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On year later:

one year difference

Same baby, same car-seat, same pose, one year apart. On 7-13-13, we got to bring young Joseph home. The photo on the left was from his “car-seat-challenge” at the NICU, to make sure that his heart rate or breathing wouldn’t be hampered by being positioned in the car-seat. The photo on the right was from today, when Joseph zonked out in the car on the way home from the grocery, and I let him finish off his (abbreviated) afternoon nap all buckled in five-points style.

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So, these are basically home-made Robeez. With nonskid soles, even.  I’d like to say this is because I am all craftsy and innovative and capable and shit, but to be perfectly honest, it’s largely because I somehow managed to lose my son’s actual pair of Robeez. McCall’s M6342 View I, to the rescue.

Kiddo’s got to the point where all he wants to do is walk, and by “walk,” I mean totter about like a poorly engineered wind-up toy while I hold him up under the armpits.  He’s really enthusiastic about the project, but he lacks all balance and most direction sense.  He just wants to go and lurches about at random.  It’s pretty entertaining for both of us, really.  But because of his great obsession with being up on his feet, we needed a new pair of shoes, because we do go indoor/outdoor quite a lot and my garden and patio have all sorts of scratchy debris that would be nasty to bare feet.

These booties have a layer of very heavy canvas beneath the nonskid sole, which should protect his feet from sticks, gravel, etc.  It wouldn’t fend off sharp burrs, but so far our back yard is burr-free.

In the course of making these, I somehow managed to misplace my seamripper.  Sadly, I can’t make myself a new one of those.

Do the Mashup…

sailor dress mashup
For a lark, I am creating a dress based on a mashup of these two patterns. I am using the View 3 skirt from the 1966 Simplicity 6840 and the full-length middy tunic from the 1974 Simplicity 9922. I measured the pattern pieces against one another and they are the same at the hip, so there is no reason this won’t work.

It’ll be a short-sleeved dress for summer use, navy blue, white collar, red piping. There will be a line of piping at the join of bodice and skirt, as well. I will wear it with red shoes, naturally.
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I have used the middy pattern for a maternity top, adding in a sort of a-line flare below the bust. It served me well in that capacity last year, but now, I can move on to something a little less Princess Diana Circa 1982.
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I’ve used the 6840 pattern a few times, most notably my Minnie Mouse polkadot dress and my Odoru 11 dress (inspired by the stage costumes from a Hello!Project subgroup)

Happy chappy

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So, that tiny little scrap of humanity they allowed me to bring home from KU Med Center back on July 13 is now 26″ long and 16lbs, 4 oz. Quite a bit of progress from his starting stats of 17.5″ and 4lb, 14 oz.

What Joseph likes is: his feet, being carried around, sitting up like a big boy, chattering in his own little language, his octopus toy, food, and we’ve just recently discovered something else he enjoys:

1991 Trek 850 hitched to a circa 2000 Burley D'Lite.  This is pretty much THE BEST THING.

Riding in the Burley is good times as far as the youngster is concerned. He seems to enjoy hanging out back there, usually playing with one or another of his toys, waving his hands and feet around, or just watching the scenery roll by. We made it down to the season opener of Bike Friz this past Monday, which was pretty much the hard test of Burley-ing it. Google Maps tells me that it’s 6.5 miles, which sounds about right to me. So, that’s a fair jaunt in the trailer, and he was contented and mellow all the way down. He had a little bit of a meltdown on the way home, but that was less about the trailer than it was about it being past his bedtime. However, after an initial burst of fussing, he sensibly fell asleep, and was sacked out so well that when we got home, I was able to transfer him from trailer to crib without waking him!

Here’s a sample of Joseph’s verbal repretoire.

That video was taken over a month ago, and he has added a range of new noises and syllables to his vocabulary. The following is his weirdest noise to date:

The first time he busted that one out, I thought, “wow, he’s got a demon infestation!” It really is a singular and alarming sound to hear coming out of a face like that.

