Thursday, July 19, 2012

My windstar and an academy award

So what in the world does my Windstar (which looks a lot like the one pictured here, but isn't exactly the same because I couldn't find a perfect picture and was too lazy to get off the couch to go outside and take a picture) have to do with winning an academy award?  It's kind of complicated.  It's also kind of amusing, in a 50-something seeing right through her 20-something's plotting kind of way.

You see, my 20-something year old son is living at home right now (did I say rent-free but temporarily while he supposedly gets on his feet?) and using my Windstar.  It's a great car, but it's nearing 300,000 miles right now, and I need it to last me a few years more before it gasps its final breath.  It just got a brand new transmission a month or so ago which has really set us back a ton, but that's another issue.  To make this a little shorter, I'm trying to preserve the car.  I've told my son repeatedly when he's assumed he's going to drive his Boy Scout troop to a camp out, or drive to somewhere other than the necessary days at work, that he is not to take the car anywhere, anytime, for any reason that is not essential.  I thought that was pretty straightforward.

A little background here.  He dated/got engaged/moved in with/broke up with/had to be rescued from with all of his stuff a similarly aged female in the short span of September of last year to moving in with us in April of this year.  They were "in a relationship" on Facebook after one day. They were engaged in one month.  They moved in together within 2 months.  Then they were broken up in about 4 months but he still lived with her for awhile since he was using her car. September-April.   That's a total span of 6 months for those that are counting.  We packed and moved his stuff out of the apartment over Memorial Day weekend.  That was 6 weeks ago.  She lived in the next state.  I didn't want my car going up there.  He plotted and tried a variety of ploys to take my car up there but eventually had her come and pick him up on weekends prior to his moving in with her in that neighboring state.  I caught him in a couple of lies and figured I'd let it go since he was moving out of my house , butat that time I didn't see him moving back in with me after only 6 months.  His girlfriend, or should I saw fiance, was really different.  There, that's how I'm going to put it.  But I guess when you get engaged in a few weeks, and move in within a couple of months, you don't notice that kind of stuff beforehand.  Some people also drive their significant other nutso and I wasn't there to see it so I can't say what happened.  Either way, they were both to fault for moving so fast.

So fast forward to now, 6 weeks past that girlfriend, son is home again, and still without a car.  There are many excuses why he has no car, says he's saving, so he's been driving my car to see the NEW girlfriend who thankfully lives really close by.  He's told me three stories about how he met her, and three versions of how long he's known her, but supposedly he just spent time with her for the first time over the weekend, and on Tuesday they were "in a relationship".  Are you freaking kidding me?  No, I guess he didn't learn anything last time around.  Then, on Thursday she posted on his page that she wanted to spend her life with him.  Sounds like a middle schooler that's desperate, doesn't it?  Just like the first girlfriend he had, but there are a couple of differences.  This one is nearly 5 years younger than him, and has a child that's under a year.  She or her parents (or grandmother) that she lives with should know better than to get the child involved with my son so quickly, but maybe they're looking for someone to step in as a dad for the kid.  I don't know if I should giggle or gag, only this is serious, for not only the child, but for my kid.  Deja vu?

He says when I ask about the Facebook stuff that they're casually dating, yet he's been there every day this week.  Yeah right.  Casually dating.  And he tries to tell me that I'm out of date on what status changes mean.  I'm laughing now.  I'm friends with a ton of people in their 20's from our kids and co-workers, reenactors, and other people I know.  So duh, no, I'm not out of date.  And don't get me started on how many versions of how the girl got pregnant with the child I've heard now.  Nothing against the child, but just get the story straight, it's taking me too many brain cells to keep the stories straight.

So he goes to see her last night, and I tell him to be back by 9.  At 11:25 he texts to say he's on his way.  He finally makes it home after 1am.  He's driving my car, which I told him wasn't going to happen for anything but work again because he can't be considerate about getting home at a decent hour...before I go to bed.  My bedroom sits in the front of the house and the car coming in wakes me up.  Plus I don't sleep until my ancient Windstar comes in because it's ancient.  Needless to say I was up until 4:30am because I was so pissed. I yelled, he tried to placate me, and I calmed down.  He's burning some pretty important bridges with me. 

