The journey to Yarn Mecca

It began with a desire to furnish handmade gifts to my family. I made a purse for my mom, a socktopus, book, and ball for baby, new stockings for both kids, a Princess Leia pillow case for Big Sis, and a hat for hubby. Then I watched my dad head off to work in the cold wintery morn and thought, he needs a hat!

Of course, I had journeyed from the east to get to christmas with my parents, so my lovely collection of interesting and cool yarns was many, many, many miles away. All I had was a crochet needle, and the vague promise of a (most likely burnt orange) ball of yarn tucked away in my mother’s study closet.

It was time for more yarn. It was a yarn emergency, one might say. The other problem? The only yarn place I could remember was Hobby Lobby, far away and bound to be insane this time of year. Mom and I left big sis with hubby and dashed off with baby in tow to South Pearl to see if there was store there with yarn.

Then we decided to try south Gaylord first, but the store we thought was there had moved. The woman at the store we desperately entered for inspiration and direction sent us to Lamb Shoppe. It was back the way we came, and with much giggling we realized we could have driven to Hobby Lobby and back before we hit the new store, but “it was an adventure!!” we chanted in chorus!

We tore off to the store the shop clerk thought she remembered being around 12th and Madison. We tried to remember if the presidential streets were west or east of Colorado Blvd. We drove through holiday traffic and went far out of our away to avoid holiday hot spots like Cherry Creek.

Then we saw it. Lamb Shoppe. Of course, the baby was asleep, so I left Mom in the car to guard his slumber and I entered the store.

It was wall to wall yarn. No, it was wall to wall, floor to ceiling yarn. With racks and shelves of yarn in the middle. Wool yarn, cashmere yarn, silk yarn. Knobby yarn, smooth yarn. Yarn earrings, yarn sweaters, yarn ornaments and socks. Anything and everything yarn was in that store.

It was a crochet-a-holic’s dream. It was Yarn Mecca! My fingers itched with possibility (and the wool I had been fondling), as I wandered in search of a gray tweedy yarn for Dad’s hat. Finally I found one, and managed to restrain myself from buying anything else.

While I waited in line, the clerk recognized me. She was the mother of a girl I had been in school with from elementary through highschool. She was sweet enough to tell me I hadn’t changed a bit. (Of course, she couldn’t see the vast knowledge and maturity I had acquired in the decade and a half since she had last seen me, so I assumed she meant I still looked the same. I do not, but I appreciated the kindness.)

Triumphantly I returned to the car and my mother with a bag full of yarn. I shared the stories of my encounters in Yarn Mecca and we drove a cozy sleeping boy home and tucked him in. Then it was coffee, conversation, and crochet as I whipped my Dad’s hat into being.

On christmas morn he opened his hat, popped it on his head, and thanked me. I think he looked quite dapper in it.

Now I am charged with finding a similar store out east, or else, I will have to make the long journey back west to Yarn Mecca when my next creative frenzy strikes.

Twas the 10 days of christmas…

and all through Nama’s house,
Many creatures were stirring,
even, sadly, a mouse.

It emerged from it’s home,
in the back of the pan bin,
and boldly set out to
investigate the kitchen.

Attempting to update my blog,
I was lost deep in thought,
until I heard squeaking,
A fan of mice I am not!

Once I could place
my feet back on the floor,
Off went the computer,
and I went out the door!

But the mouse is just one
of my yuletide feats,
I discovered Yarn Mecca,
and had plenty to eat.

I shopped with my mom,
drank coffee with dad,
I snuggled new babies,
and drank wine, good and bad!

I saw family and friends,
got trapped inside by snow,
with warm coughing children
and a cozy soft throw.

I am here back in Jersey,
in the rain and the now
but my stories must wait,
while I go level in WOW!

So I will see you tomorrow,
in this dear blogosphere,
A happy holidays to all
and a Happy New Year!

All the world’s a stage…

Monkey performed in her school’s Theatre Week on Friday. A company named Better than Broadway (which isn’t really better than broadway) comes around to NJ schools, spends a week teaching participating students a play, and then they perform the play for their classmates and parents at the end of the week.

This performance was The Rotten Princess, a cute, yet annoyingly memorable parody of The Taming of the Shrew. Monkey played the role of a peasant girl, one of the Grandmother’s thirteen grandchildren. We have been hearing “Whoop di doo, Hip Hooray, this is quite a special day, let’s all cheer Katrina’s gone away!” sung in the house all week long.

Monkey did very well with the performance, especially considering she has been hyped up on prednilsone all week long. Really Hyped Up. But she focused, and sang her little heart out, and made us very proud.

