What makes us so threatening?

I was discussing the sanctimommy phenomena and the judging I’ve been subjected to in person with my aunt, who often sees through an action and figures out the heart of the issue.

Take for example, the typical sanctimommy, she has a couple of kids and a husband, a traditional family.  She often stays at home, and she feels she has done her “research” and knows what is best for her kids.  So she spends her time helecoptering around them, interfering with their arguments, making sure they do what they are supposed to, eat only the finest organic foods, breastfeeds her baby until the child is a toddler, spends time with other sanctimommies in play groups or mommy groups, talks mostly of her children or her husband or a practical hobby she shares with other sanctimommies.  She researches daily what other sanctimommies are doing that they feel is best for their child and the environment of one-upmanship begins.  So she is a constant cycle of figuring out the next best thing for her children while being completely exhausted by what she is currently trying to do. Not to mention that she has to make sure to look good and not let anyone know that she is exhausted.

But, she is a mom.  She is exhausted. No matter how we choose to parent our children, we are tired.  And her perhaps even more so because she has to live up to the expectations of the other similar mothers.

And then one evening she goes out, and she meets someone decidedly skepparent.  Someone who lets her children regulate themselves.  Who doesn’t feel the need for a certain amount of children.  Who isn’t afraid to let her children out of her sight because she knows the environment and knows her children and what they can handle.  Who has allowed her children to learn independence carefully and within boundaries.  Whose children, even despite these “unideal” circumstances, are extremely well behaved, and do regulate themselves as expected. And it is just so unheard of in the sanctimommy world that she can’t fathom it, and she just HAS to say something.  And when the skepparent reiterates her unconcern with the sanctimommy philosophy, well, that must be rather threatening!

After all, you’ve been raising your children a certain way and exhausting yourself with varying results, and here before you sits a woman who knows her children so well she is unconcerned about all the research you have done.

Are any of the actions of the sanctimommy or the skepparent inherently wrong?  Is breastfeeding to the age of 2 (or 3 or 4) wrong? Is feeding your child organic food wrong? Is letting your child regulate herself wrong?  No.  It is the nature in which they are being done.  The problem ends up being the one-upmanship environment, the sacrifice for the sake of sacrifice rather than for the sake of the children. The buying into certain behaviors just because other sanctimoms are doing it.

Just as a sanctimommy will feel threatened by other sanctimommies who are parenting in a more extreme manner than she is, she will feel threatened by the skepparent.  But, if you skepparent, doing your own research and listening to your childs cues, you have confidence in your parenting.  Does this mean that you stop asking advice or listening to constructive critisicm?  No, but it does help you weed out the constructive from the judgemental.  And that gives you way more freedom and energy than you will get by exhausting yourself worrying about what other mothers think.

Every child is different

The major problem I see with sanctimommies is that this parenting philosophy fails to take into account that every single child is different.  Sanctimommies seem more interested in being a certain kind of mother than they are in figuring out what their child actually needs in order to thrive.

Once I got used to the idea of being pregnant with Bug, I became very excited about it.  All my life I had heard of women who just kept saying how much they loved being pregnant.  So I assumed I’d feel the same way.  Trouble is, I ended up feeling disenchanted.  I just wanted someone to be honest with me.  It just wasn’t the walk in the park I had anticipated, and I felt that everyone around me was lying for some strange reason, and I couldn’t figure it out.  I didn’t understand why people wouldn’t want to be HONEST about the experience.  I mean, no one had really told me that I’d want to sleep 20 out of 24 hours in the day.  That I wouldn’t be able to walk into the kitchen without smelling the garbage, even if it didn’t smell bad per se.  That I would be sick most of the time and most foods would not be in any way appealing to me.  This just wasn’t what I had expected, but I found that the more honest I was about how I felt, the more honest answers I’d get from women who were pregnant or mothers who had felt the same.

So rather than buying into the myth that pregnancy was fun and games, I began to immerse myself into parenting books.  Rather specifically Dr. Sears.  And so I began believing that attachment parenting would be the best way to go.

Now, before those of you who know me are shocked and appalled, please realize that I had some very good reasons behind this.  In my mothers day, I believe it was Dr. Spock who had told a generation of women that co-sleeping was a very poor idea, and that all children must sleep on their own and cry it out.  You know what?  This also was a fallacy that did not take a child’s’ needs into consideration, so I’d grown up hearing stories about what a difficult baby I was until my parents gave up on Dr. Spock and did what was best for me.  Which was basically attachment parenting.  (Incidentally, when my brother came along, my mom attempted the same attachment parenting and it didn’t work for my brother at all, proving that a parent should be able to adjust to a child’s needs.) So, I assumed I would probably have a child who was like me, and I wanted to be prepared for that.

