Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

They Multiply

Granny Squares are really easy to make and don't require a ton of attention.  I like to make them in the car (not while driving), while watching TV, sitting at sports' practices, etc.  They are also a great use of leftover yarn from other projects.  Quick, easy, colorful - what's not to love?

After a while though, they multiply.  Especially when one has not thought out a long term plan for these guys.  So, I made a bunch over the course of the summer and now I have a big container full of different colored granny squares.  I've started to stitch some together for other small projects but mostly, I just have a large amount of granny squares.  What would a group of granny squares be called in the wild?  A rocker?  A spectacle?  Other terms associated with grannies?  Maybe a moth ball of granny squares?

I've been sitting on this granny square post for a while.  Mostly because granny squares are not that exciting to other people, I realize.  They aren't that different from other things that multiply quickly though.  My weight after having 3 kids is similar.  In addition to crocheting granny squares, I also enjoy sitting and doing things like eating and partaking in alcohol sometimes, unfortunately that results in another form of multiplication - mostly of my lower half.  It's not nearly as pretty as a box of colorful granny squares, I'm afraid. 

Negative thoughts multiply too.  Think one critical thing about yourself and then try to stop at just that one.  It's impossible.  You start down that road and it's one thing after another.  Every now and then my insecure 18 year old self starts its self-torture of negative (and vain) thoughts and it's downhill from there.  She needs a good punch in the throat sometimes. 
The decibel level of a conversation between children multiplies.  Rather than listen to what the other has to say, they tend to just get louder and try to talk over one another.  A spirited conversation between my children (not even an argument) can get quite loud very quickly. 
Clean laundry that needs to be put away when no one really wants to do it.  That pile grows more quickly than anything.  We will go out of our way to move the clean laundry from the bed to the floor and then back to the bed over and over but refuse to just walk a few extra steps to put it away properly.  Lately we end up having to rewash a lot because it goes on too long.  Why does the act of putting away laundry seem like such a herculean task come 11:00 at night?

The hours in a work day leading up to a heavily anticipated vacation seem to multiply.  I don't think science has been able to prove this theory but I'm pretty sure it exists.  I wish I had an awesome vacation planned so I could test out this theory.

Some other things that multiply? 
  • Time spent on Facebook and Pinterest in one evening
  • An itch that you scratch and then suddenly you have twelve other itches
  • Giggles
  • Fruit flies (currently the bane of my existence)
  • The amount of times a room full of boys can say 'dude'
  • My love of Project Runway!  I love it more every season.  The creative process always fascinates me.
  • My calculator at work.  Good thing too because my brain has become too dependent on it over the years. 

So there's a post about granny squares for the masses (or at least for the few family and friends who read my blog).  I hope my readership multiplies (wink, wink).  Thanks for hanging in there and tolerating my terrible pun.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Kindness is the act or state being marked by good and charitable behavior, pleasant disposition, and concern for others.

I've been thinking about kindness lately.  I've been in a flare up of my Fibromyalgia symptoms for a couple of weeks now and it has gotten more severe this week.  I finally had to give in and take a couple of planned days off of work so that I can (hopefully) get enough rest to get back to square one.  This week also happens to be Invisible Illness Awareness Week.  I read a lot of blogs and articles written by people with various chronic illnesses who are met with so much opposition over their illness from people they love, coworkers, and even their doctors.  I've been so fortunate that I haven't run into that at all in my journey.  My family and friends have been so supportive and loving through the years when I've been extremely sick and searching for an answer.  My coworkers have always been kind and wonderful.  I've also been lucky to have doctors who take me seriously and listen to me.  I was diagnosed with thyroid problems in 2007 after having my third son.  It runs in my family so was not a surprise.  Then I went through two years of tests and illness and frustration until I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 2009.  I was also officially diagnosed with Essential Tremors in 2009 but that one wasn't really a surprise.  I've had tremors since I was a teenager.  They just became worse in the past few years.

I'm so thankful that I've had the support that I have from the people I know and love.  When I read articles about people who haven't had that, it shocks me.  How hard is it to just be kind to someone who is suffering?  I know there are people out there who may be selfish and martyr themselves in the name of their illness and I can see where that would be annoying, but, I think the majority of people are like me and try to live their lives and push through the bad days to be happy and come out on top.  Some of my loved ones think I push myself too much sometimes but I just refuse to let this define me completely.  I actually have learned a lot from having a chronic illness but that's another post.

So back to kindness.  Google the word 'kindness' and it's very encouraging to see so many websites and blogs devoted to Random Acts of Kindness.  I know there is good and kindness everywhere in the world.  I get discouraged though by a growing resistance to kindness.  It seems that more and more people consider kindness a weakness.  I've seen countless Facebook statuses from people who get hurt and then decide it's not worth being kind.  I want to yell at them "IT IS WORTH IT TO BE KIND!"  You come out as the victor every time you can be kind to someone - even when they don't deserve it. 

Being kind does not equal being a doormat.  Being kind does not mean that you let people run over you and treat you badly.  Being kind means you have compassion.  Being kind means you see someone who is hurting or needs help and you reach out to them.  Being kind means sometimes you just do something nice to make someone smile.  You don't have to have a lot of money or extra time available to be kind.  Sometimes just letting someone know that you are there, acknowledging them and their needs, and that is enough.  I don't have extra money lying around and I often don't have a lot of energy to expend, however, I still think I can use what I have to be kind to someone who needs it.

