Lynn's blog

I've figured out what the heck's the matter with me these days.

I've been depressed and exhausted. I'm exercising 30 minutes a day but haven't dropped a pound contrary to past experience. My skin and eyes are very dry. My hair is thinning. I'm menopausal (germane only in terms of timing). And I'm cold all the time.

Hello! My thyroid is acting up again!

So now I have to find a doctor who'll listen to me. My main practitioner, Dr. Pete, is sympathetic but can only go by the approved tests (I'm seeing him next week anyway). My naturopath, Dr. Marty, has the right tests to show the problem and will help me, but isn't covered by insurance.

(Side rant: WHEN will insurance companies figure out that naturopathic is cheaper for them than allopathic and make naturopaths the first line of defense against illness? sheesh.)

Stay tuned, we'll figure this thing out. I feel better already just knowing what's probably going on; I was starting to lose hope there for a bit.

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I'm not going to liveblog Dancing with the Stars again this time, I'm just going to pop in now and again with some observations. I could NOT believe how well that Sabrina kid from the Cheetah Girls could dance! I don't think I've ever seen someone come straight out of the gate like that and barely put a foot wrong. She had the sparkle, she had the moves--she looked like it was week 8, not the very first show. If she hadn't put in that hiphop section she could have had straight 9s and maybe even a 10. I was blown away.

And is it just me, or does Disney have a lot of slightly chubby young women on its roster lately? And by slightly chubby I mean normal-looking non-anorexic girls. Sabrina, Raven-Simone, even Monique Coleman isn't bone-thin. I'm almost optimistic!

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When Louisa was born six and a half years ago, I essentially forgot about poor Jo for two years. I remember going to sleep the night before Lou's birth, watching beautiful little Josie sleep next to me, and thinking, poor baby Louisa, I can never love you as much as I do Josie. And the next day it was, Josie who?

Such is the power of hormones. When the hormones wore off about two years later, it was like waking up and going, oh hi, Jo! Where ya been?

As Josie has gotten older, she's come to be a lot more like me than I ever expected. We don't like ALL of the same things, but I wasn't exaggerating when I said that if I were ten she'd be my best friend. (I never try to forget that I'm her mom, not her friend, and that she'll have lots of friends in her life but only one mom. She needs me to be her mom, not her friend. There's a big and important difference.)

And then there's Lou.

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I just finished the "I Love Garlic!!" recipe book I've been working on now for months. oy! That thing took forever! But it's finally in the store and I've bundled it with three other recipe books that, if you love garlic, you'll also love--a pizza book, an Italian cookery book, and a salsa book. A pretty good deal for $11.95!

And with that, I'm closing this box, fixing lunch and collapsing!

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Oh, no, not back to school or, heaven forfend, the holidays. No, when you're my age, "that time of the year" means your period.

It hasn't been a year since my last one, it just feels like it. It's been about three months. The first month, I forgot about it. Midway through the second month, I got nervous and took a pg test (negative). And then I promptly forgot it again until this morning.

It explains why I've been feeling out of sorts the last few days, complete with PVCs. Those things had nearly disappeared, and it was disconcerting to have them back. And I gained a bunch of weight in the last two weeks that was driving me crazy, what with the walking I've been doing.

This morning I asked John, "So if women get to be cranky one week out of four when we're having a period every monthh, does this mean I get to be cranky three months out of twelve when I'm having one once a year?"

He said no.


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JosieThis is Josie. She turns ten today. She is the greatest gift God ever gave me--she and her sister. Jo made me a mother, and every year I am more and more glad that she ended up my daughter.

She is funny, and tall, and beautiful, and tall, and sweet, and tall, and tender-hearted, and did I mention tall? She's past my shoulder already. She's going to be physically looking down on me in two or three years. Which, considering I'm only 5'5", isn't hard, but I was hoping to hang on to some shreds of authority and dignity for a little while longer.

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I'm jealous of my kid's cellphone, and I don't even like cellphones. Today Josie got a phone from Kajeet, a new service for kids. (FULL DISCLOSURE: You may have seen Kajeet advertise here, and we got the phone and $20 of service to review for free.)

So far, we like it, and Josie of course is tickled to death to have her own phone even though she doesn't go anywhere without me. She's been using it as a camera primarily, snapping pictures of her sister and the cats.

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Last night for the first time--since I'm FLYing right now and the kitchen was in some semblance of order--the girls were able to do the dishes! I got to put my feet up and knit and when I came to close the kitchen down last night it took much less time than usual. They even put most of them away! ah progress!

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It's amazing. When you write about women and their lives, especially their work choices, you inevitably get the "What? You don't think I'm doing the right thing? How dare you!" people, often over innocuous comments. So I am compelled to issue the following, and will continue to issue it whenever anyone gets her panties in a twist:

You hereby have The New Homemaker's permission to do whatever it is that makes you and your family happy.

