cocoa purl

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

To the Exclusion of Everything Else June 29, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 3:31 pm

I tend to be a bit of an extremist when it comes to “projects” (I know, Mom and Dad – no news there). For some reason I get it in my head that if I can’t go all the way with something, or be really good at it, I shouldn’t do it at all, and I lose interest. Fast. Casualties of this philosophy include: my photography, knitting projects (I’m never gonna give up the number of UFOs I have), housecleaning, exercise – you get the idea.

I’ve come to realize that this approach is, well – stupid. Its a recipe for disaster and usually has the added benefit of making me feel like a failure. And so here I sit, in a house with a sparkling upstairs bathroom but an inch of dust and dog hair everywhere else, writing this instead of doing those things that I should do. But there’s a method at work here – I’m giving myself a good (public) kick in the pants.

And the first item on the agenda: exercise. Lately I’ve been pretty irritated with myself for allowing my weight to go up while my fitness has gone WAY down. So three weeks ago, I found a site called “Couch to 5K” that intrigued me. Running has never been my favorite thing to do in terms of exercise – in fact, it ranks right up there with going to the dentist – but its always done wonders for my body, and fast (at least it did when I was 21.). And this program promised a slow steady progression – literally from the couch (which is exactly where I was at the time) to being able to run 5K.

And so I was DOING it – every other day I would run/walk for 25 minutes (according to the training program), and I was feeling pretty good. Great, in fact. And my right knee, my cantankerous Achilles Heel that had all of its cartilage removed in the second of two surgeries, was not protesting at all.

And then I got a cold. Not a big one, but it coincided with going out to Albany to celebrate Tori’s B-day, and the next thing you know –

Its ten days later, and I haven’t stepped foot on the treadmill. And yesterday, I was coming dangerously close to packing it in, using that old standby – I’m not doing it well, so what’s the point in doing it at all?

See what I mean? Stupid.

But today’s a new day. I’m turning this around. In the immortal words of Susan Powter (remember her?) “Stop the Madness”! (Wow – she’s scares me more than I remember).

And one of the purposes of writing all this down in a fairly public way, is to state this as my goal. I figure that if its just me holding myself accountable, then I can walk away without much fuss. Whereas if I announce this as my goal here on the blog, then hey presto! The REST of you can give me a kick in the patootie if I lapse again. Right? At the very least, it provides me with the sense of potential public humiliation – as good a motivator as I’ve ever heard of.

I’m off – the treadmill calls. Wish me luck!



C’mon Baby, Do the Locomotion June 20, 2008

Filed under: adventures,BG,knitting,Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 10:39 pm

Racecars, boats, trains, trucks, motorcycles, even dirigibles. All boys LOVE locomotion.

This father’s day weekend was all about locomotion. We went to the Poconos this weekend to redeem BG’s raincheck for his stockcar driving lesson (warning – very annoying web site) that we (me and pretty much our entire extended family) got him for our anniversary/his birthday. The weather held out, though we were a bit nervous given the little lightning bolt icon that came up when we checked local weather Saturday morning.

This time around it was a little different atmosphere – being the day before Dad’s day, there were lots of families that treated their respective “Dad’s”, mostly to rides. Slightly less testosterone than the last time, but I had my Koigu sock with me – as good an estrogen shield as any. A purple, green and yellow handmade sock is a fine antidote for sitting in the pit of Pocono International Speedway. Which, by the way, matched the purple car that BG drove just so, though I kept that to myself at the time.

If you look closely, you can see the whites of his teeth.

And while I didn’t make it to my local WWKIP in Rochester, I represented at the speedway. I’m pretty sure I was the only one there. But who knows – maybe the tough-guy drivers, instructors and pit guys were sitting in the trailer in their badass fireproof jumpsuits, knitting away on some socks and debating the pros and cons of dpn’s and circulars. Not likely. But the mental image amuses me to no end.

Not too many men can pull of a bright red, white and blue jumpsuit. But even dudes are checking him out.

As for how he liked it, I give you exhibit A:

Clearly he didn’t have any fun. At ALL.

I asked him as we were leaving how his back dealt with it all (I was afraid to even mention how he was going to twist his three herniated disks into that car, Dukes of Hazzard style. You’d think for $120,000 they could afford door handles. Or even DOORS.) His answer: “My back?”

On Sunday, we went out on the Colonial Belle, a local canal boat that does tours down the Erie Canal. It was a great day – they had a guitarist on board, who, in addition to lovely canal-touring ditties, also did a fab rendition of the Gilligan’s Island theme (which is still in my head, unfortunately) and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”. (He had some ghost karaoke-style backup singers doing the ba-ba-ba‘s, but I couldn’t seem to locate them. Did I mention they had a full bar on the boat?)

