Monday, July 31, 2006


Sometimes I get really burned out by my job. It's not that it's all that difficult. It's just that it's not that easy either, and I rarely turn down work. I've always had a hard time saying no to work, but it's much worse now that I have post-traumatic-2005-finances syndrome. I'm working a program for that, but it's hard to find the time to make the meetings ;)

Last week I was really burned out. It took a lot of time to finish anything and I had to think awfully hard to write anything adequate. There was no feeling of satisfaction, just relief when I could finally turn something in. Chris went away and it was even worse. There were so many other things to be done. Plus, I couldn't sleep (and it wasn't because off the kids and the dogs in the bed, although there were kids and dogs in the bed).

But last night he came home and just as it should be, all is right again. I can sleep knowing my Big Strong Man is home. I don't know what he'd do if something went wrong because he can sleep through anything, but I slept much, much better having him nearby. Having him on the other side of the basement, puttering through his work projects, lends an element of balance to things. And so I Got Things Done today. And by the end of the day, I felt better about things. I honestly do like my job when I'm not letting it ruin my life. Although I harbor no romantic beliefs about it, I accept it for what it is. Schools need textbooks. And as long as politicians are involved in approving textbooks on behalf of our largest states, there will always be work for me.

There was enough money tonight to get the printer I needed as long as I got the cheapest one Office Depot had to offer. Afterwards we had $10 left over so we went to Meyer's Dairy and got ice cream. Yum. I went with an Epson this time, a big deviation for me since I have owned printers for 12 years and never ever purchased one that wasn't a Hewlett Packard. (The first printer we ever bought--a Lazerjet 4L--still works. No other printer we've owned since then has lasted nearly as long. But it does its work sloooooowly compared to "modern" printers and so it is relegated to backup.)

Happy August. This is our last week of swim season. The twins have their last two swim lessons this week. Max has his last week of swim practice and the Championship meet on Saturday. Next week starts Football season. With 3.5 hours a night devoted to football (20 minutes to get there, 10 minutes to set up our "watching" station, 2.5 hours of practice, 10 minutes to break down the "watching" station, 20 minutes to drive home), four nights a week, that should pretty rapidly propel us to September. After that it's two months of little more than school, football, piano lessons, rinse, repeat. Somewhere in there I'll can tomatoes. I planted more lettuce yesterday.

[It's 11:20 at night and 78 degrees outside. That is soooo wrong!]

I thought I was going to get more work done, but I'm passing out as I type. Off to bed.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Today was . . .

1 reading lesson to 2 four-year-olds
9 pints of sweet cucumber relish (ping, ping, ping! sang the lids)
2 big boys running errands for me
4 loads of laundry
2 loads of dishes
1 black eye (Milo's)
4 peanut-butter bagels
13 ELL activities
4 stripes in Prairie Silk
2 dog walks
1 phone call from Chris
2 books sold on eBay
14 hours in the company of my 3 children

Thursday, July 27, 2006


My babies are getting so big. They stretch out on the bed and take up LOTS of room. Their size 5 jeans are too snug. When the 12 yr-olds play football on the lawn at the swim meet--they rush in and want to play, too. They have to be repeatedly booted from the game. Milo makes a disgusted face at the suggestion that he might get hurt by the big kids. "I just want them to throw me the ball!"

Max has been oblivious to competition for years. He understands the concept of a race, and he understands the concept of racing against yourself--to beat your old time. But he has long adopted this position of powerlessness, seeming to see the ability to win as being fixed. You have it or you don't. And if you don't, then you're there to have fun. Put some effort into it--but don't hurt yourself trying. This summer that has changed. Although he's had some races where the old guy showed up to swim. If I make a suggestion like, "Stop playing for a bit and watch the big kids when they swim. See what they do to their strokes. Try some of what they're doing and see if it feels better when you do it." Then he might at the next swim meet actually stop playing for a few minutes and watch the big kids for a few minutes.

