March Ends, I’m Broke

Guess what? No Knitting & Crochet Blog Week post today. Not because I don’t want to do one but because I was so tired and sleepy last night that I forgot to take photos of the project I wanted to highlight today. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to talk about until about ten minutes ago so tomorrow will bring you today’s post and I’ll likely skip the Day 5 post entirely because, well, I forgot about it completely and haven’t done an ounce of prep and don’t really know what I want to do and can’t think of anything great. But enough of all of that and let’s take a look at my completely wrecked March.

Oh I didn’t just miss my March budget, I blew that mother straight out of the damn water!!! It was spectacular failure and one more piece of evidence to throw at those crazy people who claim most of us can’t keep a truly frugal lifestyle for more than a month or two and that spending challenges are stupid because they usually trigger a spending bonanza the next month. Um, guilty as freaking charged!!! And it mostly went to my (curvy) stomach. I blew my budget by $350 bucks, a mind-blowing 54%. Oh yes I am the awesome. What did me in?

Well, shoes for all three kids meant my Kids Clothing spending was higher than usual. The painful part on this one? Eldest refuses to wear the new school shoes I bought him. Why? They’re a teeny tiny bit too big on him so his heel slides out. He’d rather wear the too-tight shoes. I’m SO irked.

I spent $175 on gas this month which is almost double the highest month so far this year. Killed me. At $260, I spent more on groceries this month than I have any month this year. I think the reason was last month I really focused on using up what was in my kitchen plus in March I’ve begun doing more cooking from scratch. I’ve found sales and coupons on basic cooking essentials (flour, sugar, butter, eggs, etc.) seem to come around less often than other things. There was about $60 in Miscellaneous spending which, though less than the prior month, is still high for my taste. I don’t like spending outside of my designated categories. What I believe is the primary reason for my budget blowout is the $263 I spent on dining out this month—fast food, take-out, and restaurants. Last month, I spent only half of that. The month before I spent almost double but I wasn’t on a tight budget. All in all, I spent more than twice on food this month than I did in February. Yes that’s a huge sigh you may have just heard or felt. Needless to say where last month I managed to roll over more than $800, this month I’ve got $200. My only consolation is that I made almost $1200 more in February than I did in March so to have any roll-over at all this month is, I guess, somewhat comforting.

Now, it’s April’s turn and I’m at a loss plan-wise. Also, energy-wise. I think I’m going to try to go for a no Fast Food month like I pulled off in February. That makes me sad because I love McDonald’s French fries so much. I’m going to shoot for $650 again in expenses outside the monthlies. I really want to make this my magic number. I actually want it to be $590 because that’s the equivalent of the monthly cost of daycare which is going to go away in a few months. But I think I might be pushing it a bit for a family of four in a big, sprawling, busy city.  

I’m looking forward to my shindig this Saturday despite the fact I have no idea how I’m going to muster up the energy to bake like a mad woman. I’m thinking: Molten Lava Cakes instead of brownies. Chocolate chip cookies. Rice Krispies Treats. Coffee Cake. French Toast Bites. Bacon Pancake Bites. Champagne Cocktails. That sounds like way too much though. Must mull it over a bit I suppose. The French Toast and Bacon Pancakes are requests and if they don’t end up going I am not going to be amused so I suppose I’ll double-check with them before committing to actually making them. That’ll cut down my time in the kitchen by two dishes. Yeah, good plan.

More Than Words

Angelika on The Sartorialist

The photo above was taken by one of my all time favorite bloggers, The Sartorialist. I love to see the images he throws up on his blog and see how people wear clothes around the world. The photo above came with a post that generated a ridiculous amount of commentary, myself included. Why? Well, let me ask you to play a quick game. Pick up to ten words that describe this girl’s appearance. Go.

Got them all listed now? Ok here are the excerpts from The Sartorialist’s post that freaked people out:

“I loved that she’s a bigger, curvier girl than most of the other bloggers who you see in the press and tend to represent the genre. The subtle thing she achieves so successfully in these two looks is to complement the sturdy but beautiful shape of her legs with an equally strong shoe.”

