Wednesday, June 22, 2005


A friend brought Erin a little mini “boombox.” It is her first radio and she is completely enamored of it. She has been carrying it everywhere and listening to it TOO LOUD. I, being the control freak that I am, would only let my children listen to jazz during the talk-radio-crap hours of 8a-10a. After that they get to listen to classic rock.

Yesterday, at every available moment during the day they would take the radio outside and dance or just play while listening to it. Bowen and Morgan have been making Horns of Gondor with some horns that Bowen found in a friend’s out-building (it was at one time a wall ornament). Morgan saw potential for this object and promptly banged the shit out of it until he freed one of the horns from it’s hideous mooring. Now, all it needed was a hole in the small end and he could have a horn. This is not as easily accomplished as one would imagine. There was a saw and a drill and still no hole in the small end. There was also a lot of oog that came out in the washing and it smelled really terrible. Morgan is now a proud carrier of a rudimentary, albeit useless, Horn of Gondor.

Bowen has not been so fortunate. The other horn is more solidly attached to the hideous wood block that has held it for who knows how long. Bowen, Morgan, and Erin were outside with a hammer, nails, screws, and the radio. I hear the hammering and the discussion about how best to detach the horn while Led Zepplin is blaring “Whole Lotta Love” from the radio and feel like I’m glimpsing into the future when they will be working on a car, or a motorcycle, or a pod racer for all I know. It totally freaked me out for a second. I have had other glimpses into the future, but none so clear and precise. Add to this scene Erin dancing while watching herself in the glass on the storm door and you can imagine my panic…

The sad news is that the horn is STILL attached, despite all efforts. Tomorrow, we’re taking a saw to it.

The Drama Queen

I have a six year-old daughter, Erin. To describe her I have to use adjectives like: stubborn, sweet, opinionated, feisty, clever, funny, and dramatic. If I ask Erin to do something she doesn’t want to do, there is a long, loud, indignant whine of protest, “Maaaamaa!” before and during the task. After she accomplishes the requested task I must pay for that request by her saying, for example, “I can’t get dressed by myself, I need your help!” This gets old.

Granted, she is the youngest and with eight year-old twin brothers she is the outsider. She can fight harder and longer than either of her brothers, and is relentless if she feels she has been wronged. People outside the family used to worry about her not being able to stick up for herself. One day when she was two and her brothers were four, Morgan did something to her (I can’t remember what) and I looked over to see him lying on the ground and Erin standing over him and smacking him. I said, "Milky (cause that's one of her nicknames), you may not hit your brother." Her little chubby face was screwed with effort and anger as she looked at me. She looked back at Morgan, pulled her foot waaaay back and started kicking him with all her might. I picked her up and carried her over to the sofa, all the while thinking, "Well, I guess that whole question of being able to take care of herself is answered."

The boys do pick on her at times and she does get stuck with loser princess roles when they play knights and stuff. Lately, during Lord of the Rings, she gets to play Eowyn, which is better than many other options. She really gets into her role...and everyone else's too. She's bossy. Most of the time I hear Erin commanding Bowen and Morgan when they play, "Ok, you say.." So, in the boys' defense, she can be difficult to work with. If she doesn't get her way, she says that you don't love her. If she does get her way, well, you're usually playing something really boring like Fairy Barbies Having Dinner in the Woods with Small Woodland Creatures.

Last night she was having an absolute conniption about cooperating and I sent her to her room. She was screaming at me and acting like I hurt her by putting her in her room. I told her she was acting like a Drama Queen (this was the wrong thing to say and I knew it) she followed me into the hall and started yelling at the top of her lungs (while she kicked the wall and stomped her feet), "I AM NOT A DRAMA QUEEN! I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU SAY THAT, IT IS UNPLEASANT AND IT HURTS MY FEELINGS!" (sob, sob, sob).

Erin is a Full-blown Drama Queen, meaning it also applies to illness/scrapes/and blood. Yesterday, and I am not exaggerating here, she said her finger hurt. Ten minutes later she came back to me and said her stomach hurt. Not even twenty minutes after that her throat hurt. In between these reports she played, ran around, and jumped on the trampoline. Finally right before bed, when her toe hurt, I said, "Let me get this straight...right now your toe hurts, your finger hurts, you have a stomach ache, and your throat hurts." She nodded and smiled. "Could you please pick one, because that's a lot to keep up with." She looked at me very sincerely and said, "Well, my toe really hurts."

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The lawnmower wins...

Tried mowing this morning (knitting was to be my reward afterwards) and the mower would start, but then cut off after one or two seconds. Lawn mowers and I do not seem to work well together. Maybe they can feel my dread about them; I worry about mowing too early and waking the neighbors, I don't like the noise, the gas, the smell,etc. I have a nice quiet reel mower, but once the grass gets too long all that happens is the weeds get bent over and they viciously pop back up once you "mow" them.

