Friday, October 29, 2010

November goals

As I enter into November, it is high gear for holiday knitting.  So, all my goals are around finishing all the things I need to make to give for gifts.

Lilly --  Orizal socks out of the blue Elan
Leslie -- Just Enough Ruffles out of Hunter Green Wool-Ease
Brooke -- Stuffed Frog
Sam -- Sweater out of Red Wool-Ease, I haven't chosen a pattern yet, but I am thinking a placket sweater.
Snowmen for everyone... well perhaps not everyone, but some people

Oh and I am test knitting some spiral socks, so those have to be done by the 21st, or I will be in big trouble.

I probably won't be able to get all of this done, but I sure am going to try!  Then, it will be back to baby blankets, my sock yarn blanket, another sweater for me, a scarf for me and of course socks and all will be right with the world.

I am a bit freaked out by the lack of unfinished objects in my pile.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Finished Objects

Here is the most random thing.  I have absolutely NO unfinished objects in my knitting bag.  It is freaking me out.  I am so used to having all these projects to work on and feeling sort of overwhelmed to finish them.  It is strange to be done.  Guess that means it is time to cast on a whole bunch of new goodies!

Some pictures:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Employment Contract

Last night, Wiley was very agitated.  She wanted to go out.  Since she is an old dog, we usually assume it has something to do with her kidneys that causes her to want to go out.  We don't argue with her about this.

Not this time, this time she sensed that something was in the yard.  As it is her soul job requirement to keep other animals out of our yard, I guess she felt compelled to deal with the situation.

I would like to remind everyone, that until this very moment in time, Wiley has not actually take her job very seriously.  In Connecticut, she allowed deer to eat my roses.  Here in Illinois, she has allowed rabbits to give birth in our yard.

But, for what ever reason, Wiley was feeling very motivated to tend to her job.  She went out and barked at what ever animal it was until they left.  We didn't think much about it, until she came back in at 11:00 pm. 

Not only would this be a picture of the animal she chased out of the yard, it is also the one animal her contract expressly says she is not responsible for managing.

Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, it is the famous black and white striped cat, aka skunk.  We noticed that there might be an issue when she walked by leaving a trail of stench behind her.

11:00 at night, just when I wanted to give the dog a bath.  What is going to get the stench out?  A quick internet search yielded the following:  Peroxide, baking soda and dish soap.  I have those things in my possession.  With no regard to the proportions listed on the website I created a concoction of the above items and slathered the past on the dog.  It took me 45 minutes to clean all the soap off of her, but she doesn't smell anymore.

We will now have to review the language in her employment contract, but I am thinking we may need to get Donald Trump to issue the famous words of "YOU'RE FIRED."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


At my very first job after my MBA, I worked with a bunch of older and wiser ladies.  I was their boss, but they certainly coached and mentored me much more than I did for them.  Bearing in mind that these women did not make much money and all of them were in marginal situations.  I am sure that I was sort of annoying to them, as my problems were not even on the same playing field.

One of the ladies, who lived paycheck to paycheck and supported her adult children, told me, if you have faith, G-d will take care of you.  Now, I believe that G-d also helps those who help themselves, this conversation stuck with me.  I asked her, how is G-d going to take care of me?  I need money to pay bills, G-d can't provide me with that.  She said, sometimes G-d does and money arrives when you need it.

I thought she was crazy, how could a being that doesn't have a form give me anything tangible.  I thought that the whole thing was silly.  Yet, as I have gotten older I have learned that perhaps she wasn't so crazy.  Shortly after our basement flood, a check in almost the exact amount landed on our doorstep.  There are many other examples of this sort of thing.  I always find it curious when it does happen, and I am forever reminded of the conversation that I had with MF.

While I don't know if this is the case for all, most of the truly faithful people I have met, seem to be alright.  It would seem that perhaps G-d does take care of his flock.  This isn't to say that bad things don't happen, but in the end, these folks seem to end up ok.  Not always in the same shape or space they were in originally, but ok. 

Perhaps that has a lot to do with attitude, I don't know.  But, I do that things sometimes don't seem like they will work out, they always seem to in the end.  Sometimes it surprises me when they do.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What we used to have...

In Sunday school we discussed the concept of appreciating what you have.  The teacher told a story about a family that was very wealthy and then the lost their wealth, and through a series of misfortunes they ended up penniless and barely making it.  At each stage of their journey, they always longed for the comfort they had prior to their latest demise.

The story really struck home with me, because as a family, we have been through a series of misfortunes in the past several years.  Things seem to be on the uptick, but it was an important reminder that while things aren't like they used to be, they still aren't bad.

