Thursday, January 31, 2008

Blog Game

I saw this on a few other blogs, and I thought it sounded interesting, so here goes:

The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright."

Father went to college.
No. He dropped out of high school in the 10th grade.

Father finished college.
No. He never attended college.

Mother went to college.
No. She only has a high school diploma.

Mother finished college.
No. She never attended college.

Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
Definitely not. My family was poor when I was growing up, and the teachers were all middle-class.

Have any relative who is an attorney, physician or professor.
One of my older sisters is a child psychologist and is the director of a youth group home/mental health agency.

Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
I always loved to read (still do), but didn’t own many books as a kid. I mostly had books from the library.

Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.

Were read children's books by a parent all the time.
My mother read to me and my brothers and sisters occasionally.

Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18.
Only free swimming lessons at the local public pool (but I still can’t swim!)

Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18.

The people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively.
No, because I was quiet, shy, and a bookworm. I was also poor, and on TV, no one is poor. Even working class families on TV live in beautiful houses, have nice cars, and their kids attend good schools (can we say unreality???)

Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18.

Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs.
No. I paid for all my college tuition and books myself with work and financial aid.

Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs.

Went to a private high school.
I went to a Catholic school, but didn’t graduate. I dropped out in the 11th grade and later got my GED.

Went to summer camp.
Went to a free camp at the Salvation Army one year.

Had a private tutor before you turned 18.

Family vacations involved staying at hotels.
Only once or twice but they were cheap motels. Occasionally we would go camping.

Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18.
I can only count a few times when I got new clothes. Almost all of my clothes were either from secondhand stores, hand me downs from an older sister, or were clothes my family got from our church. I didn’t really have new clothes until I turned 16, got a job, and started buying my own clothes.

Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down.
No. My dad never even had a new car. He only had used ones, and occasionally he didn't have a car at all, and he would have to take two busses to get to work. I grew up in the city, so my brothers and sisters and I were able to walk or catch a bus most anywhere we wanted to go.

There was original art in your house when you were a child.

Had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
When I was 17.

Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home.
Yes, they owned a house, but just a small, ordinary ranch (one-story, no basement or attic) house.

You had your own room as a child.
Not until I was a teenager and some of my siblings had moved out. As a kid I shared a room with two of my sisters.

Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course.

Had your own TV in your room in High School.

Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College.

Had a 401K, because I didn't start college until I was 19, and was already working full-time.

Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16.

Went on a cruise with your family.

Went on more than one cruise with your family.

Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up.
No art galleries, but occasionally we would go to the natural history museum here in Cleveland.

You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

Definitely not! I was very aware of how much utility bills, a mortgage, and food all cost.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My First Swap Package!

I joined a swap on Crochetoholic's Swap Blog last month, and received my first swap package the other day from Laurie at Really, Just Let Me Finish This Row. What an awesome package it was!

I got a bag of wonderfully scented lavender potpourri - (I could smell it before I even got the box open!), a kit to grow some lavender plants (how did Laurie know I've been wanting to grow some lavender for the longest time?!), perfect for growing in a pot on my sun porch, three Burt's Bees lip balms (and I happen to love Burt's Bees products!) in an adorable little case, a Knitting Pattern-A-Day boxed calendar. a really cute winter penguin hand towel (very appropriate, because my daughter and I are reading a book called "Mr Popper's Penguins" for a 4th grade class assignment!), a can of yummy milk/dark chocolate hot cocoa mix (which I had to hide to keep my daughter from getting into it!), two skeins of soft, white Patons Lacette yarn, a pattern for a beautiful scarf, three skeins of Lily Sugar N' Cream yarn in a pretty (pink!) Strawberry color, and a pack of lovely white Swarovski beads. Finally, I got a nice note from Laurie written on a knitting themed note card (too cute!).

My son actually had no interest in anything in the box except for the bubble wrap - he started nagging me for the bubble wrap as soon as I opened the box. He likes popping the bubbles, LOL!

All in all, this was a wonderful first swap for me! Thank you so much Laurie!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

R.I.P. Dad - July 7th, 1939-January 26th, 2005

This month marks 3 years since my dad passed away. He died while he was hospitalized after having a series of increasingly worse strokes over the course of a few months. The last stroke left him paralyzed on his right side, unable to walk, unable to eat without choking on his food, and unable to talk without great difficulty. I still get tears in my eyes seeing how he much he suffered before he died. I'm glad though that God took him painlessly, as he died quietly in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. When my family and I met at the hospital the morning he died, I saw my dad's body, and he had a peaceful expression on his face. I think he was ready to go home to be with God.

My dad died on January 26th, 2005, but his funeral unfortunately fell on my daughter's 7th birthday (my son was 2), January 29th. It was the most horrible experience, to have to bury my dad on my daughter's birthday. Her birthdays ever since have been bittersweet for me. The pain of losing my dad is no longer raw like it was right after he died, but I still miss him every day.

For a long time after my dad died, I felt cheated that I didn't have longer with him (I was 31 when he died). I would see people in their 40's, 50's, even 60's with parents, and sometimes even grandparents still alive, and I would wonder why I never got to know any of my grandparents (my grandfathers both died before my brothers and sisters and I were born, and my grandmothers both died when I was too young to remember them), and why my dad had to die when I was barely past 30.

Now though, I think about how my husband lost his mother to breast cancer when he was only 19, and his youngest sister and brother were only 7 and 9 years old. I think about that same brother of his, who was murdered at the age of 24, when I was pregnant with my daughter. He was only a year older than me. He was shot in the head one night while he was walking home from a bus stop, and died on the sidewalk right in front of his house. He left behind two little kids. The police never found his killer. And I think about my husband's niece, who was killed in a car accident just this past September, at the age of 23, while she was driving home from work one evening. She was right around the corner from her house. She left behind a husband, a 6 month old son, and a 4 year son, who was just a couple of months older than my Dominic. I also think about people who grew up without their dads around, or who never met their dads at all. And now I feel thankful for the 31 years I did have with my dad.

I'd like to tell you about what kind of a person my dad was, but I think this eulogy my older sister Desiree wrote for his funeral says it better then I ever could:

Our dad was a man who dedicated his life to taking care of others – his wife, six children, a foster child, countless animals, and even strangers in the street. He would give the shirt off his back to a complete stranger if he thought it would help. When he saw someone stranded on the road, he pulled over to offer assistance. When he learned of people who were going to spend a holiday alone, he invited them over for Christmas dinner. When we drove past a local homeless person, he went through the Burger King drive-thru, purchased a meal for them, and turned around to hand-deliver it. Dad couldn't stand to anyone or anything suffering. He rescued and nurtured everything he could, whether it was a baby bird with a broken wing or a litter of kittens left in a cardboard box. He was a Good Samaritan with a huge heart. He taught us that no matter how down and out you are yourself, you can always reach out to help someone more in need. It’s no coincidence that so many of us went into the helping professions.

Dad taught us to love and respect nature. As children we could identify just about any species of tree, bird, butterfly, or wildflower. A walk through the park with Dad wasn’t merely a walk. It was an educational and spiritual journey that arose all of one’s senses. Dad also passed on his love of art and his drawing talent to several of his children and grandchildren. He was a great artist and a great cook. Sunday rigatoni dinners were always our favorite, hours of being allured by the sweet and spicy aroma that filled the house. Every Sunday he put up with us asking 52 times, “Is it done yet?!” “You can’t rush homemade sauce”, he’d tell us. We spent years trying to get that recipe out of him, but Dad would explain, “There’s no recipe, you just make it”. It was in his Italian genes.

