Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Not Much Crocheting

I was just looking at my blog, and realized that I haven’t posted since March 26th. I’ve been meaning to post, but had been sick with a really nasty I don’t know what it was. Whatever it was, my kids caught it too, and we had fevers, chills, body aches, nausea, runny/stuffy noses, etc. etc. My kids got flu shots in the fall, but they don't protect against every strain of the flu. We stayed home from work and school on Friday and Monday. Two sick kids + one sick parent + one too tired from working nights to do much + a lack of extra money = one boring weekend. Between being sick and just generally depressed about my job situation and my daughter’s school situation, I haven’t gotten much crocheting done lately.

I took my daughter to an appointment last week with her pediatrician for an ADD evaluation. My kids normally see a different pediatrician in the same practice, Dr. S., but I decided to take her to Dr. G. instead, because she is so much more thorough than Dr. S. Dr. S. is very nice, but just not thorough. Dr. G. is the one who found my son’s problem with his testicles.

Anyway, I was very impressed with how well Dr. G. handled the assessment. She explained the process to Bethany and asked her questions, as well as questioning me and my husband, did a whole physical and family medical history, and gave me some questionnaires for me and Bethany’s teachers to complete about her behavior/school problems. She also asked me if I have considered putting Bethany in a public school, because she feels that public schools usually have more resources to deal with special needs kids than private schools do (Bethany attends a Catholic school).

I personally disagree with that. I believe that perhaps is the case with public schools in wealthier districts, but the public school district in our working-class suburb is chronically struggling financially, the schools are large and overcrowded, and all but two schools in the district (neither of which are in my neighborhood, so my daughter could not attend them) have been underperforming academically for years.

Although our suburb is overall working class, it has some middle to upper class pockets, particularly along the lakefront, where homes sell for as much as $300,000 (which here in poverty-stricken Cleveland where the cost of living is so much cheaper than many other parts of the country, easily gets you a 4 bedroom, 2,500+ square foot house). Bethany’s Catholic school is close to the lakefront, and draws a lot of kids from the wealthier families in the city, children of professionals, business owners, city politicians, etc., and so the school is doing very well financially. They do a mammoth amount of fundraising every year, and get a lot of donations. The downside is that some of the parents can be snobby, but I feel overall that the education is very good, and the school, despite being one of the larger Catholic school in our city, is small compared to the public elementary schools (it has about 420 kids from K-8th grade, compared about the same number of kids in a K-4th grade elementary school). I just can’t see Bethany doing any better academically in resource-poor public school.

In any case, Dr. G. wants to Bethany to undergo some other tests before she makes a diagnosis. She gave me a referral to a pediatric neurologist, just to rule out any other problems, and she also gave me a referral for Bethany to go to an occupational therapist to help with her handwriting and fine motor skills.

Now, this is where I’m starting to feel extremely stressed out. My husband and I are already a few thousand dollars in debt from the kids’ allergies and asthma, his diabetes, my breaking my wrist last year, my last pregnancy, miscarriage, and D&C, and his vasectomy, and this is even with having medical insurance. I’m shuddering thinking about what the total bill is going to be by the time we get our daughter’s school problems straightened out. Sometimes I think we’re probably going to be in debt with medical bills for the rest of our lives.

On top of that, as I mentioned before, I’ve been trying to find another job, but I’m going to have to take a lot of time off over the next few months for Bethany’s appointments, possibly for Dominic’s surgery (if he needs it) and all the other myriad appointments that go with Bethany’s math learning disability - I have several meetings per school year to review her progress and go over her IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) plans, And also having a kid who will be starting kindergarten this year complicates things - I have to take Dominic to a kindergarten screening and a few other things before school starts. Now, if I do find another job, there’s no way I’ll be able to miss work for all of that, and with my husband working nights, and having to sleep during the day, he can’t attend all these things. Sometimes I think life would be easier if I could just work part-time or not work at all, but neither of those is an option for me financially, even if my husband picked up more overtime at his job, and we cut our expenses down to the bare-bones minimum, we still just couldn’t afford it.

Speaking of work, I saw a really good documentary at work last week (there are occasional "brown bag" educational lunches that employees can attend) called
Kilowatt Ours, about energy usage and enviromental damage. It was quite alarming. There was one segment where a man was standing on a hill in West Virginia, I think it was, overlooking a valley and said that just a few years ago, there were mountains there instead of a valley - the mountains had been blown up to allow mining of the coal underneath. How messed up is that? I was already alarmed, before seeing the film, when I read this article, about the p0tential siphoning of Great Lakes water by other states that are experiencing water shortages and droughts. The film really made me think though, about all the small, daily actions that have a huge impact on our environment, and made me think about changes I can make. I was dismayed though that the film left out any mention of the effects of urban sprawl and automobile dependence on the environment, but perhaps the filmmaker will address it in a future film.

Well, now that I got all the negative stuff out of the way, I do have one small crochet project to show (warning - blogger messed up my line spacing below):

It's a hat I crocheted from Red Heart Hula yarn. I had bought the yarn a few months ago to crochet the “Cupcake” sweater from The Happy Hooker, but the sweater is done in HDC, and I had a terrible time with the multicolored strand on the yarn (it’s a solid off-white strand wrapped with a thin multicolored one) snagging on the hook, and I gave up on it. One of the skeins had a pattern for a hat, so I made it. I usually have a hard time getting crocheted hats to fit my head (I guess I have a big ol’ head) and end up having to include some extra increases, but I didn’t have that problem with this pattern. I followed the pattern exactly as written, except that I added some additional rows at the end to make it a little longer, and I added a reverse single crochet edging and a flower. It only took about an hour to make. What do you think? I think it came out pretty cute, and it’s comfortable, too. Now I just have to try to keep my daughter from taking it over, LOL!