You browse the comments and it’s clear a lot of us thought the exact same thing—Bigger? Curvier? Sturdy? For the love of god tell me you’re being sarcastic! Later he came back and updated his post. Here are some excerpts from that:

“A number of the commenters are upset by the word “curvy.” They feel I should have used the word “normal.” However, normal is relative. There is a young lady on my team who is 5’0″, and another who is 5’9″. Which would be “normal”?… This girl is taller than most, and has the bearing to match. Regarding the curves…just because you don’t see them does not mean they are not there. Is there a minimum degree of curviness to be considered “curvy”?… Remember, curvy is a body shape, not a weight. To be honest, you can’t really see in these photographs most of the curves – chest, stomach, hip – this woman has… What sucks is that when I try to put a photograph up to talk about these issues, the post is hijacked over the political correctness of the words… So help me understand; what is the modern way to speak about size? I’m not married to the word curvy… Help me describe this young lady without using the word “normal,” but in a way that addresses her body size and still references my point about the size of her legs relative to her shoes… I am proud to be a blog that is showing women of different sizes. I don’t want to lose the potential power of the post by being caught up in wordplay.”

Ok, here is my thing. It’s not about what words you use to describe her, it’s that you feel you must point out these differences at all and draw attention to the shape of her body in the first place as being different than the norm for the fashion world. Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought of her as different until he pointed it out—and even then, I swear to you I looked at the photos he had of her more than once until I finally saw her legs. If you want to talk about her shoes and her legs, there’s no need to throw in adjectives here. It’s simple. You simply state, “I love how her shoes go so well with her legs.” And the thing about that is if you feel you must make that sort of comment about a girl you perceive as curvier or whatever you want to call it, you should feel the need to make that sort of comment about a girl that’s a skeleton. Do you see my point? We know certain colors complement some better than others and it’s fine to point out how beautifully a particular color enhances the skin tone of a particular subject—but it shouldn’t be the exception because she’s not white for instance. That sort of observation should be universally made if you’re going to bother making it at all. Does this make sense?

The impression I got from the initial post, and even in the update, is what I think SO many of us non-waifs feel when we see these attempts at photographing and highlighting non-models. It’s the equivalent of, “That’s not bad—for a girl.” Except in the street fashion world it’s become “That’s not bad—for a non-model.” And that’s not fair.

The Sartorialist ended his update about how he is proud to be a blog showing women of different sizes (also ages but I didn’t include that part). The thing is, I disagree. He’s NOT showing women of different sizes. And ages? That’s not new at all. Vogue’s been giving us the giant Age issue for how long now? As a matter of fact, in this post The Sartorialist photographs three different instances where a flared jean is being worn. I swear to you they all look like they’re being worn by the same skinny pair of legs. Do you see a big ass in there? No way. Why? Big asses don’t work in flare jeans? Please. They probably work better than those twigs because they are more proportionate. As a matter of fact, in at least one of those instances I would even go so far as to say the flare is borderline ridiculous at the end of that type of body. Furthermore, here are March 2010, March 2009, and March 2008 posts. Tell me how many times you find a girl/woman that’s not a twig?

Exactly.

I think The Sartorialist is amazing at what he does. He captures some excellent stuff on the streets. I think his question is genuine insofar as it can be. But he’s been raised by fashion magazines and the influence is, sadly, obvious. These aren’t real street fashion photographs. They are fashion photographs on the street. The bottom line is, they can easily be taken as staged magazine editorials and while that’s definitely a compliment to his photographic ability, it’s not a compliment to his self-proclaimed diverse eye. The thing I find the most damning to this assertion is the amazing diversity you find in the photographs of men. I mean talk about ALL shapes, sizes, colors, and ages.

The bottom line is this—women who are not skinny are quite capable being pretty, sexy, and fashionable. I think on a surface level, we all know this. But clearly, it’s not ingrained deep enough that it is something natural. Most likely, The Sartorialist would have to re-train his eye to fully accept this view. I think this was why he was inclined to add adjectives to the woman’s body shape. She obviously struck him as out of the ordinary. While she’s very pretty, she’s not out of the ordinary—especially to people who are not caught up in the fashion world. That’s where The Sartorialist betrays himself and why so many people commented on the obvious confusing use of his words. So many women identified with her body shape and here she was being called out specifically because she was “different.” He tried spinning it in a positive way, and I get that, but the point he’s missing, I think, is that it should be the other way around. She shouldn’t be the one he perceives as different because she’s closer to the average (he’s right, there’s no such thing as “normal”) woman. As a matter of fact, research and history have shown women with hourglass or pear figures are generally held the most attractive. The fashion world does not put these shapes forth on the runway. By the way, the statistics for the average woman in the United States are as follows:

Measured average height, weight, and waist circumference for adults ages 20 years and over

  • Women:
    Height (inches):   63.8
    Weight (pounds):  164.7
    Waist circumference (inches):   37.0

