get in to the politics of it but let's just touch on the logistics. It costs some 12 billion dollars a day! (Just to put that in to perspective, 1 billions seconds ago was 1959.) If we need to be there, whatever, but can't we cut expenses in other ways?

There's this cook I met at the resort I worked for in Tucson. This guy was an enlisted man in the Navy and stationed in Tucson. I know, I know. Tucson is a land-locked state. The Air Force base there also had a tiny Navy unit assigned to the base. Not sure what they did. I was told they painted missiles. What a sucky job! And why paint them anyway? They're going to be blown up, right? Another merry little military money mystery.

Anyway, this Navy cook was assigned to Tucson. BUT! The chow halls at the base in Tucson were contracted out to civilian companies! So he had no job to do on base. He got a job at the Flying V restaurant at the resort while still being active duty in the Navy. So he's getting full pay and benefits from the Navy while working 40 hours a week in town and getting paid from the resort as well! The guy owned 3 houses (his plus 2 rentals) and was petitioning to stay in Tucson until his retirement 3 years later! When I met him, he'd already been in this sweet position in Tucson for 2 years. WTF?

I'd write to someone but who'd listen?

Still recycling, Ruth!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

V is for Validated

When I got back stateside, from being stationed in Germany, I landed at Ft. Huachuca. I'd finagled that landing on purpose because of a boy. One of the dumber things I've accomplished. Not the Ft. Huachuca part, I liked it there. The following the boy part. Or at least that particular boy.

Anyway. We were at this party together, everyone was drinking and talk turned to shows from our childhood. Puff 'n Stuff, The Electric Company, and other psychedelic 70's shows. I remembered a movie I'd seen and brought it up. It was a high production (for the time) animated movie about a mouse who sells his soul to the devil to become a rock star. When he has his biggest show, his little varmint friends show up and try to save him. His little mouse girlfriend traded her soul for his and he was saved. Since it was such a selfless act, she was saved too.

Everyone stared at me blankly. No one had ever heard of anything even resembling that show and my boyfriend teased me about it, saying I must've dreamed it. I knew I hadn't and I've been asking people on and off about that damn movie ever since.

OK, so last week, I'm on the phone with Rachel and brought up that movie. Rachel, who is clearly smarter then me, googled "mouse sells soul to devil" and the movie popped up! It's this one - The Devil and Daniel Mouse.

I had the mice mixed up, it was the girlfriend mouse who sold out to record producer B.L. Zeebub, not the boy mouse. Other then that, I was Dead. On.

My ex-boyfriend used to tease me mercilessly about that movie and usually in front of the friends from the party. Whenever he felt I was "acting smarter" then him, he'd bring it up. (I said he was a mistake, right?)

HA!! Take that, you little shit! I'm just childish enough that I want to buy a copy of that movie and mail it to him. However, a) it only comes in a used VHS for $40 off and b) I have no idea where the little shit is. His name's Aaron Brown and he's from Seattle and he's not this Aaron Brown. Last I heard, he'd been stationed at Ft. Benning, GA and that was in 1995 or 1996. Also, when we moved to CO, I found a box full of pic's with him and there's a bunch of pic's of his family from when we went to his sister's wedding in Seattle. His sister's name is Tia and I'm sure they'd like those pictures. He has an older brother, too but I can't remember his name.

I also have a book I read in the late 70'/early 80's and I can't remember the name of it. Because it deals with children whose adventures begin in an attic, whenever I google it, Flowers in the Attic always comes up. It's not that. Googling led me to this site called Stump The Bookseller. My Stumper is K112. Anyone know that book?

Wish that movie was on DVD, Ruth!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

U is for Ugly

The last two books I've read deal with Ugly. Or, more accurately, people's concept of beauty.

I read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire. If you've never read his work, I highly recommend it. A couple of years ago, I read Wicked. I thought it was going to be this parody of The Wizard of Oz - Oz from the Witch's point of view. Not even close. It was this whole socio-political landscape of Oz. It was an exploration of Evil - is it something one is born with or born into? It was... amazing.

