Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Yarn Along

I decided to join the Yarn Along over at small things.  Reading and knitting together!  Awesome idea!

Do you think it's a sign of the times that I actually don't have a "book" to take a picture of?  That is my Kindle.  I'm currently reading ""The Piano Teacher" by Janice Y.K. Lee.  It's a book club book for the Oahu Women's Literary Society and I'm enjoying it.  Or I was.  It starts off like an interesting romance, then gets terribly bleak and depressing following the trials of WWII in Hong Kong.  

On the bright side my Little Red Riding Hood Sweater is almost finished.  I started this sweater two years ago when I lived in Korea.  There I could have worn a hooded sweater and it would make sense.  Hawaii doesn't give me much occasion to wear this, but I want to finish it either way.  I've finished all but half of one zipper band and the two pockets.  I missed knitting Monday this week so I haven't gone far this week, but I hope to have it all done within the next two weeks.  

My Child is Bacon

My child is bacon.  My child is bacon.

It is very strange the kind of mantras I use to get me through rough patches.  Emily has been going through a rough patch recently so that means so have I.

She won't be put down.  I am not allowed to speak on my phone, put the dishes away, or brush my teeth.  Mostly, Emily wants to nurse.  I don't mind that, but she pinches when she nurses.  Hard.  She won't be distracted to pinch a blanket or doll.  She needs flesh.  My flesh.  It hurts, makes me cranky, and is incessantly annoying.  If I fuss at her she cries and demands more milk.  Which means more pinching.

This is a difficult phase.  We'll figure it out, but it's hard right now.  So I tell myself:  My child is bacon.

One of Emily's preferred snacks are theses corn puffs that are flavored with cinnamon and maple.  She eats them with cheese or yogurt.  Sometimes just by themselves.  She enjoys them.  It makes her smell like maple syrup.  All the time.  No amount of washing gets maple syrup smell out.  It has absorbed into her skin.  My little baby is cured in maple.  Correction, my fat little baby is cured in maple.

Though she's lost a lot of that infant fat, Emily is still a breastfed-fat baby.  She has chunky thighs and soft cheeks.  Her tummy sticks out like a little kwepie doll.  I love it.  When I hold her, even as she pinches me, I admire that happy, baby, fat.  It reminds me of fat, dirty, little piglets.  I reminds me of bacon.  And with the smell of maple seeping out of her I can only imagine that she tastes like bacon too. Fat, thick, sweet, bacon.

My child, my pinching, biting, fussing, child.  That child who gave me a fat lip last night throwing a fit about sleeping a few hours in the toddler bed.  That child is bacon.  Fat, thick, sweet child.  Fat, thick, sweet bacon.  The kind that makes me happy.  It is what gets me through till nap time.

My child is bacon.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Emily and Joy taking a nap together.

We're pretty lucky that Emily really loves our cats and the cats seem to tolerate Emily very well.  Emily's best friends are our two cats Joy and Coconut.  Her first word was kitty and now she knows how to meow.  It's pretty adorable.

We're lucky that these two cats like Emily.  They're amazingly tolerant.  Both of them will play with Emily and let her chase them around the house.  Often I will find all three of them sitting down together and getting into trouble.  When Emily goes into her play area in the living room Joy often follows and sits close by.  Coconut keeps a safer distance, but is never too far off in case Emily might drop a cookie for him to gobble up.  They both let her pet them as well as pull on their whiskers and, in the case of the other night, ride their tails.  (Emily held onto Joy's tail as she was walking away and Joy dragged her across the floor...no screaming from cat or toddler.)  

I sometimes worry about Emily not having a sibling to play with now, but she seems content to socialize with the cats and that's pretty sweet.  After all, that's what her mother does.  Some of my best friends have been kitties and I'm glad Emily has some cat friends too. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Today was one of those strange days when the hint of my life before baby, house, marriage, and Oahu came sneaking back.

We took a trip to Haunama Bay today to go snorkeling.  It took a lot of packing and planning to figure out a day we could get down there.  We also managed to tempt our new babysitter (and new friend) to come out and get some snorkeling in as well as playing with Emily on the beach while D and I had sometime in the water alone.  That little hour where we swished through the water by ourselves, pointing out fish to each other, was a rare and wonderful time.

