Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Sunday I took the girls out to there so they could pet the alpacas. They had a blast.
Afterwards, we went to the Gibbsville Orchard and went on a haywagon ride and went apple-picking. They had a blast, and they now have their very own handpicked apples for school snack every day this week. I don't have any pictures because I was too busy having fun. Bad foster mommy. Sigh. I often rebuke myself for not taking enough pictures, and forcibly have to remember that in this big world there are far more important things to be concerned with than having too much fun in the moment to try to capture them. We had a wonderful time I'll never forget and they probably will, and in the big picture, it doesn't really matter all that much. Laughter and love stay with you whether it's in a picture album or not.
That said, I got a great one on the way home from the orchard. I guess the caramel apple wore off. Heh.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Raspbaerry Hill Alpacas
W6399 County Rd U
Plymouth, WI 53073
Phone: (920) 893-8218
Cell: (920) 918-8033
Email 2: firstname.lastname@example.org
See you there!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I got my shipments of roving and dyes yesterday. 16 pounds of merino and 8 pounds of sw merino, and 30 1-pound containers of one-shot dyes (also sold as Country Classic dyes). I can't wait to get dyeing; hopefully I'll be able to get a few rovings done tonight even. Jewel tones seem to fly off the shelf this time of year, so I'm going to come up with some new combinations. Coming soon to Willow Acre Fibers!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Willow Acre Fibers is doing really well. I've sold 30 items in the 5 weeks it's been open. I had an inquiry for wholesale prices on my roving from a yarn shop in Kentucky because they like what I have and want to carry it in their store. I worked up a price sheet/colorway sheet and was shocked to find that I've created 30 separate, distinct colorways in the 5 weeks my shop's been open. I was pleased to find that I had recorded enough information to compile into a recipe sheet for all 30 as well, so I can recreate any of them. I sent off the price sheet and am waiting to hear back.
I will be doing a spinning demo at Alpaca Days, hosted by Raspbaerry Farms in Plymouth, Wisconsin on September 27-28. They invited me to bring any handspun yarns or handpainted rovings to sell if I like as well, which is a wonderful opportunity. I'll have to go through my inventory of handspun and see what I have, and make up some of my more popular colorways of roving as well.
See what I mean about crazy busy? I will try to post more often. Promise.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
I was at Barnes & Noble on my lunch break one day this week, and the woman ahead of me in line had two little boys. One was about 5 and the other I'd put at, ohh, maybe 7 or 8. While the youngest was having a whiny battle of wills over a "karate bookmark" (wooden bookmark with chinese symbols on it, bet you $1 they had nothing to do with karate), the older was crouched down looking at a magazine on the bottom rack of the stand by the cashier.
There were two magazines to choose from:
and some sports magazine with a bunch of very drunk, very happy Packer fans on the front of it.
Guess which one he was deeply interested in? Yep, the Packers. Which made me wonder; when exactly does that change? When is that switch flipped?
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
FC2 was sick and out of daycare for a whole week with some mysterious fever, and now I've had it for the last week. I think I'm at the tail end of it, thank god.
Good news about my foster care article; in the letters to the editor section of this month's magazine, somebody gave me some great feedback on my little Prepare for Breakage article. Note to self: MUST WRITE MORE.
I have been spinning up a lot of yarn, which will go on sale next week in my new Etsy store, http://willowacrefibers.etsy.com. Next week I'm also on vacation, so I hope to be dying my first rovings under the willow tree. I will try to take pics so I can post them here.
Thank you, gentle readers, for patiently waiting out the silence. I'm back!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
FC1 had her birthday party at home yesterday. Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen ice cream cake. She's also having a party this Friday at the local skating rink with 15-20 of her closest friends. That'll be a trip. Hopefully on Monday I'll have lots of good pictures! Then Saturday she's having another party at my MIL's house with all of Richard's nephews and family. How spoiled is this kid, huh? She's such a sweetheart though that it's just plain fun to spoil her.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Not so much exercise last night, but had some very good quality time with the girls. Found out something interesting, too. FC1 was named after her mom's foster mother, from when her mom was in foster care as a child. I thought that was so touching, that she named her firstborn after somebody she obviously admired a great deal. Then I was brought back down to earth by the fact that even though this woman had that kind of impact on her, it hadn't been enough to break the cycle. Damn. This fostering business is a chocolate-covered lemon, with the sour always lurking just below the sweet. That said, I wouldn't trade it for anything.
Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a coworker about foster care. He is of the opinion that kids just shouldn't go back to their abusive/neglectful/whatever real parents. I don't think he gets it that kids need their parents. Or at least their primary parent. It's not that they want them, or prefer them. It's a human need, and if that's missing, there's a piece missing from that child from that point on. Period.
This is where my faith steps in as well. I believe each person has their own path in life, with God at their side. It is not my place to decide that this child doesn't belong with their parent(s), if that parent has passed the state's requirements. I can't protect beyond a certain point, except to hope that the tools I've helped them develop will serve them well. I must be at peace with all possibilities after I let go; they may thrive, they may stagger and fall, they may follow in their dysfunction's footsteps. This is where I end, where I must let go and trust God to be there when they need Him most.
This is where I become my final incarnation as a foster parent: Available.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
We went to a local restaurant that has the best ranch dressing I've ever had and I only ever order one thing there: the grilled chicken salad. Yummm. We even ate outside next to a trickling little water feature because it was so nice out. Finally! Afterwards we walked to the park across the street and I went down the big slide with the girls. They were thrilled. Then I attempted to ride one of those springy little horse things that stick out of the ground. Yikes. Not recommended for adults over 100 pounds. Then Richard and I both went on the swingset for a little while, after which I got some knitting done on the super secret sock. Not a ton of exercise but at least we got out of the house and had some fun!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Life has been ... interesting. The girls are doing fine, Richard is fine, and me? Well, not so fine. Just got a bad case of the blah's lately. I could blame it on work but then I remember how good I have it and feel like a nincompoop complaining about my cushy, sit-down, safe, stable job. I could blame it on the weather but the weather is getting beautiful. I guess it boils down to the fact that I just have to get off my rump at night and work out so I feel better. I just feel stagnant inside.
So maybe I'll use this blog thingy as a prompter for that. I'll post every day and see it all written down (or up, in the case of a blog) and feel better about myself.
[jumps down off the pity potty]
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Notice the Hot 'n Sexy white FOTL's peekin' out there. Yeah, baby! Sizzzzle!
Deb, you're a lousy shot, but I love ya.
Here's one of the boys who was very nice to two very odd, snorting ladies dressed in business casual at the batting cages.
Go Debbie Go Debbie Go Debbie Go!
Two swingin', snortin', almost-horfin' dorks. Too much fun.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Here are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote (In my defense, I was reading the spanish version. Tough going in 7th grade.)
Pride and Prejudice
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula (It's on my shelf. Makes me look smart. It was also a gift.)
A Clockwork Orange
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
Watership Down (Favorite, favorite book of all time, every time.)
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
The Three Musketeers
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Today Richard and the girls did some landscaping in the front yard. Richard went on Craigslist and got a whole bunch of plants from people who were giving them away and brought them all home, along with some large cement landscaping rounds. He's ambitious.
I just wandered around and took pictures.
Now, the next pictures are sorta strange. We have a Lint Tree. Not familiar with that species? It occurs in nature only when next to a dryer vent.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Richard took the girls to his sister-in-law's house for a birthday party. His nephew is turning 8. Hmm. 8 years old in 2008. His age should be easy to remember from now on. I stayed home due to a massive sinus headache. I wasn't sure I should stay home until Richard asked if I wanted McD's for breakfast (ALWAYS a hit on the weekend) and I just grimaced and said Noooo. I was in bed until noon and have been creeping around the very quiet house since then. Quiet. It's nice, and weird, and not at all lonely, probably because I know they'll all be home soon. If they weren't then it would be quite a different thing I think.
