About Me

Life

I decided that I wanted to knit matching sweaters for my sons … and apparently, procuring wool for the project is impossible.

Not in terms of, “Oh my god the world is ending and there isn’t any fiber to be found!” But more like I keep getting sent the wrong thing, out of stock, didn’t actually ship, blah blah blah. Which maybe translates into the world is ending. IDK. I just wanted to knit matching sweaters for my babies. Le sigh.

I’m starting to wonder if there’s going to be enough time to finish them before Christmas.

It’s one of those periods.

Probably should have smudged ages ago. Meh, I’m tired.

About Me

Babies

I like to think about how babies are the same cuddly, bouncy, black-holes-of-need (lawl) today that they were 1,000+ years ago.

I didn’t grow up feeling like I belonged with the family I was born into. I used to imagine that I was secretly adopted, switched at birth, fairy changeling — anything that could explain the void I felt surrounding me, really. Combined with a general sense of alienation from society, I’m kind of a neurotic mess.

But, a long, long time ago, my ancestors kissed their babies’ cheeks the same way I do. They tickled their babies’ tummies, changed their babies’ diapers, and snuggled their babies against their breasts, the same way I do.

I bet they even occasionally got up with headaches after spending the night consoling a fussy baby, just like I do.

And the thought makes me feel like I’m not such an outcast weirdo.

I think that birthing person fiction ought to be an actual genre. Something that others who feel similar to me can relate to.

About Me

Life

We’ve already had two beautiful, albeit ephemeral, snowstorms this month. It’s put me in the mood to get the house all warm and cozy for winter, and the flannel pajamas have officially been dug out from the bottom of the dresser drawer.

The three-legged cat is now out of the kennel, but she hides more often than not. I explained to the kids that healing is a process, and that she now has to adjust to having one of her legs missing, so they should be nice and give her plenty of space. Still, they’re really good at finding her hiding spots, yet I’m always at a loss with locating her. The thing is … I need to know where to put the litter box, lol.

And thus the days keep sliding by.

The hefty vet bill has made it prudent to tighten the belt, so to speak, and I confess that I’ve been enjoying the challenge of frugality. I took the kids to the thrift store to get cold-weather clothing, and I’ve asked them to plan out what sorts of Christmas gifts they can make for each other this year instead of buying anything. I love creative lateral thinking, and practicing stinginess. Win-win! Besides, it’s good to set the example of financial responsibility for the kids.

Also, celebrating 13 years with my husband this month. My how the world has changed in that time.

About Writing

TBM remake

The other night I had an absolutely hilarious dream about The Black Magus, where the two main characters were bad stereotypes.

Lily was recast as a socially awkward red-head, desperately trying to get the Black Magus’s attention through not-so-subtle means. At one point, she had her phone in hand and was fretting about whether or not she should call him, talking to herself, “I didn’t steal his phone number; I borrowed it.”

Ainmire had short black hair, and dressed all in black. He was too caught up in his own self-importance to actually care about anyone else, but for his own amusement he decided to throw that awkward red-head a bone — because, c’mon, she was being ridiculously obvious about wanting him.

Even as I was dreaming it, I kept thinking about how ridiculous it was.

But it would make for a fun spoof.

And yes, I dream about my own novels and characters.#WeirdoWriter

Does anyone else miss calling them pound signs?

About Me, art

Crochet

Halloween went very well, and the majority of the 6-month-old’s trick-or-treat candy was generously donated to me, the hardworking mother who made it all happen (aww, so thoughtful!)

And I’ve been working on crocheting socks ever since. I came to the conclusion that if I want to be serious as a yarn arteest, I need to reorient my hand movements so that I wrap the yarn around the hook, instead of holding the yarn still and hooking it. Some guy on youtube did it that way, lmao.

I also learned how to make hush puppies. Yum!

