Thursday, July 29, 2010

Adventures in New Hampshire

Yep, the "Live Free or Die" state. Seriously, it's on every license plate. And I love it so.

As of last Friday night, we still had not decided whether or not we would be camping or not. The weather forecast told us that there would be a 50%-60% chance of torrential downpours from 10pm Saturday night until 10am Sunday morning, with a potential of severe thunderstorms. But after foregoing this trip a few times already, (for reasons other than weather, though weather was often a factor), watching forecasts even for 80% chances of rain fail miserably, we decided to go for it within an hour of waking up on Saturday morning. My 4 year old was the main cataylst in this decision, as he woke up, stretched, and said "Mama, let's go camping. I sleeped well." Keep in mind, the kid has never been camping and I am unsure how he even knew that it involves tents, sleeping bags, and marshmallows.

So after our whirlwind packing of the truck, we hit the road around 10:30am. There were still a few necessities to purchase: a tarp, propane, toilet paper, a cooler, ice. All of which could be gotten at Walmart. Tris ran in, as we had the dog with us and are not the type to leave an animal alone in a car for more than 5 minutes. (In fact, we often report people that do such a thing, usually if it's in the middle of an excessive heat warning). He came back 3 minutes later, fuming. Apparently, the place was absolutely swarmed (of course... what else do people have to do on a nice Saturday morning...), there was not a single cart to be had, and the camping supply section was completely ransacked. There were no coolers, anywhere, of any shape or size. A single 2373 x 333948 foot tarp for 10 million dollars. And a dented can of propane. Um. No.

So that set us back a bit. Decided to try a different Walmart, which was out of our way. It was also a clusterfuck, but at least they had what we needed.

So, by noon, we were finally, officially en route to destination. Around 2, we finally hit the beginning of what Tris likes to call 'the mountains', and I like to call 'hills', since I am a Rocky Mountain girl.

Just a bit later, we reached our destination, which was Tripoli Road Dispersed Camping. We had only heard of it through word of mouth, and there is not a ton to be found online as far as reviews. So, somehow, through word of mouth a a brief description on a webpage--

"The Tripoli Road Dispersed Camping Area offers a rustic, roadside,camping experience with no amenities. There are no formally developed sites, no potable water sources, and no fire rings or restroom facilities."

-- this somehow became our choice for a first camping trip with a pregnant woman and two really young children.

So, we spent over a half hour driving up and down this road, realizing that the place is, in fact, swarmed. I did not realize that there were so many women that have no issue with squatting in the woods! We finally settled on a rather large site closer to the beginning of the "dispersed camping" area. I thought it was gorgeous.

Tris was a bit crestfallen that we couldn't find an open site by the creek. So was I, but this worked out just fine, and there were no people around us. Which is pretty important to me when I'm trying to escape people to begin with. Oh and, the description lied. There were fire rings. 2 of them on our site, in fact.

We got our site all prepared, watched the kids run around and have a blast and actually behave much better than I expected. Even took the dog off his leash, certain he would take off into the woods since we were somewhere new, but he is a bit of a pansy and only wants to be where we are. Which is a good thing when you are smack dab in the middle of Bear Country.

One of the most important things to set up was 'my' bathroom. This consisted of of 5 gallon bucket with a hole cut in the bottom, that Tris put in a 4 foot deep gully in which I had to rock climb to get in and out of. He said that this was because he knew how much I like privacy, and that way, no one could ever know that I was taking a leak there. But I think that secretly he put it there for shits and giggles. Let's watch the pregnant lady climb rocks and hack through pine branches to go pee!! :-) The bucket was moved as soon as it got dark, so that, you know, I wouldn't kill myself in the middle of the night.

After setting up, Tris left on a mission to find a grocery store somewhere. This was a bit scary, as there was no cell service in the area, and I would be in the woods with 2 kids and a dog and no time frame of when Tris might be back, as we had no clue how far away food might be. Luckily, it only took him a half an hour to leave, find a place, shop, and get back. But the damn store had no marshmallows. This broke TJ's heart. We assured him we will make sure to have marshmallows in our possession before we even leave next time we go camping, and that seemed to make him feel better.

Sometime after that, I remember sitting on my special bucket, and realizing that my 'business' itched a bit. So I look down, and there's this small, but freaky looking spider sitting on the inside crotch of my jeans. It looked like this one:

Nevermind. I was attempting to google for a picture of one. But browsing through thousands and thousands of hideous spiders was making me really really uncomfortable. I am deathly afraid of spiders. But I am even more afraid of spiders in my cooch, and adrenaline saved my life and helped me manage to get that damn arachnid out of my pants and far, far away, without having to rockclimb with my pants around my ankles and asking Tris for help. Good thing, considering we had a visitor not even 5 minutes later.