I did take the opportunity to photograph the latest skein of yarn I spun last night. It's a variegated merino plied with a solid corriedale. Lavender Lovely, I think I'll call it.
So there's that. Then there are Elizabeth Zimmerman's Mitered Mittens, below, which I think I got done in February.
I used handpainted yarn from Etsy for those. Very pretty and simple. Then last month I bought this amazing handspun, handpainted yarn from Maisy's and had just enough to do a pair of fingerless gloves. I bastardized a pattern from Kristin Knits so it is well nigh unrecognizable, and love the result. Perfect for just-chilly spring days. I also wore these for raking the yard last weekend and didn't get one blister! Regular gloves chafe me as bad as not wearing gloves at all, so these are a big hit with me. Raina says Hi.
Ok, I'm off to put another heat pack on my head. Richard was a sweetie and went to Walgreen's to get one for me before he left this morning. What a hubby.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
So tonight I'll go after the variegated roving, or maybe the purple. I think the purple, because I want to spin the variegated really nicely, and I need some tips so I think I'll wait until class tomorrow night.
Not much happening on the knitting front. I'm almost done with sock #1 of Richard's first pair. I'm about 6 rows into a very ambitious sweater. I should post some pics of FO's I never posted, because I'm just going to have to fake it until I get off my spinning kick.
Richard thinks it's funny that I suck at geography. No, you don't understand. I really, really SUCK at geography. The other night I asked him a perfectly legitimate question, to my mind:
"Is New Mexico a state?"
3-second stare as he deliberates whether or not I'm serious. I blink, waiting patiently.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
But it's TOTALLY FUN. I'd recommend it to anybody. I've always been a process knitter though so even when I feel like I'm trying to puppeteer somebody else's heavy clay hands I'm having fun with it.
I bought a wheel. I [heart] my wheel. I tried out 6 wheels altogether and this one felt ... right. It just WORKED. Brigitte was very non-committal about which style wheel she liked, she just kept saying that when you find the wheel you like you just know it, and she was right. It's a Schacht wheel called The Ladybug and it's just perfect. Richard put it together for me last night when I got home (thank you Sweetie!!) and then I completely flubbed my demo for him. I slept like a dead person last night, and dreamt of roving.
I bought four batches of roving in four different colors. My brain was too foggy to think last night so I didn't get pics of the roving, but I did get pics of my wheel. I spun almost a whole bobbin of one-ply last night but left it at Bahr Creek because I'll ply it with whatever I spin this week when I have my next lesson.
Here is my baby. Jezebel approves. Her eyes actually glow with love in the last pic. I know exactly how she feels.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This is our most popular wheel because it is so versatile. It's easy to use for learning, and you can then buy simple add-on kits that allow you to adapt the wheel to specific types of spinning as you begin to experiment more.
It is available in single or double drive, and if you are left handed we've created a version especially for you. 4 bobbins and Lazy Kate are included in the kit. As you can see, it is also a classically styled wheel made from beautiful New Zealand Silver beech, so it will look great in your home.
Wheel diameter: 56cm (22")
Orifice: 1cm (3/8")
Bobbins Capacity: 100gm (3-4oz)
Ratios: 7.5, 10.1:1 & 14:1 bobbin lead
Weight: 8kg (17.5lb)
I have just barely the faintest glimmer of the idea of what all that means. Whee!
Monday, April 7, 2008
I wonder if there's a Mullet website I could post my pics to? It's rare to see a full, gelled mullet in the wild nowadays without going back to a yearbook or old family pictures. Must investigate.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I wrote this when we first got the girls and I was feeling a wee bit overwhelmed. He and I have both had a hearty laugh over both the event and the written story by now, and all duties have been redistributed more than fairly, so it should be safe for blog publishing. Enjoy.
Wife of the Year Award
by Muriel Taft
I would like to submit an anecdote as my entry submission for Wife of the Year 2008.