And then it happened.  In the middle of a throng on snorkeling tourists D swam up to me and wrapped his arm around my waist completely unbidden.  We treaded water there and shared an public, yet intimate, moment.  It was almost like when we were falling in love and stealing any moment to touch.  It was almost like before.

Then of course we returned to the shore and life.  I went back to the baby.  We played in the surf, took a walk along the wet sand.  D went out with friends for long treks through the reef.  Then home, a bath for the baby, a nap for Dad, a diaper change.

And it happened again.  I found myself lounging in my chair, legs perched over the armrest, falling into a book completely.  D and a friend were playing chess.  The sun was setting.  The house was quiet.  For a minute I was back to being the young, unmarried woman who could spend her days with a book and a cup of tea.  A woman who took the time to fall into and in love with a new story while her boyfriend spent time silently playing a game.

Then of course the baby whined for a hug and I drank my tea down quickly with her perched on my hip.

But for a few moments today who I was before managed to peek through.  I spent half a day as myself and half a day as my new self.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Happy House Week 2

So I am completing my second week of the Happy House Express Challenge.  You could ask why I don't start and/or end my week on a Sunday.  It's because I don't work weekends.  Well, much.  I don't work fulltime on the weekends.  I'll feed and cloth my child but my floors will have to stay unswept.

That being said here's how I've done:

Week 1
Make the bed 7/7 (I actually do this on the weekends)
Empty the sink 6/7 (I do this too, I missed Wednesday though because of the tire thing)

Honestly Week 1 was a gimme since that was the week I cleaned top to bottom and made the house not just happy but orgasmically happy.

Week 2
Make the bed 7/7
Empty the sink 7/7
Clear the clutter 5/7  (I spent a lot of time re-clearing the clutter of my living room, but since we spend most of our time there the rest of the place still isn't that bad)
Sweep the kitchen floor 4/7

There is it.  The house looks lived in again, but not a disaster zone.  Which is a semi-miracle considering my house elf sometimes does more


than help.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Project: Squid!

I've mentioned a few times that among my chores I've been making squid.  I was not talking about an awesome new calamari recipe - I was talking about these:
That is a blue squid with fins and a yellow squid without fins.  It's hard to tell in this picture, but they both have eyes made with a collection of gathered double-crochets.

A fellow yarn crafter started a Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef here in Hawaii.  I sadly had to miss out on being part of her show at Mark's Garage earlier this year, but I did get lucky enough to help out with the latest show happening tomorrow at Waikiki Aquarium's Family Night: Meet the Molluscs.  They/we are giving away crocheted squids for the event.  I got to make some squid.

They aren't hard to make, though I really admire the crafter for building her own pattern for them.  I made about eleven squid in various colors mostly using baby yarn because I had some lying around.

Now that I've been doing nothing but crocheting squid I am quite frankly sick of crochet.  I need my knitting needles.  I don't think I'll want to crochet for a long time.  But the squid are cute.  I hope the aquarium kids think they're fun.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stranger and Stranger

Last week my husband and I switched cars so I could get his serviced while he was at work.  Everything went fine until the next day when I got my car back.  My tire pressure was low (or the little sign that says "hey your tire pressure is low" was on at least).  I didn't see anything really wrong with the tires or the car so I went on my way with the idea that I would put some air in later.

Okay, I lied.  I was going to make my husband put some air in later.  I just did all my errands and trips as normal.  I'm not proud.

When I got home the tire pressure still said low so I went around the car to check again, just in case.  Or I intended to except that the neighborhood landscapers were cutting the lawn and bushes.  That wouldn't stop me from check tires would it?  It would if the guy cutting the patch of grass outside our neighbors house hadn't pulled his pants down and started to pee on a tree.  I think he did anyway.  I only stuck around to see him pull down his pants After that Emily and I ran into the house and I forgot about the tires (and the groceries that were sitting in my trunk).

So there was a guy peeing on the tree which was strange.  Very strange.

Later that night when I finally got out to my driveway (to look for someone trying to find our house) I notice one of the back tires was flat.  Not just low.  Flat.  Really flat.

And that's strange.  But I guess not that much.