He gave us all these gifts of life and expected so little in return. Year after year, we’d ask him what he wanted for his birthday and we always got the same answer: “Nothing, don’t spend your money on me”. After 40 years of receiving flannel shirts and socks, you’d think he’d request something else. But material things weren’t important to him. All he wanted was to see his children happy. He tried so hard to give us the best he could yet he still seemed to feel inadequate. He didn’t realize what a hero he truly was – 36 years of hard work and dedication to his factory job, waking up at 4 AM to pack six lunches before work, staying up all night with sick kids, taxiing us around town, pacing the kitchen floor until we all safely returned home at night.

To us, he was more than a man than most fathers and grandfathers dream of being. He always had time for us and never stopped giving. He was and always will be an inspiration, a role model, and a consistent reminder of the unselfish love that the human spirit is capable of.

I have so much admiration for my dad, not only for what my sister mentioned above, but also for his quitting smoking (cold turkey too) in his 50's, after smoking heavily for nearly 40 years. I only wish that he had quit sooner so that he might have avoided some of the health problems that ultimately led to his death. I have so much admiration for him too, for, although he had a difficult time at first accepting my husband when we first started dating (because my husband is black), that he not only grew to accept him, but treated him like his own son. I felt so proud when, after my Bethany was born, my mom told me my dad put a photo of Bethany in his wallet, and took it to work with him to show his coworkers, and brag about his new granddaughter. I know how hard it must have been for him, then in his 50's when my husband and I started dating, so overcome his fears and prejudices.I know that he did it because he loved me, and I'm eternally grateful for that. At my dad's funeral, my husband served as one of the pallbearers right alongside my brothers and brothers-in-law.

As much as I miss my dad, I take comfort in knowing that he's no longer suffering or in pain. I truly believe that although his physical body is gone that his soul lives on with God, and I know that one day we'll be reunited.

I love you, Dad.

Happy 10th Birthday Bethany!

Today is my daughter Bethany's 10th birthday! It's hard to believe she's already 10, and will be going into the 5th grade this fall! That makes me feel old! I still remember how excited I was when I was pregnant and found out I was having a girl. I had multiple ultrasounds during my pregnancy for various reasons, and every one showed a girl, but I was still so afraid the ultrasounds were wrong, that I hardly bought anything pink for her before she was born. I actually brought her home from the hospital in a blue sleeper! I made up for it with lots of pink, ruffled socks and dresses later on, until when my daughter was in kindergarten, and announced that ruffled socks were for babies, and refused to wear them again, LOL! And she still won't wear anything too frilly to this day!

My Bethany has always been a stubborn, opinionated one. I had a horrific
pregnancy with her - every pregnancy ailment imaginable right up until I gave birth. I was so nauseated throughout the pregnancy that I only gained 15 pounds. My water broke at work two weeks before my due date (yep, at work!), but I had to be induced, because I wasn't having contractions, and still didn't have her until 12 hours later, and she insisted on being born face first instead of head first!

When Bethany was 3 weeks old, she came down with what my husband, her pediatrician, and I all thought was a bad cold. She continued to get worse until one day she refused to take a bottle all day, and wouldn't even cry. Being a young and new mom (I was 24 when I had her), I didn't realize how ill she was until my youngest sister came home from work (my sister and husband and I shared an apartment back then), picked her up, and my daughter went limp in her arms and turned blue. I paged my husband (he was working as a maintenance man in our apartment complex), and called 911. While I was on the phone with a dispatcher, my husband came home, and we rushed out to take Bethany to the local emergency room, which fortunately was only about a 5 minute drive away. When we got to to the emergency room, they took Bethany back right away, put an oxygen mask on her, and called for an ambulance to take her to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital here in Cleveland.

My husband and I followed in our car, and when we got to the hospital, had to spend the next hour sitting in the waiting room while the doctors stabilized our daughter. When we finally got to see her, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. She was lying in this huge hospital crib, on a ventilator, unable to breathe on her own, with a tube down her throats, and dozens of other tubes and wires all over her body. She was kept tranquilized so she wouldn't knock the tubes out, and I couldn't even hold her. I was on maternity leave from my job, so I spent every day and night in her hospital room, only going home to shower and change clothes. My husband still had to work, but he spent every evening and night at the hospital with me.

Bethany was diagnosed with dehydration and a severe case of RSV (respiratory synctial virus), and spent the next week in the PICU growing sicker and sicker while my husband and I watched helplessly. She eventually became so ill that the virus spread throughout her whole body, and her body started shutting down. The hospital listed her in critical condition, and my mother arranged for a Catholic priest to come baptize her in the hospital in case she died. I started thinking about funeral arrangements and possibly donating her organs. The doctors said the only thing left they could do would be to give her a blood transfusion, in the hopes that an infusion of white blood cells would boost her immune system. My husband and I agreed to the transfusion, and miraculously, after the transfusion, she gradually began to get well.

I thank God for the anonymous person whose donation of blood saved my daughter's life. I am also thankful for all the kind nurses and doctors who helped us through that horrible time. One of the nurses made me laugh when she said Bethany woke up from the sedation, and the nurse tried to sedate her again, and despite giving her the maximum amount of sedative, Bethany just laid awake, staring at her, and refused to go to sleep!

After two weeks at the hospital, we were able to take Bethany home. Her pediatrician told me at a follow-up appointment that he felt bad that he didn't realize how sick Bethany was when we brought her to see him before she ended up hospitalized, and that quite frankly he was surprised that she lived, considering how young she was, and the severity of her infection. I've felt guilty for years that I didn't realize either how sick Bethany was, and I often think about if my husband and I hadn't taken her to the hospital that evening, that she probably would died before morning from either the dehydration or not being able to breathe. Bethany spent the next few years of her life it seemed, constantly sick, with one thing after another. Unfortunately my boss at the job I started a few months after she was born, had no sympathy when I needed to miss work when Bethany would get sick. He had two teenage daughters, so it had been years since he had a baby at home, and his wife was a stay at home mom when the girls were growing up, so he didn't understand the concept of a parent needing to miss work to stay home with a sick child.
When Bethany was 5, she developed a really bad cough, that would worsen at night, to the point where she would wake up in the middle of the night coughing so bad that she would vomit. I made an appointment with her pediatrician, but it was a week away. One morning I got to work, and had a voice mail message from her daycare (the child development center where my son now attends), saying my daughter was really sick, and my husband or I would have to come pick her up. Before I could call the daycare, I got another call saying Bethany had gone into respiratory stress, and nearly passed out, so the teacher who was with her had called for an ambulance. The teacher and the director of the center rode to the hospital in the ambulance with Bethany, and stayed with her even after my husband and I got to the hospital. I was so thankful that the teachers at the center are CPR certified, and were able to recognize how sick Bethany was.

My husband and I found out at the hospital that Bethany had asthma. Before that, it never occurred to me that coughing could be an asthma symptom. Bethany spent the next month in and out of the hospital emergency room and doctor's office. With all the grief I was getting at work (from a woman who had became head of my area when the mortgage company I worked for was sold to a large bank), for taking time off with Bethany, and Dominic, who was only three months old, and extremely colicky, I ended up quitting my job and staying home with the kids for the next few months and finishing up my bachelor's degree.

Bethany's being diagnosed with asthma added another layer of guilt to what I already felt from her earlier hospitalization, because I believed that the RSV infection damaged her lungs and made her more susceptible to asthma. Over the past few years, I've met so many parents with children who had RSV infections as babies, and who later developed asthma, and I saw a medical journal last year also suggesting the same. Bethany has also has allergies and eczema, and her pediatrician said that allergies, eczema and asthma are all related, and many children with one will develop the others.

