Friday, March 17, 2006

Rain, rain, go away!

It's raining yet again, even though I can see a patch of blue sky out the window. The only good thing about the rain that has been plaguing us recently is it never lasts very long. It spits for 15-20 minutes, then stops. The bad thing is you never know when it's going to catch you. Walks to the park are total russian roulette.

I've got a bunch of sock updates to catch you up on, but first I'd like to give a big birthday (okay, it's a day late, but what're you gonna do?) shout out to my secret pal (or rather, the person to whom I was pal), who just got my reveal package. So I'm a not-so-secret pal, and the funny thing is she's a regular reader of my blog! She almost joined the sock-a-month knit-along, which would've been really funny. So hop on over and say "hi" to Tammy, who was also one of SP7's awesome hostesses. It was great fun being your pal! I'm so happy to finally be able to comment on your blog, although I am the world's worst commenter these days so don't expect too much!

My secret pal (the one who sent me all those great lace-related gifts) still hasn't revealed herself. If you're out there, I'm dying to know (hint, hint)!

Okay, where was I. Oh, yeah - socks. We've got a good crop here...

Crazy Basket Lady finished a pinky pair of Meilenweit Multiringel 5123's (say that five times fast) for her 2nd brownie point.

Dave finished some lovely blue-and-grey M socks (which I think he might like a little bit) and has some dreamy grey yarn picked out for April. I'll have to check out those Sherman short rows!

New knit-alonger Karen doesn't have any socks done yet, but my, oh, my, check out what she has on her needles! WOW!

Erica finished the most drool-inducing strawberry cheesecake ice-cream socks. Although the thought of eating socks is a little twisted...

Helene knit up some Blueberry Waffle socks for her M.

Choomon finished a pair of top-secret brownie point socks which I can't show to you because she's thinking of submitting for publication. Let me assure you, though, they are MUY caliente!

Quikeye finished a pair of baby cable rib socks for her M.

Roberta finished the coolest pair of tulip-heeled socks. So appropriate for March!

In other knitting news (I can't write a post without using that phrase, now, can I?), I got my Masters Level I stuff back, all evaluated! The bad news is that I didn't totally pass and have to resubmit two things. The good news is that all the swatches passed (and I even got a comment that my stockinette is amazingly even) and the resubmits involved a math error and the omission of the phrase "or size required to obtain gauge" from the needle size section of my cable pattern. Yes, they're that picky! I got some great suggestions, in particular that I need to be careful to pull my yarn forward/back more firmly when switching from knit to purl to avoid having enlarged knit stitches. She also gave me tips on how to improve my SSKs to avoid distortion of the first stitch. I need to practice that one... I sent my corrections off this morning and am anxiously awaiting my certificate. I'm itching to get started on Level 2 (in all that spare time).

I've started listening to Life of Pi (for Knit The Classics) in the car on the way to and from Sydney's school. I really didn't like the book when I was trying to read it (and I can see why as I'm listening to it), but I'm really enjoying it being read to me. The guy doing the reading has a soothing Indian accent and is really fun to listen to. I've got to go hit the library catalog and see what other books on CD they have for me to check out! Moll Flanders is the book for next month, and I downloaded it from Audible since the library doesn't have it on any kind of audio and I didn't want to buy the CD set from Border's for $35. I'm trying to get my iPod in order so I can see if it's easier to find time to listen to it that way instead of only in the car. My iPod, however, is from 2003 and is dying a slow, painful death. The battery lasts a couple of hours now, at the most, so I'm going to have to send it in for a replacement. Before you do that, they require you to measure the battery time in a specific manner. I'm finally at the point where I can play it until it dies (while timing it to see how long it takes), but in getting there, the battery completely died *again*. Stupid piece of #@(*#&!