And then Bug entered my life.  Loudly, I might add.  I tried to do all Dr. Sears had advised, but she was HUNGRY!  So after “doing right by her” and breastfeeding appropriately, I’d have to top her off with formula. And there was the co-sleeping thing.  It became apparent very shortly that if she and I shared a bed, neither of us would get any sleep.  In fact, even sharing a room didn’t work.  She and I both had to be separate (and still do to this day) because if either of us hears a movement from the other, we awaken with adrenaline pumping.  Even a change in breathing pattern across the room would cause this reaction to me.  There was never that peaceful wake/sleep/nurse pattern that Dr. Sears talked about, instead there was only hour after hour of waking every 45 minutes or so because someone changed position.

And then I got smart, and I listened to what I thought was best, and I put her in her crib, upstairs, in her own room.  And guess what?  We BOTH slept and we were both better for it.

In the end, we managed to come up with our own idea of attachment parenting.  Combinations of what worked and what didn’t work. For instance, Miss Bug did want to be held most of the day and was at her best in a front pack. It worked well for us.  Had she preferred sitting in a bouncy seat, we would not have felt guilty about that either.  Skeptachment parenting?

So the free flow of memories from Bug’s early days does bring me to a point.  Why would a mother, any mother, choose to read a book and believe this is the best way?  This didn’t work for my parents generation and it isn’t working for mine.  Instead, it feeds the sanctimommy ego when her child prefers her chosen way of parenting, and it generates an appalling amount of guilt for the mother whose child needs something different.  Is that really working for anyone?  I’d rather choose to read all the literature I can get my hands on, ask the advice of a WIDE variety of people whom I respect, and having done my research, fine tune my parenting to fit my child.

Us skepparents though, are subjected to a surprising amount of critique, criticism, and sometimes downright animosity by the sanctimommy.  Just for attempting to meet the needs of our own children.  I think I know a possible reason, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

Skeptical Parenting

I’ve so much to say on this particular subject that I can barely contain myself.  Trouble is, if I try to say it all today, we are going to have some very unorganized thought processes.  So, I’d rather do a short series as I process certain aspects of these thoughts.

Suffice it to say, when I was pregnant with Bug, I bought into the whole sanctimommy movement.  But by the time she was 2 weeks old, I found that I felt very differently than I had expected to, and without knowing there was terminology for it, I became a skepparent. And I did so quite quietly without much cerimony, just doing what I thought was best for Bug and for us as a family.  It certainly worked for us.

Now that one of my best friends out here has given birth to her son AJ 8 weeks ago, she has started the SkepParent blog. Fortunately for us, she has similar views to mine and is quite logical in her thinking. But her blog, and an experience about a week ago or so, has really gotten me thinking about sanctimommies and how we become them, why we become them, and what harm this is doing to us.

I decided to work on a few posts of my own because I was totally spamming her comment section, and it is, after all, her blog.  On the other hand, I find the discussion of this very interesting and am looking forward to further discussion.

A ride for Bug

So all summer long Bug and I have been attempting to convince her dad to give us back the bike trailer.  After all, I’ve been biking quite a bit this summer and it would be great to have her along.  Additionally I had it on pretty good order that he was not using it. (Since it was in pieces in two different homes, neither of which was his own.)  We bugged, pleaded, and cajoled, and J even decided that we should just purchase a new one since it was becoming such a hassle to get the old one back.  But I didn’t want to do that, as Bug will really only be in a trailer for a short time.  About a month ago I got one piece of the trailer back.  It took another month to get the rest.  But…we have it and tonight I took Bug on her first ride of the season.

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As you can clearly see, she barely fits in the trailer anymore.  Originally we had thought that Orangekathy would pull her in order to slow O’kathy down a bit.  But we soon figured out that the hitch didn’t really work that way.  So, I ended up doing the pulling.  I guess I shouldn’t have done those 21 flights of stairs today?

The entire ride was a little sketchy since it kept threatening to rain.  We cut it fairly short because of this, and that was probably good as my legs were exhausted, hips and knees a bit sore.  I think the trouble is that I need to learn to gear it WAY down when I am pulling her.

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Bug, perfectly content in her “small space,” got very annoyed with us and almost teary when we told her we needed to stop.  I heard about it the entire way home, how it was not raining, it didn’t rain, and she knew that dark threatening cloud wasn’t going to rain.  I promised her a ride next week.