I love the world of fashion. I love clothes and believe in the artistry that is to be found at many of the big designer houses. However, I do believe the fashion industry has done a major disservice to the women of the world in the past few decades. I think they truly have a huge responsibility to fix that. They aren’t and don’t even seem to understand the gravity of it. I have always maintained they are even doing themselves a disservice because every designer worth a lick will tell you they design for the every woman. Bullshit. It’s got to change. I feel people like The Sartorialist want to see that happen but are at the same time mired so deep in it themselves, they have a hard time doing what it takes to really fix things. I don’t want you showing me real people wearing runway clothes on a street. I want you to show me real people wearing real clothes on the street and are captivating. This is the true challenge street fashion bloggers need to rise up to. It’s a huge risk to go against the fashion world but it’s a necessary one. The fact street fashion bloggers are just capturing runway trends on the street show they’re doing nothing more than bowing to the big houses. They’re even invited to attend fashion shows now and crowd outside the shows afterwards. Why? This is not street fashion. Let it go. Dictate to the fashion world what is beautiful, don’t let them dictate to you.

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week- Day 3: The Stash

Anyone who genuinely enjoys yarn crafts inevitably develops a stash– a collection of materials and tools related to their hobby. I began knitting five years ago and took up crocheting seven months ago. I don’t have the stash you might envision given that I’ve been doing this for so long. Mostly, it’s because I took a break from the yarn world for a bit but it also has to do with the simple fact I’ve been determined to use up the previous yarns I have in my possession already. Now, I’m not a super perfect organizer by any stretch of the imagination but I have tried, in varying degrees of success, to bring some sort of organizational elements to my crafts in both the daily and long-term aspects.

Huh?

Ok there’s a difference between the kind of organization you keep for projects you’re working on and the organization you keep for materials not being used at the moment. At least, for me there is. Let’s do the easy one first– the daily stuff. The number one factor at the moment in any crochet project is portability. Because I spend about 45 minutes to an hour on a train on any given day, I like to bring crochet projects with me. Not all crochet projects are created equal for this sort of thing and I’ve basically determined they must fit my designated crochet bag.

My Crochet Project Bag

The above Kidrobot purse is my go-to crochet project bag. Why? It’s not too big and it’s not too small. Inside, which I didn’t think of photographing (doh), it has many pockets of different sizes with different closures. It’s the perfect size to hold the yarn you’re working with, the notions you need, and a copy of the pattern. It has a nice snap on the top ensuring everything is nicely kept inside where it belongs. Not to mention it’s made of good dense material so if I have anything sharp in there, I don’t have to worry about it coming through the bag and stabbing me (more of an issue when I was a knitter). This is not the only purse I have repurposed for crafty use.

Above, I’ve taken a picture of my Harajuku Lovers notions purse which houses all of the tools a crocheter needs from small very sharp scissors to paper clip stitch markers to pom pom makers to my hook bag. My hook bag was a lovely pencil/cosmetics pouch I’d received ages ago that nestles cosily into my little purse. This purse, by the way, also fits quite neatly into my project bag if I’m in a rush and embarking on a new project but am unsure exactly what tools I’ll be needing. I just shove the whole purse into my project bag and run out the door. By the way, I also have a small coin purse that houses the needles and stitch markers. It usually nestles in this purse or sits in my project bag which is where it was when I was hurriedly photographing these things this morning. So, now you know how I keep my stuff organized while I work on a project. But what about all of the other stuff I’m not using?

What you see there is the majority of my yarn stash, my box of embroidery and sewing details (sequins, buttons, thread, etc.), and of course the fabulous Polyfill I stuff my little creatures with. The yarn stash pictured here is a chaotic mess. This stash is any yarn that is not a neatly banded ball. This includes any remaining portion of a yarn ball from a previous project as well as those lovely skeins the more luxurious yarns come in. Oh, and of course it has those neatish balls of yarn that have lost their bands somewhere along the road. I’m still struggling to figure out how to organize these guys in a way that’s functional. Specifically, I’m tired of finding the perfect yarn for my project in the throes of a passionate embrace with at least one more yarn if not several more. Naughty yarns! My neatly banded balls of yarn are fewer in quanitity than their looser counterparts.

