cocoa purl

Chocolate Covered Misadventures (knitting, childrearing, surviving) of a Passable Mind

Now I really mean it and FO’s July 13, 2009

Filed under: adventures,blog,kid's stuff,LG — cocoapurl @ 3:33 pm

Clearly, I wasn’t being completely honest in my last post. Three months and one baby later, now I’m RILLY, RILLY back.

Introducing my latest FO: Evelynn Faye (after her grandmas). Born April 10, 2009 (five weeks early) at 5lb 6 oz. Another C-section on account of my water breaking AND her being sideways. Sorry to those with sensitive sensibilities for the TMI. That’s as bad as it gets.

Evie at 3 months

Evie at 3 months

Oh. My.

Oh. My.

Can you stand it?

Can you stand it?

Oh. So. Cute.

And I’m not just saying that. She’s cute from a completely aesthetic, non-Mom-bias perspective. So cute that I like to nibble on her from time to time. And now that she’s smiling – oh, help me.

She is now 3 months and nearly 13 pounds, thanks in large part to constant nursing. Apparently, I’m good at growing babies and feeding babies – just not so hot at actually birthing them.

Given the round the clock nursing of the last few months, I haven’t been doing much knitting. Or spinning. Or sleeping. But I have been surfing Ravelry and reading knitting blogs voraciously via my iTouch. I have spun and knit thousands of projects, virtually, in my head.

I’ve actually STARTED a pair of booties, Magic Slippers, by SockPixie, in the real world. Well, I started them twice. Apparently I can screw up even the “super easy” “mindless” project that its supposed to be – my February Lady Sweater is being put aside until I’m getting five hours, solid, a night. Until then, I’m knitting remedial.

On the topic of the iTouch, one handed computing is the best thing ever for a nursing mom. There’s even an app called “Blogger” (Baby and Logger together, I’m figuring) that allows you to record every feeding, sleep, pee and poop of your baby. Sounds dumb to non-parents, I know. But the pediatrician likes to know these things, and I’m too out of it to remember to apply deodorant, much less remember how many times the baby pooped today. Oh, and as a bonus, I can even upload my Blogger log to Twitter! (Not that I do, but I could. I don’t tweet. I certainly don’t tweet when my baby last pooped.)

There are a couple downsides to the iTouch for a sleep-deprived new mom.  Namely, you can search anything anytime thanks to your handy WiFi-enabled browsing. This is a problem at three in the morning when the baby won’t sleep and you Google the little rash you found on her bum and come back with all the horrible things it could be, but probably isn’t. At 3 AM, though, its panic time. One Google later, I’m shaking the hubby awake, convinced she has leprosy.

Evie is tolerant, even amused by her folks. Her comedy de jour is Daddy doing raspberries. She smiles so hard that she’s teetering on the edge of a giggle. Now that we know it will happen any day, its a bit of a competition to see who gets her to giggle first. I think I have an ace up my sleeve, but the subtlety of a one-eye cross may be lost on my darling 3 month old.

In addition to her sense of humor, she has also found her thumb. Right now, this is GREAT news because it means she can “self-soothe” (Been reading a few too many baby books, have we?). A few years down the road when our 8 year old is still sucking her thumb, maybe not so much. But I have the willpower to completely ignore THAT possibility, because with thumb-sucking brings the potential for MORE SLEEP. And right now, sleep is my drug of choice.

Oh sweet thumb

Oh sweet thumb

Ive got you now

I've got you now

Snort, zzzzzzzzz

'Snort', zzzzzzzzz

Evie’s big brother LG is adjusting pretty well – it was a bit of a shock for everyone when she came early, and we were working up to preparing him for the big day. (We did the abridged version on the way to the hospital from the OB’s office). But he’s adjusting well to his new role, and even gives her kisses from time to time. And he likes putting her toes in his ear. Don’t ask.