I have spoken. ;)

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Scarily accurate:

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I only wash my hair a couple of times a week. It's so dry that if I did it more than that I'd have a brittle haystack on my head. So today was the first time I've washed my hair since I had it cut, and I even blew it dry. I never blow dry my hair--the dry thing, plus also I just never liked taking the time. I have the same blow dryer I left home with some 30 years ago, believe it or not.

It still looks pretty good. The main thing I noticed is that it seems to show my gray a lot more, shorter like this. Luckily I don't mind. I've earned each and every one of those damn things, and they didn't start coming in earnest until my 40s, unlike a close relative who shall not be named who started going gray at 18.

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I walked down the street today to the barber shop on the corner and gave my hair to Locks of Love. He took off at least a foot, maybe more, and gave me a soft pageboy that I'm still getting used to. The hair is at that length where it falls into my collar, and I keep having to fight the impulse to flick it out. Pix when I get new batteries for the camera.

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I got a box full of this stuff just now. It's still freakin' me out that people are starting to just send me stuff to review. (Please, someone send me a check for $5000 to review. ;) ) Now I'm trying to find out what the heck's in it; I don't want to use it if it's going to fill my house with fumes. The dry stuff has washing soda as one of its components and "organic acids" as well, whatever they are.

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I just don't. I'm 46. I'm fat--but worse, I have a really weird shape now that I'm still not used to. I mean, I've always been fat, but this is different; my shape is foreign to me. My good points are no longer good. My once-shapely-even-for-a-fat-girl legs are lumpy and odd now, especially my ankles.

I used to have a pretty good idea how to dress myself, and often looked kinda cute. Now, I haven't got a clue. Things I think will look good fail miserably. I've gotten to the point where I've just given up and follow Gilda Radner's advice: I base my look on what doesn't itch.

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the fleece, post-washingHere's the Corriedale fleece I got in the yarn avalanche, all spread out in the sun on my landing to dry. It's about seven pounds worth--a little under, since Leslie says she washed up a few ounces of it a while ago.

It was bought at Black Sheep a couple of years ago, I think. Its tag says it was submitted for judging and that it's a ewe's fleece, but other than that, no identifier.

I wish I knew who the shepherd is, because this stuff is gorgeous. It had almost no vegetable matter in it, in fact, zero--what is in there is stuff that's blown onto it while drying. And it cleaned up into a blindingly white, next-to-the-skin soft cloud. I didn't get all of the lanolin out, which is fine as far as I'm concerned.

Take a look at this staple:

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I am sitting here looking at a big trash bag full of Gedifra, another big trash bag full of Debbie Bliss, and a third big trash bag full of Noro. Keep in mind that I've never been able to afford a BALL of Noro, and now I have a big trash bag full.

Oh, and there are two cardboard boxes packed to overflowing with the goofiest, most fun novelty yarns you've ever seen.

My god, you're thinking, Lynn, how did you afford all this?

I can't. And I didn't have to.

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The Blog Reader Project survey is ended, and here's who we are. Highlights:

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On her blog and in email to supporters, Mabel's owner Cait Smith has announced that her ground-breaking and widely imitated knitting cafe will be closing within the next week or so:

I promise you that we tried very hard to prevent this sad turn - a number of factors have made this decision inevitable, including a saturated market in Portland and more crafters shopping online. ...

Starting this Sunday - August 12th - we will be having a storewide liquidation. All inventory will be 30% off, and we expect things to move quickly. We will open from 10AM - 6PM for the first two days, and will close at 4PM for the remaining 4 or 5 days.

On a happier note, I will be starting a new business in the same location, and many familiar faces will be right there with me. I hope you will all stop by at the end of August to check out our new
and expanded coffee house, complete with a children's area, free wi-fi, delicious coffee, bagels, treats, milkshakes.. ..all the good stuff. We hope to carry all of the coziness of Mabel's along with us.

The word is the new place will be called the Tandem Cafe and that most of the staff will be staying on. I was a customer of Mabel's literally from day one and taught beginning knitting there for a while. When I taught there it was at a time when we really needed the work, and I'll always be grateful for that.

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Yesterday we all went to a Portland Beavers minor league baseball game. Josie and I had a blast, Lou and Daddy, not so much. Josie and I are baseball people, the other two are not.

We did it up right, singing the National Anthem and the 7th inning stretch at the top of our lungs, eating peanuts and keeping score in the program. I taught Jo what I knew about the game, since John wouldn't know what RBI was if it smacked him with a catcher's mitt. And to my delight, she likes it too and was genuinely interested in the goings-on. We're going back for the last home stand as a birthday present, just her and me.

