Thursday, October 30, 2008

That greenish thread I was telling you about? Scrumptious. I'm still trying to figure out how to describe it accurately; a picture of it just doesn't capture the shimmer right. Bluish green. Shimmery. Laceweight- I'm using two strands to weave with, warp threads are sturdy ecru cotton that was left from the beige and red tape I just finished.

I just the answer would be to think back those pearlescent finish notebooks that were all the rage when I was in grade school. It's like that. A pearlescent shimmer over the face of the green. Lake is a good descriptor. That's what it was tagged at on ebay, but I don't know the make of the thread or anything else about it. Probably a good thing, because if I did I'd be sorely tempted to track down more of this and see how many other shades it comes in. And make lace in large quantities from it. Pretty, shimmery, colored lace like cobwebs of dragon wings.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My latest weaving, a 4yard and a bit strip of trim, is nearly finished and ready to go "live" on Etsy. Beige ground, red pattern worked on top, the pattern is fairly low-key and simple. I am working that part now; wasn't sure whether or not I'd get fancy with it, but now that the time is here the piece seems to be asking for the less-is-more.


I'm waiting for a shipment of threads to arrive so I can start another strip. The color is supposed to be a blue-greenish shade, and I will be working the pattern in white. Most likely that will be fancier.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thank you all for continuing to add to the Goldfish Cracker Funds. If you've enjoyed what you read take a moment to check out the items featured on the sidebars.

....And have a pleasant week ahead of you...
Blue eyes not listening
flyaway hair do you hear me
who do you see when you look towards me
is anybody there

one moment there the next I am not seen
she grasps five books and reads them all
brings to me and climbs in my lap
moves my hands to do what hers cannot do

then I am here
blue eyes lock and her joy explodes
laughter- willing- words spill over
in the maze of complex thought
go to the park, the bus, I want a popsicle
everything is right

clouds blow across the sun's face
everything is wrong
her body thrown side to side
blue eyes do not register the walls or furniture
only items to toss in her sudden storm
I hurl myself into the fray to collect her bruises
she does not see me
I don't know when she hears me
I haven't stopped talking since this storm began
some point she gulps air
tears slow, her flushed face wet
confused as she climbs into my arms
we rock and breathe together

five minutes later everything is right again
I laugh to hear her laughing
Every look is precious to me
I crave her acknowledgment
I cannot fear her storms

Friday, October 24, 2008

My daughter is holding a pumpkin half her size on her lap, and covering it with a blanket to keep it warm while singing to it. This is funny and disturbing at the same time. Also unbearably cute. And I can't find my camera!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hmmm. Last Friday started out normal. Low-key. Relaxed. Then all hell broke loose. In the space of about 12 hours, Robbie went from normal to very sick. Very very sick. He's still so small, and his poor lungs are still so fragile, that I took him up to urgent care. Several hours later we were home with an inhaler and breathing treatment schedules. The chest xray was clear, so they weren't terribly concerned, but when we got home the poor thing had a rough night. I nearly went back to the hospital with him, but sometime in the night his fever broke and he has been slowly recovering ever since.

It's a scary thing when your kids get sick. It's terrifying when you know that their immune system is compromised, that their lungs are especially susceptible to infection and severe damage at these sorts of things, that the mere sounds that they make can't always tell the difference between a simple cold and a ICU-worthy illness. Robbie's still a bit short of 12 pounds, despite his strength he is still so young and fragile and I worry.

My clearest memory of that night is holding him upright on my chest, skin to skin, his fever burning us both and his skin bright red all over. The gasping for breath that rattled his body, and the racking coughs. After the initial shock of onset, the thing settled. He's snoring a bit now, and otherwise seems as healthy as ever. Hard to believe.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I've been getting steadily addicted to the weaving sticks again. I put the rug project on hold for a few days to explore a slight more difficult form- handwoven tape. In the days before machines made ribbons and twill tapes easy and cheap to obtain, they were used as fastenings and decoration (along with half a dozen other uses). I'm making this one with beige cotton, using cross-stitch needles for my weaving sticks. The tape being created is about a half inch to three-quarters inch, tight and even, a smooth weft finish (the threads go across in the narrow way instead of the long way). It's cute and neat. I'm planning to put this one on etsy as well when it's finished, to join my virtual craft show. This tape isn't fancy, but it's useful and practical...