That is my large plastic container of nice and neat yarn. As you can see, the bin isn’t even close to full. I’m actually proud of that because it means I’m not buying yarn. And between the neat yarns and the not neat yarns, I really do have a good amount of yarn to work with– especially on smaller projects like toys and baby items for instance. Of course, this may very well not be the case much longer with Mother’s Day around the corner. I intend on crocheting most, if not all, of my Mother’s Day gifts this year and in most cases, I don’t have the appropriate yarn for the projects I intend. And while I have purposely selected some projects to use up some of my stash yarn, some of the projects are indeed special and require special yarns. But, they won’t last in the stash yarn and indeed some projects will inevitably use up some my existing yarn so we’ll see how it all ends up.

Oh, regarding patterns and such things. I have a file folder in my desk where I keep all of the patterns I’ve printed. I also have a very beat up folder I use to keep copies of the patterns of projects I’m working on at the moment for quick and easy reference. I don’t really own many books, but keep the ones I loan from the library on a bookshelf by the file box where the patterns are stored.

Generally this system works for me with the exception of the loose and remnant yarn. I’m especially fond of my printed patterns and my organizing methods with projects in progress. What about you? Any neat ideas you might have for me?

 Regarding those of you who could care less about my yarny ways, I’m sorry for the general lack of other content. I had fully intended on making posts outside of the crochet world in addition to my contributions to this week but I have been completely exhausted. I am pretty sure it has to do with the fact I’ve had the kids so many days in a row without a break coupled with some stress that’s cropped up at work. There have actually been quite a few things I’ve wanted to discuss in this blog I’ve come across this week but every time I try and gather the strength to vocalize an opinion or reflection, I get internally whiny and pouty. Not to mention I’ve been preoccupying my non-thinking minutes with The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest. My budget is completely blown in a devastating way. I will have some money to roll over to next month but it looks like it’s just a few hundred dollars. Tonight, I’ll be doing the math as tomorrow is my first day of the fiscal year (holy crap, that JUST dawned on me).

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week: Day Two, 29th March. Skill + 1UP

Oooh a retrospective post, how fun!

Around this time last year, I wasn’t doing much of anything craft-wise really. I think in many ways I was still focused on figuring out the single mom thing and how to make sense of everything. I was blogging though and my posts from March 2010 tell me I was reading books, in love with Mint and Alice in Wonderland, and appreciative of the craft of writing. But I wasn’t making anything yarny. As a matter of fact, according to Ravelry, my first project in 2010 was this wrap dress for my friend’s baby which I did in the summer and that project was a knit one. Yes readers, I know how to knit. Surprise!

Horrendous cell phone photo of the Blossom Wrap Dress

Even though none of my August posts mention it, I finally learned how to crochet August last year and made this scarf for Daughter as my first crochet project. I was shocked at how well it came together and how crochet finally clicked for me in a way it never had– and it clicked fast. I attribute this to Stitch ‘N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker which shouldn’t have been a surprise as its older sister, Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook is the book that taught me to knit.

My first crochet project

After that first, it was like the fists of fury but crochet-style and I’ve churned out one project after another trying absolutely anything and everything. This has been the number one difference to me between crochet and knitting. I am fearless with a hook but completely insecure with the needles. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve knit some pieces I’ve been very pleased with but it’s just always unnerved me and I’ve never felt 100% comfortable with knitting the way I have with crochet. I never knit in the round for instance except for one sock I somehow managed with the magic loop. And even that was an endeavor that sort of traumatized me even more as far as it came to knitting in the round.

Daughter's butterfly hat is worked in the round

Not so with crochet. I absolutely love projects worked in the round and even prefer them to projects worked straight as I don’t have to deal with those nasty foundation rows. You name it, I’ve pretty much made it: berets, booties, bucket hats, bun covers, bunnies, butterfly hats, chickadees, chunky hats, cup cozies, cowls, dish towels, dolls, fingerless gloves, fingerless gloves with stripes,  flower chains, flower necklaces, headbands, market bags, mushrooms, pandas, skinny scarves, slippers, striped scarves, throws, wine bags, and more. I have loads of fun with crocheting and even enjoy the process of learning new techniques as I feel they are all accessible to me if that makes sense.

As for progress, I guess a good example would be to compare two amigurumi projects (toys crocheted in the round) I’ve completed in the past year.

My first amigurumi, completed Sept. 2010

My most recent amigurumi project, completed March 2011

Want to see what other mad skills others have developed in the short span of 365 days? Click here for a Googly collection of today’s posts.

