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Strands of Thought

Trying to get the knots out of the ball of life.

Updated: 2014-03-17T15:18:49.843-06:00





Our catl Minion hates to have his picture taken.

I am evil


Just ran into my aunt who reminded me that I have always been bad. According to my mom's family I have never done anything right. My dad is batshit crazy (that's the technical term) and so they only saw me a handful of times before I was out of school. They wonder why I never visit even though we live in the same town.

Happy New Year


Well, goodbye 2007, it was nice knowing you. This past year was definitely a mixed bag for us. We got a new house, but my mom and oldest daughter moved in with me so there is mere chaos than I care to deal with.

My ex violated his parole and lost his job so now I'm not getting child support anymore. It was nice while it lasted.

I got a good raise at work, but my health insurance tripled so I'm now bringing home less than I was before the raise.

But we are all healthy and safe, and that is the most important thing.

A Bad Sign


Was just browsing Amazon for harlot's new book. And this came up.

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Notice - bags, yarn, and organization. The first two I have in overabundance. The third.... is Amazon trying to tell me something?

Misc. Homeschool Stuff


I've gotten some emails from other parents of PDD-NOS and Autistic kids wondering what we are doing for school since I pulled my daughter out of the government school system. Here is a little quick breakdown of what we're up to.

We homeschool through a wonderful cover group here in Alabama that is very relaxed. Hard to find in our state. Since we can only do this under a "church cover school" it is hard to find one that is inexpensive, doesn't demand I keep detailed records of every minute and complicated lesson plans, and won't make me sign a statement of faith which will reject me because I am a single mother with a job. I love our cover school, and if you want info please email me.

For curriculum, the basis of our day is The Prairie Primer. It takes us about two or three days to cover one day in the Primer, and I leave some of the suggested activities out. Instead of the reports suggested in the Primer, we make lapbook sections. My daughter loves this, as it is very hands-on and visual, and writing a report completely overwhelms her. Instead of writing about things, she draws or pastes in pictures.

For math we use Math-U-See. Math is no longer such a battle since the curriculum is manipulative based. She watches the DVD with me at the start of each week, and we work through one worksheet a day. So far we have done one unit a week. I started her in the Gamma book, even though by grade level she should have been in Delta. This has been good for her, because the work is easy at this point, and we are reinforcing stuff she was weak on to begin with.

Grammar - she actually doesn't mind. We are using Winston Grammar, also a manipulative based program. We work through two or three sentences every day. She can actually differentiate between a noun and a verb now. Progress!!!

Everything else is lapbooks. We are currently doing Pioneers, Horses, and Jesus. We have completed The California Gold Rush. I just downloaded Remarkable Women and hope to start using it soon. Props to Homeschool eStore. Every week they have a different freebie to download, and their prices are great. I could still manage to go broke there though.

Hopefully I will be able to post some pics of completed stuff soon. Until then, please enjoy this pic of the Amazing Grandbaby from Easter....


Beautiful Feet



Last night we went out to dinner with my daughter, Mr. Wonderful, and the Amazing Grandbaby. We had a surprisingly good time, even though the service was painfully slow. Our server kept a good attitude though, and we made a point to speak to the manager about how much we liked him, and what a good job he did. We also left him a nice tip. He had 4 large parties, including ours, and two of the other parties complained. The kitchen was also screwing up royally. Totally not his fault, but he still got the blame for it. It was also Sunday night, so he had the after church crowd. Christians are the worst customers on earth. I noticed the table next to ours had left a tract that looks like money as a tip. Only a tract that looks like money. And they were very rude and demanding, left their table a mess, and complained loudly about everything. When we walked in with the grandbaby the mom was heard to comment "Oh, GREAT!!! Another screaming brat!!!" Little did she know there was more chance of my 10yr old screaming than the baby. Anyway.....
(image) I let the amazing Grandbaby play with my phone for a bit as we were gathering everything up to leave. She took this wonderful picture. I think she has a future as a photographer.

