Sunday, August 27, 2006

Weather Musings

Yesterday was a grouchy day. We did fun things like go to Max's school's back-to-school picnic, but we weren't in fun playful moods. Chris and I mostly hung off to the side and tried not to look crazy or angry. The kids were fussy, but gave playing a shot. Max was probably the sanest of us all--which is good because it's his school and his friends. After an hour and a half and a lot of potluck dessert, we packed everyone up and headed home.

I worked. Chris worked. We all tried to play nice in spite of the oppressive . . . I don't know what. It felt like a barometric pressure issue to me, but I don't know whether it was too high or too low or what.

Then I couldn't go to sleep last night--until the rain rolled in. The rain rolled in and all the icky feelings went away and I went to sleep. Oh, how I wanted to sleep in this morning, but the dogs were having none of it, so I got up and walked them and then the rain came back.

And since then it has rained and rained . . .

And I am sleepy and groggy and on many different levels not at all awake.

But it's a pleasant kind of sleepy and groggy.

I like the rain.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You Know It's Fall Where You Live When . . .

You know it's fall in State College, PA when every store including the grocery store and pharmacy carries Penn State pillows and blankets for sale and large blue signs appear by the sides of the road saying, "Football traffic next right."

You know it's fall in State College, PA when four out of every five kids are involved in one of the FOUR different football and cheerleading leagues. Including your own kid who is otherwise as nerdy as they come.

You know it's fall in State College, PA when it takes you twice as long to take the dogs on a walk because they have to play acorn hockey in between sniffing and peeing and pooping.

You know it's fall in State College, PA because the electricity goes out every third day when another squirrel trying to get creative with the hiding places loses the opportunity to pass on his or her genes by blowing out another transformer with their tail.

And finally, even though it's only August 26th, it must be fall in State College, PA because the local grocery store bakery put out the iced orange Halloween pumpkin cookies today.

What are the signs of fall where you live?

Friday, August 25, 2006


So I'm making decent progress on the green and white striped sweater version 2.0, and I decide maybe I'll go ahead and cast on Chris's sweater. I already knit the gauge swatch. The pattern uses this percentage system that lets you pretty much pick your own yarn and needle size. You calculate absolutely everything else you need to know based on your swatch. There are about three pages of numbers to fill in and then you're done!

I already did all that. Took a couple of hours, but hey--all done.

I know I need to cast on 248 stitches and then join them (without twisting) and knit ribbing for 18 rounds.


What I didn't write anywhere and can't for the life of me recall is WHAT SIZE NEEDLE I KNIT THE GAUGE ON.

At all. No clue.


Thursday, August 24, 2006


The twinks have been pronounced, "Appropriate."

Their height is appropriate, their weight is appropriate, their behavior is appropriate (for age), and their overall health and condition is appropriate.

I can give Ben mineral oil for his constipation.

Milo's head will continue to even itself out as it grows.

Both boys charmed the heck out of the nursing staff. They named Milo, "The shy one" which is only true in the context of being Ben's brother.

They got varicella shots. Ben and Milo had no memory of getting a shot. They simply had NO CLUE what was involved with a shot. I tried to clue them in that it wasn't that fun without frightening them--I didn't want them holding ME responsible for leading them to think it was all fun and games. So it was to the nurses that Milo shot the horrified "what have I ever done to you" look and I got to comfort the sobbing, ambushed child.

Ben looked thoughtfully at Milo and politely declined the shot.

The nurses explained that it would keep him from getting sick.

Ben explained that it could keep him from getting sick "when I turn ten."

The nurses explained that he'd get the shot today and declining wasn't an option.

Ben actually took it all pretty well, but still needed a good hug afterwards.

pff. Parenting is tough. I've fought the varicella shot all this time, but they're supposed to have a googly million shots before they start Kindergarten in a year and I'd rather spread them out then have them get a shot for every childhood disease known to mankind in one visit next year. That just seems wrong. I can't claim religious exemption. I don't have a religious opposition to the varicella vaccine. I don't even have a really good reason for not liking it. So it was time.