So here's where the academy award happens.  He texts me today from work to say he will have to work until 8pm.  (Really, I think, raising my eyebrow.)  So I tell him to do what the boss says and that I might drive out to his job and see him around 7pm.  Then he starts going on about how burned out he is (he's been getting off rather early this week to go spend time with the new girlfriend.)  I'm thinking "burned out?"  He's gotten off early (for him) every day and didn't work this past weekend at all. Do you think it's sleep deprivation from him getting in so late?  NAH, he says he functions better on only 4 hours of sleep.  So even when he's in his room, he's messaging with her anyway.  She lives at home and doesn't work.  She has help for her parenting duties because mom and grandmom, dad, and brother live there, so she can sleep if she needs to.  But he is getting tired, admitted or not.  He's never mentioned being "burned out" at this job until this point...just kept saying how much he loves his job.  I guess having this girl makes him 'burned out".  Go figure. 

So the texting conversation continues.  I told him to keep his social activities to the weekend, separate from work during the week, and the response is that he might have to work on Saturday.  (There is still a lot of time on the weekend.)  Then he gets into how he needs his social activities and his friends to keep sane when he's burned out.  He's worked 60 hours a week in the past and it was fine.  He's worked 50-60-70 hours a week before the girlfriend and everything he said was about how he loves his job.  Now he needs to have social/friends to hang with or he's going to get burned out.  Now mind you, he hasn't had any friends to "hang with" besides girlfriend #2 and #1 and his former girlfriend from North Carolina since he moved back from North Carolina June 2011.  He sees this friend occasionally for a few hours, but that's been it.  I asked him about friends when he moved back,  he told me he didn't keep in touch with anyone from High School, he didn't fit in, and didn't really like anyone from that time period.  So all of a sudden he's got all these friends from his High School to hang with.  Really? (Imagine the eyebrow raise now.)  I didn't even respond.  Why bother? 

And that's after trying to link a co-worker with meeting this girl when I know he met her on the internet.  That's no big deal to me, but why the elaborate story?

What a performance.  Honestly, the whole conversation was such great acting that I almost (just almost) felt badly about seeing right through it. Come on, it's not like she's going to de-materialize if he doesn't see her every moment.  I'm sure they text all day anyway, I just hope she doesn't cause him to lose his job.  Then he'll be homeless, carless, and jobless.  Maybe he can move in with her big happy family. 

It reminds me of my daughter sneaking around in middle school to see a boy because "She had to see him".  Emphasis on "had to".  But middle school is middle school, he's in his mid twenties.  That gut wrenching drive to do anything to see that person...even if it means your head goes completely up your ass and you stop thinking logically, it's just not smart.  It's tough to be enfatuated and lose all of your brain cells to the point that you don't realize that when you make things up, people are on to you, and you start doing stupid things in all other areas of your life.

I told him point blank that if he takes my car to her house against my wishes there will be serious ramifications. (Like as in "Move your Ass out right this minute".) and that I will know.  Trust me.  I will know. It's not like he isn't very close to getting a car...but it's always "I don't have enough money this week."  That story is best left for another day.   And it has nothing to do with her per-se, she's just another desperate young girl that has been charmed by someone paying her some attention.  A desperate young (19) girl with a baby.  But I just don't understand anyone that can be totally in love to the point of already proclaiming that she wants to "spend the rest of my life" with someone after less than a week.  Even a week, even a month, really screams desperation.  What kind of dating website is he using where he's finding these girls? Why don't girls realize how important it is to really get to know the guys they date over a period of time?  Why doesn't she realize that her child depends on her to make sure this guy is a keeper over a period of time.  I would imagine that abusers and creeps hone in on these types of girls, and that's alarming.  No, I am not calling my kid one of those kinds of guys.

Perhaps girlfriend #2 should talk to girlfriend #1 who thought the same thing about everything being perfect immediately and has a different opinion now.  I actually feel sorry for the girl because she seems nice, and I know that he's leading her on.  And her family seems to like him too.  I hope they slow her down if not for her own sake, for the sake of the child.