In the past year, my son also developed asthma, although a much milder form than my daughter, and my husband and I found out, after getting him tested by an allergist, that he has multiple allergies as well - cats (very mild), dogs (more severe), dust mites, and pollen. After one of my nieces developed similar allergies, although very severe (she'll ended up hospitalized if she's anywhere near a cat) and asthma, I began to feel a bit better about Bethany's asthma, realizing that with all the family history of asthma and allergies in the family, that even had Bethany been treated sooner for the RSV, that she still most likely would have ended up with asthma eventually, although maybe not as severe - she takes three medicines regularly for the asthma.

Sometimes (well, quite often!) Bethany frustrates me with her stubbornness, but I believe God made her that way for a reason - I truly believe her strong will even as a baby, helped her survive the RSV infection, and I thank God that's she's here with me today. I enjoy doing girly things with her, like taking her downtown for a hair cut at the salon, shopping and lunch, reading chapter books with her every night, laughing at the goofy names of kids in her school math book story problems (Jimbo, anyone?!), and laughing ourselves to tears while we make up new Red Haired Lady stories. I'm proud of how she tries hard at math, even though she was diagnosed with a math learning disability, and even the most basic math is extraordinarily hard for her. I feel proud of how the battery of tests she received to diagnose the learning disability showed that she's several grade years ahead with her vocabulary level, as is her reading ability. I enjoy her love of pink, jazz music, animals, science, and old TV shows and cartoons, like Betty Boop and Felix the Cat. She's a smart, funny, sweet, beautiful girl, and I'm proud to be her mom.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Woohoo, I Got An Award!

I visited Lesa's (Lesalicious Style & Life) blog today and saw that she gave me an award! Thank you so much Lesa! I just love reading her blog too - she whips up the most beautiful crocheted items without even using a pattern! I hope to get as good as her someday!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wedding Gifts

Well, I ended up dropping that human resources grad school class, and am taking a capital budgeting class this semester instead. The capital budgeting is still challenging, but not nearly as bad as the HR class would have been. I had started taking the capital budgeting class in the spring of ’07, but ended up dropping it when I broke my wrist. Having to wear a cast, and then a brace, I was reduced to typing one-handed, pecking at the keys, and there was no way I could have taken any tests or typed up papers like that. Anyway, I’m hoping nothing will go wrong this time, and I’ll be able to complete the class and pass it.

I also started working on some wedding gifts for my younger sister Shauna this past week. Her wedding colors are ivory, lavender and periwinkle. The first is a ring bearer pillow (my son is going to be the ring bearer!). I searched online for patterns for crocheted ring bearer pillows, but couldn’t find any, so I just made my own design. I’m crocheting the cover in a v-stitch pattern, using Bernat Satin in Silk and Star Dust.

I got my husband to take me to Joann Fabrics so I could buy some lavender fabric to make the pillow part. It’s no fun shopping with a man at a craft store! I need to learn how to drive so I can go by myself. My husband looked positively miserable! I would say he looked like I would if I had to go to Home Depot with him, but actually I don’t mind Home Depot, because they sell plants and home décor items. It’s more like how I’d look if he dragged me to a musical instruments store like Sam Ash. My husband loves music, and plays a few instruments, so when we went to Sam Ash a few months ago to buy our daughter a flute for the school band, he kept stopping to look at everything, and ask the salesmen questions. I was so ready to leave! The only good thing was I found a cute pink cell phone case there to match my pink cell phone!

Anyway, I found this lavender fabric at Joann’s with the fabric remnants for sale, for only $1.49. I got the ribbon and pearls at Joann’s too. I bought the rosettes from a lady on EBay. I glued the ribbons and roses on with fabric glue, and had such a hard time trying to get them into a nice heart shape. I keep looking at it thinking the heart looks a bit “off” on one side. I realize the fabric, ribbon and yarn aren’t identical lavender shades, but they look close enough, I think. I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up about it, because my sister isn’t a picky or critical person. I’m sure she’ll be happy with the pillow as it is. I’m going to sew a pillow from the fabric, stuff it, and then put it in between the two crocheted pieces (I still need to make the back), single crochet them together with the ivory yarn, and then crochet a ruffle edging with the lavender yarn. The ribbon is to hold the rings. I need to figure out how to use the zoon feature on my camera, so I can get more detailed photos, because it's hard to see the heart in the picture.

The other gift I’m working on for Shauna is a wedding shawl. She’s getting married in May in an outdoor wedding, and May weather here in the Cleveland area can be unpredictable, so I
thought it would be nice for her to have a shawl to cover up with in case the day is a little chilly. I got the pattern for the shawl from the book Cozy Crochet. The pattern was actually for a head kerchief, but I’m just adding more rows to enlarge it. It’s supposed to be a granny square type design, but it’s difficult to tell from my picture. I’m using discontinued Patons’ Katrina yarn in a blue Dawn color, to match the blue trim on Shauna's wedding dress. The yarn is super stretchy - it almost feels like crocheting with elastic - so I think that’s distorting the design a bit too. The yarn is really pretty – very soft and sparkly, but the stretchiness is making it difficult to work with. I have 5 skeins of the yarn, and I’m hoping that will be enough. I bought the yarn from a Canadian seller on EBay – the only place I could find it in the color I wanted - and it took two weeks for it to come, since it had to go through customs, so hopefully I won’t end up running out of yarn and needing to order more. After I finish the body of the shawl, I’m going to crochet a pretty scalloped border around it, and weave ivory satin ribbon through the scallops. I’m hoping I can get the shawl done in time to give it to her at her bridal shower in March.

The last project I have to show is some dishcloths I also crocheted for Shauna. These aren’t a wedding gift – just something to cheer her up because she’s been going through a tough time with some things in her life right now.
She and her fiancée came over my house yesterday for a little birthday party for my kids, and Shauna saw my granny square dishcloths hanging up in the kitchen, and really liked them, so I though I’d make her some. I crocheted them with Lily Sugar N’ Cream in Soft Violet and Summer Twists. The first one is a granny square with a picot border, the second is a griddle stitch design with a scalloped border, and the last one is just rows of single, half-double and double crochets, with a ruffle border. I’m going to drop them in the mail to her tomorrow along with a nice card.

I figure her fiancee probably won't like the girly designs and colors, but she puts up with his collection of horror movie character figurines, so he can deal with some ruffles and lavender, LOL!

Thank you everyone for all the nice comments on baby Genna! She was able to come home from the hospital last week. My brother says she's doing better, but is colicky. I had two extremely colicky kids (both were lactose intolerant as babies), and it's definitely no fun, so I'm hoping Genna isn't actually colicky. Her mom is breastfeeding her, so it could just be that she seems colicky to my brother because it's been 13 years since he had to deal with a baby (his youngest son is 13). Thank you too for the nice comments on my son's birthday! My daughter's birthday is this Tuesday, so I'll have to post some pictures of her then.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Dominic!

Today is my son Dominic's 5th birthday! I feel so blessed to have such a smart, funny, cute little boy! When I found out I was pregnant with him, I really wanted another girl, partly so my daughter could have a sister, and partly because I just enjoy "girl stuff" and figured I wouldn't be too great at raising a son. I'll admit that I was a bit disappointed upon finding out I was having a boy, but it's been 5 years since he was born, and I couldn't be happier.

