Sunday, January 25, 2009

In which I overwhelm you with unfinished projects

red scarf in progress

One thing I adore about blogging is this false impression it creates that I finish everything I start. Yep, I even enjoy fooling myself. Ok, since I started blogging the number of projects I've finished has skyrocketed. But so has the number of things I've started and... never come back to.

Take this charming red scarf, which I dug out of my knitting bag. All I had to do was bind it off and weave the ends back in. I was inspired enough to bind it off. Weave ends back in? Not so much. But look, when I take this charming picture of it all rolled up, you guys don't know the difference, right? Neither do I...

red scarf rolled up

Below is an unfinished scarf that was waiting for me in Texas. Yes, I actually leave unfinished projects all over the country now. This one is slow going - see those small needles? Just focus on the nice picture... Now, you've already forgotten it's unfinished, right? Moving on...

Texas scarf

I'm so lazy I've knitted 3 mini-scarves for le Carotte and not finished them. People, all I have to do is take a needle, and weave those ends back in.... why... can't... I.... do it?!

le Carotte's mini scarves

On to monkeys... I've got at least 3 unfinished monkeys, half-stuffed and without faces. Could only find one for this photograph. Geez. Help me.

unfinished monkey

Oh, here's where the real shame begins... my unfinished embroidery piles. I've been working on this flipping cat towel for I don't know how long:

unifinished wedding cat towel

I picked some real craptastic colors that just aren't inspiring me...

Wedding cat towel

Oh, here's a bear my sister sent me in the summer, all I have to do is stuff it... but... I... just... can't...

unstuffed bear

So, as if I didn't already have enough unfinished projects, I decided to pack brand new ones when I went home for the holidays. Christmassy ones.

Christmas elves

Because we all know how appealing Christmas stuff is come January 1.

another plane project

Maybe I could go with a winter theme on these mittens? Or make one a month and finish next December? Who am I kidding, I am never going to finish them.

mittens stacked up

Oh no. They're staring at me.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thinking of my mom


I'm feeling kind of under the weather tonight so I thought I'd post a few things that make me happy... like... my mom in a yellow dress, just before she got married.

And my mom on the beach, after 2 babies:

And my mom with my older brother:

I love you mom!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hanging on by a thread...

Presencia threads

Ok, ok, I exaggerate - I was just thinking of a title to cheesily accompany this post. I've been MIA for awhile as I work very hard on a project at work. Just wanted to apologize to anyone who I've crossed emails with - I promise I'll return your message soon! It's just that after all the heavy coding I've been doing I don't even want to look at a computer when I get home, so forgive the pokiness...

Back to the picture above, aren't those colors beautiful? Whenever I'm feeling stressed, I find that staring at rainbow shades cheers me up. My dad is weak but still doing well. He is on at least 4 different medications to ease swelling, prevent seizures, and antibiotics and is in rehabilitation to get him in shape to move about on his own.

On a more cheerful note, here's a pic my dad took on one of his travels, it's one of my favorites. I'm not sure who this woman is, but just looking at her pink cinderblock kitchen and kind face makes me happy:
pink kitchen

Hope everyone is warm and well!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Fake Poladroid Polaroids

6-pola heels-pola

I love Polaroids, and some of my favorite Flickr friends have lots of lovely Polaroid pics in their stream. I haven't even seen a Polaroid camera since I was a child, though, and I remember my dad carefully guarding the camera so we wouldn't go nuts with it. Since I'm generally only happy with 1 in 1000 of my photos, I don't think a real Polaroid camera would be good for me (especially since they don't even make the film anymore!)

However, fake Polaroids are really rocking my world right now...

cat2-pola cat-pola

I've been using the freely downloadable Poladroid application to create these fake Polaroids, and once you get used to how it works and find where it saves your pictures, it is completely addictive and fun. It seems like the perfect activity for a rainy afternoon, or oh, say, living in a frigid winter wonderland where it is so cold your hair hurts and you can't feel your upper lip...