9 days ago he swam the 25 meter breaststroke with a time of 36.65. This was about 5 seconds slower than the next two fastest kids. Tonight he swam that race in 32.57. I said, "You looked really good! Like--faster!" And he said, "Yeah! 32.57! I was watching the other kids and they do something different with their pace. So I tried it this time and it worked!" I don't need Max to win (although he came in first in backstroke in Tuesday's meet and that was a fun surprise--in all fairness, it was due in part to a low turnout, but as I said to him--I've more than once learned that sometimes the best prize goes to the guy who just shows up. That counts. Nobody gave it to him. There were five other kids in the pool and he was the guy who got from one end to the other first without being DQ'd.) But it means something to me to see him put effort into things.

I have to say that the weight bench, after sitting for a bit without any use, has recently been used. Chris taught him the movements, made him a workout, and spots him for it every other day-ish. Then last week, one of his friends came over and Chris taught his friend to spot for him. Ooooh they think they are SUCH the big boys on that weight bench. They take it very seriously (which is good because I don't want them to drop any weights). It's nice to see them do something other than Pokemon Gamecube games and card games together.

We ate sliced cucumbers in ranch dressing today and they were sweet and delicious. All the rain keeps the bitterness away.

The Orenburg shawl is hard, but I love it. I love that I really can't do anything else while I'm doing it. It's me and the yarn and the chart. Anything else and I'm soon tinking back to find the mistake. It's all so tiny! I worry that my tension is too tight and the little pattern won't show up. But it can't possibly be that big anyway because how big can a YO be with a size 1 needle?

And now it is bedtime. Assuming the kids will let me have a pillow.

::Gets out the violins:::

Woe is me. My printer died.

So. Want my stuff? Of course you do! Genuine Alaska homeschooling stuff. All yours on eBay. Max's football pants from last year already sold. They don't fit anymore. However now I sure know where to buy the next pair! Jeez, they're like 99 cents there.

Chris left this morning for a big swap meet. I know I'll miss him, but I admit that around noon I walked into the bedroom to shoo the dogs off the bed and realized that I was going to get the WHOLE THING to myself tonight. And the fan! The fan pointing JUST ON ME! I'm sorry, Dude. It's too hot to cuddle.

We're supposed to be leaving RIGHT NOW for Max's swim meet in Bellefonte. It's raining and forcast to keep raining. Wanna bet that everything tapers off and looks all nice until ten minutes into the meet when the lightening comes roaring back? Then we all have to go home soggy. Weee.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Things to Do

make carpet cleaning appointment
clean front porch
finish super secret work thing
write a few more super secret work things
wash dishes
use up wild blueberries that Max picked
make new to-do list

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Make It Stop!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The heat and humidity have decomposed whatever was left of our senses of humor. We are irritated, pissed off excuses for humanity. Why didn't we get the air conditioner serviced? why? why? why?

Dog days of summer indeed. There are not enough fans in the world. Or ice cream for that matter. (At least I think, off to check.)

Monday, July 24, 2006


It was a busy day after a busy weekend. In the battle between home and work committments, home won by a narrow margin today. Yesterday was a much nicer balance in which lots of work was accomplished but also some canning and some hanging out with the kids. Today I got Important Work Things done--but quit at 1:30 because Max had a piano lesson at 2:15 and because I haven't done a proper grocery trip in over a month. And we've been out of everything (hence Chris' dog shampoo post last week). This morning I put the last roll of toilet paper in the bathroom and that sort of decided things. So after Max's piano lesson I came home and Max and I put together a meal plan and a grocery list and then I grabbed the twins and we went grocery shopping.

I almost always grocery shop with all three boys even though Chris is at home to watch some of them because it is considered an Outing and my boys are normally considered Very Well Behaved in Public Places. But in this case I'd lost track of the time. I'd lost track of the time so completely that it didn't even occur to me that the reason that the twins were being hooligans instead of their normal charming selves was because they were starving and getting tired. It was 7 pm and they'd only had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch. But I thought it was maybe 5 pm and thought that they'd just lost their little preschool minds (which just goes to show you that the obvious can occasionally completely escape me). It wasn't until we got into the truck for the ride home that I saw it was 8pm and just completely couldn't believe it.

