Yay For Iron Transfers!

Last month I was invited to attend my first ever Yarn Club.  This is a group of women, many that I have reconnected with after moving back to San Diego, that get together every month and work on crochet or knitting projects.  I actually do know how to crochet.  My mom taught me when I was about 10 or 11.  She taught me the most basic, single crochet stitch and that is all I have attempted to date.  The only thing I have actually finished was a blue and yellow blanket for my hamster, Fuzzhead.  Fuzzhead was the subject of my 7th grade science project and was going to be on display in the school gymnasium so I made him a blanket with my school colors to represent.
Roughly 15 years later, Fuzzhead had long been in hamster heaven, and I was attempting to stop a disgusting habit.  I needed to quit smoking.  I knew if I kept my hands busy, I could go without lighting up a cigarette.  I ran out to the store, bought some yarn and a crochet hook and started making a blanket.  It seemed like my mom could make about 3 or 4 blankets a year without a problem.  I thought I would have this great blanket to snuggle in after about 2 weeks.  Two weeks had passed; I had successfully stopped smoking, and I had crocheted about half of a scarf.  The novelty had worn off again.  I threw all the yarn in a bag and stored it on the top shelf of the closet.  That bag moved with me to 6 different residences and after another 10 years, it finally saw the light of day last month.
Not the original bag.
I’m not that much further along on my “blanket”, but I have surpassed the point of making a scarf.  I will get this blanket done and it may take me another 10 years to do it, but in the process, I have made a couple of other things that I am awfully proud of. 
We were visiting our friends, J & H, in Iowa (H can be found here) and I was discussing the Yarn Club that I was invited to.  J, alerted me to a t-shirt his brother, brother-in-law, friend, or someone else (I quit listening once I heard what the shirt said) had made.  I first asked if I could have the shirt – it never hurts to ask, right?  He politely declined, but said he would send me the graphic.  A couple of weeks later I sat down to make my t-shirt, I noticed that J had a status update on Facebook about having strep and was as sick as he had ever been.  Not wanting to be a pest, I ventured out on my own and came up with this:
Bitches Be Knittin’
The words on the shirt are what I stole from J’s source, but the graphic I found on my own.  I actually typed “bitches be knittin’” into Google Images and found it.  I have been so excited about this shirt for weeks and tonight, I get to wear it to Yarn Club! 
And finally, since I had to buy a whole pack of iron transfers, I decided I needed to make Rory a Honey Badger t-shirt.  If you don’t know about The Honey Badger, crawl out from under your rock and click here.  Rory has been dubbed The Honey Badger by my brother and he continues to live up to his nickname.  
The Honey Badger Don’t Care
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My To Do Lists

I was recently at my parent’s house, going through some of my boxes from years gone by.  I used to keep a lot of really useless crap.  I think I knew, even at the time I was throwing the items in the box, that it was crap as one of the boxes was labeled “School Shit”.  I kept every notebook from college, every test, and even my calendar, called an Events Tracker, that I documented each chapter that I was to read on any given day.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that 75% of those chapters were either not read or not read until the night before the day where “Midterm” or “Final” was scribbled in it’s dated box.

I was skimming through my Events Tracker and came across a page with a “To Do” list written at the top.  This is from February 1995.

Note that I was supposed to tan at 6:30, on Tuesday, in February, in Iowa.

Close up of the “Goals” for the week.

I found this whole thing so hilarious.  For instance, on Tuesday, the same day I was supposed to tan, I have written “Othello”.  I don’t remember what class this was for, but one would assume that I was to have read the great Shakespearean Tragedy by this date.  Yet, I am just getting around to obtaining the cliffnotes that very week.  I actually remember getting the cliffnotes for Othello and reading about as much of those as I had of the actual play.  I think I settled on watching the movie and I’m guessing that sufficed.

I love the sad state of my finances as well.  I’m not sure what I mean by “Get check from work”.  I don’t remember having a job my freshman year of college.  I am assuming the “Transfer $” was code for, Call Dad and ask him to transfer some of his money into my account so I can pay this ticket that I got.  I can’t remember what the ticket was for, but being the educated, college graduate that I am, I’m going to say that it was for imbibing before the ripe old age of 21.  Back in my day, the fine was a measly $35, but apparently I had already spent all my money on beer and was in need of financial assistance to resolve the issue.