How can I not be happy when my son tells me he loves me every night when I put him to bed, and when he runs up to me every evening when he hears me come in the door after work, and gives me a big hug around the waist, and says, "I really missed you today, Mommy!" And how can I not be happy when he's always coming up with something funny - like the time when he and my daughter and I were watching a Snoopy special on TV that showed Woodstock dancing on top of Snoopy's doghouse, and he said "Hey, what's that yellow kid doing?" Or when my husband and I were trying to get Dominic to eat more fruits and vegetables, and I was reading his monthly lunch and snack menu from daycare, and asked him if he ate his peas and carrots at lunch time, and he said "I don't want to tell you!" I then asked him if he ate his raisins at snack time, and he said, "I don't want to talk about that, either!"

My funny little "Cubby"! I look forward to lots of more happy years raising him!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Baby Photos!

I forgot to mention a few other crochet things I found last week...a lady on the Yahoo Crochet Partners group mentioned a magazine called Crafts N' Things, that has a whole section of crochet patterns this month. I found the magazine at a drugstore by my job, and it had a bunch of really cute patterns, so I bought a copy. While I was looking at the magazines, I also found a knitting magazine, Knit Simple, that has an article about Vanna White and her new line of Lion Brand yarn, with cute crochet patterns for a blanket and a jacket. Yep, sometimes knitting magazines have a few crochet patterns thrown in! Definitely check out those magazines!

Right after I finished my blog post last night, my brother sent me some pictures of my new little Arabic, Italian, Irish, Slovak niece! I'm still trying to figure out the correct spelling of her name - my sister said my brother told her it's "Genna" with a G, but my brother spelled it "Jenna" with a J in his email, so I'm not sure how they're spelling it. Same name though! Here's the pictures:

Isn't she just TOO cute?! Naturally I'm probably biased because I'm the aunt, but I still think she's pretty darn cute! And so roly-poly! I can't wait to see her in person! My son was a roly-poly baby too, but now he's just a tiny little thing, really small for his age. I don't think I've ever posted any pictures of him on my blog, so here's one (an older picture, but he still looks the same, just a little older). That's my handsome little boy wearing a hat I loom-knitted for him, before I learned how to crochet. Speaking of loom knitting, I think I've probably only used my looms once since I learned how to crochet - I just find crocheting faster and easier, but after seeing these awesome (pink!) slipper socks on Isela Phelps' website, (couldn't get the one-word link to work right) I'm tempted to break out my looms again. We'll see!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Little Bit of Crocheting...

Thank you everyone for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers about my niece. Hopefully she'll get to come home this week, but it waits to be seen.

I don't have any finished crochet projects to show yet. I'm still working on my mom's poncho, hoping to have it done in time for her February birthday. I haven't gotten much done on it lately though, because my right hand and wrist have been totally stiff and sore the past few days. I've had occasional bouts of wrist pain since I broke my wrist last year, and really cold or rainy weather seems to bring it on, strange as that may seem. I'm also trying to finish up my daughter Bethany's cupcake pillow before her birthday on January 29th. She'll be 10. My son Dominic will be turning 5 on January 20th. That sure makes me feel old, to think that I have a daughter who will be a teenager in no time, and a son who will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I'm already getting emotional thinking about him starting kindergarten! Technicially it won't be much different, as he's been in daycare pretty much full-time since he was a baby (except for a few short periods of time), but it's just the idea that he's growing up. Dominic loves his daycare - it's a child development center run by our local school district (although they charge tuition), and it's a wonderful place, but he says he wants to "go to the big kid school with my sister". LOL! He'll still get go back to his daycare for summer camp with his "Sissy" every summer though.

I do have some cool crochet books I got this weekend to show though! My friend Janette invited my husband and kids and I to her son's birthday party at Chuck E' Cheese last Saturday. I "met" Janette online through a group for Cleveland-area interracial families, and the group dissolved, but Janette and I kept in touch through email. I finally got to meet her and her husband and kids in person on Saturday. She turned out to be just as nice as she is online, and her kids are adorable, especially her 6 month old daughter - sometimes I miss my daughter being that little, back before she started thinking she knows everything!

Anyway, the shopping plaza where Chuck E' Cheese is located has a Half-Price Books store, so I talked my husband into stopping in there with me. They actually had a pretty decent selection of crochet books. I bought a book called "Cozy Crochet" and one called "The Cool Girls' Guide to Crochet". I really love the Cozy Crochet book. It has a lot of cute patterns for advanced beginner crocheters, which is what I consider myself to be. The Cool Girls' Guide is a bit
overdone - the author tries too hard to sound hip, but I bought it anyway because it has some cute patterns too. I also got a few crochet pattern books from eBay - a Red Heart Strata pattern book, and "Total Crochet Fashions". Now I just need to get some more yarn for all the projects I want to make from the books (just an excuse to buy more yarn), LOL! You get a bonus picture of my black & white cat Stormy, who was lying on the floor when I was taking the picture of the books. I also got a new Lion Brand catalog in the mail, with some super-cute new patterns for baby blankets and clothes - I love their catalogs!

I'm hoping to have some finished crochet projects to show soon, but it might be a while. I just started a new semester of grad school this week (I'm enrolled in an online MPA program with the University of Texas at Arlington), and I'm only taking one class, but it looks like it's going be a killer. The class is "Personnel and Human Resources in the Public Sector". My mouth dropped open when I saw the list of assignments:

·Discussion questions (DQ’s). Students will provide the answers to the DQs based on the readings for each topic. DQ’s and are due each Tuesday and are to be posted in the appropriate topic discussion area so all course participants can read your responses. Use outside scholarly resources and provide the citation and reference using APA 5th edition format. DQs and all written assignments are found at the end of the lectures.
· Several mini-papers/reports or case studies and two group project papers are scheduled and required. These written assignments are generally due each Thursday.
· Reviews. Three written reviews are included that support your final paper requirement (listed below).
· Participation. You are required to respond to their fellow student answers just as you would in an on campus classroom, posting a minimum of 3 separate days in a 7-day period.
· Final Human Resource Organizational Analysis written paper. Each student will also be required to prepare an analysis of a personnel management or human resource department in a public organization.

On top of grad school, and my regular job (which is super busy from mid-January through mid-April), I also serve as a Community Investment Committee volunteer with the United Way of Greater Cleveland. Last year I served on the Early Childhood cluster of the Learning & Earning for Life Initiative, but they've since revamped the committees, so this year I'll be on the Basic Needs & Self-Sufficiency committee. My position is starting back up next week. I'm also in the midst of planning a bridal shower for my youngest sister, who's getting married in May, and dealing with all the preparations for being a maid of honor, my daughter being a junior bridesmaid, and my son being the ringbearer.

Aaack!!! Did I mention that I think I might barely have time to breathe over the next few months, let alone get any crocheting done??? If I go AWOL with my blogging for awhile, at least you'll know where I am!

My daughter is going to Girl Scout camp this weekend (yes, winter camping here in snowy, frigid Cleveland!) - she leaves on Friday evening, and gets back Sunday morning, so hopefully that will give me some extra time for homework and to get some crochet projects finished. She's just thrilled about going to camp, because she'll get to spend time with her best friend Madison. They've known each other since they were babies, but they go to different schools, so they only see each other regularly at Girl Scouts activities/camp, summer camp, birthday parties, and the occasional play date, so Bethany really misses her. Here's a picture of my daughter and Madison
(my daugher is the one on the right) from this past October when they went to "horse camp" in rural Ashtabula County, Ohio (about an hour and a half drive from Cleveland). I have an adorable picture of my daughter with a horse at camp, and if I can get my scanner to work, I'll scan it and post it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Update on Baby Genna

Just an update on my niece, who's still in the hospital. Although she was a full-term baby, the doctors think her lungs weren't full developed when she was born. She also has jaundice, and now today my brother (Joe) and sister-in-law (Gehan) found out that she's having a buildup of bile, and is probably going to need a blood transfusion. Gehan is planning to breast feed, but isn't allowed to feed the baby right now (she's on an IV), so she's really engorged and sore. I didn't breast feed either of my kids (although in retrospect I probably should have), but I know how it feels when the milk comes in, and I don't envy her! She's been able to pump and freeze the milk though, which is good.