Hidden Ickey


Since I disparaged my daughter's housekeeping, thought I'd post a bit my own (or lack thereof).

I took this picture of my floor after my daughter pointed out that we had a hidden mickey in our kitchen. I only mop when company is coming over, or the floor is so sticky that the cats are stuck to it. Gross, I know. When I was a "real mom" I used to scrub my floor weekly on my hands and knees. Now, my days off are devoted entirely to laundry and shopping. Mopping is really low on the priority list for me.
On the plus side, my kids have something fun to do - finding hidden pictures in the crud on the floor.

I'll Never


I love my oldest child. She is as beautiful as she is smart, is a valued employee at both her jobs, and is a wonderful mother. And she is also a good source of humor.

When she was 14 she made a point of telling me how she would never leave dishes in the sink, would never pile up laundry, etc. She was constantly criticizing my housekeeping, while doing nothing to help out. One day she was on a rant about what a horrible mother I was because, although I worked full time, was in school full time, and was raising a teenager, an autistic first-grader, and a four-year-old at the time, although I only slept two hours on a good night, and although I was in the middle of nasty court battles and press interviews, I was unable to stay caught up on laundry or dishes. Instead of getting mad, I started laughing. The more she went on, the harder I laughed. She finally stormed out in huff and slammed the door to her room. This caused me to laugh even harder. She has never forgiven me for this.
Yesterday I babysat for her since the baby's daddy was too busy hanging out with his buddies, and forgot to come home in time for her to go to work. I had a good laugh when I got there. Witness the evidence.....(image)
I did clean the kitchen while I was there. This is the normal situation at her apartment, and I can understand. I just think it's funny. Here's to her own daughter throwing it her face in about 12 years.

In knitting news, I finally took a picture of my sweater, and a cabled cap I made from Knitty last year that I had totally forgotten about until I was cleaning out my closet. Took the pictures with my phone, as my real camera has died. When I get my tax refund, first item on the list a a new camera. Anyway....


Long Time, No Post


I wonder sometimes how people blog every day. Seems like I make a semi-annual post, and that's about it.

Well, school's over. I'm done, even though I didn't get to graduate. I was in the hospital the last two weeks of school, so I missed all f my finals and have to re-do a class. The instructor wouldn't let me take an incomplete. So I have to re-do the whole class, including 24 clinicals days that I had finished. No. I'm just done. Also found out that the school lost their accreditation, so it is questionable if I would have been allowed to sit for boards anyway. I am taking this semester off, while shopping around for another school.

My autistic daughter is now being homeschooled. This is actually working out well for us, since she learns best at night. She has really taken off in math and reading. Wish I'd done this sooner. My youngest is still thriving at school, though today she is home with the crud that everyone else has. My eldest is working two jobs, her significant other is a complete ass who won't get off his lazy behind, and the baby is doing great.

Also, I've been officially divorced since December 1st!!!! Though this has had no bearing on my love life (or lack thereof) it's good to know that I'm free from "him" forever.

On the knitting front, I just completed the "Subway Cable" sweater from The Yarn Girls Guide to Beyond the Basics. It is being washed as I type, so I will post pics as soon as it's out. I completely frogged the Celtic Knot sweater, and rescued the yarn for this one. I made the sleeves about an inch longer than called for in the pattern, as I am tall and I like my sleeved to come down to the middle of my hand. I am still working on the blue fuzzy-cuff sweater. It is what I knit during Lost, and since that show just came back from a 13-week hiatus, it has finally seen some light from the bottom of the knitting basket. I need to find a project to work on during Heroes. Maybe a kitted tee with the Superman logo on the front? Or maybe with Wonder Woman's logo? Or perhaps I'll make a pattern with my favorite childhood superhero - Ultraman!!!

Autism Sucks


My middle child is autistic. I may have mentioned it before (about 100 times.) But tonight it is really getting on my nerves. Really. Alot. It is now 2:17 am. She has been awake for almost 37 hours straight. Most of that time she has been playing DDR. I am having to sit up with her so that she does not destroy my house any further. I also have not slept in over 37 hours. Probably longer as she was napping when I left for work and woke up and today was my day off and she has been up all that time.

