Sunday, December 30, 2007
This computer was a gift to the boys from my Aunt Gee-Gee. It's rightful heir was the little tyke staring intently at the screen, but his parents deemed his attention span too short for that sort of thing and so it was offered to my three. It's an educational computer that uses all open-source software. Max has discovered a few of its limits, but I'm encouraging him to google all he can on the computer to see if he can eventually get a few of the websites he likes to work. We think we downloaded a version of flashplayer but we don't know how to get it installed and working. It's Linus-based operating system is foreign to us.
So I suggested that for now we just use it as it was intended--instead of trying to make it like a computer he already knew--to just accept it as an entirely new kind of computer. And we are making ground that way. He has already composed a few melodies using its music-making software, and the twins have spent literally hours video-taping themselves with its built in camera (sorry, we don't know how to send these anywhere else, or even what kind of format they're saved in). Ben and Milo have sore abdominal muscles from laughing hysterically at themselves. Milo has also used the music software.
We do know there is a way to upload the word processing files to a site that will save them in a format that his teacher can receive. We will master this when the need arises. Many thanks to Aunt Gee-Gee for her generosity and to Cousin A, who took the picture and thought of suggesting my kids as a recipient.
Today we had a quiet Sunday. Ben, Milo, and I headed off to church and left the coughing and hacking Max and the confuzzled and snot-ridden Chris at home. They looked very handsome in their new white shirts and ties. Hopefully by next Sunday I'll have their new pants hemmed and they'll look snazzy indeed. I realized as I got them dressed that I'd forgotten about their church shoes. I probably won't get that fixed until Easter now.
By dinner time Chris had showered and shaved and taken dayquil, so since it was our turn to feed the missionaries, he went and got them and managed to stay upright and conscious for the whole time they were here. Right now he's on the couch attempting to read the human resources manual of his new company, but I'm guessing he'll be reading it again tomorrow.
I'm grateful for two more days of Christmas vacation. I really like having the kids around and I've really liked the opportunity to sleep in, nap, and go to bed early, LOL. I tend to be sort of chronically sleep deprived and I can say I have definitely NOT been sleep deprived this week. What's the opposite of sleep deprivation? Sleep abundance? I wish you could store extra sleep for use later. I'd feel much better if I could know the extra sleep could be stashed away for future use.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Then I took the pile of "things to do something about" and went through that. Next, I updated the wipe-off calendar over my desk and the kitchen calendar and my desk calendar, which also doubles as a "due dates" calendar. Then I balanced both checkbooks, paid a ton of bills, and then, surprise, it was night and still no fedex package. So I pulled out the schedule again, realized that I'd gone up a line on the tiny little excel chart that was the master schedule and that I'm not due to start working again until the 2nd!
So today I did a meal plan for the next week, put together a shopping list, and took the kids to Target to spend their Target gift cards (and then we went grocery shopping, of course). Since Santa brought me a new sewing machine, I got a sewing kit to go with it. It comes with a bunch of thread (LOL, I had to search for the right term for that: yarn? string? What's that sewing stuff called? Oh, yeah! Thread. Right.) When I got home I spent 20 minutes going through all the notions that came with the machine and my new kit. I felt like a little girl lining up all the tiny shoes that came with her new Barbie. "Oooo! Lookit this little brushy thing!"
So instead of working half of each day for the next five days, I get to, well, clean my house and knit and sew--which I think is a fine trade off. My mother did most of my laundry while she was here, so a significant portion of the "mess" in the living room is just putting away clean laundry.
Speaking of domestic stuff--another gift I received for Christmas is a new iron. Our old one was a Black and Decker work-horse that still did a pretty decent job of ironing out wrinkles, as long as you weren't too picky about these things. Chris did his homework in researching irons and got me a nice one. Nothing too spendy or flashy--we only have our church clothes and the occasional dressy occasion to iron for. But he was thoughtful enough to get one with a steaming function so that I can also use it for the occasional bit of blocking. I used it on the sample I finished for the yarn shop today. The steaming thing was fast and fun.
My plan for tomorrow is to get Ben and Milo's new church pants hemmed up, Max's old church pants hemmed up, and the living room picked up. That about covers it :)
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Ski season starts here in a few weeks, although it looks to be a repeat of last year's early warm January, in which case, ski season will be delayed. G'ma Gaye outfitted the twinks in new gloves, ski goggles, and balaclavas. I had picked up Max's skis from the ski shop yesterday--these were a garage sale find for $10 back in August or September. I had them waxed and they got some other maintenance done to them (grinding the edges or something) and we replaced the outdated binding with new adult bindings. The finished product looks much nicer than the pair I paid $10 for, LOL, but then, they're not a $10 pair of skis anymore, either!
A lot of what the kids got this year were things they really needed. With money from my grandmother the kids got new jeans, socks, underwear, pajamas, white dress shirts for church, and sneakers. My sister bought them all snow boots. G'ma Donna and G'ma Gaye both got them t-shirts they loved. G'ma Judy bought them slippers. I knit them all socks. These were all greatly appreciated. There were terrific toys for the boys--transformers, nerf shooters, puppets, and legos. There were wonderful books on warriors, art, animals, and science topics. There were two games for the Wii and two games for the gamecube, and a few controllers to replace the ones that wore out (and Santa brought some spare controllers for the Wii so that the boys can all play at the same time).
I had expected a *very* simple Christmas, as we budgeted mostly for the kids. But I was spoiled. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled. Thank you, Chris and parents.
We also got the amazing gift of being offered the purchase of my aunt's 2003 Ford Taurus. We took her up on it and will get rid of the Expedition as soon as that is possible.
Tomorrow we're off to visit relatives in Philly for the day and then it's back home to dive back into work, but today was a quiet, peaceful day with good food and family, and we enjoyed it.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
This year I was having a heck of a time coming up with ideas for what to put in the box. Everything was either too hard to put together or too expensive to ship. I was reluctant to go with a box of cookies because that is so "done." In the end though, that's what we went with. I already had most of the ingredients in food storage and the kids love our cookie cookbook, so.
But the baking gods were in a foul mood. The first two cookies and a bar recipe went great. But I didn't put the boxes "up" enough and Emily ate all but a few over night. (And lived to tell about it.) I couldn't get back to baking again until Thursday because of workwork (and having some bug on Thursday) and the first thing I did was ruin 6 lbs of fudge. I quit and tried again on Friday. Finally, things started going better.
