Sunday, December 10, 2006

Why I haven't blogged in a while

I started the Nantucket Jacket from IK the day before Thanksgiving and was bound and determined to wear it to my triathlon club's holiday party last night. Needless to say, I've been busy knitting.

Pattern: Nantucket Jacket from Winter 2006 IK, smallest size
Yarn: Rowan Cashsoft Aran, 11 balls
Needles: Denise size 7 circular

This has become my New Favorite Sweater. I'm absolutely in love with it. Love, love, love. If this sweater were a man, I'd want to marry it. Everything about this sweater is great. Yarn is supersoft, pattern was really fun but not too complicated that I couldn't watch MTV or talk on the phone (wait a minute - am I 15 years old or 35?), fit is as close to perfect as you can get, color is nice, and it's not long-sleeved so I'll be able to wear it more during this mild winter they're calling for here in Nashvegas. Here's another shot - my best attempt at recreating the picture from the magazine:

And here's a closeup of the buttons that screamed "I BELONG ON YOUR NANTUCKET JACKET!!!!" when I went shopping on Friday:

Since I met that somewhat-crazy deadline, I've given myself another, even crazier deadline:

A friend went to Ireland at the end of November and brought me back some yarn. As he delivered it to me last Sunday night, he said, "I wanted to make sure to get it to you so that you'd have enough time to make Hayden a sweater for Christmas." I went through another friend's collection of kids' aran sweater patterns and came up with this idea from Rowan's Tadpoles & Tiddlers. I'm leaving the pockets off. Can I do it? I've just started swatching today, and Christmas is 2 weeks from tomorrow. Hmmm....

I have other pictures to show you - namely, a picture of my new niece Lucy in her Pea Pod Baby Sweater and a picture of Hayden with one of the cast members from a community theater's production of "High School Musical" (which we both LOVED, by the way, but not as much as I LOVE my Nantucket Jacket) - but I'll save them for a post later this week. Off to swatch!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Toasty toes

This weekend I developed a foot fetish. First I whipped out a pair of socks for Hayden. I'm not usually a sock knitter, but he's decided to wear white socks with his Crocs now that it's cold outside, and I can't stand him looking like such a nerd. So on Thursday and Friday, with some worsted weight out of my stash, I did these:

so that this:

is now this:

Much better, I must say.

Next, I whipped out a pair of baby booties for a neighbor friend due with child #3, boy #1.

She's due any day now, so I figured I better get these done. The pattern is out of Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and the yarn is 1 skein of Lorna's Laces Angel, an angora/lambswool blend. They were so easy to do and turned out so freakin' cute that I may just have to buy another skein of that and do a pair for my new niece, Lucy. (Lucy's cardi is done, by the way, with the exception of buttons. Hayden and I would've gone to the fabric store today to find some, but a marathon of "Beauty and the Geek" put me in a trance. Never watch a show like that when you're PMSing or you'll feel like the biggest loser when you start crying.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Sunday I took a little detour on the way to Sleeve Island to whip this little necklace up for my friend's birthday party:

The pattern is Strozzi, a free pattern on the Berroco website. It calls for Suede Deluxe, but I only had Suede in my stash, so I used it. I have no idea what the difference is, but I assumed not much. It turned out okay - not as cute as I thought it would, but okay. And she liked it, so it's all good. (And don't you like the way my bra makes me look like I have a decent rack? It's the $40 Boob Job purchased from Victoria's Secret.)

When I finally got to Sleeve Island, I ran into a tiny snafu: yarn shortage. I ran out of the grey Chunky Print I'm using in Hayden's cardi. It's a discontinued color, so it's next to impossible to find. I was about to give up hope and rip out parts of the cardi so that I could reconfigure the color scheme when Mike Googled "Rowan Chunky Print" and found some at Yarnzilla. I called them, and their dye lot is even the same as mine! Yippee! So a ball is on its way from Minnesota - thank you, Yarnzilla!

The sleeves on Lucy's cardi are just about done. I expect to be finished with the second one this afternoon, then I'll need to do the seaming and the neckline and sew on buttons. Almost there!

And last but not least, I finally present to you my Hourglass Pullover:

(Wow - the way the sunlight is hitting my face, my right ear looks very Spock-ish.) I love this sweater. This is the one sweater I think I'll actually do again. It's simple enough to work on anywhere and can be put down at any time yet it has enough design details to make it interesting - waist shaping, finished hems, bell sleeves, an interesting neckline. When (not if) I do make it again, however, I will make the sleeves a tiny bit shorter and I'll add 3 or 4 decrease rows around the neck rather than just one. The way the neckline is right now, I have to wear a cami underneath it (I'd rather have cami straps show than bra straps) and my rack is totally diminished. Here's another shot:

And here's a closeup shot of the neckline so that you can see the raglan and the finished hem detail (not that they're that interesting, but still):

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bon voyage!

I'm headed off to Sleeve Island for a while:

The top picture is Kate Gilbert's Pea Pod baby sweater out of an old IK. (And yes, I realize that the coffee table is in horrendous shape. Fortunately it's usually covered up with a bunch of crap.) I'm using the recommended yarn - Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere. I know that the color is not a traditional baby color, but I like it. (In real life, the purple is a lot dustier.) I, of course, like purple, and I like using non-traditional baby colors. I figure I can find some cute leggings to pair with the cardi. The pattern is pretty easy to follow; I started it last Wednesday night in the car in the rain on the way to Florida.

The bottom picture is a cardi for Hayden. The pattern is Callum out of Rowan Junior. The recommended yarn is Polar, but the yarn I'm using is Chunky Print. I bought it for 50% off at my LYS and the gauge is just about the same. I'm a little nervous about having enough grey yarn for the collar (it's somewhat of a shawl collar done in garter stitch), but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I decided to do this for him after a couple of chilly days fighting with him over wearing a jacket. He wouldn't wear a jacket but he'd wear a hoodie that I knitted for him 2 years ago. I also started this in Florida and worked on it the whole way home. It's a VERY quick project. It should be done by the time the heatwave we're experiencing here in Nashvegas ends. (It's almost 80 degrees today and I'm in a short sleeved shirt and running shorts.)

I realize that I have yet to post a picture of my finished Hourglass Pullover. That's the heatwave's fault. I'll melt if I put that on and go outside right now. Hopefully next week it can make its debut. As a substitute, I offer up another beach picture:

Yep - even from the back, he's the cutest damn kid in America.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ironman Florid-ahhhhh

Yippee! An Ironman once again! This one was so totally different. Except for the swim, the course was so much easier. The bike course was about as close to pancake flat as you could get, and there were probably less than 10 turns to make. The run was also extremely flat. During the first half of my run, I thought I had a chance to set a marathon PR. Of course, that all changed at mile 19 when my walk breaks got longer, but I still was less than 20 minutes away from a PR. Pretty damn good for a marathon preceded by a 2.4-mile swim and a 112-mile bike ride! Things of particular interest during this race:

1. The ocean was much choppier race morning than it had been the 2 days beforehand. During my second loop, I was being tossed around so much that I actually laughed underwater.