I love how the app has a few random treatments it applies to your pics, so it's fun to feed the same photo through more than once:


I love feeding through old pics and seeing where it decides to crop and how it changes the colors:

ring-pola pockets

And here's what I'll be staring at until it gets a little warmer:


a real Polaroid


Here's an actual Polaroid of my family (again, the earlier generation, so it's missing me and my older brother.) Nevertheless this is one of my favorite pictures. :) Just wanted to update any of you who are curious about my dad's progress, and thank everyone who has sent me words of encouragement, left comments, or even just thought a kind thought on behalf of my dad.

Since his surgery on Thursday my dad has been recovering quickly - he responded well to tests doctors did on him the next day, and although he was confused (which is natural, after brain surgery) he's been improving every day. He was impatient with all the wires, tubes, and observation in ICU and was not in a great mood while there. But yesterday he was moved from ICU to a regular room and he had a really good day. He's back to speaking clearly, in complete sentences, and recognizing all of his (many) children and grandchildren by name. My sister said that when she visited with him he prayed constantly for everyone, including me. She said she showed him a picture of me and he called me m'ija, and my name, and prayed for me. It's something he always does when I'm in town, and it just made me happy to hear. So thanks again for your kind words - I'm sure he'd be amazed to know how many people have been thinking of him and wishing him well.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Meow reow mew mew

One thing I have plenty of energy for, even when I'm incredibly lazy, is making mosaics. Here are some adorable cats from Penguin and Fish I've been coveting. I love that they're made of stuffy, tweedy, plaid-ish fabrics. I also love that they're saying "reow", "mew mew", and "marew."

As a sidenote, I have this odd quirk that makes me want to collect and hoard different colored "versions" of things. I've been this way ever since I was a child - I used to look longingly at the Vo5 shampoo bottles in the store, wishing I could literally have them all. I loved that the bottle design was the same, and that the only thing that differed was the name and the shampoo color. I think it's the same reason I love creating oodles of monkeys from different patterned shirts and fabrics. I can't describe it in any other way than an extreme glee at slight color variation on a common theme. Am I the only weirdo? Somebody, tell me I'm not alone! ;)

Three things: Lovely

I love the colors and textures in these 3 lovely photos by doe-c-doe and dorathy. Just looking at them makes me feel serene:
1. bird-&-flower-cross-stitch, 2. fall-ish felt bag, 3. apple pear apple

I have been soooo lazy lately! I find myself in full hibernation mode - this weekend I cozily watched the snowfall outside, only leaving the apartment once on Sunday morning, to go to church. I mostly sat and worked on a puzzle and checked my friends' updates on Facebook. Sometimes I snacked when I was bored. I even re-played a little Zelda (can you please make another installment, Wii?) All in all, so lazy.

How do you guys handle the cold weather? Do you get craftier and more productive or do some of you hibernate, like me? My boyfriend's brother and girlfriend gave me a new nickname: the panda. Because I loll around lazily in a quiet fashion, snacking often. I'm really hoping the Christmas pounds have nothing to do with the comparison...

Friday, January 9, 2009

About being a preacher

my dad with my oldest brother
my dad, with his first child (my brother)

After hours of surgery yesterday, the doctors removed the entire tumor from my dad's brain and determined it wasn't cancerous. The tumor was outside the brain, which was why they could remove it completely. My dad's in recovery now, surrounded by his brothers and sisters, all of his family, and church members he's known throughout his life. I wish I could be with him but I'm happy to know he's ok.

There's a passage in the Bible that reminds me of my father:

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"

"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. John 9:1-3

I'd like to say that faith is an easy thing to know and grasp, and that anyone can use their logic and intellect to come to a knowledge of God. But, as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of a preacher I see instead that the path to faith is very odd, wobbly, dark, and often uninspiring. Because of that, because one's knowledge and intellect are rarely a great help in understanding God, I think God speaks to us in all the events of our life - in what we understand to be miracles and tragedies. I don't think of myself as a holy person in the least, and my dad, although we love him, is a human being and has his imperfections. But the life of my father has always taught me things about God. The life of my father has always instructed me to have faith. To me, he was the most important kind of preacher, because his life was his teaching.