On Thursday Milo stayed home from school because he was sick. He sent his classmates a note:
He's still got a cough, but doesn't seem particularly sick anymore. However, Ben and I are sharing a new cold and I really just wanted to lay on a couch, whine, and knit, but I have guests coming all afternoon tomorrow (one set coming at 1pm for a quick visit on their way out of town, another set coming at 2pm) so we needed groceries.
This means the gift boxes/bags are nearly done.
We also received today a special delivery.
That is Snowball and Hoodie. We're rat sitting until their owner gets back from Christmas vacation. I'm a little nervous about having a dog who gets lavishly praised for killing vermin in the same house with two ratty-pets. So they're staying in Max's room for the duration and the door to his room is to remain firmly closed. Nevertheless, I'll be praying for them just in case. Having them here is a little like vacationing in Mexico. It could go well, or then again, it could go very badly.
Christmas knitting has gone relatively well. I don't know if I'll finish the last item in time for Christmas, but I did finish Oliver's mittens. I think they turned out very cute.
So did the piano teacher's mittens:
I'd better get back to work on Max's sweater.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We interrupt this blog for breaking news! Chris has a new job!! He starts January 2nd in the management team of a local furniture company! He got the Offer yesterday but there were questions to be asked and he has signed the revised offer! We'll have new, better, GOBS cheaper health insurance WITH OUR SAME DOCTORS on January 1st!
Please. Everybody get up OUT of your chairs and dance with me!
Our new totally out of debt (except for the 1st mortgage) goal: December 2009. That's HELOC, car loan, and all. We hope to have everything except the HELOC killed in one year. No new toys! No shopping sprees for us! We won't be going out and getting cable. (Although we will probably buy more vegetables. What is wrong with this planet? Why are tomatoes more expensive than beef?) In 2008 we're buying back our FREEDOM.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
It is HARD to sit down and type at the computer today because I am floating so HIGH off the ground.
The service for the baptism was the most beautiful I have ever been to. There were some snags. Thursday night Chris learned I could talk on ANY gospel topic instead of just baptism and so he urged me to say whatever was in my heart. Friday was so full with getting the house ready and grocery shopping for the Potluck and other preparations--plus the arrival of our friends and enjoying their company and young children-- I didn't sit down to write until about 10:30 and at midnight I gave up and just shut the computer down.
The baptism was at 10 am, so in the morning we were up and 'at 'em. Max, Chris, and Gaye took most of the potluck stuff to the church and plugged in the crockpot and hung out to greet people with the missionaries. I took the twinkies to the grocery store to pick up dh's cake and get a few more 2 liter bottles of drinks. Our friends went over to one of the local hotels to pick up another dear friend who had arrived from Ohio and they met us at the church, too.
Approximately 70 members of the ward, including some of their children, were there. Plus either the missionaries or Relief Society or SOMEONE had already set up all the tables in the cultural hall. My friend from Vermont, Sarah, and her mother (from Ohio) had both attended my baptism. So we had asked Sarah to give the invocation. I felt warmth on my head and was calmed while she spoke. There's no other way to describe it, but all the worry about getting everything done just melted away. I have to say I was blessed to not think about work ALL DAY.
We sang "Because I have been given much," and then I bore my testimony. It went fine. I don't know what I said but everybody cried and said it was perfect later. Everybody cried through the whole service, honestly. Brother Penn gave a terrific talk on the Holy Ghost. We all crammed into the area where the baptismal font is. The tiny little room seemed to stretch and make room for everyone. The Bishop baptized Chris and when Chris came back up my twins laughed with joy--I hadn't thought to tell them to stay quiet during the baptism--they're normally good at being quiet when they're supposed to be quiet, but they are very happy little people and laugh often and easily. But it was okay. It was so clearly a laugh of delight.
We returned to the chapel and Bro. Penn opened the mike to testimonies. Four people spoke and they were sooo wonderful. One speaker talked about the joyous memories the occasion brought back for him as his wife had joined the church during their fourth year of marriage. He talked about what that day had meant to them and the good things that had happened within his family since then. Another speaker talked about his reaction to hearing the twins laugh. A third speaker talked about a recent experience she had had with hearing the Holy Ghost during a time of need. The fourth speaker (Sarah's husband, Justin) spoke about the way his love for the scriptures has grown since his conversion a decade ago. (He knows Chris struggles with the language in the scriptures, but also knows Chris is determined to get past that.) Chris and the Bishop returned at this point, so the Elders' Quorum president gave a talk welcoming Chris to the Elders' Quorum, and that was fun because he got to have some fun with the fact that Chris had been attending regularly for some time now.
We sang, "Come Follow Me" and Max gave the benediction. He did great. There was much hugging and congratulating and more tears and then we set up the food, fed everyone, visited, told stories, enjoyed each other's company, and smiled a lot. I was really glad Gaye was with us. She had a good time and I could NEVER have done a good job telling her exactly what it was like. You really had to be there.
I was really glad I'd gotten the full sheet cake, LOL! Anyway everyone helped clean up and we went home with our out-of-town friends. At the potluck other members of that same family joined us, and so now we had 9 members of that family. We went back to our house with my mom-and-law and visited for the rest of the afternoon. Sarah and I made dinner for Chris's 38th birthday and we grown-ups stayed up late talking. (Somewhere in there I washed the kids' Sunday clothing so they could wear them again to church today.) Happy Birthday, Chris!
This morning we got up and got dressed again. We'd had freezing rain, so Justin struggled, but somehow managed to get his car packed up in spite of a layer of ice everywhere. I had given Chris a leather quad as a birthday/baptism gift, which meant I got my scriptures back (he had swiped mine many months ago, but it's not like I was going to insist he give them back, LOL.). It didn't last long. Max took them to Sunday school. Maybe if Santa brings him some scriptures, too, I'll get to keep mine. At any rate, we got to church on time. Everyone was still feeling the glow from yesterday. It was like no time had passed since the baptism. They confirmed Chris a member, and bestowed upon him the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then the ward sustained Chris as a member of the ward. Then they proposed that the ward sustain Chris as a priest and we did that. (Max loved that. Oh, heck, *I* loved that.) Then we sang the Sacrament hymn and the Sacrament was blessed and passed. Chris then bore his testimony, beginning with the fact that never had bread tasted so sweet.