Chris unpacked the truck while I started putting the several hundred dollars worth of groceries and toilet cleaning and mouse-catching agents away and I remarked that as rediculous as it seemed, I really wanted to order pizza because it would probably get here before I could get the last bag unpacked. Chris, being the good enabler, made the phone call. Indeed, the pizza arrived before I got the last bag unpacked. But it was the right call. We were all better people after having eaten.

Still, the twins really ARE a handful when they're both wild and now I'm completely shot for energy and my work to-do list for tonight now all has an arrow pointing at tomorrow.

I have to confess, the twins are so consistently easy-going that it's really kind of interesting when they get "out of hand." Here's what I have observed lately:

*When Milo gets very hungry he gets hyper. His speech speeds way up and he can't stop moving and he doesn't hear a thing you say. But if you pick him up and hold him to you he fights it for a moment or two and then sinks into you and clings gratefully and stops moving long enough to tell you that he's REALLY REALLY hungry. (Which normally I totally honor, but tonight, like I said, I had no CLUE how far past dinner time we were and I thought they could just hold on another half hour . . .)
*When Ben gets very hungry he gets irritable and veeerrrrrry whiney. And tearful. And dramatic. And it is ALLLLLL about him. And it is ALLLLLL awful. And meeeelllllltdooooown.

But I am still incredibly, unbelievably lucky because not one of my kids has ever, ever had a temper tantrum in a public area. Ben and Milo had them when they were two--but only ever late at night and at home. In public, they're like two kids under contract to Disney. It's all smiles and waves and offers to sign autographs. Except tonight when they didn't give a rip and just wanted me to know that they needed THAT box of macaroni RIGHT THERE. Only, you know, that didn't tip me off tonight either.

Sheesh. Maybe I should lay off the benedryl a bit.

Chris and I were sort of slackjawed this evening as we discussed how unbelievably fast this summer is speeding by. The back-to-school supplies are on the shelf at Target (I said that with the French accent, Risha), football fittings are Wednesday, there are less than two weeks left to the swim season, and six weeks from tomorrow the boys will all have school. It will be back to piano twice a week and football three nights a week and games everytime I turn around. There will be tomatoes to can and maybe a night when we can sleep without fans running in every room. There will be homework for the big boy and new teacher names to learn for the little boys and notes home every other week asking for money for something.

So even though we're on the cusp of August--a month I tend to dislike for the heat and the humidity (and which, ironically, is forcast to start out with a week cooler than any day in July) and the general "I'm so OVER the SUN" aspect of it (I don't tan. My eyes are sensitive to too much sun. I get heat stroke easily. I like summer--don't get me wrong. I just welcome fall when it comes.) I have resolved to try to savor this month. Because even if my "homeschooling mom" badge has been ripped from my shirt and my "homeschooling mother" license revoked, I *don't* feel like "I can't wait till they're gone." I admit I can't wait till the Tuesday/Thursday swimathons (one swim practice, two swim lessons, followed by one swim meet) are over because they forced me to work ALL weekend, but I am only looking forward to the start of school for one very simple reason: My sons are. And I'm not so selfish as to think that's not a good thing. Yay for them for thinking that going back to school is a wonderful thing. But I get six more weeks and even if the Bishop is starting to think I've gone inactive (which I haven't, but I have been abent from Sacrament meeting a lot this summer) I'm going to put my brain on "record" and watch the football practices and twin swim lessons and get out of cell phone range a few more times and enjoy it all.