I love Darby. She is so precious to me. But the autism I could do without right now. OK, officially she had PDD-NOS. But she is the textbook High-Functioning Autism kid. It's just that her doctor doesn't like the "A" word so she has PDD diagnosis.

Today has been a rough day - insomnia aside. She has been constantly stimming with the DDR. On the same song. All day. We did take a break and go to the mall, where she did OK for a bit. She didn't want to stay long because it was crowded. She got that spacey look about 15 minutes in, and proceeded to walk into traffic TWICE on the way to the car. Being 10, she refuses to hold my hand like her little sister, but heck, she almost got smushed TWICE!

At home she is screaming at her sister for, no joke, "breathing in a funny way," and she is being very mouthy to me as well. She has refused to do any chores at all, and did I mention she's not sleeping.?

School starts in 17 days. I am dreading the school year as she will be in a regular classroom with other "normal" 4th graders. She does not interact socially with other kids, and every night is a battle with homework sometimes lasting 7 to 8 hours.
I also feel like a horrible mother to my 8yr old. She is a perfectly normal, smart, typical kid. But the energy Darby is sapping from me right now means that she is kind of pushed to the side. I hate it. I know it's the autism, I know she can't help it, and I know that in a day or two she will be back to normal. Whatever that is.

I'm sorry for venting all over the place, but it's just been one of those days. Tomorrow will be better - I get to babysit the amazing grand-baby for a couple of hours. All by myself. Maybe we will take a nap.

I made Cables!!


After making the cable hat, I decided to take on something bigger - a whole sweater. I used to not like cable-knit sweaters. I didn't despise them or anything, I just wasn't into them. Then I decided to try this hat (of which I still have no pictures), and I was hooked.

Now I'm taking on this sweater (yeah, it's a pdf, sorry) with some major cables, and I still love it.

I snapped this pic on my desk at work today with my phone - the first time I've done that too.

In other news - got harlot's new book. She is, as always, brilliant. My family thinks I've lost my mind because I keep laughing out loud while reading it. I can't even take it with me to work or school because it's so funny. Thanks, Stephanie,for another wonderful read.

Boredom and the Internet....


I really shouldn't get on-line when I'm bored. I apologize in advance...

In a Past Life...


You Were: A Genius Assassin.

Where You Lived: Russia.

How You Died: Decapitation.

You Are an Espresso


At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Your Japanese Name Is...


Yuriko Shigenoi

Today, I Love my job.


I am busy sitting here doing, well, this. There is absolutely nothing going on, yet I am not allowed to leave. So I am getting paid to sit here and blog. And yes, I did ask if I could do "personal business" while at work since we're slow.

The baby is crawling now - and loves the kittens. We have actually gotten rid of 9 of them, along with both mamma cats. We kept one ( not this one though). The one we kept plays with her, and she couldn't be more thrilled.

Her mom is pulling her hair out - and going to buy a safety gate today to block miss priss out of the kitchen. I'm so enjoying it. I just can't wait until this baby is 12 and my daughter calls sobbing because her daughter hates her.

I'm out for spring break this week - I only have to work. This is nice because the kids are out too, and I'd probably lose my mind if I had to spend 11 straight days with them.

Hat is going OK, still found the black hole at around 6 inches. I've been at 6 inches for days. I know once I escape the black hole it'll all be over soon, but I'm getting startitis REAL bad.

Stalling Out


I have been so useless this past week. I've gone to work and school, but have done nothing useful around the house, and my studying has dropped to absolute zero. I have spring fever soooooo bad. And I'm not even going to go on vacation or anything - I'll actually be working extra. But I will be off of school, and those blessed three days I don't have to work will be spent sleeping late as I won't have to get the kids up for school either.

