Look at me! All shiny and new.

Here’s the new layout, simple and clean. Also, easy: It was listed on the “themes” page of wordpress. How do you like it?


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Why I haven’t been blogging

I have no idea what to say. There. I said it. It is as simple as that.

No, really. It is.

But since that makes for a short post, and I am nothing if not long-winded, I’ll give you some navel gazing backstory.

Privacy has become an issue for me and my family. Yes, yes, I know, you are rolling your eyes and laughing at the irony of that statement. You know, seeing as how it comes from a woman who blogged about her lady parts. Repeatedly. And in detail. Yet, I’m human and therefore changing and growing and I am now a mom. This means that my story has intertwined with my beloved daughter’s, and, well, I really struggle with the boundaries between what is my choice to share and what would be a violation, a betrayal, of TA.

Add to that the fact that we can’t go outside without The Questions (howoldisshewhat’shernameisthatyourbabyisthatyourREALbabyhowlonghaveyouhadherisherdaddyblackwhatsizedoessheweardoyouspoilheristhisyouronlychildhowoldareyouetcetcetc), I have become much more… what? Introverted? No. Careful? Maybe. Untrusting? No. Cognizant that privacy is the first thing taken from you by someone who seeks to treat you without dignity? Yes. I’ve been experiencing a bit of that over the past year. I’m not now or becoming a misanthrope by any means, but I am more aware than ever that TA and I deserve the dignity of our privacy.

Which then leads to no blogging, because I’m not sure what to blog.

But I miss it.

I miss the connection with others, the giveaways (I loved those!), the journaling aspect of it all.

Not sure how to end this post, either. Is there a solution? Of course there is. There is always a solution, I just have to figure out what it is.

I also feel a change of scenery is in order. I’m going to get a different layout in the coming days.

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Mobile + Howrah cat

I have had 2 skeins of Lamb’s Pride forever. Originally, I used them to start a pair of slippers, but I didn’t have enough – I got 9/10 of the way through one slipper, and realized that extra 10% was going to cost me 2 more skeins, frogged it, and stored away the yarn. I still want those slippers, but now? Now I have a mobile:

I did the thing right, too. I thought about it for a long time, drew it, and considered several options for the materials. I even experimented. In the end, I chose a wooden dowel for the stick part (so technical, I know), crocheted around it, and then wove gray and blue yarn on the ends. For the rings, I used book rings, purchased in boxes of 100 from Amazon. I purchased two boxes, because my drawing was off… See, the one thing I didn’t do was measure the rings and space between the rings before I had the dowels cut. So now I will have a greater number of smaller mobiles, and all with a slightly modified design.

What are you working on? Leave a link to your current project (or a past one that you are proud of) and I’ll edit this post to have a list of links. I want to see!

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I’m famous, disorganized, and other various stuffs

The title said it all: I’m famous! Go over to , read my post, then come back here and pity me. Or not. Or something. I’m trying to write a follow-up post for here, to let the two people who read this blog know that my TA and I are ok. I’ll get it written soonish, just as soon as I finish the laundry. Ahem. Laundries? Is laundries a word? I ask because if you could see the smallish mountain sitting on the sofa, you would agree that it should be.

Speaking of disorganized, I am all about the organizings lately. I am DYING from the clutter and crap, DYING I TELL YOU. A friend is going to come over and help me out, which I am so, so very grateful for. Also, I have decided that today marks a new habit: I’m going to do the 7 day spread method of outfit choices. What’s that, you ask? Well, let me elaborate:

TA has a hanging Ikea-like cloth organizer in her closet. It has 5 cubbie holes, so I am going to use one for Sat/Sun and then one for Thurs/Fri. Instead of hanging and folding her clothes (they don’t wrinkle anyway), I’m going to put an entire outfit, including socks, in each. Then, in the morning I’m going to just grab and dress mah grrrl. I’m hoping that this solves two problems: 1) Getting in a laundry-doing groove again and 2) Taking one task I do everyday and getting it done faster once a week. I’ll let you know how it goes.

This Tuesday, my friend and I will be organizing the downstairs closet (if I don’t work). I’ll take before and after pictures, I promise. (Note: It’s so bad, I had to ask my friend, “How many scarves and hats are enough? How many do you really need?”)

TA is more than adorable, this kid is love and joy and sweetness all on two legs. She’s almost walking, and it is the most heart meltingly cute thing I’ve ever seen. Our lastest mommy and me activity is to blow raspberries at eachother. We find this immensely entertaining.