My routine has turned upside down since the children. Mornings now include getting two little humans ready for school and daycare and making sure they have everything they need. At night, homework must be checked, teeth are brushed, jammies chosen and donned, and tuck-ins. In between are the shuttling to and from daycare, organizing their schedules and visits with their grandma, scheduling respite care, calling doctors and dentists and caseworkers.
Richard has to set out two extra bowls of Cheerios in the morning.
Last Thursday night it got bitterly cold and we arrived home from Habitat volunteering at the children's bedtime. We all rushed into the house and I began getting the children ready for bed. Richard had to go out with the dog because the dog has better sense than to go out in this kind of cold alone. 10 minutes later, as I'm choosing the children's outfits for the next morning, and tucking them in, and making sure toothpaste doesn't splatter any further than the bathroom threshold, the girls perk up and say, what's that pounding? I tune into it for the first time myself and say, I don't know, but I'm going to go find Papa Richard for your goodnight hugs and kisses.
Reaching the living room, I see my husband pounding with both fists on our front windows. I go to let him in and he stomps off to the back door. He comes in gasping and angry that he's been pounding at different windows/doors all over the house. He locked himself out. He was worried about the dog freezing and he couldn't get my attention and oh my GOD didn't I hear him??
Well, no, I didn't.
I apologized and explained that I must have just tuned it out. He says, well, I guess I should have brought my keys with me. I guess I just have to remember EVERYTHING (and this with a defeated two-arm flap down to his sides).
Before continuing, I'd like to point out a few more facts to support my nomination. I'd like to point out that we have a key lockbox attached to the house for just such an occasion. The 4-digit combination is a number well-known to both of us, and chosen by Richard himself. When I asked him why he didn't use that, he said it wouldn't open. I assumed it was frozen shut. It turns out he got all flustered and couldn't remember the combination. That he chose.
Additionally, since we'd just gotten home a few minutes before, the unlocked car would have been a warm place to hide from the wind so the doggie didn't freeze. It would also have served as a nice place to really THINK about what that tricky combination could be.
So I'm sure you can imagine the deafening silence that met THAT statement. After closing my jaw, I simply said, we'll revisit that statement in a few minutes. For now, you need to go give the girls their hug and kiss goodnight.
He's still alive. Give me that trophy.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
FC1 has been sick the last couple of days with an asthma-related cough. Non-stop coughing until she gags and throws up. Richard took her to the doc yesterday and had to stop the car 3 times on the way home so she could lean out the door and toss the cookies. Poor baby. She's had to use the nebulizer for albuterol and a steroid every 6 hours or so. It's sad seeing such a tiny person with a plastic face mask over her mouth and nose, coloring in her coloring book she got free at the pharmacy. She was up coughing with me until after MY bedtime, 10:15 pm. Finally I gave her a swig of Vick's 44 Cough Relief. It tastes like death but it worked. Hallelujah. She slept like the dead until this morning. Richard put her right back on her nebulizer first thing. She is doing better but Richard's going to stay home with her again.
I was having a discussion with my friend Janice yesterday and mentioned how with foster kids, they don't represent you or your values the same way your biological children do. They may have a different sense of style, different hair and eyes, different mannerisms, different sensibilities. This is where a very specific type of detachment comes in handy. You have to completely let go of any vanity that may come to you through your children. At the same time, this frees you to see events in their history for what they are instead of becoming immersed in a family culture. You are also much more aware of your role as caretaker of someong else's family. It's all good.
Well, I suppose I should get back to work. Happy Wednesday.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
This is a close-up of the collar and buttons. I really like how the Jelli Beenz yarn looks with the purple and pink yarns. I used Encore's 75% acrylic, 25% superwash wool blend for the main colors and then Plymouth Jelli Beenz acrylic for the edging.
I'm also working on the socks for myself, in Twisted's gorgeous Netherfield. I can't wait to slip these on once they're done.
I mean really, doesn't this just look like a rose garden just beginning to bloom in spring? This colorway just lifts my heart when I'm knitting it.
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