Anyway, at some point in the past, I came to the conclusion that youtube crochet tutorials were a blight on the craft. I have a reputation as someone who crochets — it’s pretty obvious when everyone in my family is running around with handmade items — so I occasionally get people asking me for help.

Cue phrase, “I was following a tutorial on youtube, and I don’t know where I went wrong.”

Which is how I got to learn how to troubleshoot without a written pattern or any sort of clue about what the designer’s original intent was.

So.

The reason why I hate youtube tutorials so much is because the video creator is posturing as a teacher, but then they aren’t available to help their students with their problems. A huge part of properly teaching a skill is learning how to navigate beginner’s mistakes and misunderstandings, so you can explain everything more clearly and concisely in the future. These “teachers” however, care more about showing off their manicures than they do about actually helping someone learn a craft. They don’t reply to comments.

Unfortunately I’m a softie, and I have a hard time dismissing someone who invested time and money into a project — I know how emotionally involved people get with their crafting, and how frustrating it is when something goes wrong and you can’t figure it out. So, I help. I stare hard at what they’ve done thus far, figure out the basic stitch pattern, and ask some questions about what it’s supposed to be at the end. Then I make up something that will get them from here to there, and carefully explain the changes and why they fix the problem. I like to think that I’m helping them learn how to overcome problems in the future.

I mentioned that I’ve been crocheting socks (three pairs so far). I actually really like designing crocheted socks, especially with how pretty some of the stitches are, but there’s one thing stopping me from typing up a pattern: I’m still troubleshooting my own work on the fly.

Until I can properly explain every single last nitpicky detail, I’m going to refrain from writing any books on the topic.

What can I say, I have a conscience.

Now that my rant is out of the way, the one thing that limits the time I spend crocheting is fatigue in my hands. I’m curious if reorienting my movements so they are more evenly distributed will help. My feet get cold easily, and all the socks I made in the past are getting old and holey. It’s time to recharge my sock drawer.

Not to mention, I need something to do while that six-month-old is nursing.

About Me

Halloween

The baby and the toddler have joined forces to ensure that neither my husband nor I are getting anywhere near enough sleep. >.<

However, in a fit of madness, I made Halloween cookies for the kids to decorate with royal icing (to which I add a splash of almond extract for extra deliciousness), and we all had a lot of fun — it went better than I expected. Normally any activities involving sugar quickly devolve into chaos, but this time around the kids took it more seriously than usual.

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so while most people spend one night partying, I’ve managed to turn it into a three-day-long extravaganza. We do homemade donuts, carve jack-o-lanterns, costumes and trick-or-treating, and end on serious notes of Samhain. Then I collapse with exhaustion and call it good until Thanksgiving, lmao.

Thank the heavens for coffee.

Have a happy Halloween. I’m going to be too busy/sleep deprived to check in for the next few days.

About Me

Continued

It’s been two weeks since we brought our cat home from the vet after her back leg was amputated.

The stitches are out and the cone is off, but she has to stay in the kennel for another two weeks because of her broken front leg. I’ve also used up all of the medications that she was prescribed, with the one exception being the pain killer. I’ve gotten pretty good at shoving pills down the cat’s throat without her spitting them out, but it’s a relief to not have to do that anymore.

I moved the cat out of the laundry room and into the living room, because she seemed like she was getting lonely. The two-year-old is being more respectful of the kennel than I had expected, which was a pleasant surprise, and I’ve been recruiting the older children to sit with the cat.

One of the vets at the emergency clinic had recommended that we use newspaper pellets litter, but when I looked it up, I said “no way” to the price — I’m too stingy. So, the kids and I put a bunch of newspaper through a shredder, and lo and behold, I like it better than cat litter. It doesn’t scatter everywhere, and clean up is as easy as sending a kid outside to dump the whole thing in the compost pile once a day. Who knew? I’m totally converting, lol.

I’m not feeling terribly secure about the upcoming dark months. Not in regards to the cat, but rather more of a “by the pricking of my thumb,” sort of way. What happened to her feels like a portend.