When ever I pay the bills, I certainly long for Bob's larger paycheck of days gone by.  But, in exchange for that paycheck, Bob lost out on being a part of his children's lives.  When we moved here we did it so that he could stop traveling and be a part of the family.  Watching him play Wii with the boys last night was something that wouldn't have happened when he was traveling.  He was just too tired when he finally got home to really hang out with us. 

He has coached Sam's soccer team and now is going to coach for Hannah.  This certainly would not have been possible when he was traveling, or even in last job.

There are times when I long for the friends I had before we moved, the house I had before I moved, and the life I had before I moved.  I sometimes wonder if that story wasn't a message to tell me to stop longing for that which is no more, and focus on and appreciate what I have right now.

When my father died and I was unemployed, my therapist told me to be present in today.  To not worry about yesterday and stop thinking about tomorrow, but to be in the moment today.  It was the same message.  Enjoy today, and what you have, because you don't know what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monkey Butt

I finished Hannah's monkey in time for her birthday.  She loved it!

Isn't she fancy?  I think she is very sophisticated, with the diamond earrings and bling-y sweater.

As we all know, there is the problem of evil monkeys in her room.  She isn't afraid of them, because her gorilla is a monkey butt kicker and he protects her when she sleeps.  The issue is that I just made her a monkey.  Would gorilla kick the butt of her new monkey?  Only time would tell.

As you can see, gorilla feel head over heals in love with the monkey.  They are getting married.  Gorilla has given up monkey butt kicking.

For now, the princess is happy that her friends are in love.  That is until she needs some evil monkey butt kicked.

For the record, I was told that she wasn't afraid of real monkeys, just the evil imaginary ones.  Go figure.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Self Talk

I have been thinking about the power of self talk a lot lately.  Remember in an earlier post I talked about the power of attraction.  How, you attract positive things when you view the world positively.  Conversely you attract negative things when you view the world negatively.

Recently, I was at the gym and we were doing a shoulder exercise that was hard.  My arms felt like they were going to explode and I thought, I can't do this.  Then I remembered the whole thing about self talk.  I thought, what would happen if I kept telling myself I could do this, rather than saying I couldn't and it was ok to stop.  As corny as it sounds, with every drum beat I said, you can.  You know what, I did and I could.

I have been talking to the kids about this a lot too.  Especially with Mac, when he starts to feel out of control I tell him to remind himself that he is able to control himself and he wants to be a good boy. 

It is hard to stop sabotaging yourself with negative thoughts.  Think about how many times a day you say something negative to yourself.  It is most of the time.  We aren't conditioned to say, hey, good job, way to go.

My final thought on the subject is, when you feel you can't, be inspired, because you probably can.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Birthday Interview

Birthday interview with Hannah.

So, what is the best part about turning 5?  Umm... because when I am 5 no one else will know I am 5.

Why do you think no one else will know?  Some people don't know when by birthday is and they might not know I am 5.

Are you excited about your birthday?  I am, I am excited.

What are you looking forward too?  Opening presents.

What do you hope you get?  A membership to Club Penguin.

Anything else?  yes... having cake.

What kind of cake?  Strawberry cake. (editor note, this might be a problem since I am not planning on making strawberry cake, and we discussed this.)

Hmm, didn't we just make a vanilla cake?  with strawberry frosting.

Umm, I thought it was going to be pink?  I want it to be pink.

But, it isn't going to taste like strawberries.  Strawberry IS pink.

Oh, ok we are good then.  What was the best part about being 4?  Being older than some people.

What are your goals for this year?  Shooting goals at soccer, and being good and not fighting with my brothers.   NO yelling or screaming.

That all?  that's not all, I am looking forward to seeing meatloaf.  That is going to be fun.  (note, meatloaf is the 6 month old baby we watch a couple of days a week.)

Are you going to have a good birthday?  I am!  I want to go watch Dora, are we done?

Thus concludes another birthday interview.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dishrag Tag

Well, today I received my dishrag tag box.  It was sort of anti-climactic, after spending the day checking the empty mail box to look out the window to see the mailman at the box and have the mail handed to me. 

It was the day after a holiday and this of course means that my mail will be later than usual.  It also means our regular guy will not be there.  He likes to extend his weekends.  Yeah, our postman must have like a million vacation days.  I think he works few days than he vacations.  I want a government job.  This must have something to do with the fact that stamps are 50 cents and the USPS is broke.  I digress.

This game is really a study in the postal service.  The pattern takes all of 3 hours to knit, if that.  There is no reason it should take anyone more than a day to crank it out.  So, if you got your box in the AM you could reasonably get it out in the afternoon.  So, the fact that there is variation in how the progress is going lies largely with the efficiency of the postal service and when your mail arrives.

