My nerd boys

I miss my nerd boys. Let me tell you why.

If I were to poll a random sampling of the people throughout my life that know or have known me fairly well, it would not surprise me if most of them thought I hated men. I don’t remember starting out this way, but at some point in junior high or high school I learned that my world view of female equality was shattered. I had believed up to that point that most men didn’t really think I should spend my life barefoot and pregnant and would happily share the work load of hearth and home so that I could have an equally rewarding career. This topic came up in a class. I wish that I could remember the class or the teacher or even which school I was in. I can hear the young man’s voice and see his face, but I can’t remember his name. Maybe that’s for the best. Anyway, I voiced the above opinion that men had come out of the dark ages and regarded us as equals and this young man (supported by noises of assent and nods of heads by the other boys in the class) shot me down.

From then on I noticed that the world around me and the world’s history leaned heavily in men’s favor.  Despite the fact that (in my experience and in this country anyway) we had the same opportunities of education, overall men would be paid more than women for the same job. In other countries, there weren’t even the same opportunities for education. A woman was considered property, or worthless unless she killed herself and took “infidels” with her. If a woman made the decision to be a stay at home mom, the world looked down on her.  If a woman decided to have career and a family, her spouse didn’t equally share the load of the house or family even though she worked as much as he did outside the home. There were even modern American fathers (as in my or my parent’s generation) that would provide an education for their sons but not their daughters.

In popular culture a woman’s value was based on her age and looks. Even the thin beautiful models weren’t thin or beautiful enough, their pictures had to be airbrushed for Pete’s sake. A female vocalist would rarely appear modestly dressed on the cover of her album. It wasn’t enough that she had a beautiful voice, she had to be pretty and shown in revealing clothing. Women have expiration dates. Male actors were allowed to age but females could not. Year after year, the same (admittedly drool-worthy) men would make movies, but the females leads would be constantly changed out for younger women. The men around me seemed to not see any problem with this.

I viewed most marriages around me (including my own) with disdain, thinking to myself that for a woman to be miserable in marriage was par for the course.  I didn’t know any women that were in what I would call good marriages. Their husbands didn’t seem to respect their wives opinions. The husbands didn’t seem interested in treating their wives like equals. Important decisions would be made without consulting the wife. Even the women that were in marriages that were on the higher side of the Good/Bad scale were married to men that had horrific faults. I could go on and on about how life was unfair to women, the world was unfair to women, that marriage was this colossal joke played upon women by God. Most of the men I knew didn’t speak kindly about their wives in public. I constantly heard complaints about wives or ex-wives. Disrespect, ignorance, general ignoring of their wives concerns and desires, intolerance of or no appreciation for opinions or talents… all of these things I would see around me. While I was sure there were good men out there, I hadn’t run across any.

Then something changed. I got a new job and suddenly found myself surrounded by good men (I called them my nerd boys, even though they were grown men. We all worked with computer software and were nerdy to various degrees). I mean real, honest to goodness good men. Some older than me, some younger than me…all good. They spoke respectfully about women in general. They seemed to appreciate intelligence and talent without it being attached to beauty or immodesty. They spoke kindly about their wives. They were full of praise for the things they did and the ideas they had. They spoke kindly to them on the phone. I rarely overheard a phone call that didn’t end with “I love you”.  I worked with these men for five years and I realized that for whatever reason, I was being shown that there are men out there that honestly love and respect and honor and cherish their wives. They spoke about teaching their sons to respect women. Time and time again they broke my hard earned notions about the general sliminess of men. These men have done something for me that they will probably never realize. They taught me that not only did good men exist, that not only is marriage not this joke or cruel punishment for women, they taught me how to recognize a good man when I found one. I learned, and I grew and I was able to say I was wrong. A good man did find me and I was able to recognize him for what he was and treat him accordingly. I was able to view him without distrust.

For that, Adam, Dave, Max (hon, you really could stand to be a bit nerdier), Nathan and Zack… and I can never, ever thank you enough. I love you guys.

It was very merry

I had a wonderful Christmas with my children, step-children, in-laws and my dear, sweet husband.  We opened presents, we visited family, we ate good food and a lot of it. I completed a lot of knitting and it seemed to be appreciated by the various recipients. On the Thursday before Christmas I met my friends Meli and Wendy for dinner and we exchanged gifts. Wendy gave me a subscription to Spin Off magazine and Meli gave me a framed cross stitched dragon. During that dinner we laughed a lot and I knit a large amount of a hat for step-son Stanley.  We had our immediate family Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve since David’s kids were going back home in the afternoon the next day. We had a dinner/lunch on Christmas at my mother in law Dawn’s house. She had a fabulous spread of a smoked turkey, cheese potatoes, and various appetizers. YUM!!! She’s an awesome lady. I can honestly say I’ve been twice-blessed with fabulous mothers in law. Darlene, the ex MIL, brought over a chocolate cake that was so chocolaty looking it makes one happy just gazing upon it. The woman does not know the meaning of making  a cake from a box. It’s all from scratch and To. Die. For.

