Skip to content

Posts by jackie

Sabbatical

I have often privately wondered why the hell it is that I don’t ever get around to all the knitting, patterns, spinning, projects etc etc etc that I would like to…

And then I’m like, oh yeah, we’ve moved 5 times in the last 5 years. Technically I’ve moved 12 times in the last 9 years (since college) but 1) I started knitting 5 years ago and 2) before that all I owned were my clothes, a mattress and some books. Moving wasn’t so hard.

Anyway. The last 5 years. We all know that moving sucks. It sucks up money, it sucks up energy, and it sucks up months of time. The time to look for an apartment, the time spent packing, the time spent actually moving, and then the time spent rooting around boxes looking for your utensils and that one shirt you know was in the closet before but…

Not to mention all the yarn. I have no idea where most of my knitting needles are right now (I set aside my harmony set for use during the moving time – in this case, most of the summer and probably most of the fall). My formidable stash is in numerous tupperware bins scattered through the house in strange and illogical places. The Rowan yarn bin is in the kitchen hutch. My untouched full fleece is next to EJ’s crib, still in the package from the mill. A bag full of Amy Boogie Spunky Eclectic fiber (a very large bag as I have an understandable weakness for Spunky Eclectic fiber) in the laundry area.

That’s in addition to the forest of boxes in the living room (read: the staging area) containing clothes and dishes and all the things we actually need to live. The kitchen can’t be set up until I scrub down all the cabinets and tear out all the old icky contact paper and re- line the shelves with non-stick foam matting. And so on.

By the way, this is by no means a complaint. We just bought a beautiful house on a gorgeous piece of land, in a picturesque town in New England, 10 minutes from my parents. The view from my window as I type this is tranquil and a lush, calm green. The air is clear and quiet, our well water is pristine. I’m thrilled to be working on a home that doesn’t have a lease looming in 12 months, signaling another move.

But.

(There’s always a big but, right?)

I have to get my house in order, literally and figuratively, before I can return to the blog. I’m not giving it the attention you all deserve (I love your comments, I never get to respond), and I’d rather spend the little computer time I have reading your blogs than feeling guilty about the comments I haven’t responded to, and clicking ‘Mark All Read’ on my Google Reader, with nary a chance to glimpse what you’ve all been up to.

So, this is a long way of saying, so long, for now. I’ll be back when I have something to write about other than ‘oh my god I’m so tired, baby not sleeping, so many boxes, so many boxes, so many boxes’.

xoxoxo

Jackie

Crazypants

This morning I lost my shit. Full on crazy ass lunacy, the stereotypical sleep deprived mother with a baby hysterics. I believe at one point in my unhinged rant I compared it to Sleep Deprivation Torture Tactics akin to those used at Guantanamo Bay. (I had no basis for this comparison. I have no idea if Sleep Deprivation was Waterboarding’s inhumane companion. I’ve barely been following the news this past year. I was feeling the crazy, and anything might have come out of my mouth.)

All I know is that after being woken up every 15 – 30 minutes between midnight and 6am for the past 3 weeks, and then needing to be awake to supervise a very mobile baby in a non-childproofed area all day long (after 17 months straight with only one full night’s sleep)… well I’d probably confess to treason if you promised me a full night’s sleep. You can decide how serious I am when I say that.

In the past few hours I’ve regained some perspective, the light morning nap I shared with EJ helped (as did the Dunkie’s Iced Coffee Eric delivers gloriously each morning).

I know we’ve hit the 8 month sleep regression, and I know it will pass.

I know that we’re in the midst of buying a house (we’re scheduled to close Friday, and being halfway in NYC, halfway at my parents house, and trying to arrange for financing, insurance, movers, cleaners etc. adds a tasty frosting to my sleep deprived cake.

(EJ pushed the dog crate aside and was sticking his finger in the light socket while I was leaving a message for our insurance guy this morning. I’m sure he’ll be amused when he hears it. I, obviously, was not.)