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I may yet regret this…

In other biking and Bug news, we received a used tow bike for free today!  I was thrilled to pieces over this fact!  Bug wants nothing at all to do with it, but I can’t wait to see her use it! I mean, a little help on the hills already!

A shawl update

I am at the point where my shawl is moving along fairly quickly.  I am very pleased about this, as I’d like to get it done before August 10.  So I thought it was time for a little update:

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A first for me

A colorwork sock.  I’ve never done one before.  But SKA July challenge is colorwork and I thought I could make a pretty one by pairing a dark yarn with some handspun.  The handspun is a very early spinning attempt of mine, but I don’t think it looks bad at all in this case.  The pattern as written is far too short for my taste.  I experimented with a different way of elongating the leg portion but ended up frogging that and going with a second repeat of the star pattern.  Doesn’t this rather look like a quilt block?

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What am I to do?

With all the peppers in the garden?

I figured I could perhaps pickle them.  Except, I don’t like vinegar. I do, on the other hand, like traditionally prepared olives.  Which contain peppers, which I love to eat.  So, instead, I pickled my peppers using the salt brine, lemon, olive oil mixture one would prepare olives with.

Aren’t they pretty?

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One Update

A few weeks ago, I posted about the neighbor whose car alarm was going off way too often in the middle of the night. Since I haven’t updates from the other situations which were stressing me out that week (and in those cases, no news is good news) I thought I would give a car alarm update.  Well, the day after I wrote that post was the worst day for the alarm ever.  First, it had gotten so bad that I was actually waking up before it went off and then laying in bed worrying that it might go off.  Which is really obnoxious on my part, but I am like that.  So the next morning I woke up at 3:30 AM to begin to worry about the car alarm.  Then, it did actually go off around 4.  Fortunately, 15 minutes later I was able to get some rest because I figured that would be it for the day.  But it went off again at 7 AM.  I don’t know if it went off during my work day, but it did go off at 5 PM and 10 PM.  But fortunately by 10 PM they seemed to have figured out how to turn it off quickly.  Fortunate!  From that point on, for about a week, I’d still hear it at night but they’d have it turned back off so fast that I wouldn’t lose much sleep.  This was a great improvement.  And now they have it so well under control that I never hear it at night at all.  It has been a solid week of no car alarm so I think I am safe.

Or they are on vacation.

Happy Birthday, Birthday Bug!

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We threw a little party for Bug last night, complete with ice cream cake…and a tiara and boa!

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The boa was quickly deemed “too scratchy” so it got the back burner.  The tiara (actually there were 2, thanks to Corrie not being able to choose between them) was a very big hit!  Our theme for gifts were books which we loved when we were children.  Books that are in it for the long haul.  I know Bug will be a “reader” someday, it is easy to see, so I thought these would be the most appropriate and well loved gifts for a kid going into kindergarten.  Furthermore, she already has more than enough toys.

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Just a snippet of the fine books chosen for her!  This comes as no surprise because if there is one thing that my friends and I share besides knitting, it is our love for reading!  A love for books which goes back to Bug’s age and sustained us long term.

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The cake, which Bug didn’t feel she had much time for, was deemed more than delish by us adults.

Soon Bug decided she’d like to practice her photography skills, and make each one of us a princess in the process.

Carrie as a princess:

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Kristen as a princess: (probably the most regal looking of us all)

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Kathy as a princess:

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Corrie as a princess: (and ultimately we have HER to thank for these lovely pictures!)

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Sarah as the “come hither princess”:

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Me, looking a bit more like a queen as I was at the time admonishing Bug to keep her fingers out of the way of the camera lens.  Which obviously was NOT the problem I thought it was:

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And the absolute highlight of the night for us gals, Grant as a princess:

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OK ok, Grant might win in the regal looking department, he just needs that boa!

Thanks guys!  I had a really great time, and obviously Bug did too!  I am really excited to dig into some childrens books which I haven’t even read, and I am sure Nana will get good use out of them too when she comes for a visit.  When Bug and I got home last night, the first thing she did was lovingly set all her books up on her bookshelf in a place of honor.

Exciting news!

These sock bags are a real must see!







Aren’t they gorgeous?  And they are all handmade by our very own Ummeyusuf.  I’ve had one of these for awhile now, and I’ve used it every single day.  I use it for my sock knitting, I use it when I am out on my bike to hold my ID and cash, I use it in my handbag when I need an extra organizer.  I am convinced I need about 5 more, so you can imagine how hard it is for me to give these up.

But, despite that difficulty, we are offering them!  They are now listed in my etsy shop.  Stay tuned for another style coming soon!

What happened?

