Monday, December 10, 2012

Cat person

I'm a cat person. I have two kitties I adore.

I haven't seen them much lately because I got a dog.

I wanted a dog as a protector. So after looking carefully I found one I thought would suit me best. He is crate trained, house trained and already knows the sit command. He's a bit bigger than I wanted, about 50lbs instead of 30.

So I am adjusting to life with a dog. I definitely get more exercise, I walk him for 20 minutes or longer each day. He waits to eat until I tell him to and he usually leaves the cat food alone. He lays by me when I nap.

I have to pick up his giant poos. Sometimes he randomly barks at me which makes me jump. He demands attention in the evening when I just want to knit. I would walk him but it's dark and cold. I'm trying to teach him to lay at my feet so I can rub his belly with my foot. When he does this he is quiet and happy. I also have two birds and I'm working on teaching him they are pets not treats.

He does make me feel safer. He makes me laugh when he sits on his tail and wags it hard.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I'm writing today because I feel the need to send into the universe my grief and reclaim my power. Just maybe someone else will also be able to reclaim their power too.

Powerless, afraid, sad, alone, stuck, future-less, broken, pain... I was a little kid and did not have the words to explain my feelings and didn't know there was one word to describe all the feelings.

Nearly 30 years ago I learned what it felt like to be a the victim of sexual assault. It took a decade to reclaim my power and banish the word victim from my vocabulary. I learned some valuable lessons; I could chose my path and did not need to be defined by the choice of another person to perpetrate a crime.

I became a survivor.

Today that dirty word, victim, crept back into my vocabulary. I don't want it there.

About a month ago a stranger broke into my home and sexually assaulted me.

Initially it was easy to call myself a survivor...

I was in shock. It took a week to remember to do all the steps of bathing myself, I even forgot to wash the conditioner out of my hair.

Then it was denial; "I was just a little event, no big deal..." I was frustrated I was not functioning well; my memory and concentration were little or none, I walked through my days like a zombie. 

There is still a lot of denial.

Today I feel like a victim.

This time my head can tell me many things are not true. I am not alone, I have experienced an outpouring of love and support from family, friends, co-workers and even some strangers in my local church group. My head says I am not broken, I am not powerless and there is a future for me. The fear is subsiding, I remind myself I have an alarm system and a dog.

Unfortunately the head can only do so much to convince the heart...

Maybe it's okay to feel like a victim for a while. Maybe it's okay to say, "I feel broken and powerless" and accept those feelings... after all no feeling is "bad or wrong." These feelings are uncomfortable and painful but pain is often part of healing. I know pushing feelings and thoughts away is not effective, sometimes it is necessary to sit in the feeling, acknowledge it is there, it's a valid feeling.

I wish I had the answer. I wish my past experience had created a perfect road map to travel through this event in record time. It didn't.

So today I will sit in this feeling for a while then do some things to take care of myself... nap, love on my pets, clean house, paint my toes, knit, eat something good for me, take a walk, reach out to a friend or two... I know I won't do all of them and that's okay too.

This feeling won't last forever but it won't go away overnight either... but it will go away because I am a survivor.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


A few months ago a coworker of mine died suddenly by committing suicide. I have been deeply affected by his death.

I have chosen to participate in the Walk Out of the Darkness event in Salt Lake City on Saturday September 15, 2012 in his memory. I am spreading the word that I am looking for sponsors.

Please consider donating a dollar.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fingerless gloves - Crochet

I haven't written up this pattern but wanted to share this idea for my crocheting friends out there.

This idea is a simple way to make a fingerless glove that fits well. Working in the back loops creates a stretchy fabric and eliminates the need to add or subtract stitches for shaping.

I used worsted weight yarn and a 'H' hook. Make a chain as long as you want your glove measuring from the top of the palm. Crochet in back loop until the glove fits snugly around your wrist and loosely around your palm. Join into a tube leaving a hole for your thumb about 1.5 inches from the top.

You can leave the thumb as it is or sculpt a thumb cover. That's the tricky part. I will write this up later.

This idea can easily be altered. For a lacy version double or triple crochet and chain one or three between each stitch on one row then alternated on the next rows.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

No means NO - Rape

I'm keeping this posting brief. It's really a rant I want to make to someone I don't want to maintain contact with.

