Pairs of socks knitted in 2014

  • Roxanne's socks
  • Brian's Cascade socks
  • Shirley's lacy socks
  • striped Meredith socks
  • striped stranded #1

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Family and Christmas insanity

In spite of the fact that so much snow has fallen on the Willamette Valley that snow chains are required to drive in downtown Portland, this is the largest amount of snow that my back yard has seen so far this winter. Thank God!

The other two "B's", Billy and Brad, came to visit a couple of weekends ago for the annual computer game festival. Now that everyone has steady jobs and significant others, it's a bit more difficult to find time to get all three of "the boys" together, but it's well worth the effort when the plantets and everyone's schedules align.

I love it when family comes to visit! And while I enjoy spending time with (most) of my and Brian's assorted relatives, there's no avoiding the fact that some visitors are more enjoyable than others. I love it when Mom and Aunt Tig visit, but life is just a bit wilder when Billy and Brad come calling. (Most of this is no doubt due to the fact that my parents do not stay up until 2am with us, swapping ribald stories and watching offbeat movies.)

They introduced Shirley to soda. No, no one let her drink any. But she had a blast playing with a full can of Fanta. If you refrigerate them, the rounded bottom rim of the cans make great teething objects.
She has also reached the "security object" stage of development. Specifically, the Mimi has developed a bizarre fascination with my socks, especially this one. (As though I wasn't feeling guilty enough about going back to work!) So she spent much of the morning crawling on the floor, soda in one hand and a sock clutched in the other chubby fist.

Now that she's walking by holding onto things, decorating for Christms has become a major challenge. We decided against a Christmas tree this year, but I did hang stockings and make the house look more festive. (What? You're saying that you don't have a dummy covered in chain maille to decorate for the holidays? Poor deprived souls!)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bedtime stories and counselling funds

Before Shirley was born, we started a counselling fund for her. As I see it, all parents WILL eventually make some stupid mistake that their children would benefit from a bit of therapy about. But good parents not only try to make different stupid mistakes than their parents did, but they also try to not make so many mistakes (or such catastrophic ones) that they won't be able to afford the shrink's bill.

In my more cynical moments, I have serious doubts about my ability to do the former. However, I realized that thanks to the power of compound interest, we should be able to do the latter if we started saving early enough. So every time Brian or I say or do something that could conceivably result in a need for therapy, we put some money in the jar.

How much money we put in the jar is directly proportionate to the severity of the offense. Saying "That's Mommy's little nudist!" as she's squirming wildly and protesting getting dressed in the morning--fifty cents. Saying "You're so happy being naked I worry you'll be a Playboy bunny when you grow up!"--empty your entire wallet into the jar right now. And then write a check to the fund for twenty bucks.

We average about fifty dollars a month.

This week, Audrey sent me a ginormous box filled with all kinds of fibery goodness. Cotton, five different colors of wool, and pretty close to a pound of light tan alpaca. (It's hard to tell how much. The only scale we own in this house is used for our ancient coin collecting fetish and therefore refuses to weigh anything heavier than 100 grams.)

I washed up the alpaca yesterday. I've never washed alpaca locks before, so I was slightly concerned that I might have felted it. But I divvied it up into a pile of natural-colored fiber for Pop, and dyed the rest of it in the oven with food-coloring.

Tonight, Shirley was being a real Screaming Mimi. Brian had to deal with the worst of her, as I went down for a nap about 1300 and didn't emerge from my blanket cocoon for another five hours or so. After she failed our "polite society" test several times ("Coo, and the world coos with you. Scream incessantly for no apparent reason, and you scream in your crib alone.") I finally resorted to feeding her and doing her bedtime routine an hour early.

Since Brad and Billy were here this weekend for the annual brotherly computer game festival, I've had very limited floor space for drying fiber. So the alpaca has been drying on towels in the only unused floor space in the house--under the Mimi's crib.

She wasn't calm enough to get to sleep yet, and I wanted to "fluffet" the fiber and spread it out so it could dry faster. Thankfully, it didn't felt too badly, just a little bit around the edges. It turned out so amazingly soft and fluffy that I was sorely tempted to spin it right then--until I remembered that the smell of wet alpaca is akin to the smell of wet dog as far as scents I want permeating the living room go

So I told the Mimi some stories, as she's more likely to overlook the fact that no one is holding her as long as someone is talking to her. And being short on inspiration, I just started rambling with whatever stories wandered into my head. El Cid, how Odin made some questionable decisions, and the less salacious bits of
Wagner's Ring Cycle. It settled her down nicely, but now I need to go stuff a ten in the jar.