I am allergic to shrimp.  I didn’t start out that way, but it happened gradually.  I do not like this fact, as I think shrimp are quite yummy.  But, the hives really aren’t worth it.  At first it was a few hives on my face, in which case I would think “Gee, I wonder if I might be allergic to shrimp?”  And then I’d avoid it for awhile.  Eventually I’d forget the hives on the face and try again.

I went to attend my brothers wedding, and at the rehearsal dinner, I ordered a lovely pasta containing shrimp.  It was delish, and as I hadn’t had shrimp in about a year, nor much meat of any kind, I really enjoyed it!  But, in the car ride back to the hotel, I started to itch.  And then I realized I had hives, not just on my face but worse ones all over my torso.  This pretty much confirmed my suspicions about the allergy, and I’ve not had shrimp since.  It took an unforgettable case of hives to remember the allergy in the first place.  In fact, I’ve avoided all shell fish on the off chance I am allergic to other types.

J and I went out to dinner at an Italian place the other night.  Being that we both eat vegetarian, we ordered vegetarian dishes.  He had a lovely pesto tortellini, and I a whole wheat pasta with various Mediterranean themed veggies.  Both were sprinkled with roasted pine nuts which are one of our favorite things.

I noticed soon after that I had developed a headache.  We went to see Moon, which was, incidentally, an extremely well done sci fi movie which deserves a lot more attention than it is getting.  Brought up many ethical questions which we enjoyed discussing well into the next day.  (Mom, put it on your netflix).  Unfortunately, I had felt increasingly uncomfortable during the movie, but this often happens to me when wearing a pretty dress and stockings. By the time I drove home, I was grumpy and headachey, and just trying not to snap at J’s sometimes overwhelming amount of chatter.  And then I started to scratch.  I became so itchy I had a bit of a panic attack, thinking my new car was infested with some sort of bug.  But, once I got home and into shorts and t shirt, I realized that this was hives.  Hives all over my torso again!  But I had not eaten anything which could have caused this!

And boy did it knock me out! I sat on the couch while J gutted eggplants to stuff the next day.  The last thing I remember was him talking about how perhaps they had fried the pine nuts in oil that had fried shrimp.  And then I was asleep.  Sitting up, on the couch.  Then J woke me up and sent me to bed.  I, who never ever ever sleeps in, slept in until 7:30.  Then I got up for all of 15 minutes, to start some tea.  Once it was simmering, I felt like I should go back to bed.  So I did, and slept until 10!  This is without benadryl mind you!

What actually caused this reaction is somewhat of a mystery.  J thought my pasta tasted like weeds.  Maybe it wasn’t shrimp at all, but some other unknown allergen.  I’d probably be wise to carry benadryl in my purse.

In any case, I finished up all this wool top this weekend, a grand total of 830 yards. I decided to photograph it in one giant skein!

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Stay tuned for some colorwork socks!

The Bug conversations

To set the scene, Bug and I are looking at her calendar, making her aware of all the goings on in her life.

Me: And Bug, on this day, Nana is coming to visit.

Bug: Really?  I can’t WAIT!

Me: And on this day, JJ and Mommy need to go on the plane, you and Nana will take us to the airport (I knew the airport thing would cause problems).

Bug: WHY!?!?!

Me: Because I need to take JJ to the hospital in another city, we need to get his knee worked on again.

Bug: Oh, well, you will come back right?

Me: Yes, absolutely, we are coming back on this day…right before you go to school.

Bug: So you aren’t leaving me forever?

Me: Of course not! I’ll come back just as soon as I can, and you can play with Nana in the meantime.

Bug: You are not sick right?

Me: No love, we just have to go to have a doctor fix JJ’s knee.

Bug: So JJ is not sick either, this is just about the knee.

Me:  Right, everything is fine, we just want him to get his knee fixed so he can go biking with us.

Bug: Well, that’s ok then, because Nana will take REALLY good care of me!!!

A simple pair of socks

Really sometimes that is all I can handle, and this weekend was one of those weekends.  So rather than pushing myself, I just went ahead and finished these Madder Ribbed socks.

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I used reynolds soft sea wool as my yarn, can’t say I’ll do that again.  I made them for my J, but realized later that this wasn’t a good choice of yarn, as he will have to remember to hand wash them.  I am fairly certain that they will get shrunk in the washer.  Which will upset him greatly.  He does think it is the most perfect color though.

Tour de Fleece day 14

I have finished spinning all 10.5 oz. of the wool top that has been laying around my home for far too long.