But I also know that I’m too tired to knit, and that’s saying something. On Sunday I knit most of a Bella’s Mitten, but I am too tired to decipher the pattern instructions on how to decrease at the mitten tip (I know, right?!?!?!?! Forget pattern instructions, I should be able to wing it if I wanted to, but instead I stare blankly and drool.)

And that means for damn sure I’m too tired to try to take a picture of the unfinished mitt, upload it, and link it. I’m sorry, but I have to brush my teeth, shower, and eat lunch first. Soon. Really. I will upload a picture of EJ instead (sorry, sorry sorry, they’re all I have already uploaded, courtesy of 365 project).

He can no longer be contained. He’s crawling everywhere, lightning fast, pulling himself up and climbing over everything.

And now he’s awake. See you on the other side.

ETA: I will count my blessings. EJ might not sleep, but hot damn, he’s a good eater. I just fed him peas and rice, and while he let me know in no uncertain terms that he does NOT like peas, every time that spoon came near his mouth, he opened up wide. The entire bowl was finished in under 2 minutes. Plus he’s adorable, happy and loving. You know, which is nice.

Scale

Courtesy of Holden’s new sidewalks, EJ and I walked into town, had lunch, and stopped by the yarn shop. It was lovely, although a bit of a trek (5 miles round trip). In NYC terms, that would mean walking from our apartment on the Upper West Side, down to Herald Sq, and back, which is something you would never, ever do. Partly because there is a perfectly good sandwich shop on practically every corner, and partly because the subway is just so much freaking faster.

Although in Holden, you don’t have to stop every 50 yards for a street crossing, a crazy person, or tourists standing blocking the sidewalk, so we had that going for us, which was nice.

Bogota, Columbia’s former Mayor says that the measure of a civilization is their sidewalk system, not their highway system, and despite the fact that a mere 10 years ago Bogota was one of the most violent cities on earth, I must say, he has a point. Being car-less recently, in an area where cars are not just a convenience but absolutely necessary to live, I have appreciated the ability to leave the house and access shops without walking my baby stroller down the side of a busy road for several miles.


Would you wheel this down a busy street?

Violence aside, I must give credit where credit is due: Bogota has one of the most progressive alternative transportation programs in the world. Out with the carjackings, in with the muggings!

Just kidding.

You can read more about it here and here.

In between walking insane distances for lunch, and googling Bogota, I have been knitting these:

Anklet socks of my own design, nothing special, just something to add interest to both the knitting and the finished object.

Almost done with the 2nd one, and I’m enjoying thinking about what I’ll cast on next…

Edward (sigh)

I would like to blame my recent silence on the fact that we have one leg in NYC, one leg in MA, and our little family of 3 (4! says George) has been camping out in my parents’ spare bedroom, with all the attendant chaos that brings. House buying (we close in 2 weeks!), beach-going (good news: EJ didn’t burn; bad news: I did, badly), losing important cords, like those that charge camera batteries, and those that upload pictures.

Those are totally legitimate reasons.

But really, it’s because I got wholly and completely sucked into the Twilight books and movie. Last person on the entire planet, I know, but although I CAN knit while reading, I don’t really like to. Which puts a damper on the knitting when I get full-fledged sucked into a book series that I can’t stop reading, and re-reading.

Now that I’ve burned through them (several times) I’m feeling recharged for the knitting. Okay, also cause I got to hang out with (some of) my knittahs Sunday night, who I have missed desperately during my two years in NYC.

Knitting to come shortly, as soon as the camera battery charges and I can take some pictures. For now, you’ll have to settle for some of this:

EJ’s first trip in a shopping cart, holding on for dear life.

Veni, Vidi, Stiki

Gentle readers, I feel the need to tell you that I am now a Grown Up. There’s no mistaking it, and for better or worse, there is no turning back. I am a parent, I am 30, and I willingly put scissors to my knitting. All are pretty scary prospects, and none of them can be undone once done (although I’m guessing many, many people have tried).

(Also, I act like turning 30 was a choice. It was a choice only in that the alternative was dying, or stopping time, lengths I was not willing or able to go to to avoid my thirties.)

But I digress, as usual.

People, I cut my knitting.