2. Even though I started the swim way out to the side, somehow I ended up right in the thick of things before making the first turn. I was getting grabbed, hit, and kicked constantly. At first I was a little timid and tried to back off, but after a while I got angry and developed a "F*ck you! You kick me, I'll grab your feet!" attitude. That didn't happen at all in Wisconsin last year.

3. Because the bike was so flat, there weren't any areas to give my legs a break. I pedaled the entire time. And I was on my aerobars over 90% of the time. My quads, shoulders and neck were really happy for me to get off the bike.

4. I surprised myself on the run. I had no idea that I was going to be able to run as much as I did and especially as well as I did the first 15 miles.

5. Last year when I got about 1/2 mile away from the finish line, I got so excited that all the pain and fatigue left my legs. At mile 24 this year, I told myself, "Just suffer through the next mile and a half then it'll all get better. That great feeling will hit." It didn't. I hurt the entire time. I guess that euphoric feeling is just reserved for first-timers.

6. I cut 2 hours and 2 minutes off of last year's Ironman time. Yay me! My time was 12:40:41. My swim was 1:25, my bike was 6:20, and my run was 4:37. My first transition was something around 12 minutes and my second was 5:36.

Here are some pictures:

This is me (far right in the QR suit) and some of my friends 2 days before the race. I love how my wetsuit makes me look so skinny - except it totally flattens what little boobs I have.

I had to yell at Mike 5 times to get his attention so that he could snap this picture. I had planned on wearing my bike clothes under my wetsuit, but since it was so cold at the start of the race (in the 40s) I decided to change before getting on the bike so I could be in dry clothes. Of course, it was really tough to get out my wet bikini while shivering.

Mike and Hayden drove out on the bike course and found me. Since I'm such a slow swimmer, I played catch-up quite a bit on the bike. I should've kept count of how many people I passed because it was a lot.

This was in the first mile of the run. A friend of mine was in transition at the same time I was, so we waited on eachother to hit the port-a-potties and took off together. (I have no idea who the tall guy on my other side is.) I left him at mile 4, though, because he had to take another bathroom break. Mike took another picture of me later, but I was walking, so I won't show you that. I was actually kinda pissed he took that.

Hayden had fun waving at all of the athletes. I think he did better than we had expected him to. He and Mike weren't at the finish line because that's just too much for him to handle, but he was able to be out on the road and cheer.

I also got quite a bit of knitting done on this trip. I started a cardigan for my new niece Lucy and also a cardigan for Hayden. Hayden's is really straightforward so it was my project for the car ride home. I figured my brain might not be able to wrap itself around the more complicated pattern I'm using for Lucy's cardi. I'll post pictures tomorrow or Thursday of my progress on those as well as a finished Hourglass Pullover.

One last thing: the day after the race Hayden and I went with a friend to KFC for lunch. I had 2 pieces of fried chicken - dark meat at that - mashed potatoes, green beans, and a biscuit. Yummy!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I know it's getting close to Ironman when...

...I crave fried chicken. Actually, I've been craving it for about 3 weeks now, which is exactly what happened last year before Wisconsin. Last year I said that I was going to go to KFC when I got home. I lost my appetite for about 3 days after the race, however, and had to force myself to eat anything. By the time I got my appetite back and wanted that greasy, crunchy drumstick, my f-ed up mind said, "You haven't worked out in 3 days. You can't eat fried chicken." So I didn't. I'm doing it this year, dammit! Saturday night after I've crossed the finish line! Even if I have no appetite and it makes me puke! pants fall off of me. Last year my shorts and jeans got so big on me a month before Ironman that I could pull them off without undoing them. This year that didn't happen until this past weekend. I am proud to say that I went to the bike shop yesterday with my shorts barely staying up on my hips. (Actually, I'm not that proud. I was trying to make a joke. Don't start thinking I have some eating disorder. I loveloveLOVE to eat and can put away a serious amount of sushi or chocolate or spaghetti or pizza, and I'm sure I looked rather stupid running errands around town in shorts that were obviously too big for me. At least at this point in time. Give me a month and they'll fit just fine again.)

...I have enough time to finish a knitting project! I'd love to show you my Hourglass Pullover, but for some reason, Blogger is not downloading pictures right now. Grr... Anyway, it's still blocking, so the picture really isn't that exciting. It looks much better on me than on my silly blocking board. Hopefully Blogger will behave better when I get back from Florida. The yarn is Classic Elite Miracle, a blend of Tencel and alpaca. I really love the sweater - the color (green, not purple), the fit, the ease of the pattern. I added one more decrease row at the neckline since I had read everyone else's problems (think Flashdance), and I hemmed the bottom with DMC floss instead of yarn. When I did the neckline hem (which was a TOTAL bitch, I must add) the yarn broke on me, so I didn't want to run that risk on the bottom hem. I did not enjoy doing those hems AT ALL, but the end result is really nice. This sweater was such a joy to make - easy enough to not have to think too much, yet not too plain. The neckline, the slightly belled sleeves and the finished hems all give the sweater a little oompf. Who knows - maybe I'll make this again.

...I have a long car ride ahead of me and have started picking out a new project. My sister had Baby #2, Lucy (altogether now: awwwww), last Friday, so I am going to make a little sweater. The yarn is some pretty purple Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere out of my stash, and the pattern is the Pea Pod Baby Set, an IK web exclusive featured in the Summer 2006 issue. I'm gauging this afternoon and hope to get it started before we hit the road tomorrow.

For those of you out there wanting to keep track of me on Saturday, you can visit and check up on me from time to time. You can even watch the live coverage from the finish line - pretty cool! My number is #2215 and my last name is Honeycutt. I do have a time goal in mind, but I'm not going to share it right now so I don't jinx myself.

One last note: I wore my Deciduous top to my Hawaii Ironman party 2 weekends ago, and it caused problems for one of my training partners. His wife is very prim and proper and thought that what I was wearing was COMPLETELY inappropriate. They actually fought about me on the car ride home. Jealous b!tch.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I finished this yesterday so that I could wear it to a Hawaii Ironman viewing party last night. I ride with a bunch of men that sometimes forget I'm a girl (during our ride yesterday, one of them said, "Gentlemen, in 2 weeks we'll be doing Ironman Florida!"), so I have to set them straight every once in a while. Here's a shot of the back:

And here's a closeup shot of the front (and of the tan line I got from my bikini top over the summer - yes, that tan line is over 2 months old - my tan lines last forever):

I really do like this top; I just wish I had done it earlier in the summer so that I could've worn it longer this year. It'll go with me to Florida in less than 2 weeks (yikes!), but then it'll end up packed away until next year.

In Hourglass Sweater news, I'm done with the first sleeve and have started the second. It looks pretty good so far, but nothing picture-worthy yet.