"Confessions" was equally good. His style of writing is so visual. Telling stories from an unexpected point of view seems to be his specialty. No not stories, fairy tales. Confessions is about Cinderella's family. It's so good, you hate for it to end. In fact, I was at the end of the book and, according to the page numbers, I thought I had about 40 pages left. I only had 15. I was so mad! The rest of the pages were those "book club discussion questions" type of pages. Tricked. Damn!

Anyway, the book explores people's concepts of beauty verses ugly. Is beauty a blessing or a curse. Is is something to aspire to or something to just admire - after all, it's something one is either born with or not (today's plastic surgeons not withstanding). And it's so subjective!

Then I read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb. This was a tough one. I had a hard time getting into it. But after awhile, I realized I was having a hard time putting it down. Like a lot of Oprah's Book Club choices, it's kind of sad and depressing. This girl's life, man. It's like a train wreck and you just can't look away! She has Very Bad Things happen, then she eats her pain and becomes over 300 pounds while still in high school, then other things happen and it seems like just when she's going to get her life under control or catch an even break, something else happens.

It all ends pretty well but it took until the very end of the book. Even after she loses the weight, she never feels comfortable in her body or in her self-worth. She keeps waiting for the other shoe to fall.

I have that same problem. I have never felt good in my body or confident in my looks. Especially now. I'm heavier then I've ever been at around 160 pounds. I'm 5'2". I spent my childhood listening to my mean older brother tell me I was fat and ugly and I always believed it. In my 20's I really came into my own and realized he was full of shit and just messin' with me as older brothers are wont to do. Now I feel like I did when I was a kid.

When I started dating my husband, I almost dumped him after 3 months. I thought, "It's going to happen. I'll dump him before he can dump me." Then, when I was discussing this with a friend of mine, he smacked me in the back of the head. "Why postpone joy?" He asked. He was right.

The first time D and I had a real argument, I thought, "This is it." When we were done arguing, D asked me, "Are you done?" "Yeah," I said snottily, "Are you?" "Yeah." he said, "Let's go get some ice cream." That's the first clue I ever had that just because you fight, doesn't mean you have to break up. Doesn't mean someone's going to leave. Good lesson.

Every now and then D will say something benign like, "Hey, I wanted to tell you something." My heart will stop and I'll think, "Here it is. The other shoe is about to fall." Then he'll tell me something like, "T needs to clean the cat box more often," or something else completely mundane.

He's a great husband and it's just my old self kicking in. I'm mental. D knows it and he's fine with it. I'm lucky!

Anymore, I don't think beauty or ugly is really an outward thing. I've met some gorgeous looking people that were complete assholes (I'm looking at you, ex-boyfriend) and some unattractive people with the heart of a lion. It's all subjective and it, like time, is all relative.

Still trying to dump baggage, Ruth!

Friday, March 7, 2008

T is for Time

Daylight Savings is this weekend.

Living in Tucson for 10 years, I never had to mess with my clocks. I was shocked when I found out that this is something the state of Arizona voted on. I know, as Einstein says, time is relative but it struck me as surreal that it was something you could decide on with a ballot.

Time is an issue with so many of us. Not enough hours in the day. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just decide for ourselves what hours we want to use? To vote on what we want a 24 hour period to look like? Don't like mornings? Fine - you get late afternoon and evenings, never a sunrise to bother you.

Time is relative. Time flies when you're having fun. Time waiting for a package of yarn goes slow while time between your bill statements is never long enough.

And, as knitters, aren't we, often, especially delusional about time? I'm knitting Icarus and I thought I'd be done by now. Not. Even. Close. Bud. I forgot that knitting with cobweb takes a lot longer then knitting with rope.

Time also plays tricks with my memory. Always. I am stunned to realize that next month marks 12 years that I've been out of the Army. And June marks 20 years since my high school graduation. They both seem like things that happened just a couple of years ago.

Then there's the boys. I can't believe T has been in our lives for nearly 7 years and D2 for nearly 5. Yet it seems like they've been a part of us as far back as I can remember. Time spent playing with them is much nicer then time spent trying to get them to school or bed. Time spent with the husband after they are in bed is always quite nice, too!