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And of course, I had to include the obligatory “baby covered in pureed carrots” photograph. Pretty much every parent with access to a camera has taken this photograph, and I am no exception. There is something inherently hilarious about children learning to eat real food.

Joseph is particularly excited about carrots specifically, though he has thus far proven to be fairly omnivorous.
He’s most fond of apples, carrots, and sweet potato but he’s game for just about anything. He goes flippin’ bonkers over carrots, though. Like he tries to wrest control of the spoon, and then worries it like a terrier killing a rat. That’s enthusiasm in my book.
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Moments before this picture was snapped he had the bowl gripped in his jaws, not unlike Snoopy in the Peanuts strips.

Actually, he does a number of Snoopy-esque moves. He does this crazy little head waggle which is usually accompanied by a general wild kicking of feet and waving of hands which looks like a horizontal version of the Snoopy Happy Dance. If you watch the first verbalization video, he does it a little bit from time to time.

I’m getting such a kick out of this kid these days. He’s getting more and more interactive. He was matching tones with me this morning – I’d sing a note, and he’d imitate it. It seems he has pretty good pitch. He’s starting to try to imitate sounds sometimes, too, which is fun. He’s getting closer to talking and I am really excited about that. In the meantime, I’ve gotten to know the moods of his noises, and I can tell a happy babble from a frustrated babble, from a “look, buster, I’m about fifteen seconds from having a full on meltdown, so you can either deal with it now or not, but I’m not afraid to start yelling, see.”

From time to time I’m just amazed at what a neat little guy he is. Basically a pretty cheerful little fellow, pretty good at going with the flow, but not afraid to speak his mind when he does need something. He gets the sillies now, where he gets in a mood to giggle, make faces, play peek-a-boo, squeal, and blow raspberries. It’s one of my favorite things, when he wants to get goofy. I always oblige him in sillytime. I have a half-formed theory that lots of smiling, laughing, and general rumpus is likely to be good for his sense of humor ultimately. Among the things I want for my child, the ability to wholeheartedly have a damn good time is well up the top-ten list.

Super-Secret Bat Cave

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Complete with bat, of course.

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Here is my new sewing room.

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Is it not glorious? Let us revel in the glory. Rev-rev-rev-rev-revel. Aaaah!

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It is also where my computer and excessive collection of shitty romance novels live. For if-and-when I re-acquire the free time to re-start my shitty romance novel review blog.

Right now, I share the space with a crapton of bicycle wheels and tires, a 1974 Honda CB350 that needs its carburetors rebuilt, and all the rest of the normal basement stuff – washer, dryer, freezer, beer fridge, camping equipment, off-season clothing, bale of Costco toilet paper, canning and homebrewing crap, etc. A metric shitton of etc., honestly. Eventually, the 1959 VW will also be crowding in, and the motorcycle will (hopefully) go out to the shed that Joel built for motorcycles and gardening equipment.

I bet I’ll be the ONLY woman in the world whose sewing room doubles as her garage. It will be EPIC.

>This is Joel’s line whenever he does something deliberately to annoy me. That masculine impulse to pester and tease apparently never goes away. From age 10, when they wipe a handful of rubber cement across your arm and pretend it’s snot, to when you’re 36 and they sneak up on you while you’re cooking and stick a wet finger in your ear. I guess I have to find it charming-ish, ’cause if I didn’t, I’d be cheesed off all the time.

As you’d expect, I don’t go in for the bigtime hearts-n-flowers hullabaloo. Firstly, I find cut flowers terribly depressing. Secondly, my rather dry sensibilities just don’t absorb mushiness very well. We “celebrated” Valentine’s Day by grouching gently at one another whilst moving all of my sewing-room shit out of my sewing room and down to the basement so we can convert the sewing room to a spare bedroom for Joel’s mother, who’ll be staying with us in the interim between selling her condo and finishing the renovation on the Little House. Later, once she’s comfortably ensconced in the Little House, the spare bedroom will become Joseph’s room. It’s already painted in a lively green-and-orange theme, which should make up quite nicely as a kid’s bedroom. Possibly less desirable to a 79-year-old woman’s tastes, but I’m sure she’ll cope!

