OAM cooking and the occasional pity party

Or maybe it’s Once A Month posting, I’m not sure.

This year seems to be really strange in that I can’t seem to get my schedule together. I’ve double booked us for two weekends this summer and by virtue of a wedding in August, we may be double booked for a third time. I can’t remember ever being this disorganized, not for a very long time-like since before kids! It bugs me. I don’t have our calendar straight. I don’t have a list of what’s in my freezer. And the de-crapification of the extra room has ground to a complete halt. Add in that I can’t seem to get a blog post done but once a month, and this is really excessive disorganization. For me. What you do or do not organize is strictly up to you. It really doesn’t bother me at all if others post sporadically on their blogs because that is their space and their life.

Okay, I’ll quit moaning and get on with the news.

Ditty has been enjoying competetive swimming. We signed her up for a local swim club last season and near the middle of that season she said, “I’ve finally found my sport!”. This from the girl who said “Soccer is my life!”. Okay, yes she is a middle schooler and they do change emotions like most people change underwear, but she is generally very consistent. This is my child who would get visibly upset when the preschool teacher rearranged the classroom. So consistent is probably an understatement. I’m glad she enjoys swimming and I enjoy watching her at meets.

This week, we had Court of Awards/Honor for both Ditty & BooBoo. On the same night! DH went with BooBoo to his Boy Scout Court of Honor and (after taking her to her soccer game) I went with Ditty to the tail end of her Court of Awards for Girl Scouts.

This Monday, both Ditty & BooBoo will be participating in the annual Memorial Day parade and ceremony to honor our fallen veterans. This is something we do each year because, as a fb friend posted, it’s Memorial Day not National Barbeque Day! We are trying to raise our kids to have respect for those people who gave their lives for their country and also for those who served their country whether they are still living or have died. It’s important to us to recognize that others have sacrificed so that we can enjoy our freedoms. This is especially important now that we have a government seeking to abolish those freedoms.

On Wednesday, we will have a bridging ceremony for our Girl Scout Service Unit. So far, about 8 or 9 of the troops have rsvp’d but it will still be a beautiful ceremony. Next Thursday, we will enjoy a supper and awards ceremony honoring our graduating 8th grade class of which Ditty is a student. Then on Friday, BooBoo will participate in his final Track & Field day at school. This is a day of outdoor fun for the K-5th grade students at our school. They are placed in teams and compete in fun events in the morning session, then after a picnic lunch, they have organized games by grade level in the afternoon. On Saturday, Ditty will welcome K-3rd grade Girl Scouts for a Math & Science day in the park. This is her Silver Award project and I pray for good weather because she really needs to complete this project before September. After the field day, she has her 8th grade Graduation Mass at church followed by a reception in the Parish Hall and a party at the home of one of her classmates. Saturday is also DH & my 17th wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, because it is one of the weekends we are double booked, he will be camping with BooBoo and a group of our friends. I guess when I told my MIL that it didn’t matter what weekend they celebrated our anniversary all those years ago, I never really expected that he and I would be apart on the actual anniversary. Well, guess I’d better buck up and make the best of it.

Ditty is done with school this coming Friday, May 31st (a bonus for making it through the middle school years, I think). BooBoo will be done the following Wednesday and the next day, we head to DesMoines to watch our nephew & godson play in a baseball tournament. I really feel for him & his parents. Apparently the tournament organizers don’t look too carefully into what hotel(s) they book the teams and chaperones. I checked out the one my SIL said they would be in and it didn’t rate too highly with travelers on TripAdivsor. I realize those reviews are subjective and reviewers could just have a chip on their shoulder, but even allowing for this, that hotel wasn’t up to moderate standards. We’ll be camping about 10-15 minutes away from the playing fields. And one of the days that weekend, we will be heading back to Cindy’s. It’s a local mom & pop restaurant that we stumbled across on our way back from Atchison KS last spring. I am so looking forward to stopping for lunch, or even breakfast there! And since I’m not a morning person, this is high praise indeed.

I’ll try to get some more pictures posted soon. Our hummingbirds are back and I purchase a forsythia bush this spring that DH put in the ground yesterday before the school choir concert. I’ve wanted one of these for years and finally purchased it. He also planted the shrub rose I received as a thank you gift this spring for being one of the first 60 Virtus facilitators trained in our Archdiocese eight years ago and staying with the program all that time. I do believe that many of us in that group are still going strong and I feel that we have made a positive impact in the ongoing fight to protect children.