I love the movement towards Random Acts of Kindness.  I think it's great.  However, I think kindness can start with the people you live with and around.  Family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances...start there.  We tend to look inwards so much these days and it causes a selfish society (I am guilty of this too).  Technology is great in letting us reach out to people anywhere in the world to connect but I think it also keeps us from connecting in person with the people who matter most.  I often see people who are out having dinner together and one (or both) are texting and playing with their phone.  They  miss an opportunity to connect and be kind to one another.  The Internet allows us to search things that we care about and then it caters to those searches later.  It's really easy to find multiple webpages devoted to the things we care about and support our world view to the point that we lose the ability to see an opposing side.  My point to this is that I think technology can be great but I think it lends itself to people being more selfish and less kind to one another.

We all have our trials in life.  I know there are people much worse off than I am.  I try to keep that perspective and it makes me want to reach out and be kind to others.  You really never know who may be fighting a battle that you may never understand.  The smallest acts of kindness can sometimes make a huge difference.

In 2009 right after I was diagnosed with Fibro, I had shared my diagnosis with family and friends.  A few weeks later, I woke up on a Saturday morning and was getting dressed and ready for the day.  I heard my doorbell ring and opened the door.  Standing there was my friend, Tina.  I have been friends with Tina since the seventh grade and she has always been one of my greatest and most loyal friends.  Tina lives about 500 miles away from me.  She worked all day on Friday and then drove through the night to arrive at my doorstep around 10:00 in the morning on Saturday.

"What are you doing here??"  I exclaimed.

"I came to give you a hug," she said.  Then she hugged me.

Tina stayed with me all day and night Saturday and then got up early on Sunday morning to drive over 8 hours home so she could be at work on time Monday morning.  She literally drove 1000 miles that weekend to give me a hug.  I will never ever forget that for as long as I live.  Best.Hug.EVER.  I feel like I could never repay that kindness to her but I want to try.  That's a good friend right there.  Everyone should have a Tina in their life.

My point to all of this?  Be kind.  I'm thankful that I have a kind heart -- I struggle with being too selfish sometimes and I'm not always kind, but I try to be.  I've learned that it's not a weakness to be kind.  Some of the strongest people I know are the most kind.  You just never know what someone else is facing so reach out and be kind to them.

Yes, my long and rambling post is now complete.  Thanks for hanging in there.  I appreciate anyone who reads my blog.  Now I'm going to rest and figure out a way to be kind to someone today despite my limitations.  What are you going to do to be kind today?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Out of Focus

This week I managed to somehow stay afloat and make it successful.  It was only a four day work week (well, I had to work a little on Labor Day) but it felt like a really long, short week.  If that makes any sense - it does in my head.

I'm not complaining - it wasn't a bad week really.  It was just a challenging week for me.  I have Fibromyalgia and Essential Tremor Disorder and my symptoms have been on high alert the last couple of weeks.  I also got some answers this week on a non-serious but very annoying ear issue I have.  Add to that, my job, three boys who have school, football, and Cub Scouts, and I managed to eek through the week alongside my rock and my only love, Jay.  Friday evening has never felt so sweet!  With chronic illnesses, some weeks it's tough to push through and appear normal.  I've finally gotten to a point where they don't define me and I don't let it get me down but, some weeks, it gets the best of me.

I think when we have weeks that are more challenging than others, it's good to focus on the big and small things that help us get through them and not wish our life away.  That's always my goal - I don't want to wish life away just because there are a few tough days.  Sometimes the focus gets blurry.

However, no matter how hazy things feel in my head - my guys are always in my sights.  The littlest one brought my spirits up in the most juvenile of ways this week.  At Cub Scouts, he heard the Boy Scout pledge for the first time.  It uses the word "duty" several times.  I looked over at him and he had his hands clasped over his mouth and his whole body was shaking trying to contain himself.  He leaned over and whispered to me,  "She said DOODY!"   I laughed about that the rest of that evening and into the next day.  When in Rome, you know.

Some other things that help?  Spending an hour on the phone with an old friend, complaining for a bit, and then spending the rest of the time making up ridiculous scenarios.  Focusing on my upcoming craft show -- crocheting, receiving over 450 colorful buttons in the mail, working out some other ideas, etc.  Vodka and pineapple juice over ice on a Friday night.  You know, fun things like that.

Now it's the weekend, I'm listening to The Beach Boys, watching my man work on the yard, planning my creative endeavors for the day, and looking forward to time spent with my in-laws tonight.  Do I physically feel good today?  Nope, but a fresh perspective makes a huge difference.  Knowing I can sleep in again tomorrow helps too.

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

(Not) My Great Idea

So often I stumble across an idea and wish so badly that I had a time machine and could go back in time to be the ONE who thought up this great idea.  The idea behind these animal magnets is one such idea.  I've seen this idea on several blogs and on Pinterest - my favorite blog explanation is this one

I've accepted the fact that I wasn't the genius to think up this idea but I still wanted to try it out.  They are really fun.  I started out by buying these at Michael's craft store.  I had a 50% off coupon that I used.  I think to make more, I'm going to seek them out at the Dollar Store.  One note I will make though is to make sure you buy the solid figures and not hollow figures because those wouldn't work with this idea.

Jay helped out with this craft - partly because his hands work better at this kind of thing and this way I could take photos.  We started out using an Xacto knife but the blade broke so we switched to a kitchen knife and it worked great.

Cut all of the animal toys in half -- it feels kind of sick doing it but, it's ok, they aren't real.

This image is kind of disturbing...they aren't real, they aren't real, they aren't real...

After they are all cut in half, use a hot glue gun and glue a magnet to each one.  Voila!  Animal magnets!  I prefer the rear end magnets.  They make me giggle.

You wish you had thought of this idea too, huh?  Well you didn't - and neither did I.  We can still make them though. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012