The pretty doctor filled out the preschool health forms and we were off like a herd of appropriately-behaved cats.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Tomorrow I'm Staying Home

I am ready for a full-on day of introversion.

Yesterday I subbed for the five-year-old Sunday school class. Most of the five-year-old Sunday school class is not actually five yet. They just will be soon. They like to talk alot about poop and pee. I did a lot of topic changing.

Today we spent an hour in the waiting room at the optometrist so we could help Chris pick out glasses and drive him home after he got his eyes dialated. I got the twins' reading lessons and some knitting done--but in the end he wasn't as blind this year as he was last year and he couldn't make up his mind about glasses vs. contacts--so we didn't get any.

He was incapacitated by allergies again though, so I took all three kids to football. There is a very nice playground at the football place, so I was expecting to sit and knit and keep an eye on them while they played.

I had no counted on the small band of unparented children. Armed with squirtguns and water bottles. One of them SOAKED Milo's back. I told the little boy that he was not to do that again. The little boy looked peeved, but every time he'd go to soak Milo again he would look nervously over his shoulder and there I was. Standing. Giving him The Look. (My credential has lapsed, but I can still pull out The Look when I need to.)

Football practice is 2.5 hours long. I spent the first hour making sure my kids didn't get wet. I then got a half-hour of peace. Then three teenage boys showed up. One of them took an interest in Milo and seemed to keep wanting to talk to him. But it was just . . . wrong in a way I couldn't put my finger on. I've met plenty of little-kid-friendly male teens. I'm LDS, people. You can't swing a stick at church without thwacking some teenage boy who is unusually good with little kids. This was not that. So I was once again reduced to standing around looking like a pissed-off Mother Bear. He was stubborn, but I noticed he stopped standing between myself and Milo and after another few minutes, gave up and slunk away.

At the two-hour mark I was exhausted. So we left the playground and walked to the far end of the practice field and watched the last half-hour of Max's football practice. The twins said they were bored, but they coped.

We came home and I put the kids to bed and announced to Chris and anyone else who cared that I was declaring tomorrow Let's Not Forget Mom's an Introvert Day.

In knitting news, the Orenburg shawl kicked my patootie for a good six hours, but I've finally made a wee bit of progress on it. wee bit. Milo's green and white sweater has been cast on to size 8 addi turbos and is coming out at exactly the same gauge as the blue and white sweater. I'm trying not to think much about the situation.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


The plan for today was sketched out like so: Chris would take his cars and bodies and go hang out at this other RC track until early afternoon. Then he would come home for an afternoon with me and the twins. I would not work. That was the extent of that. I could do anything I wanted but work. (Which makes it sound like maybe I would want to work, but I've been way overscheduled and I honestly don't.) Max would go with one of his friends all day to an event with that friend. The twins would be the twins. (They're four and for two and a half more weeks, they don't show up on the calendar much. This all changes on September 5th when they are flung bodily into State College, PA piano culture and preschool three times a week.)

Anyway, we had this rough idea that we'd take the twins "out" somewhere and go do something "fun."

At eleven I drove Max over to his friend's house and then the twins and I started home. We decided to stop and get lunch somewhere and on the way to "somewhere" I saw the Farmer's Market where I've been getting my half bushels of tomatoes. Like a drunk that spies a bar, I pulled into their parking lot and completely and totally unable to stop myself--I bought another half bushel of romas for making spaghetti sauce. I paid the good money for some lemon boy tomatoes to add color. I tossed these things in the car and drove home, wondering when I'd find the time to do sauce. In answer, the radio announcer predicted rain and thunderstorms on and off for the rest of the afternoon and evening. And then, it began to rain.

Back home, I got the boys inside, took the tomatoes inside, and not minding at all that it was getting me wet, I picked a bunch of the riper tomatoes and some of the oregano, basil, and parsley.

