Sunday, March 22, 2015

Crop Dusting

“Today was so fun. And btw…old ladies should not be crop dusting.”

This was the text I received from my BFF Lyteyz this afternoon. While I knew that, yes, today was so fun, I really was at a loss as to what crop dusting old ladies had to do with it. Maybe it was a secret code we came up with today at lunch and I somehow had forgotten it? I was sorely tempted to respond, “Oh yes- and the crow flies at midnight!” showing her that I, too, could be cryptic with secret handshakes and stuff. But then I figured that midnight flying crows may be code for lady parts or something equally embarrassing we may have discussed while out in public today. I was wondering why those people kept looking at us funny. (Note to self: be conscious of volume level when discussing lady parts with Lyteyz.)

So I responded, “Today was very fun! Ummmm…..ok. I’ll take your word for it……” because today was VERY fun- we happened to go yarn shopping (!!)- and because I truly had no opinion on whether or not old ladies should crop dust. I mean, if they are still flying airplanes in their old age and haven’t died yet from all the chemicals they’re spreading over our food, then more power to them. I guess?

“Oh gosh. Was that you?!?!?!?!”

Ahhh….the penny dropped. It was an inside joke she had with another friend and thought it was with me. Silly Lyteyz. How do I gently let her know her memory is failing in her old age and that she had better not mix me up with another friend again because I’d cut her. Wait. Was she saying she was the old lady and was considering taking up crop dusting? Did I totally space out on our conversation today? Am I the old lady? I’ve never flown a plane before, though. Or had I and I forgot about that, too? Crap. I’m getting old.

“I may be old but I’ve never crop dusted before.” Was my diplomatic reply.

I was wracking my brains going over the events of today. A local LYS is moving to a new location so they are having an AMAZING sale clearing out the stock they will no longer carry at the new location. So, of course I and my enabler BFF had to go since there is still some yarn in this world that we do not own. Besides. There is still some room in my kids’ bedrooms for me to stuff some yarn. They’re still young and flexible- they can sleep in the bathtub.

We went around the store, sniffing, petting, and rubbing the yarn all over our faces while saying appropriate things like, “Baaaaby,” and, “Ooooooo….mama like.” Maybe it was here that Lyteyz had a conversation about crop dusting with some strange woman and just thought it was me since she was so very distracted by the woolly goodness all around. I can’t blame her. I was drooling with my tongue lolling out while in my happy place, too.

I remember I was snorting some wool and started smelling something…a little off...and thought that perhaps this yarn wasn’t as clean as some others. Was there still some manure stuck to it?

I looked up at Lyteyz and she was making a weird face and motioned me to come over so I tried coming down from my wool high and floated on the fumes towards her and was nearly knocked over by an old woman who looked like she was trying to escape the aisle Lyteyz was in. That’s when I noticed the fumes I was floating on started to really turn sour. What exactly was in this wool??

And then it hit me. Like a brick wall. It totally stopped me in my tracks, made my lungs stop working, my eyes started watering, and my hair started falling out. I’m pretty sure something died in someone’s colon and was trying to escape. I thought it might have been Lyteyz and she was calling me over as some cruel joke- a yarn store Dutch oven, as it were. Then I noticed that she wasn’t motioning me over, she was fanning her nose and trying to escape. I beat her to the punch and returned to my happy spot to shove a few skeins of yarn up my nostrils to save them from the Fart Wall of Death that had just ambushed me. OH DEAR GOD- I WANT TO LIVE!!!

“Um. What’s funny is just when I walked over there this old lady booked it across the room. You did smell that right? Cause I thought you made a face the same time I did.” She text back.

And that’s when the second penny dropped. CROP DUSTING. That old lady that almost knocked me down- SHE WAS THE CROP DUSTER!! And I was crop dusted!! I am torn between hoping she made it to the hospital before succumbing to whatever festering rot she had up her butt, or hoping she didn’t make it and suffered a slow, painful death for making my face turn inside out and skin to melt off.


Dude. Lyteyz is right. Old ladies should not be crop dusting. Especially not in a yarn store. THINK OF THE WOOL, LADIES!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm Like a Sailor- One At Every Port

Through all of the suckage of the last few months (and man, there was a LOT of suckage), I’ve managed to work on that neverending yarn stash of mine, if even just a little bit.