Friday, July 21, 2006

No Service

I spent the first half of the day working and then cleaned up a variety of little things on my to-do list such as updating the wipe-off calendar and getting the lawn mowed. (It was my turn to mow it myself.) Then Max and I sped over to Target to get some "pool" toys (now on sale, since Target is focused on the fall already) and went to pick up one of his friends. We grabbed the twins and some towels, a sheet, bottled water, and headed for Whipple Dam (just a warning in case that website gets your hopes up--ice fishing is poor this time of year). By the time we got there it was a quarter to five (working half the day is not "till noon") on a Friday evening and we were going against traffic. There were five bored teenage life-guards who almost outnumbered the rest of the folks at the swimming area. My favorite was an older Russian woman in a bikini with scars that criss-crossed across her belly from the bottom of her rib cage to her bikini line. I admired her chutzpah. That said, the sky was overcast after a hot and humid day and the gnats and flies were out of control. I said a prayer of thanks everytime I saw a dragon fly (Odragonflykenobi, you are my only hope.) We blew up the water spider:

which holds three kids at once (we have this gadget that plugs into your dashboard to blow up airmattresses and extremely over-sized pool toys) and tossed the kids and their pool noodles in the water. Since Ben and Milo, despite five weeks of private swim lessons, still can't/won't swim entirely independently (to be fair, Milo truly is *right there* and it could be any day that I can gleefully report that he can get from point A to point B in the water on his own), I had to be right there with them. But the swim area at the dam is shallow for the first 20-25 feet or so and after an hour and a half, I was satisfied that they were statistically likely to stay above water for the rest of the visit there. So I retired to the sheet/towels on the beach and knitted and watched them. (Well, also by this time they were all working together on sand-construction and going in and out of the water at a very shallow depth AND I'd brought a stockinette sock to work on, so I didn't need to look at my knitting.)

A half-hour later we packed up the truck (we had to get Max's friend home by 7, so we could only stay two hours) and we each got an ice cream treat and then headed home. I felt sticky, flea-bitten, and happy. When we got home I showered and scrubbed each twin, then showered and scrubbed myself (I mean SCRUBBED--I'm short a layer of skin now) and then gave up the shower to Max.

Tonight I'm sewing up the sides of an unfinished object I started two years ago. Wish me luck, the sides aren't straight. Photos to come.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I have work up the wazoo this week and it's going to stay that way for awhile. Work, work, work, work. So when the Sister missionaries decided to make an unannounced house call, it was hard to smile and invite them in for a chat. Then again, I knew I'd rot for eternity if I *didn't* invite them in for at least a moment because it was just really hot and the girls looked baked. So I invited them in, refilled their water bottles, and then figured that since I was obligated to chat for a few minutes (and the upstairs of our non-airconditioned home is no place to just hang out and noway was I inviting them downstairs where noone has picked up the toys in three days) that I could at least pick through the garden for TGTB (things getting too big) while we talked. Before I knew it I'd fished out about ten big-ish cucumbers. So we wrapped up our conversation and I went in and washed off the pickles and stuck them in the fridge. Then it was back to work.

A few hours later I got the call that the dogs were ready to come home from the groomer. By that time I was at a good stopping point with work. Max was at the pool with a friend, so Chris and I took the twins and went to the store for shampoo (I'd been using the dog shampoo on the twins and Chris thought that was somehow bad/wrong. It's just SHAMPOO in a more expensive bottle! And it gave them a nice shiny coat.) and pickling spices. Then we got Dairy Queen, dog food, and the dogs (in that order).

Back home it was dinner time, so I read through the pickling recipes, googled pickling thoughts, and totally uncertain that any of this will be edible, put the pickles in ice water while I made hamburgers on the grill for everyone else. After dinner I mixed up the brine and spices (technically, spices in mesh spice thingy, not actually floating in brine) and simmered what I was supposed to simmer and boiled what I was supposed to boil . . . it was the usual hairball off-the-cuff bit that canning something for the very first time (without my aunts standing behind me waving a wine glass and offering opinions such as "you can't even taste the hot peppers! Someone send [Uncle] Denny to the store for some jalepenos." That isn't hairball at all and comes out great.)

The thing is, when you hunt around on the internet for pickling recipes, everyone is always in search of some way to make the pickles crunchier and not soft. But doing a proper water bath pretty much guarentees that the pickles will be somewhat soft because 15 minutes at a full boil--well that cooks the cucumber, see? So some of the recipes cheated and had you pour in the brine at a full boil and then quick put the lid on and not do a water bath at all. But I'm too afraid of killing someone to try this. I thought about it . . . when I eat a kosher dill pickle SPEAR--I want crunch. But pickles don't cost very much and I don't eat them all the time. So if I want a pickle just to eat as a pickle--I can go buy a proper Vlasic and do that.