My mother got to see the baby in the hospital, and said she looks like just like Gehan - no resemblance to my brother, LOL! Her older sister - my brother's stepdaughter, looks just like a little "Mini-Me" of Gehan. She's a really cute kid, and Gehan is pretty, so I'm sure the baby is very cute too! I talked to Gehan on Saturday and she's just really stressed out and ready to bring the baby home. Hopefully she will get to come home soon.

I really appreciate everyone's kind thoughts, comments, and prayers - it means a lot to me. Thank you!

I have some crocheting stuff to write about too, but it'll have to wait until tonight, after my kids go to bed, and I have more time to write.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Baby Genna

Please pray for my brother and sister-in-law, and their baby, Genna (I mispelled it my last post). She was doing fine yesterday, then today while a nurse was giving her a bath, she turned blue and stopped breathing. She's in the intensive care now, and doctors are running tests, but haven't found anything wrong. Thank God she was with a nurse when she stopped breathing. I'm praying that she doesn't have any kind of birth defect. I called my brother to see what's going on, but I got his cell phone voice mail, and haven't heard back from him yet. I'm guessing he doesn't feel much like talking right now. I understand, because my daughter spent nearly two weeks in a pediatric ICU as a 3 week old baby, with a severe RSV infection that came very close to killing her. I was in no mood to talk to anyone either. Please just keep them in your prayers, and I'll post more when I find out what's going on.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm a New Auntie!

My sister-in-law, Gehan had her baby a little while ago! She had a little girl, named Jenna Sadine (at least that's what I think I heard my brother say on my voice mail, LOL!). They changed the name so many times I didn't know what they had decided on. She's 21 inches long, and almost 9 pounds - a big baby! My brother and his wife are both tall though - my brother is 6 foot tall (the opposite of my measly 5 feet!) so I figured the baby would be big. My brother is thrilled because this is first daughter. He has two stepsons (who he's raised since they were babies), and a biological son from his first marriage, and his wife has a son and a daughter from her first marriage. So, they have 6 kids between the two of them - almost like a real Brady Brunch, LOL!

Lucky Gehan had a quick labor - went in today at 3PM to be induced, and had the baby about 7:40PM. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my water broke at work two weeks before my due date (yes, at work!) around 3:30PM. I went to the hospital and was induced (because I wasn't having contractions), and didn't have her until almost noon the next day, after she was born face first - yep, face first, instead of head first. There were a hoard of doctors, nurses, and residents in my hospital room who stopped in to watch her being born, because they had never seen a baby born that way. It was no excitement for me though - I was so irritated from everyone staring at me and poking at me, plus the way she came out just made the labor so much more excruciating. I had a much easier labor with my son - I went a week over my due date, so I asked my doctor to induce me. I went in about 6 in the morning, and had him about 3PM the same day - much easier. The only unusual thing that happened was (and this still bothers me now) was when the anesthesiologist, an Asian guy, came in to give me an epidural, looked at me, looked at my husband, and then said to me, "Who is THIS guy?", like my husband was just some black man who wandered in off the street to watch a random white woman giving birth! I told him "My HUSBAND!". There's some ignorant people in this world!

Anyway, I'm glad the baby is finally here! I hope she won't outgrow the bathrobe (I gave it to Gehan at her bridal shower) and the dress I'm working on too quickly! I'll post pics of the baby when I get some.


I heard about this "Daily Dose" award today, and decided to tag a few fellow bloggers whose blogs I really enjoy reading:

Lesa from Lesalicious Style and Life
Christina from Crafty Christina
Naida from Crochet Mama's Blog

Here's the award info, and a picture of the award (right click on the picture, save it to your computer, and then you can post it on your blog):

From Xandra, creator of The Daily Dose Award: "This little award is called The Daily Dose - and here is all the important info to tell you what it is about and where it came from. This is a tribute to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog. I'd like to pass this honor along to some cherished blog friends. In a cyber world ... I often gravitate to these places for my "daily dose" ... because these particular women share bits and pieces of themselves that I just can't seem to live without. I sit in the morning with my hot cuppa Joe and stop by my "friends" to get caught up ... perhaps even a little "wrapped up" in their lives".

I don't drink coffee (just hot cocoa!), but I enjoy reading the above ladies' blogs, and am happy to give them this award!


Do you ever have one of those days where you think you'd lose your head if it weren't attached to your body? I totally had one of them yesterday. I take my wedding rings off every day when I get home from work (they get in the way when I'm washing dishes, chasing after the kids, etc), and I put them on my watch strap so they won't get lost (I wear a watch with a metal band), and put the watch and rings on a tray on the microwave stand near my side (kitchen) door, so I can just grab them on and put them on as I rush out the door in the mornings.

Yesterday morning I put my watch on, and somehow didn't realize I forgot to put on the rings until I got to work, was in my office for a while, went to the bathroom, and was about to wash my hands when I noticed I didn't have my rings. I usually take my rings off when I wash my hands, so I thought maybe I had taken them off and put them by the sink, and they fell off or something. I searched all around the bathroom, and even looked in the trash, but no luck. I knew they didn't go down the drain, because the sink drains are the type with little grates on them. The supervisor in the company mail room, which is next to the bathroom, had come in to use the bathroom while I was in there, but left before I realized I didn't have my rings, so I emailed her to ask if she had seen them anywhere by the sink. She very kindly went back to the bathroom, and searched around for them, but didn't see them either. She even got one of her female employees to check also. In the meantime, I was distraught all day thinking I lost the rings somewhere.

This is actually the second wedding ring I've had since I got married. My husband and I planned to get married shortly after my second colon surgery in 2002, but due to all the time I missed from work, we couldn't afford to buy rings. My coworkers at my job at the time very generously all chipped in to buy us a set of gold wedding bands as a surprise. We got married, and I had the band for probably about 6 months, when my husband and I went to a restaurant, I took the ring off in the bathroom, washed my hands, and left, forgetting it was in there. When I got home and realized it was gone, I called the restaurant, but no one had seen the ring. I was wedding-ringless until my husband and I bought a new set with our income tax refund.

The morning my dad passed away, in January of 2005, while he was hospitalized after a series of strokes, I was getting ready to meet my mom and brothers and sisters up at the hospital. I was standing next to the kitchen sink, trying to put my rings on, and my hands were shaking so badly that I dropped one of the bands in the sink. I looked around in the sink, and didn't see the ring anywhere. When we got home from the hospital, my husband took the drain pipe off, and still didn't see the ring. Later that day after washing dishes he ran the garbage disposal, heard something clanking, turned it off, and pulled out my terribly mangled wedding band. I was heartbroken. All of the diamonds were intact, but the band looked damaged beyond repair.