As in, let me spend weeks knitting this sweater and hope to hell I don’t mess it all up when I decide to cut down the middle, all because I was too freaking lazy to knit back and forth.

(Non-knitters, all you need to know is that when you cut knitting, it unravels. Unless you do it in a very specific, precise, way. It’s scary as hell.)

It seems to have worked so far, but I’ll feel better once the buttonbands are in, after blocking and it’s ready to wear.

In the meantime, I’m using this sweater as a means to divert my attention from the fact that we’re leaving NYC, and soon. EJ and I are gearing up to make Holden our home base for the summer, while we look for a house.

There is much I am looking forward to (the town pool! Friday night tennis! a forever home!!!) and much I know I won’t miss here (dirty air! oven-baked sidewalks! crazy homeless people trying to touch EJ!!!) but I am wondering what will be the things that I find myself missing months or years from now. Once the dust settles, and the excitement of finding a house wears down, we get through our first set of holidays, our first year with a backyard…

What do I take completely for granted now, that I don’t even realize I’ll miss?

Being constantly surrounded by people, friendly people at that? I probably have 3 – 4 conversations with random strangers a day. The city noise that filters through our windows? I hear dogs and people, cars and construction… but the real treat comes when a random musician will play in a nearby apartment. At any given time we might hear a piano concerto, some jazz trumpet, or the low tones of a cello echoing through the courtyard our apartment faces.

It’s the trumpet that makes me really feel like I’m living in the city. There’s something magical about it, sultry golden tones on evenings warm enough to have the windows open.

It’s wonderful.

Re-entering the Atmosphere

From the intro to Bert & Ernie’s Great Adventures, a segment on Sesame Street:

Ernie singing: “Every time the bed starts tapping / Something special’s going to happen…”
Bert chimes in: “This is kind of kinky!”

Makes me giggle, every time.

But it’s not all Sesame Street and kinky bed adventures here at Chez Pawlowski. (Actually, the kinkiest thing going on here is that we somehow defy the law of physics and squeeze 2 adults, a baby and a dog all in one small corner of a vast king size bed.)

Last week, my baby brother graduated from high school:

I could get all sappy and tell you all how extraordinarily proud I am of him, what a smart and fun guy he is, how I remember holding him as a newborn or sang him to sleep, the awesome university honors program he’ll be attending in the fall, but I’m just going to stick with Holy God, he’s grown up to look just like my father:

Separated at birth? You decide.

And that’s the last time I’ll ever refer to him as my baby brother. He’s 6’4″ and all grown up. I’ll just say that I’m really glad that we’ve become friends and not just siblings over the past few years and leave it at that.

We’ve also re-entered the world these past few weeks. We’ve been to a baby shower, a 40th birthday party, the graduation, had good friends come visit from out of town, gone out for a night on the town courtesy of Eric’s parents babysitting, been out for burgers and beers with EJ in tow, walked down to the open air bar overlooking the Hudson with George and EJ, made our way up to Harlem for a Memorial Day BBQ.


(With friends in Central Park.)

For awhile there it seemed like we’d never be our normal selves again, but actually the tiny baby stage passed quickly, and we’re back in the swing of things. It feels GOOD.

Happy as a Pig in Shit

And just as dirty!

We started EJ on food recently, as well as some formula bottles in addition to the breastfeeding. (I’m having a hard time coming up with words right now, as EJ is in his Excersaucer beaming smiles and bellylaughing at me. Wipes coherent thought right out of ones head.) The result has been generally good – and I’ll spare you the details of baby constipation and the wonders of pureed prunes – but it sure has been absurdly filthy.

Quite aside from the stickiness and stench of oozing rice cereal and prune mixture in various states of digestion from both ends, formula spit up is considerably grainier, smellier, and stain-ier (yes, I just made that up) than breast milk. Add in George’s fetish for EJ-licking and I’ve just about given up on the wee one clean. It’s impossible.

(He’s making eyes at me from behind the lizard puppet as I type. We cannot contain our love for each other right now.)