And in Ironman news, I'm less than 2 weeks away from Ironman Florida. Yippee!!! I'm really excited about this one. I was excited about Wisconsin last year because it was my first one. I don't really like Florida too much, but I'm excited about the race because a ton of my friends are doing it and in spite of all the sh*t that happened to me this summer, I'm doing it. Who knows what the day will bring, but I think once I get out of the water, I'll do fairly decently. My biking is almost up to where it was pre-wreck (which is saying a lot for the strength in my legs, because I don't have much ability to use my upper body to pull myself up hills, and I can't hold onto my handlebars very comfortably yet - thank God for aerobars!), and my running is better than it was last year. My swimming sucks, but that's okay. I'm relying on the buoyancy of the saltwater and my wetsuit to get me through the 2.4 miles.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It was 40 degrees this morning - I think I'll work on a summer tank.

Before my wreck in August, I had started Deciduous by Marnie Maclean (sorry for no links - too lazy right now). I put it down while I was in a cast/brace/splint because I didn't want my gauge to be different. Then, post cast/brace/splint, I started an Hourglass Pullover because I thought that something really simple like stockinette stitch in the round would be perfect for the state of mind I was in and the way my hand was working/not working. I got all the way up to the armpits of the body by last Saturday and wanted to start a sleeve, but I didn't have a 16" size 5 circular. So I picked up Deciduous again and have been working a lot on it in an attempt to get it done MAYBE by tomorrow evening. Here's a shot of my progress as of last night (and my bathroom that Mike painted while I was in Destin the last weekend of August - I was really shocked at first and didn't know if I liked the stripes, but they grew on me):

As of tonight, I have 13 rows left of the body, the straps, and the back stuff. I'm hoping that it'll be warm enough in Florida when I'm there for Ironman (3 weeks from today - yippee!) so that I can wear it at least once before next summer. It SURE isn't going to be worn around here anytime soon; this morning I wore shorts, tights, 2 pairs of socks, a short sleeved shirt, a long sleeved bike jersey, a jacket, gloves, and a skullcap under my helmet for an 80-mile ride.

And here's a picture of the Cutest 6-Year Old in America, just in case you've forgotten what he looks like:

And for your amusement, here's a picture of the page of homework he was holding:

Take a look at the first question. I think there are 2 correct spellings.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Light at the end of the tunnel

At the risk of jinxing myself, I will say out loud that I think my luck is finally changing. Evidence:

1. I got my stitches out last Monday and I'm back in a brace until Thursday, then I'm free to start riding outside and swimming again. Of course my hand looks a little deformed, but at least I can start using it.

2. Last Thursday was my last day as Assistant to the Controller at this crazy-ass company I was part of since February. Mike got a promotion and a raise, so I can leave the workforce.

3. Because of #2, I have started working at the new YMCA that just opened across the street from our neighborhood. I work a couple of shifts a week as a Wellness Floor Attendant, which to me is a step towards becoming a personal trainer, which is My Dream Job. I don't make very much money right now, but I get to work in the fitness industry, and that's where I truly belong. I also am going to teach two indoor cycling classes a week, starting tomorrow morning. I've done that in the past, and I love it. I'm excited about getting back into that.

4. I'm knitting!

This is the beginning of an Hourglass Pullover using Classic Elite's Miracle. It's a slighty fuzzy alpaca/tencel blend, and I love the color. (Green is all the rage this fall.) The gauge is smaller so I'm doing the 37" size, but according to my calculations, it should work out alright.

5. The other night I ate an old fortune cookie that had been in our fruit bowl for months but I had never bothered to throw away. Here's what was inside:

"Use your abilities at this time to stay focused on your goal. You will succeed."

I am TOTALLY taping that on the top tube of my bike during Ironman.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Roller coaster

This last month has definitely been an emotional roller coaster ride for me. When it finally stops, I think I want to run out of this Amusement Park of Hell, screaming, never to be seen again. In short, it goes like this:

8/17 - Bike wreck. ER doc says hand is sprained. Ice, Ace bandages, ibuprofen.

8/21 - Sports medicine doc says my hand is broken in 3 places and I've got torn ligaments that may give me trouble later on in life. Casts it, makes follow up appt for 9/21.

9/1 - My friend, an orthopedic surgeon, persuades me to see him at his office. He determines, after looking at my xrays and my CT scan, that I've definitely torn my scapholunate ligament and I'll probably need to have surgery. Schedules an appt for me with one of his partners, a hand specialist.

9/5 - Hand specialist examines me and sends me for an MRI.

9/6 - Hand specialist calls and says I definitely need surgery and I'll be out for 12 weeks but I can run a marathon.

9/11 - Go in for surgery. Expecting it to be a repair, but understanding it may be bad enough for reconstruction instead. When I wake up, my mom tells me that the doc was really shocked - when he cut my hand open, he found that my ligament is just partially torn, so he did nothing. I'm going to be in a cast for 2 weeks, and I can do my Ironman.


I'm very confused. I haven't had a chance to talk to the doctor myself, but I'm obviously going to do that. If he doesn't call me by 2 (I left a message for him yesterday), I'll call again. I want to know exactly what happened, exactly how long I'll be in a cast, when I can start training again, what I can do when, etc. Everyone is saying, "You should be happy! You're going to be able to do your Ironman!" I am happy about that, but I'm still in such confusion about what has gone on that I'm not doing cartwheels yet. And I'm freaked out that by the time I'm out of the cast, it'll almost be time to start tapering. I have confidence in my coach that he'll get me ready as best as he can, but it's going to be crazy.

And on the knitting front, I'm having trouble picking something to do. I really want to finish my Deciduous so that I can wear it in Florida, but I'm scared if I work on it in my cast, my gauge will be totally off and it'll look wonky. So then Saturday I decided to pull out some purple Soft Kid I have in my stash. Purple makes me happy, and so does mohair. And I thought mohair might hide little gauge issues I might have. But I can't find anything I want to use it for except this allover lace pullover. I started a sleeve, thinking it may be okay because it's a simple lace pattern, but it takes me FOREVER to knit it. So then I pulled out my Nature Spun Worsted I bought last year for a Fair Isle cardigan and have contemplated using it for Tubey from knitty, but I'm scared because I've read about too many people having issues with the fit. So now I think I need to just start something completely fresh - new pattern, new yarn. I'm contemplating a Marilyn's Not So Shrunken Cardigan from Knit & Tonic, or an Hourglass Sweater from Weekend Knitting, or a Rusted Root from Zephyr Style. Anyone have any thoughts?

I took drugs a little bit ago, so maybe I need to lie down. Bye for now.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Outkast put an album out a couple of years ago that was a 2-disc set. One disc is Big Boi's stuff; the other, Andre 3000's. Andre 3000 has a song called "Vibrate." In it he says: "And when I say motherf*cker I do mean motherf*cker."

That sums up how I've been feeling lately.

Long story short, I am having surgery Monday morning to repair the scapholunate ligament that I tore when I wrecked my bike 3 weeks ago. I will be in a cast for 8 weeks (in addition to the 3 weeks I've already spent in a cast) then a brace for 2-4 more, then I will have surgery again to take the pins out. No biking outside. No swimming.

No Ironman Florida.


I have worked SO HARD this summer for this race, only to have it taken away from me by a flat tire and my inexperience in wrecking. ("Steph, don't you know you're supposed to tuck and roll?") My surgeon has given me clearance to run a marathon on November or December, so I guess I should be happy about that. That will give me some athletic goal to shoot for. I could run the marathon my husband and his training partner are doing in November and kick their asses. However, I prefer my marathons to be preceded by a 2.4-mile swim and a 112 mile ride. Is that too much to ask? I think not.