And then Chris joined us back in the pews and the rest of meeting was a sort of ordinary Christmas Season Sacrament meeting. A violinist and a pianist did a special music piece and there were two brief talks and then it was time to say Goodbye to our Vermont Friends. (They had stayed to witness and participate in the Confirmation.) I hope they made it back safely home. I did a few things for my calling, then joined Chris in Gospel Principles. Interestingly, I'm not fond of being called on to give any of the opening or closing prayers because I just get so nervous, but noone else offered to close, so I did. And as I walked in the door of Relief Society, I was immediately pounced upon to give the opening prayer by someone to whom I couldn't say no, LOL. So I did.
After Relief Society, we rounded up the boys and met at the Bishop's office to witness Chris being ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood.
Who knew this day would come? But it did and it is sooooo sweet.
When I got home from church though, I lay down next to Chris on the couch and didn't wake until four hours later. I was tired!!
Monday, November 26, 2007
What we learned was the wisdom of the council to avoid shopping on Sundays. Especially Sundays right after Thanksgiving with all the students coming back. Especially those conditions with Target. It was insane and took far longer to get out of there than we had anticipated. The only good that came of it was that we were successful in getting the gold mini-lights that we wanted.
Years ago we had a tree with a red and gold theme. We'd collected ornaments and a beautiful lighted angel tree topper and something like 8 strands of gold lights in there. Then in California rats got in it and ruined it all. The tree, the ornaments, the lights--it was all contaminated. Just disgusting. So we threw it all away. Over the last four or five Christmases, we rebuilt our collection, but we had given the "eclectic collection with multi-colored mini-lights" theme a run and since we had to replace all the lights this time around, we decided to take the opportunity to go back to red and gold. The extra ornaments went back into storage. In a future year we'll add a second tree for downstairs and give it the eclectic collection with multi-colored mini-lights theme.
In the meantime, the red and gold tree looks beautiful. We'll get a picture up at some point this holiday. The Christmas Tree skirt went traveling this year and I won't have it back for a bit yet.
Anyway, around 6 or so, Gramma Gaye went home, so I pulled out one of my new cookbooks to read:
I put my knitting in my lap and worked away at a sock for probably five rounds or so as I read--I made it through most of the introduction before completely passing out. I woke up at 9pm just in time to watch the ending of a movie with Ben Stiller as a nightwatchman at the Museum of Natural History. Then we all put on pjs and went to sleep. I woke up this morning feeling pretty well rested.
(Oh! Never fear on the buttons. I found them in one of the places I'd already looked twice. So now I just have to stay awake in my green chair long enough to get the knitting done!)
Today should have been a day full of workwork, but the kids don't go back to school until tomorrow and my tummy was a little off, so I paid the bills, got some work done, and otherwise entertained myself with other errands. I got more wood pellets and bought groceries for dinner and for the kids' lunches this week. Now I'm going to try to finish up the workwork I was supposed to get done earlier today so tomorrow I'm well positioned to start a final four-day push to write two lessons in the amount of time it normally takes me to write one. I'm also hoping to get the toe and top done on two different socks tonight. That would finish one pair of Christmas socks and get me to the half-way point on a second pair. That's what I was supposed to do last night instead of napping in the green chair :)
Jo, if you're reading this, please email me. I have questions about your grocery bill on this new way of cooking you're doing for your family.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Thanksgiving was followed by Friday in which Chris and Max left for 24-hours of boyscouting in sub-freezing temperatures and I entertained my mother and her friend for about the same length of time. I also did some workwork, which is what I'm off to do here again, soon. I have eight pages to finish before bedtime.
This is a hard time of the year knitting wise. You want to give everyone on your list something handknit and there just aren't enough hours in the days remaining even if you could quit your job, stop sleeping, and neglect your children. There are even fewer given that you can't quit those things. Just now I had just put the turkey casserole in the oven to heat up and I sat down to do a couple rounds on Max's socks. I thought about all that needs to be done by Christmas. There's the little pink thing for cousin Sofia, Max's socks, Chris's socks, Max's sweater, Milo's mittens, Oliver's mittens, and a couple of sample lace pieces for the yarn store.
I had really wanted to go into December with only Max's sweater and the mittens left to do, but I don't know how possible that is given that tomorrow is church and then we're decorating the tree together, and then I have a workweek so full of deadlines that our supervisor on this project is already sending out nice, but clear, "get 'er done" emails.
So there I am, sitting in the green chair in the living room, chewing on my lip and working away at this sock, trying to triage the knitting projects. It occurs to me I can't do the button bands on the pink thing until I have the buttons and I start mentally reviewing the known buttons at my LYS, rejecting each, when I suddenly remember BUYING the buttons for this sweater already. And they were perfect. They were little "Peter Rabbit" buttons and I bought them at Peight's in Belleville. They were in a little white bag and I remember unpacking them at home and tucking the bag and buttons away somewhere until I needed them. But for the life of me, I can't remember where. I have torn the stash apart looking for them (having become acquainted with others stashes on Ravelry, I can now say with some authority, that I do not have much of a stash. I've seen 20-yr-olds who have already achieved Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy there. I could knit up all my yarn in under 12 months if I needed to.) and they are nowhere to be found.
I'm really bummed. They didn't cost a lot and I'm pretty sure if I went back to the store, I could get them again, but Belleville is a half-day errand and I'm looking at my calendar and thinking that I have absolutely no idea where I'll get that half day between now and Christmas. And besides, I KNOW those buttons are here in the house somewhere. I just have not a smidge of a clue about where.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
[Doctor wraps up lecture on how my anti-depressant is notorious for weight gain, which I nod and can appreciate, but know that it's not the pill--it was the brownies I had in food storage. A year's supply, LOL, consumed in one summer. I didn't have a year's supply of GRAIN in the food storage, but by golly, I had a year's supply of BROWNIES.]
Doc: And then of course, there's your age.
Me: [surprised by sudden change of topic] My age?
Doc: Well, you turn 40 this year. That means your metabolism is slowing down and it's just plain harder to lose the weight.
I pause for a moment to consider this. I mean, it's not like it's a well-kept secret or anything. Everyone knows that the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight--until you're 86 and you've eaten every delicious thing you can think of and food just doesn't hold the attraction it once did for you--so this was no news flash. What was a newsflash was that she was seriously thinking of my turning 40 as a negative. I stared at her for a moment while my thoughts raced around, and I had to face the fact that my response to this assumption was simply far too complicated to go into and--as friendly as she is--really exceeded what she was expected to listen to as my doctor.