Monday- Week Begin

I had a lovely and delicious weekend, I really did. On Friday I made some ice cream with Thin Mints (good but too much vanilla) when I got home from work. And then that night, I drank two glasses of wine (which I never do) and fell asleep on the couch with the kids strewn across and next to me in random positions while they watched Castle in the Sky (we are huge Miyazaki fans). I just knew the moment I settled into the couch and they climbed on me I didn’t stand a chance. I leaned over and was asleep before I hit the sofa. I was woken up with the usual “Mom the movie’s over can we watch another one!?” It being almost eleven I shoved all of us into bed instead.

Saturday morning I went to the Farmer’s Market which was celebrating the last day of the 2011 season. I met up with a friend, his girlfriend, her son, and their wee baby. We wandered, shopped fruits and veggies, Eldest bought a cactus (he loves them), and then wandered around the area checking out the restaurants and stores. I took her son home with me as he and Eldest get along fabulously and we played outside the rest of the day. I think their favorite part of the day was when I filled the plastic pool and slipped it under the slide. Oh yeah baby, summer’s here! I finished sewing up my little doll (wait until you see her I’m in love with her) when his mom and my friend came back to pick him up and we chatted while they played some more. It was just idyllic and I have a really pretty (but itchy) tan to show for it.

Yesterday we were slow to wake up and I made a big breakfast featuring chocolate chip pancakes and bacon pancakes (and chocolate chip bacon pancakes for Eldest, weirdo) and scrambled eggs. I made myself start cleaning and picking up and doing laundry but my back got mad at me and started hurting really bad so I had to shift a bit to doing things like folding laundry sitting down. I also made some vanilla blackberry ice cream (again too much vanilla, not enough blackberries). Oh and a friend came by for a quick visit. She was in town for Ultra Music Festival and wanted to see me quickly before she headed off for the last day of shows. I always love out-of-towners enjoying my town. It was such a nice weekend, I really didn’t want it to end and resisted sleep a bit too much so I’m quite sleepy and lethargic today despite one cup of coffee and one chai latte. But I’m overall calm and content today in a very Comme Ci, Comme Ça sort of mood about the house and the finances and all of it.

Of course, financially speaking, this is super dangerous. My restrictions on spending tend to come undone and I’m generally very open to temptation when I’m like this because I feel very generous. Does that make sense to anyone? I don’t really want to spend on myself, just everyone else. Ok fine maybe a little on myself. I blame spring. The change in weather just makes me want to shake out the old stuff and bring in the new stuff. I also feel very confident in the future and am far more susceptible to the thinking that tomorrow will bring enough money and more security so why worry today? It’s hard to shift the mentality (maybe even impossible for some of us). Also hard to do is shake off this weekend sleepiness. Mondays should be half-days.

A Tale of Two Yarns- Post 1 of Knit & Crochet Blog Week

Well, first post of the Knit & Crochet Blog week and I’m off to a miserable start because truthfully I had such an AMAZING weekend that I forgot the thing started today which means I’m going to do this post with no new photos of my own and that makes me very sad.

Let me get the unpleasant stuff out of the way a quick moment if you will. As for a yarn I can’t stand it’s anything eyelash. I just can’t with that yarn and all of its fluffy bits that get stuck everywhere and holy heck good luck unraveling some huge mistake you made because it just rips into itself and creates a vortex of hell on hooks (or needles). For those of you non-yarn people, here is a fantastic shot of eyelash yarn that makes it look alluring but don’t believe the hype.

Photo by CMTigger on Flickr

Now, as for more pleasant ruminations on yarn, I’d like to switch gears and think about the many lovely yarn experiences I’ve had. The thing is, I’m quite sure many of the posts today are going to feature some fantasy yarns– luxurious, drapy, soft, sheeny, and expensive. And although oh my heavens I absolutely loved working with Manos, I am going to talk about some cheap stuff.

I love Vanna’s Choice yarn. I hate admitting I love it but really I just do. I’m pretty much making the switch to only using Vanna’s Choice except it’s not as cheap as say Super Saver. Vanna’s has my heart for two major reasons– color and smoosh factor. The line has lots of really great colors and I mean not only in that it has a wide selection but the colors are actually fashionable. And the smoosh factor? I fell in love with this yarn when I made a blanket for my grandmother. I could not stop hugging it as I crocheted it. I just couldn’t get over the softness of it, the drape of it, the smooshyness of it. I’m just aching for the day it goes on sale for an unbeatable price so I can stock up.

Abuela's Throw in Vanna's Choice Yarn

By the way, the organizer of the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week has devised a clever tagging system so if you are curious about the tales of two yarns from around the world, check out this Google search. For you non-yarn people, I’ll likely be back later with a non-yarn post.