Other various stuffs:

My babette is coming along. I want to do a section a month, so section 2 will be up for your viewing pleasure soon.

I would like to start doing giveaways again, because those were such fun. Any ideas?

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My Babette

Hey remember ? I was going to crochet a fabulous in cotton thread. It was going to be a big project, but totally worth the effort, you know? That was back in, what? 2008, I think?

It’s been 4 years and no progress… until now! I am totally thrilled, stoked and psyched to give you this:

My first square. It’s section 1 of the Babette, so now I am 10% of the way done. Sortof. Some of those sections are a tiny wee smidge bigger than section 1, but, well, humor me.

I’m also crocheting really cute Christmas ornaments, but I won’t share a picture of that until after Christmas 2012. A couple of ornament recipients read this blog, and why ruin a good surprise.

I’ve had a lot of time to crochet lately, what with barely working. I guess it’s a good thing that I didn’t use up all my stash way back when, you know? I mean, what would I have done without projects???

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I am judged constantly on my parenting. Part of it is because I’m a new mom, part of it is because I am parenting transracially, and part of it is because I have an entire bureacracy monitoring most decisions I make. While on the one hand, it is exhausting, I have become much more aware of how my parenting styles affect others.

For example, I constantly feel as though I am being watched. And, when I look up (usually on the bus), it seems like there are always at least two people staring at my TA and I wistfully. At other times, such as when her hair is not at its prettiest, I will look around to see stern faces eyeing me and my daughter. I know what they are thinking, and I am careful to have my daughter look her best when we are out and about.

Something happened yesterday, though, that made me wonder about my own judgements of parents. TA and I were on our way to see about some baby music classes, and a woman and her (approximately) three or four year old son were waiting at the bus stop. TA did her best to engage the boy, and the mother and I laughed at her antics.

Then, on the bus, the boy started pointing at me and saying, “You have a big fat stomach. You have a big, fat, ugly stomach.” The mother told him that she used to have a big fat stomach, when she was pregnant with him. The boy thought about this for a moment, and then continued pointing at me and chanting, “You have a big fat stomach. You have a big, fat, ugly stomach.” The mother did nothing to encourage kind behavior or limit his meanness (and let’s face it, for a fourish year old, that is pretty effing mean, and let’s not even go into what it says about his respect for adults or what kinds of prejudice he hears in his home).

I could have done any one of a number of things. I waited for the mother to explain that 1) it is rude to point and 2) the behavior was mean and unacceptable. She did not do either of these, just looked at me and smiled one of those, “Kids say the darndest things,” smiles. I considered moving, but then was all, I’m going to be bullied by a four year old? I thought long and hard for several minutes, while the boy continued his pointing and chanting. Everyone on the bus who could see and hear him was tense, wondering how the heck this would end. I felt a little badly for them, because it was pretty uncomfortable and… ugly. That’s the only way I can describe it: Ugly. Not so much the boy’s behavior, but the mother’s condoning, and implicitly encouraging, said meanness.

I thought carefully about how I could handle the situation, and what I would do if my TA behaved in the same manner. One of my parenting fears is that my child will grow up to be selfish and unkind. Sitting on that bus, I told myself that I had to be gentle when/if I responded. I had to be kind because my upset was not so much caused by the boy as it was seeing a behavior – unkindness, lack of compassion, cruelty to another sentient being - that I fear TA will one day display. (And lets be honest – American society almost demands lack of compassion to “succeed” in life.) I waited some more for the mother to correct her son, and when it became clear that her only response would be to conflate a pregnant belly and a fat one, I parented her son for her.

In a calm, quiet, even voice, I said: You owe me an apology. You are being mean to me. It is rude and mean to point, and I don’t like it that you called my stomach big, fat and ugly. You hurt my feelings. You owe me an apology because you are being mean and rude and you hurt my feelings.

The mother looked simulaneously mortified and offended. The boy apologized. I wasn’t surprised that they got off at the next stop, but I was surprised that the mother told me to have a nice day.

And that was the end of it.

Except I can’t stop rehashing the events. Was I wrong to correct the boy? Was I being judgmental of his mother? Was my voice calm enough? Should I have just moved seats? I don’t know, and I’ve been rethinking my response over and over and over again. My words were not random; I rehearsed them in my mind for at least two blocks (mind you, while this kid pointed and chanted at me). My tone and voice were also not random; I said a little hello to TA before I spoke to the boy, to make sure my voice didn’t go all nutso on me. I used “I” statements. I told him my expectation and I told him what he did that was wrong and why the behavior was unacceptable. I made him aware of how his behavior affected me. I did not attack him… or did I?