I don't mean to offend anyone who doesn't believe in God - I just wanted to speak from my own experience. And I'm grateful for my dad, my family, and all the support and words of kindness you guys have given me. Thank you so much!

mi familia, circa 1965
my family, circa 1965

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Things that made me happy

I just want to say thank you for all the words of kindness you've been sharing. Reading through your comments I've seen so many of you say you're going through the same with a loved one, or have lost someone to cancer or illness. It means so much to me to read your words and know my family is not alone.

I always feel guilty sharing something very personal or especially something sad here, because this blog has been my way of focusing on the positive and moving forward. So, I want to share a few things from my trip that made me very, very happy. :)

My nephew putting a trash can on his head and pretending he was a robot:

My niece, practicing her gymnastics moves and bossily telling me when to snap a picture:

My mom and niece smiling, on my mom's birthday:

Little homemade gifts from my niece Natalie:

cat that Natalie made me

And lastly, the 12 dollar dress my best friend bought me for Christmas:

new dress

Special note to Target: please keep making well-crafted knee-length dresses like the one above! I promise I will buy them all! :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How I kept busy

for my mother's birthday

So, it was stressful at home, but it was still so good to see my family and spend time with them. My mom has the dubious gift of having a birthday 2 days after Christmas, and we're normally so tired and scatterbrained after the holiday that we forget. Last year I made this felt decoration to hang while we ate cake, doing a few squares a day - I finally snapped a pic of it this year...

I found some knitting needles I forgot at my mom's last year, which spurred me to buy some more yarn at the Hobby Lobby:

new favorite yarn

Before I knew it, my mom had picked up my knitting and took over, and I'm so glad: I bought her a huge skein of yarn and she's had a hobby to keep her occupied over the entire stressful week with my dad. She says everyone compliments her work in the hospital, and several older ladies even told her that they always wanted to learn. There my mom is, inspiring everyone to learn! It just makes me feel happy inside...

I love this big, chunky yarn - it is so soft and fuzzy and feels amazing under your fingers:

working on a skinny scarf

My mom was adopted by a little black cat that is almost not a kitten. As soon as she'd get near my knitting she'd utterly freak out - I think she thought that clump of yarn was a living thing, the way she'd fight with it and purr at it... :)

gatito negro

A few more stories soon... :) Hope everyone's holiday was wonderful!

Thoughts on my dad


So here I am, back from Texas. Going home was just as hard as I thought it would be, and I guess even more so. My dad has been sick for months now, and aside from a brief hospital stay in July when he had a stroke (1 night!) he has consistently refused to go back. We've dealt with this for years: plainly put, he hates hospitals. But this time there was the added stress of seeing him decline over the past months, knowing he was in terrible health, and wondering if the trauma to his brain is keeping him from understanding what he was saying no to. Maybe he was saying no to hospitals, but was he saying no to staying alive?

dad and Isabella

It was so hard watching him over the 10 days I was home - I knew right away he was different: normally he jokes and does these goofy, complicated puns on words, combining English, Spanish, and just about every other language he's heard over the years. This time it took him 4 days to call me m'ija , and he only said it once -every other time he'd rattle off in a jumble of words, making so little sense. He called me by my sister's name a few times, then after awhile he called me "la otra", or, the other one (in English). It seemed the only thing he could do were basic tasks, like eating, but several times he complained of head pain and just stopped moving. We tried calling EMS twice but to our incredible frustration, the nice firefighters who arrived refused to even touch him. The reason? Because he said "Don't touch me." Apparently anyone can refuse medical care, no matter how bad their physical state! We were so frustrated - he was saying no, but to what? To life?

I'm glad we were able to spend Christmas with him, even though he was in pain and so confused, not calling any of us by our names. However, he seemed so full of joy any time he saw one of his grandchildren, or when we gave him a hug, he would say "Thank you." The day I left a lot of crazy circumstances came together and he's in the hospital now, finally in intensive care. The doctors ran lots of tests on him and found a brain tumor the size of a fist, and if all goes well and he's strong enough, they'll be operating on him this week. I'm not sure what point this post has except maybe to persist if you have a family member who is very sick - my brothers basically had to force him into their car when EMS wouldn't take him. I appreciate all the good thoughts you've sent my dad in the past, maybe just remember him now. Sorry again for the personal aside, but just being able to share this means a lot to me...