I’ll say I never did put things in any kind of priority order.  Things were and still are on a first come to my mind, first written down basis.  I still keep all kinds of lists.  I have lists for things I want to buy one day, lists for groceries, to do lists, crafts I want to try, dinners for the week, etc.  However, a lot of these lists get made, but never referred to again.  I may accomplish what I set out to do, but I didn’t need a list to get it done.  Here is my latest to do list:

BORING!

The only thing I have left to do on this list are making the dentist and the primary care appointments.  I have successfully completely all of the other items. 

If I was given the chance to relive (not redo) any part of my life, it would be college.  I wasn’t a fan of the classes until the last 2 years, but I had some of the most fun of my life during that time and met a lot of my life long friends in those (*cough*) five years.  That being said, my to do lists now may be boring and mundane, but they are so much easier.  Maybe I would just want to revisit a week of my college years.  My college list contains some of the things I loathe the most, like finding a job.  Finding a shirt for Rory was a piece of cake and I didn’t have to answer questions about what my best and worst qualities are.

Sing, Sing A Song

My taste in music has been questioned, criticized and mocked for years.  I like all genres of music except country.  And even then I’ll allow some country music as long as it was recorded in or before 1980.  I have been known to sing a little Patsy Cline every now and again and who hasn’t been caught singing The Gambler the first time you ever sat down at a casino table?  Just me?  Ok then.
The truth is, I love to sing.  I have been told I’m not particularly good at it, but I have never let other people’s opinions influence me much.  Consequently, the music I like the best is music I can sing along to. 
My first ever karaoke performance.  I was singing Bobby McGee.
Today was a rather excellent sing along day.  I’m still milking my free satellite radio trial that we got when we bought our car and after today, any doubts that I had of subscribing to the service have vanished.  First, let me give you the list of my XM presets.  Ryan and I were both allowed 6 stations.  However, because of my broad spectrum of music likes, I find Ryan’s presets enjoyable, while he considers some of mine borderline torture.  My lineup is as follows:
20 on 20  The description for this station is “The latest top 20 countdowns from pop, rock, hip-hop and more.”  I enjoy all of the above so this is right in my wheelhouse.  Another bonus of this station is that one channel previous is SiriusXM Hits 1.  I don’t have to waste a preset when I can simply turn the dial one notch.  You need to consider these things, folks. 
80’s on 8  This is self explanatory as to the music played on this channel.  Who doesn’t love some rad 80’s?  I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep this one, though.  I go in phases when I need 80’s and other times when I can’t stand it.
90’s on 9  This was the result of some overzealous programming on my part.  I was all excited and programmed this station on the first day.  It’s going against the previous strategy of not programming a station immediately preceding or following an existing preset, but if I get rid of the 80’s station, things will be kosher once again.
Z100/NY  I really like this station.  They play about 99% Top 40, but every once and awhile they throw a random hip hop song from 1992 in there.  It’s a nice treat.
Pop2K  Yes, it’s music from the previous decade. 
And last, but certainly not least;
Elvis Radio  No explanation is needed.  It’s Elvis and he’s fantastic. 
Ryan treated me to a trip to Graceland for our anniversary.  Super awesome!
Ryan’s presets include Pearl Jam Radio, Grateful Dead Channel, Classic Vinyl, Deep Tracks, Jam_On and 1st Wave.   Besides opting to program stations that are already adjacent on the XM line up, I appreciate all of his selections; some are just not the easiest to sing along to.  Specifically, the jam band stations.   I don’t like waiting 10 minutes in between versus just so someone can get a crunchy groove on.
Back to my excellent travel music.  Today started off with Sir Mix-A-Lot, BabyGot Back .  I don’t care how overplayed this song is, I love it.  My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon!  Shut the front door with those awesome lyrics!  Next up, DepecheMode, I Just Can’t Get Enough.  That keyboard makes me bounce around in my seat.  I arrived at Target singing Elvis, Always On My Mind.  No one and I mean no one sings this song better than Elvis Presley.  I made Rory sit, strapped in his carseat, until the song was over.  The whole while I sang to him he was shouting, “No sing Mama!”  I don’t know who he thinks he was fooling, he liked it.  On the way home I was treated to Guns N’ Roses,November Rain.  This brought back fond memories of seeing GNR in high school with my friend, Lisa.  We paid a whopping $40 for tickets and it was worth every penny.  And finally, Pitbull got me back home with Give Me Everything.   
I think this is proof that I’m all over the place when it comes to music.  I represented multiple decades, genres and tempos all in one quick trip to Target.  If you are trying to imagine me singing in the car, think of Lila in The HeartbreakKid.  I might look a little like that.  Okay, I look exactly like that.

