Thursday, September 28, 2006

A very important PS

My nephew Hunter turns 6 today. He's a beautiful little boy of above-average height and intelligence with a personality masked by autism. He attends special-needs kindergarten at a public school here in Jax, which I fear won't handle his needs nearly long enough. He's already 4'1" and his mom's only 4'11", so needless to say, control will become an issue as he ages. Luckily my brother, his dad, lives in town and is putting as active a hand in as is possible. His mother and I no longer get along, so I don't see Hunter as much as I'd like, but I certainly hope to get a bunch of visits in through my Lil Bro before we move to SC.

I was learning about autism as early as the 5th grade; I remember doing a paper on it for school and being fascinated by the inability to pinpoint its causes. Not so fascinated anymore, naturally, but Hunter has taught me volumes about dealing with autistic children, and I just pray that my kids are entirely healthy when the time comes. In the meantime, I learn from watching him, and gain a better understanding of the world through his eyes.

Happy birthday, beautiful blond boy!

Right on the money, Hiro.....

So the NBC show Heroes premiered this week (and by the way, it so totally lives up to the hype - very exciting, good character I can only hope that when they cancel it because they don't know what a good thing they have, they'll at least transfer it to the Sci-Fi channel). At the very end of the show, the Japanese character Hiro manages to teleport himself from Tokyo to Times Square, and upon realizing this has occurred, he pumps both arms up in the air and shouts for joy in Japanese. That's how I'm feeling today.

After 4 years of having no business behind the wheel of a car, this morning I reinstated my driver's license.

Spending life looking over your shoulder is no way to live, but sometimes it can't be helped, and when you're a one-paycheck household, it's very easy to set something like an old ticket to the side to pay something else, like electric, phone, groceries, you know, the little's only through the kindness of the inlaws that I've finally been able to get this cleared up, and I'm quite grateful. Now the real test: keeping my nose clean. Thank goodness the new car has cruise control! I'm a much more defensive and diligent driver now, thanks to all that illegal driving, but I've also always been a bit of a lead foot, so believe me, the cruise control helps!

Poking along on my socks and started a soaker pattern yesterday. NO, I'm not pregnant; just caught a wild hair and found an easy pattern online that I wanted to try (for Lil Sis and any non-mommy people: a soaker is a diaper cover style popular with the cloth diaper crowd). There's such a wealth of information on cloth diapering online, and it's really easy to distinguish the good from the bad or to gauge what's actually worth the money. Even found websites selling and offering information on cloth menstrual pads, which would certainly have the average female saying ewwww, but make just as much sense as cloth diapering when you get right down to it. Something to ponder once I have a washing machine to call my own.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

There's a glimmer of light up ahead.....

.....and I don't hear a train whistle.....

I'm feeling better. It really bothers me though, that my issues of the past, oh, month or so could possibly be traced to a singularity in body chemistry. I know it's silly to obsess about raising kids when they haven't been procreated yet, but it's an issue, this desire to breastfeed if my body will let me, and I see now the distinct possibility that it won't be feasible. Because the pregnancy is going to be hard enough without lithium. And because when the child is born and the hormones calm down, postpartum depression will be the least of my worries - my lithium deficiency will be front and center. I'm certainly not giving up on the idea. But it makes me sad how quickly I've rallied. It's definitely a sign I need to pay attention to.

Makes me sad...that sounds funny. Actually, I'm feeling quite a bit of relief, and I've only been back on the stuff 2 days. It doesn't hurt to wake up in the morning, and my concentration is a little better. I'm feeling like me again. That's a person I've only known for 10 years, so needless to say, I missed her when she flaked out on me. Missed her tremendously, and I'm glad she's back for now.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sock Wars


I thought Socktoberfest was cute. I thought the Knitting Olympics was an excellent way to challenge yourself, even though I ended up not participating. This however, punctuates the strangeness that is the obsessed knitter.

The Yarn Monkey over in the UK just started Sock Wars, mailing out sock patterns for people to knit up as fast as they can and mail to another Sock Wars participant. If you receive socks, you're dead. Last one alive wins. It's cut-throat, it's international, and it's got its own forum. Hey wait, does that mean last one alive is a Jedi Master?

Since I'm so new to socks, won't participate myself, but will definitely pass the idea on to the bitches, in case anyone's crazy enough to jump in at this late date. This definitely goes against the old-fart knitter's image, but I'm sure my Lil Sis is still shaking her head at me :)

Monday, September 25, 2006


buttons snitched from Couldn't decide which one I liked best, can ya tell?

aka: Stop whining, Melanie, and start knitting!!