I was trying to get a decent picture of it this morning but it was hard. I don't think the light was playing well with my camera, and possibly it was reacting poorly to my busy busy day.
LASIK technology has changed a great deal since it was first offered as a solution for eyesight issues. It can be a royal pain to wear glasses. It can be worse when your eyesight is bad enough to require glasses all the time. Poor eyesight screws with your peripheral vision, which in turn can have serious consequences for those whose careers depend on good vision. Such an occupation is pilot. Pilots need good vision; military pilots need every advantage they can get in less than optimum conditions. My husband currently does admin work for a squadron that trains military pilots. More than simple pilot safety is riding on the ability to see; when the pilot is also responsible for operating sophisticated weaponry systems it becomes a matter of common sense. Among the stringent requirements for pilots is 20/20 vision. Lasik has become a wonderful tool to ensure this.

LASIK information is easy to find. The original procedure involved one laser to do the majority of work and handheld devices to do the cutting. Recent improvements have replaced the handheld devices with a second laser to improve accuracy and decrease the chances of surgeon error. As you can imagine, Department of Defense policy is pretty tough on approval of new medical procedures. They not only have a love of red tape, they want to make sure that the surgery they do on our servicemen are proven techniques with known success. It's better for everyone.

My husband wants to get this done someday. He's talked to a lot of people who have had this done, and despite a healthy cynicism when it comes to governmental procedures he feels that the benefits are far beyond any potential risk. Someday it will be in our budget and I look forward to being able to support him in this. As for me? I have a lot of risk factors involved and my eyes are already very bad- severely nearsighted with astigmatisms in both eyes. I don't think I would be a good candidate. Time will tell- there are such refinements every year in the procedures and in another five years I might become a good candidate whose life could be changed forever.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

My stickweaving is going very well, I hope to finish the first rug by the middle of next week. The best part of all? I can't decide. Either the weaving itself, or the old-time feel of doing a form of loomless weaving that can be tucked up in my hand, or the ability to modify the weave and form to fill multiple uses.

I guess I should say that I'm in love with the whole thing and leave it like that.

In other news I'm so proud of my daughter- she's finally accepting toilet training, and has embraced it with (metaphorical) open arms. The first instance was totally without fanfare. Waiting until everyone else in the house was thoroughly occupied with other things, she walked into the bathroom, assembled her training potty, and went. I was passing by as she finished and was pulling her pants back up. Since that, she has repeated the task many times with great joy. I'm beyond thrilled at this. We all are.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

My ancestors got to this country before it was a country. Depending on whether you count the official arrival date by descent through the Lenni-Lenapi, or by the colonists who arrived on William Penn's first voyage, it's been a while. I grew up a stone's throw from where my forebears first settled in Pennsylvania. It was history brought to life in a way that the historical recreations couldn't quite compare with. On one hand, I could go often to recreations. Men and women in reproduction clothing standing by cookfires, cast iron kettles I could have climbed in, soap and candle making and spinning wool and flax from the source... you can get a good feel for history if you do that enough. There's another sense to be found by walking by a graveyard with red fieldstones whose carving has been all but worn away by time. Roughly shaped they still stand to mark people who came here on the small wooden ships. People who were like us with hopes and dreams, whose sorrows were born as best they could with a dozen children and two or three in the ground before they were weaned.

Four hundred years in a place leaves something behind for the descendants, whether or not they can see it on a daily basis. When I walked in Ireland the summer after graduation, I saw that same sense of history in the people on the streets. When I walk in the town I currently call home, I don't see it as much. When I walk in the places that have historical monuments, I feel it a little. A hundred years old? Respectable. But where are the real histories? Where are the walls built of stones plowed up in the spring, laid back down to mark the yard in 1746? Where is the ancient grave? Where are the textiles that were laid aside in hope chests and forgotten, to emerge again and be treasured by generations that study the patterns and methods?

I'm writing this because of crafts. I do needlework, and I bake my own bread as much as I like, and every now and again I slip into a daydream as my fingers fly in the task. I feel close to generations of my maternal line. So many of my skills are handed down through the generations, so many of them taught from one woman to the next. My mother traced those lines through the centuries, and a number of things kept coming to light in anecdotes that make us marvel at how much family traits don't change. Our love of books? An ancestor that bartered chores to neighbors for candle ends, he'd stay up at night reading. There were writers, and readers, and historians, and a whole family of weavers. There were accomplished seamstresses and good cooks. There were stubborn stiff-necked anabaptists, martyred for their beliefs in Switzerland, expelled in the Palatine. There were respectable people. There was a member of the King's Lifeguard in Prussia, who had a religious experience when he saw the sinking of the Spanish Armada.

They were people. They were our people. A history, a heritage. Tonight I think about that a lot, don't know why exactly, maybe I'm reading too much history and seeing the resemblances in my children to the elder generation who have already gone to heaven. There is nurture and nature, and I wonder how much of these traits are due to which cause?

What is cause, what is effect?