12/52: Treats of Rice Krispies

The end of the week usually brings a finished project for me to brag about but I’ve been lazy with the hook and yarn and so there isn’t one to show you. Really the one thing I did finish this week was reading Soulless. I wrote a quick little review on Goodreads I’ll just plop onto here for you book nerds.

I absolutely loved this. I can think of so many awesome women who would absolutely love this book. If you’re the type that actually read Twilight but found yourself wanting to absolutely THROTTLE Bella, this is the antidote. The writing style is CRISP and brisk and biting and sarcastic and just really fun. It’s a smart little book with sass. Lots of fun adventure and craziness. Excellent heroine, wish there were more of her stripe in younger fiction.

It’s another day where I’m feeling mentally rambly. I’m feeling a bit out of focus today wondering if I’m missing something. You know, I do love things and it’s quite difficult to try and figure out some sort of balance with spending while you’re hacking away at debt because really it just doesn’t feel appropriate to spend on any want while debt exists. It just bothers me on some weird level, but I also would like some things. In particular, my brain is set on outdoors. I want planters and I want a hammock. I want more rose bushes and fruit trees. I want wind chimes and hummingbird and butterfly plants. I want a dining table and chairs with an umbrella. Oh, wants. You bastards.

And that’s not even the half of it. I have to say Soulless got me thinking about pretty things like jewelry. I miss having jewelry.

Oh and going through all those photos reminds me how much artwork and blown up photos I have without frames.

I don’t like a lot of things but I guess I want more of the things I do like if that makes any sense. Just one more year of throwing everything at debt. Then another year of throwing almost everything at the emergency savings fund. My rational brain tells me that’s not that far away at all, but the rest of me is whining.

Ok so I made Rice Krispies Treats last night with the littlest ones. It went very well and we got crazy and mixed in Cocoa Krispies too for some black and white action. They came out SO yummy. I honestly don’t know how people can eat those pre-packaged ones. The real deal is so much yummier. They were also very easy to make and gave my arm a serious stirring workout. I’m definitely going to be serving up a batch at my Freedom is Sweet Dessert Party next weekend. Any other suggestions on what to make? I so wish I had heart-shaped molds because it’d be fun to make break-apart heart rice krispies. I’m also making brownies of course (with or without icing?). And chocolate chip cookies. Maybe I should make those pillow cookies again but this time from scratch. I’d love to make some molten lava cakes. Oh and French Toast Sticks. What’s your favorite dessert? No white chocolate suggestions please.

I was going to say something but it was rubbish

I wrote a good long meaty post and about at the end decided I didn’t like it, not really, and deleted the thing. Now I’ve got nothing substantial to say and a migraine. Man I wish I had some tea and a treacle tart.

I finished Soulless last night. I friggin’ loved it, it was so much fun. It was the antithesis of Twilight. This means of course it’s time to start Hornet’s Nest but I purposely left it at home today and I think I may even resist starting it until tomorrow night.

I talked with a friend about my 60 book challenge and she mentioned she’s working through the 1,001 books you must read before you die list (not in one year mind you) and is currently reading The Time Machine. I’ve gone ahead and bookmarked the list to peruse when I’m running low on suggestions and inspiration. The thing that drives me nuts about these lists is I’m quite sure I’ve read some of them but I’m not absolutely sure and I don’t even really remember what they were about or anything like that and I feel like I must be such a bad reader person/book nerd to have such awful memory of what I’ve read and loved. When someone asks me what my all-time favorite book is, I usually reply “The Little Prince” and then wonder if really that is my absolute favorite and if it is, is that a good thing? I’m not sure.

I do admit I get quite excited when I read a particularly intriguing title on these lists and realize, “Why I’ve never even heard of that one and it’s got a killer title!” So maybe I really am quite a nerdy book lover after all and all is well in the world.

Tired. Sleepy. Lethargic.

You people who lay your head on desks and sleep? I envy you.

I’m not going to talk about my spending other than to say I totally screwed my budget this month and I’m as irritated about it as I am unwilling to do anything about it and that’s a bad combination indeed.

I’m starting to get excited about Daughter’s proposed water birthday party. She remembers the party I did for her brother two years ago that involved the use of a shark slip n slide, water balloons, and water guns. Mermaids would work quite well. They make a princess themed slip n slide, a rainbow sprinkler thingy, pirate ship pools, and other fun stuff. My house has two hoses and my grandmother lives next door and I’m sure she’ll lend us hers. The only problem of course would be the biggest problem in South Florida summer parties– rain. It almost killed my son’s party but we got right through it and had a great time.