Once I finish plying these 2 bobbins worth of wool I will be completely done with this colorway!  And then we get to find out just how much of it I have, and if I can make any type of short sleeved cardigan out of it.  I think one handspun sweater per year is a fairly decent goal, one in which I should be able to achieve.  Which means I will have to get started right away to complete this year.

I am rather tired of the color right now though, and I don’t think I want to work on it this weekend.  I suspect it will be next week before I play around with this one.

Knitting, not spinning!

While I have been pretty much all consumed by Tour de Fleece, I have still had a bit of time to devote to some knitting.  Lace knitting that is, as the Kauni has not interested me overly much.  Must be I am on color overload from all the spinning.

So, I submit to you a picture of my clover leaf shawl, third repeat almost half complete.  It is actually getting smaller now, and easier to finish each row.

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Tour de Fleece day 12

I finished up the 3 ply merino roving that I have been working on since the weekend.  Quite frankly it shows me once again why I love 3 ply, even though it takes quite a bit longer to work up.  I think that this might be some of my favorite plying thus far.  Roving was chameleon colorworks Briar Rose colorway, 3 ply fingering weight yarn, 352 yards.

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Bug’s new dress

It feels great to have a finished object!  This is Bugs dress.  Regarding making something she could wear for a couple years…well I failed miserably.  On the other hand, it is awfully cute for this year.

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Tour de Fleece day 8

Well…morning 8 anyhow.  I haven’t exactly started spinning today. But I do have  a little progress from last evening to show. This is merino wool and I am working on a 3 ply. 3 ply always takes a bit longer since I need to make each ply so thin.  But, this merino likes drafting thin so it is not too difficult.

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I decided to work with warm tones today.

Getting there

I haven’t done as much spinning as I had anticipated today though I did put in my hour.  Instead I decided to get moving on Bugs new dress.  I finished the knitting portion and then we headed over to the yarn shop to trade in one of the extra balls of yarn for a contrast color.

I must mention that poor Bug has been sick today, throwing up more than I’ve ever seen her do before.  I had been getting quite concerned, but around 12:30 she suddenly decided she was better and not pukey anymore so I decided we should get out of the house for a bit.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, we will see…) the trip exhausted her and she slept all afternoon.  As she napped this morning too, I know that she is well and truly sick and staying home today was wise.  I only just woke her up, but she has decided that she could eat a popsicle, which is the first of anything except water she has had in her stomach since last night.

I had started out the day thinking I would have extra time for knitting and spinning, but the reality of emptying buckets and holding back hair and worrying was a bit different than I had anticipated.  So working on the dress was a good alternative.  I’ve added the contrast color to the picture so you can see it, now we just wait for it to dry!

I actually had to be somewhat firm with the gal at the yarn shop.  I had taken the dress in and Bug had mentioned that it was a little tight.  I said I’d fix it with a good blocking.  So the gal who rang me up asked if it would have a crocheted edge.  I told her it would after I blocked it.  She insisted that I should block it after I crocheted the edge as crochet curls.  I gently let her know that if it needed 2 blockings that would be ok, but the nature of crochet is that it is inelastic.  If I don’t get the length and width I need BEFORE I add the crochet edging, I am highly unlikely to get it after I add it.  Poor gal, she looked at me rather stumped and just said “oohh….”

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Tour de Fleece day 7

I am home unexpectedly this morning as Bug is sick.  At least this means I can get some spinning done!

This is the finished product of what was on the wheel yesteday:

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Lorna’s Laces wooltop.  I haven’t counted yardage as it isn’t quite dry.  I have so much more of this to spin! But, I won’t bore you with two in a row, I’ll spin something else first.

Status update

I’ve got a whole bunch of fibery stuff to show off today.  First of all, I finished my first madder rib sock.  These will be for J providing they fit him.

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The yarn is reynolds soft sea wool.  It isn’t my favorite, but I am hoping it makes a long wearing sock.

And I have a TdF update, this is what I spun yesterday:

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I have a whole lot more where that came from!  I’ll spin a bit more on this bobbin and then ply, so I should have a finished hank to show off tomorrow.  This is actually a “wip” spinning project, as I’d spun some up earlier this year and need to finish the rest!

And, I received batts in the mail!  Some lovely merino and sea cell batts I won in my swap club contest:

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And for this months swap I received 2 colors of batts.  The blue batt is comprised of wool (turquiose), alpaca (blue), angora (purple) and silk (chartreuse).  The undyed is wool, natural colored cotton, hemp and silk

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What great packages to receive during TdF!

I’ve aired out all the bad energy

So now I can move on to something a bit more fun.