Here is my little peasant girl in costume:

Here is most of the cast waiting for the performance to begin (I kept them seated before the performance by snapping about a hundred cast photos and telling everyone they had to stay seated to be in them. It worked rather well.):

Here she is singing and marching away with the chorus:

And here is my big girl onstage with some of the other grandchildren during their little scene:

She really enjoyed the experience, and has expressed an interest in further theatrical exploration. I told her she can pursue her dreams of floorboards and stage lights after she tires of the piano. One pricey(ish) creative endeavor at a time.

Drum Roll Please!

Thank you to all who entered my contest! I assigned numbers to all the entrants and had Monkey pick a number out of a hat. The winner?

MOM/NAMA!!! (Lee is a witness, he says)

Congratulations Mom! Monkey chose your number so you win a $50 massage gift certificate! I am sure you deserve it after all the sleepless nights you got with me, Shane, and Monkey.

We love you!!

The hat that ate my roommate…


Devon and I decided it was a craft holiday this year, so we made each other’s gifts. He made me an awesome craft tool with yarn dispenser, mini hand clamps, and a threader for my yarn. In return, he requested a monster hat. Well, he requested a hat that looks like a HeadCrab with eyes, which turned out to be a monster hat.

With the inspiration provided by another crochet pattern for a head crab I began my work. First I looked for yarn that looks like gray matter, not an easy task. It would seem that most people don’t want their crocheted goods to look like brain. Who knew? I found a mutli-colored brown and mauve cotton yarn that when crocheted attained a mottled appearance, lending a bit of authenticity to the monster hat.

Then I added pure white for it’s terrifying jaws, and googly eyes.
The end result?

It’s kinda cute isn’t it? Does Devon like it?

Of course he does! How can he not like a hat that doubles as an attack puppet? Here is the hat eating my roommate:

I am ridiculously pleased with the outcome of this particular project. It has been a busy season for me, as I have made several gifts, including new stockings for the kids, but it is so much fun to make everything. I can tell you I am very interested in adding googly eyes to other crocheted gifts, so don’t be surprised to see monster purses, snake scarves, and more coming from me in the future.

Motherhood is a contact sport.

I have no idea why my infant insists on banging his head against my head/jaw/face/nose/mouth/ears. I do know that it hurts. He has a hard little (okay, not so little) noggin and he keeps smacking it into mine. I have had a headache everyday this week because WHAM! into my head goes his skull.

I assume it has something to do with his teething, and that he is attempting to express his pain and frustration physically. Still, it hurts! This morning after nursing when I sat him up to burp him he smiled, started swaying back and forth, and then once he had gotten some good momentum going BAM! BAM! BAM! right into my jaw.

Suffice it to say, he is now in his playpen very far away from me. I am popping Ibuprofen and cursing lightly under my breath (while venting via blog). I have never suffered so many injuries cuddling before!

Monkey is on a new Asthma medicine. Her new doctor diagnosed her with Chronic Mild Asthma, basically saying she wheezes at a low level all the time, with occasional peaks when she has been running around or out in the cold. Right now she is on Prednisone, but only for a week as it can have serious side effects with long time use. She is also on a new bronchial steroid because her old one was making her very jittery.

Hopefully all this new medication will get her back to breathing easily. Of course, we can never be without prescription coverage again, as her new bronchial steroid is nearly $400.00 a scrip. Boy did I panic when I saw that! Actually, I freaked when the cost of her meds after insurance covered it was $140.00. Then I looked at the receipts and freaked again, though this time in a “thank the PTB’s for health insurance” kind of way.

Given how common asthma is in children in this country I am amazed that a treatment plan cost over $600.00, when it is for such a short time period. That cost doesn’t include the home nebulizer either, as we already had that. It makes me want to establish a foundation to assist parents of asthmatic children with the cost of their medication. Of course, if I had the resources to start a foundation, I likely wouldn’t notice the high cost of these medications. Sigh.

Anyway, other than being extra hyperactive and nauseated, Monkey is tolerating her new medication well. Of course, she is already annoyed with having to take her inhaler every four to six hours, and she hates the taste of the prednisone, even though we paid extra to have them flavor it. (Last time she chose lemon, thinking it would be lemonade flavored. Nope, it was lemon. Sour, tart, bitter, lemon. This time she chose grape. It didn’t matter either way, she still hates the way it tastes.)

I have to get the rest of our packages together and shipped for our trip home, and then I have to do laundry and pack. When is the technological community going to come up with a transporter? I hate traveling.