We have also begun a straw bale garden. Yeah, I know, who would want to grow bales of straw? But that’s not what it is, it is gardening using a bale of straw as your raised bed. Oh, so now you’re curious 🙂 Here’s a link to the author’s website so you can check it out and see if you’d like to garden practically weed-free too: Straw Bale Gardens.

It’s time to get back to what I need to get done today. Have a safe and blessed Memorial Day weekend.

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Poverty-What it truly is & isn’t

What is poverty?

Most people would say that poverty is when you don’t have enough money to buy the things you want, or buy the things you need.  But I’ve known many families who can not buy all the things we think we need in today’s world.  Those families had great love and a wealth of creativity.  They were close and helped each other get through life’s little troubles.  They were together and there for each other and that was what mattered.  I never really thought of them as being poor.

Fast forward now to the past few months.

I’ve been thinking a lot about family, especially with the deaths of two uncles and an aunt in the past 8 months.  I’ve never really paid much attention to my cousins.  I mean they’ve always been there and we talk from time to time and get together for life’s milestones.  Yet I’ve never really appreciated the vast family connections that have graced my life.

You see, I have 36 first cousins.  Three dozen, not counting their spouses and their children.  In today’s world, that is an incredibly large family connection.  My own children, on the other hand, have only 12 first cousins and two of those, they have never even met.

That, dear readers, is true poverty!

My cousins have helped me and been there for me through so many of life’s bad times.  We’re family and we help each other.  Even when we can’t be together physically, we are there for each other in spirit, praying for each other. 

My children won’t have that vast built-in support system, and my nieces & nephews have even fewer.  All because today’s culture believes in travelling light.  Our culture today believes in cutting ties with the family early and not getting tied down with family obligations.  So we have fewer children, or none at all.  We say things about overpopulation and saving enough space for future generations.  We rob our children of the support network they will need in the future so that we can give them all the things money can buy.  We don’t calculate the cost because family is one of those intangible items.  You don’t realize the treasure you’ve lost, given away or abandoned to be more precise, until it’s too late.

That is true poverty and we are a very poor nation.

C.S. Lewis & Me

I see that I’ve been silent on here for a month.  And what a month it has been.

I took quite a beating on FB with my status update stating my reason for my vote in support of the marriage amendment.  I expected to get some heat.  I was not prepared for a relative’s desire to pick a fight with me, publicly on FB or that person’s desire to thoroughly demean & degrade anyone who held a view different from their own.  That hurt.  What hurt even more though was the total silence from people that I knew who agreed with my view.  I was attempting to help the relative understand my reason for my view while not engaging in the argument this person so desperately seemed to want and no one responded in support.  No supportive comment, not even a “like” on my original post or my follow-up defensive comments.  Nothing.

Complete and utter silence.

And pain.

The pain of being abandoned by everyone I knew.

I don’t “friend” people lightly on FB.  I only send and accept requests from people I actually know and interact with in the real world.  I assume, or did in the past, that these people actually wanted to know me better.  Now I question that assumption.  I’m not sure how I want to proceed from here.  I suppose I’ll figure that out in time.  Just not now.

After that post and election night, I went to our little, local bookstore.  As I was browsing the shelves, I came across The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Chapter 8 near the end paints a very vivid picture of exactly how I felt about my FB experience.

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood.  Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”  C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I’ve been curled up in pain, brought to tears over and over by this earthly abandonment.  I still believe in God.  I still believe in Jesus Christ, His Son.  I still believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I still believe. 

And I will still obey.

Thank you Mr. Lewis.  For having the words I would need, even before I was born and would need them.  May your soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I’ve reset the marker in my Sunday missal as well.  This coming Sunday marks the First Sunday of Advent, Year C.  The caption under the picture in my missal reads; “Pray that you have the strength to escape . . . and to stand before the Son of Man.”  The theme for this Sunday is stated as: “By your perseverance (patient endurance) you will secure your lives. Luke 21:19”.  It’s like balm on my soul.

Heading to Mass today and adoration.

May your day be one of blessed peace.

I want off this merry-go-round

I hoped I was done with the merry-go-round of Menier’s.  I know this isn’t possible, but it has been so long since I’ve had a dizzy spell, that I really had hoped.

Menier’s, for the uninitiated, is a chronic condition where a person’s body retains excess fluid in the inner ear.  It is accompanied by diminished hearing, generally affecting only one ear-usually the left.  Eventually the person goes deaf in the affected ear.