Tris cooked (hot dogs and grilled BBQ chicken), I chilled in the hammock, the kids ran in and out of tents like possessed monkeys. It was blissful.

And then I hear a human not of our own, calling something to Tris. Tris went over and talked to the guy. I noticed that Wolfsheim (our dog) was bristling and very on edge. He did not like the guy. So I sat up to see what the deal was. It was just some white guy, no shirt, definitely drunk, and he was telling Tris that he lost his buddies over 3 hours ago and didn't know which way the main road was. He asked to borrow Tris' cell, which, Tris tried to say there was no service, but couldn't, because, apparently there WAS service where he was standing. The guy doesn't get an answer. Tris told him to hold on, and then came to me to tell me the chicken was done, and that he would be back, that he just wanted to give the guy a ride back to the highway. I would have said no, but it entailed a 2 minute drive, and knowing that a bit of wandering would procure cell service should I need it, I let him go. Panicked the whole 5 minutes he was gone, but you know.

When he got back, he was telling me how this guy was telling him that he had been kicked out of a campground in Kangamangus, and that the sheriff there had told him to go to "Third Eye Road". This led to giant guffaws from me. I can see the confusion... where we were is pronounced like "triple-eye road". So.. Third Eye. Yeah. Maybe not so funny to sane people, but *I* got a laugh! Anyway, turns out the guy's buddies were waiting on the side of the road for him, and he had gotten out of our truck and immediately started bitching at his girlfriend :-/ Tris hung around, because he wanted to make sure everything would be kosher. The girlfriend waved him on, so he came back to us. A few moments later, his cell rang, and it was the number that Third Eye man tried to call. Apparently, his buddies were slightly upset that Tris had helped the guy, because they had intentionally ditched him. Tris was a bit hurt by this, because after all, he was just trying to be a nice guy.

The kids fell asleep around 10, and Tris laid in the hammock and I sat and tended the fire and listened to music, trying to place, on a scale of 1-10, how badly I had to pee. And then I felt a breeze. I hadn't felt a breeze all day. And I knew the rain was gonna start. So I went to the hammock and shined the light in Tris' face to let him know, but he was asleep, so I left him be and went to go pee. No sooner had I buttoned my jeans than the clouds literally vomited all over the place. I caught a priceless glimpse of a stunned Tristan stumbling out of a hammock and rushing to get essentials under the tarp.

It rained. All night. And our tent leaked. I expected this, but not to the degree that it did. One of the worst moments was what I assume to be around 4 in the morning, having to pee ever so badly, with the rain harder than ever and making my head hurt with how loud it was. Waiting for what seemed like eternity, for it to let up just a little bit so I could put on my hoodie and go. It didn't let up. Rather, it got worse. But I still had my hoodie, right? Would help a bit. I grab it out of the mesh bag I had it in, that happened to be sitting in the largest puddle in the tent. It was dripping wet. I put it on anyway, exited the tent, did my thing. Got back in the tent. The rain stopped.

Sunday morning consisted of very bland eggs and some grilled maple links, and packing up all of our sopping wet gear. We left immediately after packing up, and went sightseeing along the Kangamangus Highway for 4 hours. I loved it :-) I'll leave you with a few (cell phone! :-O) pictures to admire. Happy trails!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mission Accomplished... sort of!

Well, I did it! I finished the Mario Bros. "?" Bag.

It's not that it was that difficult, it's that I finally finished something for the first time in a while. Even if I did take a shortcut:

That's the back of the bag. The pattern definitely did call for 2 question-mark panels, but, A) I was running very low on orange, as it was just a scrap ball to begin with, B) Colorwork looks nice, but I'm really not very good (read: Impatient) at securing and weaving in loose ends, so the less the better C) It's a bag... you are only going to see one side of it at a time, and since the black/purple stripes actually look quite nice, I consider it reversible!

I tried to reward myself for finishing something by purchasing good, new yarn. I spent literally 2 evenings perusing the deals on Little Knits I had finally narrowed it down, and I had them in the cart, and then I saw that there was a minimum order of $25... being as frugal *coughcheapcough* as I am, and unable to increase my total of $15 any higher, I closed my browser and went to bed.