The next morning we got the car to the service center and they patched it up and it's all fine.  Except the thing that caused the flat:  A box cutter blade.  Seriously.

That's really strange.

We've been trying to figure out how my husband (who had the car) managed to get a box cutter blade stuck in the tire.  I thought he must have driven somewhere where there were, you know, box cutters.  He wonders if we weren't targeted because there are some parking wars going on where he works.  My car is easy to target because it is covered in pink hearts.  It's the only car on the island with pink hearts.  (There is another black car in Ewa that has pink flowers - that's not me.  I'm the one with the hearts.)  Most people know my car even if they don't know me.

It's strange my husband drove my car.  It's strange I saw someone peeing on a tree.  It's strange there was a box cutter in my tire.  And it's even stranger that all this happened and it's not till after a whole week and weekend that I finally realized that this isn't normal.

Friday, August 19, 2011


I started the Happy House Express Challenge this week.  I'm three weeks late, but no one really has to know.  Anyway, I started adding the two new chores for this week and that was all well and good.  However, my house needed more than a spruce.

Growing up our home wasn't really clean.  It was loving, it was wonderful, it was fun, but it wasn't organized.  We were healthy, well-fed, happy children with attentive and loving parents.  Parents who spent a lot of time taking us to events, classes, shows, adventures while they ignored all their own endeavors.  The fun ones and the not-so-fun ones like cleaning.  Family was more important and I'm grateful for that.

My husband grew up in a very different home.  His mother was, to put it mildly, house proud.  He and his siblings spent most of their time cleaning the home or doing other tedious chores (there was a story about picking out certain colored rocks in a rock bed that just makes no sense to me at all).  Of course they did other things, but apparently keeping the house close to perfect was important to his mom.  I have a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Thankfully, D does not share his mother's zeal for cleaning.  If the house gets a little crazy he can deal.  He'd like it clean once in awhile, but lived in is good enough for him.  Good thing too because I live in my house.  So does our toddler.  Which means that things do not always get cleaned right away.  There are often times when I only get to one room a week.  Sometimes not even that.  And so, for the past year, there has not been a single moment where every room in the house was organized, tidy, and clean.  It was livable.  The important parts were clean:  kitchen, bathroom, laundry.  Just some rooms had closed doors and a pile of stuff that needed love sometime - sometime in the future.

This week though I finally did it.  For a few weeks I ignored everything but the biggest rooms of the house.  I cleaned and tidied these until I had it to a point where with just an hour of wiping, sweeping, and some clutter control they looked neat.  Then I moved on to the smaller rooms.  They were easier to take care of and so I had a chance to also do those things that never get done.  You know, those things that professional cleaners do that normal cleaners don't.  Door moldings, the tops of the legs of the rocking chair, the corners of the ceilings.  Those things.  Who knew they could get dirty?

So I did those things along with some others and today I put the finishing touches on the last room of my house.  Now all three bathrooms, all four bedrooms (including my craft room), all closets, the office and library, the kitchen, the living room and even the foyer are scrubbed, tidy, and calm looking.  And that is with a toddler and two cats running around.  I even had time to make dinner.

So now that it's all finally perfect I can continue on with the happy house challenge and making the bed will actually mean something.  You know, rather than being a neat bed in the midst of a hurricane of dirty clothes, books, toys, and kleenex.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


The other day I posted on facebook that the only thing better than Baby Emily is Toddler Emily.  It is so true.  If I was enamored with Emily before I'm absolutely astounded by her now.

This morning I found myself more than a little exhausted while Emily was well rested.  So while she let me drink my tea on the couch I watched as she went to the shoe rack and proceeded to reorganize it as she saw fit.  Normally one would think this means she pulled all the shoes out of the rack and left a giant pile on the floor.  Normally one would be right.

However, this morning she went for the shoe box on dad's side.  She carefully pulled it out, then carefully unpacked the brand new sneakers inside.  Faced with two new shoes and an empty box she decided to put the shoes away.  Put them away on the shoe shelf...where they belong!  However, silly mama had put her own blue sandals on the tops shelf.  So she, holding a shoe that was about half her size, moved the sandals back down to the bottom shelf and then put dad's shoes away.  That done she finally had what she was after:  the empty shoe box.