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I did a little bit of old-fashioned valentining this year, though, and made up a few clumsily-fashioned, glue-laden greeting cards for a few special people in my life. I love making stuff, and it’s a great deal of fun to just kind of let my brainmeats boing around while I try to collage up something amusing. So, this was the result of my foray into “graphic design” for the holiday:

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I am going to pretend that spaghetti and astroturf are traditional symbols of affection and all that.

OMFG, there’s this guy on Tumblr who does comics about his D&D adventures and he is one funny, twisted, deranged man.

This series, which ends on a fucking glorious pun, had me cackling out loud. Like hopeless, leaning against a wall, whooping, wheezing, losing-every-bit-of-my-shit laughing out loud. I don’t think you even have to be a recovering D&D freak to find it funny, though I’m sure it helps to be tainted with a faint whiff of basement-dweller.

Other things which will probably never stop being funny:

This tale of poop.

This tale of puke.

And a song about pornography.

I am such a child.

Snow Days

Bug-loo

So, we got a little over a foot of snow on Tuesday.

I had a bunch of running around I was supposed to have been doing on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but was able to re-schedule all of it. It’s not that I can’t drive in the snow. It’s that I don’t like driving in the snow and I sure don’t like how other people drive in it! If I can possibly get out of it, I do. When I can, I’ll take my bike or the city bus before I’ll fire up the car.

I grew up in northwestern Nebraska. Part of learning to drive was learning how to drive in the snow. Much like the art of parallel parking, it was one of the things my Dad took me out and trained me on until I could do it competently.

There was a marshy area in our west pasture near Dad’s famous scrapyard where by mid-winter, it would transform into an admirable ice field. We went down there with his old Rabbit and he had me get used to steering into a slide. He had me practice taking off in second gear to minimize wheel spin and taught me how to brake gradually so that I could get a feel for exactly how long it takes to get a car stopped on an icy surface.

He also taught me the joys of ice-hooning, of getting the car up to about 15 mph and jerking on the handbrake and of cramping the steering wheel and giving it a bootful. On a nice ice field, a front-wheel-drive car without power steering transforms from a trundling little runabout into a surprisingly competent means for raising hell.

But, just because I know how to drive around in shit weather doesn’t mean I’m willing to do so if I can get out of it.

While I was still in high school, even after I’d gotten my driver’s license, if the weather report looked shitty, I’d catch the school bus. This served a dual purpose. Firstly, I didn’t have to drive in the snow and ice and risk wrecking my car or my Mom’s car. Secondly, the school buses generally took FOREVER on snowy days, because they had to go up and down all sorts of unpaved back-country roads. Sometimes the bus would even get stuck. If you took the bus to school on a snowy day, the chance was good that you’d get to school late. Very. Sometimes, the school would close early if the weather turned too nasty, and so you’d turn around and get right back on the bus. When you are a lazy teenager, there is nothing better. I’d pop my Walkman headphones on and go the hell to sleep. Didn’t matter there were a herd of grade-schoolers hooting and hollering and jouncing about all around me. I couldn’t give a shit. Most of the lifestyle choices I made in highschool centered around getting out of class, and riding the bus on winter storm days was definitely one of them.

As much as I hate cold weather (and that is a lot) I do like riding my bike in the snow, though by February or March-ish I am so done with the weather. I’ve been building up a hell of a cabin fever this winter being as Joseph is still too little to go in the Burley trailer. At this point, three sweaters, a balaclava, my windfront tights, a pair of lobster gloves, and my big, clumky insulated boots are seeming appealing.

Heh.

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Patio table – it looks about like one of my sketchy cake-baking experiments. I am not known for the aesthetics of my culinary attempts.