Over the weekend, we went camping in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. It was our first camping trip, both as a couple and as a family, and we had a blast. I will blog about the experience at some point this week, for sure! I kept looking for any little yarn shops in town, so I could pick up at least a ball of yarn as a souvenir. But I tend to chicken out when it comes to LYS's, mainly based on the horror stories I hear about knitting snobbery and class wars and yarn snobbery in general. I never got my souvenir.

After a very lame, but serious attempt at knitting this Honeycomb Washcloth for practice, I put it aside and decided to bust out my crochet hooks (against my vow to swear crochet off until I successfully knit SOMETHING), and got started on this lovely Tiramisu Baby Blanket:

Except, my version will be not so much "Tiramisu", but emerald green:

I won't decide on the ribbon color until after we find out if we are having a boy or girl. I may decide not to even keep this blanket and may gift it. We will see when I'm more or less done, exactly what it is I want to do. But for the moment, I am satisfied.

Alrighty, enough crafting talk for the moment. Time to get back to the 'real' world for a bit!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crafty Goals

I suppose you can almost call this an addendum to my last post.

I need to find a way to motivate myself to get out of and stay out of the chaos that my crafting life currently is, especially since crochet has always been my escape from the chaos of every other aspect of my life.

I need a system.

First things first, I actually got at least half of my yarn stash at least listed on Ravelry. The other half is either scraps or unidentified, and I'm not quite sure how to put it in the 'system'. But it's a lot easier to see the grand scale of things in a list than it is to stare at a few overflowing boxes in a closet. Looking at the actual number helps me say "Good god, woman! Use some of that up before you buy any more!"

I've also been spending a bit of time winding any oversized skeins into smaller balls. While skeins are easier to work from, balls come in handy when you have to frog a significant amount of a project and don't expect to get back to it anytime soon. if I was to be working on a large project, I would rethink this, but for the most part I don't see myself doing too many long-term projects, I don't have the attention span for it. Converting skeins to balls is also involving a significant amount of detangling, which is pretty much the bane of my existence, but needed to be done.

In between anything related to organizing (and spending a little bit too much time in the Ravelry groups and forums...), I am still working on the Mario Bros tote that I have listed on the top right of my blog. I have the question mark square completely finished, and while the pattern calls for 2 of them (one on each side), I decided that you're only ever going to see one side at a time, and decided to make the opposite side in black and dark purple stripes. I have about 8 more rows of that, and then to make the sides of the tote and the strap, and it will be finished. I'm not allowing myself to start another project until this one is completely done.

When I do finish it, I intend to put all of my crochet tools aside for a time, and seriously take on learning how to knit. I tried this a few months ago, but kept getting distracted by a cool crochet project, or frustrated with how long it was taking me to knit, or not being able to read the patterns correctly. I can knit. I can purl. Both are very slow and tension is very inconsistent. I am also intimidated by all the different needles... At least crochet hooks are all pretty much the same, just different sizes. Although I know what all the different knitting needles are FOR, I still find them intimidating. The idea of managing 4 DPN's at one time really frightens me, not so sure I have the dexterity for that!

So, in short, these are my short term goals for the next few months:

Organize. Finish. Learn. Conquer.

And when I say "conquer", I really just mean get comfortable with two pointy sticks. I want to be able to look at either a knit OR crochet project and say, "let's do it!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

cADD. (Crafting Attention Deficit Disorder)

Hey, I did plan on this blog being introspective, right?

My name is Jess, and I have a problem. I seem to be unable to focus on a single project for more than a day or two. I have a 75% finished Baby Beanie, which I had put aside to make and hour-long preemie hat and did not feel compelled to return to. I have at least 20 million various body parts for even more various Amigurumi critters, which include but are not limited to, Brobee, Toodee, and Muno from Yo Gabba, a dragon, the worm from Labyrinth, a green and teal quail, and a few gnomes. I have about 6 rows of a forest and lime green tunisian crochet bag/boy-purse/satchel for my 4 year old son. I also have 18 rounds of a baby star blanket complete, of which I decided I needed the skein I was using on it last for something else. Somewhere in the room is 5 12-inch hexagons, which, someday, are supposed to go into a Painted Turtle Afghan. What I've listed so far is only a VERY minute percentage of WIP's. Sadly, my Ravelry queue seems to grow at a much faster rate than my WIP's.