I went out with this guy, he was nice and I kind of liked him. He was a bit pushy but I thought I'd give him a chance. Against my better judgement I let him come to my home at 9:30 pm. Now in my book meeting after 8:00 pm is questionable and at 10:00 pm it's a booty call. I made it clear to this guy before I let him come over that I was not interested in a booty call. He said I should stop thinking 10 pm is a booty call.

He came over and was still pushy but seemed to be respecting my boundaries for a while then he stopped. I won't give details, lets just say he kept pushing at my boundaries trying to get me to let him have what he wanted despite being told no. I had started to worry he would not take no for an answer. Finally instead of saying, "not tonight" and kindly pushing him away I used my no-nonsense voice to say, "No" and pushed harder.

He stopped.

Clearly he - like some other men I've been around - doesn't understand no means no. Pushing and coercing equals rape.  Most law is now written that a person only needs to say 'no' once for your action to be rape. No MEANS NO!

Today when I told him I have no interest in seeing him again and let him know he showed he does not respect me and can not trust him he says, "I don't think we did anything wrong." WE? Listen buddy, I'm proud of myself for standing my ground. YOU did do something wrong.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's a girl!

My niece was born on March 17, 2012. She is tiny and may not be wearing the cardi I made until late summer or early fall, I hope it isn't too warm. I also made a blanket, booties and a hat. The blanket is lacy so it should be fine to use all summer.

They named her Necia. (Neesha)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Chicks at 10 weeks

My first batch of chicks went in the coop tonight essentially on their own... They got a little coaching from the wind, a little coaching from the scary lawn mower and a little coaching from me to get them the rest of the way in the coop.

Let's see if they remember this lesson tomorrow. :)

Here is a pic of a pair from that batch when they were a week old.

Monday, March 5, 2012


A few weeks ago I got my first batch of chicks for this year and next weekend I get my second batch.

I love seeing little balls of fluff turn into funny looking, pin covered dinosaurs.

I have two silkies, two Plymouth rocks, two black sex links, four polish and three Easter eggers. Not much more to say about it but so excited I wanted to share.

Here is a picture of of my cochin chicks from last year.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Micheal's shame on you!

Please call Michael's and express your dissatisfaction regarding their exchange policy.

I contacted Michael's by email after learning about their exchange policy. Here is my letter and their response;

This is a notification from the Michaels Customer Care Department.

Your Ticket Number 03554424 has been updated.

Call Description: I was appalled to learn your policy does not allow for a
customer to exchange one item for another of the same cost and same brand
but different color. This policy is unacceptable. I recognize companies
generally create such policies to protect against loss due to retail theft.
Your employees have been unable to provide any explanation for this policy.
I can think of only one explanation for this policy, that it is an effort
to increase profits at the expense of your customers' satisfaction. Over
the past several months I spent over a hundred dollars on yarn. I bought
too much of one color and not enough of another during a $2.00 sale on your
Loops and Threads brand yarn. A week later I returned to your store to
exchange a few skeins for a different color and learned your policy
required I receive $2.00 for each of my skeins as I had originally paid and
purchase the new skeins at full price because the product was no longer on
sale. Please change your policy to be fair to your customers. I hope one
letter is enough for you to recognize this policy is unacceptable and
causes dissatisfaction to customers. Change this policy.
New Entry: Dear Michelle,

Thank you for contacting us. We take customer comments, complaints and
suggestions seriously. I'm sorry you had trouble with your return, but we
do not have the ability to perform even exchanges. We have only two
functions in our register: purchase and return. When you exchange
something, you are returning one product and purchasing the new product. If
you used a coupon on the previous purchase or there was a sale on, these
cannot be applied toward the new purchase. I realize this may be
frustrating for you, and I will pass on your complaint to our Returns
Management for their consideration. Again, I apologize for the

If you have any further questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free
to call us at 800-642-4235.

Michaels Customer Relations

The policy is also ridiculous. When I complained a manager instructed the cashier to change the price of the product to match the price I paid. There is no reason they can not do so every time!