If blogger weren't being such a pain - I have some great pics of the baby. She's actually crawling now, and pulling to standing. So cute - and she's teething too. People keep asking me how often she's up at night - and I have no idea. I love being a grandmother.

Had to frog the hat down to the band - another picture I can't upload right now. I had knitted it with the cable facing out instead of in. Bassackwards. I discovered this as I started making the decreases for the crown. I'm knitting with Lion suede on plastic Lion Brand needles. Very squeaky. I can only knit so much before I have to quit because it makes my teeth hurt. Why do I not et some bamboo or balene (my favorite!) needles to knit on to avoid the squeaking? Because I took this up as a stash-buster project and wouldn't buying new needles defeat the purpose of knitting something to use up stuff i already have? No?? Guess in the morning after clinicals I'll stop by the LYS and pick up some squeak-free needles.

Taking One for the Team


Team DPN has its own medals - I love it!!! I really enjoyed the knitting Olympics. I hope we do it again. I know that even if there's no concerted world effort, that I could do it on my own. But it was so much more fun to think of all the other knitters out there doing the same thing, reading about everybody else having the same knitting trials and tribulations, and being part of something so big. A big thanks to Stephanie for the idea.

My knitting time has actually been crunched a little the past couple of days . I discovered this book by Maggie Sefton. I'm not usually into mysteries, my tastes run more to fantasy and sci-fi. But this book was delightful and prompted a trip to the local bookstore for the next in the series. I know, I know. I should be studying, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, whatever. But sometimes you just need to read a good book.

Finally took the girls to see Narnia yesterday. They totally loved it. I know it's coming out on DVD next month, but it is still in one of the local theaters, and still had a pretty good turn-out in spite of the fact that it's been playing forever. They have both read the books so they knew the story, and they both thought the screen rendition was spot-on, as did I. It was great. The only thing that bugged was that when the kids were standing outside looking at whatever vista, it looked like they were standing on set. You could really tell they weren't "there". All of the creatures were great though, the kids were fantastic little actors, and the script was faithful to the story.

I was going to post a pic of the grandbaby, but a link to my dd's web site will have to do. For some reason blogger is eating my pictures right now.

The medal stand


Yes, I cried as I stood on the medal stand and heard the National Anthem. All the blood, sweat and tears were worth it as I accepted my medal for Team DPN and for my country.

I'd like to dedicate this medal to my teachers, who had such boring classes I could sit in the back and knit, to my children, who didn't bother me too much. In spite of having to work, study, and provide basic care for my children and grandchild. In spite of having my wisdom teeth pulled, my dog eating my yarn, and the kittens in the house turning it all into a hue mess, in spite of needing sleep and food, I managed to make it.

I learned alot about my knitting through all this. I had picked a simple project because of everything I knew was going on in my life, but I think I underestimated myself. As a result of this, I have attempted my very first cable. I have re-organized my knitting stuff to make it more user-friendly, and less "pretty-looking". I have realized that I can do way more than I thought - and that it's good for my kids when I knit, because I'm actually sitting in the room with them instead of running around the house trying to catch up on all the housework I miss when I'm at work and school. Yes, the house is a disaster. But you know what? It's always a disaster. 10 minutes after I clean it's a mess again. Maybe I need to accept this as my BML (base messiness level) and just deal with it.

I have decided that knitting time is valuable time, and that I will try to make time to knit at least a couple of times a day. It doesn't matter if I have a bunch of UFOs. I will knit because I love it, and I will enjoy the process.

Olympic News and Other Stuff


First, I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments and emails after we lost Ms. Kitti. Ya'll really helped me.

Last week, my girls and I went to the shelter, just to look, and we came home with Jamie. She is (image) the sweetest dog in the whole world, and has done alot to help my girls heal after losing Kitti. She's a 2yr-old border collie mix. She's sort of housebroken - she only goes in her crate or in the litter box. She absolutely will not go outside, but she hasn't messed anywhere else in the house either. While Kitti was my little snuggle-puppy, Jamie loves to run in the yard with the kids. She also loves the kittens we are fostering right now. I often find her carrying one around, or a couple of them curled up with her. Though she will never replace Ms. Kitti, she has already made her own place in our hearts and our family.

