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Friday, September 28, 2007

Friday!!!!!

It is finally Friday! I love Fridays. Especially payday Fridays.

Last night was Princess Ivi's open house. I met all of her teachers and was able to see her classrooms. It was nice. We were there for almost 2 hours which was not what I had planned.

When I got home and after dinner, I sat in front of the TV with my other mitten to watch the premieres of Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy (while clicking back to CSI), and ER (while clicking back to Without A Trace). I was so disappointed because when one show had commercials the other one did too.

We have a soccer game in Gardner. Gardner was the closest "city" to my hometown so I spent a lot of time there cruising or just walking around (looking for boys). I really hope I don't run into anyone from those days. I am probably protected since I don't look anything like I used to. But I still feel like I should be trying to live down things I did as a kid. I think we all feel like that though.

Well, I should get to work back to the land of divorces and custody battles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Charity Knitting

Two weeks ago, I won a knitting basket from Warmer Winters, a local organization that provides knitting/crocheted items to needy people in North Central Massachusetts.

The basket contained some light up knitting needles, size 11 (they remind me of a Harry Potter wand), a pack of crochet hooks (which is great because I can never seem to find my lone crochet hook when I need it), a skein of red Jiffy Thick and Quick (or Chunky, I always get them confused), and a book - "Wendy Knits".

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the yarn. I did know that I wanted to use it for some sort of charity knitting - fitting since I received it from a charitable group - but didn't know which one. Since the yarn is a beautiful shade of red, I thought of the Red Scarf Project whcih donates red scarfs to orphans (adults who have now left the system to go out into the world). But that project didn't feel right to me.

So after racking my brain for a few days, I decided on mittens. A big feat since I have never made mittens before. I used Lion Brand's pattern for the 2 needle mittens for this yarn. I finished my first one last night and cast on for the second one. Yeah!! It looks good although the thumb gusset looks odd to me. After I do the second mitten, I may reinforce the thumb with a simple seam so that it protects better.

I am going to be bringing the mittens and a big stack of hats with me to the Knit-A-Thon sponsored by Warmer Winters. It is on October 20. I love knitting events of all kinds!!!

So this weekend we went to the Bolton Fair. I was happy because I was able to spend some quality time with my daughter, some sheep and two beautiful alpacas.

My mission to accomplish before October 20, should I choose to accept it, is to help Princess Ivi find a Halloween costume. A very tough feat for a kid as tall as she is. Too tall for kids, not quite curvy enough in some places for an adult costume. And of course, I have ZERO sewing ability. She was invited to a birthday party. I would love to be able to knit up a quick scarf to go with the Claire's gift card we will pick up. Hmmm...I should have brought some knitting to work with me.

Well, TTFN as Tigger would say.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stop saying retard!!!!

So if there is one word in the English language our family hates, it is the word "retard". Well, I guess we don't hate the word itself but the way people use it.

My sister, brother and I grew up constantly exposed to mentally disabled people. Both my mom and step-father worked at a home for mentally disabled adult men and from the time I was three or four, we spent a lot of time with them. We would go on camping trips, play games, work at the annual fair with them, whatever. This taught all of us that the mentally disabled are just like us. They can do things we can do, they can feel and laugh, and love. We have used these lessons our whole lives when presented with people who are different than we are.

I have always tried to instill these lessons in Princess Ivi as well. When I was a paralegal at a large home (institution) for mentally disabled adults in Florida, Princess Ivi attended the on-campus daycare. Her best friends were a blind girl, a little girl with cerebral palsy, and a little boy with Down Syndrome.

When we learned my sister's baby (now 2 1/2 years old) would be born with Down Syndrome, those lessons we learned were invaluable. We knew he would be able to love us and we knew we would love him. We knew he would be able to learn things like tying his shoes, riding a bike, playing soccer, everything we could take the time to teach him. He is the reason we moved to Massachusetts from Florida. Because we wanted to be with him as much as possible.

I remember shortly after he was born Princess Ivi was at the Boys and Girls Club and they had gone to the local pool to swim. There was a group of kids at the pool all of whom had Down Syndrome. The other girls from the B&GC started teasing them and making jokes about them. Of course, Princess Ivi wouldn't stand for it and quickly put them in their place.