A pickle that you put in a hamburger though--you don't put that in for the crunch. You put it in for the flavor--no? I mean, that's why the relish that my aunt home-canned was so incredibly good. It had some onions in there and some fabulous flavor. It was just . . . I could almost have eaten it plain out of the jar. Almost. It was relish. It went on hotdogs and hamburgers. I want THAT recipe.

But until I get that recipe, I'll make dill sandwhich pickles. I'll cut the tops and bottoms off the pickle and carefully slice the pickles lengthwise into thin sandwich slices and pack them in tightly into the pint jar with the dill on the bottom, then add the garlic and the mustard seed, and the bay leaf, and the red pepper, and more dill to the top, then pour in the brine, and then the lid--and then process for the full fifteen minutes. It's okay if they're soft. They just have to taste good. They're going in my sandwich or my hamburger.

Phew! I'm glad that's solved. The pressure to find a way to make them crunchy was ruining the fun.

And it smelled heavenly. And the finished jars look like home-canned sandwich pickles. And now, back to work because the whole family has eye-exams at the end of August and if you add that to the back-to-school clothes and semester tuition for piano lessons . . . sheesh. August is expensive.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Evening

I'll try to get some pictures up here while the twins run through the sprinkler. It's not conducive to getting work done anyway.

These are all out of chronological order. The first is Ben, who insisted on being photographed next to the watermelon vines. That nonchalance was carefully posed.

The next is my father and my first born. Oh. my. My firstborn comes up to his grandfather's shoulder. It's a slippery slope from here.

There are better pictures of my sister's dance with her then brand-spankin' new husband, but I'm posting this one because it also has one of my brother's taking pictures of me which is just cozy.

The caption on this one is, "Okay, shizzle . . . what part comes next?"

Carefully choreographed buss.

Pretty baby sister.

My aunt and her first grandbaby.

That's really all I have of the wedding. I know. I suck.


This picture illustrates a rite of passage if you will. The development of my baby's first marketable skill. The going rate for cutting the front and back lawn of my house *without* weedwhacking is $20 for a teenager. I know this because the week before I hired a teenager to do just that. So I now pay Max $20 to mow the front and back lawn of my house *with* doggy poop pick up included. Since Max is using a pushmower and not a gas mower (teen had gas mower) and since the pushmower then also requires a pre-sweep of the backyard to pick up sticks that will jam the blades, and most off all--since I believe that if you can afford it, paying your child fair market value is The Right Thing To Do. Primarily because children who know they're being underpaid will accept the whole "help the family" line up to a certain point. But they'll be danged if you're then going to turn around and insist that they save that money. Max is required to tithe 10%, save long-term (i.e., college) 40% and do whatever he will that is legal with 50%. So he gets $20 (and picks up the poop to "help the family"). It's not that we don't have "help the family" jobs. It's just that it's one or the other. No weird mixing. "Help the family" jobs don't get paid. You do that because it's your job. Paid jobs get fair market value**

I swear, there are only three tomato plants in there. I KNOW.

Here is Madam Zucchini.

Jack and the Cucumber Stalk

The evil voracious bean beetle.

Pickling cucumber. The black spiny things rub off when you wash them. Who knew? After church today we stopped off at Wal-mart (I know! I know.) looking for a blow-up pool because it's getting hotter and hotter and hotter and hotter . . . but no luck. We did find pickling spice packets but I didn't get them because they started the recipe with "15 lbs cucumbers."

Um. A four-inch cucumber is like 3 to 4 oz. I have seven cucumber plants and I know I'm about to be rolling in cucumbers--but you can't save the cucumbers for more than maybe two days. They get mushy in the fridge. Is this the point of brining them? And even then--won't the brined pickles still all be at different stages of brininess? (sp?) All I know is that the ball canning book gives directions with the individual spices so I can do a quarter of a recipe or half a recipe. I think that's going to work better. I gave up on the store-bought spices. But I did get more lids.