I actually sat down and read a real book this afternoon for a little while. We're reading The Mother Trip by Ariel Gore for my Mama Discussion Group. It meets next weekend, so I figured I'd better get on it if I'm going to have anything to talk about. It's a really interesting book, although it's in essay form and some of them seem a little too abrupt. She reflects a lot on "mommy guilt" (my term, not hers) and how society is constantly telling you what a bad mother you are, no matter what you do. I also like her twist on the Gertrude Stein quote "It takes a heap of loafing to write a book." - "It takes a heap of loafing to raise a child." I'm all about that!

I really don't think it's necessary to be stimulating your child with activities at all times, or never yell at them, or keep the house perfectly clean. I tell myself that I'm doing just fine, although deep down I really question it. Especially when more than a few of the moms I hang around with have relatively clean houses, don't let their kids watch hour upon hour of television every afternoon so that they can knit or blog, feed their kids home-cooked organic meals while I get so tired of fighting with my daughter about food that I let her fend for herself with a box of Cheerios or (on occasions when I'm really about to lose it) animal crackers (okay, okay, chocolate chip cookies! And not the homemade kind, either - the kind that are loaded with dyes, and additives, and trans-fats).

I wish I could be that kind of mom, but I just don't have it in me. I need to knit. I need to design, to create, to do something that I enjoy. Selfishly. I admit it - I'm selfish. Perhaps I shouldn't have ever had children. On the other hand, part of me thinks that they're going to grow up just fine in spite of what I do to them. I don't abuse them, I hug them a lot (even if I do yell at them more than I should), I'm there for them when they need me (I think). I'm especially torn on the television issue. There are new studies coming out all the time that tell you what damage television, any television, will do to your kids. But I like television! We watch a lot of it in this house. It makes sense that Sydney would want to do the same. She plays plenty, does art projects, goes to preschool every morning, and gets read to for an hour or so before bed every night. She gets together with various little friends three or four afternoons a week. But she loves her television. Am I scarring her for life by not denying her this pleasure (which also gives me time to do my thing without constant pestering interruption)? And what about Owen? Children under the age of 2 aren't supposed to watch ANY television. How the heck is that going to happen? Am I condemning him to a life of poor reading skills and general idiocy because we refuse to give up our addiction to the idiot box? Sigh. The supply of "mother guilt" is truly inexhaustible.

And now I'm off to read a little more Ariel Gore and know that I'm not the only bad mother in the world.


Anonymous Kris said...

I know what you mean about Life of Pi - I listened to it (and enjoyed the accent) but there were parts I wished I were reading it so I could skip ahead several pages. A little too graphic for my tastes.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I'm with you on the motherhood stuff. We have TV watching in our house, and my house isn't the cleanest. I do ok with the feeding but I do struggle with the world's pickiest eater. I feel like I'm doing my best but always feel like I'm not doing better. I adore my kids and we do a lot of great stuff together. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one to feel this way.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous jillian said...

I don't have kids. So maybe I shouldn't weigh in. But those uber-no-TV-organic-meal moms?? They make me fear those kids are going to be neurotic, dependent, and frightfully small-minded.

I watched lots of TV growing up. I ate mac-n-cheese. This was before the time of Annie's. My mom worked and was not the best cook. I was the world's pickiest eater. Together that meant that she was basically happy if I ate anything at all.

I had a great mom. But she was of the feed them, cloth them, let nature do the rest generation. She became a mom in the late 50's. Fears of TV, pesticide use, and emotional development hadn't really leaked yet.

I turned out just fine. Because I know she loved me and I grew up learning to think by myself. I was not led by the hand at every turn. I was allowed to be a kid and have an imagination. Even when it meant having chocolate chip cookies for dinner on occasion. And I still do it.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Sonya said...

My mom was similar to Jillian's. She didn't spend a lot of time taking advantage of teachable moments, so to speak, and we watched plenty of TV. But it was also an era when "Go outside and play" was commonly heard. My aunt was a no tv, all organic food kinda mom and her kids really aren't any different from the rest of us who ate preservatives and rode in the back of pickups. (Although one of them did go to grad school at Yale.)