Weeeellll….there may have been a teensy weensy bit of adding to said stash prior to working it down (one step forward, two steps TO THE YARN STORE!) but that was part of my evil plan for our “vacation” trip back home from Australia. I wanted to stop at a local yarn store at each of our visits to get some local yarns, if possible. While there were no yarn stores to visit on Guam, and no native sheep for me to stealthily shear at night like a ninja, there were a few to choose from in Honolulu.

Unfortunately, there aren't really any “local” yarns to Hawaii (at least not at this store…if there is some Hawaiian sheep not doing the hula but actually producing wool, dude... tell them to get back to the dancing because that’s where the money’s at.)

(Sorry…my mind totally started seeing a hula dancing sheep who then transitioned to wearing a top hat and singing, “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gaaaaaal!” And now you can see it, too. You’re welcome.)

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes- Hawaii…

YarnStory specializes in all natural fibers and, since I may have a skein or two of wool lurking about somewhere, I thought I’d try something new…something I’ve never thought of trying before, and certainly something I’ve ever inhaled. So, I bought some hemp. 

It's called Hemp for Knitting. Crocheting with it is illegal. Unless you're in Colorado.

There’s a pattern from Vogue Crochet 2013 that I’ve wanted to try ever since I first saw it- a Pineapple Dolman Top- and I thought, what better yarn to use for a pineapple top than yarn from Hawaii? AND, it’s a DOLE-man to boot! HAHAHA! 

Vogue Knitting
Oh come on! I’m not anything if not punny. 

I started crocheting my Hawaiian Hemp Pineapple Dole-man right away but had to put it aside for a bit because I didn’t have the right kind of hook for it and, since I waited until our last day in Hawaii to buy my yarn, I had to wait until we made it to our next destination to buy a new hook. Gah! 

Our early morning trip to the airport was an absolute comedy of errors which culminated in another night in Honolulu, an urgent care visit, and some slightly deranged woman saying very loudly to anyone within earshot, "I'VE GOT THE SHINGLES- ONLY THE SHINGLES!" so there would be no confusion as to why I...I mean "she..." was picking up herpes medication from the pharmacy. 

When we finally arrived in Phoenix, I knew I had to visit the Southwest Trading Company (if you are able to, you should totally visit this place. AMAZING!).  I invited my Mother-in-law to come with me so she could choose some yarn- something she’d like in a color she’d like for something she would actually wear. Since she has very sensitive skin, and since Arizona isn't known for its need for wool in the winter, she chose this delicious soy yarn for a scarf. I started messing about with various stitch patterns and she chose one she liked. A knit pattern. With lace in it. 

Gothic Lace made with SWTC Pure (100% SoySilk)

Now, I’m still a very new knitter, and I didn’t have much experience with anything other than stockinet so you can imagine how much I was kicking myself for showing her that swatch. But I thought I’d rise to the challenge and hopefully make it in time for Christmas.

But then... *sigh*

Part of the suckage of the last few months included some very strange and scary neurological issues for me, as well as some very intense hand pain that I had been living with for months. The hand pain started sometime last spring, around the same time I started knitting. It was like my hooks got all my knuckle joints to protest my budding love affair with the needles so they were going to punish me with SO MUCH PAIN. 

So, I had to put my MIL’s lovely knit scarf away for a bit since the pain was becoming unbearable. That and the scarf was making me very angry and needed to be punished, so away into time-out it went. It was either that or burn it (IT KNOWS WHAT IT DID!). 

Our next stop was Albuquerque where I was able to visit Fiesta Yarns and buy some of their Zia cotton yarn (on clearance....holy moly their yarn costs a pretty penny!) While their storefront isn't really anything to write home about, it would be really cool to be able to have a tour of the dyeing process in the back. As a native New Mexican, I must say I have a sense of pride for this yarn brand- if only Albuquerque could be known for its gorgeous yarn rather than directionally challenged rabbits and crystal meth. I quickly cast on for a cute knit tunic that I found on Ravelry, but soon discovered that my hands were still not on the whole, "I'm a knitter, now!" bandwagon and had to put that away, too.