So, while I’ve been watching my tiny beloved gleefully roll around in his own filth, I’ve been working on this:

1 body, 1 sleeve, and 1/8th of a sleeve of o w l s (raveled here)

I know it looks like a heap of knitted nothing right now, but I’m just about to the interesting part, which is comprised of a yoke of cabled owls, with little button eyes. Instead of a pullover, I’ve decided to make it a cardigan by way of steeks, nevermind that I’ve never steeked anything before. I just know that it will get considerably more use as a cardigan, and I’ll cross the steeking bridge when I get to it.

(I just released myself from a series of gooey baby kisses, such as they are. More like face grabbing and cheek chewing, but it was done with love.)

It’s time for me to go, my sweet pile of poop and drool is ready for a nap. Next time, hopefully a steeking chronicle.

Out of the Rut!!

I feel triumphant. Energized. Renewed. Like I can only imagine Steve Carrell’s character felt in the 40-Year-Old Virgin, when he finally wound the bobbin, so to speak. (I can only imagine because I’ve never seen the end of the movie. So I’m making a pretty big assumption here, but go with it.)

I haven’t felt great, or excited, about my knitting for a long time. I could sit here and dwell on all the reasons, but seriously, that would be a drag for all of us. Let’s just say that I’ve cast on for the February Lady Sweater in THREE different yarns, and yet do not actually have a February Lady Sweater. Also? I was pregnant for 9 months, and the only baby things I knit for EJ were 2 little hats.

So. It was bad.

The hero of this story is a beautiful yarn, Sundara Aran Silky Merino, the last of the Seasons shipments. (The last shipment Ever, as it happens to be, as Sundara is no longer offering Seasons subscriptions.) It’s a silk wool blend in a gorgeous hand-dyed green:

and it was the first yarn in a long long time that made me want to cast on for something special, RIGHT NOW.

And in a little over a week, I had finished this:

The details are on Ravelry, but let me just say that the textured shawl recipe by orlane is a wonderful pattern conception. Simple, clever, and beautiful.

In the 2 days since I finished this, I’ve knit almost 25% of a sweater. But I’ll save that for the next post. We’ll see if this jump start turns into something special.

And just in case you’re just here for the baby pictures (um, Dad), here’s a shot of EJ from last weekend when we were out and about:

A Thousand Words

The most horrible thing about parenting so far (for me) is when I’ve been the source of EJ’s pain. Vaccinations, of course, are probably the first time you willingly subject your baby to pain, and I will never forget the look in his eyes as I held him down on the table at 8 weeks old and had a doctor stick 3 needles in him.

Awful.

Then, there’s the accidental maiming – trying to cut his fingernails is perilous at best, and if it weren’t for the fact that he’s drawn a fair amount of his own blood because his fingernails grew too long, I wouldn’t cut them at all. But, it has to be done, and both Eric and I have nicked his fingers to various degrees in the attempt.

Awful.

Then there’s the Awful At The Time, But Funny Later sorts of mishaps. The other day, Eric had EJ in the bjorn, like this, except now EJ is way more alert and is constantly staring up to watch what we’re doing.

It was a weekend morning, which in the Pawlowski household means Dunkin Donuts coffee and a chocolate frosted donut each that Eric brings home from his walk with the boys. Oh, chocolate frosted donut! You make my heart sing! Someday you will have your own glorious post. But today your tale is not one of rejoicing, but of unfortunate hilarity.

Eric was chomping on his chocolate frosted donut. Delicious and happy. At some point he looked down, and saw a big yellow sprinkle staring back at him. Lodged in EJ’s eye. Just sitting there, all innocent and cute and yummy, but IN HIS EYE. EJ had no idea, or at least, wasn’t fussed about it.

But I was.

All I could think of was, how the hell am I going to get that out of there?!?!? and I should really go get the camera!

In a split second I decided it would be irresponsible to leave it in there long enough to get the camera and snap some pictures. I (mostly) regret that now. It would have been a great picture.

Instead, I grabbed a cup full of water and poured in his eye, to flush the thing out. But I couldn’t actually bring myself to pour water in his eye, so Eric laid him on the ground, and I more like poured a cup full of water on his face, which pissed him off enough to start crying some real tears, which then popped the sprinkle out enough that I could pull it out myself.