Turn That Cynical Frown Upside Down!

Every few months I get really irritated with what people post on Facebook.  I read through all of the updates from my “friends” and think things I would never utter to someone’s face.  I put friend in quotes because, let’s face it, we have all accepted friend requests from people who may not actually be our friend.  I tried to keep my acceptions to only those people who I would acknowledge on a crowded street, but low and behold, some stragglers snuck in there.  I’m not saying I dislike those stragglers, I don’t know even them well enough to dislike them.  I know I can unfriend someone, but who wants to see their numbers drop?  Sure, I can hide their updates, but then what’s the point?  I would have nothing to criticize. 
The “friends” weren’t the cause of my cynicism today.  I don’t even know what the actual culprit was, but I was so annoyed, I wanted to delete my Facebook account.  I knew I wouldn’t because how would I know when someone was at work, what they were eating for lunch, how much sleep they got last night or what the weather was like in their town.  For the love of all that is holy, I need to know what you’re making for dinner!  Before I go any further, let me just say I know I have posted status updates that have included riveting facts about all of the above.  And really, it’s not that I dislike those posts, but this morning, I just couldn’t take it! 
I dropped Kamryn off at her science camp this morning, got my run in and then exited the shower to find Rory sleeping soundly on my bed (all GREAT things), but I still couldn’t get out of my funk.  I completed a little DIY project, to be featured later this month, and that was starting to get my endorphins keyed up, but it wasn’t until I was driving home from the craft store that I completely rehabilitated my attitude.
I was sitting at a stop light, waiting to turn, when I saw a boy, maybe about 13 years old shuffling towards the corner.  He was a skinny little guy, dressed in a black tank top and black parachute pants.  His hair looked like a 70’s version of that hideous Justin Bieber haircut and he was sporting some pretty thick rimmed glasses.  Once he got to the corner, he stopped, turned in a circled and then Karate kicked the walk button.  He couldn’t see me from where I was, so I just chuckled a little to myself and was going to go about my business, when this kid unleashed a world of hurt on the light post.  He didn’t seem angry, but he was definitely working on some moves.  The kicking intensity accelerated the more pulls he took off his Mountain Dew and then, before I knew it, the light turned and I was forced to drive off.  I had was in full on laughter when I drove past the young lad and he shot me the toughest “Are you talkin’ to me” look he could muster, which only sent me into fits of hysterics. 
I am not making fun of this kid.  In fact, I would have loved to talk to him.  He was such a quirky little fellow, I was curious about his story.  Granted, he was very Napoleon Dynamite – ish, and he demonstrated that with his mad skills.  And just like watching Napoleon Dynamite can put a smile on my face, that little dude pulled me right out of my funk and sent me home to eagerly check on all my friends and “friends”.  I was scanning through Facebook posts with some of the highest status update enthusiasm I have had in a long time.