I also got a couple of crochet books recently from the library. My local library has a section of newer books and I always browse the craft books when I go there. Last time I went I found an amigurumi book called "Mr. Funky's Super Crochet Wonderful". There are some really cute patterns in there. I think I’m going to have to buy my own copy of the book.

I also recently picked up a copy of Interweave Crochet. I don’t normally buy the magazine, because for one thing, I think $6.99 for a magazine is atrocious, and secondly, most of the patterns have always seemed too difficult or too elaborate (like I would never have an occasion to wear them) for me. I went to a bookstore downtown one day at lunch last week, and was browsing through the magazines, and saw the spring Interweave Crochet issue (surprisingly, since this bookstore never used to carry crochet magazines) and was really surprised and how many patterns I liked it in it and that were actually ranked “Easy” Here are the ones that are definitely on my “make sometime” list:

In the meantime, I realized that I have way too many crochet projects started but unfinished, so I’m trying really, really hard to finish them up before I start any more new ones. I’m trying to finish up my mom’s poncho that she asked for last year, so I can give it her on Mother’s Day, and I’m trying to get my sister’s shawl done before her May 10th wedding. I thought I was going to have to buy another skein of yarn for the poncho, but then I was going through my stash, and found a spare skein I had bought a few months ago, and forgotten about. That was perfect! I put some yarn up for sale on EBay, if anyone wants to check it out.

Well, I guess that’s enough griping for now. I feel better having gotten some of this off of my chest.


Laurah said...

Sorry about all the troubles. Having a mean boss is a total drag and I can relate.
I do love the hat! It looks very nice on you.
I also don't like to pay too much for magazines. I don't subscribe to any, but if there are a few patterns that I think I would crochet in the near future with out buying tons of new yarn I'll fork over the 6.99. My library is seriously lacking in the crochet section. There are tons of quilting books and a some knitting, but few crochet. I'd love to find that amigurumi book that you were talking about, just to browse through.

Laurah said...

Hey, thanks for the link! That book does look like it has a lot of cute projects. Maybe I'll buy some of those creepy pink/red saftey eyes so I can make the bunny on the cover.

Christina said...

Sorry to hear about the work and school troubles. Just try to remember that you're becoming stronger because of it. You're a tough cookie and a good mom!

I love the hat...looks great on you!

I just started to subscribe to Interweave Crochet. Its cheaper that 7 bucks a magazine when you subscribe. It comes out to about 5.50 with a subscription which isn't a huge difference, but helps. I love the magazine, though I haven't made anything from it yet. I love the vest that you posted too. I might try it.

Bezzie said...

Cute hat!!!

I'm feeling your medical bill pain. We chose the high deductible plan when Dr. MS started his job a year ago thinking "We're young, we have no preexisting conditions." Yeah well what do they say on those Red Stripe commercials? "Hooray Beer!" Sigh.

Check into the public schools. I know in Michigan they had "Schools of Choice" where you could try (lots of times it was a lottery) to get your kid into a school closer to where you worked/where your afterschool care was etc. A website I really liked was www.greatschools.net. It helped us choose the city here in NJ we wanted to live in. Or maybe just go and check a nearby public school out if you can. Of course with work being a PITA that doesn't sound too doable.

Tell your boss that in NYC someone with my training (a lousy 2 year degree and 10 years pushing paper) can get a job paying nearly $70K! (Just don't mention to her the cost of living ;-) )

naida said...

Hi Laura, sorry you were sick. Thats how it always is, one person gets it then the whole family gets it too.

sorry about your work and school problems. hope you find a job you like.

I had my kids in catholic school for a few years, but every year the tuition went up and we just couldnt afford it any longer.
I liked the Catholic school, but I found that the teachers were rude. And my son has mild ADD, they really didnt want him in their class. I was getting complaints about him nearly every day.It was awful, the one teacher, right in front of him, told me I was 'wasting my money sending him to a chatholic school'

My son hated going to school, he had to spend all those hours a day in class with teachers who didn't have the patience for him.

Now that he's been in public school for 3 years, not one of his teachers has complained to me, and he's a 'B' student. The thing I dont like about public shool is the overcrowding.

your hat is very cute, and I agree, some crochet magazines are way overpriced.

good luck with selling that yarn on ebay :)


Gretchen said...

1. Being sick sucks. Sorry you were.

2. Working with jerks sucks. Sorry you were.

3. Cupcake? I made the cupcake sweater! http://lazymamadesigns.blogspot.com/2006/11/proof-of-superiority-of-crochet.html Shame it ended up too small ... good thing I have a friend who's a size medium, and it looks better on her than on me!

Katrina said...

I don't even crochet yet but I'm dying to get the pattern for that baby dress and hat (Kathryn in Beauly Dress and Hat). It is so adorable. I was at JoAnn's and didn't see the Learn How to Crochet DVD so I'm going to keep looking. I ususally forget to look when I'm there. Maybe I'll go ahead and get it online.