Does this need a caption? It's the first zucchini of the season.

The basis of future Mrs. Zook's Cream of Tomato Soup

All the little cillia are picking up the flash (the sun was setting while I was photographing the garden).


Yesterday was a wonderful birthday. My mother was here and there was cake and ice cream and a day at the art festival. The kids ran through the fountains and played football in the open fields using the freebie give-away water bottles. I bought a small croc to use as an initial pickly croc until I can get a real one.

The kids/hubby were generous. If the phrase wooly board means anything to you, then I got one of those, Mason-Dixon Knitting, some yarn, and a book of lace patterns. Yay, birthdays!

And now, back to work.

**unless, as happens in real life, Mommy's client hasn't paid her in months. In which case you will be asked to take an I.O.U. or given the choice of declining that job. Thankfully, we haven't had this situation since the Bad Client of 2005.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

You know how some years you turn a new year and that just suddenly seem so ooold and you so totally don't want to go there? And then some years you turn a new year and it suddenly seems full of promise? Like you have so much ahead of you?

37 (last summer) -- totally didn't want to go there.
38 (um, today) -- totally thrilled.

It just feels like a good year. So I'm off to eat the nutritious meals my husband has prepared for us today (that would be donuts for breakfast, fair funnel cakes for lunch, and ice cream cake for dinner). We'll go over the details (and the immodium) in the morning.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

All Knit, All the Time

You ever have one of those days where you just want to pitch all your responsibilities and for just one day--knit from sunrise to sunset to bedtime?

And then you actually DO it?

And it's great!

But the next day you are so totally busted by your employer. And they lose their cool and totally fire you. And you miss your mortgage payment because you spent the whole day knitting?

You ever have one of those days? Yeah, me either--because whenever I fantasize about doing so I see it through to its inevitable conclusion--the part where we all starve to death because I just wanted to finish the flippin' sweater.

I. am. so. close.

But FIRST! First I must finish this . . . work thing.

Oh, get this--in State College? No pickling spices. Anywhere. Not at Wegmans, not at O.W. Houts--nowhere. I may have to buy my pickling spices online.

Now--from anyone who knows the difference--which is better, fermented pickles or fresh hot pack pickles? (Thor the angry black poodle says, "Who cares? Scratch my ears.")

Monday, July 10, 2006

Brain Cloud

I have a brain cloud. I don't know its source, and as I learned from Tom Hanks--it's not fatal--but it does make getting the BUCKETS of work I have on my desk done challenging.

I think the bigger issue is just that I can't get back on EST to save my life. I can't get up in the morning. I can't fall asleep at night. This is causing me to sit at my desk and stare at my computer and drool a lot.

In other news--my garden may be tested for doping soon. Every plant in it (except for the lettuce, which is being overrun by the viney things) is ten times its normal size and producing copious amounts of produce. I already have a zucchini the size of my head. Zucchini on July 10th? I thought that was an August phenomenon. After all, National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night is August 8th. That's a whole month away. Did you know that there is the same amount of Potassium in one cup of zucchini as there is in a large banana? The stuff is good for you. (And I love it fried in butter.)

I caught some big (shiny) beetles on the beans today. They were all in the same area--but decimating that one area. I got a pair of scissors and cut the foliage off and threw it and the beetles (still gorging themselves) onto the lawn of the neighbors whose dog bit our dog. (Okay, not really--but I thought about it. Instead I tossed it by the road and tried to remember to look in my gardening books to find a better solution.

The tomato plants are so HUGE--they really are amazing. In all my tomato gardening years (all three of them, spread out with other years in between) I've never seen tomato plants like this. They're tomato BUSHES. They could be tomato privacy bushes. For two months I very carefully picked off all of the sucker branches--but I gave up about three weeks ago when I couldn't really see into the mass of tomato branches and leaves anymore. Apparently the rain and the horse manure have combined to create The HULK versions of roma tomato plants.