Yeah, I know, my whining's legitimate; I'm not actually being hard on myself. But the timing on this idea is perfect. Socktoberfest is the brainchild of; it's not a contest, just a celebration of socks. I have the 2nd Thuja on the needles, as well as a twisted-stitch pattern from the Knit Socks! book, and these are only my 2nd and 3rd attempts at the evil fun that is socks, so why not give myself a little more encouragement? That button made me laugh, since I've had to stop drinking altogether; it's like TPTB saying, well, knitting's better for you anyway! And I'm always up for another reason for my Lil Sis to shake her head at me :) (Oh, speaking of which, Miss M, check out the new button on the left! snitched from

So pick up your dpns and celebrate Socktoberfest!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The usual.....

Pokin' along...

Found my closet floor again. It's nice.

Also cleared and organized my witchy stuff, found all the crystals I thought I'd given away. Nice to have my hands on that stuff again. I cleaned off my spice rack and hung it at eye level in the bedroom for easier access. (to the Muggles scratching their heads, it's for making incenses and stuff)

Still may be turning again, cross your fingers...fundraising pokey still...fresh emails out this weekend.

Started Stormy sock over (AGAIN); third time's a charm. Neglecting everybody else in my UFO pile. God, I love this hobby!! It allows me to sit like a slug and watch my shows (I'm a sucker for a new fall season on the tube), and feel like I've accomplished something.

Starting 3rd string on mr. guitar...reading Great Expectations for kicks...goofing off at work...there's still that absence of energy, and I'm missing my lithium, but I remind myself of how different I am from say, 10 years ago, and it quells my concerns about backsliding. I never have to go back there. I have good things in my life, good people, and a husband who thinks I walk on water. I'm safe.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Better late than never

I think I've just broken all previous records for late-bloomerism...

When my friend Missy was in her senior year of high school, she decided to drop some weight, and did so by eating healthier, exercising more, and switching out soda for flavored seltzer water. I couldn't wrap my mind around the seltzer water concept at the time, because at the time, I was in training to become the sugar mainliner you all know and love.

So with this walk coming up on 1 month away, and no pounds off my everwidening ass yet, I took a look at my eating habits this past weekend so that I could make some changes. Like no more ice cream ::pause for moment of silence:: and supplementing Slim-Fast here and there (nothing drastic; more a necessity because I have that in my cabinet, we're low on dough til Friday, and there's a dearth of decent food in the house). I've learned how to drink water in recent years thankfully, but it gets old fast, and I find it only makes me thirstier when it's all I drink in the afternoons.

So I'm ambling through the local Publix at lunchtime, searching unsuccessfully for Diet Coke with Splenda (the other pain in the ass of my body—an allergy to aspartame, which is still widely used in diet products), and I come across the flavored seltzer water. It's been ages since I've tried any, it's dirt cheap ($.69 for a 2-liter!) and lord knows I need a change. I'm reminded of Missy, and grab a bottle. doesn't suck! Not bad at all, in fact. Are my taste buds maturing? Lord knows the rest of me is. I'm a little, make that blown away......... that it's taken me the better part of 20 years to discover this stuff. Ridiculous, I know, and barely noteworthy; but with me, it's the little things :)

I've found my tears

Relax, this is a good thing.

One of the helpful side effects of some psychotropic medications is an absence of crying. This can be extremely helpful in engaging in what others would call a normal life, because lemme tellya, when you're seriously down and in need of meds, anything will set you off, be it someone cutting you off in traffic, the mailman missing your house, or one of those Publix commercials on TV (you southerners know what I'm talking about.....young couple moves in across the street from old farts who then put together an entire meal from scratch to welcome the new neighbors......little kid making Valentine's cake with Mom, brings it to school, and leaves it with Mom in the car, because it was really for her.........and don't get me started on their Thanksgiving and Christmas ads!). I never minded the lack of tears much, because I was very lucky to be on a combo of meds that did NOT make me feel numb, which is a common complaint among medicated nutjobs. I could feel happy, sad, angry and it didn't devastate me. Again I say, very lucky.