I settled for something along the lines of "Um-hum" and "I'll mention it to my psych."
Because here is how I really feel about turning 40:
I. can't. wait. Bring it on!
Turning 30 was fabulous. I had a better understanding of my moods and the stupid things I do when I let myself get too low or too high. I understood that in the throws of a sudden shift from low to high brought on by stress or even a fever or a dramatic change in sunlight in the spring, I was capable of astonishingly stupid decisions that might even be criminal in nature (although never with malice aforethought, and I'm not capable of violence or neglecting my children). I was developing the coping skills to stop myself before I got to that point. I was learning a little bit about how to manage my money like an adult. I was getting work that earned real money. I had managed to stay married for four years to the same guy and I--I wasn't twenty-something anymore. I was only too happy to put that decade to bed.
I have even higher expectations of 40. Here at the close of my thirties, my highs don't go so high and my lows don't go so low and I have survived the battle of secondary infertility and cloth diapers and Southern California cost of living and come out on the other side ahead. With a few exceptions, I get more sleep, I am paying off my debt instead of accumulating more of it (this year was a setback, but we're nearly through the worst of it), we probably have all the kids we're going to have so the house will probably gradually look cleaner and neater over time instead of progressively more chaotic. We are determined to soon be in the position of having no debt other than the mortgage and to be more aggressive about saving for our retirement.
I expect the following things to happen in my forties:
1. Grow ever closer to my husband.
2. Save more.
3. Watch my sons start to cross that bridge from child to man. (start to. Not complete it.)
4. Have more time for spiritual pursuits.
5. Take some vacations that require a passport.
6. Grow better tomatoes.
7. Watch my husband establish and grow his photography business (even if he gets a "regular" job in the meantime)
8. Enjoy my children's teenage years because they will also pass too quickly.
9. Go further gray and start to get white hair patches.
10. Knit more.
If my twenties taught me hard lessons about what I am capable of screwing up by being too willing to take too many risks, my thirties have taught me hard lessons about what I am capable of missing by working too hard and always setting impossible goals.
Somewhere in the middle of this is a place where you let go of control to the others in your life and to your God, while maintaining responsibility for the things you can control. My mantra for my twenties was something like, "Life life to its fullest." and that sometimes led me astray. And my mantra for my thirties was something like, "Where there's a will, there's a way." without an understanding that it needs to be GOD's will, not mine (well, except to the extent that my will be to do God's will). I anticipate my 40's mantra to be the serenity prayer. Let's look at it:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change; the courage to change the things i can;and the wisdom to know the difference.
--Reinhold Niebuhr, 1934 [lower case i intended by author]
There is, apparently, a mother goose rhyme that expresses a similar sentiment. Like many synonyms, it contains a slightly different take on things, and I like it, too, so I'm including it here.
- For every ailment under the sun
- There is a remedy, or there is none;
- If there be one, try to find it;
- If there be none, never mind it.
And for my forties, which will be the last decade in which I have an opportunity to really MOTHER my children, I plan to keep this quote from this year's general conference talks in mind:
"We can lay down our lives for those we love not by physically dying for them but rather by living for them—giving of our time; always being present in their lives; serving them; being courteous, affectionate, and showing true love for those of our family and to all men—as the Savior taught."--Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, "Don't Leave for Tomorrow What You Can Do Today", October 2007 General Conference
So yes, I'm turning 40 in 2008, but you won't hear me saying it like that's a bad thing. In my 40's I'll have sons that can help with the raking of the leaves, write me wonderful works of Science Fiction, and tell me how great it is to be 8 or 12 or 16 (and how hard it is, of course). I'll have more time with my husband, not less. I'll have one more decade under my belt of understanding how to be a better me. I understand I will have to work harder to lose the weight and I'm at peace with that because the older I get, the better I get at keeping things in perspective, recognizing when it's the kind of day I shouldn't make any long-term decisions, and in general, spend a lot less time worrying about what others think of me.
Now don't get me wrong--I don't feel anywhere near where I want to be yet. Maybe I never will. But I know I bounce back faster than I used to and I'm a better "half" to the whole that is Chris and I. And a person can't feel anything but gratitude about that. With things internally improving so much with each ten years that passes--it's hard to get too upset about things slowing down on the physical plane. Oh, I reserve the right to curse my metabolism from time to time--but I've never had a particularly speedy metabolism anyway, so that won't be all that new. The news that I'll have to stay on my diet longer to achieve the same results doesn't really sound like news. Dieting sucks. Always has, always will. But the rest of the stuff about being in my 40's--that all sounds good. I'm at no new risk for anything that could kill me and I'm past 2am feedings and high-interest rate loans. I think I'm going to find my 40's wonderful. I really do.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Usually their birthday brings back all the memories of that time just before and after they were born. The fear and joy and exhaustion all wrapped together with the lights and sounds of the Holiday season. But this year, well, it's been a humbling year. And I am living a little more in today and a little less in yesterday. So this year my advice for my sons comes in the chorus of this song:
I've been around and I've seen some things
People moving faster than the speed of sound
Faster than the speeding bullet
People living like Superman
All day and all night
And I won't say if it's wrong or if it's right
I'm pretty fast myself
But I do have some advice to pass along
In the chorus of this song
Better not look down, if you want to keep on flying
Put the hammer down, keep it full speed ahead
Better not look back, or you might just wind up crying
You can keep it moving, if you don't look down
An old girlfriend of mine showed up the other day.
That girl has lived in love, and for love,
And over love, and under love--all her life!
If the arrows from Cupid's bow that had
Passed through her heart had been sticking
Out of her body--she would have looked like a porcupine.
She asked me "B.B. do you think I've lived my life all wrong?"
And I said: "The only advice I have to pass
Along is in the chorus of this song." Girl,
Better not look down, if you want to keep on flying
Put the hammer down, keep it full speed ahead
Better not look back, or you might just wind up crying
You can keep it moving, if you don't look down
I was walking down the street at sunrise one morning, in London, England
And there was a very large Rolls Royce limousine,
Pulling slowly along the street.
And in that Rolls Royce was the queen of England, looking tired,
Just go back from a party, and the queen leaned out and,
She said: "Aren't you B.B. King?"
She said: "Oh B.B., sometimes it's so hard to pull things together.
Could you tell me what you think I ought to do?"