I need to buy anchors for the swing set.

My head still hurts.

CNN posted this list of 15 places kids should see by age 15. We’ve done Disney and will likely do it again because it’s so the most magical place on Earth. One down, fourteen to go and a little over twelve years until Baby’s fifteenth birthday. I’m definitely in agreement with the Grand Canyon, Redwood National Park, Monticello, Niagara Falls, the National Mall, Williamsburg (I went there when I was a kid and totally remember that, ditto the National Mall), Alcatraz, Ellis Island, Yellowstone, and the San Diego Zoo. That seems like a doable list.

Has this post been a total waste of your time? I hate those.

I like Get Rich Slowly but some times I see comments that make me bristle. Like this one:

“Also, I’m glad I’m not one of these hypothetical people who works the exact same job for 30 years and never gets even the slightest promotion above a standard cost-of-living raise. Who are these people that are satisfied to make no career progress at all in their lives?”

Am I bristling for no reason? I know lots of people like that. Not everyone feels the freedom to take risks or put themselves first. Not everyone can put in the time and energy and training it takes to move up. Lots of people get the confidence beat out of them figuratively and literally. And yeah, that was obviously a guy that wrote that. I’m sure if he had the need for a bra he’d probably know more of those people. I’m also willing to bet it’s a guy with no children OR if there are children the wife is a stay at home (which ironically would probably place her in the category of those people huh?). I actually wrote a snarky response but the computer ate it and it’s just as well. People like that? They just don’t get it.

Like I don’t get the fact I still have this god forsaken headache and I’m going to whimper if it doesn’t STOP.

WIP Wednesday: Doll Parts

Here’s what I’m working on right now crochet-wise. If you like this sort of thing, Tami’s got more.

Ok I have to admit, every time I take out the head I think of Fraggle Rock.

I’m taking my time with these toys, not because they’re fidgety or fussy but just because I’m sort of enjoying being leisurely about the whole thing and sort of meticulous too. I don’t know if you can tell, but I ran out of the skin tone yarn I used for the head and neck and the arms are in a different tone. I don’t think it’s a huge deal and I doubt my daughter will care much. I actually plan on doing something fun with the legs so we’ll see how that all plays out soon. I also realized the other day I still have pieces to do on the other panda but all in due time. Like I said, no rush and it’s fun to just sort of pick them up and do a little bit and yet it looks like a lot. That’s one of the huge perks to amigurumi– just a few short rows and you’ve got a huge portion of your project done!

The other thing is I’m reading like mad. I finished The Red Pyramid and started on Soulless. Soulless and Hornet’s Nest were tied at my last comment count so I decided to go with who got the votes first and it was Soulless. Besides it lets me postpone Hornet’s Nest just a little bit longer. I’m having loads of fun with Soulless. Just eighty pages in and I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to recommend this to lots of friends. My biggest problem with it is I find myself constantly craving tea and biscuits and I don’t even partake of that usually! I’m also fiending for a bustle and parasol.

Oh, another thing I’ve been working on is the house of course. I’ve mentioned it so many times before but over the weekend I did the linen closet and I now I have two big bags the Veterans are coming to pick up tomorrow. I sort of want to declare my Home Office done as well but… it’s not entirely there yet. It also keeps getting messy too easy so I have to troubleshoot that and get it smoother. Almost though, I can feel it! The Playroom/Laundry Room is also ALMOST there though I’m still scratching my head over a few things.

I got good news today and I guess it’s worth mentioning because my finances are definitely a Work in Progress. It looks like I’m getting a tax refund after all and it’s a very good amount that I was not counting on at all. I don’t know when it’ll come in or anything like that just yet but I did get the paperwork and I’m really extremely overwhelmed with shock and relief. I’m definitely fighting tooth and nail the extreme desire to round up my kids and scream “We’re going to Disney World!” but that money has more important uses right now and besides I want a trip to Disney funded the right way. I paid a CPA to do it and in my case it’s well worth it. BTW, I’ve sent almost $3,000 in payments towards my debt so far this year. I have a little sidebar tracking my goal of $11,000 in debt payments this year. I might raise it in a couple of months when everything smooths out and I have a better idea of what to expect money-wise.

No break for me today, Ex isn’t taking the kids as scheduled. He’s claiming work is way too demanding and keeping him too late. Eldest actually looked a bit disappointed when I let them know which, honestly, surprised me half a second. Children are such interesting creatures.

