WOW! I ate chocolate! *happy dance* A friend gave me a Kinder surprise egg (don't know if you all know those? They're chocolate eggs with a toy on the inside, very popular in Europe, actually banned in the US but some stores do smuggle them in...) and I just ate it and it was SUPER.
I squashed my craving for a chili cheese dog from our local Chicago hot dog joint, but it was a difficult move *sigh*.
Kim: it is indeed I who knits, as well as Steph and Chrissy. I have given the book Knitting In Plain English by Maggie Righetti as a gift and I really like it. It has patterns in the back and best of all, it will teach you what all of those abbreviations mean and how to do them, which is your key to knitting any darn pattern out there. Even better than using a book is finding a nice knitting shop near you and seeing if they have knitting clinics that you can come to. One of our local shops (my favorite) has Sunday afternoon knitting clinics and you can sit with someone and get help for as long as you want. For free! You also can usually ask any knitting shop employee a question as long as they aren't too busy and you don't mind being interrupted by other shoppers (if they're the only person working). Most people working in yarn shops are really passionate about yarn work and are very happy to share what they know. I was really struggling with a multi-colored pattern on a Christmas stocking I knit and I showed up one day in July when there was no one in the store and the woman working helped me repeatedly over the 2 hours I sat at their table and worked on my stocking!
Here's my mom's 2 cents on cats and babies. And she should know: she and my dad had an award-winning Burmese cattery when I was born into the household. Luckily the latest batch of kittens came 4 months before me, but there were still 5 cats in the household when I was born:
1. Cats don't much care for babies. They are too loud!
2. Make sure you still pay lots of good attention to the cat. Mom declares that is possible to feed a baby in your arms with a cat on your lap, especially if you stretch out your legs and the cat sits on them. In her opinion, this was a great way to teach the cat that it was all right to be around the baby when mom was there.
3. Never, ever ever EVER ever, leave a cat alone with a baby, especially if baby is sleeping. Also never allow cat to get cozy on any of baby's things - changing table, crib, basket, etc.
4. More important (in mom's book) than training your cat is being sure to train your kid as they age. Children need to be raised to respect pets and have to learn how to properly touch them and interact with them. Cats especially don't care much for rough handling or being chased. When I was little, I always chased the cats, and then I wondered why they wouldn't sit on my lap. I was frequently mad at my mom for not "making" the cat sit on my lap. Finally one day one of the cats jumped up on me while I was sitting in a chair, and I was so startled that I couldn't move - and the cat sat down. My mom told me not to talk or move or even pet the cat - no problem, I could hardly breathe! I still have a picture of this glorious event. I was 3 years old.
5. If your baby has its own room, keep the cat out of the room for the first few years. If you think at some point that it would be ok for the cat to start going in the room, then you can leave it open, but don't be surprised if the cat doesn't go in it anyway.
These pearls of wisdom brought to you from Jen's mom Jan, very excited grandmother to be.
Must make dinner! Hungry hungry!
Kim - good luck with your border collie. Does it have something around to herd right now - like fish, for instance? Just asking, a colleague of mine had a border collie who got aggressive with the kids when they wouldn't go where he tried to herd them to go. They now farm him out to a beef farm and he's happy as a clam herding cattle. It seems that when working dogs with serious instincts have an opportunity to work, they are more content.