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You may note that a new little picture is showing up next to blog posts and comments (the internet term is "avatar," FYI). Right now almost all of you have the default "no picture" picture, the Clothesline Lady:

The Clothesline Lady

Except for me. You can see that my picture is different. It's me as an anime character. :)

Your picture can be different, too! If you click on a Clothesline Lady next to an entry of yours, it'll take you to your profile page. Click on the "edit" tab and you'll see where you can upload your own leetle peecture. You can make your leetle peecture anything you want: A picture of you, a picture of your kid(s)--any image you want. Just make sure it's no more than 85 pixels wide by 85 pixels tall, and is no more than 30k in size.

Like my me-as-an-anime? There are a lot of avatar generators out there if you want to make yourself into a cartoon character. Here are a sampling of them:

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plums!Today turned out to be a fairly big kitchen day. I baked a nectarine/pluot galette, because I have SO MANY STONE FRUITS I need to do something with! I used the cream cheese crust from Joy of Cooking using spelt flour, and oh man! Josie says it is the best thing I ever baked, period. I'll post the recipe in a couple of days.

Then John came home with something we've wanted for a while: A Fry Daddy! We filled it up with unrefined coconut oil and made some French fries and some gluten-free battered zucchini sticks, and then I made a couple of little fritters out of the leftover batter. We intend to make some wheat-free treats in the next few days, and it's nice to be able to make French fries that aren't so horrible for us. Looking forward to trying some wheat-free fish and chips, John's fave. (But wait! there's more!)

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This is a reprint of a "Hacker Housewife" article I wrote for the TNH Newsletter (the subscription form is to the far right). Now seemed a good time to put it in the blog, too.


If you've spent any time at TNH lately, you may have noticed at the bottom of posts there's a line that says:

Bookmark/Search this post with:

...and then a bunch of weird links like delicious, stumble upon, sk*rt and digg.

What are these mysterious links? And why should you care?

Those links are to social bookmarking sites. Social bookmarking is a way to share your bookmarks with others. It also allows you to keep your bookmarks in a central location, accessible from any device with a web browser. You can keep your links private, share them with a network of friends, or share them with the world.

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The UPS guy arrived around 10:30, I started reading around noon, and I finished around 6:45. I'm a fast reader.

The verdict: Pretty good, certainly satisfying. I'm not going to publish spoilers and I ask that you not, either, but if you've read it feel free to chime in here with *your* verdicts!

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For those of you waiting for Saturday, I present the Potter Puppet Pals:


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I'm concentrating on the organizer's dictums:

--Clear the decks in the kitchen before opening the computer (UNBELIEVABLY hard)

--Make sure breakfast is ready to be made when the girls get up

--Make sure at least one load of laundry gets washed and put away

--Clear the decks again and be ready to make dinner when John gets home.

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As you've probably noticed, I've been trying an experiment: Posting daily on the chore of the day. I've decided that those pieces really belong in the article sections, not Diary, and I'll be rearranging them into that section soon. I'll still be posting something every day, unless I need a break, and then I'll give notice of same. :)

Diary will be going back to my usual observations on life in general. Which means it'll also be moving down the front page a little to make way for the "new article" section.

I'm also looking at consolidating the various sections. The forum and blog post areas have way too many choices; I think it may be confusing to newbies. It's going to be a bit of work on my end, but should be seamless on yours.

The forums, I think, will remain with their topics as it stands now, though I'm probably going to collapse a few subtopics into the main topics--fewer choices. But the blogs I'm going to move into the same section as the articles--the seven basic topics of the site.

Stay tuned!

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Nothing is better for my soul than getting together with like-minded women. Today I went downtown--by myself, yet!--to meet up with a bunch of Portland knit-bloggers at Knit Purl.

Knitting wackiness ensued. Projects were displayed, small very sweet dogs were petted (I sat next to Kelly Petkun! squeal!), mystery shawl progress was noted, yarn was fondled, Oregonian knit bloggers were introduced, and many cookies were consumed.

Knit Purl were WONDERFUL hosts, thanks to them! They even had door prizes, one of which I won--a hank of hand-dyed ShibuiKnits merino kid in a very faintly variegated auburn called Pagoda. Felicitous, considering I have piles of browns and auburns I need to use up!

Knit bloggers, let's do it again soon.

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It's my mama's birthday today. Happy birthday, Grandma Arlene! We love you!!!

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TNHer and Homestead Neophyte Phelan is about to blog for 24 hours straight to raise money for Farm Aid. She sent me this message:

Last year I did the same and had incentives for people. I was wondering if any of your readers would like to donate any of their crafts to the cause. ... I have an article up at The Modern Homestead and a little something up on my blog. I have 2 businesses sponsoring and will be happy to put up some link love to those that are willing to help out with incentives.

So there you have it. I'm donating some ebooks, and if you have anything going, I encourage you to do the same. Contact Phelan through her two blogs.

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This is a poem Josie wrote on our front steps in chalk today:

Barbecue on the grill
You're in the pool to chill
Fireworks crack the sky
I can't see them!
Because it's the Fourth of July!

*sniff* I'm so proud. :)

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