Do I really need to know the difference when it comes to these things?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Today's mail brought a present for me. Weaving sticks. I had just enough set aside for them, and I felt I needed a little present after being so tight with the budget. It seems that no matter what we do we're always behind on something or other, and it's awfully old...

Part of my push on the Virtual Craft Show is that I'm trying to get some money together for Christmas. Part of it is that I'm trying to carve out a few moments for myself doing stuff I really really like but have no real place for/need in this house. My stick weaving is part of that. First project is destined for the Craft Show- it's a throw rug in cranberry red. I'd love some ideas as to what price to put on this; please leave a comment with your thoughts.
I went from a 36G/H to a 36D on the 19th of September. In about three weeks I feel different. Better, lighter, more sore in certain places when I stretch and move in certain ways. My clothes fit better. As we figured would be the case.

I can't begin to describe how much prettier I feel on a daily basis. This, in spite of the scarring that I'm told is going to be worse than most of these procedures, because of both the amount of tissue removed and my own personal skin characteristics in those areas. The doctor took about half of each breast away. The skin around the area is tighter. One side effect of this removal is that the breasts got lifted as they were reshaped. I have the perky breasts of a teenager. Nipples are several inches higher- instead of sitting well below the breast crease they now proudly sit at the appropriate level. The nerve endings of the aerola are rebonding with the nerve endings of their new position, causing a pins and needles sensation not unlike letdown. I'm applying a cream to my scars everyday to help with the scarring.

And yet... the secondary infection that we feared did not happen. I am healing at the rate I healed from the c-sections, and I am looking forward to the day that I can exercise and work up a sweat without hurting from my boob-bounce.

I have been doing a lot of crafting this week. Working on some stuff for the Virtual Craft Show. Christmas is coming up, remember, and we all have someone in our lives that from time to time needs a little gift. Thought doesn't have to be a big thing, and a handcrafted item both supports "local" artists and ensures a certain uniqueness. New listings include a wrap necklace (I wrap it three times for a nice length of necklace, and about 10 times on my wrist to make a bracelet that my kids both love to fiddle with). Nothing fancy, but it's a simple piece and serves more than one function.

If you're inclined to help support this site please browse our widget ads. There could be a few great deals to be found, and sometimes you find stuff that you didn't know could fit a need in your home.

Monday, October 06, 2008

When my daughter walked into the dentist's office the first thing her eyes landed on was a wall to wall fish tank. "Fishies!" she cried. Then came several minutes of shrieking, pointing, and using her words to point out the fishies in the tank. Pink fish. Green fish. Thin fish. Starfish. Blue car.

The blue car was a piece of fish furniture. More words than I've heard from her at one event in a while. Meaningful use of language to label objects, coupled with turning to me several times and smiling. More than smiling, she was laughing. Her face and body lit up with the joy. I forgot that I was sore, forgot that I was tired, forgot my own fears.

The first dentist visit ever. I'm still scared of the dentist; it's been years and I've been pain free from the teeth since the last extraction healed. I have no teeth left to hurt. So why am I scared? Because this is my daughter. My child. My thirty-years-younger identical twin, and she is still non-communicative for the most part despite the immense progress she's made this year. How do you get her to do what must be done at the doctor, when she is beyond the ability to hold her still? How to make the first dental checkup go well, so that she has no unpleasant experiences to associate with this?

I found a good doctor. I found a good clinic. The visit went well. My daughter stayed happy the whole night, although she went to bed Very tired and will sleep very well indeed tonight. I succeeded at this test.

Bring on the next test. I can handle it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This morning my son's teacher was here on her home visit, and told me that I'm glowing. I have felt pretty ever since last week, on a regular basis, and it's showing. More confidence in my appearance, more confidence in myself, and I love it... It can't be all put down to surgery, but a good deal of it can be. Wonderful.

When you feel good on the inside it burns through to the outside. You take more pains with your appearance. You dress better, take pride in your figure, wear the colors and cosmetics that flatter you. It's a cascade upwards. I'm much more familiar with the cascade downwards, with depression and low days and the like. Nice to know that the reverse is equally true, that when I feel better inside the outside reflects it.

So what am I doing to celebrate this? That's the question. I love feeling like this. I love feeling pretty, feeling happy, love that people are noticing. How do I make this feeling last forever? More importantly, where was this self-confidence when I was young?

I had a little unexpected money come in this week. First thing I thought of was using it to fund the grocery shopping. What did I do? I bought a set of used teletubby tapes for my daughter. I bought a new pipe for my husband. Then I bought a set of weaving sticks for myself. I last used weaving sticks as a child, making a hanging planter. Since I've been bitten by the crafting bug again (and in time to do some stuff for my virtual craft show on etsy!) I can start doing that again. There are so many things that can be done with weaving. And knitting. And beading.