The afternoon is for the family but this evening I'm doing spaghetti sauce :) Well, that's for the family, too. But they don't always see it that way until later. Last year I did too much experimenting. While I liked all the other veggies in it--they didn't. So this year I'll reign in my tendency to riff and just make fresh tomato sauce. I can add more stuff at the other end after opening the jar.

Friday, August 18, 2006

In Which It Is Established That I Can't Knit

I have long ago sworn off any serious swear words. Nevertheless, I recently had opportunity to review them all in my head. Let's review.

I'm working on a sort of knitting Triple Crown. I have a self-imposed deadline of the end of October as I would like to have three boys photographed in them. It wouldn't be so bad, but this is the progress on my Christmas present for the piano teacher:

I understand that it's going to block out, but . . . I'm not even up to the full width of the outside border yet.

So here's where I thought I was.

Well, that *is* where I am. One blue sweater waiting only for me to mattress stitch the two sides. One green sweater that needs the shoulder seams grafted and the sleeves knitted. One red sweater with a little more than half of the back knitted.

But the green sweater had been bothering me for quite some time. It just seemed . . . small. Well I finally held the green against the blue and it is fully two inches more narrow than the blue. I checked and rechecked the number of stitches before realizing with horror that it is the gauge.

Look, the first sweater done on size 7 circular needles, making a point of trying to loosen up some of my too-tight knitted ways. 19 stitches over four inches. (Color is off here, ignore that.)

Then, if you'll recall, I realized that the sleeves were too small, but I chalked that up to a design error and reknit the sleeves with many more stitches. The sleeves I knit with wooden straights in size 7. I never measured the gauge when I reknit the sleeves. It turns out that they are 21 stitches over four inches. No kidding they were too small!

With the blue sweater done, I cast on for the red sweater with the addi turbo circular needles. Now fully into my high-anxiety mode, I added a stitch per four inches. 20 stitches over four inches. This is fine since I built in a generous ease for Max, and since first measuring him he has shot up and slimmed down again. (Mental note to add more length to sweater.)

But with those needles in use. I cast on to the green sweater with size 7 straights. And that, combined with being wound a little too tight (me, not the yarn), cost me almost an entire extra stitch to the inch. 22 stitches over four inches. Which results in a sweater that is way too narrow.

Yes, I'm knitting a smidge tighter than I was before, but the biggest factor here are the needles. I knit much more tightly on straights--wooden or metal--than I do on circular addi turbos. WHO KNEW?

So what to do? First, I've already put a lot of time into that green sweater. I hate to see that result in nothing. Second, the yarn is 18% mohair. That seems to be just enough mohair to make it really tough to rip out. So for now the plan is to graft the shoulders so I can have my stitch holders back. Then cast on all over again. At some point I'll go back and finish up the green and white too-small sweater and put it in the gift drawer.

But jeez. What a bummer. I'm going to work on the shawl tonight.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

42 pints of salsa

I feel a little woozy from the salsa fumes, but it was a big day.

I'd hoped to get a jump start on the canning, but Max's eye appointment put the kibosh on that. I didn't get started until 12:30. My feet are KILLING me now.

But that said, I'm so glad I did it. My greatest fear(s) were that a) noone would come b) too many people would come or c) I'd run out of propane and not can anything.

None of those things happened.

I made two different batches and only the one batch was ready when everyone got here. But the early arrivers helped with chopping and peeling and seeding--so when everyone left, the second batch was ready to go on the stove.

Once we were ready to get going, I demonstrated one batch of how to can the salsa--and then we tasted the cold salsa from last weekend (which is what the other batch of salsa that wasn't finished yet would have been) and the hot salsa from today. And it was fun and sociable and then time for everyone to go home.