Friday, February 10, 2012

On my mind

When I was in first grade my family moved to a home in Sandy. One day I was riding my bike and met a girl my age who lived in the circle across from the circle my family lived in. That was nearly 25 years ago. Our friendship has lasted our lives and we are sisters in our hears.

She has been the best kind of friend. My favorite friend quote is, "My friend knows the song of my heart and sings it back to me when I forget." My friend knows the song of my heart better than anyone in the world. Our lives have been very different and she has never judged my choices. She has been there for me in the most painful parts of my life and provided comfort and support when I most needed to be loved.

Earlier this week she gave birth to a beautiful little girl who could not eat or breathe on her own. The prognosis was hopeful, she would be fine at some point in the future although they didn't know what was wrong. Two days later the doctors determined she will not ever eat or breathe on her own.

Today my best friend says goodbye to her newborn. My heart weaps and I pray there will still be a miracle for my dearest friend or that if there is no miracle God will comfort her heart and her family as they let go.

Dear friend I love you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Food problems

I am reading Michael Pollan's Omnivores Dilemma, a few years ago I read In Defense of Food by the same author. I find his research of our food chain fascinating and it inspires me to urban homestead.

Essentially Pollan states the soil used to grow our food is sick and depleted, many of our food animals are sick due to eating corn - they were never meant to eat and the majority of the American diet is comprised of corn and soy. (Soy is problematic because it mimics estrogen, not good for men or women in large quantities.) Additionally we damage the environment in the way we grow food by using industrial, un-natural ways to fertilize, protect and ship our foods.

I do not generally buy organic because of price, it's often shipped long distances and because I don't believe it's superior to non-organic. Micheal Pollan's work suggests, in general, my belief is correct. Organic food is industrial grown and not much better off than non-organic food.

Oh and by the way "cage free" means the chickens were kept in a building with slightly more space than a cage but are not outside, "free range" often means the chickens have access to a yard but only for a few weeks and were kept in doors so long they don't want to go outside. Buy "pastured" animal products. Pastured means the animals are grown on grass for the majority of their lives.

Our food animals are generally meant to live on grass so pastured animals are healthier and require little if any man made interventions. Sustainable pastured is even better because the farmer is using plants and animals to create a healthy food system sustained by crop and animal management rather than chemical management. When I have the chance to purchase sustainable food I do. Sustainable food is not necessarily organic however because of the way it is grown the soil is healthier so the animals are healthier.

I love the idea of urban homesteading. Most people are unfamiliar with the term urban homesteading. Urban homesteading is the practice of living in the suburbs or urban environment and using the land to farm on a small scale in order to provide produce and animal products for personal use, think victory garden. Urban homesteaders do not grow lawn.

Lawns were created by aristocrats way back when to show off their wealth. I have no need to show off my wealth in such a way and I would rather use the resource of water and time to grow food than a nice lawn. Gardens take less water than lawn because the grass used to grow lawn is meant to grow several feet and we keep them trimmed to a few inches stressing the plant so the plant needs more water to survive.

I have a good-sized garden I grow in the summer. I have not figured out how to grow the proper kinds of food in the proper amounts. I also have chickens, a lot of chickens. I sell eggs to friends and neighbors earning a very small profit. In the next year or so I would like to dig out a small root cellar and create some cold frames for extending the growing season into the winter. Eventually I would like to have a goat, more fruit trees and some grape vines. I compost leaves, chicken waste, garden waste and food waste and use it in my gardens to keep the soil alive and healthy. I am proud of my black garden soil.

I use the lazy farmer's way of keeping my chickens it's called the deep litter method. Deep litter means the coop is cleaned in the spring and the waste and shavings set to compost another year. This method begins composting in the coop helping the coop stay warm and sanitary all winter long. Because the litter in the coop is composting vitamins are available to the chickens not available by other means.

My hens are pastured and I have not had any problems with disease and because I clean the coop only once a year I do not have a fly problem. I know with all that chicken waste the lack of a fly problem does not make sense. The presence of fecal matter in the coop attracts flies but the consistent presence of the waste also attracts a fly predator balancing out the flies.

I think I will need to move into a different area with more land, possibly in a agriculturally zoned area or at least with a tall fence so no one can see what I'm doing in my back yard.