I…Was…Running

Every other day I fight a losing battle with myself.  My workout consists of 30 to 45 minutes of running every other day.  That’s it.  A grand total of, at most, 3 hours a week, yet I will run through just as many excuses not to workout as there are reasons to workout.  These excuses are floating around in my head even as I am changing into my workout gear.
Today I had two main reasons I tried to weasel out of my workout.  This is one:
Rug
And this was the other:
Kamryn in a hole.
These may be the two most pathetic reasons not to workout I have ever come up with in my life.  I realize explanations are in order.   Let’s start with that fancy rug.  I know, what you are thinking; “Amy, you must have spent a fortune on that rug, but why would that prevent you from doing your run?”  Well, hold on to your britches…I made that rug!  I know!  It’s amazing.  Are you picking up on the sarcasm?  If not, my blog may not be for you.  So the rug didn’t turn out quite like I expected.  The edges are all crazy and I’m not sure why.  I followed all of the instructions here, but I think my choice of “rag”, old canvas tab curtains, were a bit too grabby and hence my “I can’t workout” excuse.
My hands are raw and my wrists feel like I have been typing nonstop for the last year.  The scenario that played out in my head was this:  I will be running along on the treadmill and suddenly become lightheaded and need to stop or grab onto the bars and I won’t be able to because of the claw like state of my hands.  Have I ever gotten lightheaded while running?  No.  Have I ever had to suddenly stop running for any reason?  Not unless you count the time I jumped off to throw water on Shmoopy as he was about to pee on the floor.  And I have surprisingly, never fallen off the treadmill.  Although I have accidentally pulled the safety key out, abruptly stopping the track and thus throwing my body into the display.  Hilarious, for anyone that would have seen it, but this luckily, was nobody.
I realize the first excuse is pretty lame, but the second reason is kind of legitimate.  We were at the beach yesterday and I dug that hole that Kamryn is buried in.  Digging is hard.   She’s only 4, so really, how big could that hole be?  It’s not big, but I also don’t dig on a daily, weekly, monthly or even an annual basis.  In fact, I believe the last time I used a shovel was when I was 6 months pregnant with Rory and I was shoveling snow.  I woke up this morning with a sore back.  Not sore like I crushed some vertebrae, but more of an “Oh, those are muscles that haven’t been used in awhile” way.
So excuse number two is a bit more justifiable, but I was literally putting my shoes on when I was thinking of that one and I am not allowed to skip my run once I have my workout gear on.  That’s my own rule.  I’m also never allowed to run a shorter distance than I did on my previous run.  I can match it, but never run less.  I don’t know why I make up all these rules for myself.  Maybe it’s to ensure I keep my girlish figure.  Again, insert sarcasm here.  Regardless, my run is complete and I have to give a shout out to Tupac (RIP) for Keep Ya Head Up.  Yeah, I listen to Gangsta Rap when I run – what of it?  Too bad he doesn’t sing a song called Get Off Your Ass In Two Days And Quit Making Excuses.

Fair Is Fair!

I am a big fan of fairs.  I like love the food,
Big Ass Turkey Leg and Footlong Corndog
 Kamryn and the prize winning hog.
 the grossly huge animals, and the people watching rivals any DMV.  Unfortunately, the first fair I ever went to was The Iowa State Fair.  This isn’t just any state fair.  This fair is world renowned.  Martha Stewart raves about it.  Maura Tierney raved about it on the Martha Stewart Show.  It’s listed as one of the 1000 Places To See Before You Die.  So why, you ask, is it unfortunate that this was my first fair?  Compare it to eating the best meal ever and then hoping that every subsequent meal stands up to that one particular dining experience.
Last summer the kids and I made our annual pilgrimage to Des Moines, Iowa to spend the day at the fair with my best friend, Sara, and her kids, Ben, Thomas and Elise.
 
Sara and Ben
 
Thomas, Elise and Ben
First you have to understand that Sara and I have been friends for nearly 30 years and when we get together, there is a lot of talking, laughing, adventures and talking.  Did I mention talking?
 
Sara and I over the years.
To be completely honest, I think Sara and I could put the “fun” in funeral if we were there together, so being at the fair with my BFF and her kids is almost excitement overload.
What could be better than spending the day with friends at the happiest place in the Midwest?  How about witnessing a birth?  A new life emerging from…well, you know.  A mother’s struggle, her reward for that struggle and we got to see it all!  Cameras were rolling and broadcasting the whole event on screens for all to see!
 
Baby calf still covered in afterbirth.
Of course it was a cow – what kind of fair do you think this is?
Yesterday, I took the kids to the San Diego County Fair.  We no longer live in Iowa, so making it to the Iowa State Fair this year is going to be a little tough.  We met my friend, Janis and her kids, Jack and Violet for some fair-tastic fun.

 
Kamryn, Rory and Jack

One of the first bonuses was I got to move to the front of the line to get in the entrance gate because I had a stroller!

 
Rory pouting about not being 42″ tall in his “front of the line” stroller.

It’s funny how one little thing can set the mood for the entire day.  We watched pig races,

 
Kamryn and Jack watching the pigs.

rode rides, and enjoyed the absolutely perfect weather.  Afterall, you can’t get a view of the ocean at the top of the Ferris Wheel in Iowa.

 
I don’t think I’ll ever find a better fair than the one in Iowa, but I’m damn sure going to try to find the second best!