But I digress again, I apologise.  So I decide to take a drive over to visit his work site this evening.  I figure I'll leave at 6:15 or so and miss most of rush hour and go say hi to him at work (if he's even there) but he calls at 5:30 to say that he's going to be able to leave.  He gets home and he's not hungry at all and wants to go to bed right away.  Since there has been so much deceit, I'm wondering if he didn't get off early again (he can get off after 3ish) and have dinner with her on the way home.  But he brought the car home and is home before I go to bed so I'm satisfied.  But I can't wait to see his pay stub for his hours.  lol

So I can't wait to see how this plays out over's pretty amusing so far.  And my Windstar is sitting outside.

Monday, July 16, 2012

News from my waistline

I hate to admit it, but I've been slowly gaining weight, especially since my sister passed away at the end of June last year. We went to Hawaii in April for our son's wedding and when I saw the pictures I easily saw that I was the largest woman there.  It broke my heart.  I knew that I'd been gaining but I didn't come to terms with how bad I was looking until I saw the pictures.  It was just a little bit here and there, but it was getting difficult to button my pants and my knees, back, feet, and ankles were screaming at me! I just got off the scale, I have now lost about 8 pounds in 15 days. It's no gimmick.

 I'd done weight watchers many times before, but I would always feel sick while I was doing it.  .  They really push processed foods on people, selling their own brand of bars, smoothies, and snack foods, as well as pushing their yogurt and such found at the grocery store.  I'd read "The China Study" and seen the fantastic documentary "Forks over Knives" so I knew how harmful dairy foods are, and that there is more calcium in plant milks, something that Weight Watchers fails to mention.  The science is there to link animal foods to disease, heart disease, stroke, cancer, alzheimers, diabetes, the list goes on.  So I had to rethink what I was doing as far as food was concerned.  I knew I was snacking a lot, and grazing on a lot of breads and things like that because I wasn't eating animals (but I WAS eating seafood which is horrible for's higher in Cholesterol than meat!) but I didn't have a direction in terms of what to do about gaining weight or reversing the trend.
You know I'm very committed to the vegan lifestyle, and I found that I was using too much of the meat substitutes that were mostly made up from oil. I was also eating a lot (A LOT!) of carbs, and not being careful about things that had egg or milk in them like I should. I kept getting vertigo and would be able to look back and see why (maybe butter on the veggies or something like that). I was talking about looking for a book I'd heard about called the Engine 2 diet.  Hubby said he wanted to look over the Engine 2 diet  as well so I bought the book one day at whole foods. It gave me a very easy to do and consise clean up of my diet.

So far it's been great. I have lost a little bit daily, and my mood swings are gone, I feel good, and the only issue that I have is if I don't drink enough water while I'm flying to keep me hydrated which is certainly not the fault of the diet. This is basically an easy one, it's just vegan, but tells you how to get the amount of fat (oil) and salt and sugar out of your diet...very well put especially for the men in the audience. Their website (link above) is fantastic and you can food journal there and ask for help from the community if you'd like. The science and studies behind their diet are included, so you can do more research if you'd like. The science and studies are linked to their website, and they follow the same recommendations as all of the University studies that have been coming out. 

Best of all, I am NEVER hungry! I'm hoping to be able to get back into my reenacting clothing by the time our Conference on the Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860's comes around in March of next year again.  Hubby keeps asking me if I miss anything (he's doing the diet as well) and I honestly can't think of anything that I miss.  Even eating at resteraunts is very doable, the waitstaff has been great about making meals for me that are all plant based.  I don't know if hubby will continue to improve his health, but his blood pressure is already down to within normal limits from being high enough in the past that his doctor wanted to put him on meds.  I can't wait to see how much his cholesterol numbers have improved!  I've seen my hematocrit go way up...that's a measure of the red blood cells in your blood, or anemia.  It's perfect now.  I feel great...and I don't ever want to go back to feeling like crap after eating again.

Color Affection Finished

On the knitting/crochet website there is a list of "trending" patterns that are very popular.  One of them was the wingspan pattern that I finished up a few weeks ago, and another is the "Color Affection" shown here which is a really neat wrap or shawl pattern.  I just finished it a couple of days ago and got it blocked and washed over the weekend so I thought I'd post a picture.  I did my Color Affection in Louet MerLin Wool and Linen yarn and it has a very nice feel to it.  It is cool enough to use for a slight chill on a summer evening, yet also has enough wool in it to be used in the Fall and Winter.