The captain was a great guide, and pointed out all sorts of areas of interest and points of history. BG and LG had hot dogs, BG got a beer, mom-in-law had a margarita – good times. LG wasn’t completely enthralled, but tolerated the 1.5 hours of relative inactivity fairly well. His high points included going under the bridges (he has a bit of a thing for bridges – and ones that raise up? Forget it. He loses his mind.) and spotting the high tension wires.

And, dutiful historian of family activities that I am, I FORGOT THE CAMERA. Dumbass.

Over the course of the weekend, I finished one Jaywalker, out of previously mentioned purple Koigu, literally by a nose. Or a toe. I was getting very nervous as my remaining yarn ball got smaller and smaller. I kept holding it up to BG in an effort to use his spatial soothsaying abilities to give me some sense of things – will I finish the sock? Should I put in a contrasting toe? And where can I find Koigu in northeastern Pennsylvania? He was no help, but I managed to finish the sock. I think it was because I knitted faster and faster as I got to the toe – I hear that helps.

Will I make it?

Must knit faster…Hey! Are those caution cones ahead? Oh, wait, that’s just my toes.

I’m feeling the urge to cast on another big(ger) project still – I have a slew of Debbie Bliss Silk Aran burning a hole in my stash that I got on sale at Knit n’ Purl’s going out of business sale. I’ve been thinking (still) about Something Red, but I may go with Sprout instead. I’m not completely sure about the cables, though – they strike me as a little out of place. So basically, I’m still deciding to make a decision. I’m feeling a little flush with victory from the CPH – a pretty dangerous thing, as I’m even thinking of trying Lace Ribbon. Again.

Lace Ribbon

Lace Ribbon – so pretty, but I don’t know that my attention span and lace are compatible.

Happy Father’s Day to my BG, and to my Dad. Thank goodness for Dads. Who better to teach about how that liftbridge actually raises up, or why you probably shouldn’t somersault off the couch (they speak from experience). BG is a combination of good cop, explainer of all things, kisser of booboo’s (the bumps, not the dog. At least, not very often – BooBoo’s oral hygiene is questionable), giver of bear hugs, and builder of the best train tracks. Not to mention that he plays endless rounds of CandyLand, changes poopy diapers (level 4 toxicity), cleans the litter box and even the dogs’ late night gastric emissions from ill-conceived “snacks”, and watches the Do the Alphabet video AGAIN even though This Old House is on. All without complaint. (OK, maybe the diapers evokes a fairly dramatic grimace and a shudder.) Thanks, sweetie – you’re the best.

And while I’m sure my sister and I were such angels that discussions of gravity vs. us were not required, I thought I’d say: Thanks, Dad – not only for keeping the number of visits to the emergency room down, but for helping to make us into decent, law-abiding citizens. Who also know the merits of carburetors vs. throttle body injection – an important life skill.

And to my Mom and stepmom and mom-in-law – it goes without saying you rock! I neglected to give you a blog shout-out on Mom’s day. Sorry about that. So much for the “decent citizen” part – you did what you could with what you had to work with. On the upside, I comb my hair regularly, floss, and eat all of my broccoli. I even take a vitamin. Usually. And I’m doing my very best to make the world a nicer place, and raise my boy to do the same. But I just can’t bring myself to wear pantyhose/knee-highs. Or eat beets. They’re just gross.

You all have a pair of pretty hand-knit socks with your names on them. See, you DID raise me right.



Happy Birthday Tori! June 6, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 2:57 pm


Originally uploaded by sisson_christye

In the interest of equal opportunity public humiliation, we present the Sisson Family singers. Sort of. We’re no VonTrapps, but what we lack in talent, we make up with, well – I’m not exactly sure what it is.

We love you, Tori! Happy Happy Birthday. We’ll see you soon!


Christye, Dad, and Nick (and of Yogi and BooBoo, who were our soundcheck/roadies. They did a fabulous job, and are currently enjoying a greenie for their trouble. Monkey and Stinky also send their hairy love.)


It hurts when I giggle March 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 1:48 am

BG and I managed to give ourselves food poisoning – AGAIN – this time, with organic eggs. Considering the last episode was traced to a can of organic soup (I STILL can’t eat anything remotely resembling minestrone), BG has become highly suspicious of “that whole organic thing”. I have to admit, in my darkest moments (namely, after not being able to keep a pedialyte flav-r-ice pop in my stomach, where it belonged), I was all for bringing on the preservatives. I’ll come around once I’m on solid food again – I hear protein does wonders for your outlook.