Oh, and Little Guy is now officially a Big Guy. Thankfully, he’s a somewhat benevolent dictator. He decreed just today that Sunday is His Day to Complain. I inquired, and it is His Day only. FYI.



I’m BACK March 10, 2009

Filed under: blog,crafts,knitting — cocoapurl @ 3:37 pm

My poor, poor blog. Its been highly neglected. In fact, I can’t think of a thing that’s been more ignored by me in recent weeks months, except for maybe the laundry. To its credit, the blog doesn’t make things stinky when ignored.

I’ve made more than my share of excuses, mostly to myself, as to why I haven’t been blogging. I could go through them, but methinks its sort of like beating a dead, boring horse. Let me just say SORRY, and we can close this boring chapter in the life of a blog and move on to more important interesting things like:


Or more specifically, baby (sorry to freak you out, Mom). This one is 7 months along (hmm, duration strangely similar to absence of blogging), and kicking like a soccer champ. She’s a she, and somehow I thought She would be quiet and gentle compared to LG. Oh, so wrong. The upside is that I haven’t eaten my way to a Tom Wahl’s (local burger joint) customer appreciation plaque, as I almost did last time round. She just doesn’t seem as HUNGRY/RAVENOUS, and I am therefore not nearly as keen on eating every hour and a half.

Everything is going swimmingly (knock wood) and I’m just passing the cute pregnant lady phase and entering into the nervous-glances (as in “My God – she could deliver any minute!”) phase. And I’m nesting. In a HUGE way. Which leads me to my next segue:


My knitting mojo is back with a vengeance. Thanks to my lovely chiropractor, my hands are fully functional and not numb this time around, and I’ve had a full outlet for my nesting tendencies. In fact, I think knitting is a much better alternative to, say, washing the kitchen cabinets. Or scrubbing the bathroom floor. Though the bathroom actually needed it, making a baby sweater is WAY more satisfying.

First, I made this:

Easy Baby Hoodie

Easy Baby Hoodie

  • Pattern: Easy Baby Cardigan, by Diane Soucy (link to Ravelry)
  • Yarn: Gedifra Florida, pink and purple
  • Needles: KnitPicks size 5

Thanks so much to Denise for getting me past the DUH! moment of how to make just the sleeves striped, where to start, and not laughing at me for being a dummy.

I also made this:

Hooded Baby Blanket

Hooded Baby Blanket

Pattern: Hooded Baby Blanket by Nikol Lohr, The Thrifty Knitter

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 Superwash Wool, 7 skeins

Needles: Maybe 8’s? Can’t remember…

For my new cutie-patootie nephew Maximo Wilbia Sisson! Now, if I can just find thier address…or phone number…maybe poor Max will have his blanket before summer. (more…)


IT! July 1, 2008

Filed under: blog,rambling — cocoapurl @ 1:45 am

I was tagged by the lovely Denise from knitting group, and boy, howdy – I feel pretty special about it. I feel a little like the new kid at school, being waved over to the cool kids’ table in the cafeteria. Now, if I can only hide my true inner dorkiness for a little longer…

What was I doing ten years ago?

I had just finished my first year teaching at RIT as a lowly (and I mean lowly) instructor, and was seriously debating the wisdom of returning in the fall since I had done such a lousy job. Then I got my student evaluations – never have I questioned my own grip on reality as with those evals. They thought I did a bang-up job. Were they actually paying attention? I think, no.

Dean and I had just gotten married the previous fall, and were still flush with the giddiness of having health insurance. For BOTH of us. With DENTAL. Woo-hoo! We lived in a thin-walled two bedroom duplex in East Rochester (which we would later buy) next to our landlords – in retrospect, we should have recognized the reality TV goldmine that was our landlords.

What are the five things on my to-do list today?

I have a few more then five, so I’ll spare you the REALLY boring ones. Like tackling the single sock basket pile.