(image) In Olympic news, I finished Kate. I had my wisdom teeth pulled Wednesday, so I thought I might have to pull a Michelle Kwan and drop out, but I made it!!! My grandbaby loves her, and I already have requests to knit more for my younger girls. I used left-over yarn from grandbaby's things to make Kate's body. I think I may do the same for my older girls too, using extra yarn from the sweaters I'm making them. This pattern is really quick - a good thing since my knitting time is severely limited this semester - and it turns our really cute. After I took this, I added an i-cord tail. Grandbaby likes to pull on the tail the best. And yes, I made her "sleeping" because I can't figure out how to embroider "awake" eyes to save my life.

It has actually been nice having the past couple of days off to just chill out. I haven't done much except sleep and watch TV. I missed several days of work and school, should have been studying, but having teeth pulled seemed like a good excuse to take a much-needed break.

In memoriam



One of my neighbors hit my dog this morning. I was running out in the street to get her, and instead of slowing down, or stopping, they just sped up. They didn't even stop after they hit her. Fortunately she died instantly, and didn't suffer.

She was my sweet baby - I rescued her from the pound - she was literally on death row because she was older, and she was "unsociable." The handlers at the pound couldn't handle her without her snapping. The day I came in, she ran up to the cage door as soon as I walked in. She acted like she had known me all of her life. Of course I brought her home - and she was wonderful. She was already housebroken, though if she had to go REALLY bad and nobody was home, she would go in the bathroom. She wasn't a yappy dog, but she would sometimes bark at the cats or noises outside. We would occasionally give her pizza crusts, which she would hide in various places around the house and protect. She never ate them, but she took good care of them.

She was also really good with the baby - she would let the baby pet her, though she did growl a little once or twice. We weren't worried about her biting though - she had no teeth. She used to sleep curled up next to me, and if I was ever sad or lonely she would curl up in my lap. She also liked to lay on my yarn while I was knitting, and was constantly getting tangled up.

I am going to miss her so much - I don't even know what to do. I have lost other pets before, but I guess this is just so sudden, and so senseless. I'm at work, and I went to school this morning, but I'm still in shock. I know she was "just a dog" but she was MY dog, and she still had several good years ahead of her.

I love you, Miss Kitti, and I miss you.

The Olympic Cast-On



I am now officially cast-on for the Olympics. And I've knitted 7 whole rows on Kate. It's so cool to think that all over the world other knitters were waiting (and waiting, and waiting, and waiting) for the torch to be lit. I don't think I've ever been so excited to see the torch enter the Olympic stadium, or to cast on a project either.

I plan to wake up early tomorrow, since I have to work, and get in an hour or so of knitting before I have to leave. I also plan to knit on my lunch break, and of course when I get home tomorrow night.

I do, unfortunately, have two tests next week, so I'm afraid I must take some time off to study. I guess I could sacrifice a couple of grades for the team - but if I get some good progress made by Monday, perhaps I can put Kate aside for a day or too without being too overcome with guilt.

Well, I'm off to bed - my kiddos crashed sometime during the parade of nations - middle child at about Serbia (image) and youngest at the Koreas. Eldest has cast on for her Debbie Bliss Special Knits sweater. I'm wondering if she shouldn't have joined this team....

Preliminary Training....


The official name of the pattern I'm using for the Olympics is KATE. Isn't she adorable? I've raided my stash and decided to make a gray kitty with pink and purple pastel stripes. Since this is for the grandbaby, I'm making it to fit the color scheme of her room, and the cat itself will be closer in color to the cats we have. Thought about making the cat black, but I am determined to use up some of my stash on this project, and I own no black yarn at this time. I have the pink and purple left over from various baby things, and the gray left over from the Harry Potter socks I made for the book premiere.

