Wednesday, December 30, 2009

10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2!

You may or may not have heard that the decade is ending. It has already been ten years since we partied like it was in fact 1999. I was 27 when the last decade ended, which seems impossibly young to me now. I had one child, a toddler, which also seems impossible. I had spent the last year of the nineties regaining my equilibrium and trying to assemble some sense of identity after the first year of motherhood threw me for a loop. I did okay, and it's a good thing, because the aughts had some surprises in store for me.

Would I write a letter, if I could, to 27 year old me to give her a heads up on the coming decade? If I did, what would it say? "In the next decade, you will have three more children, open and close a business that will destroy you financially, spend about 2/3 of the decade breastfeeding, gain 20 pounds, teach at three different schools, make new and lasting friendships with people who will become immeasurably important to you, reconnect with part of your past that was almost lost to you forever, take emotional risks that would terrify most people and be rewarded beyond your expectations, feel amazed on a daily basis that you managed to marry the perfect man, outgrow your house, abandon it for a bigger house that you love, read a lot of books but not write one (what are you waiting for?), survive life with a three year old four times (barely), and struggle with what feels like never-ending baby and toddlerhood, but through it all you will hold on to your intrinsically hopeful and optimistic nature. Mostly."

Maybe it would be more productive to write a letter to current me about the new decade. "Dear Sassy, I can't help but suggest that you get off your ass. Which, as you may have noticed, is barely fitting in those jeans. I'm just sayin'. But I don't just mean that you need to be physically less sedentary. You are coasting and you know it. You've always done this, and you know you feel better when you challenge yourself more. You should be writing. You should be approaching your job with more energy and creativity. Ditto for motherhood. Ten years from now you'll be pushing 50. What will you have to show for it?

Did you hear what I just said? Then why are you still sitting at the computer? Go!"

Alright, alright! Here's to the...whatever we're supposed to call this oddly numbered decade. Happy New Year to all of you. May the surprises of the next decade all be good ones.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

She's Crafty

So I've been quiet lately. If you know me in real life, you know that quiet from me is often scary. But in blogworld, it just means I've been off living my life without stopping to navel gaze about it much. But let's face it, I can't go too long without seeing what's in there.

Right now, I'd have to say that what's in there are bits of yarn fluff and little scraps of cut paper. I'm not sure what kind of Martha-cloning experiment the government has secretly included me in, or if my moons have moved into...whatever house the craftiness lives in, but I can't stop making stuff. It's kind of freaking me out a little bit.

I've never been a crafter. It's all just a bit too precious for me, the scrapbooking and whatnot. I'm also not fidgety or a person who needs to be moving or doing something with my hands. I know I'm often brassy and loud, borderline obnoxious even, but I can also be very still and focused for long periods of time. And what I've always loved to sit and do, of course, is read. That has been my reason for not knitting or crocheting in the past--because if I'm going to sit there, I'm going to be reading a book.

Except now I'm not. I learned to crochet (again) over Thanksgiving almost by accident. SAM wanted to learn from my sister-in-law and/or mother-in-law while we were in Georgia for the holiday, so we got her hooked up with plenty of needles and yarn, and since I was right there I went ahead and learned too. I started trying to make a scarf, which was not very scarf-like and had very irregular edges. Once I had used up an entire skein of yarn, I looked at my three feet of wonky failure, laughed, and unraveled the whole thing. It felt very Zen. I was like those Buddhist monks who spend days making sand mandalas only to wipe them away upon completion. Except what they make is intricate and beautiful and what I'd made totally sucked, but whatever. You get what I mean. I got to looking around youtube and learned a new stitch or two and made about half a scarf out of that same yarn, alternating rows of fancy patterns.

Then took I it apart again because of weird edge issues. Finally I decided I was sick of looking at that yarn, switched to a cranberry red, and made this scarf. Success! (It looks prettier on SAM with her snazzy new leather jacket.)

Then I decided to try to make a hat. At first it seemed like I had done it, and really fast! In about an hour and a half I had something that was a little pointy at the top and a little loose and floppy at the bottom, but still I was all "Woohoo, I made a hat!" Then I immediately started making another one and for some reason it was a lot smaller. Like, too small for a baby. I went back and watched the youtube video and looked at the written instructions, and then I laughed and laughed because while I had gotten the really cute puff stitch right, I'd totally screwed up the actual hat-making part. So, once I again, I unraveled my work and started over. And I got it right! It was so satisfying. I made another one using a simpler stitch and made a cute pom pom to go on top.

Then of course I had to make a pom pom for the first hat, which I'd made for Genevieve, and she demanded that it also have a flower. So I learned to make a flower, and after five false starts, I made one and attached it. Now Genevieve won't wear the hat for some random reason that only makes sense to a chemically unbalanced three year old, but it looks really cute on Somerset, and once I finish the one I'm making to be the exact color reverse of this one, I bet Genevieve will want to wear it so she and her big sister can match.

Meanwhile my friend Kristin posted a video on facebook showing how to make really cool 3D snowflakes out of paper. I'd show you the video if I were not too lazy to look it up. Or maybe not, because it's more impressive if you don't know how relatively easy they are to make. As is my way, I ruined the first one I tried, although in fairness to myself, the step I messed up was really unclear in the instructions. So Kristin was nice enough to bring me some, which let me see my error, and then I made several, including a bi-colored one.

And then I guess the government upped the amount of whatever they are secretly adding to my food because I bought special paper and when our friends came over I announced that I had planned a craft for the kids. And then they all died of shock because we all know that A) I am tired of children and do not often choose to hang out with groups of them when I could be chatting with adults over a cocktail, and B) I don't do crafts. But I did, and we did (with a lot of help from the moms because my middle son led a rebellion of the mid-aged boys), and it looked like this (the crafting, not the rebellion. That looked like a pack of urchins led by a skinny boy with too-long hair and ripped jeans):

I also made goody bags for the kids: peppermint bark (success, lots of compliments), fudge from scratch (fail, didn't cook long enough, we're going to eat it warm with ice cream because it was too sticky and soft to cut), and chocolate-chip ginger bars (hard to say because I don't like ginger) and made them look all cute.

Somewhere in there SAM and BD worked really hard to help me make the house look like this so we could host the faculty Christmas party.

Now I ask you, who is this woman, and what has she done with Sassy?