Time. Wish I had more of it. Happy for what I do have.

Springing forward, Ruth!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

S is for Spanking

I imagine I'll get some p0-rn seekers on that one!

I saw a news clip the other day that was about some 25 year study on the long-term effects of spanking children. I didn't hear the actual news story, it was on a TV in a little Japanese restaurant where I was waiting for my take-out lunch. The thing was that the videos they showed to go along with this teaser ("Story at 11" kinda thing) were not videos of spankings. They were videos of slaps and punches and hitting babies with wooden spoons and outright beatings. There's a big difference here.

I've got no problems with kids being spanked. I was spanked growing up and so was my husband. We turned out OK. So have many other upstanding, mostly well-adjusted people I know who were also spanked as children.

In my playgroup in Tucson, there was 12 moms and babies. 2 of the moms had older children (2 years older then the babies) and one of those - her older kids were twins (one boy/one girl). We'll call the woman with twins E. There were differing opinions on the spanking issue but most agreed it wasn't that bad. Except E. She was a little nuts on the issue, insisting that it was the worst thing you could do to a child and it should never be done under any circumstance. I think most of her issues with it stems from the fact that her mom used to smack her around when E. was a child.

One day we were on the subject (yet again) and E. was riding her high horse (again) saying how you should never hit a child in anger and if you did, you'd damage them for life and blah, blah, blah when I finally had enough of her righteousness.

Me: You're right E., you shouldn't ever hit a child in anger, but there's a difference between spanking as a consequence to bad behavior and striking out in anger. What we're talking about is a smack on a well-padded, diapered bottom as a consequence and we all seem to agree that 3 years old is the age where they will understand why they are being punished and that it is just that - a punishment.
E.: Well, I just don't think it's ever acceptable to hit a child.
Me: Well, what do you think is an acceptable form of discipline, because I don't really seem to see you ever use any.

Here's where things got ugly and, yeah, I started it. And I have no problem with that. See, E. seemed to be so adverse to "punishing" kids that her children had no discipline in their lives at all. The twins were holy terrors and would constantly. Tear. People's. Homes. Apart. It got to the point where we had to tell her that the twins were no longer welcome on our Tuesday playdates. The worst part is that she'd watch them breaking toys, making the babies cry and various other mischief and all she do was a rather useless and hollow warning, "Oh, H., stop doing that."

One particular playdate, we were all at N.'s house and the twins were causing havoc as usual. E. was wondering around this enormous house, looking at the artwork while her older boy was in the living room, jumping, trying to catch balloons while there were babies at his feet. I asked him twice to stop and when he finally succeeded on tromping a baby's little hand, I told him to knock it off. He looks at me and says, "You're not my mother." I took him by the arm and said, "Well, fine. Let's go find her." As per usual, she did nothing and it was after that when she was tactfully told not to bring the older kids anymore. (Obviously, the tact was handled by someone other then me.)

Kids need boundaries. I don't think anyone disputes that. Whether it's spanking or time-out or whatever works in your family and is within the limits of the law. I spoke last time about the consequences of letting children go crazy with no guidelines or consequences. I almost feel bad for E.'s kids and some of the kids I see in my son's class. I feel like they have a bad start and will be sorely disappointed in life when they finally realize that they can't always have their way.

Our boys have had many spankings and seem none the worse for wear. They will be 7 and 5 soon and now when they are doing something wrong, we only need to count to 2 and they straighten up. Some would say it's out of fear of discipline but isn't that why most people live a crime free life? Isn't it fear of jail or whatever (LYS banishment?) that we don't steal those yarn skeins from the back of the store when no one's looking? Just kidding. I know that most of it is just wanting to live a life of integrity but for some - it really is just the threat of jail that keeps us from ramming our car into the asshole that just cut us off in traffic.

Instilling discipline, Ruth!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

R is for Responsibility

One of the conventions we had at the hotel I worked at (in the spa) was in 2003 and it was for Family Health Workers. One of the clients I worked on (as a massage therapist) was telling me horror stories about out of control children. She told me that most experts agreed that the abuse of the 90's was overindulgence.

I told her my horror stories...