My hands didn’t hurt so much when I crocheted, though. I figured my hands just needed time to adjust to the new muscle movements that knitting requires and chose to ignore the condemning "ADULTERER!!" looks from my hooks  So, once we made it to Virginia, I crocheted my family some new scarves. Of course I needed to buy more yarn for these scarves (teehee!) since my stash was somewhere on the ocean taking the scenic route back home.
Only one of them still has...."fringe"

And then a blessing came. It came disguised as the worst case of strep throat ever seen by any doctor alive, but it was still a blessing. You see, I was put on some antibiotics (a Z-pak) to help calm my raging fever. Turns out I didn't have strep, after all, just the worst case of tonsillitis ever seen, so I'm not sure the antibiotics did anything to help me get well any faster; however, the week after taking the meds, I noticed that my hands didn’t hurt anymore. And the other weird and scary neurological stuff stopped, as well. (!!)

After months of fearing I was getting Rheumatoid Arthritis and possibly Multiple Sclerosis in retaliation for my dalliance with knitting, it turns out that my hands weren’t protesting my carnal love affair with the needles after all! Had I not gotten so horribly sick, I'd never have known my hands and body were merely refusing to work due to (*most likely) Lyme disease.

Man. Once I figured that out, my torrid love affair with knitting was back on like Donkey Kong, baby! I finished knitting my MIL’s scarf, and in time for Christmas! 


And then I made a hat for My Mister. And then another hat for My Mister since his head isn’t the size of beach ball. 

The jellyfish one and my Head Eating Blood Clot make a good couple.
And then a cowl for my lovely friend Miss A, who now lives in Hawaii (and who we were able to visit whilst there). 

Actually, I RE-knit it. IT KNOWS WHAT IT DID!
And then this pretty, sparkly scarf for me. 

Doubles as a hypnosis tool.

And then this lovely hood for me. 
Yes it is lovely! Use your imagination!
And this hat for me, but since my head is not the size of a softball, I gave it to SweetPea. And then made me another one. 

I will never be as cool as she already is.

And this sweater that's almost done.

Yes, it's supposed to be that big. The sleeve, on the other hand...IT KNOWS WHAT IT DID!

In short, I’ve been rather unfaithful to my hooks as of late. I did pick them back up after the first (ginormous) hat I made for My Mister since I needed some instant gratification, so I made this cute hat for SweetPea. 

She was trying to knock the camera out of my hands. She's like the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

And then I started this sweater. However, in my defense, I did try various crochet projects with this yarn, but none of them looked right to me.

Even in knit I wasn't in love with it. Though this pic makes me want to change my mind.

Ohhh....don't look at me that way, hooks. C'mon, baby. You know I love you best! Knitting? Well....she's just something new....a little sumpin sumpin on the side, but it doesn't mean anything! C'mere, baby- I'll show you just how much I love you best....


(Actually, there has been a bit more crochet...but it's for a couple patterns, soooo......hopefully will have them up...soonish?)

*(Unfortunately, it cannot be confirmed since Lyme testing is notoriously unreliable. I had a false negative when I had it in 2008, too. However, the big clue is that I got better after taking antibiotics, so SCREW YOU, LYME! By the way, since Lyme disease is very rare in Australia, and considering the time frame when my symptoms first started, I most likely contracted it while in Asia last year. And you didn’t think that story could get any crazier! Well played, Thailand. Well played.)

Friday, March 20, 2015


I’m sitting here frustrated right now. Frustrated because I have a blog post all ready to go but have been having issues getting (and editing) pictures of the stuff that’s in the blog post. Stuff I’ve been working on these last few months because I’ve been doing a heck of a lot of crocheting and knitting lately. A lot. And I’ve even finished a few things, too. INCLUDING weaving in ends. (I KNOW! I almost fainted reading that, too!)

I’m sitting here frustrated because I’ve been looking up patterns and goofing around on Ravelry instead of weaving in more ends on my projects. (DUDE. Where are the end-weaving fairies when I need them? Hmmm…..the kids are awake. Maybe I’ll teach them how to do it. They need a break from vacuuming, anyway. After they give me my pedicure, of course.)

I’m sitting here frustrated right now because I have had so much to write and say and show my friends and family (and those of you who seem to wander by now and again) and yet haven’t because I can’t get those freaking pictures out RIGHT NOW so I’ve been silent instead of just posting things that I’ve been thinking and it’s giving me anxiety because I really really really want to write. And blog. And connect with people.