I know.  As if going through the usual bloating every month isn’t bad enough, I get to listen to a doctor tell me that I’m retaining fluid in my left ear as well. 🙂

The good news, if you can call it that, is that if you can learn to identify your triggers (the things that specifically make you prone to the dizzy spells), then you can learn to avoid or counteract them.  Oh, and I should mention that the triggers can change over time as our bodies age.

I have been able to identify what I think are most, if not all, of my triggers.  Smoking or second had smoke, Lack of adequate Sleep, High levels of Stress, Excess Salt, Caffeine (this one was new after I had my 3rd child) and there was another one but I’m sleep deprived at the moment and can’t remember it.  Then there are the things that only seem like triggers:  drastic climate changes (we’ve been having those lately but we normally call it spring or fall depending on whether the weather is getting hotter or colder), menstruation (although I’ve read that this really can be a trigger, it hasn’t been in the past for me.  Wouldn’t that be a kicker though to have it become a trigger just as I’m getting to the peri-menopausal stage?), moon in Jupiter (just kidding, I have no idea when the moon hits Jupiter, it’s just that on days like today these dizzy spells make no sense at all).

I have been able, in the past, to counteract the dizzy spells.  Taking an over-the-counter sleep aid when I know I’ll need extra rest, drinking orange juice or eating a banana (both are good sources of potassium which the body uses to regulate fluid retention) has helped in the past.

Today I just don’t know what to do.  I’ve had a banana, even though it isn’t part of the diet cycle I’m on.  I can’t take a sleep aid because I need to take BooBoo to school in about 2 hours.  So far this hasn’t helped and I can feel my stress level rising.  Maybe I’ll just have to escape reality for awhile by reading a good book.  Hopefully that will relax me enough to hold off the dizzy spell until after I get BooBoo to school.  Then I can take the sleep aid and get this mess under control again.

One other thing about Menier’s.  I found out that once you go deaf in the affected ear, they can do a surgical slit in the ear drum to permanently release the excess fluid.  The surgery means that you will be permanently deaf in that ear, so they flatly refuse to do it until you have become deaf in the ear naturally.

More than the usual busyness

“Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”  Aldous Huxley

Wish someone would have bothered to tell me sooner.  But seriously, sorry for the two week absence.  Life did get overly busy and there simply wasn’t enought time for writing.  I did get quite a bit done, however.

1.  Moved the oldest (age 25) out of our house and into an apartment in another city (another college town but not her college town-thank God).  She seems to be adjusting well.  I’m glad.  I’m also glad to have my homelife back on an even keel.  Okay, we’re actually just trying to get the keel even again, but we’ll get there.

2.  Completed two more Virtus sessions.

3.  Finished BooBoo’s knit Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Robe so BooBoo can be Matthias from the original Redwall book for Halloween.  Ditty has now decided that she does want to dress up and go trick or treating for Halloween.  She announced it at supper last night and even my husband said “What!  You’ve decided that now and there’s only a week to go!”.  Bless his heart.  She knows that I will not be making a new costume for her this year.  Not on that short notice.

4.  Shampooed the carpet in the bedroom formerly used by the oldest.  Almost wish I had taken a before picture along with the after picture, but you would have been seriously grossed out.  Suffice to say that I changed the water in the machine about 16 times.  It only has a small water tank, but that number even makes me gag.  The rest of the carpets will soon be seeing their opportunity with my still relatively new carpet cleaning machine.  I’m looking forward to really clean carpets this winter.  And keeping them that way!

5.  Began our rounds of knowledge bowl meets last Monday with a meet at St. John’s Prep.  The other 7th & 8th grade team from our school placed 3rd.  That was a nice start to the season.

6.  Certainly not the least important, just the most recent event.  We celebrated my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  About 6 or 7 years ago, we could barely hope to make it this far.  My mother-in-law had been diagnosed with leukemia and had come out of remission twice, each time in half the time of the time before.  We hoped and prayed that we would be able to celebrate this milestone anniversary with them.  We are very grateful to still have both of them with us for however long God will allow.  A hotel stay on Friday night and the kids enjoying the waterpark along with Mass on Saturday night and dinner with their closest relatives and friends made for a beautiful weekend.