My husband was a first assistant of greens at the resort next to the one where I worked. He was in charge of 18 of the 36 holes of golf they provided. I remember one Christmas, he had to go in to set the computer for the watering. They weren't actually open that day and he left around 8am saying he'd be back by 10a. He didn't get back until 2p. Some yay-hoo got a new ATV for Xmas and decided to try it out. On the golf course. The person shredded one of the greens and my husband got to spend his Xmas day fixing it.

Then there's the kid they actually caught. This kid had broken a window and was ramming the garage door with a tractor, trying to get it out, when they caught him. This was on one of D's days off, but since it was a piece of equipment they used on his course, he had to go in. I went with him and the crew had the boy on the office, waiting for the cops to show up. Shortly after we showed up and before the cops got there, the boy's father had shown up. The boy was 13 and definitely old enough to know better but there was his lawyer father shouting at everyone. The dad was threatening to have us all arrested for unlawful imprisonment and kidnapping of his son.

I looked at the man incredulously and said, "He destroyed a tractor and the garage door to the shop. They caught him red-handed. That's got to be several thousand dollars worth of damage and you're threatening us?! No wonder you're kid's such a schmuck!" At this point, Dave asked me to wait for him outside. The kid ended up leaving in a police cruiser with his father right behind them in his giant SUV.

The worst was this incident:
My playgroup's leader, T lived in the golf villas (same as the family I just told you about). She had taken her daughter to our playgroup and her husband M was home from work with the flu. He heard some shrieking and thought T had come home and their daughter was having a meltdown. He went into the garage (in his boxers) and opened the garage door to help T. What he saw was not his family.

A woman with her head bleeding profusely was screaming and trying to get into her car which was parked in the driveway next door. She looked at the front door of the house she was parked at, screamed louder and ran across the street. Well, across the street is just dirt and scrub and a tree. M looked at the door of the house, same as the screaming, bleeding woman and sees K coming out, holding a tire iron! K is the 34 year old man living with his father in that house next to M's.

M rushes over to the woman and starts calling for help. Now other neighbors are coming out and M yells at K to just go back inside. One of the other neighbors calls 911. K disappears and the woman is taken to the hospital where she barely survives her head wounds.

Here's what had happened. K ordered a "masseuse" (as the reporter called her. Tucson is extremely massage savvy, and knows better then to call a legitimate massage therapist a masseuse). According to the reporter, they "couldn't agree on a price" at which point K went to the garage, got a tire iron and started beating the woman senseless. After M came to the rescue, K took off. This genius ran up to the golf course's club house and hid in a closet where they put golf bags. Was pretty easy for the cops to locate him. Especially since a bunch of people saw him hide there. (And honestly, here's one of the things about this that I don't get. With the money this guy's family has and the proximity of having the Mexican border less then 2 hours away.... Stupid. Just sayin')

His dad bailed him out.

I don't know about y'all but if you were my 34 year old, no-job-havin' son, living in my house and you almost kill a hooker (or anyone for that matter) in my house - there is NO bail for you!!

K has had problems in the neighborhood before. He was notorious coke-head and had run his car into the edge of someone's house about a month before his attempted murder shenanigans. The neighbors already wanted him out and after this latest run in with the law, the all signed petitions and K had to move away. The woman was paid off and nothing ever came of it as far as charges against K.

Again, I bet this guy's dad has been bailing him out his whole life. I mean, what's it going to take?? Does he actually have to kill someone before he's forced to take responsibility for his actions? I just. Don't. Get it.

I see people like the Hilton's and the Lohan's and the Spear's and I feel like it's just rewarding bad behavior. I wonder if it will ever end. I may not be the best at closely monitoring what the boys watch. No, that's not true, I do monitor what they watch but my husband likes to watch the news and how do you monitor that? We answer any questions they have about what they see and we even provide some commentary about things they don't ask about. It's so hard to know what they will hear and what will be filtered. We also, mainly, try to lead by example.

Trying to raise good citizens, Ruth!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Q is for Que

Knitty Professor came up with Q.B.L.E. We all know about S.A.B.L.E. - Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy. Well she came up with Que Beyond Life Expectancy to describe the amount of things one has Queue-d up in one's Ravelry profile.