My grape-tomato plant in the planter on the back porch--the one that shrugged off the hard frosts like they were an August evening--has produced about a dozen ripe grape tomatoes. I didn't have time to make a salad yesterday, so I picked them and put them in a glass dish and shoved them in the fridge. This evening I put them in a cup and dumped half a cup of cottage cheese on top of them.

Oh. my. heck. I have never, ever, ever had such sweet, flavorful tomatoes in my life. They burst right through the cottage cheese taste and I just had to blog my joy because I know my kids would just never understand.

But this batch of tomatoes was ahead of the rest of the plant and the next batch is still a vibrant green. It will be at least another week before I get more like them.

Then there are the pickling cucumbers. I didn't expect to see them out yet already either! But there they are. I don't see any smooth cucumbers--so either the "slicing" cucumbers were mislabeled, or they produce later. Right now all the vines that are producing are growing the same "I look like a pickle" cucumbers. I need to put a call into the aunts and find out what to do with the cucumbers now that I have them. I have not ever pickled anything before.

The sugar snap peas are sugar snap peas. They're delicious and doing well--at least until the beetles showed up today. Here's hoping they won't come back.

And now I have read Max a story, I have put Milo back to bed for the third time, I have balanced the checkbooks . . . back to work.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday Post, Part A

Ironically, I didn't take many pictures of the wedding week at all. I had the camera with me most of the time, but was so busy with everything that I rarely got it out of the bag. I had high hopes to get some significant knitting done during my week+ away, but that didn't happen either. Well, I did get *some* knitting done and *some* work done, but not as much of either as I had planned.

It was a wonderful week in many ways. Max was terrific, and I had a wonderful time with my mother-in-law who has graciously agreed to move closer to us (as in--to State College) sometime in '07. While there will be some advantages to this move for her--including the most obvious, which is that you can get a really sweet apartment for what she's paying in mortgage in Northern California--we're really encouraging her to do it for purely selfish reasons. There's no changing the fact that she was born and raised in Northern California and that moving to Central PA at this point will be a sacrifice. We intend to make it up to her (and to paint her interior before the sale and to handle as much of the moving hassles as she'll permit us).

But I digress. My sister was an adorable bride-to-be and a stunning bride. Her husband-to-be was appropriately excited about the nuptuals and beside himself with joy during and after them. It was an auspicious new beginning for them. Many happy tears were shed. I met her in-laws for the first time and was just so pleased to find them as charming and warm as you could hope for. I don't suppose I can say it to her directly, but I'm so grateful for a year of learning to understand Max's Ukrainian piano teacher. Her accent isn't exactly the same as the elder Veytser's but it's close enough that I didn't have too much trouble understanding Yefim, a wonderful, big-hearted man who still carries a thick Russian accent. Alycia had mentioned that his English wasn't as good as his wife's, but I only had to ask him to repeat a few things over the course of the weekend--and we were honored to be seated next to them (our hosts) at the rehearsal dinner--so we enjoyed a nice long talk about American education, the importance of a strong music education, American sports, and the basic nature of a ten-year-old boy. I didn't grasp how lucky I was to be able to understand him well until one of my cousins came by to chat and it rapidly became clear that he missed absolutely everything Yefim said. His eyes got that confused look and his nodding and smiling became robotic. Yefim gave up and let his wife do the talking. So I picked up with him where we'd left off before the cousin came over. I felt priveledged to be able to enjoy the conversation with this witty and warm man. Thank you Mrs. Bernstein for giving me the key to that door. (And it's stuff like this that really make me wonder if there really are any coincidences at all.)

Flying was tough. I don't enjoy it. I was just trying to keep it together to avoid freaking out Max. Nutty parents make poor travelling companions. Being away from Chris and the kids for a week was tough. I didn't enjoy it. Financially it was prohibitive to take the whole crew, but it was too bad we couldn't all go. The twins would have had a blast around all of those relatives. My parents are visiting in another few weeks, so at least they will get to see the twins. It's been a year. They've grown so much!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Will blog all about it later. In the meantime, Chris' new blog is up.