I think a lot of people are aware farmers are subsidized by the government to keep them in business because otherwise they would not be able to live off the sale of their crop, selling the crop yields little if any profit. Because the government subsidizes farmers for growing specific crops there is an excess of corn and soy grown increasing the use of it in food and non-food after all something has to be done with it before it spoils. Food made with corn or soy is cheap because of abundance fruits and vegetables are not subsidized increasing the cost of whole or unprocessed foods.

Basically our food system is a mess.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Puff Accented Cardigan, Baby

Puff Accented Cardigan, Baby

0-3 months
Chest measurement – 17 inches
This is my first written pattern so there is a good chance there are some mistakes. If you find mistakes please let me know and I will correct it.
I created this pattern because I needed a gender neutral baby cardigan and I don’t like piecing together. I consider this pattern easy however you will need a basic understanding of increasing and decreasing and puff stitches.
Baby weight yarn, 2 skeins
Size “G” (4.25 mm) hook
Tip – I use a larger hook for the initial chain and the armhole chains later in the piece. I used an “I” (5.50 mm) hook.
Chain 44
Row 1-6: HDC increasing 10 stitches evenly across on each row. Chain 2 at the end of each row then turn. (94 stitches on row 6)
Row 7: *1 HDC in 6 stitches, 2 HDC 1 stitch* repeat. Chain 6, skip 20. HDC in next 26 stitches placing 4 increases evenly. Chain 6, skip 20, *2 HDC, 1HDC in 6 stitches* repeat. Chain 2, turn. (Armholes should measure approximately 6 ½ inches.)
Row 8 – 9: 1 HDC in each stitch placing 6 increases evenly. Chain 2 at the end of each row then turn.
Row 10 – 4.5 inches from neckline: HDC in each stitch. Chain 2 at the end of each row then turn. I don’t know how many rows it takes to get to 4.5 inches, about 7. Do NOT fasten off.
Row 18(?): Ch 3, Skip stitch, HDC. *Ch 1, skip stitch, HDC* Repeat across ending with HDC in turning chain.
Special Stitch - Puff Stitch: Wrap yarn, insert hook into chain 1 space, YO pull through, YO pull through 2 loops, *wrap yarn insert hook into same chain 1 space, YO pull through, YO pull through 2 loops* repeat twice more. You should have 5 loops on your hook. Pull through 5 loops.
Row 19(?): Puff stitch, *chain 1 skip HDC, Puff stitch in chain 1 space* repeat to end. Chain 2 turn.
Row 20(?): repeat row 18.
Row 21(?): repeat row 19.
Row 22(?): 1 HDC in each stitch to end of row. Do NOT fasten off.
Chain 3, HDC up front evenly. Chain 2, SC across neck. Chain 3, HDC down front placing 1-2 button holes in the top 4 inches by chaining 1 or 2 and skipping stitches. Chain 2, SC across bottom. Fasten off.
Row 1:Attach yarn at bottom of armhole, chain 1, place 30 - 32 SC evenly around opening. Chain 2 turn.
Row 2 – 13: 1 HDC in each stitch across. Chain 2 turn. Repeat to 4 – 4 ¼ inches, you may need to adjust the number of rows.
Row 14 – 22: 1 HDC in each stitch placing 1 decrease evenly. Approximately 6 ¼ inches, you may need to adjust the number of rows. (Wrist opening should measure at least 5 inches.) Fasten off.
Finishing: Weave in ends and block. Add buttons.

It's been a long time

When I first started this blog I was incredibly depressed since then a lot has changed. I am happier.

I completed my Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling.

I work full time as a mental health counselor and love my work. What I do is interesting, challenging and has the occasional big reward.

I crochet a lot. In the last few months I've made three layettes; blanket, sweater, hat and booties. The last set I had to create my own pattern for the sweater and will be posting it in my next post.

I have almost 2 dozen chickens and am looking forward to President's day when IFA gets in chicks. I will be obtaining three chicks and in the summer I will get rid of 6 plus my two roosters.

I garden each summer. Last year's garden was a bust, the wet spring convinced me I didn't need to water my garden so it produced very little. Lesson learned, water the garden.