7.  And lastly, along with all of the miscellaneous busyness (knowledge bowl, scouts, etc.), I got to spend all day yesterday in my pajamas.  Doesn’t sound like much, but there are just days where you need to unwind, relax and not worry about how you’re dressed.  Generally DH complains when I do this.  He doesn’t understand why anyone would want to do this instead of getting up and seizing the day.  But he didn’t complain, the kids got dressed and I had a lovely day just reading and knitting.  I did make brunch and supper for them and didn’t skimp on the cooking.  Maybe that helped, or maybe it was the 15 years we’ve been married that has made him finally able to shrug his shoulders and let it go.  What ever it is, I’m happy.

Photos will be forthcoming on the costume and my next little knitting project as soon as I can carve out some more time and download them from the camera.

Enjoy the beautiful autumn weather.  I need apples . . . and pumpkins.  Time to get to the local orchard.

Oh Drat!

It happened again.  I totally missed Monday in all the day-off hubbub and practically slid through Tuesday as well.  I need a vacation.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly could use a bit more humor in my life.  So, without further ado, here is the missing Monday Morning Muse.

“Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?  They never mention that  part to us, do they?”  George Carlin

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Other news:

Ditty, BooBoo, DH & I participated in the Memorial Day parade.  It has become the family Memorial Day tradition.  It is followed by the second, family Memorial Day tradition . . . the annual trip to Historic Fort Snelling.  This year the trip was even more memorable because the questionable weather kept us wondering if we would be able to see everything we wanted to see at the Fort or if we would have to make a quick switch to Plan B and go to the Science Museum instead.

I felt that since it had rained earlier that morning, the grounds were probably going to be wet and muddy.  Therefore, I reasoned, if I wear my nice comfortable moccasins to the Fort, they will get soaked and will turn my socks & feet a not so lovely shade of orange.  So I kept my pumps that I wore in the parade on instead.  Please note that our Memorial Day parade is a whole three blocks long.  You could walk this puppy with bunions while in pumps and still be fine.  The short parade walk is due to the location of our American Legion, too close to a very busy road for a longer parade.

So I walked around the historic fort with DH & the kids.  Yes, people were staring at my feet.  And I kept wondering how they could stand walking around in flip-flops.  No arch support and that piece of shoe between your toes . . . it would have driven me crazy.  But after 4 hours at the fort, DH & the kids were ready to leave.

And go to Minnehaha Falls.  Really!  (in case you’re wondering how to pronounce Minnehaha, it’s Mini-ha-ha.)

We arrived at Minnehaha Creek Park and realized that this park you have to pay for parking.  It’s a strange concept, but that’s Minneapolis I guess.  So we paid for parking and then proceeded to the shelter to check out the maps to find the trail down to the falls.  DH & I found the map and he checked the scale to see how far we would need to walk to get to the falls.  He figured about 4000 feet.  Remember, I’m still in pumps.  “Don’t tell the kids.” I told him.  I knew they would not want to walk that far after all the walking at the fort.  So we hoofed it down the sidewalk and finally came to the stairs leading down to the falls. 

Now my feet were aching and we still had the walk back to the van.  Oh joy, DH & the kids decided to walk the lower path along the creek back to the van.  This meant walking:  on stones, through mud and climbing a few inclines when the trail veered up away from the edge of the creek for safety.  And of course, the requisite climb up the stairs to get back up to parking lot level.

I used to call my pumps my running shoes because I wore them to run errands and pick up kids.  Now I can call them my hiking shoes too.

It was still a blessed Memorial Day.  I didn’t have to cook lunch or supper!

Plan well

“Luck is the residue of design.”  Branch Rickey

My days have been passing by in a blur lately, mainly due to not having a proper plan for them.

The paying job that I accepted is seasonal and varied.  There is no way to change that, it simply is.  I need to create time to plan the parts of my days that I can control, the early mornings and the evenings.  I need to take time on the weekend to make a thorough inventory of what is in my freezers and cupboards.  I need to then get my meal plans made and create some easy, go-to meals for those evenings when we don’t have time to make a meal from scratch.

I also need to create chore charts for my kids and see to it that they really use them so that they learn to contribute to our family’s efficiency.  Two are still in school and the eldest has accepted more hours at her job.  That doesn’t excuse them from chores.  We will all need to do our parts so that we can all enjoy some down time.

Off to create a plan.  Have a great week.

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It has been an interesting week at our house.  Ditty was gone for a week long educational field trip to a camp up north.  They learned about the environment and team building.  She wasn’t too impressed with the way some kids reacted to the experience.  Ditty loves to camp.  She has no problems with bugs, animals, being dirty, or being outdoors.  Oh, she still can whine with the best of them if she’s uncomfortable, but tell the girl that she’s camping and she can change her attitude when needed.

