Thursday, April 30, 2015

My face

I went back to wearing contact lenses.  I've got glasses for my off-days, and I'm still not certain how well this is going to work out now that I apparently have an astigmatism in my right eye and Evelyn went to the appointment with me and I was trying to tell the doctor which image was clearer while Evelyn was announcing "Hey, hey.  I wanted to tell you somethin'.  My mom put away the dollhouse I made with my Lincoln logs last night and I wasn't done with them." and I'm not sure he heard me (although he did explain that sometimes we have to pick up toys).  Still, it's pretty exciting to not having something on my face or falling off my face or having my vision distorted because I wanted to pull back my hair and my glasses got pulled along with it.

I do feel weird about my face being so...nekkid, though.

I'd forgotten that one of the major reasons I started wearing glasses, apart from glasses being cute and my personality being well-suited to severe-looking frames, was so that I could cover up my face.  I didn't have a super compelling reason that I wanted to cover my face, other than I just kind of felt like it.  And now my face is just kind of out there for the first time in 5 or 6 years.  I always forget my face is as angular as it is, and how I look without make-up even though I usually don't wear it on days I'm not at work. 

And I forget that I have a severe-looking face.  Or at least that's how it looks to me.  Most pictures of me these days are taken by Evelyn and I tend to smile at her a lot.  Who couldn't help but smile at her?

Anyway, that's what happened today.  Cody had to work in the morning, so I took the day off and had my eyes checked and then Evelyn and I went by Sara's office and met her lovely candy-sharing co-workers.  It was a beautiful day to drive around and look at all the greenery and blue skies and wispy clouds.  I feel like I have some kind of superpower now that my peripheral vision is back, and I'm almost looking forward to seeing how dirty our shower curtain liner is as I take a shower and know what exactly is going on with my surroundings for the first time in a while. Almost.

So. I had made a conscious decision a while ago to start blogging more about my thoughts or things that were happening in my life as opposed to some pictures of what we'd done with a saccharine-feeling summary, and this is one of my attempts.  Hi!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Dishcloth of the Week: Dishcloth #20

Ta da!!

Pattern: #20 from Big Book of Dishcloths
Hook: H
Yarn: Scraps

It's just double crochet stitches, which makes it ideal for a beginner.  Or a bored crocheter looking to burn through some variegated yarn.  The colors look nice with such a plain crocheted fabric and I like the dark blue border that I tend to use to edge so many of my dishcloths.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Short people with button noses

Last weekend we went down to southeast Arkansas to celebrate my great-grandmother's 100th birthday.  We ate a lot of catfish, took a lot of pictures, and did a lot of catching up.  All the little clone cousins ran around and climbed things (and fell off things) and the weather cooperated.  Mooney seemed happy to see people.

Evelyn had my camera for a while.

We attempted a few generational pictures.

This is just Grandmother's kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.  Approximately 15 people are missing!  There are a lot of us, obviously.

It was a nice gathering of 100 years' worth of short people with button noses and cute babies.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dishcloth of the week: Simple, Plain Garter Stitch

This is the dishcloth I made for Sara when she hosted Easter at her house. 

I also included this garter stitch bunny because she likes Easter decorations and I had made one for Evelyn, so I figured it would be cute if they had matching presents.

I'm not sure I ever uploaded Easter pictures here.

I've been kind of busy and, frankly, just felt like being away from the computer.  It's fun to not compose sentences in my head, and to do just about anything other than look at a computer screen after looking at a computer screen all day.

But things are good.  I'll eventually get around to posts about last week's family reunion or how I think Nickelback is the perfect country and western band.  But for now I'm knitting and crocheting through every last yard of my cotton yarn and I'm making a million dishcloths. 

Fine, it's not really a million.  But I am up to 20 since some time last week.

Anyway, this particular dishcloth:

Simple, Plain Dishcloth pattern from Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Knitting.
Yarn: maybe half a skein of Sugar 'n Cream in the bright green and some scraps of the pink
Needle: #7

I've made this several times, and usually play around with the number of stitches I cast on.  I think this time it was 35.  I don't get super concerned about gauge since Sara just uses them for decoration, so I was more concerned with colors.  She liked it, and I like it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A birthday post for my dad

It's Dad's birthday!

We had a slight party this Sunday, which most of us showed up late for.  Evelyn was tired and cranky.  I got him a shovel because his flat shovel didn't have a handle and I was pretty sure the shovel was older than I am and after I picked it out I realized my brother works in a hardware store and would probably know to pick out a better flat shovel. 

Sidenote: shovels are not as expensive as I had always thought. In my lifetime, I have seen my parents replace shovels twice.  Do you have any idea how reasonably priced these sturdy American-made implements are??!? I nearly went crazy in that aisle.  I tried to buy Evelyn a utility line shovel because it was just her size, but she wasn't interested. 

Dad later said the old shovel came from his parents.  Should have gone with a shovel handle.

Evelyn had also wanted to get him some grown-up toys, so she picked up a protractor of sorts.  I picked out a spiral crossword puzzle workbook and a book of games and brain teasers that can fit into his briefcase when he's in airports.  We've been calling him "old man" since he was in his late thirties, but I've decided to start worrying about his brain even though he's always done crosswords and is one of the smartest people I know.  Maybe it's because I'm nearly the age he was when we started calling him "old man". 

He's a granddad nearly 3 times now.  He uses the AARP discount every chance he can.  He attended the University of Arkansas when there was mostly just the one University of Arkansas and poultry science was not a degree program.  He taught me I could lift just about anything if I had enough leverage.  He changes his cowboy hat according to the seasons and I know that's not something exclusive to someone his age, but it still seems like an older guy thing to do.   He's excited about his new trifocals.  He will fight you for the check.  He can outwork any of us.

