Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't Label Me

A long, long time ago, when the girls were squalling babies, we had many discussions about parenting, values, and general "how are we going to raise the perfect children?" ideas. One of the biggies was our vow to not bow to the corporate marketing giants when dealing with things like clothing and toys. Faithfully and somewhat smugly we only bought toys that were generic and designed to stimulate their little brightly painted wooden things and non-character dolls and teddies. We were sure we would never cave to the advertising on tv or the mass-marketed big-name hypes every holiday season. None of our hard-earned cash was going to be lining the corporate fat cat pockets, no sirree!

Then, as the girls began growing and becoming more independant, reality started asserting itself. Disney princesses, My Little Ponies, Barbie, and Littlest Pet Shop toys starting creeping into our home. We hated buying the stuff but we were helpless against their pleading eyes and looks of wonder whenever we went to a mall or toy store. We graciously caved a little bit more every year until we finally gave up the toy battle entirely but we still held firm to our principles when it came to branded clothing. There was no way our girls were going to grow up as mindless advertising clones, no sirree!

Fast forward to yesterday. We did a quick day trip down to Washington State to visit the stores for some good deals on back to school clothing. We hit places that we don't have here in Canada like Target, JC Penny, and the outlet malls. We literally shopped until we dropped (fortunately we only do this twice a year) and this is what we came back with:


There was also Nike shoes, more Gap stuff, more Aeropostale and anything with Paul Frank on it. They would not even consider anything "generic" except basic pants and even those had to come from an "approved" store. Its official..I'm going to bad-parent hell.

For the record, though, I'm starting a Pilates class next month and I refuse flat out to buy any clothing from Lululemon even though every single mom in this neighborhood seems to have a closet full of it. My workout wear came from Target, thank you very much, so maybe there is hope after all....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Continuing On

What a glorious last couple of weeks it has been! No kids in the house, no schedule to speak of, no major or even minor disasters! K. took last week off and we puttered around the house doing small cleanup and organizing jobs. Of course we didn't get everything done that I wanted to but we did accomplish a lot. The basement is pretty much completely sorted out and organized and the garage is totally cleaned out...we could actually park the car in it..amazing! Shelves were built and lots of stuff went in the garbage or recycling and a car load went to charity.

We also spent a lot of time just hanging out together, watching tv and going for walks. We saw "Inception" in the theater (loved it) and checked out some new (to us) local restaurants. We ran out of regular tv to watch so we rented the "Twilight" movies (not as bad as I expected) and got totally hooked on the HBO series "True Blood". We tried "House" but couldn't get into it at all. Tango got his cast off and seems to be (fingers crossed) recovering without a hitch. We have been excessively careful of his leg and kept him completely house-bound until just a few days ago. I swear he has totally forgotten how to navigate stairs now because we have been constantly carrying him up and down, lol.

I have been faithfully chugging along on the knitting front. I finished up the blue socks and tucked them into the gift drawer. I started the Noro sweater:

It has a very unusual construction method...the sleeves and upper back are knitted first, like a shrug, then the back and fronts are picked up and knitted down. After all that stitches are picked up all around for the ruffle out of the matching sock yarn. I have been a bit nervous about the techniques so I haven't worked on it as much as I could but the work I have done has flown by so I'm sure, barring any major errors in the pattern, it will come together quickly.

Friday, August 13, 2010

FO: Garnstudio Cabled V-Neck Sweater

Here it is, all finished:

I really like it even if it was absolute torture sewing it together on one of the hottest days of the year! The fabric is soft and decadent feeling and it fits perfectly. I'm sure I'll get plenty of wear out of it in the cooler seasons.

This is the 2nd Garnstudio sweater I have made from their free patterns and I have to say, although the designs are clever and relatively simple to knit, the instructions leave a bit to be desired. They are fairly confusing and vague in places as well as unnecessarily wordy. Victim of poor translation, perhaps? Whatever the case may be it is a nice design but I don't think I'll be making another one any time soon, lol.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Child Free by Choice

A wondrous thing happened today! The girls left this morning for their annual summer trip to Revelstoke, BC. My ex-husband (Eldest's father) takes them for 2 weeks to visit his family, go hiking, play in the lake, have barbeques and do all those fun outdoorsy things that they love so much. I worry a little bit about them and give them many lectures about dos and don'ts before they leave but in the end I'm kind of glad for the peace and quiet. The first time they went I was a lot more concerned but now they are old hands at it and should have loads of fun!

I always use the time that they are gone to catch up on all the big household things that need doing. This week the focus is cleaning and organizing. I'm hoping K. takes next week off so that we can do some painting and rearranging stuff in the basement. Today I started out with a thorough wipe-down, vacuum and floor-washing. I also cleaned the blinds..ugh! The weather is cooperating by turning cool and is so hard to do anything when it is really hot and dry. The plan is that by the time the girls come back the house will be spic and span and I'll be ready to focus on back to school stuff with them.

I have been doing a bit of knitting during the last while. The Garnstudio sweater is finished. I just need to do a bit of sewing up and then block it. I also started another pair of gift socks:

This is some Lorna's Laces in the "Jeans" colorway that I had stashed forever. I'm not really a fan of blue but for some reason I like these. They will fit well into the Xmas stash box, lol. After these are done it will be on to the Noro Kureyon sweater that I blogged about.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dog Days of Summer (Literally)

All has not been well here in the 'burbs. The saga of poor Tango has taken a turn for the worse. Three weeks (and several visits) after his surgery the vet announced that his knee surgery didn't "take" and had to be redone. Needless to say I was very upset and, even though the vet offered to do the 2nd surgery for free, I took Tango to a different vet for another opinion. What we discovered was unsettling and heartbreaking. Within a minute of examining Tango the new vet determined that his knee was out of place and that there was excess fluid in the joint (possible infection). It's interesting to note here that we had been taking him to the other vet for checkups and shots twice a week since the surgery and they had noticed nothing. It was also discovered that one of the medications the original vet had given Tango was three times the dose for a dog his size!

We booked Tango in for surgery with the new vet right away. When we picked him up what we found out was worse than anything I had imagined. One of his patellar ligaments (the ligament that holds the kneecap in place) had been completely severed and was his kneecap was just floating around loose. Luckily the new vet is a specialist in joint surgery so he was able to reconstruct Tango's knee but it took a lot of work and ended up costing quite a bit more than the original surgery, which we could barely afford. The icing on the cake was when the new vet told us that Tango's luxating patellas were only at stage 2, which he would not have done surgery on at all and that, by doing a faulty and unnecessary surgery, the first vet had made the problem even worse and nearly permanently crippled my dog.

All this has added up to a lot of stress in my life. Every time I look at poor Tango hobbling around in his new cast I feel sick and guilty for doing this to him. I'm even having trouble sleeping at night. My first reaction to this has been unbelievable levels of rage at the first vet and a strong desire to punish them somehow. But I'm coming to discover that all this negative energy is literally tearing me apart and I'm making myself quite ill. Even now, as I'm writing this, I'm shaking and almost in tears. So I have decided that I need to step away and just put it all behind us. Hopefully, under the care of the new vet, Tango will recover fully and resume his happy dog life.