And I said:
Better not look down, if you want to keep on flying
Put the hammer down, keep it full speed ahead
Better not look back, or you might just wind up crying
You can keep it moving, if you don't look down
[And from me, the "forgotten fifth verse"]
I was flying along in the clouds at dusk one evening over New York City,
And there was a very bright light just ahead of me,
Floating serenely by the plane
at 34,000 feet was the Lord of us all, looking expectant,
Like he knew I had a question, and so I leaned out,
and said: "Lord, if I don't look down, where do I look,
when I don't know which way to go?
Sometimes even I don't know."
And He said:
Better look up, Son, if you want to keep on flying
Bend your knees to the ground, keep prayer in your heart.
Don't get too puffed up, for that road leads to crying
We can keep things moving, leave the blessings to me.
Happy Birthday, Ben. Happy Birthday, Milo. I love you.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Griffin gets a baby sweater because he's a baby and I can still knit him a nice size 12-months something and get it done before he'll grow out of it. Griffin needs to get his mom to email me their snail mail address and any pertitent information like "warning, he's in the 99th percentile for growth," in which case I'll knit him a nice size 18-month outfit to wear at the 12-month mark.
It's really only big people like dear hubby and (as he not only is a big kid, but continues to insist on growing at an alarming rate) oldest son who have to keep on me to keep knitting. For that reason, I have sworn not to start any new baby sweaters until after Max's Christmas sweater is done. Griffin and baby Dy shouldn't expect delivery until early Spring.
But they can expect cute. ::Gasp:: I'm starting my first Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket soon. I have enough to make TWO of those! They're on the rustic side, but they're made in the most incredible Peruvian Organic Cotton and aside from the whole hand-wash only annoyance, they're plenty warm enough for the mild winters you both have. Oh these would be PERFECT.
::claps hands:: send mail address to my email! It is decided!
Monday, November 12, 2007
And, "Yay! We got a doctor appointment for just 20 minutes after I called!"
And, "Yay! the new doctor is great!"
And, "Yay! A friggin' strep test takes FIVE WHOLE MINUTES in 2007,"
And, "Yay! We have health insurance!"
So, "Yay! He's on antibiotics."
I'd prefer NOT to have to pay $390/month for the privilege of having health insurance, yes, I would. I'd prefer to have a $25 copay instead of footing the bill for every appointment, every medication, because our deductible is higher than some people's annual income.
But at the same time I'm so glad it was an option, I'm glad that we were covered. Funny what you get grateful for when your kid gets sick. (Now, who wants to hold the pot so we can all place bets about whether the twinks get sick or not?)
Emily had a vet appointment today, too. I got a lecture on plucking her ears and Emily got a lecture on keeping her ears clean. SHE is on anti-yeast meds for the next ten days so it was MEDS all around and a donut at the grocery store for Mom.
And NOW I will go get some work done.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Downstairs we had Mom trying to finish up a work project and Dad watching the snow fall steadily all day, feeling extremely concerned about going, and accusing Mom of having it in for him because she was encouraging him to keep his date with Boy Scouter Leadership Camp destiny. He really only had one concern: despite his best efforts, he was going to end up cold. So in between edits I tried to round up all his missing wool socks and get them washed and dried and eventually he was packed and showered and in full Boy Scout Leader regalia and off he went.
Around 2:00 pm Max's fever hit 103 and with it came the first of many hallucinations for the weekend. This set off a massive panic attack and in that frame of mind, only Mom gets through. I was supposed to leave at 2:15 to pick up Gaye and go through my pattern books and those at the yarn shop to find a nice hat or scarf to knit up, but it took 40 minutes for the advil to kick in and bring the fever down, which turned off the anxiety and hallucinations--and I was given permission to go. So I picked up Gaye and she looked at patterns in the car while I went into the school to get Ben and Milo. From there we went to the grocery store to get provisions for the weekend including a new thermometer, more poscicles, and more ibuprofin. (Max gets the adult stuff.) We got dog food and cereal and frozen chicken bits and headed home. Chris left for the
But it was not to be, for this was no ordinary virus. Every time the fever came back, it came back more viciously. It resisted normal pharmaceutical attempts to bring it back down, taking up to two hours to come all the way back to near normal. Every time the fever went over 103 (and it always does) the hallucinations and anxiety are near constant. If he falls asleep in this state, he has fever dreams that are far worse than the halluciations. He wakes up screaming about spiders, or "No! NO!" or something else that turns another fistful of hair on my head silver.
I prayed sincerely for Chris to be having fun, staying warm and dry, and learning lots of useful things about camping with boyscouts because the idea that this was some sort of cosmic retribution for me making him go in spite of the sleet and ice and snow and rain would just mean we'd both be sick and exhausted come Monday and I really want one of us to be up to dealing with Monday when we get there.
It was 3:30 am when I finally found the combination of pills that would bring the fever down long enough for him to fall asleep and stay asleep. It was 4:00 am when I fell asleep, too. I woke up at 8:30 when the phone started ringing. The first thing I did was give Max more meds before the others could wear off completely. Gaye and I had originally planned to do a weekend tour of the ski swap and the local craft shows and holiday fund-raising auctions, but I didn't trust Max alone that long, so we just did a quick run over to the Lion's club which is a quarter-mile down the road from home. I got lucky and found gifts for three of the women on my list. And a pumpkin pie. The twins ate Lion's club cookies and then we went back home. I got the kitchen partway cleaned up and the dishwasher half unloaded. It was about 11:30 when I headed back to the bathroom, stopped by my bedroom to just rest for a moment. I woke up briefly for a reason I can no longer remember (but it was child related) at 2:00 and then crawled back to bed under the covers until 4:00. In the living room, Max was doing much the same thing. I'd given him more medicine at the 11:30 mark, but failed to when I got up, so it was around 5:30 that the fever came back. And with it the hallucination and the anxiety and the--boy, there's just nothing to do but worry about the kid in that moment. You give him the meds and the fever just laughs at you. He had bright angry red streaks down the sides of his face with an angry red rash that didn't go away even when we put cool, wet cloths on it. We put these cool gel things on his forehead that were supposed to work up to 8 hours, but seemed to be at boiling point after 30 minutes.