But then two of the women stayed to help with the rest of the tomatoes. And this was fantastic because with two more hands, the rest of the tomatoes were peeled and seeded and chopped in under an hour AND I got to have company AND I'd really wanted to get to know these two women but they're really busy and at least one of them is as shy as I am and it just wasn't going to happen, probably, at any other time. So that was very nice.

Then it was late and they needed to go home so we said goodbye. I cooked my salsa and started canning it in batches. The propane ran out on the second to last batch. Only one jar broke (related to switching the canner from the outside propane burner to the inside electric stove).

We have a LOT of salsa. Yum. I think I'm done with salsa. Only tomato soup and spaghetti sauce to go.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Just Another Manic Monday

This one is for the Crib Chick, who wanted a round of "a day in the life" posts. I jotted down notes on Monday for her, but didn't get a chance to get online and actually write it all down until now, pretty much 24 hrs later.

The day started at 6:55am when the alarm went off. This is about 35 minutes earlier than the alarm normally goes off, if I set the alarm (which I normally do on weekdays when Max has to Be Somewhere). I struggle through the blankets to get up because I am pinned under the blankets and between Himself and Milo. I turn off the alarm and tuck Milo back in bed, then close the curtains tightly so that the kids will hopefully sleep a little longer than usual for Chris. I walk into the twins' bedroom, where Ben is sleeping in Milo's bed for some reason. I close the curtains there, too.

I wake up Max, and then go back into my room where I pull on the jeans I've worn three days in a row, fish a clean bra out of the underwear drawer, and walk downstairs wearing the jeans and bra to find a clean shirt in the massive pile of clean shirts laid out on the dryer. It is my job to wash and dry the clothing. It is not my job to put them away.

I head back upstairs, peek into Max's room, go into the bathroom and turn on the shower, go back to Max's room and wake him--again. I shoo him off the shower.

I head back downstairs and turn on the computer. Once McAffee is done yelling at me for not buying anything from them other than their already too expensive virus protection program (I'm so totally switching to a new program when this subscription is up), I call up Mapquest and get directions to the new optometrist. I print those out. I've had insomnia all summer and since I'd worked until 1:30am the night before--which meant I was good and tired, I'd tried to go to sleep without taking benedryl or anything else to get to sleep. Consequently, I fell asleep somewhere around 3:30 am. At any rate, I was feeling lacking in short term memory, so I printed out the directions.

I went back upstairs and pulled Max back out of bed (his hair was wet and he smelled good though). I gave him suggestions about what to wear since he seemed incapable of making those kinds of decisions this morning. I don't normally have to wake Max, so fishing him out of bed three times in one morning was a bad sign. I told him if he could get his tush out to the car in the next three minutes, I'd buy him a bagel for breakfast. 30 seconds later he announced he was heading out to the car. I found my keys and followed him.

7:30 We buy bagels. Egg and bacon for him, lox and cream cheese with lettuce and tomato for me. Three plain bagels to take home.

7:50 We pull over one block before the eye place to look at the directions again. Two minutes later we park in the parking lot.

7:58 We wait around in the lobby till they open the doors.

8:03 We check in.

8:10 They take us back.

8:40 The very nice optometrist says that Max is a wee bit far-sighted, but not enough to need glasses (I was totally expecting that exact diagnosis of his eyeballs), and she makes an appointment for him to come back on Thursday to do an hour of testing out his visual perception (or, as she put it, "His hardware is fine. Bring him back on Thursday and we'll test his software.") [Max, like his mother, his maternal grandfather, and at least one uncle, can't spell his way out of a paper sack. The only program we've had any success with is Sequential Spelling. Nor does he enjoy writing, although he has plenty to say. We're curious to see if in spite of the fact that Max's reading is excellent, there isn't an element of dyslexia there that is specifically tied to the spelling. Ben and Milo are going to the same phenomenal optometrist at the end of the month, but in their case we really are just going to rule out the need for glasses before school starts since both Mom and Dad are far-sighted--although in my case, mildly so.]