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Here’s an old photo from the archives – my sister and I in 8th grade and 10th grade respectively. We had a snow-day off school because the county roads were snowed over so deep, so we spent the morning building whacky snowmen on and around our old swingset. This one had a mohawk, the one on the slide had two heads, and one had been built to sit on the swing and it had an extra-large butt.

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This is a few years’ older snow-cat. With our arms

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And heads

Vurt!

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A few years ago, I picked up a couple of yards of this crazy printed cotton jersey and made myself a dress:

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There it is on the dressmaker’s dummy.

Quite possibly the first time in history anyone has ever said, "And my helmet went PERFECTLY with my dress!"
And here it is, on the dressmaker.

I was rummaging through my scrap bag the other day looking for a piece of red corduroy I needed when I came across the scraps from this dress and in looking at them, realised there was enough left over to make a onesie for Joseph. So, I did:

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I made it about a size too big because it is very awesome fabric and I wanted him to get maximum wear out of it. I’m about tired to bits of him outgrowing a onesie just as soon as I have got the snaps fastened. So, here he is, basically rattling around inside of his new shirt:

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That’s okay, though. I know he’ll totally grow into, and then out of it in pretty much no time at all.

We won’t tell him his onesie is made out of old dress fabric, okay?

Many years ago, I had a job I hated. Granted, I have had many jobs that I have hated. I majored in English in college which outfits you for specifically NOTHING. Also, pretty much everything’s a bit of a comedown after you’ve studied metaphysical poetry about morning-wood. I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, I had a joyless job with a company the management of which appeared to be the inspiration of Office Space, The Office, and the entire Dilbert back catalogue. Every day there seemed to be a fresh snowfall of managerial flakiness sprinkled over the hordes of khaki-clad office serfdom. One day, management sprung upon us the news that we were to undergo mandatory Myers-Briggs psychological profiling. My suspicions were that this was to mark out potential troublemakers. I also suspected that I’d test out as mentally dodgy, and really didn’t want to submit myself to the whole ethically dubious process.

Those of us who dared to question the necessity or indeed the legality of the testing were informed that it was compulsory and that our employment was at-will. HR told us to get stuffed. There was a system of informal disgrace that we all called “imaginary demerits.” It was when you pissed off a superior, but it wasn’t anything that merited a write-up or could reasonably be addressed by an actual reprimand. One’s conduct was unofficially noted for future reference.

So under duress and in bad odour with the authorities, I took the stupid personality test. Given the state of barely-suppressed rebellion I was in at the time, I’m sure they had me clocked as a homicidal maniac.

Anyway, eventually, they churned up the results of our supposed psychological profiles and the whole thing blew over. It went in my official HR records, and to be totally honest, I don’t even remember, after all that drama and foot-dragging, what my stupid Myers-Briggs code was.

Which is a pity now, because The Myers-Briggs Asshole Index has come to my attention, and I wouldn’t mind knowing what kind of an asshole they think I am, though I am not bothered enough to dredge up the attention span to re-Myers myself.

Now realistically, I don’t believe there’s much actual value to the Myers-Briggs test, or indeed any of the rest of that psychobabble. It’s about as useful as your horoscope, an Ouija board, or that thing where people think their blood-type is a predictor of their personality. If you are so inclined, you can take the test to intentionally skew the results. Or, if you are like I was some dozen years ago, you can take the test in such a foul state of mind that you unintentionally skew the results.

I’ve seen a number of people take their Myers-Briggs type to heart and think that it really means something. Much in the same way that a dedicated astrology-addict will tell you that you shouldn’t date a Taurus rising on the cusp of the full moon when your sanguine humours are in the House or the Rising Sun. Except people who really cherish their Myers-Briggs score, I have noticed, are usually the type who also are very interested in what their IQ number is, also. I distrust people who believe their personalities can and should be quantified by Scantron.

Anyway, I suppose I already know what sort of asshole I am. Suspicious, impatient, hard-headed, and prone to injudicious flippancy. Also, grandiloquent as all fuck.

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