You know you’re pathetic when:

You’re winded after accelerating from a stop light. (Stupid stick shift – who’s idea was THAT?)

You can’t remember if you’ve been to the bathroom today.

You burst into tears after going to the bathroom.

Your preschooler starts putting stickers on your belly to make it better – only to have you burst into tears.

You spend at least 5 minutes deciding: shall I have saltines for dinner, or am I in the mood for dry toast?

You think of what a good ab workout losing your lunch must be, since they haven’t been this sore since the whole Pilates-informerical video debacle.

Now that last one was just plain, desperate, dark optimism.

So as I sit here feeling pathetic and sorry for myself and surfing the web (simultaneously!), I come across this.

Wow, does that hurt.



Pretzel Metomorphisis January 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 5:36 pm

Me: How’s that pretzel stick, pal?

LG: (Mouth full) MMff.

He looks at the half-eaten stick, and I can just see the hamster wheel turning in his little head.

LG: In the springtime, these pretzels turn into the squiggle kind!

I’m guessing this is somehow related to our duck/migration conversation the other day. So keep an eye on your preztel sticks, rods, and nibbles – they may be aspiring to become twists.



Half FULL, Da****t! January 23, 2008

Filed under: kid's stuff,knitting,LG,Uncategorized — cocoapurl @ 3:49 pm

It’s tough to be an optimist. It takes dedication and hard work with a hefty helping of self-delusion. A little ignorance doesn’t hurt either. I can’t remember what movie it was, but I remember this great quote that said, “If you expect the worst, you’re never disappointed. When things go well, its always pleasant surprise.” I think it might have been a John Cusack movie. Scary to say the Eighties were ANYONE’S formative years.

I generally look forward to each New Year’s because of my determination to see the promise in starting anew. While my typical New Year’s Eve consists of watching the ball drop while knitting, I have no problem with this. In fact, I prefer it to a crowded, weird party with a bunch of people I don’t know. Plus, that sort of occasion usually requires panty hose, which is a deal breaker.

Its actually New Year’s Day I look forward to, as I’m ALL about possibilities. The possibility of losing 20 pounds. Or coming up with THE most perfect chocolate cookie recipe (I realize the contradiction here). Or sitting in a clean house, fabulous dinner in the oven, knitting on the couch, watching my husband and son bond over a game of chess or some other equally intellectual pursuit, while my dogs (also clean) sit lovingly at my feet.

Like I said, self-delusion is a requirement.

And so I woke on the first day of the year to the sun shining, which can be rare in these parts, birds chirping (at least one – most are smarter than to be hanging around here), and the day full of promise and renewal. I walked into my lovely son’s room wearing actual pajamas (thanks, Mom) instead of the requisite sweats, letting my husband sleep/relax in a burst of altruism brought on by all this promise. And so it was with good cheer that I opened his door, and said:

“Good Morning, Sweetie! Did you have…. ”


It’s hard to put a spin on that, even for a determined optimist. And so began my 2008. Happy Frickin’ New Year.

I’m not bothered by the fact that LG want’s his Dad – I’ve had my glory days. Heck, I singlehandedly sustained the little critter for the first year of his life, well into the 98th percentile, I might add. Many, many nights, when he cried out in his sleep or had a nightmare, he asked for Mommy. I knew that my days as numero uno were numbered. Its just that I didn’t plan for that sort of animosity until at least, say, 13 years from now.

In other news, I managed to finish almost all my gift knitting, except the biggies – a sweater and a felted bag. I have been granted an extension due to a postponed visit in one case, and out of the goodness of their heart for the other. As it happens, I was 96% done with the sweater when my worst fears were confirmed – I HATED it. I had suspected this all along, but deluded myself into thinking it would all be OK. The yarn is scratchy (it was “rustic”), the pattern annoying (it will be challenging! ) and the size? TOO BIG (Aren’t baggy sweaters in?).

Occasionally, my optimism can border on an alternate reality.

With this realization came another pressing issue – now what? I had pledged (to myself) that I was going to make a sweater for this person for Christmas (no longer “by”, but now “for”), and by gum, that is exactly what I’m going to do.

Stubborness helps immensely when you are determined to see the bright side.

The good news is that my obsession to get this done has resulted in one felted bag, awaiting lining, and 3/4 of one sweater, awaiting a second sleeve. I’m encouraged by the fact that I started the sweater a mere two weeks ago.

I’m gonna be optimistic about it if it kills me.