  1. Laundry. Apparently buying more underwear and socks doesn’t mean less laundry, less often. Someone much smarter than me needs to explain this mystery to me. And how is it the towels are never clean? Must buy more.
  2. Grocery store. This morning’s trip was pre-empted by very dark clouds appearing out of nowhere while we were in Target. And yes, of COURSE I left all the windows in the house open, so then we had to go home, eat lunch, and then LG needed a nap… But we need to get there later, because without the essentials (sugar for coffee, bread for PB&J, chocolate) things get ugly fast in my house. While there, come up with, buy ingredients for, and MAKE dinner, instead of copping out at the last minute and getting something to bring right home. Darn you, Rotisserie Chickens, and your accompanying, expensive, convenient sides!
  3. Go through my email. I detest email even more in the summer than during the school year. I almost resent it – doesn’t everyone realize summer is my time to veg, goof off, and basically drop off the professional planet? As a result, I end up ignoring it for days on end, until I get nasty “Your account is over its limit” messages and 190 messages in my inbox. Not counting the 232 in my junk folder. BLECH. I may need to come up with a self-reward to make me do it. That’s NOT food based. I’m trying…
  4. Play CandyLand/Thomas’s Great Race, build a fort, have a picnic with the finest plastic food money can buy, and read books to my son (at least until I get so sleepy that I need a break). Drink caffeine. Repeat. Resist temptation to let him watch TV.
  5. Ply and wash the last of my very first fiber. I need to watch the DVD again to remember how to andean ply. Without breaking off my middle finger. OOh, wait! I found this instead. After I finish that, I want to start on a knitted critter for my girlfriends b-day. When is that again? Oh, right – it’s today.

5a. Call Erika for B-day.

Snacks I Enjoy

  • Chocolate, obviously. Dark, but sweet and unadulterated by nuts or other contaminants – sort of like the cheap wine of the chocolate world. I can’t eat milk chocolate because of the dairy allergy. My current favorite is Newman’s Own Sweet Dark – today has been a two square day. So far. (I do need to confess a strong affinity for chocolate covered blueberries, despite my claims of being a chocolate purist.)
  • Chips and guacamole. I could eat guacamole all day, every day. Ask me how I know.
  • Toasted flatbread and hummus, or flatbread and tabbouleh. Not recommended in the same day.

Things I would do if I were billionaire

  • Pay off all of our debt, all of our families debt, and repay my parents for college. Pay off Tori’s debt. Invest enough to make sure BG never worries about money ever again.
  • Build my mother-in-law her own house, next to her parents’ house on the land she grew up on. She’s been basically their live-in caregiver for years now, and needs her own space.
  • Fund our families’ retirement.
  • Build a house with lots of land, horses, sheep, and alpaca. Realize I know nothing about raising horses, sheep and alpaca, and hire someone who does.
  • Buy BG a ‘63 Corvette split-window coupe. Not too perfect, though, so he can tinker with it and call it his own.
  • Build BG a woodworking/sculpture studio. Hire Norm Abrams to help him outfit it. Enable him to build me that spinning wheel that he’s been threatening.
  • Set up a trust for Nick, and give Tori some start her own coffee shop/go back to school/travel the world without-having-to-work-two-jobs money.
  • Travel! Visit my dad and stepmom in NM, then travel Europe and Asia. Then maybe Australia…
  • Fund a non-profit organization, benefiting any of the following: dogs, horses, babies, kids with disabilities, cancer research…
  • Buy a spinning wheel. Build a little outbuilding for a craft/photo studio.
  • Buy a house on the beach in Cape Cod – spend 1 month out of every summer there.
  • Give away whatever’s left

5 People I would like to learn more about

Nick – I just want to hear more about the space bullet train trip to Jupiter he took during his nap. ‘Nuff said. His blog will be quite something, once he learns to read.