I have enjoyed snow, Christmas lights and Christmas music. It’s been a great year. I can’t even begin to describe how much better than years past. I am so very blessed and my life is full.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a fabulous New Year. God Bless.

Some of the projects I completed:

Mitts for my dear friend Wendy. They are finished, I just don’t have a picture of them finished. I’ll see if I can get her to model them for me. She has the most beautiful slender hands and wrists.

and apparently the other pics are lost. I finished a few hats but didn’t get pictures of them before they were given away :/

Could she be any cuter?

No, no she couldn’t. I thought that perhaps the knit Father Christmas deserved a post of its very own instead of being added to the bottom of Snow and Hats.

My kitty decided that SHE should have a post of her very own and very graciously allowed Herself to be photographed with the knit Father Christmas.

She is telling Father Christmas that she, as the resident Basement Kitteh, demands turkey slices for Christmas. She is not planning on letting him up (and into the box so I can mail him to Mom) until he agrees.

Hats and Snow

I’m sensing a theme here.

We had a lovely amount of snow the last two days. I love the snow. I love living in it, driving in it, shoveling it and playing in it. I love the sound the tires of my car makes as it crunches over a fresh snowfall.  When you drive at night through a snow covered neighborhood, everything is so quiet and beautiful.

I have been knitting hats. Lots and lots of hats. I cannot wait until I can start knitting something for myself. There are a few shawl patterns I would like to start and more than a few sock techniques that I’m looking forward to trying. Until then, it’s hats.

view from my balcony

And finally… Father Christmas

I’m really very pleased with how he came out. I decided against putting the face on him.  The fringe from his hat would have hidden it anyway. I don’t know why I had such a mental block about sewing him up, but finally I was able to and it wasn’t very hard at all. As far as sewing goes, I still have no clue about what I’m doing and I probably didn’t do it as well or as neatly as others would have.

Finally... all finished :)

Thank you, Aunt Purl

Earlier in the year I had decided that I really had to take up one or more of my hobbies again and I chose cross stitching. I cross stitched like a mad woman. It was something I taught myself to do in my early 20’s and loved it. I still do. It’s recreating a beautiful painting with thread. It comes as no surprise to me that some of my favorite designers are painters. I didn’t finish anything but I got good amounts done on a couple of really large projects.

Knitting was another thing I had taught myself in my early 20’s. I already knew how to crochet and figured that it couldn’t be much more difficult. It wasn’t but I really wish I’d had the resources then that I have now. The internet is full of wonderful videos on how to do things. It’s so much easier to watch someone doing something than try to look at a series of pictures. Years later I had taken some classes, really loved them, learned so much more and met nice people that I wish I was still in touch with. I didn’t make much time for knitting and only finished one pair of socks, one square on an afghan and most of a knitted Father Christmas.

Fast forward to June of this year, while I was really insanely happy for the first time in a long time I really needed something creative to do. I was enjoying my cross stitching until I ran across Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog and it sparked a desire in me to take up knitting again.  It’s gotten to the point where I. Must. Knit.  It soothes me. It keeps my hands busy and my mind quiet. I long ago discovered that I can concentrate better on things being said if my hands are busy. Now, if I could just get that to somehow work when I’m trying to fall asleep, that would be great. I’ve knitted scarves and hats and fingerless mitts and a cat bed. Me! Finishing things! Knitting, along with cross stitch and crochet, satisfied this creative urge inside.  I’m obsessed. Crazy Aunt Purl (she’s awesome, you should check out her blog, start at the beginning) described how knitting seemed to soothe the inner demons.  Heaven knows that I had plenty of soothing that still needed to be done. I had (have) all these little inner demons left over from my divorce along with other issues and her words really struck a chord with me. She so very eloquently wrote about all the things I was feeling and could never manage to express. While I was reading her early posts I was constantly sending bits of them in emails to my best friends and saying “There! This! This is exactly how I felt!” and “Oh my gosh! I’m so glad I’m not the only person that has done/said that!”  Is it weird that I started her blog at the beginning? Starting with the current posts seemed like reading a series of books out of order, although I did eventually start reading the current ones while reading through the archives. She has an amazing way with words. As for the knitting portion of her books and blog, she has a wonderful way of explaining techniques. I knit the Kitty Pi that she linked on her blog along with many of the roll brim hats. (Again with the Me! Finishing Stuff!) And last but not least, you just can’t beat the cuteness of the pictures of her cats. Drunk, divorced and covered in cat fur, FTW!  Love you, Aunt Purl.