It took her awhile but she managed to toddle over to the couch with the box.  It wasn't easy.  If she held it by the top the bottom would hang down and hit her knees.  If she held it by the bottom she couldn't see over it and keep it off the floor at the same time.  When she did get a good grip on it the cat would get in her way because he too loves empty shoe boxes.  She made it though.

I love that she figured all this out on her own.  I love that she doesn't get stymied by obstacles and problems.  I love that she has a determined face that means she will get this done.  She has that face a lot more than I do.  I often am daunted and slowed by the little problems.  They take awhile for me to tackle, sometimes I have to walk away and come back fresh.  Emily just figures it out.

I love it.  I love her.  I wish I was more like her.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Nightlife after Baby

When Emily was about a two months old our neighborhood held a movie-in-the-park night for families.  I invited a bunch of other moms and their children to come out and see it with me.  I suggested we meet at 6:30pm on a Friday night so we could see the movie that started at 7:00pm.

It didn't go over well.  I was scolded for even suggesting something that started so late.  Apparently bedtime was 6:00pm for all of these children and I was a horrible mother for suggesting the outing and an even more terrible parent for taking my child out to something so late in the day.

I can understand that other children may need an extremely early bedtime.  Some of them need to go to school early, some need extra sleep because they no longer nap, so just are on the early bedtime schedule and it works for them.  At the time Emily was two months old and it didn't matter where I took her she was going to do one of two things:  nurse or sleep.  I figured I might as well watch a movie while she did.  Later, after the scolding, these mothers told me that I wouldn't be able to do anything after 6:00pm once Emily turned 3 months old.  I would HAVE to set the sleep routine early.  I would not be able to go out at 10:00am when it was time for her nap.  I would not be able to go out in the afternoon when it was time for another nap.  I would not be able to leave the house - ever.

At 11 months with a little mommy-confidence under my belt I can now say a big fat whatever.

On Friday night Historic Hawaii Theater showed the Oahu Premiere of Get A Job.  The show was filmed in Maui and starred a lot of people who I did theater with there.  I was not going to miss the premiere.  Unfortunately, my husband had an event of his own that he could not miss.  So Emily was my date for the night.

The show started at 7:30pm.  We were treated to a quick concert by the Barefoot Natives who were also the stars of the show.  Emily danced to each song and even sang along with Wille K.  (Thankfully we were in the back so no one heard her harmonizing.)  After the music and intermission they screened the full-length movie.  Emily loved it.  So did I.  It was funny and sweet and it was fun to watch. 

Later, we sat for the question and answer segment.  Then we got our poster signed by some of the movie stars.  Eric Gilliom even signed a CD for Emily.  What baby gets to go to a movie premiere at 11 months and hob-nob with the stars?  My baby that's who.  And all because I refuse to stay home.

Emily was fine the whole way through.  We sat in the back in case I needed to leave the theater (I am aware other people are trying to enjoy their night too) but we didn't have to.  Emily was enamored with the live music and the quirky comedy.  Half-way through she got tired and so she curled up on my lap and drifted off.  She woke up for the signing and we got home a little after midnight.  I had a wonderful time, Emily had a great time, and we didn't have any tantrums or problems.  

I just refuse, refuse, to miss these special events.  I love my daughter.  I want her to be happy, comfortable, and healthy.  I am more than willing to do whatever it takes to get there.  That being said I also want to be a health, comfortable, happy mama.  I can't imagine sequestering myself just because I have a baby.  I also can't imagine Emily missing out on all the wonderful parts of life just because she is a baby.  She'll let me know when she's tired, hungry, needs a break, or wants to go home.  When she does we'll do something about it.  Till then she can come live life with me.  

Friday, August 12, 2011


K.I.P.  or Knit-in-Public.  It's my new defense against all things...well...me.

Social things are hard for a person like me who is 1) Shy 2) Anxiety Prone 3) Shy and 4) Really Shy.  Public or social situations can really work me up.  I never know what to say, sometimes I can't think of conversation starters, sometimes I can't think of conversation responses, sometimes I can't even get over my shyness to excuse myself long enough to go to the restroom.  Despite all this I get crazy when I shut myself up in the house too long and I get wildly lonely when I haven't had some sort of interaction other than my cat and my baby.