Anyway, I think if you're worried about how you're doing, you're probably a great mom. It's the one's who are oblivious to their effect on their kids that I worry about.

Congrats on your Level 1 submission! If they could only find tiny little things to object to, then you're golden.

4:11 AM  
Blogger lexa said...

I feel the same way, too, about my kids. They do watch a lot of TV, but in the summertime when we go camping I can't keep them inside! My oldest just turned six in January, and he can read very, very well and is at least 12 levels ahead of the rest of his class, so TV didn't impair him at all in that respect. He reads a lot of things that even surprise me! They are both picky eaters, especially the oldest. Pretty much the only vegetable they'll eat is corn. (Logan will eat broccoli, too! Check out my recent blog post!) The oldest one spends too much time on the computer. He loves poker, and I know most people think I'm terrible for letting him play. But he's so good at it, and its helped him become excellent at addition and numbers. I keep telling myself that summertime will be different. There are always toys all over the place in my house. One of the guys I work with is always doing stuff at his house - redo cupboards, lay ceramic tile, redo bathroom, etc. - but he doesn't have kids. I'd love to be able to do stuff like that, but I may as well wait til the kids are older. I do want some new furniture this year, living room and a new kitchen table set.

I wouldn't trade them for the world, no matter how bummed out some days can be. If I didn't have the boys who would put me in home when I'm old and senile! :)

5:44 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

I was raised by granola no-tv-watching arts & crafts parents, and always wished my mom was more "normal." It worked out, though, because a knitter was born. And it turns out I raise my child in a similar fashion... except he watches lots of tv and occasionally eats cake and ice cream for breakfast and is already a 5 year old Alex P. Keaton. My kid is so Type A it's scary. I don't think tv ruined him or saved me. We're both fine. Your kids will be, too.

p.s. I have a pair of brownie point socks on my blog! :)

8:15 AM  
Blogger amylovie said...

Congrats on you MK results!


8:29 AM  
Anonymous adrienne said...

can you share the hints for making the ssk better? i am totally inconsistent. sometimes ok but sometimes not.


6:02 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Gosh, that sounds like my life. My kids are almost 16 and 21 and they are fine. We have the TV on all the time. They read, are articulate, my daughter (16) is an A student.So don't worry about it. You love your kids and they know it, what could be better than that.

6:58 PM  
Blogger candsmom said...

Congratulations on your MK swatches! That's so awesome! And you are definitely a good mom. Bad moms don't question their parenting ability. It's like that whole bit about being crazy: if you're able to question your sanity, then you're probably not crazy. Mommy guilt is so incredibly pervasive. I yell at my kids more than I should, and I'm not proud of it, but I also hug and cuddle them all the time, and I'm sure they know how much I love them. As do Syndey and Owen. My kids are addicted to the Wiggles, Thomas and Sesame Street, too. I think moderation in everything is good. I used to aspire to be a perfect crunchy mom; now I just hope to be "good enough," TV, additives and all. ;-) You're a good mom and your kids will be more than fine. Take care and have a great weekend, Chrissy! :-)

9:58 PM  
Blogger Erica said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Your kids have a great mom.

7:07 PM  
Blogger CarryFairie said...

I have to say that I don't believe that there is any "one way" to parent. What is important in my opinion, is the love you have for your children and doing the best by them that you can.

I really do hate it when ANY other parent (or worse yet, the non-parents) decide that they can judge other parents, or measure them by their own beliefs. Don't take anything in that you don't want to. You love your children, that is clear, so that makes them very luck indeed!

I have officially called my March socks finished.

10:30 AM  
Blogger lexa said...

Yes, what Adrienne asked! I'm making Wyverns, and my SSK could be a lot better! I wanted to make these maybe for Sockapalooza, but now I'm having doubts because of my SSKs!

4:36 PM  

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