It's just a fever but while it's there he's so freaked and so miserable, that you just would do anything to get it to go. He said something about the fever at one point so I did some asking around and determined that it was possible with his symptoms that he might have scarlett fever. Might. The rash he has is classic on his face but on his body, I don't see the sandpapery stuff, just little red dots around his armpits and in the center of his chest. It fades when the fever finally gives in. My Dad told me to take him to the ER, and I was waiting for Grandma Judy to get here to do that when my brother called and talked me back down. My Dad is a grandfather who believes in "better safe than sorry" and my brother is a doctor who believes that ER's are for organ failure and bones poking through the skin. I was able to balance the two and decide that as long as Max was feeling comfortable again (and by the time I talked to Dr. J, the two hours were up on Max's fever and he was his old self again, albeit, one with a funny-sounding voice because of the swollen throat.) that we could wait and find a clinic tomorrow, or maybe even Monday morning. I'm leaning more towards tomorrow because if there is strep in there, we should get him on antibiotics early enough to get him to school on Tuesday.
Anyway, I suppose in a way this weekend has been good for Mother-son bonding. I don't mind giving him the weekend. It hasn't done anything for my work relationship, which is really intense right now. But there is nothing to be done for it. Sometimes even a big kid needs you up with them at 4am and that's what you do.
My brother likes to tease and sometimes he says things that get under my skin, but he knew just how to cheer me up at the end of our conversation tonight. "O-bear needs a pair of thumbless mittens . . ." And 10 minutes later I was cheerfully clicking away at KnitPicks.com. My Thanksgiving vacation knitting project will be two little toddler mittens in Cal Berkeley's blue and gold colors. Then they and the Finnish Mittens (which are for the O-bear's mother) will wing their way further East to keep their little hands toasty warm. I think the only thing that a Knitter likes to hear* more than, "Can you make me . . ." are the words, "I've worn a hole in these, can you make another?"
*from a loved-one. From a stranger you want to ask, "do you have any idea the work that goes into these?" A loved-one does know, and also knows you'll say no if you have to. Although technically this wouldn't apply to a pair of toddler-sized thumbless mittens that won't even use a quarter of skein for the pair.
On the needle for Christmas: Corazon mittens for Piano Teacher Carol; Pink wool sweater for Sophie, the last-of-the-spring-baby-girls-cousins; Viking Twist on Orange Twist for Max; Pair of socks for Chris; Pair of socks for Max. I think that's it.
Friday, November 02, 2007
However, the boys also get Ladybug magazine and this month there was a very nice article on Divali, which the boys read and connected with the information they learned in school (I think the Mom came in and actually explained more about Lakshmi to the kids than was on the slip of paper) so they brought me the magazine and the lights last night and we read all about them. And when the sun went down today they were adamant that they had to light the lamps for Lakshmi.
So we did and I took some pictures to send in to the Mom as thanks for sharing her traditions with us in such a generous way. I thought I would share them here.
(How can you tell these lights are in an LDS home? Those are food-storage buckets ruining the picture ;)
(And ohmyheck, don't their faces suddenly look older? They totally have that "And Now We Are Six" look to them!)
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Yesterday, of course, was Halloween. We had Ketchup and Mustard.
I was trying for a portrait I could use in Christmas cards, but I don't think we're there yet. This is the best we got.
Yesterday was a wild day. The boys' school administration is very anti-Halloween, but they'd somehow failed to communicate this to all of the new teachers. So there was a big fuss the night before Halloween as numerous "costume parties" (they'd all been careful not to call them Halloween parties) were canceled. The kids were bummed, the teachers were bummed. It was a mess. So I offered to bring in some no-artificial coloring, no-food die, no icing pumpkin muffins just to cheer up the class and that was accepted.
Now, the recipe I have feeds, oh, 60 or so. But I'd only made it once before and I couldn't remember if those portions were the result of doubling or not. So to be safe, I doubled. I was safe alright, but I had like 10 qts of pumpkin muffin batter. (I used the real pumpkin that I'd prepared for pumpkin pie, since I still have plenty frozen left for the pie.) I discovered at 9:00 am, that I was completely out of muffin pan liners, too. So I managed to pull Chris out of his workshop and we went shopping for muffin pan liners and a second, cheap muffin pan. By 11:00, I was pulling into the school parking lot and I delivered a couple dozen muffins to the 6th graders and 4 loaves of pumpkin bread to the Kindergarten (the leftovers were delivered to the teacher's lounge) and still had a couple dozen muffins left at home (which are all gone this morning--totally scary).
Nevertheless, by the time I sat down at my computer to get workwork done, it was 1:15 and then I spent another half hour answering email. In the end, I think I got about 4 hours of work done yesterday. It was a great day, but it leaves me feeling terribly behind with work. I'm trying not to panic because, honestly, this project isn't over until the day before Thanksgiving, and it's just going to stay like this until then. I don't get a day off until Thanksgiving day. For the record--I am not complaining! Not after this year! But if the blog seems less . . . inspired this month, please forgive me. I have to save my inspiration for teacher guide lessons this month.
And now, back to work! (Rabbit!)
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
does not fit Chris.
It was supposed to. It's a wool/LLama/Alpaca/rodent blend (Ok, no, just wool and alpaca, but I can't say alpaca without laughing). I started it last spring after thinking that since it took months of constantly knitting to make Chris' last pair of socks, that I was going to try to stick to worsted-weight socks for him in the future. And I cast these on and I KNOW I tried them on his foot and all was well . . . until last night, with only 3 inches left to go in the foot.
Oh, he could get them on okay, but they looked like they were straining to contain his foot. It actually managed somehow to make his foot look swollen. I made the socks to just be something soft he could wear without shoes while hanging out in his workshop, which is largely uninsulated. But they weren't going to work. I tried to slip into denial and keep going, but I couldn't even manage that.
As I sulked back to my desk, he suggested I try them on Max. So I did. And they fit beautifully. Which is kind of scary because they're not small socks. I shouldn't be surprised because I discovered this weekend that I can wear his shoes to walk the dog when I can't find mine.
Anyway, I finished up the sock with a new kind of toe (this is called a Badly Rendered Star Toe of Four Points, because I only read the directions every few rows or so and I never ripped back). Put it on Max, he was happy, I was happy. Life was good. But he's soooo on to me. As I was walking away he said, "Now, you ARE going to knit the second sock, right?" Actually, this is the wrong question to ask. I nearly always get the project DONE. I have very few true UFO's. I'm just running into issues recently (due to their insistence on meteoric growth) with not getting the project finished while it will still fit them. So. I promised him a second sock by Christmas.