Because of this (what I have been told, common) severe dysfunction, I also have way too many skeins of yarn that somehow, even though I have a designated yarn storage area, managed to tangle around each other, as well as around legs of beds, electrical cords, children's toys, and more, which may or may not be mostly salvageable and I... you know... just haven't gotten around to trying to fix. But I still keep buying more!

Add in the fact that I have yarn work that I am slightly less skilled in-- more advanced Tunisian, tatting, knitting, crochet lace-- speaking to me in the most tantalizing and delicious foreign tongues, and my god am I a mess.

Is there a medication for this? MEDICATE ME!!!! :-) I promise I will share!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gee, Officer Krupke...

At least they realized that society is constantly trying to tell you who you are and why you do what you do, yeah? I never realized how often this happens until the past few years. The brilliant part is, every motive seems to be a flaw of some sort. Which is... yanno. Whatever. Everyone IS flawed. But the crazy thing about flaws is that those can be misunderstood as well.If you're misunderstanding that, are you misunderstanding an entire personality? I guess I'm rambling. It makes sense to me though.

My boyfriend and I have been planning our first family vacation for a few months now. We decided we're going camping. I have been over the moon about it, and we've spent the last few weeks stocking up on essential camping supplies and researching the area, making checklists, etc. For a while there we considered inviting other people to come along, and I already can't remember if it was pretty much just me that was against the idea, or if it really was a mutual choice. All I know is that I made it pretty clear that I wanted it to be a 'family' vacation. And this is why I thought we were purchasing all our own camping stuff, because we weren't going to be borrowing or depending on anyone else's.

Tris invited his brother and his niece last night. I have been thoroughly upset about it and dreading the trip ever since. And he knows that. But he also seems to be slightly annoyed that I am so against this, which leads me to believe he's misreading me. This isn't a selfish thing like I believe he thinks it is.

The truth is, I have SEVERE self-consciousness issues. I spend every moment of every day completely engrossed by how my appearance, words, and actions may be judged. I think that anyone that went to high school with me probably doesn't believe a word of it, but it's true. I honestly live each day in fear that I won't come off 'right' or that someone won't approve.

I fret about bizarre shit like the appropriate length of time to be in a bathroom. Too short, and someone might think I don't wipe thoroughly or wash my hands or something. Too long, and I must have health issues. I don't want anyone knowing I'm taking a dump. You give me just one single innocent everyday situation, and my head WILL blow a gasket trying to figure out how to deal with it. I have issues ordering food. I spend hours psyching myself up to make phone calls, even if it's just to talk to an automated system and pay a bill. It's even worse if I'm planning on talking to a friend. Even my brother. And when I am talking to whoever, I feel like they can SENSE how anxious I really am. And quite frankly, it's all getting worse as I get older. I feel like anyone that looks at me knows my entire life story, and my anxiety is growing as more and more less than desirable things occur.

I am only COMPLETELY comfortable with a very very small percentage of the people in my lives. Those would be my kids. I am 75% comfortable around Tristan. Everyone else, that percentage drops significantly.

This vacation... I've been so excited because I NEEDED to be away, from ALL people, that badly. I don't know what I was thinking, maybe I thought it would 'cure' me, I don't know. Either way I think that my expectations were so much higher than they realistically should have been. But... still. What are vacations for? To escape for a few days, you know? Even buildings can make me nervous. I am so much more at ease in nature.

But I'm not at all excited anymore. There's going to be people there, outside of my comfort zone. We're going to be using some of their equipment. What if I don't handle it right? There's no bathrooms there, Tris cut a hole in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket, mainly just for me. Is there going to be a place hidden enough for it, now that there will be other people there? Will this place be close enough to the tent so I don't have to wake Tris up for my multiple middle of the night pregnancy pisses? The dude is going through a nasty split-up right now, what if I say the wrong thing? Should I show any sort of affection towards Tris? Would that be 'painful' to his brother? Or would not touching Tris seem very unnatural and make his brother self-conscious, knowing why I'm doing it? What if I have to discipline the kids? He might not approve. What if I don't approve of something his daughter does? Am I allowed to say anything?

I don't even want to do this anymore. Impending vacations aren't supposed to make you want to cry.

I'm not selfish. At all. I can definitely see where I might come off that way. Again, a misunderstood flaw. Does this mean no one really quite 'gets' me? I wish I could just 'suck it up" and not give a shit what anyone thinks of me, but I've NEVER been able to do it. It's not an easy thing to do. That's the one thing I will never be able to say: "Gee, Officer Krupke.... krup you!" You have no idea how badly I wish I could. I want to experience freedom like you wouldn't believe.