Anyway, during this time period in which I will not see my left hand (I am left-handed, by the way - and I repeat, motherf*cker), I have been told that I can knit. He actually was very enthusiastic about knitting - good therapy for my hand, he says. The cooler temperatures are bringing out my sweater-knitting urges. I think, for my hand's sake, I will do something simple and stockinette stitch-y on not-so-small needles - size 7 or 8, maybe. Maybe an Hourglass Sweater? If I use the right yarn, hopefully it won't be too boring. Maybe another Weasley Sweater for Hayden? Definitely not the Michael Kors sweater from Vogue Knitting that I've been eyeing. And what about the Deciduous top that's about 60% done, lying patiently beside my bed? Do I continue with that and hope my post-wreck gauge isn't different than the pre-wreck?


Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What is THAT?!???

Is it:

a) my finished Fad-Classic,
b) a Band-Aid on my chin,
c) an Ace bandage in my wrist, or
d) all of the above?

Yes, you astute blog-reader, it's d. First of all, the Fad-Classic. I actually finished something this summer! Woot! I like it, although I wish it was 1 1/2 inches longer. But I love the color and the way it fits me, so I'll just keep tugging at the bottom every once in a while.

Options b and c go together (and are accompanied by road rash on my knee, shoulder and hip/butt cheek, not visible in the photo). We went up to Chicago this past weekend, so I tried to get my 5 1/2 hour workout in after work on Thursday. 9 minutes and 48 seconds into my ride, I went down (and not in a good way, according to DH). I was turning a corner and just fell over. Turns out my front tire went flat. I had never had a wreck before, so this was a ton of fun. As I skidded across the road on my chin, I thought, "THAT won't be attractive!" When I popped up and got my bike out of the road, my hand started hurting. "Oh shit - I can't knit! I'm going to be on a plane tomorrow and I can't knit!" We thought my wrist was just sprained (at least that's what the ER doc told us that night) so we just kept it wrapped and I kept taking Advil. No matter how much Advil I took, no matter how many pieces of Connie's Pizza I ate, no matter how many beers/Jello shots/Red Headed Sluts I drank, it still hurt like a mofo. The doctor I saw on Monday discovered I have 3 broken bones in my hand and some torn ligaments around a fourth. Cast for at least 4 weeks, then maybe a splint for 2. I can run - good. I can swim, but it'll be REALLY awkward and I'll have to let my waterproof cast dry out for 2 hours afterwards - not so good, but okay. I can ride my bike on the indoor trainer but not outside - totally sucks. I spend my Saturdays on my bike with my friends. I don't know what I'll do without that. This Saturday I have taken care of - my girlfriends and I are going to Florida - but after that it will be weird. Oh well - at least I'll be healed in time for Ironman in November. And it could've been A LOT worse.

And if you're wondering, I have figured out how to knit. Fortunately I don't knit continental. However, my hand starts hurting after 2 rows and I'm afraid my gauge is off. (I'm over halfway done with Deciduous, which I started after seeing Jen's. Scroll down to the July 24th entry. Awesome. Yeah, I know - she did hers in July, I'm not going to finish until September. Whatever. It stays hot here for a while. And I am going to Florida in November.) I'm thinking of starting a felted Noni bag since it won't matter if my gauge gets off or I make a mistake.

Here's another shot taken in the kidney bean in Millenium Park. I thought it was cool that I could finally take a picture of myself, seeing as how I've not mastered the bathroom mirror trick:

And here are a couple of shots of Hayden's horse camp:

Isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I actually have a FO...

...but no picture just yet. I finished the Fad-Classic vest and it's oh so cute in all its orangeness. I wore it to work yesterday and meant to get a picture taken before we left the house, but getting Hayden to school on time took precedence. The next time I saw my photographer, it was 8:15 at night and I was in bike shorts and covered in salty sweat from a tough bike ride. But we are going to Chicago this weekend and I am packing my Fad-Classic, so I promise a picture very soon.

And speaking of Chicago, can anyone suggest a good yarn shop or two that I can visit? Today is my husband's 40th birthday (he just recently shaved his chest - Lord knows why - so he doesn't look at day over 12!) so we're going up there to celebrate and hopefully watch the Cubs beat the Cardinals. (We're definitely going to Friday's and Saturday's games. Whether or not the Cubs can win is a totally different story.) 2 years ago I went to We'll Keep You In Stitches. Everything was in plastic bags and therefore not really easy to look at. Last year I went to the Knitter's Niche, but it's so very small that I saw everything in less than 5 minutes. I'll probably have time to go somewhere Saturday late morning/early afternoon, depending on when the Cubs game is.

Suggestions, anyone?

I actually have a FO...

...but no picture just yet. I finished the Fad-Classic vest and it's oh so cute in all its orangeness. I wore it to work yesterday and meant to get a picture taken before we left the house, but getting Hayden to school on time took precedence. The next time I saw my photographer, it was 8:15 at night and I was in bike shorts and covered in salty sweat from a tough bike ride. But we are going to Chicago this weekend and I am packing my Fad-Classic, so I promise a picture very soon.

And speaking of Chicago, can anyone suggest a good yarn shop or two that I can visit? Today is my husband's 40th birthday (he just recently shaved his chest - Lord knows why - so he doesn't look at day over 12!) so we're going up there to celebrate and hopefully watch the Cubs beat the Cardinals. (We're definitely going to Friday's and Saturday's games. Whether or not the Cubs can win is a totally different story.) 2 years ago I went to We'll Keep You In Stitches. Everything was in plastic bags and therefore not really easy to look at. Last year I went to the Knitter's Niche, but it's so very small that I saw everything in less than 5 minutes. I'll probably have time to go somewhere Saturday late morning/early afternoon, depending on when the Cubs game is.

Suggestions, anyone?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Aargh - I think I'm in a knitting slump. (I said to my training partner the other day and he belly laughed. Guess I forgot that not everyone is a knitter.) I have several things going on, but I keep getting stuck.

1. Sampler Stole - no motivation to work on it because it involves more attention than I can give to it right now.

2. Rowan Cricket Vest - I am sooo close to finishing it, but I realized that when I divided for the neck, I got off-center by 1 stitch. I think I'm scared to keep going for fear that it'll be so blatantly obvious that it's off-center that I'll have to rip the whole thing out. Plus, it's very springy (blue and yellow) and we're almost into fall.

3. Morehouse shawl kit - VERY easy - just stockinette in the round - but when I joined, I twisted the stitches. Because of the 200+ stitches being crammed onto my needle, I didn't notice this until I got about 5 inches done. I don't want to start over, so I'm hoping that when I cut it (it's knit in the round then cut to create fringe), the twisting action will resolve itself. But, like the vest, I'm scared to go on because I'm afraid I'll have to rip and restart. (Does anyone know the answer to this? If the twist is positioned near where stitches are dropped and the cut happens, will the twist go away? I think it will, but I'm not sure. Ironman training turns my brain to mush sometimes.)