Did I go too far when I said he was being mean and rude? I admit, that line came straight out of Supernanny, you know, when she puts the offending child in the naughty chair. Still, it came dangerously close to a personal attack in my view. On the other hand, should TA ever say anything like that, I would have no problem telling her that she was being mean and rude. So…….. where does it end? I admit I’m in a spin cycle of paralysis by analysis right now. Which, I guess, is why I’m posting this. I would love to hear others’ thoughts on this incident, and on the idea of how to raise a child to be compassionate and kind. If you had been in that situation, what would you have done? How would you have handled it differently? What if it were your child that had behaved similarly? And how do you raise a child to NOT hold prejudices that are socially acceptable (like fat prejudice)?

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I’m sure every parent asks that, but really, where has it gone? It’s as though one day I woke up with a baby in my arms, and the next day TA is cruising and playing. Like, marathon playing. This child will amuse herself for hours, and when I think she wants me to pick her up? Usually it’s a misunderstanding: TA was calling to the cats, not me.

Which tells you my place on the hierarchy: I’m the person who buys birthday cake.

Can you believe that? Today I stopped into a bakery to look at birthday cakes. BIRTHDAY CAKES. My babygirl is almost one. I just can’t believe that. I haven’t decided what we’ll do for her first birthday, but we must have a cake and one year old photos. These are necessary. And yes, I’m going to get a smash cake for the photo shoot.

Almost one year old. Sniff.

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On Turning 37

I am a different person than I was last year. I have not only grown, I have changed: I am a mother. And I embrace that identity. I thrive in it. I dance around the room in it, the pure deliciousness that is loving my TA.

And that has been the entire 10 months between December 15 and October 6. Oh, sure, other things have happened: I finished my masters degree, finished my teacher certification, lost my job, spent glorious months at home with my darling daughter and have spent grueling hours searching for a new job. But really? When I think of where I am right this very second, it is this: I am a mother. And that is the bestest place to be.

In the next year, we will move to a bigger home. We will wait for TA to become a sister. I will hopefully find a job (CROSS YOUR FINGERS). I know and hope these will come to pass, but you know what? I am a bit stuck right now. I think that is why I haven’t been blogging: I’m stuck.

And it is a Good Stuck this time. I am doing what I can to move my family forward, but honestly? I am so Happy now, so very very Happy, that I wish I could hold on to this moment forever, just never let it get away. Romantic, yes, but just a wee teensie impractical. And also, I’m boring. I’m boring in my stuckedness. I have no motivation, no angst, the sky is not falling, hell, I don’t even have any snark left in me.

I’m just Happy, so much so that it’s like Pollyanna is my other personality. Unemployed? That is GREAT. I get to enjoy the lovely weather with TA. I have to move? AWESOME, I get to look for a place with a sunroom. See? I can’t seem to accept the downside to either, let alone be bogged down by them. The flu? Well, at least it only lasted for one full day, and WOOT TA didn’t get it. (And yes, I annoy even myself with this, at times.)

So that’s been my past ten months in a nutshell, living in a lovebubble. And let me tell you, the sun shines a lot brighter from in here.

A job would make it perfect, though. Just sayin.

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Babyfood pisses me off. Like, royally. Like, I want to grab the CEOs of all those babyfood companies and shake them until they beg for mercy. And then I want to frogmarch them through the baby aisle of the nearest big box store and yell, “YOU STARTED THIS. YOU! YOU!!!” To me, those jars of liquified… what? What is in that crap? are symbolic of all that is wrong with new parenthood. $50 baby blankets on sale for $35 (and labeled a steal! get it now while it’s cheap!). $75 shopping cart cushions, so your baby can grocery shop in comfort. And everything comes with your favorite cartoon character, but it may cost you an extra $15.

And if you don’t buy all that crap people judge you as a parent that doesn’t care. Or is poor, which in the US is a moral failing. And then after you buy all that useless crap you can’t afford to save for your child’s education or your own retirement. Which is fine for now, because there is always tomorrow, and you don’t want to be looked down upon today, right? Right? Am I right? Can I get an amen? It all makes so much sense. It’s all so logical.

I rant. But then, I can. Because it’s my blog.