Some teams have had their boxes go wandering.  Others, I think have been blessed with good postal mojo.  I was beginning to question our team mojo when, our box finally arrived.  The mail man gave it a good long look.  I think the postal workers must wonder about some of these things.

I must say, in the box were some goodies for me.  A very cool notions holder.  One can never have enough of these.  Also, some lovely goodies from our team captain.  I won't say what they are, but I like them a ton.

I can't wait to see what is in the final box, but we are one person away from the end!  It is a fun game, our team is pretty nice, and we are in the hunt for a prize.  I will keep you posted.

Friday, October 8, 2010


The power of attraction has been coming up a lot lately.  We were at Sunday school and someone was talking about it.   Just today I read a blog post about it.  I am wondering if there is some movement around the power of attraction that I am just woefully unaware.

It is a coincidence that it keeps coming up?  As Gibbs would say, I don't believe in coincidence.  So, if it is not a coincidence, and it keeps coming up, there must be some reason.

Essentially, the philosophy is that like attracts like.  That you will get what you think.  Your reality will represent what is going on in your mind and subconscious mind. Your attitude will be reflected back to you by the attitude of those close to you and around you on a daily basis. If you are positive and optimistic - you'll have positive and optimistic people around you.

I read an interesting fact, that 90% of our self-talk is negative.  Just today, a friend of mine was talking about the power of harnessing that self-talk.  She was discussing it in terms of dieting.  She said, when you say, I want a cookie, if you don't replace that desire with something else, you are going to end up eating a cookie.  In this example, you say, Hmm, I would like a cookie right now.  You then tell you self, I would like to loose weight.  Every time the cookie pops up, the desire to loose weight comes in after it.  Eventually the cookie will stop popping up.

Ok, so the premise is that if you want to be lucky you have to believe that you are lucky, if you want positive things to happen you have to be positive, etc.  You can google it and read more.  Couple this with 90% of your self-talk is negative, no wonder it is so hard to dig out of the hole.  I think you have to change the self-talk to turn the ship around. 

When the negative thoughts come up you have to be at the ready with a positive one to take its place.  I have been working on this with Mac.  His self-talk is, no one likes me.  I am trying to train him to say, I am a likable person and when people get to know me they like me.  When ever the worry pops up about the friends, he has a replacement for the thought.

I am curious about how this will work, because if all of us can stop the negative self-talk for just a bit, imagine what we could do.  I really want a cookie now, but I also want to loose weight.  So I think I will just go to bed.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I knew this time would come.  I knew that eventually my baby boy who eats, drinks and breathes soccer would eventually outgrow the rec league.  I fought it.  I encouraged him to learn sportsmanship and to play nice with the other kids.

What finally caught my attention, was that he stopped getting better.  He just wasn't improving.  When I talked to him about it, he said to me, "Mom, I am the best kid on the team, why do I have to get better?"  OK, wake up call time.  He was getting cocky.  Sure it is easy to be the best kid on the team when you have been playing since you could walk.  A lot of these kids are playing for the first time.

Ironically, I was walking by a bunch of vans with logo's from the local travel team.  The time had come for him to stop playing rec soccer and look into travel soccer.  I had hoped to wait until 3rd grade to have this happen, because well it is a huge time and money suck. 

I don't want to have to give up my Sunday knitting.  How will this mesh with Religious School?  I know that a lot of the tournaments are ALL weekend.  How do we balance the other kids needs and let him do this. 

Most importantly, how do we manage our oldest who thinks he is a great soccer player.  Sure he is about as good as his brother, but his brother is 7.  Sammy is developing his own set of skills and they are different than his brothers.  He will surpass his older brother in some areas, and how is big brother going to take that?  So far so good.

Sam was nervous before going to practice.  He cried a little and didn't want to go.  Mac let him use his special World Cup ball.  Once Sam started playing with the kids he relaxed, and everyone loved his ball.  A couple of the kids took him under their wing and showed him the ropes.  By the end, the kids asked him to come back.

The coach asked him to come back.  He was especially excited when he found out Sam's age.  It is all about building for the future.  Or perhaps the length of time I will be forking over billions of dollars, hard to tell.

I am proud of my baby, the youngest kid in the club.  I am nervous about my wallet and my schedule.  But, it all has a way of working out. 

Mac was as he put it, happy for his brother but a little jealous, because he wishes he had stuck with soccer so he could play with them too.  Life lesson learned.  We told him that this might happen.

Sam wants to go back.  But, after doing technical drills he said, "Mom these kids know a lot of stuff I don't know, maybe I am not the best." 

Mission Completion.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Some days I am just homesick. Some gratuitous footage of the 'hood.