I asked if they had Mass on Wednesday while they were up at camp.  That’s there usual school Mass day.  She said no, but they did have chapel every day.  Okay, whew!  That works for me.  Since they were at camp with three other Catholic schools, I hoped they would be doing something religious to build their faith at some point.

BooBoo missed having Ditty around.  He tried his little tricks to get attention.  Yes, some of them still work.  I reassured him that even if she says she didn’t miss him, that she actually did miss him.  And I know this is true even if she won’t admit it because of the amount of time spent discussing what “the boys” were doing the weekend that DH & BooBoo went Cub Scout camping.  That helped BooBoo a bit.

Then, on Thursday, my bursitis decided to act up again.  Think tennis elbow in the shoulder.  Very painful.  So, to avoid another midnight trip to the emergency room in agonizing pain, and another $900 medical bill for a painful shoulder, I asked DH to bring me to Urgent Care instead.  He and BooBoo went back home to make pizza for their supper while I sat and waited to be seen by a doctor for the shoulder and prayed that this one would go easier on me than the one in Florida where I had my first diagnosis of bursitis.

The appointment did go much better and so I left with prescriptions for pain management and something to reduce the inflammation of the bursa.  Amazingly, it took longer for these meds to reduce the pain and swelling than the last did.  Sunday was the first day I actually felt good and could move my arm with little to no pain.  I still can’t bring myself to try to raise my arm over my head, but I’ll keep trying slowly because I know that I need to work back into a proper range of motion in that arm.

DH & I also took the family up to our niece & nephew’s Steubenville fundraiser breakfast Sunday morning.  It was a nice breakfast and afterwards we watched our niece play in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament.  Made me wish I was young and agile again.  It certainly looked like a lot of fun, in spite of the wind and cooler than normal temperature.  If you’re wondering what Ultimate Frisbee looks like, go to www.whatisultimate.com .  For those who don’t want to click the link, think Frisbee played by seven player teams on what looks like a soccer pitch.  No refs and only players, not coaches, can call fouls, etc.  It is a fast scoring game.

A beautiful poem

I found this poem today on Homeschool Freebie of the Day  and had to share it with you.

It Couldn’t Be Done
Edgar A. Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
  But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
  Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
  On his face.  If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
  At least no one ever has done it”;
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
  And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
  Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
  That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
  There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
  The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
  Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
  That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

What a great bit of inspiration for us all!

The Silent Winter

Sorry things have been so quiet on my blog lately.  I’ve been getting the house back in its usual order.  Or maybe its unusual order.  The decluttering (or decrapification) has been going well.  I removed 5 boxes of stuff we didn’t need from the house in December and another 5 or so boxes this month.  Plus I’ve already started on the next set of boxes, bags and whatnot.  The whatnot is due to the fact that I’m running out of boxes and bags for this stuff.

It’s amazing really what one decides to keep.  For instance, yesterday I tossed the majority of the cards we received at our wedding-almost 15 years ago.  I still had them.  Never read them, but still had them.  Out in the recycling they went.  And I’m not going to dig them out in the vain hope they can be used in a craft project somehow so let’s not go there.  Okay.  Good.

I also got rid of a huge pile of articles and recipes that I had pulled from magazines about 15 years ago.  Heavens, if I haven’t looked for them in over 14 years, why should I even look at them before I toss the whole lot in the recycling now.  Yes, I actually had to tell myself that to stop me from wasting time deciding whether to keep one or throw it.  Hopefully this thought will make culling the current magazine back issues a little easier as well.  If not, at least they are in magazine holders and I can always say that no more can go in until some come out.  The new online access to back issues and articles should also help.

I’ve also managed to get all the Christmas decorations put away now.  The decluttering yesterday produced a good size plastic bin to store the Thanksgiving themed towels, the advent wreath and advent calendar.  I figured that since Thanksgiving is so close to the start of Advent, this will get those two items out of storage in time to use them from the first Sunday of Advent next year.  No more “I can’t find the box with the Advent stuff”.

I’ve also spent the last two days catching up on laundry.  Thank goodness that’s done.  Including sheets!  And the pile of ironing is really just two shirts, four pants and one hankerchief.  Doable, but probably not until Monday since I have to work tomorrow.  A paid job, I mean.

So, meetings today, work tomorrow and then kids to their auntie and a nice couples weekend with friends.  We’re almost to the weekend!  Hope you enjoy yours too!