But when you are knitting (or crocheting) social situations are easy.  When I can't think of anything to say I can knit, when the conversation lags I can always talk about yarn, when I need a minute to come up with something in response I just knit till the end of the row then speak.  No one minds - I'm knitting!

Earlier this week I tried it at church.  Normally time before the service is uncomfortable for me.  Every one wants to say hi, every one mostly wants to flirt with the baby, but then they expect me to continue the conversation.

"Hi!  She's cute."

"Hi!  Yes she is."


Obviously I suck at this.  But with my yarn this week we talked about squid, and yarn, and colors, and then the service started.  It was great.  And I also finished two squid.

Later I went to a mom's group thing at the beach and the conversation went towards schools and what teachers everyone liked.  I don't know any teachers because Emily does not go to school.  There I was, standing knee deep in the ocean, holding a baby, and thinking man I wish I had my yarn.

So K.I.P isn't that practical for all situations, but when I figure out how to knit in the water life will go, er, swimmingly.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Beach Memories

This weekend we, as a family, had one of the best weekends ever.  The kind of weekend where the memories are so nice that you don't mind it ending because you can keep thinking about it.  And it makes you smile.

Saturday we spent time doing things we love.  I went to a workshop for a crochet project I've volunteered for.  A bunch of women, sitting in a yarn shop, making stuff with yarn.  That is what I call a perfect afternoon.  While I did that D took Emily down to Waikiki and they played chess with the random chess lovers that meet near the Duke Kahanamoku Statue.  To D that is a perfect afternoon.  Pretty perfect for Emily too because she adores hanging out with her Daddy.  After getting to spend the afternoon apart, stretching our individuality, we came back together to spend a nice, quiet, evening watching a movie and eating cheese.

Sunday was more time together.  We got out to church for the first time in a month and then rushed home to change so we could all go out and play at Ko Olina Beach Lagoons.  D had his first experience snorkeling.  Emily had her first experience swimming in the "deep" part of the ocean.  Up till this point she had only ever sat in the surf and fussed whenever a wave would come up too hard.  Sunday she loved everything and was quite the little dolphin.  Her cheeks must have been hurting from all the smiling she was doing.

We rounded out our weekend by taking a long drive down the leeward coast, past Makaha and all the way to Kaena Point.  Driving home we saw the sunset over the ocean.  A vision I saw everyday growing up in Maui, but something that is still magical.

It doesn't sound like much, but there was something rather alive about this weekend.  As if, finally, after all this work and planning and building we found the chance to live a day rather than get through a day.  Life has been busy for us here and at the same time pretty boring.  A house, a family, a wedding, school, work - it all starts to pile on the stress and depression.  Even when we were having fun and doing wonderful things there was an undercurrent of stress that kept enjoyment away.  Just going to the beach, the very picture of paradise, seemed like a lot of work and chores to me.  I'm not sure my husband felt the same way, but my attitude probably didn't help him relax.

But this weekend, this very simple weekend, gave me a chance to exhale.  As I swam out to the breakers and looked out at the ocean expanding ahead I finally felt that feeling only the ocean can give: the feeling of being weightless, small, yet significant because that ocean connects you to all parts of the world all at once.

I didn't take a single picture this weekend.  There is no keepsake from this weekend to remember it by save some extra sand.  But I know these past few days will be some of my favorite memories of our time living in Oahu and being a family of three.  I am so grateful that these are good memories - finally.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Putting together the pieces

I've been trying for awhile now to think how best to describe my PPD.  With something so complex and strange it's often easier to see it as a metaphor in order to tackle it.  I think I've finally settled on a puzzle.  A great, big, floor puzzle.

When we came home as a family of three I had been through quite the trauma.  I've struggled with depression all my life and towards the end of my pregnancy I was starting to feel it creep up on me.  Labor was dramatic and when it was finally time to go home I was still struggling to comprehend what had happened.  There were feelings of euphoric joy mixed with a nagging feeling of despair.  If I was a whole person, a whole picture, before I had my child then after I was a broken puzzle.  The pieces had been thrown in the box and the box had been shaken up - hard.  They didn't just break apart, they bent at the corners and tore the paper from the cardboard.  If you saw my puzzle at the thrift store you wouldn't buy it.  It was trash.