I took the ring to a jewelry store, for a repair estimate, and they said if they could fix it (a big "if") it would cost about $200, which I couldn't afford, and being as the set only cost $400, seemed overpriced. On the plus side though, the salesman was surprised that the set only cost $400, which made me happy because it turned out the set was a good bargain. I finally took the ring to a small jewelry store downtown near my job, and they fixed it for only $75, which included cleaning and polishing for the set. I was so overjoyed when I was saw my ring, looking as good as when I bought it, that I was nearly in tears.

Back to yesterday though, after being distraught all day thinking my rings were lost for good, I got home, looked by the microwave stand, and there were my rings right on the tray where I had left them! D'oh! I think I've had enough wedding ring mishaps to last me a lonnnng time, LOL!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Crochet and Vultures!

I’m not crocheting any vultures, LOL! I’m talking about the vulture lawyers and chiropractors that have been deluging mine and my husband’s mail and voice mail with phone calls and letters trying to solicit business since his (minor!) car accident! Apparently these places scour the police reports daily (because we received one letter the very next day after the accident), looking for auto accidents, so they can try to prompt the victim? accidentee? (I know that’s not a real word!) to sue someone. Here’s my favorite one: “Dear Mr. _________, We are sorry to learn from the police accident report that you were involved in a motor vehicle collision. This can be a very frightening experience…We have enclosed our Injury Video that contains information about our law firm as well as important information the insurance company would prefer you not hear…”. Or how about this one from a chiropractor: “SECRET REPORT. WARNING: THIS REPORT CONTAINS INFORMATION YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY DOES NOT WANT TO YOU KNOW!”

Apparently these places didn’t read the police report too well, because all my husband did was hit a fence, and get stuck in a snow bank. He didn’t even have to go the hospital! I just think it’s pretty funny. Anyway, my husband is OK. I appreciate the kind comments left about his accident.

My husband is getting nervous now though, because of something else that’s happening – he’s getting “fixed” tomorrow. Yep, he’s getting a vasectomy. He had been planning to get one since our son was born 5 years ago, but never got around to it. We knew during my pregnancy that we didn’t want any more kids, so I arranged to have my tubes tied after the birth, but it didn’t work out. My doctor took me to the operating room about an hour after I had my son, and after cutting me open and poking around for about an hour and a half, told me he couldn’t find my tubes. It turned out they are completely covered with scar tissue from two colon surgeries I had in 2001 and 2002. My doctor told me the only thing he could do would be to bring me back in 6 weeks for a more extensive surgery (laparoscopy), but that he was reluctant to do it (and I didn’t want any more major surgeries either). My husband said he would get a vasectomy, but never got around to it.

After my miscarriage this summer, we decided it was time to finally get it done, so my husband had a consultation with a doctor, and is having the surgery tomorrow. He’s getting nervous about it, but I told him if I could handle giving birth twice, having two major colon surgeries (and a colostomy), and having a D&C (after my miscarriage), he can handle a 15 minute, local anesthetic vasectomy, LOL!

Actually both of my brothers in law had it done, and they said it’s an easy procedure. We had a huge blackout here in Ohio (and a bunch of other states) a few summers ago, and it happened right when my second-oldest sister’s husband was having his vasectomy. The clinic was dark, and they had no backup electricity, but the doctor was able to finish the surgery with the light coming from the window! YIKES! My husband was sure glad it wasn’t him! That sister and her husband planned to stop having kids after my sister miscarried their third child, and her husband had an appointment for the vasectomy, but my sister got pregnant about a week before his surgery, so they now have three kids.

I’ll probably always have a twinge of sadness about my miscarriage, but I’m thankful for the son and daughter I do have, and realize that the miscarriage must have happened for a reason. I can’t handle possibly having another miscarriage if I were to get pregnant again and my husband and I already have our hands full with our two kids, so the vasectomy is for the best. Also I feel that my husband and I are getting too old to start over with another baby – I’m 34, and he’s 42. Now I’m just hoping my husband won’t be too terribly sore after the surgery, because he has to go pick our kids up from school and daycare tomorrow afternoon.

Anyway, I do have some crochet project pictures to show! None are completed, just work in progress. The first is a poncho I’m crocheting for my mother for her February birthday. She saw a poncho I crocheted for my daughter when I first learned how to crochet, and asked I could make her one. I finally got around to it, and am hoping to have it done for her birthday. It’s nothing fancy – it’ll just be two double-crochet rectangles seamed together, and then I’ll crochet a pretty border around the bottom. I obviously don’t have much done so far. My mom’s favorite color is blue, but she didn’t want a solid blue poncho, so I’m using Bernat Softee Chunky in “Nature’s Way”, with a K hook. Hopefully I can get it done in time for her birthday.

The second project is a crocheted cupcake pillow for my daughter Bethany’s 10th birthday on January 29th.
I bought the
for the cupcake from a seller on Etsy. I added a few more increase rounds to the top and bottom though, because just following the pattern, the cupcake was coming out much smaller than I expected. I used the new Lion Brand Cupcake yarn in “Pink Lemonade” for the top. It’s a boucle yarn, and I usually stay away from boucle yarns, because I can’t see my stitches in it, but this yarn was surprisingly not too difficult to work with. The color is much paler than it looks in the picture though. I’m using Bernat Satin (one of my favorite yarns!) in “Lagoon” for the bottom. Are you seeing a trend here with the aqua blue for my projects? I love aqua blue! I guess it's because it brings back happy childhood memories of eating with my dad at a Woolworth diner (remember Woolworth's?!) - the waitresses and cashiers wore aqua blue smocks. I need to finish up the bottom of the cupcake, and buy some stuffing. I was originally thinking about sewing beads to the top of the cupcake, to look like sprinkles, but I hate sewing, so I think I might just crochet a cherry for the top of the cupcake I need to get the whole thing finished soon so I can surprise my daughter with it on her birthday.

The third project is a baby sundress for my pregnant sister in law. She’s pregnant with a girl, and is due January 17th (actually exactly a month before I was due with this last pregnancy). She's gone into labor twice already, and was admitted to the hospital, but was sent home both times because her labor wouldn’t progress, and her doctor won’t induce until she’s past her due date. I hope she has the baby soon, because she's having a really hard pregnancy, and is anxious to get it over with. It’s too bad she didn’t have the baby today, because today is my brother’s birthday, and it would have been pretty cool for his daughter to share a birthday with him. About the dress though, it’s semi my own pattern. The skirt design I got from a pattern in Crochet Today, but the top is my own design. I’m using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in the discontinued “Sugarplum” and “Strawberry Cream” colors. I’m trying to make it about a 6-12 month size, so the baby can wear it in the summer. Hopefully it’ll fit.

The final project is a hat I crocheted for the Ships Project. The hat looks big, but it follows the group’s hat size guidelines – 22 inch circumference, and 8 inches long, and brimless. I modified a beanie pattern from the book “Crochet Kid Stuff” for the hat. The yarn is Bernat Satin in red and black (the hats have to be unisex colors). I took a picture of myself wearing the hat, because it looks so large when it’s not being worn, but is actually a good size for an average adult.

So, now you finally get to see what I look like! I really dislike getting my picture taken – I’m very self-conscious about how I look, especially about my big ol’ Italian nose, LOL! Yes, I’m a red-haired Italian woman! Well, only half Italian. My dad’s parents were born in Sicily, and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1930’s as adults. My dad was born in the U.S., and was just as Italian looking as it gets – ruddy skin, black hair, and the big Italian nose, which I inherited! My mother’s maternal side of the family though, immigrated to the U.S. from County Mayo, Ireland. Her paternal side of the family immigrated to the U.S. in the mid-1800’s from a country which was then Austria-Hungary, in Eastern Europe. My mother said her mother, my grandmother, had red hair until it turned completely gray in her early twenties. She said there were a few other redheads in the family, guess as a result of the Irish genes. Two of my nieces, my sister Desiree's daughters, ended up with red hair, even though my sister has black hair, and her husband has blonde. Strong red hair genes!