Since moving to New England, we hear the hated word (see above) used on a regular basis. Here it is used as an adjective, i.e., "this ret**ded computer", and as a derogatory remark, when one person calls another a ret***. The latter is especially common in Princess Ivi's middle school. According to her, all the students say this. The teachers don't stop them. This to me is very sad. Is it a northern thing? Is it just slang? Are those really good excuses for such inexcusable behavior?

I don't think they are. I think this word should not be used and it is our job as parents to make sure we teach our kids how inappropriate the word is. Here is a link to a speech given by Soeren Palumbo to his high school student body regarding this issue. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoqaNG0Ozqc) He also gave a speech to the Illinois State Senate about the use of the word "retarded".

Please listen to these speeches and then work to stop this word from being used to describe, ridicule, or joke about the mentally disabled. Work to stop this word from being used to pick on a so-called normal student by comparing them to a so-called abnormal, stupid, different, special or "SPED" student (another term I dislike).

People with mental disabilities are just like us in many ways. However, they aren't just like us because most of them can't defend themselves when words like these are used. It is up to us to defend them. Please do your part and involve your friends and family in this as well.

Okay, I am stepping down from my soapbox now.

***Edited on 9/5/08: There seems to be some confusion by some people who read this post. For clarification, I am not criticizing people who refer to someone who is mentally retarded but I am criticizing people who use "retard" as an insult or people who say something is "F-ing retarded".

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What ever happened to customer service?

I am very concerned about the lack of customer service at businesses now. Here is an example, yesterday I rearranged my whole day to take Princess Ivi to the doctor. I left work early, picked her up and got to the doctor for a 12:30 appointment. Of course, when I got there I was told that the appointment had been canceled and they left a message for me. After learning that the message was left on my cell phone, I pulled out my phone and listened to the messages at the office and was able to tell them that no message had been left. The girl's response was "oh well, Beth will be calling you tomorrow to reschedule". No apology for the inconvenience, no concern that my day was arranged around this appointment, nothing. Grrrr!

So anyway, between that and being stressed out and slightly irritated by my job, I was feeling really anxious all day yesterday. I wasn't sure if I wanted to strangle someone or cry for a while.

It must be something in the air. My sister went to the ER last night because she has some weird ear infection that was causing too much pressure in her head. The doctor at the ER thought she was having an aneurysm. She isn't. It is just the ear and then adding her anxiety on top of it.

While she was gone, I got to watch my nephew. He is 2 and 1/2. He is a super sweet guy and I love hanging out with him.

I guess I have to get back to work since I still have an hour to go and have to hit my 4 hours of billable hours today. I will post more tonight. I am also still searching for pics to post.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Almost Monday Already

This weekend flew by so fast. Too fast. Saturday was spent at a soccer game and at the Johnny Appleseed Festival. The girls lost but played really well.

The festival was really good. And so were the caramel apples. Yum!

I started a new scarf as my easy soccer game project. It is worked with chunky yarn and a faux rib stitch. I am not sure about the yarn. It is one of those that change color. Kind of hard to get used to.

At the festival, I hooked up with a local group that collects knitted/crocheted items for the needy people in our community. They are having a Knit A Thon on October 20. Their goal is to collect 8,000 items this year. Of course, I will be there.

Today was spent at the laundromat. Yuck! Although we did learn that we can't put laundy off to every two weeks. By then, we have nothing to wear and it takes forever to finish.

Well, I have to get ready for the week ahead.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's Finally Fall

It is fall in New England. This is my favorite time of the year and my favorite place to spend it. The weather cools down, there is a crispness in the air that refreshes and revitalizes you, there are apples, fall festivals, Halloween, and of course, it means we are closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

There are several fall fairs we plan on attending this fall. We want to go to the Big E which is a huge event taking place in Springfield for like 16 days. It is so big that we plan on what we want to see before we go. This year, we want to see the crafts, the animals, and go through the state buildings. You can get the best baked potato in the Maine building. Yum!

We also want to go to the Bolton fair which is at the end of the month. It is always fairly big and very enjoyable. This is the fair that I will let Ivi go on the rides so that we don't have to stand in the incredibly long lines at the Big E.

There is also Kids Fest at Wachusett Mountain which is September 22 and 23 and the Apple Fest (sponsored by The Red Apple Farm which is in my hometown) on October 13,14, 20 & 21.

We also have the Fall Harvest Festival in Fitchburg in October. Ivi is very excited about this one because they have a pumpkin carving contest. We are already brainstorming on patterns for our pumpkins.