So I mentioned being off the miracle salt in my last entry. I notice I'm talking to myself a bit more, and I have the energy level of moss. I miss the stuff, but I'm holding steady. So I was giving into that energy level this weekend by finally watching "Serenity," which is an abso-freakin'-lute must-see for anyone who's ever glimpsed the series "Firefly." Holy shit, what a good movie!! However the climax is quite dramatic, and there's a point there where you think that about half the crew is going to start walking toward the light. I found myself having a nice, clean cry and was delighted by this newfound behavior. Don't get me wrong; the day I stop breastfeeding my future children, I'll probably be going right back on the stuff, but in this interim, it's nice to have emotional responses and not have them devastate me.

FINALLY got out walking again. The new sneaks seem ok, and the ankle brace that Les bought me (for my arthritis) is remarkably comfortable and affords me a really nice level of support. I wore the thin CoolMax socks first, then the brace, then a second pair of socks, and it was comfortable without shoving my toes to the front of the sneaks. Since I ended up getting men's size 9½s (::sigh::), comfort's a fine line—too loose means blisters and sore toes, too tight means arthritis flare-ups and sore toes. The hat's bugging me though; may go looking for a boonie hat this friday, though the problem with that type of hat is what to do with the blasted hair then. I'm getting the urge to trim it some more; trying to resist that urge...

This weekend's knitting was all about socks. I bailed on my pattern attempt on the Stormy (named for the Dana yarn color) socks; I was trying something with a reverse stockinette but it was clusterf*cked within one try of the pattern, and I just didn't have the drive to learn something new right now, so I frogged back and started a regular stockinette sock, which I'm now thinking I made too small because I was still paying attention to the other sock pattern when I started the new sock pattern ::sigh:: Maybe it's TPTB telling me to work on the shawl or the cape for a while......

Friday, September 15, 2006


So I'm training for this walk, or trying to. And about 2 months ago, I had my yearly GYN fun, and the doc and I discussed me weaning off my meds and substituting one, since I want to start trying for kids in the near future. The ones I was on are bad, bad for a fetus, and the one I'm subbing to, doesn't have nearly the withdrawal symptoms of the others.

I take an antidepressant and lithium. I'm not a swing-from-the-rafters bipolar per se, but the bloodwork showed a significant lithium deficiency. Been on it for years now, and it was a good combo; it worked for me, and I've truly been able to function well and realize who I am as a person. We're subbing on the antidepressant and it seems to be doing an ok job, though I'm still weaning, so I've got plenty of good chemicals in my system at present. Last week, I finished weaning off the lithium. I'm discovering this means my spirits are in check, but I have zero energy to train. Nil. I'm carpet lint.

Lloyd Bridges, Airplane I:
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking..."
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking..."
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines..."
"Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue..."

Now I'm also PMSing, so I'll take that into account. Still it spooked me enough to suggest that I go back on the lithium for a bit, just until after the walk. Les, surprisingly, talked me out of it. Usually he hates when I wean off my meds (now granted, usually I don't have the doc's permission; rather it's a case of me wanting to take less of something and taking matters into my own hands), but he knows how much I want kids, how much I want to do it as naturally as possible (I mean, we're talking no drugs, cloth diapers, breastfeeding, and organic food), and how much of a pain it is to wean off something. And it's true, there's not enough reason to go back on it and set myself back a month and a half down the road. And it certainly helps that he's my rock and he ain't going anywhere.

So on the commute to work this morning, I realized I'm forgetting something rather vital. I'm a witch. I worship the earth. I draw energy from it. I've seen and felt the power of a dancing circle of humans united for a singular purpose.

It's time to start hugging trees. I need to ground before I go out to stretch, ground while stretching, and ground while I'm walking. I need to reach down into the depths of the earth and draw up her lifeforce into my body to borrow it for a little while. I need to carry talismans when I walk that'll aid in this endeavor. I need to soak up the sun and the rain and allow them to feed my chi.

Sounds pretty fluffy, huh? And I know it's not foolproof; when your energy's flatlined, it's damn hard to conjure the interest and focus to do anything, let alone exercise. But I've got just over a month to get ready for this turkey, and if I don't want to do damage to myself, I've got to get back on the horse.

Definitely a time of changes right my continued quest to create more UFOs than FOs, I'm currently working not 1, but 2 different sock patterns. Yes, folks, I've finally discovered the wonder of socks. My success at creating my first one and having it a) fit ok, and b) not look like complete crap, has caused a new delusion of aptitude. Picking up stitches no longer terrifies me, and while working dpns still feels like I've got about 3 extra thumbs, it's a deformity I'm learning to live with.

Have a great weekend, gang!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Quick update for my hoards of followers...