After checking my choke, priming the engine, and doing the start and die thing like three times I decided to check the web for some lawn mower trouble shooting. Why I thought this would be helpful, I cannot say for sure. My small engine knowledge consists of knowing a mower needs oil and gas (and the oil part is fairly recent). So, sure enough there is a lovely chart and it seems maybe my carburetor needs help. I don't know where or what that is, so really it means I can tell a repair person what the trouble is and its potential cause (which if they are worth their beans, they would know from my mower's symptoms).

I pulled out the reel mower and pushed through the thick weeds and made a patch for my sweet dog, Eowyn. The rest of the yard will have to wait until the mower is repaired.

The sweet Eowyn.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Oath of a Fiber Freak

I, being of sound mind and body - right now, while I'm at least three feet away from a skein of yarn and am only two tabs away on the web from an online ys - do solemly swear to finish at least two of my WIPs before I start another project.

I am about half through my Cozy shawl from It called for silk, but I did it in bamboo. It has a very nice drape, and although it is difficult to see the pattern in black, I am now quite pleased witht the overall effect. If I would focus only on this project I could be so done by now.

Cozy shawl

One of my other projects will be the lovely Midwst Moonlight scarf that I will most likely end up gifting. The merino is incredibly soft (Goddess Yarns, Emanuella), but since it is so hot here in the south it is not really a summer knitting project.

Midwest Moonlight Scarf

And when I finish spinning the roving, I will finish knitting my first yarn (qualifies as a novelty yarn by texture, I think).

First spun

We'll see how long the oath lasts.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


Originally uploaded by freshtart.
Here is the spindle that spun and held the roving-into-yarn so nicely. I am wondering how long it will take me to get the whole drafting thing down so my yarn won't be so lumpy.

First ball

Originally uploaded by freshtart.
Here's a picture of my first ball of two-ply yarn. Aawww, isn't it cute.. and bumpy? It is made from 50% mohair/50% wool roving. After spinning I used the Peruvian hand-wrap technique and had a great time. Another addicting hobby, sigh. Now, if only I had some sheep...or angora goats...or alpacas...oooh, or a musk ox.

Friday, June 10, 2005


Oh my, now I've got a new hobby...spinning! I took a class last night in high whorl spinning and loved it. I've been working on my 7 oz of wool/mohair roving like a madwoman. As my friend Angela said last night during the class, "I didn't even know I needed to spin." She was totally loving it too. It's very nice. We had a great teacher, a nice small class size, and within two hours we had some yarn on our cool is that?

I will add a couple pictures of my yarn in a day or so. I've seen some other experienced people's yarn and it looks perfect - mine is very bumpy, irregular, and beginner. Practice, practice, practice. Spinning will give my sore pinky (I hold my knitting funny and have a very sore and stressed out left pinky finger) a break.

Another form of

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The beginning of the summer whining...

Today is to be the first truly hot day of the summer - in the 90s. This is the official beginning of my Whining Season. I, a former Minnesotan (from the far north, no less) have acclimated to the wussy winters of the south (and have gotten quite wussy myself - 40 is now cold to me), but not the hot, humid summers. I languish in summer. I pout, whine, and get incredibly grumpy in the summer. I lived without central air for many years here and while I dispise the shock of going from air conditioning to the hot outdoors, I now have central air and would not live without it again. I usually keep the thermostat set on 80 in the summer - all I really need the a/c to do is take the humidity out of the air and I'm fine.

My personal take on the whole thing is: if you are cold you can always add more layers to get warm; but if you're so hot you're naked, what else can you do? I used to take showers and stand in front of a fan. It works ok, until you get dressed. I've also tried putting ice cubes on my head and it is also ok but wet, and ice cubes don't really travel well. Oh, and not moving - when I'm too hot to move, so I don't, but then when I have to move I'm sweat-stuck to whatever I was not moving on - ew! You may well ask why I stay in this climate if it is not for me - that is so much of a story I can't even begin to do it justice right now.

Right now I've got all the windows open and I'm sitting here in a tank top with sweat gathering in my various crevices. SO not pretty. When I try to knit the yarn snags on my perspiring fingers, so I gave up for a while. Since it's only 10a I'm holding out on the a/c until it hits the high 80s. I've been cleaning to Bob Marley instead. Getting sweaty while cleaning makes me feel more productive. Later, the kids and I are going to head out to a river where we will be eaten by mosquitos, but I can knit with my feet in a river so I will be ok. I'm hoping the bamboo yarn won't be as snaggy as the wool in the heat.

Mojitos anyone?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Originally uploaded by freshtart.
Here are some really cool Pitcher Plants.

Originally uploaded by freshtart.
This is the most serious (i.e., not goofy) I have seen the three of them in a while. It's taking everything Chicky has in her not to make a goofy face - and Morgan's looking over to see how she's doing.

Morgan as Puck

Last week, during the Parental Visit we all went to the NC Botanical Gardens in Chapel Hill. I highly recommend it. Gorgeous plants, great art and places to sit, plus trails with places to play along the river. The kids had a blast looking for crayfish, building a dam, and root climbing a clay "wall" along the river. Water and mud for kids, and cool plants for the adults - what could be better?

Originally uploaded by freshtart.