My mother had blonde hair as a kid, that turned brown, and me and all of my 4 biological brothers and sisters (my oldest sister is adopted) actually look different from each other. My oldest brother and sister (twins) have black hair and brown eyes, my second oldest brother has brown hair and brown eyes, and somehow, my youngest sister ended up with blonde hair and green eyes! Milkman’s kid, LOL! Just kidding! My dad said one of his grandfathers had light hair and blue eyes, so I guess that’s where it came from.

I actually had jet black hair when I was born, but it gradually lightened, and was auburn until I became a teenager, and then it turned brown. I never liked the brown, so I’ve been dyeing my hair for the past 18 years or so. My hair started growing in almost entirely gray (sigh…) when I was pregnant with my son, so now I color it religiously once a month to hide all the gray hairs my kids are giving me!

Now you know where the “Red Haired Lady” name came from too! Red Haired Lady is actually the name of my fictional alter-ego from stories I’ve made up for my kids. I don’t have any of the stories written down. I just make them up as I go, and my daughter and I do all the voices for the characters, including several talking animals, LOL! My kids and husband think the stories are hilarious, and my husband thinks I should write them down and look into getting them published. I know I can’t just submit them to a publisher – there’s a special process to submitting writing, query letters and whatnot. I’ve thought about doing it, as I’ve loved to write since I was a little kid, but I’m afraid of rejection.

I’ve had a few things published before though. I had several articles I wrote published in the (unfortunately out of print) Interrace Magazine in the early 90’s (my husband and I are an interracial couple – he’s black and I’m white, and our kids are biracial). One of my articles from the magazine was actually reprinted in a book, ”Just Don’t Marry One: Interracial Dating, Marriage, and Parenting”. I went to the library one day on my lunch break from work, was browsing the books on interracial relationships. I picked up “Just Don’t Marry One”, and was flipping through it, when I saw something that looked like an article I had written. I looked at it closer, and saw my name and my article (“Ten Annoyances Faced as Part of an Interracial Relationship)! The book even had a discussion question based on my article at the end of the chapter! Needless to say, I was shocked, but thrilled! I emailed the authors, and found out that they had reprinted my article with permission from the magazine. So, that was 15 minutes of fame!

I also had a freelance writing position for a year with a mom’s website, I was a “Go-To Mom” writing on Work-Life Balance and Multicultural Families. I really enjoyed the position. I had my own webpage with my articles, and I got a check every month, and ClubMom points (rewards points that you can cash in for gift cards, movie tickets, etc). Unfortunately ClubMom discontinued the Go-To Mom program at the end of 2006.

I had actually completed nearly 3 years of a journalism degree in college, but changed major to urban studies (urban planning) in my junior year, and graduated with an urban studies (urban planning) degree. I had taken a few urban studies classes to fulfill general degree requirements, and loved them so much that I changed my major. I also wasn’t too happy with the journalism program at my college at the time, although I know it’s been improved since then. I love the field of urban planning, but can’t help but wonder sometimes whether I should have pursued a writing career.

Well, I hope you liked my crochet projects, and that you aren’t laughing too much at my photos!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Loom and Yarn Sale - UPDATE


The Old Fashioned Knitting Board/booklet, yarn, In the Attic pattern book, ITA Mitten Loom set, Yarn-A-Round booklet, and the Knifty Knitter Flower Loom have all been sold. I still have the Knifty Knitter long purple loom available, if anyone is interested. For those who purchased my items, I will send Paypal invoices to you via email, and will ship everything on Thursday (January 10th).

Thank you all so much!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

For Sale

I am destashing some looming and yarn items and posted an ad for them on the Yahoo Knifty Knitters group I belong to. Here are the descriptions again, and photos of the items for sale for anyone visiting from the group. Everything is first come/first served. If interested in buying any of the items, please email me privately. I only take Paypal payments (sorry, no checks or money orders). Please contact me by Monday (January 7th) if interested in purchasing any of the items. After that, I will list any unsold items on EBay.

Thank you! : )

Several skeins of various novelty yarns – 1 full skein and two partial skeins of Palette Collection Flapper feather type yarn in a dusty blue color, 1 almost full skein of a fringy-type yarn in a lavender, green, aqua multicolor, 1 skein of Lion Brand Fun Fur in Mexicana, Asking for $3 including shipping.

Knifty Knitter Long Purple Loom with Pick – Originally paid $8.99, asking for $6 including shipping.

Knifty Knitter peach Flower Loom with Pick – Originally paid $4.99, asking for $3 including shipping.
Old Fashioned Knitting Board. Made of varnished wood. 10 ¾ inches long, with 30 pegs and a turning peg on each end. Board came with a steel crochet hook for a pick, which I can’t find. Can use a regular Knifty Knitter pick with the board. 20 page pattern booklet included. Booklet has patterns for seven stitches, a patchwork baby blanket, stockinette fancy boa scarves, reverse stockinette chenille purse, knit n’ purl afghan, various other scarves, hats, and knitted braids and cords used to make a hot plate, snake, and a rug.
Originally paid $24.95 for board and book, asking for $12 including shipping.

In the Attic purple Mitten Loom Set with Pick. Contains two looms (a larger loom for the hand, and a smaller loom for the thumb). Smaller than the blue round Knifty Knitter, and great for other items besides just mittens, such as preemie baby hats, leg/arm warmers, etc. Originally paid $9.99 for set. Asking for $7 including shipping.

In the Attic Round Loom Knitting Patterns book. Book has 61 pages, and includes patterns for Dishcloth/Hot Pad, Hat with a Brim, Rolled Edge Hat, Double/Reversible Hat, Tube Scarf, Flat Scarf, two Afghans, Baby Booties, Adult Socks with Heel, Adult Slipper (tube) Socks, Christmas Stocking, and an Infant/Toddler Sweater, along with instructions on different stitches, increasing/decreasing, making pom-poms and fringe, and stripes. Originally paid $11.99 for book, asking for $5 including postage.

Lion Brand Yarn Yarn-A-Round 14 page pattern booklet. Booklet was written for the Yarn-A-Round loom, but patterns can be completed with Knifty Knitter looms as well. Booklet contains patterns for Jiffy Pocket Scarf, Jiffy Fringed Shawl, Homespun Three-Panel Afghan, Homespun Unisex Hat & Scarf, and Jamie Baby Layette. Originally paid $4.95 for booklet, asking for $3.00 including postage.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Well, as if things couldn't get worse... my husband had a minor accident this morning on his way home from work. We had a big snowstorm here in the Cleveland area yesterday, and the roads were still a mess this morning. As he was getting off the freeway exit ramp near our house, my husband hit a bank of snow and ice in our minivan, slid out, and hit a fence. Thankfully he was OK, and the van only had a few scratches. The van was stuck in the snow though, so I called the police after my husband called me, and fortunately they sent a car within a few minutes. Of course, the police said if they pulled the van out, they would have to take it to the impound lot, and it would cost $75 for my husband to get it out. Why they would impound it when my husband has no warrants, or outstanding traffic tickets or anything like that, I have no idea.