As I was saying, I don’ t care much for babyfood from the store. It is a rip off, and I honestly do not trust that it is safe for my child to eat. Interestingly, this aversion has really made me reevaluate what I buy for myself. I mean, if I don’t want TA to eat beef from the grocery store, and certainly not liquified mystery meat, then what am I doing ingesting that crap?

But I rant again. Sorry.

You might have guessed that my 7 month old daughter is transitioning to big grrrl grub, and she is doing a fantastic job. Now. She’s doing a fantastic job of it now. The first few tries were, welll… Per conventional wisdom, I bought the uberprocessed flaky rice cereal, to which TA responded with a horrified expression and gagging. I tried again a couple of days later, and she actually barfed. I threw it out, because that shit neither looks nor smells like any rice I’ve ever seen. Overpriced Icelandic yogurt wasn’t TA’s bag, either, but that was ok because I have learned that it is my bag.

So I went back to the basics, to my maternal line. My mother may be deceased, but she did teach me a thing or two in her lifetime: I made applesauce, which my mom made for me and my grandmother made for her. Here’s the recipe (which has been changed because I like Fuji apples the best, we can now use the peel and seeds because the organic gods have shined down upon us, and stick blenders rock):

8oz fresh pressed apple juice or cider, organic
4 Fuji apples, organic
Water, as needed

Wash the apples thoroughly, but do not peel. Cut the apples into 1 inch pieces. Use the cores and seeds, but discard the blossom end and stem. Put in a small crock pot until they are mushy, then puree with a stick blender. If the sauce is too thin, either continue cooking in the crock pot or heat on the stove. Do not let it simmer. Strain with a sieve. Note: My crock pot is tiny, so that is all that fits. If your crock pot is bigger, you can use more apples and juice. There really is no set ratio of apples to juice. Rather, the juice is just to keep the apples from sticking.

TA loves it, and screams at me to feed her faster. I really enjoyed making the applesauce. It made me feel like such a mom, it was satisfying, I ate half the sauce myself (because dear G.d that is some tasty stuff!), and it was a relief to know exactly what was in my kid’s food. I have begrudgingly purchased some babyfood because I need the jars. Once I have an adequate stash of jars, I’ll be making all of her babyfood.

I’ve also made oatmeal cereal from organic steel cut oats. Very simple – I used my stick blender and bowl attachment-thing to turn the oats into a powder, and then simmered the oats until they were soft. Then I used the stick blender again to puree the cereal some more, and waaa laaa. Oatmeal cereal that doesn’t make my baby gag.

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Yes, yes, I know, officially summer began  last month, but, um, I’m in Chicago, remember? Here in the City of Big Shoulders, the great weather gods don’t necessarily jive with what should be, and instead throw us a rainy season. And then a cold patch. And then some more rain, just in case we might possibly have wanted a little more. That, my friends, was June.

But now it’s July and woot! it’s summer! It’s been GORGEOUS round these pahts, which is to say that it’s been hot and muggy. I love hot and muggy, I really really do. Of course, I would detest it if I didn’t live next door to this:

Granted,that was taken last year, but you get the idea. There is actually a beach on the other side of those trees, but it requires climbing over big wave breaking rocks. I used to go there all the time for a dip, but now that the TA is learning to swim, we are inconvenienced by a two block walk to a beach with no rockclimbing prerequisite.

Yep, you read that right: My TA is learning to swim. I put her in the mei tai, and go wading with her. She’s been to the beach three times now, and has thrice again shown herself to be Superbaby. I’m telling you, this kid will put up with anything, and she’ll even like it. Freezing cold water on her feet? You think she’d have cried, right? Not my TA, oh no. She laughed and kicked. The same freezing cold water up to her tummy when a big wave came to say hello? This child squealed and flung herself almost out of the mei tai. I wish I had a picture of the expression on her face: Surprise mixed with delight mixed with THIS IS THE BEST THING EVAR.

We only stayed in a for a half hourish each time, and only about five seconds of that involved a semi-submerged babyfoot, in case you are considering allegations of child abuse. She didn’t get hypothermia, or a sunburn, and neither did I. None of the bad things that can happen when you mix baby + water came to be (thank heavens), and instead it was a lot of wonderful (which will be repeated today!). It was a short time at the beach, but in those few moments, a hope was affirmed: The beach bum family tradition will continue on for another generation.

Full report at this site the best spinner

Life is good. Life is so, so good.

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