I don't attend to my Ravelry-ness as much as I should. I think if I put all the things in my stash and library that I actually have, it would crash. Or else I would crash - crumpling in a ball when I realize how much yarn I have and will never get to and yet keep buying more!

And the Queue. It would just depress me to know that I'll never get to all the wonderful things I want to make! And it would distract me from the many things that I already have planned for the making. Like this little number I just saw today. Could you die from the cleverness of the secret little sleeve panels?

Lately, I tend toward ribbed items. Like Tubey - I've had the yarn for this since the pattern came out (Winter 2005)! I think I figure that with ribbed sweaters, they'll fit me now and they'll fit me later whether I lose or gain weight. Stretchy is good.

I have 7 things listed in my Ravelry Que. Haven't' cast on for a single one. Got about 10 things on needles. May eventually finish one of them. Actually, I've been pretty monogamous as of late. At least for me. I'm working on Icarus for the LYS, a Moebius Vest for my mom, and that damnable Bed Jacket for me. I hit the Icarus a couple of hours a day. I work on Moebius when I want to watch TV and need something mindless - like when I want to actually see what I'm watching (I'm looking at you, LOST). I save the Bed Jacket for sit-n-knits which I rarely get to. Once Icarus is done, it'll be all Bed Jacket, all the time.

My Q.B.L.E. is outreaching my S.A.B.L.E., Ruth!

Monday, March 3, 2008

P is for Parenting

My friend Rachel wrote a letter to her daughter asking why she'd powdered Rachel's room. I remember a similar incident involving me, my grandma's face powder and some water from the bathroom sink. Luckily, I contained my mess to the bathroom. If not, I believe my gma would've actually killed me, even though I was 4. I remember her face, livid and red, contorted and I could see the level of restraint she was trying to maintain. I got spanked - good and hard, but not fatal.

As a parent, I've said things that give pause. Just the other day, I told T, "Don't put your neck on that when you're bouncing!" And Dave laughed. I shot him a look because we're not supposed to laugh when the other is scolding - undermines one's authority and all that. He said, "Did you ever in your life think that sentence would, not only come out of your mouth but actually make sense??" He's right! I laughed, too.

There's so many things you say and do as a parent that you would never even think of before having kids. Things you wouldn't dream of doing in polite society - but when your little one is freaking out because he's sneezed and there's now a giant boogie hanging out of his nose... There's not a tissue in sight and you know if you don't do something fast, he'll have a meltdown. Luckily you're walking past a spot of snow on the ground. Swipe and wipe into the snow. If someone sees and is grossed out, too damn bad.

And the laughs! The boys had a school dance a coupla weeks ago and they were both recovering from really bad colds. Dave was telling the little one, "You have to get better or you can't go to the dance." He said in this little, innocent, earnest tone, "I'm trying." I can't convey the tone he used in writing but it was so sweet and funny, it just cracked us up! And watching them do The Robot dance - awesome!

This parenting thing is the hardest thing I've ever even attempted. I'm a starter, I start things and have a hard time finishing because I get interested in something else. I usually have at least 8 things on needles at any given time. I have lots of projects I conceive but for one reason or another, they never come to fruition. You don't get that option with parenting. It's the wildest ride and it trys my patience, heals my soul, makes me cry with sadness/frustration/happiness.

There's so many things I miss about my life pre-kids. Going out dancing. Getting in the car and taking an impromptu trip. Going to the bathroom by myself. But there are so many pay-offs that it's been a good trade. I often wonder if I'll miss it when I actually can go to the restroom without company. It's starting to happen already (although the cat is taking up the slack. sigh.). They don't come in to our room on Saturday mornings as much as they used to. That was always my favorite part of the week, when they'd climb in with us and we'd all be snuggling together under the covers watching cartoons, dozing, tickle fighting. We'd be all settled in and our little one would sigh, "Family". They still come in most of the time but they don't stay as long.

I love watching them grow up. It's the most fascinating thing I've ever experienced. It's just happening so damn fast!

Glad there's only two of 'em, Ruth!