I started to put the puzzle back together very slowly.  Only I was piecing it together blind, upside down, the cardboard up and the picture a total mystery underneath.  All I had to go on was the vague shape that might match up with another vague shape.  There were no colors or images to help.  No yellow in the corner, no purple flower, no blue sky piece.  It was all just drab brown.  I fully admit that had I sought more help I might have been able to flip some of the pieces over sooner.  I went to counseling, but every time I visited she would ask "Is today the day you're going to finally take some anti-depressants?" and every time I would answer "No."  At group counseling every mother told me how much better, how much easier, it was with medication.  But I demurred.  I had my reasons.  They were really stupid reasons and it was a really stupid decision.

But, thankfully, I got some of the pieces together anyway.  Some of who I was is back together.  However, now that there are some edges, I have some huge portions ready to go, I notice that there are a lot of pieces missing.  A lot of pieces aren't in the box.  Some of the pieces are things that I was before I was pregnant or a mother.  They are gone now and I'm not sure if I want them back.  Some of those holes are shapes I've never seen before and I'm not sure what is supposed to fill them.  Around the bits that have been put together are huge holes where I can't place anything.  The worst part, since this is a floor puzzle, is that in order for me to place the pieces I do understand I have to step over these holes.  Sometimes I slip and I fall in.  That's when I find myself wondering who the heck I am, what I'm doing, and if I'm really just a trashed puzzle with a bunch of missing pieces.  Who wants a puzzle that can't be put together whole?  Who wants a person who can't even put together a partial puzzle?

It would be better, I think, if I saw myself and my state as a painting.  A blank canvas ready to suck up whatever beautiful color I mixed up.  Being a puzzle constrains me, it puts up hard edges and specific rules.  A female piece will not fit into another female piece, a male piece cannot be forced over another.  In a painting you could always paint over if not erase.  A puzzle demands there only be one piece for one place, there is no room for error or place holders.  It would be better if I wasn't a puzzle.  But, I can't see myself as anything else right now.  And the holes really bother me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Project: Patches

My husband recently (okay like a month ago) officially promoted to Master Sergeant.  It is a big deal and I am very proud of him.  When he finally got to put his new rank insignia on he announced it on Facebook (again, what else would he do?) and said it a little something like this:

"...finally sewed on my new rank as MSgt (E-7)..."

When I spoke to my Mother that night she asked "Why did he say he sewed on his new rank?  You sewed it on!"

Which is true.  While my husband is working very hard to be the best Senior NCO he can be by working even harder than before, putting in even more hours, and striving to be a good example of USAF for me the new promotion means sage green thread and new patches.

On base it costs five dollars a sleeve to sew on a new patch.  My husband has five or six blue shirts, two ABU blouses and two jackets.  Five dollars a sleeve adds up quick so, since I have the fancy new sewing machine, I got to sew them on myself.

Looking online there aren't any best practices for sewing rank patches on.  Probably because, while it is a time consuming and detailed task, it's pretty easy.  However, for all you other spouses out there who are celebrating a promotion with thread here is how I do it:

1) I cheat.  There are a lot of very specific rules to the size of rank.  For instance on an ABU men wear the large insignia, women the small.  However, on the service dress everyone wears the small patch on the shirts and men wear the large on the jackets.  This is all very confusing so I make my husband look it up and just tell me what to buy.

2) I cheat some more.  Again, the placing of the patch is pretty specific and needs to look really neat.  Since I was changing the patches from TSgt to MSgt I just cheated.  I placed the MSgt patch over the TSgt patch matching the bottom curve and the bottom corners.  I lined the point of the "roof" with the dip of the "wings" to find the center (which ought to go right down the crease of the shirt).  Then I tacked everything down at the corners with contrasting thread.  Start at the bottom corners and add an extra stitch in the middle of the curve.  Then move up to the upper corners. These won't line up with the previous patch because you're (hopefully) adding an extra stripe or roof so the patch is bigger.

2a) Tacking might seem like an unnecessary step where you could just pin the patch in the middle, but sleeves are tricky to maneuver in a machine and the patch has to be centered and straight so those extra hand-stitches will make life so much easier later.