We are about a week and a half away from RAGBRAI here.  And, though I don’t think I’ve mentioned this, I am riding the first day. Which means that on Sunday, July 19, I’ll be putting around 65 miles on my bike.  Now, Orangekathy and Mary do the full week, but I am not at all prepared to do so.  Instead, I’ll be riding with 2 gals from work.  Bug will be hanging out, watching the ride, and then going fishing, so she will have her own wonderful adventure while I attempt to ride the furthest I’ve ever ridden in one day.  I am very excited about this prospect and though I haven’t been doing much riding lately, I’ve kept my stair climbing up in hopes that this will help.

I’ll try to get pictures!

I’ve enjoyed biking so much this year that I’d like to get a new bike by next year.  We will see….

Orangekathy pointed me in the direction of a ragbrai poem and I thought I’d repost it here.  It is a little outdated as this is year 37 rather than 22.  It certainly makes me want to do the whole ride rather than just the first day!

by Scott Murrish From: murrish@ix.netcom.com (JUSTIN MURRISH)

As the bus approaches Iowa,
the land of the Field of Dreams,
We await the ultimate cycling vacation,
and discuss just what RAGBRAI means.

On the surface we’re just out cycling,
riding past the rolling farms,
But the truth is we are visiting friends,
the whole state awaits with open arms.

They will line the streets and welcome us,
as if heroes home from the war.
High fives and waves and “Where are you from ?”,
will make your spirit soar.

But beware the Super soaker kid,
there’s one in every crowd
I retaliate with my bottle full,
and an aim to make Schwartzkopf proud.

The morning sun crawls up from the corn,
the damp misty air gives me shivers,
I start each new day with great expectations,
rain or shine, it always delivers.

I start most days on Pork Chop Hill,
I wash them down with beers.
We shout “PORK CHOPS” at the passers by,
while the vegetarian sneers.

Sure there’s fruit and pancakes and cinnamon rolls,
all the standard breakfast fare.
And the java junkies hit their brakes,
“There’s espresso over there”.

The rules of the road are somehow forgotten,
sports nutrition is now but a joke.
This 500 mile long bake sale
would make Richard Simmons choke.

This never ending feast must feed
a horde 10,000 strong.
From day break through the dark of night,
the army rolls along.

With each new town we enter,
anticipation fills the air.
Where’s the music ? Where’s the beer ?
What are they eating over there ?

Should we eat now ? And maybe then a nap.
What the hell, let’s find the bar.
But I gotta make a pit stop first,
hope the ‘kybos’ aren’t too far.

Some folks come as elaborate teams,
with buses they travel in style.
And then there’s poor Team Bad Boy,
totin’ their stereo every mile.

“All the world is a stage” it’s true,
and this is rolling proof.
The mild mannered farmer shaking his head,
thinking, “What a buncha goofs”.

These Fields of Dreams are here for you too,
a chance to be someone different, to shine.
For one week and maybe 500 miles,
you’ve an audience of 9,999.

This is not the time or place for modesty,
we can be normal any time.
If we come out of our shells for just one week,
too much fun is our only crime.

It has been some 22 years now,
since the newspaper boys decided,
“We must prove that Iowa isn’t flat.
We’re crazy enough, let’s ride it!”

There’s no more doubt, to cyclists at least,
that this state is far from flat.
It’s these endless rolling hills of corn
that keep them coming back.

For others it’s the ‘udder’ simplicity
that gives this ride it’s charm.
An entire week without a complex thought
pedaling blissfully past the farms.

Like the “Thing That Wouldn’t Leave”,
or the giant slimy “Blob”,
This ride just keeps on growing,
a friendly, hungry, rolling mob.

So we sleep in a tent and we eat standing up.
So we drink more than Mother would like,
but we sweat it out, burn it off, and come home quite fit,
That’s the beauty of traveling by bike.

But there’s more to this ride than the food and the fun,
and the bike’s but a means to an end.
It’s the meeting same time and same place every year,
with 10,000 of your very best friends.

Tour de Fleece day 5

I’ve probably posted more today than any other day, but yet I have a TdF update to post even so.  I am making up for the weekend apparently!

TdF has been going very well, I’ve not missed a goal and have exceeded them daily.  This is cutting into knitting time, but I am not minding overly much.

I finished this 4oz of falkland wool, 2 ply, light fingering weight, 330 yards.  I love how the grays toned down the pinks and I like the coloring a lot more than I expected to.

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I’ll be spinning again this evening, I am relegated to a WIP spinning project which won’t be overly fun, but they do need to get done!

To my ex’s ex.