9:00 We finally leave the optometrist as it took awhile to finalize the appointment.

9:10 At the dairy we drop off 10 bottles and buy 8.

9:25 Post Office. There is a huge envelopes of contracts from an employer. I glower at it. This company has recently changed the way that they accept and pay invoices. The new way BLOWS. So here I am, supposed to sign four more contracts. All I can think as I look at the due dates is "where the heck is MY reassurance that I'll get paid for this before Christmas?!?" The project I'm helping them with is small. Well, the project might be big, but my part in it is small because they are not Main Client. I glower at the envelope of contracts and resist the urge to shred them.

9:35 Back home, we distribute bagels.

9:45 I walk the dogs

9:55 I spend some time copying the first page of each contract which states how much I'll get paid. My fax machine is doing the copying. It likes to think about the page for a bit before actually printing them. I spend the time waiting feeling pissed off at the company some more. I thought the old way--in which they had 45 days to pay me from the day I submitted an invoice, was generous enough.

10:05 I answer email.

10:15 Still pissed about the contracts, I open excel and fuss with the budget for a bit.

10:30 I sign the contracts, fold them, stick them in an envelope, address it, put two stamps on it.

10:40 I decide to go check on the caterpillars. I go outside and check the carrots and count the caterpillars. Everyone's there. I had brought them in on Sunday out of fear for their lives, but Sunday evening thought better of it when it was clear that they hated the wilted carrots. [Today, I only count three. I hope the biggest, fattest ones went off to make a coccoon.] There is a fedex envelope on my front step. I open it. It is another friggin' contract. Today must be contract Monday! However, this one is a renewal with Main Client. I sign, copy, stick it back in a fedex envelope and call for a pickup.

11:00 Reassured that at least someone is going to pay me, I print out ten files and make a checklist of what needs to be done today. I'm off to a late start and without the checklist I'll spend all day puttering now.

1:00 I've finished the first page of this project and the phone rings. It's the piano teacher moving our lesson time. I prefer this call to the one where she calls and yells at me for missing the lesson. This happens every six weeks or so, largely because she's always moving the lesson time on me.

I make everyone peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches. This does not earn me any points with my spoiled-rotten family, but tough. Some days you eat p, b, and j and like it.

1:15 I sit back down to work some more and realize that I'm remarkably awake for someone who got so little sleep. I make a mental note to get everything possible done today as I have a hunch I will be lunchmeat-for-brains the next day.

2:15 I cross the second and third page off my list, grab the kid, the piano books, and the envelope of contracts and go. We stop at the post office and I mail the contracts. We go to the piano lesson. I knit. He plays. She's just come off of a week's vacation to some place that made her tan and is in a great, even almost silly, mood. They have a fine lesson. She tells Max he needs to "supervise" his fingers. Max plays a piece all the way through with only one error. In May this piece so terrified him that he burst into tears thinking that the teacher was going to make him play it "that fast." Today he plays it that fast without her asking him to. Artists. Sheesh.

4:00 We pull in the driveway. Chris' head, normally big enough, is swollen and he is incapable of saying anything that doesn't come out in an angry growl. I give him more benedryl and like the Beast, he slinks off to his portion of the castle. I offer to take Max to football. He accepts.

4:10 Back to work. Chris goes off to run errands.

5:15 Chris comes home with another piece of football equipment (something to help assure future generations of our family) and Kentucky Fried Chicken. We haven't had KFC in so long that the kids are beside themselves with joy. We all eat.

5:30 Milo and I do a lesson from 100 Easy Lessons.

5:40 Max and I leave for football. I have a backpack with my knitting, my laptop, the files I'd printed out earlier, and that checklist. I still feel great. Max has 40 lbs of football equipment.

6:00 Max plays football. I open the laptop and get to work.