The press releases are out! I'll give 'em a week and then email follow-ups. I know, I know, should probably call 'em...

Planning a bake sale for 10/6 at work...that netted $300 last time.

Only took me knitting 1 whole sock to discover the flaw in the pattern. Thuja calls for a set of 4 size 6 dpns. It needs a set of 5. Should have tipped me off when the pattern calls for a cast-on of 44 stitches and then to divide them evenly among the needles...44 ÷ 3 = hmmmm.....yeah, I'm not the brightest bulb in the box, so I had, I think, 15, 15, & 14, which resulted in a purl stitch at the beginning of a needle and we won't go into how challenging that was for M for some reason.

Anywho, the seed-stitch rib is a 3+1 pattern so if you want it to be even, it needs to be divisible by 4 (am I saying that right? basic math wording was never a strong suit). Meaning you're better off with a cast-on of 48 (16, 16, 16 or 12, 12, 12, 12). Whew! I'm probably off on this somewhere, but can't for the life of me figure out how to email them to let them know (enabling Javascript is apparently beyond my scope today). Naturally I figure this out when I have started the 2nd sock and have 2 sides with nice ribbing and one side of laughable, half-seed stitch, half rib going on...

Still, I'm finally seeing the addiction that is socks...thinking of also starting something with the sock yarn Dana stuck in that bag of Red Heart for me last week...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Things to do today:

1. Plaster a smile on my face and keep it there when my coworkers are singing "Happy Birthday" to me later.

37. Definitely still wrapping my mind around that one.

Plus woke up tired today, and that pisses me off, because there's not a decent reason for it. I hit the sack on time. Woke up just exhausted, hit the john, and thought to myself, "please let it be, like 3 a.m."

It was 6:30. I get up at 6:45. Grr.

Paraphrased from Caroline in the City:
Richard: My girlfriend wakes me up by singing, "good morning, good morning, a happy winter morning..." (affects shrill singing voice)
Amy: And you haven't clubbed her like a baby seal yet?

I thought of a good one yesterday...if you're going to be a bitch, at least ride the broom side-saddle so it'll be easier to jump off when you're feeling better.

My wimpy disclosure about walking and fundraising yesterday earned me a tongue-lashing by my Salem pal and fellow walker. I deserve it. I have 39 days to pull this sucker together, both monetarily and physically, and from where I'm stuck sitting (work cubicle) right now, it's certainly a daunting task. But I don't shy away from those, and I'm not about to start. I'll figure out a payment plan with them if I don't have all the dough by October; heck, they even give you an extra month to fundraise after the walk. No throwing in the towel here!

Had to postpone doing stuff last night due to minor power outage (did you know those utility companies expect money EVERY month?!), so tonight will be getting the press releases out. Alexa's right; I can postpone the thank-you notes--I'm keeping track online of who got them so far, so it's not like I'm going to forget the others. But first, I'll grab a walk right after work :)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

graphic courtesy of

Mondays are evil.

But Saturday was my birthday, so that lifts me a little. I may even be embracing turning 37. Still, with the temp in the 70s as I walked to the car this morning, I just wanted to go back inside, kick off the slides, put on the sneaks, and stay outdoors all day. Ah well...

That beauty pictured was my gift from the birthday fairy, cleverly disguised as my husby. I've been making noise about learning to play for years now, and this year, he took me serious. We hit a handful of small music shops on Saturday before this one spoke to me—plus the price was sweet! I recommend Music World on San Jose for anybody interested in acoustic or electric guitars or drums. The place spoke to me the minute we walked in—they had an electric guitar emblazoned with the Icehouse logo (my fave domestic), LOL! The guy threw in an electric tuner, picks, cloth, and strap for free, a gig bag for 1/2 price, and had a good selection of books to get me started.

Needless to say, all that got accomplished this weekend was me figuring out the B and E strings. And when I say that, I only mean 3 notes apiece to start. It's like learning to read music all over again. No, that's not it; reading music is like riding a bike—you don't forget. I played trumpet in high school, so the difference between playing a 3-finger instrument versus a 2-hand, 4-finger instrument is a bit daunting. Thank goodness they both use G clef! The guy quickly recommended a book of chords, beautifully indexed, and when I was perusing the other books, I saw that he had the beginner's Alfred series. I'm 90% sure that that's the same brand series that they used to teach us with, when I started trumpet back in the day, so I grabbed the first book of the series as well; and I'm so glad I did, because it breaks everything down beautifully.