My knitterly ways

I just picked up Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book Knitting Without Tears.  I’ve been knitting for 34 years but started knitting with her book Knitting Around a few years ago.  I like the way she writes her instructions.  I truly enjoy all of her “digressions” as she calls them.  Maybe that’s why my blog is not purely a knitting blog.  Okay, that reason and the fact that it takes me so long to knit things “in my spare time” as it were, that  posting would be too sporadic for anyone to want to follow this blog.

My favorite (okay new favorite) quote from Knitting Without Tears is about scarves (no, I didn’t start at the beginning and read the whole book yet.  I peeked at the back and found this gem.).

“They (scarves) may be made back and forth on two needles, with as many stitches as you wish; the length is governed only by your patience and stamina.”

Well, I’ve been working off and on toward a scarf for Ditty and I think my patience and stamina are both getting a bit thin.  Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself.  I decided to knit the scarf rather than a pair of mittens out of the excess yarn that I bought to make her a hat.  Why I thought that a pattern which said two hats could be made from one ball of the recommended yarn would somehow require three balls of said yarn, I do not know.  Maybe I had initially wanted to make a hat, mittens and scarf but it was last year that I made the hat, so the initial intent is no longer in my memory.

But here’s a photo of the beginnings of the scarf.

And one of the current progress on the scarf.

The pattern is inspired by the Double Cable Scarf in Leigh Radford’s book One Skein.  I decided to skip the ribbing in between the two sets of double cables and just cable the whole scarf.  I also decided that a 38 inch scarf is really too short for a girl, so I added a second skein of yarn.  I also did this so that when I reversed the cable twist, I wouldn’t have to figure out where the halfway point was going to land-just cable up the first skein and then cable down with the second.  It seemed brilliant at the time, but like I said, my patience and my stamina are wearing a bit thin with all those cables.  At least it will be a pretty scarf when it is done.  And a one-of-a-kind as well, lol.

To break up the monotony or to just give me a break, I’m also knitting Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Robe for BooBoo.  He wants to be Matthias from Brian Jacques book Redwall for Halloween next year.  This (ahem) little project was inspired by the book Great Yarns for a Close Knit Family by Mary C. Gildersleeve.  The book gives a brief description of a story that the author and her family enjoy as a read aloud and she has designed a couple of patterns to go with each story.  Redwall is mentioned as one of the stories, so I hoped to find a monk’s habit pattern to knit for BooBoo.  I know, silly to think someone would knit a full monk’s habit, but I had hoped.  Mrs. Gildersleeve’s pattern for Matthias’ Oversized Monk’s Habit was a very large, hooded poncho.  Rats!  Since I wanted something that looked like an actual monk’s habit, I knew I would have to design it myself.

Here’s where reading (and believing in) Elizabeth Zimmerman’s no nonsense approach to knitting came in handy. 

I knit some stockinette stitch on size 8 needles to find my gauge with the (yuck!) acrylic yarn I would be using for the costume.  No one, in my opinion, should use good wool yarn for a costume.  Especially one that will drag in the mud and muck that usually comes with Halloween in these parts.  So acrylic it had to be. 

Size 8 needles seemed to be the right size to give me a knitted fabric that would be neither too tight (meaning I’d have to knit forever to get the thing to the right size) or too loose (meaning large gaping holes that make it look like moths have attacked a monk’s habit-the nerve!).

Once I found my gauge, I cast on the number of stitches that would give me a 36 inch circumference.  BooBoo is a skinny kid so a 36 inch chest will look plenty big on him both this year and next.  I then knit in the round twelve rows of garter stitch for the hem of the robe.  After all, who really wants to have to sew a hem after all that knitting.  A garter stitch bottom seemed to be the answer to my prayers.  I switched to stockinette stitch after that for the body of the garment.  Then I measured BooBoo from the floor to his armpit to determine the length I would need to knit before having to worry about, I mean plan out the sleeve and yoke shaping.  I added two inches to this measurement to give me more time length to the garment.  It is supposed to be oversized and since he’s been growing close to two inches a year lately, this seemed to be a wise thing to do if I want the thing to be truly oversized.

Here’s a photo of my progress so far.

The robe measures 22 inches in length so far.  Only 22 more to go before I have to w plan for those sleeves, etc.  Gee, if I get this done by February, BooBoo could even wear it for the Dress as your favorite Book Character Day at his school during I Love To Read month.  Pressure, pressure.  We’ll see how it goes I guess. 

I’ll update on the progress again once I’ve got some sleeves  or a finished scarf to show you.  Until then,

Happy Knitting!

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