7:15 My laptop notifies me of the impending death of the battery. I hastily finish the last sentence of the page I'm working on and power down. I get to cross off two more pages from the checklist. There is one page and one paragraph of another page to go and I will be done. I am thrilled about this. I knit and the lady next to me comments cheerfully about the knitting. We end up talking for the rest of practice. This is so out of character for me that I realize again that metabolically--I'm doomed for Tuesday.

8:30 Practice is over. We go home.

9:00 Chaos. Chris has put the twins to bed but is still in allergy-induced hell. He refused to play the "going to sleep game" whereby we drink our last drink and attempt one or two stalls. The three of them sound like they are Wild Things at the end of the their Wild Rumpuss. Chris is roaring his terrible roar and gnashing his terrible teeth. And the twins are just pissed off.

I shout, "Be still!" and tame them all with my eyes.

Chris goes back to his paint cave. I get Ben a sip of water. I promise Milo I will put the last piece of chicken in the fridge and save it for him. Feeling guilty, I go and get the 100 Easy Lessons book and do the lesson with Ben. It's really too late, but there it is. They fall asleep. Emily is pacing, and since I can't remember if I had Max walk them earlier, I take them both outside for a walk. This reminds me that it hasn't rained in a bit. So after the walk I get the hose and liberally water all the plants. Yes, it's dark. But our yard is near the streetlight and I can see well enough.

9:50 I am starting to fade. I work on that last page, that last paragraph. Chris goes to bed, very early for him. I am grateful.

11:45 I finish. I email the finished work to its intended recipient. I find some pjs, I put them on, I go to bed. For once, God Bless America, I fall asleep after only about 30 minutes. I do NOT set the alarm.


So where are the twins in all of that? They were at home mostly yesterday. Some days are like that. Today I had to go get a bushel of tomatoes at the farmer's market near the dairy and all the kids came with me for that. Later I needed to stop by Wal-mart for more pint jars and lids and they came with me to that, and then to Sam's club for groceries.

I work in the basement in a section set aside for my office, but there is no door and the twins float in and out literally all day long. I am working, but I am also the go-to guy for more milk, more juice, a snack, a hug, some sympathy, a bandaid, etc., etc. We have the ez-up on the back porch and I sometimes work out there while they play in the back yard. They do play a lot of video games and sometimes we have to turn off the TV for them when it just gets to be too much.

When Chris isn't having a day like yesterday (in his defense, he hasn't had such a horrible allergy attack in ages and just wasn't remotely himself) he'll often take them to the playground. Or like tonight--he did football and I did errands with the twins.

Today I was slower on the uptake--didn't get up till 8:30. I answered email and balanced the checkbooks using the online bank, went to pick up tomatoes, came home and did some actual work, and around 3:00 went back to bed. I got up around 5:00, Max and Chris went to football. The twins and I ran errands until almost 8pm. We did our 100 Easy Lessons. I worked again until 9:15, we stopped and put the kids to bed. And then I did some more work, and now--this blog. I'll work until midnight and then quit and go to bed.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


First, thanks to Kolbi, I saw these little guys in our garden. They really are gorgeous and I'd never seen them before "in real life." They appear to be Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Eastern Black Swallowtail Caterpillars grow up to look like this:

That is not my photo but I couldn't find any information to get proper credit, so there you have it. That's a girl Black Swallowtail.

But for now we have about a half dozen on our carrots that look like this:

And here's a picture of Grandpa and Grandma Donna visiting three of their four grandsons.

And today I'm at home working and canning salsa. It's a new recipe because I don't have a whole half-bushel of tomatoes, but I'm using these in the recipe:

So I'm not really worried because with all of that good stuff in there, how can it come out badly? Only the tomatoes and cucumbers are from my garden (and the yellows aren't--they're from the grocery auction--but they only represent 2 of the 11 lbs of yummy tomatoes in that basket. The other 9 lbs are mine! Most of which I admit are burried in the photo.) but the rest are grown locally and it's all so YUMMY.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Grandpa and Grandma Donna

We have had Grandpa and Grandma Donna visiting this week. It's been a very nice visit and we are all thrilled to have them but the twins are beside themselves. (Max is very happy they're here, too--but he is starting to display some pre-teen characteristics including the tendency to sit in the background and play video games instead of engaging in meaningful conversation. This seems to be okay since Ben simply won't shut up long enough to let any of the rest of us talk anyway.)