It's not frustrating, so my meds must still be working; rather, I'm able to recognize that this sure ain't going to get mastered overnight. When I felt discouraged though, I just took a little break and then went back to it. Sometimes it means taking a piece measure by measure to get the fingering down, plus there's the added struggle of learning how to use the tips of your left-hand fingers on the strings with the necessary pressure to produce a clear note. It never failed that just when I'd feel I'd gotten the fingering down, I'd nail a dead note from poor finger positioning. Wanted to bring it to work to play on my breaks, but I have enough self-pride not to subject my coworkers to that on my lunch, even outdoors.

So, if I can manage to tear myself away from mr. guitar (I know it's a boy, but he doesn't have a name yet), I'll start my 2nd sock tonight and/or start the guitar strap pattern from the Fall '03 Knitty, because the freebie I have is short and I can tell from the way it attaches that it won't last. And of course, my walking has lagged of late, as has the fundraising, to the point where I'm thinking I won't be able to walk next month, because I won't have raised the necessary dough :( I'm going to send out my press releases tonight first thing, and write the thank-you notes I've been putting off. Then the other stuff can get a glimpse. But you know, no pressure :)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...

...and you bring it back?

Didn't become a coffee drinker until after college...heck, didn't even drink it much up until about hmm...when I met Les? What's the correlation there?

Lately, been weaning though...looking toward making babies a coupla months from now, and want life to not suck so much when we get to that point. I was drinking a 5-cup jug of the stuff in the mornings, though my drinks after that were usually decaf. But when I inquired to the greatest OBGYN on the planet how much I should trim the ole caffeine intake, she said "1." I jokingly say back, "oh good, only 1 cup?" knowing that that wasn't not the case. She gave me a whammy look and answered, "only 1 cup a day."

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder?

Nah, actually I figured it was something like that, just hurts to hear it said out loud.

Paraphrased from Gilmore Girls:
Max: Do you enjoy coffee?
Lorelai: Only with my air.

So I've been doing half decaf, half hazelnut 8 O'Clock for a couple of weeks now. It's not so bad. But this morning I was lazy, still feeling like I'm getting back into the swing after the deliciously long Labor Day weekend, so I made it all hazelnut this morning.

Wow. Nice. If you'll excuse me, I have to go detail my car on my lunch break and jog around the building 5 times. My brain's actually thinking clearer, feels a little more organized.

This sucks.

Why? Because I know darn well I need to go back to half and half tomorrow, because it's better for me, better for the ole body chemistry, better for my attempts toward better health. Better...

And that's only a drop in the bucket of how I'd like to change my lifestyle, meaning I'd love to only be shopping at Native Sun, love to be able to walk past chocolate without my hands taking on a life of their own, love to be able to walk daily like I need to if I'm ever going to get this big ass off my ass...

Patience. And in the meantime, pass the Haagen-Daz.

graphic snuck from

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'm back!

The party may start now.


Good weekend; a touch of cooling weather and mosquitoes at night, the usual family stresses. The visit to Columbia, detailed somewhat here. Lots and lots and LOTS of time spent taking care of a 6-week-old, 9-pound baby girl person. Kylie is a gassy little squirmer with a full head of dark brown hair and dark, inquisitive eyes. Taking care of her was such a palpable feeling, I nearly latched her onto one of my own tits. All claims about being ready have been fluff up until now; this weekend gave me a taste of the real deal, and I know I will be an amazing mommy.

On the last day, I showed her her first tree. I took her outside to the tree I hug in the front yard, placed her palm on the bark, and told her how the tree would give her energy, just as she gives energy to the tree. Les and I both spent time just shrouding her meditatively in positive energy. She lay on my chest and just looked and looked at me while I hummed everything from "Sing a Song of Sixpence" to Trumpet Voluntary to her.

I'm a bit of a puddle still.

I know, I know, they grow up, scream a lot, make messes, clean out your bank account, pierce parts of their body down the road, resent you, and consider you a source of embarassment right up until they leave for college. I still want one. Maybe two.

So this week is spent reintegrating into reality, playing on the new computer, trying to catch up on some wayward knitting, and about 3 other things. I'm in the home stretch on my first sock, which I know will be stretchy to the point of irritating due to the yarn I'm using, but I'm past caring because I'M IN THE HOME STRETCH ON MY FIRST SOCK!!! Gotta get back on the cape too; I had an idea this morning about stitching I-cord buttonloops at the collar for like, those Navy wooden peacoat buttons. Hmm...