2b) You can't tacked the new patch over the old patch on blues.  ABU's (or the new ones at least) aren't supposed to be ironed so the patches will come off easily in the next step.  On blues the shirts have probably been ironed, dry-cleaned, steamed, and starched multiple times.  Surprise!  All of that glues the patch onto the sleeve.  You will have to take the patch off first.  However, the patch also dyes the shirt underneath and you have a lovely pattern of where the old one was placed.  Use that to mark where the new patch should go and tack away.

3)  Remove the old patch from underneath the new one.  I love seam rippers!

4) Sew it on.  I start with a straight edge them work slowly down.  End at a straight edge too...it makes the back stitching easier.  Stitch at the "seam" between the rolled thread edge and the background fabric of the patch.  That way no one can see where you sewed it on.

4a) I use matching thread for the patches, but I realized after removing the old patches that the "professionals" just use black for everything.  At least they do in Korea.  I don't recommend it.  If you make a mistake and go offline a little it won't show with matching thread.

5) Snip threads off.  Then snip again.  Then snip again.  Threads are bad.

6)  If it's an ABU congrats, you're done.  If it's a blues shirt iron the sleeves down the middle and get a good crease in the patch.  Then do it again.  And again.  You'll probably have to do this every time it's worn for awhile.  It's hard to get that crease into the patch.

7)  Okay, now you're really done and you saved some money. Yey.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Just wait

Emily started walking on her own the other day.  It was very exciting.  We were both in awe of her little toddles from Mama to Daddy and back.  Emily is awesome.

Because it was amazing we shared the happy news on Facebook (what else) with a post and a video.  There was much cooing by friends and family (and more cooing by her parents), but I also got a lot of sympathy both in comments and in private email.  So many people felt so sorry for me, the mother, that you'd have thought I just said Emily had gotten cancer and not achieved a major milestone.

And I get this a lot.  Every time Emily starts something new I am certain to get at least one (if not a hundred) of the following responses:

"I feel so sorry for you."
"Just wait.  It gets so much worse."

I understand some of this.  Parenting is hard.  Really hard.  With each new achievement comes a brand new challenge.  There are lessons to teach everyday.  Every time a baby learns a new skill you have to make sure that skill doesn't get them killed.  I get it.  It is hard.  But it's not horrible.  A good portion of parenting sucks.  But the rewards for sucking is supposed to be witnessing those magical moments - like your child's very first steps.  However, instead of my parent friends (people I know only because we are all parenting at the same time) cheering each other on and focusing on the lovely bits of parenting they spend all their time bitching about it.  In fact, I am convinced that the object of parent-to-parent conversation is to out complain the other person.  You must complain and your complaint must be worse than the other parents or else you lose.

I'm not talking about venting.  Venting is good.  Venting to people who understand that all that frustration is not actually anger at your kid, but rather heavily disguised love is better.  A parent who doesn't vent to other parents once in awhile is likely to vent to the kid - and that is plain unhealthy.  What I am talking about is this sadistic need to make sure another parent know that their life is going to suck, hard, and they relish the pain.

Maybe it's just schadenfreude, or maybe it's a desire for others to suffer as they have, either way it annoys the heck out of me.  I hate when I mention something, good or bad, about my child and I'm told to "Just wait" as if I don't understand the terror of parenting.  As if I'm blind to the fact that I'm helping to raise another human being.  Just wait - life is terrible and you don't even know it.

But beyond the "just wait" is the "sorry for you."  As in my example my child learned to walk.  She took her first steps that will eventually lead to her being able to run, play, climb, and dance.  It's an important and really essential skill.  And everyone is so sorry it happened.  But turn that on its head.  If you are sorry she learned to walk what would you be happy for?  If she didn't learn to walk?  If she never learned to get around on her own without help?  Would it be better for me, her mother, to have a child who couldn't grow into a beautiful, healthy individual?  And if something horrible did in fact happen?  What would you say then?  Hey - at least now you don't have to spend all day chasing her through the park.

I hope that as I meet more parents with children younger than mine I can refrain from raining on their parade.  I hope that just as I never tell a pregnant woman that pregnancy gets worse I will also never tell a parent to just wait till it gets worse.  It'll get different, certainly.  Challenging, quite possibly.  But not worse.