We went to football practice (of course) and to Belleville to the Amish farmer's market and the grocery auction and we ate yummy fresh fruit and vegetables and talked a lot. We were supposed to go to Whipple Dam today, but my ongoing insomnia caught up with me this week and I had to go back to bed. So my Dad and Chris fixed the broken gate in the back and Grandma Donna led the twins in making "egg cakes" (orange cake mix poured into these egg-shaped cupcake tins) and then we all ate egg cakes for the rest of the day. Later everyone but me went to see Barnyard. I don't know what the movie is about but everytime Milo tried to tell me about a scene he laughed so hard he couldn't talk. So they enjoyed it. I got that much.

Both have recently retired and swear they'll be visiting more often. Perhaps next time we can get up to Whipple Dam. From here they go on to visit my brother and sister-in-law and meet their newest grandson. Thanks Grandma and Grandpa--and come again soon :)

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Buh-Bye Swim Season

There's a lot I like about swim season--including the fact that the concessions are cheap. But like all good sports seasons--they come to an end. Football--which will last from next Monday through the end of October--is kind of pushing it on the whole wear-out-its-welcome bit. It could help that there shouldn't be quite as many games as there were last year. Last year our league had that split-personality thing going on with the A and B teams. Since Max was on the B team he had to go to most of the A games as well as all of the B games. It was too many games! This time we switched to the "other" "big" league. There are apparently three different children's football leagues in State College. The Catholic football league, Juniata Valley football (last year's for us), and these people (who last year were part of Pop Warner, but this year are something else). It cost us three times as much and we have to drive to a field three times farther away from our house, and it seems to last an additional month longer--but every kid is supposed to play in each game. We'll see.

So today was the swimming championship. We went and Max gave a good performance in the relay, an average performance in freestyle, and a strong performance in back stroke. He had fun with his friends.

I found the sun stronger than I expected and retreated to the shade under the tree where I knitted and talked for a bit with one of the other Moms. But I started feeling kinda spacey. We hit the start of the second half and I went to the scoring table where it was my job to help calculate times and stuff and I found myself with that feeling of wanting to go hide under the bed and hiss at people. I apologized to the others for not being chatty, explained I wasn't feeling well, and sat and did my job, even as it got harder and harder to do the job. Blessedly, the second half went much faster than the first half (there were like 10 heats of freestyle, 2 of butterfly. go figure.) and we were soon free to go. It's weird isn't it--when you're coming down with something and you go from feeling fine to being full on sick in about an hour and a half? I had already agreed to let Max bring a friend home with him for the afternoon and I wasn't in any position to go around explaining to the kids that they had to change those plans. It was easier to just nod and wave and take the kids home. I checked in with Chris, told the big kids to play nice with the small kids if they all did the gamecube all afternoon, and went to bed.

When I got up, Chris agreed to take the boys back to the end-of-the-season-swim-picnic and I did dinner for me and the twins, walked the dogs, and did the reading lesson with the twins.

I still feel sick, but at least I can sit up and type. As for work? I'll just do the best I can. So, off to do that.

Friday, August 04, 2006


You ever just totally misread an email? It doesn't happen to me often, but in this case it went like this.

From: Client
To: Alaska

Hey, you know that thing you were going to do for us by next Friday? Can you add a few more pages to that? We'll give you till the following Monday if you need it.

love, Client.

I think, "Oh, that was due Friday? I thought it was due Monday. Well, sure, I can do a few more pages. I can do their stuff over the weekend and have the whole week to focus on MainClient."