Let’s get something straight right off the bat.  I am not my daughters “biology” mother.  I am not even her biological mother.  I am her mother.  Through and through.  End of story.  I am her only mother.  I have sole custody of her.  Biology only plays a small part of this and has nothing to do with this conversation.

Now that we have that straightened out, let’s talk about your role. You are not her mother.  You have walked into her life only 6 months ago and spent a very limited amount of time with her. Her relationship with you would be considered rocky at best.  Now that you have kicked out her father, you have no role whatsoever in her life.

Therefore, your desire to express how you feel she should be raised, and what issues should be addressed with her is the height of hubris.  But, frankly, all you’ve done so far has been hubris, thus I should not be surprised.

Your statement that Bug is “much smarter than we all imagine!!!” is incorrect.  I assure you, I know just how smart she is.  And because she is so smart, she can see right through you.  To her, you are desperately transparent.  She may be much smarter than you realized, but I know just how smart my own child is and how she understands so much more than most people think she does.  So, if you tell me she treats you with disrespect, I have no doubt that this is a learned behavior.  If you and her father spend all your time disrespecting each other, she will learn to do the same in that situation.  But because she is smart, she compartmentalizes and she knows full well disrespecting me would be a very bad idea indeed.

Now that we have established that she is a pretty smart cookie, let’s talk about how she defends her father.  In your presence, she has had to be fearful of the behavior her father and you have toward each other.  Now, she loves her father and has always known him.  And you’ve walked in 6 months ago and disrupted their relationship which was becoming more stable over time.  Who did you think she was going to defend?  You?  You have GOT to be kidding me.  She doesn’t love you, she barely even knows you.  Of course she is going to act in whatever way she thinks is pleasing to her father at the time.

And no, she doesn’t like the thought of you marrying her father.  Big surprise, I am sure she doesn’t want to see two people who treat each other with such contempt actually get married.  This goes against what she believes marriage is about.  So basically, we have now established that she is actually smarter than you.  And her father.  Combined.

But, I’d like to assure you that she doesn’t act this way around me.  In fact, quite the contrary, she asks me often if I could please get married.  And you know what?  Though you seem to think otherwise, she has never asked me to marry her father.  Actually, while we are on that subject, let’s address something else.  Yes, yes indeed it would be both rude and too late to “let” me be with her father again.  Actually, you are not “letting” me be or do anything.  My life is my decision, and I decided long ago not to be with him.  That isn’t going to change even though you seem to think that this would be best for Bug.

Now, let’s address where you’ve gotten it right.  You are right when you comment that you are not the one who should address these issues with her.  Absolutely.  Stay out of it.  You’ve no place in her life anymore so there is no need whatsoever to address anything with her.  You don’t get to correct her “misbehavior.”  You don’t get to tell her what has happened in her life when she was too young to remember.  You don’t get to provide the shoulder to cry on when her father lets her down.  Those rights are reserved for me, and I will be the one to take care of them.  That is what “mother” means.  That is what “sole custody” means.  You are none of those.

And finally, please, I implore you, do tell me why you think you will be sending her to China to study to be a physician of acupuncture “based on her interest?”  She is 4 years old!  She doesn’t know her own interest.  She won’t know her own interest for some time.  And, as smart as you have realized she is, I am positive she will figure out that China is not the place for her to study!  Of all the harebrained statements, I think this one might be the most obscenely ridiculous.

But you know what?  I really must thank you for this latest email.  It has given me insight beyond my wildest dreams as to what my daughter has been dealing with for the past 6 months.  It may not have accomplished what you expected it to, but I assure you it was indeed most enlightening.

To the neighbor with the touchy car alarm

For the past week, every night between 2:30 AM and 4:30 AM your car alarm has woken me up.  Now, I realize I am a light sleeper, and I am often wakeful, but since your alarm goes off for 15 minutes in a quiet neighborhood, it also wakes the Bug.  The first time it happened I awoke with adrenaline pumping thinking it was my own car, and completely embarrassed that I might be waking my neighbors in this quiet and kind area of the city.  Apparently though, you have no such qualms.  Or you have a much nicer house than I do, with central air and a great deal of insulation, causing you to not even hear what is going on outside.  For at least 15 minutes.  Every night.  Or you are a particularly heavy sleeper.

You bring back such fond memories of college dorm life.  Those memories of a roommate who thinks she can get up for an 8 AM class but then lets her alarm snooze from 7AM to 10:30AM.  Every single morning.  Or marriage, when he would get a call to work in the middle of the night, yet I’d be the one awake and making sure he got out of bed at the appropriate time.  Same alarm clock routine.