I am very grateful that the cat is healing so well.

art

Rigid Heddle Weaving #3

I taught my 8-year-old how to spin yarn with a drop spindle. She fell in love with the process and quickly used up the 8oz of corriedale that I gave her, so we dyed it together, and I got her set up on my rigid heddle loom to weave with the yarn she made.

However, after all the stress of what happened to our cat, I commandeered her project — I needed something more potent than crochet for stress relief, and weaving really hits the spot for me.

The thick-thin texture of the yarn my daughter spun was wonderful to work with, and enormously fun to watch it come together. I definitely need her to spin more yarn for me.

About Writing

Zombies

I don’t lurk around the internet as much as I used to.

Truth is, I don’t think that the internet inherently brings out the worst in people. I think that it’s being used to manipulate people into awful behavior.

But anyway, I used to really love blogs and read a fair number of them. As a writer, I’m a bit of a voyeur when it comes to other people’s minds, and blogs were the perfect way to peer into a wide range of thoughts and lifestyles. My reading list ranged from the-Mormon-next-door to BDSM sex blogs … Maybe I shouldn’t admit to that, lol.

Several years ago, a woman I followed had a miscarriage. In the ensuing emotional fallout, she broke up with her boyfriend because he reminded her of their lost baby, wrote about how she was drifting aimlessly, and frequently referenced how unexpected and painful it had been.

Last year, someone else I followed also had a miscarriage. However, this time it was referenced as a short note explaining why they were taking time off, and they were back to their usual posts literally three days later. The miscarriage was never mentioned again.

Philosophically, I’m a vitalist. Our existence as living beings matters.

The woman, who’s entire world was shattered over the loss of her baby, was fundamentally alive. She experienced and expressed her pain in a way that made sense and was relatable as a human being. While I didn’t agree with all of her choices (her boyfriend sounded like one of those wonderful supportive sorts, and breaking up with him when he was similarly hurting seemed pointlessly destructive), I could at least understand why she made those choices.

But, the person last year who had a miscarriage came across more like a bot. Okay, so they didn’t want to air their private life on the internet, but … only three days offline? Since when is that an appropriate mourning period for a tragic loss?

Heck, when I had my own miscarriage, I dedicated an entire month to mourning, wallowing, and tantruming, and even that felt like I was putting my emotional recovery on the fast track. Heaven knows how long it would have taken if I hadn’t so singularly focused on it.

Three days is just sociopathic.

I don’t like the comparisons between then and now. I don’t like knowing that the virus for zombification is electronically transmitted through the internet.

I don’t like peeking into other people’s minds anymore.

About Me

Spirit Animal

I didn’t grow up in a supportive environment, and one of the things that I caught a lot of flak over was cats. Back then, pets were still only pets, and no one understood why I was so driven to befriend and care for cats. I’ve been called a “crazy cat lady” since childhood.

The other day, our now-three-legged cat accidentally made a mess on herself, since balancing is hard with her broken front leg (at the moment, she only has two usable limbs), so I took off her cone to let her go to work grooming while I gently dabbed at the smearing around her stitches with a warm washcloth. And, unbidden, one of those negative voices sprang into my head with, “Why would you spend that much money on a cat just to clean shit off of it?”

I’m not a “pet parent,” and this animal isn’t my “fur baby.” Heaven knows I’ve given birth to enough babies to quench any desires in that area, so that’s not my motivation at all.

Cats are my spirit animal — my familiars — and I’m bound by a geas.

It’s the sort of thing where I go outside and cats appear. My husband and I have had strange cats follow us around the neighborhood on our evening walks — alongside our own cats. They’re always nearby.

I can’t turn my back on a cat that dragged herself through all that pain to ask for our help, even when that means carefully cleaning up poop with a washcloth as she recovers. Besides, I’m not so self-absorbed that I resent every second spent caring for another creature; I quite enjoy being the nurturer.

I’m grateful to be married to someone who understands.