Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pssst . . . Ya, You!

This site hasn't been cutting it for a while . . . so I'm moving over here. And I promise, I'm posting more frequently. Adjust your RSS feeds if you like.

- Jill

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Day In the Life, Or What It Feels Like For a Mug

Sometimes, I just go off on a tangent. This would be one of them. And occasionally, I think better of my tangents. This would not be one of them. I give you . . . my mug's day. Yes, people have been clamoring to know how the humble mug spends its day. And in a first ever photo expose, here you have it. It ain't pretty, but it's real life, people.

Pick me! Pick me! Seriously, I'm on top . . . do not go for the Starbucks . . . they are stuck up assholes!

Could you do iced coffee every once and a while . . . it's scalding my insides, dammit!
Sugar?! Really . . . should your coffee match your heart? And clean the spoon. It's been talking about you for days.
Sunlight . . . finally. Wonder how long this will last.
This spot again. I'll be here all week at the rate this bimbo does the dishes. All. Damn. Week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When They Leave

Shelby came home Thursday evening because she needed to have her wisdom teeth extracted. She and Jordan were home the week before for her consult, and they took the train home so that Jordan could begin her semester and Shelby could get some stuff settled for her semester in Germany.

So, when they leave, it is one of the worst few hours for me. Usually, I'm a bit of a bitch the hours or so before they head back to Philadelphia (still can't call that home for them) because it means that my limited time with them is at an end. It means that things are once again out of my control. They will have to be the responsible ones, and I'll be reduced to text messages, Facebook postings, and the occasional phone call. I'll trust that everything I've said has registered some place in their brains and that they will make the right choices again and again.

Shelby is having her wisdom teeth removed. I think she's the one keeping me calm.

 Truly, it means that I won't get to see them. When I talked to Erika before Shelby's surgery, I told her I was a little freaked out over the whole thing. The last time Shelby had anesthesia, she was 18 months old and having tubes put in her ears. Getting your wisdom teeth removed is pretty routine, and it scared the shit out of me. What if? Add to that Shelby leaving for Germany in about seven weeks, the Girls being separated for the first time in their lives, and Jordan talking about grad school in Los Angeles. See what I mean? What if . . . I can't even fill in the blanks.

Dave is driving Shelby to the train station as I type this. I have a crap ton of grading to get done, so I have iTunes cranked and am working my way through a pile of essays and pop quizzes. I was making good headway, but then a sappy song came on, and I lost it. Guess I should be used to it by now, but the what ifs are multiplying.

- Jill

Friday, January 20, 2012

Why I Knit

Ten years ago, I didn't know how to knit. I looked at the yarn that I saw in Walmart or a craft store and didn't really give it a second thought. But a friend asked if I would take a beginning knitting class with her, so I carefully selected a skein of hideous variegated Red Heart and some shiny aluminum needles and cast on for a scarf. Eventually I made a sweater for a bear out of Sugar'n Cream cotton . . . and then I stopped.

I have no clue why I stopped. I just did. Stopped for about two years. Stopped to the point that I forgot how to purl. Stopped and didn't finish an equally hideous scarf made out of lilac wool and white fun fur. But eventually, there was a need to pick up the needles again and create something for someone special. My sister, Bridget, was pregnant with Emma, and I wanted to make her a sweater. So, with the help of Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch, I figured out how to purl again. And I never stopped.


So, why do I knit? That answer is evolving. It gives me something to do. It's been linked to memory retention. It's portable. It makes me think. It allows me to control something. It allows me to fly without Valium or any alcohol (fine, less alcohol). It calms me down. It gives me something to do. It takes my mind off of things. It's better than crack . . . at least I'm 99% sure it's better than crack.

Last weekend, I attended Vogue Knitting Live! in New York City with a friend. I had the opportunity to take classes from people whose knitting I have admired for ages. Got to relish in a full on girl-crush (Clara Parkes, I adore you . . . seriously, let me buy you a drink!) Listened to a lecture from the person who got those needles back in my hand. Bought my own Valentine's Day presents. Suggested to Dave that he buy me a sheep. Took some advice from the aforementioned fiber pusher, Ms. Parkes, and bought a bag of Romney to test out a spindle. Heard Alice Starmore speak and was inspired to try one of her designs.

So, again, why do I knit? I just do. I don't need a damn reason.

Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Pacific Blue
Needles: 8 (maybe 9) . . . I can't remember
Modifications: none other than where I messed up on the sleeve decreases
Notes: I wanted a slouchy, throw it over jeans and go to the store, kind of sweater. And this is it. It's easy to wear, and this might be the warmest sweater ever. I predict that it won't make it upstairs this winter as I'll wear it as a defacto robe until mid-May. I had been knitting on this for a while since it was stockinette for ages and had allowed the cardi to languish on the needles for way too long. But having the VK Live! deadline looming forced me to finish it so that I could wear something knit at a knitting convention (shocking . . . wearing something I knit at a knitting convention). Because of the construction, it swings open, so I have a shawl pin to keep it closed. And you know what? It's damn near perfect.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Dear 21-Year-Old Self

How's it going, you know, now that you've had the rug pulled out from under you? Seriously, though, were you really doing okay before that epiphany of an appointment? Shitty economy. Job prospects for your boyfriend not that hot. A kid on the way. And you still have college to finish, correct? So today was just icing on the cake because "twins" was exactly what you wanted to hear.

Guess what . . . you'll be fine. That boyfriend of yours will turn out great. And those twins? They will be the most amazing women you've ever met. Sure, you'll struggle. You'll wonder if living in your car is an option. Food stamps will look like a luxury at some point in time. And the two of you will do just about anything to make a go of it. You'll finish college - and just a semester late - but not without some sacrifice. Turns out working third shift will be the only way to avoid the cost of daycare (plus it's awesome birth control). And you'll put off work for about eight years. But being a stay-at-home-mom is something that you'll enjoy and excel at. Sure you won't be the crunchy "I'm going to make my own paint and paper and never let my kids watch t.v." SAHM, but you'll figure out a way to encourage those girls to find their own answers to just about everything.

Baby A and Baby B
So, buck up, little camper, because you're going to need it real soon. You're going to gain about 60 more pounds. You'll go into early labor in about six weeks, and you'll end up in the hospital. Your boyfriend will miss his National Teaching Exam because he won't leave your bedside. And your father? He's going to need open heart surgery, and your mom won't tell you because she's too worried about how you will react (then again, she won't tell your father that she told you . . . and hilarity ensues). After early labor, you're going to wind up on bedrest for 10 weeks . . . and owe your sisters more than you can ever repay. But eventually, on April 15, you'll start to understand what life is really all about.

And you'll never be the same,
Your 42-year-old self

PS - Last year's post here

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Little Word: 2012

Last year, when I decided to try the One Little Word experiment, I settled on the word growth pretty quickly. There were a lot of things I wanted to try and see how things would progress. Projects 333 and 365 were successful (note to self: put a three on it and apparently, I'm good). Learning how to use Photoshop not so much . . . personally, I like Lightroom. The whole "Hey, let's take grad classes to learn how to develop an educational computer game because they are free" went down in a great big ball of flames basically because the "university" was sucktacular. Overall, growth was good for me.

2012's word proved to be more challenging. I mulled over word after word for what seemed like ages but probably more like two days. Wellness? Sounds too much like school. Consideration? Of what exactly. Fitness? Thank you . . . no. Domesticity? Seriously, I considered that. Eventually it came down to two words: perseverance and persistence.
  • perseverance  - steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
  • persistence - the act of continuing steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance 
1:366 . . . back for round two
Pretty much the same word, right? Here's where the English teacher comes in. For some reason, I always think that perseverance has a negative connotation; it always seems so wishy-washy, almost as if one continues persevering even when one shouldn't. But persistence makes me think of one who pushes forward no matter what the answer. I'm probably way off base . . . but it's my word, and it's persistence. That nagging little voice in your head that says, "You know, you could walk a bit more." The urge to finish grading that bulking pile of papers you brought home for break. The need to continue a project when you just don't feel like it. Persistence. Nothing zen like balance or creativity or peace (and if those are your words, awesome . . . they are your words not mine). 

There are a few things I know I need to do during 2012, and I'll need all the persistence I can muster. First, I have to learn the spelling pattern, and anyone who knows me will understand that it might take all year to get it right. 


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wrapping Up 2011, Part 2

So what did I learn from the 365 project? Let's see . . .
  • I like yarn . . . lots of yarn photos
  • Dave's hands are in many photos
  • I fell in love with Kellie Hatcher's Charlie preset around late September
  • There aren't as many photos of the Girls because they live in Philadelphia
  • My friends make unexpected appearances
  • I'm okay with black and white in my 365
  • I'll probably do another one 
Here's the video. Nothing earth shattering. Then again, there's nothing earth shattering about me. See you in 2012!