4. Knit and Tonic's Fad-Classic - the straps are a pain in the butt! I did the back, but when I took the provisional cast on out and put those stitches on my needles, I couldn't tell which side was the right side, and I guessed wrong. So I've ripped all of that out and tried to start over again from that point, but I failed. I have half a mind to start totally over, but I'm afraid that it's getting too close to the end of summer for this top. I don't intend on wearing it alone as a tank (I originally envisioned it looking adorable with a tight white baby tee and my white cargo capris), so it could be worn into the fall, but some part of my brain (probably the part that's turned to mush from too many training hours) is having a hard time accepting it as an all-seasons top.

So herein lies the question: do I throw all of these projects to the wayside and start with something fresh? My sister is due with her second child in the beginning of November, so I could do a quick baby thing. Or I could start a sweater for Hayden, which I always love to do. I've been so sporadic in my knitting that it probably wouldn't get done until it's cool enough to wear it. (Having over 19 hours of Ironman training to do in one week, plus the normal work/mommy stuff that needs to be done, leaves little knitting time.) The sensible side of me tells me to knit a baby hat as my Idiot Project and work on a Hayden sweater at home, but the silly side of me really wants a Fad Classic. If I could get past the stupid straps, I think I'd be good to go. My first attempt at a Knit & Tonic pattern failed (Somewhat Cowl), so I really want my Fad Classic to turn out. Anyway, what do you think???

Monday, July 24, 2006

Too many M&Ms

When I was a senior in high school, I ate so many M&Ms that I puked. My poor boyfriend sat beside me on the bathroom floor and stroked my back as I threw up blue, red, yellow and brown hard candy shells. Not a pretty sight. And all of this on the day I became a lifetime member of Weight Watchers (meaning I had reached my goal weight and maintained it for 6 weeks). It was a year before I could eat M&Ms again - well, almost a year.

This morning they opened up registration for next year's Ironman Lake Placid race, held at the end of July in New York. I tossed aside my rule of not signing up for another Ironman before finishing the one I'm currently training for (Florida this November), got my insurance card, my credit card and my USA Triathlon membership card out of my wallet, and bit the bullet. I have a friend who decided that she wants to do it, and I just couldn't let her sign up alone. It'll be my third Ironman in 3 years, and my second one in less than 12 months (Florida is this November 4th, Lake Placid will be the end of next July).

I think Ironman triathlons are becoming the new M&M.

I promise one of these days I'll talk about knitting again on my blog, and I'll actually post some pictures.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

If anyone still reads this...

...I'm still here. My summer has turned into a whirwind full of bikes, pools, sunscreen, driving, and horses, and I have not really had the chance to blog. I hardly have time for knitting either. Poo. I have some pictures to share with you, though, and will do so the next free moment I have. Pictures of an almost-there Rowan Cricket Vest and of an especially cute little boy on his favorite horse, Vader.

For those of you wondering what is behind the mention of a cute boy and horses, Hayden spent last week at Saddle Up! camp. Saddle Up! is a therapeutic horse program for kids with special needs (autism, Down's syndrome, cerebal palsy, etc.) , and they offer a week-long summer camp for kids who are on the waitlist to get into their regular program (we've been on the list for over 2 years now - sheesh). He got to learn how to take care of a horse and ride him. He had an absolute BLAST. So, to the TRIAD camp people who wouldn't let him in: kiss our butts. We don't need your stinkin' camp. Riding horses and doing arts and crafts is way more fun than all day therapy sessions.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

One second.

One second is what separated me from the girl who finished 5th in my age group at a triathlon this past weekend. One second. How annoying is that?!? The way the start happened (I won't bore you with those details), I had no way of knowing, but I certainly could've gone 1 second faster. Or 2 just to make sure to beat her. Argh.

This summer has certainly been busy for me so far! The weekend after my race in Florida, Hayden and I went to Memphis with a friend. She was participating in and I was volunteering at the Memphis in May triathlon. My legs hadn't recovered yet from the previous weekend, so I was playing it smart and not racing. At no point during that race was I jealous of any of my friends who were racing. My legs were still tired and it was hot. Damn hot. It amazes me how much hotter Memphis is than Nashville. That morning it was 95 degrees. I always feel sorry for the older or heavier people who do that race because they're usually the ones who take over 3 hours to finish, and they get to melt under the blistering sun. This one guy who must've weighed over 400 pounds took 5 1/2 hours to finish (for comparison, I did that race last year in 2:38) and immediately walked right into the lake to cool off. Poor guy, but at least he's out there doing it. Anyway, we got home that night around 8:45. The next weekend I went to Clarksville (about an hour away) Saturday morning to ride with my friends. There was an organized 60-mile ride that was flat and fast, much like Florida, and we had a BLAST. The weekend after that, which was this past weekend, I went with a friend to a triathlon about 1 1/2 hours away. A lot of my friends were there, and I think we all had good races. This weekend I think I'm actually staying in town! Won't that be amazing?

My knitting hasn't been nearly as exciting or productive as my racing. I think I'm in somewhat of a funk. I have yarn all over the house and a couple of projects started, but I feel like I'm getting nothing done. I had started a little tank top out of the Brooks Farm mohair I bought at MDS&W, but I'm planning on frogging it because the yarn is doing something incredibly funky. I finished the back of my Rowan Cricket vest and have started the front, but it's not picture-worthy yet. Hopefully soon. I'm also still working on my Sampler Stole. I need a mindless, idiot project for speech therapy days or days that I'm too tired to think but can't stand the idea of not doing anything, so I may cast on for my Morehouse shawl this afternoon. I need to get back to my Fad Classic and frog my Somewhat Cowl so I can start the Faery Net Blouse from IK, but I really want to finish at least one project before doing that to give me a sense of accomplishment.

And to end this ridiculously boring post, I'll share a conversation I had with a boy from Hayden's school a few days before school let out. When I picked Hayden up at 3:00, I usually let him play on the playground for a while. I'd take my knitting and sit on the bench while he played. The YMCA has an after-school program for kids whose parents work full-time called the Fun Company, and at 3:20 the Fun Company kids would come out to the playground. Hayden loved to be in the middle of the chaos, so we'd always stay until 3:30 or so. On this particular day, this boy who was probably in the 4th grade walked over to my bench.

Boy: So, you're knitting, huh?
Me: Yes, I am.
Boy (who is now fondling my yarn): What are you making?
Me: A vest for myself.
Boy: You know, I've heard that knitting is real mate magnet, so you're bound to get a husband soon.

At that point one of his friends came over and they walked off together, so I didn't get to respond. I was laughing too hard to say anything, anyway.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Somewhat Cowl... somewhat ugly. At least mine is. What a bummer. Not even deserving of a picture. I should've followed my gut instinct and not attempted this pattern. Not to offend anyone, but the SWCs I've seen on the Internet (with the exception of Wendy's) aren't really all that appealing to me. But nooo, I thought that if I splurged on the Alpaca & Silk, I'd end up with the same sexy sweater that Wendy has. I didn't think about the fact that my boobs are probably smaller than hers. The cowl diminishes my small rack even more, and the back is bunchy, like there's too much fabric. If the yarn weren't so damn expensive, I'd save this for a birthday present for a bigger, more bustier friend, but I just can't do that at $9.50 a skein. I already have plans for its reincarnation, though: the Fairy Net Blouse from the Summer IK.