This wrap had so much knitting to it (it's huge, but it was impossible to photograph the whole length of it) that I've made sweaters that had less stitching to them!  It took me a little over three hours just to bind off the last row.  I used linen grey, burgundy, and eggplant for my wrap, and yes, that's an eggplant plant just above it in the middle of the planter!  It's a quick and easy knit that got too large to take to work, though I did do the majority of stitching on breaks at work and in the car going exploring in Philadelphia with hubby driving.  Now, on to the next project!

YAY, Another fleece carded

I've been trying to have a meaningful relationship with my Patrick Green Super Card here, but it's been challenging with working and other things on my agenda this summer.  This morning, I finally finished carding another of my stash of shetland fleeces.  It's been a long process trying to work on the fleeces that I've had stashed in my basement and there is still work to be done.  A couple of weeks ago, my dear hubby picked two of the fleeces for me so that I could card and not worry about having to do the picking as well.

For those not familiar with the wool processing process, here is a quick overview.  Sometimes I send my fleeces to be processed by a woolen mill, and I get the finished wool back as long "snakes" of roving, ready for the spinning wheel.  But when I have small fleeces, the woolen mill can't process them, or when I'm poor, I opt not to pay the $8.00 or more per pound to have the work done for me.  My personal favorite woolen mills are "Gurdy Run" outside of Harrisburg, PA, and McClellan's Frankenmuth Woolen Mill in Frankenmuth, MI.  I really like the way each mill processed the wool, but the fleeces I'm working on are too small to send to them.  But I digress.  Here's the "by hand" process: 

When I buy a fleece from a sheep and wool show or a shepherd, it's dirty and greasy, so it needs to be carefully washed in hot water and dawn soap (the best thing I've found) to get rid of most of the natural lanolin.  This is a time consuming process since the wool will felt if it isn't handled properly. Then the fleece is dried on a screen either on my back deck or when the weather isn't great, in my living room.  After that, it is picked which means that the locks are separated in some way.  I have a picker which is a scary thing that has incredibly sharp points that pull the locks apart, but some people do this step by hand.  I wear a welding apron and welding gloves when I do this because the points of the picker are scary dangerous.  I keep the picker locked with a padlock and key when I'm not using it.  The picker has been living in my dining room with my carder but it will need to go back to the basement prior to school. 

Then after the fleece is picked and looks like the fiber next to the carder, After picking out the small ends and pieces of hay and brambles by hand, I run it through the carder which will line up the fibers in a pretty straight line, open up the locks, and basically produce a "batt" which I then take off the carder drum and roll in a tube so that I can spin from it later.  The carder also gets rid of a lot of barnyard matter like straw and grass that has gotten stuck in the fleece.  The bag to the right is made up of batts from the fleece that I just finished. 

I have three more Shetland fleeces under the table ready to pick and card.  Shetland sheep are fairly small with the largest fleece being around four pounds, all the way down to two pounds.  It's been taking me a couple of weeks per fleece to process them and get them ready to go to the basement to wait for winter when I will hopefully have time away from my school work to start spinning them.  I have the three shetland fleeces you see here ready to pick and card, plus one that is already picked to card.  I also have a number of other fleeces and portions of fleeces ready to pick and card, but my goal this summer was to get all of the Shetlands ready to spin so I'll forgive myself if I don't get everything I have finished.  The ones remaining are tan and brown, beautiful colors indeed.  Then i have to begin to work up the Corriedale, Rominov, Finn/Romney, and CVM fleeces I have already washed that are ready to be processed, as well as the colored wools I dyed a number of years ago that also need to be picked and carded.  I think that the CVM and Finn will probably be sent to the woolen mill to do, they're huge fleeces.

Somehow I think I'm not going to get it all done prior to going back to school August 13th.  I've been knitting too, but the biggest thing that has cut into my time working on the wool has been work.  Still, I'm happy to have a job, and to have some time at work to knit. :)  That's what getting the wool ready is really about, using it to knit beautiful things!