On a slightly more somber note, I can only find 3 size 8 DPNs in my bag. I have nothing going on DPNs right now - the only UFO I have is a sweater for middle child that I'm working on my Denise needles. I use the Balene II DPNs. My daughters don't like them, they use Denise or bamboo needles. And nobody but me uses DPNs anyway. If they don't turn up by Friday I may have to go down to whatever size I have on hand. Not really a problem, since I'm making a toy and not a sweater - nothing worse for a math moron like me than having to recalculate stitches because my gauge is off.

Let the Games Begin


My daughter has talked me into it - joining the knitting Olympics. Since in doing so, I committed to completing a project in only 16 days, I have decided make a toy for the grandbaby. I'm doing the kitty-cat from knitty, and I'm planning to put jingle bells or something rattley in it.
That said, I am joining team DPN - for those of us knitting with (and poking people with) our DPNs during the event.

With school, and work, and getting divorced, I have very little time, but this may be just the thing I need to get my mind off things.

Let the madness begin......

Who am I?


You are Scarlett O'Hara. You are beautiful,
stubborn and despise the silly rules of
society. When times get rough, you are strong
enough to survive, although you would rather
save yourself than anyone else.

Which Character from 'Gone With The Wind' are you?
brought to you by

Back to School


The kids and I are all back in school. My first class was Friday, and my teacher assigned about 100 pages of reading over the weekend. Nothing like reading textbooks to induce long, deep sleep. The kids have no homework.

(image) Wednesday we have orientation to the unit I work on - we're doing clinicals up there this semester. We have to be in uniform, meet at the school, then we're all going over to the hospital together. We have to park several blocks from the main hospital, walk over there, then ride the tram (if it's working) to the hospital where I work. Then I have to go back to my car and drive back to my hospital so I can go to work. Stupid, stupid, stupid. This semester I'll spend quite a bit of time driving the one mile between the parking lots for students and my assigned place. I'd leave my car in the student lot if security would give me a ride back to it at the end of my work shift, but they won't. What a friggin' waste of time.

Finally finished the alien scarf - it's in the dryer right now so I can wear it tomorrow. I decided to quit with 7 aliens. I'm ready to move on to the next project.

Tomorrow is my youngest child's birthday. Big plan - take cupcakes to school, go see her dad at the visitation center (hoping he will remember that it is her birthday), go out to dinner, and eat cake. I'm hoping to take them to see Narnia too, but I don't know if we'll make it. I also have class tomorrow - orientation to college. No laughing please. And yes, I do graduate next semester.

Happy New Year....


In the year 2006 I resolve to:
Procrastinate more.

Get your resolution here

Very cute automatic resolution generator, though some of the resolutions are a bit PG-13. Use with caution.

Knitting, the Next Generation


I have already taught my eldest to knit, in fact, she is the one who got me back into it. Now my youngest has decided it is time to pick u[p the needles and try her hand at it. She is making a skinny red scarf, garter stitch, to wear on days when it's "only a little cold."

My digital camera is dying, I really need to get a new one. But you can see her here starting a new row. She knit three whole rows all by herself, and was very proud.

As for myself, I managed to get a couple more rows done on the blue fuzzy sweater. Tomorrow I will be at work, and I'll work on the alien scarf if I get a lunch hour. It's typically a busy day for us, since most people want to have their babies in time to get the tax deduction. With all of our pre-holiday inductions though, I'm not sure how it will be.

Next week we all start back to school - the kids first, then me on Friday. I'm actually kind of nervous about it. This semester we will have 2 clinical days every week, and it's hospital clinicals. One day each week we'll be on the unit I work on. I loved the nursing home, but I don't know if I'll enjoy hospital nursing as much. Maybe it's just that I've been with the hospital for so long - I started there 12 years ago, though I took a 2 year break to have a couple of babies. I go to get my books Thursday. They promise they will be in by that day, though we are not allowed to pick them up any earlier. Don't know why, maybe to keep up from seeing just what we've gotten ourselves into.