I actually got back to my Sampler Stole last night - woo hoo! I was watching the first part of the "Top Chef" finale, though, so I didn't get too much done. I was sad to see Dave pack his knives and go. I want to find him and eat his food. It sounds delicious. (Joe from my Baltimore plane ride thought so too. He's in culinary school and watches "Top Chef" as religiously as I do. Girls in the Providence, RI area, take note: Joe is REALLY cute, has a great New York accent, loves to cook, has a brother who knits socks, and is not gay! Go for it!!!)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Whirlwind weekend #2: brought to you by the letter F

Florida. Fun. Flat. Fast. Fantastic!

We left on Thursday afternoon for Panama City Beach, an 8+ hour drive. Saturday morning I competed in the Gulf Coast Triathlon, a half Ironman race. (Actually, I should say half Iron distance race because Gulf Coast isn't an Ironman sanctioned event. But you get the idea.) 1.2 mile swim in the ocean, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Florida is very flat, so I was excited to see how fast I could go. My previous PR (personal record) for this distance was 5 hours, 59 minutes, 58 seconds. My goal was to break that, but hearing about how the wind and the heat can really make this race a doozie, I wasn't sure I could do it. Friday morning I awoke to no wind and a pleasant high 70 degrees. I ran a little with a friend of mine, and we kept praying to the triathlon gods that we get the same weather the next day. Fortunately, someone up there heard us, and we had awesome conditions. Here's how my race went:

1.2 mile swim: 41:39 (goal was 47:00)
T1 (swim to bike transition): 3:47 (goal was 4:00)
56 mile bike: 2:49:58 (goal was 2:57:00)
T2 (bike to run): 1:43 (goal was 3:00)
13.1 mile run: 2:03:25 (goal was 2:00)
Total: 5:40:31 (goal was 5:51:00)

I came in 18th out of 63 women in my age group - top 30%. I was very pleased. The ocean swim wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be, and the bike was really fun and really fast. The run even went well for me - at least up until mile 10. I lost my focus after that and struggled a little the rest of the way. I'll blame it on seeing a fellow Nashvillian pull over to the side of the road to puke, and another walking in pain just 2 hours after happily blowing by me on the bike. Overall, it was a great race for me. Today I am very sore and tired, but happy.

Unfortunately, I wasn't very productive with my road trip knitting. Last week I decided that my Somewhat Cowl was somewhat short, so I ripped out all of the ribbing on the bottom. I didn't have a chance to steam the kinks out of that used yarn before we left, though, so I just had to work with what was in the bag. I have about 15 rows of ribbing left to do, the neckline to whipstitch down, and ends to weave in. And it needs to be blocked. This yarn, as nice as it is, shows little inconsistencies in my stitches very well. I'm counting on a good blocking smoothing things out. Last week on my way to Maryland I started the back of a Rowan sweater vest. I finished the back of it in the car on Friday night, but I have to rip the whole thing out and start again on smaller needles. That's what I get for not doing a gauge swatch. I'm going to blame that on my plane companion Joe - had it not been for a great view and good conversation, I would've paid more attention to what I was doing. Joe - you're killing me.

I'll leave you with some pictures from the weekend:

Saturday afternoon delight.

This is what the ocean looked like on Sunday. Good thing the race was the day before! I don't know if I could've made it through those waves.

He looks like he's grimacing, but it's just the sun. That's his normal "Cheese!" face. He had a absolute blast on the beach.

Sunday's car ride back home was not the highlight of the weekend, that's for sure!

Hanging out on the beach drinking beer all afternoon isn't the right way to recover from a race, but it sure was fun!

The only true race injury I had: a gash on the inside of my right knee.

I have a Bento Box that I strap on the top tube of my bike to hold snacks. It makes it really easy to ensure you're fueling correctly during the race and won't bonk. However, it wasn't strapped on tightly enough to stay in place and kept leaning to the right. Every once in a while, the hard piece of plastic in it (that later I found out I could've removed - d'oh!) would stab me and cause me to mutter curse words that would've caused me to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty had the officials heard. Note to self: keep my box nice and tight. It'll make everyone happy in the end.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Whirlwind Weekend #1 (and some socks!)

Sunday night was the conclusion of Whirlwind Weekend #1 (the first in a 3-part series). Friday night I flew up to Baltimore and the wonderful Eunny picked me up. We spent the weekend running, eating (me more than her, as noted in Monday's post on her blog!), getting lost, and enjoying the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. I bought some glorious merino/mohair at the Brooks Farm booth, a kit for a really intricate shawl at the Morehouse booth, a drop spindle, and some roving. Eunny showed me how to use the spindle Saturday night, but I still suck at it. Fortunately she gave me some roving to practice on so that I wouldn't waste the Bunny Balls or the pretty silvery grey wool top that I got. I need a LOT of practice before I can produce something worthy of being called yarn. Since others have already posted pictures, I won't bore you with many, but here are some of my favorites:

He looks like a punk rocker to me. Maybe he's got an iPod underneath all that hair and he's listening to the Sex Pistols or the Cramps.

So cute! Such a funny face!

Pixie Purls, Eunny and me enjoying the sun and the company during the knitbloggers meetup.

This weekend will be Whirlwind Weekend #2 - we're leaving on Thursday after Hayden gets out of school for Panama City Beach, Florida, where I will be competing in the Gulf Coast Triathlon on Saturday. It's a half Ironman distance race - 1.2 mile ocean swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. Hopefully I won't melt in that Florida sun!

And before I forget, the next part of this post should've happened last week. Bad blogger! Wednesday I got home and found my Sockapaloooza package in the mailbox! Sandra sent me some great socks:

Simply Lovely Lack Socks from the Spring 2006 IK. She used some Brooklyn Handspun in gorgeous purples, greens, and pinks. They fit me like a dream, and they're sooo soft. I just love them! Also in the package were some other goodies:

Pocky, roasted wasabi peas, a postcard from New York, and some cosmetic bags for holding my notions. (The bags are not in this picture b/c they're being put to use and have found their spot in one of my current project bags.) The Pocky and the peas are so so yummy, and the bags were much needed - I had been storing all of my notions in an old Ziploc bag. Anyway, thank you Sandra! She was at the Sheep & Wool Festival also, but unfortunately, we didn't get to meet.

And did I finish my Somewhat Cowl by last Friday, you ask? Nope. I was really close on Thursday night, but then I tried it on and decided that I may need to do some frogging. I had measured the body of the sweater last week before doing the ribbing on the bottom, but somehow the measurement was different when I tried it on and I need to add length. So I have to rip out the ribbing, do about 2 more inches of stockinette, then redo the ribbing. And I'm not quite sure the neckline is going to look exactly the way I'm hoping it will, so that may require some fiddling with. I'm doing just what the pattern says to do, but for some reason it's not turning out quite as sexy as I want it to. Of course, it doesn't help when you're trying it on with your unsexy pajamas, no makeup and helmet hair from the bike ride you took earlier in the day.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Should I...