The police told him they could call for a private tow truck, but they didn't even need to call, because the tow truck operators were out like vultures, looking for people stuck in the snow. A tow truck was driving by, saw the accident, and came over before the police even had a chance to call for one. My husband didn't have any cash on him, but luckily a good friend of his who lives nearby was able to come and pay the tow truck driver so my husband could get home. The driver only had to pull my husband out of the snow bank, and he was able to drive the rest of the way home, but even that still cost $85. My husband called our auto insurance company and found out that they (despite what the tow truck driver claimed) would have paid for the tow. At least he can submit the receipt to the insurance company and get reimbursed, although I wonder if the insurance company would use it for an excuse to raise our rates?

Anyway, I'm just glad my husband is OK (although he's pretty shook up because this is his first accident in the over 20 years he's been driving), and the van didn't get wrecked. I ended up having to miss work today though, because my husband got home so late, and he didn't want to go back out in that snow and ice anyway. He already nearly got stuck pulling into our driveway with the foot (yes, a foot) of snow that fell overnight.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to say Happy New Year, and thank you to everyone who's read my blog and/or posted comments since I started it! I appreciate everyone's comments, and look forward to reading them. I am continually amazed by the beautiful crochet work of so many of my fellow bloggers, like Lesa of Lesalicious Style & Life, and Christina of Crafty Christina, and so many others. I hope to be as good as all of you someday.

I was hoping to get a lot of crocheting done during my time off from work, but unfortunately things didn't work out that way. My daughter has had a cold for the past week, and I caught it from her, and felt terrible for the past two days. I've also been feeling kind of down in the dumps lately, and so haven't felt like doing much of anything. I tend to get sad around Christmas and New Years'. It's a combination of things. I hate winter, and the short freezing days, snow, and early nightfall makes me feel gloomy. My dad passed away a few years ago in the winter (his funeral actually fell on my daughter's 7th birthday), and I miss him a lot around Christmas. I also find this time of year financially stressful with Christmas presents, and my kids' birthdays looming in January.

I've also been feeling lonely lately because my husband was put on night shift at his job recently, and so it seems like we hardly see each other anymore. He leaves for work around the time I'm putting the kids to bed, then when he gets home, it's time for me to go to work, and he's sleeping during the day while the kids are at school/daycare, so I can't talk to him during the day. He's still getting used to working night shift, and the schedule has him all out of whack physically, so when I get home from work, he's still tired, and is usually lying down, so between that and my evenings being so busy with taking care of the kids, homework, baths, bedtimes, etc., it seems like we barely even have time to talk. I've also been feeling lonely, because my youngest sister, who I've always been very close to, and who's always been a favorite aunt of my kids, moved across town when she and her fiancée got engaged, and so between her living so far away, and being busy with her fiancée, I don't hear from her very often any more.

Overall, I didn't have a particularly spectacular New Year. The whole year has just been tough for me and my husband, and so I can't help but worry about what the next year will hold. My husband was laid off from his job last September, when his company downsized, and gave him and his coworkers a measly week's notice. He ended up being out of work for 7 months, despite going on so many interviews I lost count. After hiring a reference checking service, we found out that a supervisor he disliked, from a job he held a few years ago (not the job he was laid off from), was giving out unfounded negative references about him. We talked to a lawyer, who thought we had cause for a possible defamation lawsuit, but with my husband being unemployed, we couldn't afford to pursue it. My husband found out later on that this supervisor had done the same thing to other employees. It makes me so angry for the grief this man caused for me and my husband, but I figure what goes around comes around. A person can't go through life treating people badly without it catching up to them eventually.

My husband finally got a job through a temp agency, but at a much lower rate of pay than what he was making. The company where he was assigned hired him permanently after a few months, and it's a great company to work for, but he's still not making as much money as he was at his last job. I'm thankful that he has a job now, but between the pay cut, and being put on night shift, things have been very stressful for us.

To make matters worse, this past February, I broke my right wrist when I fell on a patch of ice in downtown Cleveland after work. I ended up spending 3 weeks out of work, at only partial pay, while my husband was also out of work and only getting unemployment pay. Then in May I got pregnant unexpectedly, but miscarried the baby at the end of August. I had been bleeding off and on (more on than off) throughout the pregnancy, and, despite two ultrasounds that showed the baby developing normally, I found out when I was 16 weeks along that the baby had died at 13 weeks. I had a D&C a week later because my body wouldn't miscarry normally. My husband and I weren't planning on having any more kids, but it was a very hard thing to deal with nevertheless.

My husband and I have been renting for far longer than we ever planned, and while we love the house that we're renting, and have a wonderful landlord, we want so badly to buy a house of our own, but every time it seems like we'll be able to start paying down our bills so we can buy a house, something happens to throw us off track, like all the medical bills that keep rolling in from my accident and the miscarriage.

About two weeks after we found out the baby had died, my husband's 23 year old niece was killed in a car accident. The accident happened right around the corner from her house, while she was driving home from work one evening. She left behind a husband and two little boys. Her older son was the same age as my son (4) and her youngest was 6 months old. My husband took it really hard, because he also lost one of his brothers at nearly the same age - his youngest brother was murdered when he was 24 - he was a year older than me. We had just seen his niece a week before she died, and I never would have imagined then that she would dead a week later.

Needless to say, 2007 was not a good year for us. I'm praying that 2008 goes better. I have to go back to work tomorrow, and am not looking forward to it. January through about March or April is an extremely busy, stressful time at my job, due to a major project that's in full swing at the time every year, and I have a mountain of work waiting for me when I get back. I'm also currently enrolled in a grad school program - I'm working on my MPA (Master of Public Administration) through an online program with the University of Texas at Arlington (the state university system in Texas), and my spring semester classes are going to be starting up in a few weeks, so I'm going to be swamped with that too.

I was on a hiatus from classes, between my broken wrist and the miscarriage, and I enjoyed the break, but I need to get going with my classes again. Barring anything else going wrong, I may be done with the program by this coming fall, or next spring (2009). It just seems like every time I get going with the classes, something happens to throw me off course. I have mixed feelings about graduating though. It will be a big accomplishment for me, as I dropped out of high school in the 11th grade (I got my GED), and at one point in my life earning a college degree seemed like an impossible dream. I am also only the second person in my family to graduate from college (an older sister was the first), but at the same time, I feel discouraged that I'm not doing better in my life for all the education I have, and for how old I am (34).

I work as a research assistant for the national offices of a church. On paper, my position required a degree, but in reality I don't do much that actually requires a degree. Since I work for a nonprofit organization, the pay is terrible (although the benefits are excellent), but I feel stuck staying there because this is the first job I've had where I actually have flexibility as a working mom. I have a lot of paid time off - a lot of vacation time, sick time, personal days, and holidays, not to mention the week off at Christmas time. My boss, despite not having any kids, is very understanding when I need to take time off from work when my kids are sick or I have to attend school events, meetings, etc. It's definitely a relief to not to have to worry about being fired if I call off when one of my kids get sick, and with both of them having asthma and numerous allergies, it seems like they get sick a lot. At the same time though, I feel so frustrated about not having a real career, and not making enough money to not to have to worry about bills all the time. I don't know, maybe 2008 will bring me a real career with flexibility and good pay. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

I did manage to get one small crochet project done over the weekend though. I had a bunch of Lily Sugar N' Cream and Lion Cotton left over from various projects, that I wanted to use up, so I crocheted these dishcloths. I really like how the granny square with each round in a different color came out, but it was tedious weaving in all those ends.

Well, happy (belated!) New Year everyone, and thanks for reading my blog!

P.S. A huge thank you to "My Best Friend Calls Me Martha" for the vest pattern for my son - it's exactly what I was looking for!