He enjoyed Sunday semi-party, and let Evelyn wake him up from his Sunday nap so they could wrestle.  He flips her around and listens to all her stories and takes her for rides on a tractor which is pretty much all anyone wants out of a grandparent ever.

I think 59 is going to be a really good year.  He's supposed to set up a small pool for Mom and Evelyn when it gets warmer.  Evelyn will probably be ready to go camping at the creek with him like he's been wanting to do.  He'll get a new grandkid this fall.  He's always been the type of person to enjoy whatever stage of life he's in (at least he has in the time I've known him, but this is the part where I make a joke about life improving when I show up, etc.), but I think he's really relishing the granddad business.  59 is going to have a ton of adventures!

Happy birthday, old man!  We love you.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Here we are. Isn't it nice?

I had last Friday off. I got a call about it on Thursday evening, which I missed.  When I saw my supervisor's number on my phone I almost felt sick because I was afraid I was about to be called back into work, or that someone was hurt or sick or dead.  These things have happened to us before.

I barely understood her voice mail that we would get Good Friday off because it just seemed so impossible.  But we did!  I felt like the world was full of hope and possibility for the first time in wayyyy too long.  Evelyn and I set out to take pictures with her Argenta tulips, like we do every year.  It didn't go well.

I know there is no child in this picture.

 We also headed out to my parents' house.  That went well. 

No, really.  It went well.

We potted plants and she rode her bike and pushed her dump truck and ate hamburgers and danced for us like a ballerina.  And reminded her Uncle Levi, "Hey, when I'm finished you're supposed to clap."

She took a short nap, and I used the free-to-me washer and dryer.  When she woke up, I took my girl to the creek in the woods.  I love that she's big enough to tramp around in the woods.  We checked out moss and leaves and sticks and plants.  She realized the benefits of hiking on privately owned land--the main one being that you can go off the trails.  Which is fine, because the cattle trails were pretty wiley-looking and the sheep trails are nearly completely overgrown.  We looked for low spots in the water to wade through, and I think her favorite part was throwing sweet gum balls down stream and seeing how far they could go.

My favorite part was when we found a spot where the water splashed up against a rock and she called out, "Oh look, that water's laughing!"  And the part where we walked across the pasture and just as she started to say she "needed" me to carry her I saw a pile of rocks under a tree and started telling her that when her uncle was her age we would wake up early-early in the morning to pull weeds and pick up rocks before the sun would get too hot because we needed grass to grow in the pasture to feed the animals.  I sounded like an absolute codger.  She asked "Was it good?", which I think meant "Was it fun?"  (Not really.)  I waved my hand across the land and said "Yeah, just look at this pasture!"

To be honest, the pasture looks like it was tended by easily distracted child labor.  But now I can rest easy in my hard-earned self-righteousness.  And the piles of rocks until trees are still there, monuments to the fact that things are not as rough as they used to be.

On Saturday, we bundled up and went to the farmers market.  It took a million years of cajoling, even though she wanted to go.  She picked out her honey and paid for it herself. 

He was so patient in counting out the bills to her.

We also bought some carrots, and the farmer threw in an apple because he could tell she'd been growing and thought she needed the extra treat. 

I took pictures of her with her tulips.

I ran errands and she shopped with her dad.  We visited her Gram's house and practiced egg-hunting that evening and did lots of crafty things.  She talked a lot about the flowers she picked for her Gram.

Sunday was cold and gray and grouchy.  I hated that, because Sara's house was festive and cute and it's one of her favorite holidays and Evelyn was very tired and grouchy and we all had to try to work around that.  We hunted eggs indoors and watched some Kindergarten Cop on TV. 


She fell asleep pretty quickly in the car.  Cody and I drove around in silence and caught up on things and reached an agreement about bedtime practices and house-hunting and money planning.  Man, it's fun to make money plans when you're not simultaneously paying bills.

We stopped by Dicy's and Evelyn made sure that her Gram still had her bouquet on her table.  I'm not sure why she was so concerned, but she was.  She was happy to see the hummingbird feeder and her flowers in a vase.  Her grandparents are such good outdoorsy people. It's always nice when she gets to see all of them in one day.  We dragged her away, took her home for a quick dinner, and dropped her into bed.  She fell asleep almost immediately.  I made Cody take this  picture of the shawl I finished knitting when we got home.  I still knit a lot.

Monday and Tuesday were fairly uneventful. My slower pace at work is appreciated, but there's still a lot of hard work to do, and it's wearing on us.  Yesterday felt like it had way too much going on and most of it sucked.  Or at least the things that were bad stole attention from what was good.

Today seems better.  We're still looking for schools for Evelyn, and that's fine.  Objectively, I always know that, but today it was easier to believe.  She's back after an awesome night at her grandparents' house with her bike and her church and her Easter basket from Dallas and his family.  I'm finally taking the time to upload pictures and let you know that we're doing just fine.  I have the time to do that because I get home on time now and because Cody and Evelyn are still visiting Gram.  Yes, she once again got to see all of her grandparents in the same day.  They're picking up pizza for dinner.

We're a lucky little group.  There are good things all around us and I can barely remember to tell you all of them.  I'll have a little more time to do so, though.  And I'm looking forward to that.

Bless you if you made it through all of this news.  Now I get to tell you that I'm going to be an aunt again! My very favorite (and one and only) nephew is going to be a big brother in October! 

Ellis is also my most photogenic nephew.

How many good things can a life hold?  How many beautiful children to we get to enjoy?!  How many things can I make for this baby before it shows up?  (I've already crocheted a blanket.)

I look forward to finding out.