It's November on Thursday and I have a LOT of knitting left to do between then and Christmas. I haven't started worrying about it yet. I just don't have the time. But I'll eventually get to that, too.
Speaking of things I'm not worrying about--my Tuesday afternoon Reader's Theatre group, which has been at times less than satisfying due to the nature of the that particular mix of personalities--is coming around. The last two Tuesdays have actually been mostly fun and their teacher, who is usually in the room at her desk doing paperwork while I'm teaching, said today that she can totally hear a difference in their reading. So that made me happy.
Coming tomorrow: photos of Zorro, Ketchup, and his twin brother, Mustard.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
From Above: So, Alaska, how are you?
Me: Well, Lord, you already know the ways in which we could use a little help. But if you mean how am I feeling? I'm feeling deeply humbled and grateful, God. Deeply, deeply humbled and grateful. The further along I get in this life journey, the more I really understand that Your timing is Perfect. Perfect and Amazing.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sometimes I really enjoy what I do for workwork. I imagine in those moments that I am really writing a great lesson that the kids and their teacher will enjoy as they soak up the skill or the facts or whatever . . . . [Sun shines, birds twitter.]
And sometimes I feel like a jammed cog in the stinkin' textbook machine, chained to standards, and feeling hopeless because whatever I write will be attributed to someone else and edited 700 ways to Sunday before it sees print. [F5 Tornado comes in and sucks all the happiness away leaving nothing but carnage and a fruit fly infestation in its wake.]
[Anyone remember the tsetse flies from the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Atari game? Here's a screenshot from elsewhere in the game. Anyway, my kitchen is totally under attack by the friggin tsetse-fly-like fruit flies.]
Anyway, most of this past lesson I felt pretty good about until about 15 minutes after I submitted it and then my lack-of-sleep from last night caught up with me (no reason, just couldn't sleep) and CRASH I hate my job.
So I very carefully closed my email program before I responded to any work related emails (which are just as amazingly likely to be sent at 11:00 pm as 11:00 am because the people I report to work even more hours than I do) in ways I might regret.
Then I pitched my little fit here.
And now I guess I'll go to bed. So wah.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
The day started off big and stayed that way. We woke up at some reasonable hour (say, 7-ish) and crawled out of bed to get started on the day. I was heading up a "Take Back the Kitchen" demonstration and Chris was getting ready for a photoshoot. I got the boys to pick up the floor in the living room and vacuumed it while the first load of dishes ran. Then Gaye arrived to babysit and I drove over to Spring Creek park to be the photographer's assistant. We were taking Christmas portraits of a family from church. The area was so beautiful and they looked so photogenic that I made Chris promise he'd take photos for us, too. (That said, I won't let him do so until after my November haircut, so the trees are likely to be bare by then. Timing is everything.)
At any rate, this was a family of young boys, so we were completely done 40 minutes after we started. We stopped at Sheetz on the way home for a Diet Mountain Dew and then headed home.
I was worried about the tomatoes and peppers we'd harvested from the garden the day we tore the last of the plants out. Last night I managed to can the brussel sprouts (Charlotte, I pickled them per your recommendation) and the apples we'd bought a week earlier at Way Fruit farm (and longer and they'd have been no good). So today I needed to do something with the tomatoes, hot peppers, and the two Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Pumpkins we bought for pie.
I divided the tomatoes into two piles--over ripe and just right. I'm trying to decide whether to make a soup for dinner tonight with the over-ripe pile or just pitch them. We had BLT's for lunch using the "just right." and they were delicious.
I sorted out the hot peppers.
I can't decide what to do with them.
Taking photos of them was pretty entertaining.
But I don't have a clue what to do with them. I grew them to go in salsa. But there weren't nearly enough tomatoes left by the time the hot peppers ripened. So. What now?
While I pondered that, I cut up one of the winter crookneck squashes and baked them in three batches. I pushed the cooked squash through a strainer and put the puree in quart jars. It takes two to three cups of this stuff to make one pumpkin pie. I think we'll have enough for 6 to 8 pies. Wow. Right now I need some cheesecloth to get the extra liquid out of the puree. But after that I imagine I'll free most of it while Max and I begin experimenting with pumpkin pie recipes.
Between batches of pumpkin, I worked on the backlog of dishes. By the time I was done with the last batch of pumpkin, it was past time to get some real workwork done, so I sat down to do that and . . . promptly felt like all I really wanted in life was a good nap. I really, really, really need to get some work done though, so I'm fighting back with caffeine as I write this.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
7:00 Up and atem. Make sure all three boys understand it will be 30 degrees colder today than Tuesday and they must wear long shirts and jeans.
Breakfast, make lunches, get boys in truck, drive to Uni-mart, get some milks for their lunches because we're out of bottled water. Drop kids at school, pick up some stuff I had copied for tonight's meeting, go back home.
Change into outside work clothes. Chris goes to pick up missionaries. They arrive wearing outside work clothes. We dismantle the raised-bed garden, mow the lawn, take out all the volunteer tomato plants, pull weeds, trim back the grass that had grown too tall for the mower under the tomato growth . . . while Chris cleans off front porch and fills truck bed with things for the dump. Done. Load truck with all the gardening stuff. Go to Gaye's house.
Chris mows lawn, I do a smidge of weeding, the Gaye and I rescue some more gardening stuff from the stuff Chris had intended to take to the dump. We put that away. Missionaries rake the leaves along the back fence and pull them out to the edge of the road for county leaf pick-up. Gaye calls Chris to help her get the air conditioner out of her window. I take over mowing. Missionaries keep raking, pausing occasionally to pretend they are kung fu fighting with the rakes. (Kids, sheesh.)
Lawn is done, leaves are done, gardening stuff put away in Gaye's basement for the winter (well, we're not done with the rakes and tarps by a long shot.) We hop back in trucks.
At the community garden we harvest all the hot peppers. There are tons and they are ripe and hot and wonderful. Then we pull up all the plants and transport them to the compost pile. We do the same with everything else that's left in the garden. Finally, we close with fifteen minutes of weeding (three people weeding together for 15 minutes is like me weeding alone for an hour). [Oh, that? That's a stalk of brussel sprouts on his shoulder. We all thought the brussel sprouts were great fun, although only Milo and I really wanted to eat them.]