Tori – I already know she’s brilliant and fascinating, but don’t really get to know true life philosophies in our weekend visits. Especially lately, as I’m usually occupied with corralling her half-brother. I want to know her values, her politics, her pizza preferences, and if she’s a Captain Kirk, or more of a Mr. Spock. Or is she a Scotty? If you know what I mean. Get a blog, you! Plus, I need to know how not to dangle a participle. The blogosphere needs more english majors. Tag!

Denise – a former lawyer with six kids who spins, blogs, knits fearlessly and buys couches from eBay. How could I not want to know more?

My sister – While we didn’t exactly see eye to eye growing up, I figure now we have more in common than not. All you need to add is a blog to your great website. How about it? Those kids, dogs, cats, husband and job shouldn’t be taking THAT much of your time. Consider yourself tagged.

What would you like to learn this summer?

I guess I’m currently in progress with this one – spinning! I’m still on the lookout for that one perfect wheel for me. I have one spinning class left before I have no more wheel access, and I’m already a little apprehensive at the thought. The spindle is good, but the wheel, is.. well, better.



Can you keep a secret? November 9, 2007

Filed under: BG,blog,news,rambling — cocoapurl @ 9:04 pm

I can. Its one of my talents, I suppose. Some people are athletic, others good at math. I can keep my mouth shut. It may not come in handy as much as math (= Nobel Prize, or at least being able to calculate tip) or athleticism (= $$, endorsements), but it has its moments.

The second week of October is big in our house – BG’s birthday is the 10th, our anniversary is the 11th. This year, it wasn’t just any ol’ anniversary – it was our 10th. (We’ve been sharing the same space for thirteen years, actually, but you don’t get credit for the pre-marriage years. Maybe because they were probationary.) Since the tenth is the Tin Anniversary (or the modern equivalent, aluminum), the obsessive gift giver in me really needed it to be both a)Memorable and b) Keeping with the metal theme. I came up with a doozy, if I do say so myself: Race car driving lessons.

Those of you who know my husband know this is potentially a dangerous idea – not because he would hurt himself – he’s actually an excellent driver – but because it would be like giving heroin to a former cocaine addict. BG was very into cars and hot rods growing up – he has many fond memories of various male family members driving him and his cousins on country roads, very fast. This was in the days before shoulder belts, or even seat belts, in some cars, as well as, he feels obliged to point out, without strict DUI laws. He fondly recalls the six-pack rattling as he and his cousins butts’ rose off the seat over a particularly fast hill.

My next problem was how to pay for it. Being a race car driver, for even just a few hours, is not cheap (I’m sure a good portion of this fee goes to their liability insurance). So as relatives began asking what to get BG for his birthday, I mentioned my idea, and viola – donations to the BG-Racer fund began to come in. After some quick math, (with calculator of course), the tickets were bought. I’ve never taken longer to hit “Submit” in my entire life – I think I sat there for at least an hour.

The day of our anniversary arrived – though I was empty handed, I told BG that he needed to be ready and caffeinated for a significant amount of driving the following Thursday night. It was an Oscar-worthy test of my mettle – I told him nothing more than he needed to pack for two nights and put a full tank of gas in the car. My fabulous mother-in-law (who contributed significantly to the BGRacer scholarship) was coming that afternoon to hang out with LG while we were away.

He quizzed me and asked me and tried to be sly, but I was having none of it. As scheduled, we left right after my lecture on Thursday night.

I gave him turn by turn directions (for FOUR HOURS), hoping that his spatial superpower would fail with a lack of visual stimuli – I wouldn’t let him look at the map, and it was pitch black out. Sure enough, these factors short circuited his internal mapping ability, and he had no other clue where we were other than the “Welcome to Pennsylvania” sign.

The mystery remained as we got up bright and early the next morning – we needed to be there by 7:45 am, and I wasn’t taking any chances. So we were out of the motel by 7. I won’t comment on how attractive we were, but I did manage a shower and a cup of tea for me, coffee and danish for him.

It was pretty foggy out, but out of the mist emerged the giant “POCONO RACEWAY” sign, and BG muttered “No WAY.”