This morning was wonderful. It was cool (which meant my makeup wouldn't melt off before I left the house) and we were super organized. The only frustrating thing is Ivi's bus came early. Yesterday it came at 8:07, today at 7:37. There is no consistency with that thing.

The best thing about this morning is, I was able to knit for 15 minutes. I worked on Ivi's scarf. It is made with the scratchiest Red Heart ever in this variegated brown and blue which is pretty ugly on its own. I am holding it with a strand of beautiful fun fur to make it soft and it helps so much with the colors. I should be able to finish it in about 2 days. Then it is back to the nephew's sweater.

I also want to make a lapghan for wounded soldiers if I have time. I have until the beginning of December and then I need to mail it. Oh, I do hope I can get to it this year.

Well, I hope everyone has a great day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Where have I been.....

So it has been a while since I have posted anything. A lot of nothing has been happening.

My sister had a picnic on Labor Day. It was nice. All of her friends have little kids. There was one little girl (younger than 2) who did nothing but cry and whine for four hours straight. About halfway through the day, I wanted to start crying. I have no patience for children who are like that. I think it is because I was so spoiled with my daughter (who has chosen the name Ivi for her cyber name, by the way). She was such a good baby. She didn't cry for no reason, she didn't whine, she didn't throw temper tantrums, she never went through the "terrible two's". Like I said, I was spoiled.

At the picnic, I was sneezing like crazy. I thought it was just allergies but nope, it was a cold. I stayed home from work for two days. Just in time for me to go back to work, Ivi complained of a bad stomach. So on Thursday, I wound up taking her into the office with me for a few hours. I knew she was sick when she took two of my office chairs and stuck them together so she could lay on them and then she slept for three hours.

I was a mean mommy though and I made her go to school on Friday. I did the typical "if you don't go to school, you can't go to soccer practice, and then you can't play in the game on Saturday". But she went and she was fine. She even got a new locker since the first one they assigned wouldn't open (Yeah!!!).

She had her first soccer game on Saturday. They lost but I think every girl should feel proud of themselves. They only had 8 girls (7 on the field since one was goalie) so they had no subs. It was over 90 degrees and it was their first game. They all played as hard as they could given the circumstances. The people who should be ashamed of themselves are the girls who come to practice but don't come to the game for their teammates. We have 13 girls on the team, 3 of whom have never been to a single practice. Two of the girls who come to practice just didn't show up. I think it is rude and hard for the girls who do show up.

When Ivi was complaining that they lost, I pointed out to her that sometimes you can lose the game but as long as you try, you still win.

After the game, it was so hot that we (my sister, her baby, Ivi and I) decided to drive to the knitting shop to be in AC in the car and the store. Actually, this was more mine and my sister's idea and the kids just got dragged along.

So we went to The Woolpack in Littleton. I love this store. The people there are so nice and helpful. They have a big yarn selection. But I didn't buy any yarn. I bought 5 stitch holders (since all of my others are on the other sweater I need to seam together), a Creative Knitting magazine because I loved the sweater on the cover, and some yarn bobbins.

A few months ago, we (same cast as above) took a trip to Northampton for the Scottish Games and we went to WEBS. After seeing the great prices at WEBS, I can't bring myself to buy yarn anywhere else (unless it is simple acrylic). So I am planning a trip back out there in November with a big list of yarns I want.

Saturday night we watched The Last Mimzy. It was payment for a bribe. I had told Ivi that if she read for 45 minutes, I would buy the movie on PPV. It was good but I feel like I need to watch it again so I can piece it all together.

Yesterday was spent grocery shopping and preparing for the week ahead. It was a cold rainy day (which is okay since it is so dry a lot of wells in the area are going dry) so I spent a lot of time knitting and doing soduko puzzles.

And here it is Monday morning and I am back at work. Ughh.

So, I am still working on the sweater for my nephew. It is a Black Sheep pullover with basketweave type patterning on the chest to neck. I am working on the back and am ready to start decreasing for the neck.

At the soccer game and driving to the yarn shop, I worked on a simple acrylic/fun fur scarf.

I feel pretty guilty because I worked on more sodukos than knitting this weekend. I will have to make up for it this week.

Anyway, I have weight watchers tonight. (My goal is to lose 55 pounds. Keep your fingers crossed for me.) Then I have the PTO meeting tomorrow night (I am hoping in a few months to suggest that next year we fundraise for new lockers), soccer Wednesday and Friday and then another game on Saturday.

Well, have a great day everyone.