Ok yes, I actually had a mini cry when I saw I was getting a refund. There, I admitted it.

Frustrated on a Tuesday

Frustration

“Frustration” by Sharonpack on Flickr

The word of the morning is frustration.

I was skeptical when Ex explained away Baby’s fever and grouchiness by way of teething but went with it. There I go again, trusting him. I told the daycare what was up and asked they keep a close eye on him and call me if it got worse. Call me they did. I was sure it wasn’t teething by the way he’d acted the night before, and by the way they said he’d been acting over there. Something was not right.

I flew to the doctor’s office with him and the doctor was a bit puzzled. No teething that’s for sure. His two year molars are in and his next set are at four. But his ears weren’t too bad, his chest was ok, and his throat wasn’t too bad. He did have a sore on his tongue and she was thinking maybe he was getting a virus in the mouth. So then I told her I thought he should be tested for strep throat. His brother had had it a few weeks ago and a girl in his daycare class was out with it now. She said since there’d been exposure she’d do it but there was no sign of strep anywhere. So she tested him and it came back positive. And so the budget officially blew at CVS as I bought the antibiotic and stocked up on ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help alleviate the pain. By the time we were done with the doctor and the pharmacy it was getting really late so I stopped for some take out and just shoved the budget out of my despairing brain for a while.

Once again, I’m tired. Once again, I feel at the bottom half of a very steep sheer-faced climb. Ex always brings me sick kids. I feel like all I do is patch them up and send them back to get sick all over again. I take all necessary precautions in my house to help prevent germ-spreading and I’m sure it’s likely Baby picked up the strep at daycare but is it really just one giant coincidence after another that more often than not they’re sick when they come back from a weekend with their dad?

I’ve got more spending to do this month and am already over by about $37. I’m pretty sure when all is said and done, I’ll have gone over budget by about 20% chipping away at the amount I’d planned on rolling over to cushion against the inevitable income gap next month.

I’m trying to breathe deeply, I promise. But I’m just awash in frustration and hormones. I forgot my lunch at home today. My son and I had a huge fight this morning. I want to shake everything off but something else just settles on me and starts driving me nuts. It’s the inconsolable feeling like a part of me is just demanding I be a whiny, angry, bitter person today and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Maybe I’ll make Rice Krispies Treats this week. Do you know I’ve never made them? I am really enjoying all of this baking but boy do you use up a lot of ingredients! Ingredients that used to last ages in my house like flour, butter, and brown sugar are disappearing way too fast. I’m sure when it comes down to it, buying the ingredients for these things is cheaper in the long run, and I know they are much tastier but I guess I’m just not used to actually using up the things in my kitchen if that makes any sort of sad sense. I find it hilarious I’m noticing this the same month I’m lamenting all of the times I’m dining out or on the go.  

Hey, help me figure out what to read next. I finished The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero and am almost done with The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Book 1). I have at my fingertips: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Kiss & Tell, Soulless, and PostSecret. Here’s a blurb about each one (all from Amazon):

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest: As the finale to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is not content to merely match the adrenaline-charged pace that made international bestsellers out of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire. Instead, it roars with an explosive storyline that blows the doors off the series and announces that the very best has been saved for last.

Kiss & Tell: The series of sketches that make up this memoir are arranged by the author/narrator’s age, beginning with before her birth, when we see her parents meet in Japan. In bold, graphic black and white drawings, sometimes reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi, the author describes a frankly startling range of shenanigans in her early teenage years. These include long stints as a runaway and many sexual and romantic entanglements along the way.

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate): Carriger debuts brilliantly with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history. Prickly, stubborn 25-year-old bluestocking Alexia Tarabotti is patently unmarriageable, and not just because she’s large-nosed and swarthy. She’s also soulless, an oddity and a secret even in a 19th-century London that mostly accepts and integrates werewolf packs, vampire hives and ghosts. The only man who notices her is brash Lord Conall Maccon, a Scottish Alpha werewolf and government official, and (of course) they dislike each other intensely. After Alexia kills a vampire with her parasol at a party—how vulgar!—she and Conall must work together to solve a supernatural mystery that grows quite steampunkishly gruesome.

PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God: Warren’s fifth book presents a never-before-seen collection of the most personal PostSecrets he’s ever received—those dealing with life, death, and issues of faith and belief. The book lays bare the confessions of people at every stage of life, from every major faith (or from no faith). Warren’s latest collection of secrets is his most profoundly moving yet.