I’m sitting here frustrated right now because, to be honest, I’m lonely. I miss my friends from Australia and my friends from here that I've not been able to connect with yet, and I haven’t been able to join a crochet group or create one while here and, gosh darn it. I really miss talking to people. People who aren’t toddlers. People who can actually wipe their butts by themselves and don’t need constant supervision all of the STOP! DON’T PUT THAT UP YOUR NOSE!

I’m frustrated right now because I’m feeling guilty spending time writing this instead of spending time with my kids at this very moment. I just sent them downstairs to play so they would stop touching my computer with their sticky little hands so I can finish up this post before my words leave me and they’re playing together and I don’t hear any screaming or maniacal laughter, so I should just be happy that I have some peace and quiet and not feel guilty, BUT I DO! THE GUILT! THE GU…ok. I’m better now.

I’m feeling frustrated right now because things are going really well for me and my family and I should be content and happy and farting rainbow unicorns and yet I’m dwelling on my frustrations because I’m afraid that if I let my guard down then ALL THE BAD WILL COME AGAIN! Oh no….here comes a smile. I feel it…it’s pushing up my cheeks….it’s moving to my eyes….I’m feeling a little bit better….I’m feeling…WATCH OUT! BUBONIC PLAGUE!

Things truly have been going well for us- we haven’t been sick in weeks, we’re getting settled in, and spring is here, which always lifts my spirits. I’m going to send a note to a few people I’ve been meaning to connect with and haven’t because of one distraction or another. If you’re reading this, may I please encourage you to reach out to someone- the person who just popped into your head now as you’re reading this- just to say, “Hey- been thinking of you!” They may be feeling lonely, too, and that little acknowledgment from you may be the very thing they needed to hear.

Much love to all, but I must go now. There are butts to be wiped.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Maybe I Can Open A Shop?

Whew! We are still digging ourselves out of the sea of boxes and packing paper while tripping over toys we haven’t seen (or heard…egads! I miss the quiet!) for 4 months. It’s been both great (I have my kitchen and YARN back!) and overwhelming (HOLY CRAP I HAVE A LOT OF YARN!)

I’m struggling trying to find places to put everything, which has been frustrating, but it’s also been liberating. Almost half of our stuff had been in storage for 3 years and, I must admit, distance and time has mellowed out my slight sentimentality I have toward things. (Read: I’m borderline a hoarder.) Even the four months away from our Australia stuff has given me an urgent sense of, “THROW IT ALL AWAY!”

We’ve weeded through quite a lot of stuff and tossed or donated boxes and boxes of things. But still, my sentimentality still clings to the oddest of things. I mean, I still remember using this first tube of Avon Minnie Mouse Banana flavored lip gloss that my mom gave me when I was 10 and she started selling Avon; the slight pale yellow tint on my lips as I licked off the tasty gloss is a very fond memory and so I NEED TO KEEP IT FOREVER. 

You thought I was kidding, didn't you.

Actually, I have a whole collection of lip junk (as I lovingly call them) that I’ve collected over many years. The thought of tossing them all gives me anxiety- what if I need some chapstick RIGHT NOW but have to suffer gross chapped lips since I tossed that 20 year old Bonne Belle Lipsmacker? Also, I’m pretty sure my daughter will love to inherit this vintage collection and it won’t at all be gross and rancid when she’s old enough to start her own hoard.

I also have a thing with writing instruments and have a few hundred pens, pencils, highlighters, and Sharpies hanging about. I used them a lot when I was in school or working but now? I’d be lucky to use up the ink in one pen in the course of a year. (Note to self: need to write more. Send handwritten letters to family and friends just to use up ink. And to let them know I miss and love them. But mainly the ink.)

And now I have a collection of yarn that I know I’ll never be able to use up in my lifetime. The very last Hookers meeting we had at my house, my gals wanted to see my stash. So I obliged. Well, mostly. Mainly just the wools. And then their type-A, mega organizing personalities took over and they counted all of it. (Again…most all of it. Just the worsted weight wools, and mainly Patons, at that.) I sure wish I could find that notebook they used to write it down because it’d be nice to know. (SORRY, GALS!)

I know this may come as a shock, but I think I may have some problems, y’all.

I have been working on various projects (futilely) trying to use up my stash, and I’ve actually got a lot done (or almost done….egads I hate sewing in ends) but more on that later. For now, I finally got the kids down for a nap and there is wool to be played with. And clothes to be folded. Ha! Yeah right! Who needs clothes when you have all this yarn..... roll around naked in.