It’s still not Father Christmas

I’ve finished the fingerless gloves, and blocked them. *eek* I’ve blocked something! What with that and knitting with DPNs I feel like a real grown-up knitter.  I’m ready to take on a lace shawl! Okay, that might be a little premature, maybe I had just better finish Father Christmas. He only needs a few things sewn on. Seriously, how hard could this be?

Next I need to whip out a ton of scarves on the knitting machine for a family Christmas party. I have a ton of acrylic yarn that I have no intention of using for anything. I’ve collected lots of it over the years thinking I was going to make various afghans. The only afghans I’ve managed to make are a few baby blankets here and there. I just never had time. Or, rather, I never made the time. I always preferred to play video games in any free time that I had.  Working mother? Free time?  HAHAHAHAHAHA! Besides, killing digital monsters in World of Warcraft is a great way to de-stress. *ahem*

I set aside all the baby yarn for future baby blankets, I’m keeping a couple afghan projects for myself and the rest is getting turned into scarves and hats.  Hopefully this will free up FOUR large Rubbermaid totes of space. I’ve destashed twice by going through the yarn and donating it to various causes and that’s what I had left. FOUR Rubbermaid totes. That’s just the acrylic.

I have a nice tower of natural fiber yarn that is earmarked for socks and shawls. There is also a lot of yarn that has no purpose other than it was really soft and pretty and I just HAD. TO. HAVE. IT.  Knitters know how it is. You go into a yarn shop. The wool fumes get to you and pretty soon all this stuff made of decadent fibers in fabulous colors starts to leap off the shelves and into your hands.  Anyway, this nice tower of yarn has grown since I started knitting again last June.  I need to figure out a happy home for all this yarn, somewhere other than stacked against the wall of my bedroom. But first, I have to get rid of the FOUR Rubbermaid totes.

And finish Father Christmas.

A birthday party and a pair of fingerless gloves

Tonight we are having my daughter’s birthday party. She’s invited a few friends and we have all the kids here.  There are nine of us in the family plus whoever else comes. I expect chaos to ensue.

Last night I made a fingerless glove in a manly army green for my dad. Um, yeah, I know it’s not the Father Christmas. I seem to have a mental block about sewing the thing together although I did finish stuffing the head and the hat. I also decided that I can’t send it until I have something finished for my dad hence, the fingerless glove. How’s that for denial and procrastination? I think I may be turning those qualities into an art form. I’ve cast on for the second one three times and each time made the same mistake of getting the thing turned around so that I was knitting back and forth (on dpns, no less) instead of in the round.

Note to self: don’t put the damn thing down until you have done more than 1 row. You simply aren’t talented enough to pick up where you left off so early in the project. *frumple* I bet the Yarn Harlot could do it…

Happy Birthday Danica!

My baby, my first baby, is 21 years old today. This remarkable and talented young woman taught me how to be a mother and lived to tell the tale. She’s beautiful and wonderful. The tiny girl who once asked me if Jesus made mosquitos so that we wouldn’t have too much blood is now a sophomore in college, pursuing a degree in fine arts. Her art talent manifested early and her drawings just take my breath away. All of the art talent in my family tree trickled down through the ages, skipping me (um, dudes? What’s up with that?) and settled firmly in her. I love you, sweetie, Happy Birthday


If my kids call me the Cool Mom, does that mean I’m a bad parent?

Oh, and yeah, I’m stalling a bit. I haven’t sewn Father Christmas together. I did manage to do some laundry (yay me) and got a good nap in, but I spent a nice part of the evening playing World of Warcraft with my hubby 🙂 It’s so cool being married to someone as nerdy as I am.

Does the previous paragraph answer my first question?  Yikes, I hope not. I did fix dinner, I swear.

Some Assembly Required

Father Christmas is done. By that I mean that all the pieces are finished and I have a tiny bit of stuffing and sewing to do. The various fringe bits are from with a loop stitch that I did not remember how to do since I’d left this project sitting for four plus years. I really think it’s more than four. I say four because the pattern says I printed it in 2006. I know that only means it was the LAST time I printed the pattern but I’m sticking to four years 🙂

The loop stitch turned out well after I finally re-figured out how to do it. I had some excellent help from Crazy Aunt Purl, a couple of youtube videos and the instructions in the pattern. I needed to see the pictures to understand the instructions. It’s kind of a fun stitch. I never want to have to do it again.  Except that I have enough yarn to make another one of these guys and he’s really cute. I must be nuts.

Ready for assembly