So I tell them that and they say, "Great! Here's a list of the additional pages, love ya, bye." And I glance at this and make a mental note to print out that list before I get started so I know what I'm supposed to do.

So here we are sliding into Friday evening and I've already put in 52 hours this week on the computer for Main Client. I'm feeling a little burnt out, and wondering if I can steal any time from tomorrow to finish up this last bit so I can knit and stare vapidly into space tonight and maybe go to bed early (not that it'll do any good because I still have raging insomnia). So I go print out that list.

And choke.

What the ORIGINAL email really said was:

From: Client
To: Alaska

Hey, you know that thing you were going to do for us by next Friday? Can you add the (specific kind of page) and (specific kind of page) to that? We'll give you till the following Monday if you need it.

love, Client.

And if I'd taken a moment to pull out the chart and COUNT those pages I would have realized that they were saying, "Hey, would you mind if we doubled that?"

So, on the upside, this weekend is now worth a LOT of money to me and mine. On the downside, I sincerely don't know if I can do it. Max has the championship swim meet in the morning. I can't bring the computer with me because I only get a half-hour of battery life anymore. Besides. Computer + swim meet? I dunno . . . . that's a lot of water to be around. And anyway, I'm in charge of filling out little stickers to go on the backs of ribbons during the second half. I'm better off bringing my knitting and trying to suck up all the anti-burn-out I can.

So I have from about maybe noon (none of us really know when the meet will be over but it's only the ten and unders and the first race is at 9am) to about 6pm. Then I have to take Max back to the end-of-season picnic for an hour. That's okay. I have to eat, too. Then work again until midnight. Then get up early on Sunday . . .

:::chews finger nails:::

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I have this friend who just can't look forward to winter. She'll decorate her house for halloween and put a beautiful Christmas tree and call me to make sure I know what night Santa is visiting Pine Grove Mills, but she HATES the cold, so she just can't look forward to winter no matter what.

I don't feel the same way about summer but I HATE the heat. I try to be an adult about it and put on my big girl panties and just deal with it. I run the sprinkler for the kids and buy yet another fan and run them all 24/7 (because it's still WAY cheaper than the in-wall air-conditioner we still haven't had serviced). But I hate it. Add that to a record combination of heat AND humidity for the East Coast and you have a recipe for a meltdown. It's only icky here from about the middle of July through the middle of August but the last few days have been over the top and I got back from taking Max to his swim practice and basically had a good cry about it all. For an hour.

Chris, recognizing the signs of a potential nervous breakdown, went into Good Daddy mode and took the kids to the Y, supervised swim lessons, did the reading lesson of the day, ran play-date taxi, and basically left me alone so that if nothing else, at least I could get some work done. Then, at the end of the day, he went to the store and bought dinner so I wouldn't have to cook and ice cream with a high chocolate content just to be safe.

The kids pulled out Micky's Christmas on video and watched that. I took a shower and sat and typed in front of the fan. The weather, despite upbeat promises about the heat breaking, hasn't really come through for me yet. We were promised a bang-up thunderstorm, but the storms seem to keep breaking up just before they get here. We haven't had one rumble. I'd really enjoy a good cracker of a thunderstorm right now. It is pitch black and 83 degrees. That's wrong, people. It won't drop lower than 73 over night. Can you blame me for being testy? I can't sleep!!


But I did get a LOT of work done today and I needed that sense of accomplishment. I'm hoping to get even more done before bedtime, and jeez louise I have a lot to do this weekend, but I feel better than I did this morning. And I think that was a flash of lightening. So things are looking up.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

11:00 am

I needed to mail some eBay packages. They weren't large, being mostly books, so I decided to walk. It's about five village blocks to the post office--a ten-minute walk if you're not taking the twins. They say you burn more calories in high temps because your body has to work harder at staying cool. If that's true, that was a 5,000 calorie walk.

I updated my knitting sidebar. I tidied up the rest. Now back to work that pays (at least, if they don't "lose" your invoice.)