From then on, he was smiling so much I think his lips stuck to his teeth.

We went through a half-hour of orientation – me, BG, and three other couples and a single guy. We sat through the informational DVD, which, in all honesty, I tuned out as they were talking about the geometry of turn 1. It was more fun to surreptitiously watch BG as he soaked up every word, every moment.

THIS makes it go…

“THIS makes it go very fast… “

The other significant others and I settled in to watch as the boys got suited up for their ride (in addition to the drive, they got a three-lap ride as well). I am proud to say that BG was the only one that didn’t struggle to get in through the window – must have been all that “Dukes of Hazzard” as a kid. For some odd reason, I kept hearing theme music in my head, which ranged from the Rocky theme (when he was getting suited up, helmet in hand) to “Sweet Home Alabama” (when they were pulling out), to AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. Not ordinarily on my internal playlist, but there was an awful lot of testosterone floating around.

Happy. Very Happy. VERY Happy

Happy BG. VERY Happy.

At this point, it was becoming mistier and mistier – not raining, precisely, but the air was becoming more and more sauna-like; only without the heat. Sitting on the metal chairs under our pop-canopy, we (the other ladies and I) began to seriously chatter, teeth wise. And turn 1 was becoming a mystery – as we watched, the cars disappeared into the fog. This didn’t bode well – after all, those headlights are only painted on.

BG arrived back a few minutes later – turns out, three laps go pretty quickly at 160 MPH – with the report that they may not get to drive today. But he seemed not bothered at all by this info – he was positively giddy. I scanned my brain quickly for any withheld information that would upset him ordinarily – “They were on sale…I know its a lot for yarn, but they’ll be GIFTS…I forgot to take your T-shirts out of the dryer”, because now would be a GREAT time. He was impervious to disappointment, bad news, even shoe shopping. But I came up empty.

He didn’t get to take his drive that day, but we got a rain check for the following spring. As it turns out, I think this was a perfect way to go, because now he will have the benefit of anticipation, too.

Later that day, we went to an outlet mall, where I went, you guessed it – shoe shopping. On our way home, we took a “detour” so that I could go to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

Still Smiling Tuckered

Still smiling…….. and note the race car hat hasn’t come off, even for a nap.

Pretty Yarn

Meanwhile, I’m manhandling all kinds of pretty yarn…

Yarn Rainbow Hats

All natural dyes – can you stand it?

I probably could have garnered all kinds of sweet deals for myself at that point, like lifetime exemption from cleaning the bathroom, weekly pedicures, or no diaper changes for a month. He was feeling, literally, no pain – not from shopping, or from walking around looking at people looking at yarn. He did eventually retire back to the car for a nap, but even for that he held out an awfully long time. Just IMAGINE if he had access to a race car all the time – what a happy boy he would be. But for now, I think him getting to sit in one and take a ride is pretty darn good.

I’ll keep you posted on when he actually DRIVES it this spring. We may not be able to get him out.



So why CocoaPurl… May 30, 2007

Filed under: blog,rambling — cocoapurl @ 7:41 pm ask?

Well, I’m not clever enough, for one, to come up with a super-concise, super cool weblog name or avatar. That much is clear. So I made a list and narrowed it down to the things that made me, me:

My Family
LOVE them, but something like “SuperSiss Mommy”, or “WonderWife” sounded, well, a little co-dependent.
Allergy to Dairy
Hmm, this has possibilities, but see cleverness handicap above.
College Professor
Nope, definitely nothing here – even I get sleepy thinking on that one.
Not really anything here, additionally hampered by the “ophthalmic photographer” moniker. And anything with “eye” in it just sounds self-important and a little geeky.
Math Deficient
More like my kryptonite than my superpower.
Strange, freaky memory tricks
Great example: my ability to remember every car that anyone I know has ever driven. We’re not even talking about friends, but the most casual of associations. Like how the OCD lawn guy down the road drives a 2002 grey Chevy Trailblazer. Or a freshman in my class four years ago drove a red late ninties Corsica. This is the stuff taking up room in my brain. Interesting in a pitiful kind of way, but not much potential here. I couldn’t even parlay this into a stint on Jeopardy. Meanwhile, I can’t remember my cell phone number.
Serious, pathological addiction to chocolate
Aha! Now we’re on to something. We’re talking twelve step program-worthy. I have been vindicated, however, by recent medical data showing its actually good for you. For that matter, so is broccoli, but no one’s addicted to THAT.
Intrepid Knitter
I’m borrowing this term from a book written by someone much more clever than myself, but it seems accurate. I have a bit of a stubborn streak (NO! Really?), so the intrepid part comes in when I’m in way over my head becuase I REALLY want to make it. You can’t tell me I can’t k2tog, ssk AND K2tog tbl – I’ll show you.


I loved comic books as a kid, even though it tended to make more than one member of my family frown disapprovingly. There was so much there for a girl to appreciate, not the least of which was the FASHION.

(Forget all that empowering women stuff, like women as equals or even better, women that could kick anyone’s *** – we’re talking KILLER outfits and really great hair, not to mention a completely non-prissy tiara).

As CocoaPurl, I’m imagining brown-knee high boots (how did they battle crime in three-inch high stillettos? Who cares, because they looked FABULOUS), a cape (gotta have that, covers the butt), and a form fitting body suit on a super-hero body with my face superimposed on top. I also have an equally fabulous, flowing head of blond-streaked brunette hair above my mask to protect my identity. I need to fly (no real purpose, just always wanted to), and of course, have a pair of knitting needles as my weapon of choice. TSA is on to something – those things could be deadly. Especially the circulars.

I considered having the ability to magically create melted chocolate to disable my enemy, but that just sounded wierd. Not to mention unappetizing.

All you talented illustrators/fledgling comic book artists out there in the fold, get to it!

I’m pretty sure I broke a blog commandment already, if not several.



My five (OK, six) blog commandments

Filed under: blog,rambling — cocoapurl @ 4:13 pm

I thought I should set some ground rules for myself for this blog – I’ve been known to digress. So here goes (Imagine Charlton Heston reading the boldface):

1. Thou shalt not bore the heck out of readers of thine blog with random thoughts and flotsam
OK, this one is going to be tough. In fact, this very entry could be breaking the new rules. How does one atone for a blog sin?

2. Thou shalt keep thou’st (?) family and friends up to date with pictures, news, and cute anectdotes about the LG (little guy)
Emphasis on PICTURES. No one wants to hear me ramble on with nothing to show for it.

3. Thou shalt use this blog to help make up for thou’st unreasonable dislike of phone conversation

This is probably repeating #2 a bit – but since just about everyone reading this knows me well, its worth mentioning that this is a partial attempt to make up for this particular character flaw. With PICTURES!

4. Thou shalt post bi-weekly (at least)
Easy for me to say. Those who know me also know I bore REALLY easily. On the other hand, I’m on the computer way too much – even I can do the math here.

5. Thou shalt not reveal names to protect the innocent
Here’s a preparatory key:
BG – Big guy, my darling husband
LG – Little guy (I also considered calling him Monster Boy, but that could carry negative connotations. Let’s just say he’s a very large, ravenous, and freshly minted two year old.)
The Boys – My dogs, Yogi and BooBoo. Well, OK, those are their real names. We all know they’re less than innocent, so they’re on thier own.
The Circus – Term of endearment (honest!) for my extended family.

6. Thou shalt lighten up and work to stay that way
I realize that’s not the number of originally stated commandments – my math’s not that bad. But I believe that everyone could stand to take themselves less seriously, me included. Imagine what a world it would be if we all did? (There’s a plaigarised lyric in there somewhere – apologies for all the OTHER original thinkers).