So after realizing this, you may understand that I have an overwhelming urge, at 2:30 AM, to get dressed and go find your car.  Imagine your surprise to actually find someone standing next to it as the alarm continues to sound.  Don’t worry, I’ve no temptation at all to do something to cause it to sound, I just want my sleep.  Sleep for me, and sleep for my daughter.  This isn’t NYC after all, just a quiet community of light sleepers.

(I’ve not resolved this issue yet, any suggestions from readers would be greatly appreciated!)

To the Cox Communications service dude.

Lately life has been pretty good. Funny though, how even when life is good, it is marred by small issues which are not your own. There are 3 in the past week and a half which have been bothering me, and so I’ve decided to compose a small rant about each one to get it off my chest. The first of this series involves Cox Communications.

To the Cox Communications service guy whom I found parked in my driveway upon my arrival home from work with Bug in the car. Perhaps you felt that my tiny driveway was a great place to park your huge service van, but I respectfully disagree. That driveway is my access to my garage, and upon arrival home from work, I would like to have it free for my use. I am sure, what with you driving all day, you can understand how tired one gets at the end of a long work day and how moody one might feel. Furthermore, I’ve truly failed to understand, even upon thinking it over for a week, why you chose not to park in the street when there was lots of space and the pole which you’d need to access to finish your work.

It was, as I mentioned, a surprise to see you there. In fact, it was a surprise because I am not having any trouble with my internet, and I do not have cable TV. But, when I told you to move your vehicle you kindly let me know why you were there, to remove a cable phone box which I had never used. Unfortunately, it was also at that time which you informed me that rather than you moving your own vehicle, I should just drive around the block for a few minutes while you finished up. Wait…what??? Did I hear that correctly? Oh, I did? Well ok then. I am sure you were satisfied for a moment or two when I drove off, but much to your chagrin I didn’t go very far. Rather I thought I’d surprise you as well, by turning around and parking right in front of the pole you were going to need to access. And then climbing out of my car with a notepad and pen and writing down the ID code of your van. If I hadn’t been so tired and annoyed, it would have been amusing to see how fast you ran back down my hill and into your van to move it. Thanks for that, but it was a little late.

So, yes, if you got in trouble for that little incident, it is all my fault. Let me tell you, your supervisor was MOST apologetic. Really you are both lucky I didn’t chicken out and call the cops right from the start. I do tend to avoid such confrontation and let someone else handle it. Next time, I will call them first.

Bug’s new dress part 2

Bug has yet to figure out that this tube I am knitting on quite maniacally is actually for her.  I’d like to keep it that way.  Unfortunately this means I cannot try it on her as I am knitting along, so it is anyone’s guess as to if it will fit her.

I’ve finished the skirt portion, and with blocking I am hoping it will be long enough.  I’ve begun the daisy pattern, and as is typical for me, I didn’t follow the instructions quite right, so there is a mistake.  I think it is well covered and I am not going to change it.  Takes quite a bit of looking to notice it.  I’ve actually accomplished all the suggested repeats, but I am going to elongate the bodice as well since Bug is just so tall.  I am fairly certain, even with Tour de Fleece, that I can have this one done by the weekend.  And then in knitting I am back to two long term projects that are starting to bore me a bit.  I suppose that means more spinning!

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Tour de Fleece

It is now day 3 of Tour de Fleece, and I have failed to post any pictures at all!  My progress thus far has been to finish up a skein of jacobs fleece roving.  It is undyed and absolutely rich and gorgeous.  It still has some lanolin in it, but I’ve never minded a more raw feel to my wool.  This is a 2 ply which is rustic, somewhat thick and thin, and very earthy. 90 yards of worsted to bulky weight yarn.

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As I was pulling this off the wheel, Bug decided that this reminded her of JJ’s sweaters.  I thought that was an interesting observation.  Unfortunately, she decided I should be knitting him a sweater out of it, though there is just not enough.  After trying to understand how much yarn it takes to knit a sweater, she decided a hat would be better.  I don’t know if she will get her wish or not, but it really is some lovely wool!

As for progress pictures, I’ve been working on some falkland roving which I am considering plying with some silk.  What do you think?  I am not sure that the pinks really do go well enough together to try it, but I am not thrilled to pieces over either roving so I’d be willing to give it a try.

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And on that note, I really should do some dishes and make some dinner.  I really cannot spin all day can I?

A new dress

Bug got an early birthday package in the mail from her Nana.  She got 2 new dresses.  The one she likes the best is just a bit too big, so we thought we’d show this one off.  She enjoys the kerchief in her hair!
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