...bust my butt over the next 48 hours to get my Somewhat Cowl done so I can wear it on Friday when I travel up to Baltimore for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, or put that aside until next week and start my Fad-Classic so I can be working on it this weekend? I've got the bottom ribbing and neckline left on the SWC, but I also have to do a 2 hour and 45 minute workout this afternoon. I REALLY want to finish it because I REALLY want to wear it because I think I'm REALLY going to like it. However, I can't drive myself crazy over it. I guess if I can get through the bottom ribbing and start the neckline today, then I'll forge on, but if I don't get that far, I'll wind the yarn for the Fad-Classic tonight and start swatching in the morning. And what color might my Fad-Classic be, you ask? I got the happiest color of orange - not obnoxious orange, not University of Tennessee orange (Heaven forbid anyone think that I'm a Vols fan!), but a bright, summery, happy tangerine orange. I've got a pair of white cargo capris and a tight white short sleeved top that I think the orange vest will look smashing with.

In non-knitting news, I've started taking Hot Yoga classes. Hot Yoga is essentially bikram yoga, a series of poses done in a 100-degree room. (Actually, our room is 99 degrees. I looked at the thermostat on Monday night.) A friend and I decided to try it out because we both have half Ironman triathlons coming up in hot weather climates (mine in Florida next weekend, and hers in Georgia in the beginning of June) and need to get somewhat acclimated to the heat. Man, it's HOT!!! The sweat just pours off of me - in certain poses, I look like I'm peeing and it's just running down my leg. (I promise I'm not peeing. It really is sweat.) When I get home, I peel my clothes off and hang them up to dry in the bathroom - that usually takes 2 days. But I do love it, though. (Except for when the woman ran out of the class Monday night and barely made it to the bathroom before throwing up. I was near the door, so that could've been an incredibly disgusting disaster.) And hopefully it'll pay off when I run a half marathon that is not in the shade at any point after swimming in the ocean 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles next Saturday.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Finally - sock pictures

I've been trying to post pictures for 2 days now, but the computer I use to upload pictures kept locking up. So I tried again today and saved the draft of this post every time I uploaded a picture, and now I'm on a more reliable computer. Damn machines. Anyway, here are my finished Sockapaloooza socks, basking in the sun on our back deck:

Hayden wanted in on the action, so he offered to model:

Wait, something doesn't look quite right -

- much better. Six year old boys always have to touch their pingas, I guess just to make sure they're still there.

I'm mailing the socks on Monday. Hopefully my pal will like them. I meant to go to the post office today, but I volunteered at the Country Music Marathon this morning and was there longer than planned. (Do you know how exciting and scary it is for a Kenyan running a 5-minute mile to take a cup of water out of your hand? Yikes!)

Since the socks are done, I've been working more on my Somewhat Cowl. It was sloooow going until I finished the raglan increases, and now that I'm past the neckline, it seems to be flying. I'd really like to finish it sometime this week so I can start a summer project. Here's what I'm thinking about:

Wendy's Fad-Classic
Prairie Tunic from the Spring issue of IK
Green Gable

What do you think?

In other news, DH gave me my Mother's Day present 2 weeks early: a plane ticket and hotel room in Columbia, MD next weekend so I can go to the Sheep & Wool Festival! How fun is that?!? I'm very excited about hanging out with Eunny and Kelly again, and meeting other knitbloggers. Who else is going?

And last but not least, one more gratuitous Hayden shot:

Last weekend we went to a local community college's production of Rogers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella." I didn't know that it wouldn't have a lot in common with the Disney version, but Hayden liked it just the same. Actually, he liked it from far away - as in the doorway. For some reason, he just wouldn't set foot inside the theater, even though it wasn't that big. That's okay, though - we just scooted our chair back to the door. Doesn't this Fairy Godmother look like Glen Close?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Okay, I lied. I emailed my Sockapaloooza sock sister last night to tell her that my socks were going to be totally done before I went to bed and that I'd post pictures this morning. All I had left to do was graft the toe of my second sock and weave in 2 ends - easy, huh? But then I went to swim practice and stayed after a little to talk to 2 fellow Ironman Florida bound triathletes. It was almost 9pm before I got home, and I still had to eat dinner and put Hayden to bed (yes, he's a night owl). And I was tired from swimming, so the socks did not get done. I PROMISE that they will be finished this afternoon, though, and pictures will be up tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Sockapaloooza progress

Just as promised - a happier, shorter, knitting-related post. Here's one of my Sockapalooza socks (and yes, I have a flip flop tan on the top of my feet):

Here's another shot so that you can see the cable better (and peep my tat!):

I started the second sock last Thursday and it's going much faster than the first one. Today at work I was able to turn the heel, thanks to yet another sick computer. I expect to be done with it by the end of the weekend.

I've also been working on my Somewhat Cowl, but I'm only 7 inches into it. A pic right now of it would be Somewhat Boring. Once the sock is done, I'll be able to make more progress on that as well as get back to my Sampler Stole. And start Wendy's Fad-Classic. And start my Rowan Cricket Vest. And some baby booties for my sister (who's expecting her second child the day before Ironman Florida - poor planning on her part, I must say). And....

Monday, April 10, 2006

Warning: long post ahead, not related to knitting at all

April is Autism Awareness Month. I've been wondering what to do on my blog for it (almost typed "to celebrate it", but that sounded totally wrong). I could give you the statistics - 1 in 166 kids is autistic, blah blah blah - but then I came across Cathy's blog and decided to copy her. Her son is autistic and she shared her story, so I'm going to do the same. I know all of my regular readers know Hayden and know he's autistic and know how cute he is, but I don't think I've ever shared our background. Here goes nothing:

Hayden was a typically developing little boy. He laughed, played, crawled and walked when other kids do. I had been working as a full-time staff accountant, but I became a stay at home mom shortly after he turned one and had dreams of doing all the fun things stay at home moms do - have playdates, go to the park at 10am on Wednesday, put him in Mother's Day Out program twice a week so he could have friends and I could ride my bike in the middle of the day. However, I started noticing around 18 months that he wasn't adding any new words to his vocabulary - in fact, some of his words had disappeared. I called the doctor and voiced my concerns, but he just said, "Oh, don't worry. Boys are late talkers." This conversation between he and I happened 3 times until his 2-year checkup. After that, the doctor said that maybe we should check into it. Our first step was going to the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center to have his hearing tested - normal. Then we had an evaluation done by the Tennessee Early Intervention Services to see if Hayden qualified for free therapy. TEIS does an overall evaluation, and if your child has at least a 25% defenciency in 2 areas (communication, gross motor skills, etc), they provide free therapy, whether it be speech, physical, or occupational. Hayden, of course, qualified. We started speech therapy when he was almost 2 1/2 years old. In TEIS' evaluation, they suggested I look into occupational therapy because of things like Hayden having an aversion to messy stuff like shaving cream, but I blew that off. Nobody really likes messy stuff, do they? Big mistake. Unfortunately, TEIS only pays for therapy until the child is 3, so after that, we were on our own. We enrolled Hayden in a preschool for kids with special needs. There were therapists there at school, so we didn't have to take him anywhere - the therapist just pulled him out of his class when it was time for him to work. This school didn't come cheap - the first year Hayden was there, we paid over $20,000. A college tuition for a 3 year old! Our insurance company wouldn't (and still won't) pay for any therapy, so needless to say, I went back to work. Nobody could figure out what was wrong with him, but everyone agreed he wasn't autistic. There were just some things that he did that autistic kids don't do. (What they were, I can't remember, because looking back on it, it was so clear that he was.) I had scheduled an evaluation to be done when he was 3 1/2, but cancelled it because a)everyone said that he wasn't autistic, and b)everyone said that even though he wasn't autistic, he'd be labeled as such, and that label would follow him throughout school and teachers would expect less of him, yada yada yada. Another big mistake. After his fourth birthday, though, I rescheduled his evaluation. Mike was out of town for a marathon, and Hayden had a particularly autistic weekend. I couldn't control him at McDonald's, he had a panic attack when I tried to take him to a classmate's birthday party, things like that. Mike wasn't happy that I was having him evaluated, but I decided to do it anyway. He came around before the evaluation, though, and we had come to accept that the diagnosis was going to be one of autism. That made the evaluation process so much easier, because our response to "Your child is autistic" was "We know." At the evaluator's suggestion, we took him out of the preschool he was in and got him into a program for autistic kids through the public school system. Through the school system Hayden gets speech and occupational therapy, and we supplement that with private autism and speech therapy. The speech therapist we work with (the best out of the many that we have worked with over the last 4 years) only works with autistic kids, so it's great. He's made a lot of progress over the last 4 years, but he still has a lot of work to do. He used to not be able to handle being around other kids; now he's in the thick of things when it's recess time. He doesn't play "with" his classmates, but he plays alongside of them, and that's the best we can ask for right now. His eye contact is not great, but we're working on that too. He's verbal, but 90% of the time his speech is not easily understandable (except for by me - after all, I am Mommy) or is straight out of a book, video, or computer game (echolalia is the technical term for that). He flaps his hands (called stimming) when he gets excited about something (last night while driving home from dinner he stimmed off of the street lights we drove by, and every day he flaps when he sees me coming to pick him up from school), and he laughs sometimes when nothing is going on. (I have a great 90-second video on my digital camera of his stimming off of the Teletubbies, but I don't know how to upload a video onto my blog.) He is learning how to have conversations, but right now all of it is memorized, so unless someone asks him a question the exact way we or his therapists ask him, he won't answer. But he is a great kid. He has no behavior problems; he loves to dance, sing, and make people laugh; he's pretty good at math; and he loves to give hugs and kisses. And he's super cute to boot. (And he's learning how to climb, Jen - we've been to the climbing gym twice since Thursday, and he really likes it!) With a lot of hard work, I hope that he'll be able to live a fairly typical life.

With all that being said, he did not get into the TRIAD camp. I got a letter today basically telling me that he's not high functioning enough to go to their camp. What a blow. I usually have a great attitude about our situation - sure it sucks, but he is a sweet, loving, fun kid, so I make the best out of what we got. Today, though, I've been crying and can't stop. (So please excuse any typos - sometimes they get lost in the tears.) Telling me that Hayden is not functioning enough to go to a camp for autistic kids makes me somewhat lose hope. Last week I posted that I was afraid that the TRIAD people thought I was this desparate, disillusioned mom - I guess they're right. Maybe I'm not seeing what others are. I'd love for Hayden to be the kid who shoots all the 3-pointers at the basketball game and becomes a hero - today that dream was shot down. I'm starting to think that I'm going to be one of those moms who everyone feels sorry for when she walks through the grocery store and her 25-year old autistic son is following her because he can't function without her. And now I have no idea what I'm going to do for the summer. I had planned on him going to TRIAD camp for his summertime therapy and going to a summer camp at a typical daycare the rest of the time. Now the therapy is gone, and because they don't think he's functioning enough to go to their camp, I don't think he's functioning enough to go to the typical daycare camp. I got a brochure for it today, and the things they say they do scare me. They go on field trips every Friday and go swimming every week. What if wanders off because he doesn't understand that he's supposed to stay with his class? (That's happened before.) Daycare workers aren't trained to work with autistic kids. And he can't swim, but he doesn't understand that he shouldn't jump off the diving board. So now I have to come up with an alternative plan. I don't know what that is right now, but I guess between now and May 23rd it'll come to me. I have to work, so something has to come along.

Cathy has some links on her blog to some great stuff, one of them being a sweet ESPN commercial. I urge you to visit her blog and check it out. I promise my next post will be a)happy, b)knitting related, and c)not so long.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Are you jealous? Just a little??

I rode my bike yesterday when DH got home from work. I took my camera along (I pulled over to the side of the road to take the shots - they weren't taken while I was riding - I can talk on my phone while riding, but I don't think I'm coordinated enough to take pictures) so I could show you the beautiful scenery I get to enjoy while on my bike. This is the Natchez Trace Parkway, which starts about 2 miles from my house and ends down in Natchez, Mississippi:

This hill is a bitch to climb up, but it sure is fun to fly down on the way home!

This bridge overlooks Hwy. 96 from way, way up. I know you're supposed to ride on the side of the road, but when I cross this bridge, I tend to drift towards the middle. Too close to the rails is very scary, especially on a windy day.

I am so lucky to live so close to such a great place for riding.

And here's a picture of my Sockapaloooza sock:

I started turning the heel today at work. Unfortunately I didn't get to do too much because my boss didn't go out for lunch. Gah. But I am loving the way this is turning out. Hopefully my pal will too. I didn't make the sock as long as the pattern I'm using said to, but a)I think it's long enough, and b)my pal didn't specify how long she likes her socks, only that she likes them to go over the ankle.

And finally, here's a shot of my Sampler Stole and my Somewhat Cowl, laying on the new bedspread bought at Target on Sunday (gotta love Isaac Mizrahi - he reminds me soooo much of my best high school friend, Perry):

This picture really is to show you the colors, because the progress made on both is very little. One of my goals last week was to get through 3 repeats of the stole; however, progress was thwarted by too much beer and a shot of something and vodka at a friend's going away party on Saturday, and I still have 21 rows to get through repeat 3. The Somewhat Cowl will be much further along after I spend the upcoming weekend in Birmingham. Sunday morning I will be doing the Powerman Alabama duathlon, but I'll have Saturday afternoon and evening in a hotel room, doing some pre-race resting and guilt-free knitting! I'm using Alpaca & Silk - can I get a yum-yum? The yarn is HEAVENLY. Hopefully I can get it done and wear it before summer hits!

And speaking of the fabulous Wendy, have you seen this yet? So cool! It's making its way up to the front of my To Knit list at an alarming pace. Maybe I'll get the pattern after I finish the SWC. But I detest Cotton Classic - must find a substitute.