See? Wouldn’t this story have been better with a picture?

Sigh.

You will have to content yourself with my new project, which is growing on my needles so fast you (insert A-Rod on steroids joke here). I can hardly believe it’s been 4 days and I’m already halfway through it:

The Textured Shawl in Sundara Aran Silky Merino, which I think is proving to be a perfect matching of yarn and pattern. Details on Ravelry.

More Sleeping = More Knitting

I don’t know if it’s simply a promotion, or if Dunkin Donuts has finally remembered that coffee shouldn’t be a luxury item (for God’s sake, it’s one of the only thing Francie’s family can afford in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), but my iced coffees have only cost 50 cents this week. It’s so rare for something to cost only cents, that keyboards don’t even have a Cents sign. Says something, huh?

Anyhow.

I’ve been watching a fair amount of Sesame Street lately, and I’m not embarrassed to say that I’m enjoying it as much as I did when I was a kid. The writing is smart (great references to popular culture), the issues are relevant (adults need help remembering to share and respect others too), the guests are fabulous (Crystal Gale then, Feist now), and Murray has a Little Lamb? That Ovajita has some sass.

And I don’t know what it is, but it makes EJ laugh, and occupies him long enough to let me take a shower in the morning, so there’s that too.

Here EJ is wondering what a cookie is, and why the Cookie Monster loves them so much.

Look at how his eyes are glued to the TV. Normally I whip out the camera and he stares at me. Not so when Sesame Street is on. And No, I do not feel bad enlisting the help of the TV at times. Ideals be damned, I has gots to get clean.

I can tell how things are going here by how much knitting is happening. Month 4 was a rough one – what with the learning how to roll over and discovering that there’s a Whole Big World to look at, EJ was way too hopped up to sleep well, or to stay still long enough for a good meal.

Suffice it to say, there was no knitting for the whole of Month 4.

Mostly it was just a fog of attending to EJ in his frustrated attempts to gain some control over his body. I’m trying to toe the line between the frustration and tears necessary to work something out on his own, and helping him when he needs it. I suppose that’s at the heart of parenting, and as parents we just cut our teeth on issues like: he rolls over back-to-belly but not belly-to-back. So when he happily flips himself over and 30 seconds realizes he’s stuck that way, he’s kind of pissed. And he wants me to roll him over, so he can do it again.

But he has the ability to roll over belly-to-back, and just doesn’t know it. He’s done it. But the more I do it for him, the more he expects me to, and the more frustrated he is marooned on his belly.

(Just preparation for when he wants to me to do his laundry for him when he’s old enough to do it himself I suppose. And by then he’ll actually understand the words “You can do it honey!”.)

My other big parenting dilemma these days is this: George loves licking EJ’s hands with a fervent passion. EJ loves it when George licks his hands. Perhaps not as fervently, but EJ appears fascinated with the furry thing walking around and having something to grab other than stuffed rattles.

See for yourself:

more about "EJ and George on Flickr – Photo Sharing!", posted with vodpod

(Who needs toys when you’ve got a dog?)
Then, of course, EJ sticks his hands in his mouth, and maws on George’s dog drool. As of now, I’m not overly concerned, as I’m having very little luck restraining George when my back is turned. And well, I’m of the A-Little-Dirt-is-Good-For-Them camp. But if anyone can tell me of a good reason why I should put a stop to this now, I’d be glad to hear it.

So, given that these are the biggest things I’m dealing with on the parenting front, you can see that this past week or so has been more manageable. More sleeping. More hands-free time during the day.

More knitting. (And blogging! We can only hope.)

I have finally cast on for something with Sundara Sock Yarn, and I must say that it is definitely worth the hype. Her depth of color is stunning, and my picture does not do it justice.

Sure, it’s only about a quarter of an ankle sock, but it feels good to have cast on for something new. It’s a beautiful green, like the park outside. It’s something manageable. Easily picked up and put down. Useful and pretty all at the same time. Do what works, right?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.