We all go get lunch and arrive home (separately, Chris had to drive the elders home first) just in time to change and run over to the school to do our Thursday afternoon reader's theater. Both classes did great. Time flies. We grab our own kids and head home. We hurridly fix dinner and enjoy it. I go back to preparing for my PAC meeting (fly in ointment--at this point we completely forget to take Max to his group piano meeting, never mind that it's at the same time and place it's been for 6 weeks now). and then I drive back to the school and chair a roller-coastery, at times emotional, meeting that I still consider a success because a) noone cried and b) I made us quit at the agreed upon ending time and c) it was the best attended meeting ever. I attribute this to my idea to list the topics in the note home to parents telling them about the meeting. Our particular PAC's biggest problem is that a) people think they have to join (nope, no fees, no nothing, you just show up) and b) people don't really know what we do. So we're working on that.
Now, I'd been up till 2:00 the night before finishing a work project (well, really I was up till 1:30, but then it took another half-hour to fall asleep) and so at the end of the meeting I was just ripped tired.
Nevertheless, I stayed another hour afterwards just chatting with R (who is in the PAC with me and also at church with me) and D (who is just in the PAC with me) before finally driving home. I was going over in my head how grateful I was that the meeting was over (they're just hard on the psyche) and how productive the day was and I felt, as I had all morning and most of the afternoon, soooooo grateful for the help of the missionaries in getting those chores done because they had been weighing on my mind and yet every moment is so packed with workwork or volunteering at the school right now that I just didn't have a CLUE when I was going to get those things done.
And here they were done. And done well.
And then I went totally numb, which is when I realized I'd have to blog this quick and then get myself to bed. Tomorrow must be all about workwork and Chris says Max is coming down with something, so we'll see . . . how it turns out. But you know, God really did a fine job today with sending me the things I needed. I really need two big missionaries willing and able to help me pull up tomato plants and I really needed a big hunky husband to do it all with us. And I needed the rain that came mid-afternoon to hold off until we were done with all of that--and it did.
Good day, God. Thank you.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I've started these mittens a few times now, and never been satisfied with the start. This time I'm starting again with sport-weight sock yarn AND I am replacing the K2P2 ribbing with a sort of modified gauntlet that uses the braid I learned making the Finnish Mittens and is then followed by a couple rows of knitting and then corrugated ribbing. I really don't know the first thing about corrugated ribbing, but I found a description at the Interweave press website. (I tried their Norwegian Purl Method and succeeded only in making myself miserable, but when I tried holding the purl yarn in my right hand and the knit yarn in my left, I made sloooooow, but steady progress and I think I've about got it now.)
Nevertheless, I'm a little nervous that I have merely invented some new form of making knots and this isn't what corrugated knitting is supposed to look like. If YOU know what corrugated ribbing looks like, please feel free to reassure me.
This evening was the usual round of piano lessons and I thought the boys all did well. It's definitely an "up" phase for piano lessons--which can definitely have tough periods. Max's next recital is in only two weeks and he's taking it more seriously than any prior to this (and this is by far the most "casual" of the recitals his teacher does every year).
Can you believe this is our third year with this (Max's) piano teacher? It makes me feel so deliciously sane and stabile to be in the third straight year of ANYTHING, really. Two years at the same school. 2.5 years in the same house. That last one doesn't actually break a personal record but it puts us really close to it. 3 years and 3 months is our personal record for being in the same house.
Well, I've wandered off topic. Back to work!
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Sunday, October 07, 2007
Max playing the air gourd (those are pumpkin pie pumpkins says the lady at the stand. We're taking her word for it and bought two to try in a pie.)
Gaye was having a terrible time.
The local wildlife was very aggressive.
They had a poor selection of decorative gourds and indian corn.
But we persevered and made the best of it.
Then we hied back to Gaye's to watch General Conference on her TV. Gaye doesn't have any interest in the church, but she knows we don't have TV and was willing to let us use hers to watch the Sunday morning talks (which, because of the time difference, were really Sunday afternoon talks for us).
Gaye and I got some knitting done. I FINALLY finished Arwen's sweater (no photos yet, it's blocking) and she swatched some new yarn and then got started on a project from Mason-Dixon knitting. She's doing the lace curtain for the window in her front door. Bubba-the-cat was very interested and wanted to help.
He tried so hard and for so long to help with our knitting (I took pictures of him "helping" with my sock yarn, but they got deleted. As the Yarn Harlot would say, "We will speak no more of this.") that he passed out cold.
It's tough work being a good kitty.
We had a wonderful mid-afternoon dinner prepared by Gaye of pot roast, cooked carrots and potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, and biscuits. After dinner we knit a little bit longer and then had ice cream and went home.
Not because we needed it or even particularly craved it--but just because I'd already made it--I baked up my first apple pie this evening. That turned out well, although like I said, we were still full from Gaye's dinner and none of us tucked into it the way we might otherwise have. We liked it well enough to try to save the recipe so that I wouldn't have to guess next time. The crust was perfect, so I can finally cross Learn How to Make a Decent Pie Crust off my list of things to do before I die.
Here I am, looking sweaty and . . . sigh. Never mind. Just look at the pie. October 7 and we're having a freakin' heat wave. I'm ready to just trade the stupid truck in for a bicycle built for five, myself.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Chris said, "How come you're smiling?" and I had to admit that it was sort of a mistake--a smile is just what I put there--except that I think it's accurate. I'm not feeling unhappy about any of the things I'm involved with right now. There just sure is a lot of it--Gosh, I didn't even remember to put anything representing the never-ending piano lessons/practicing in there either and we had lots of that this week.
Oh, well. Dinner for tonight is cream of tomato soup with a bagette bread fresh from the grocery store bakery. This morning Gaye and I went over to Way's fruit farm and came home with a half a bushel of Cortland apples, a half-peck of Gala's, and a half-peck of something else I'm blanking on. The Cortlands will become apple sauce, the Gala's are for the boys' lunches, and the others will become apple pie. I think. I haven't ever actually made apple pie before, so they could also become a disaster, but my pie crust has gradually improved over the year and so . . . I'm hopeful.
This weekend is General Conference and I'm really forward to the talks. I have GOBS of work, so I'll be streaming the talks tomorrow as I try to get that done, but Sunday we're watching the morning talks at Gaye's house (she has satellite TV) and then having dinner at her place.
Alright, back to the soup before it burns!
Monday, October 01, 2007
Shortly after that he suggested that maybe I needed some more sleep . . . . I wanted to argue about it, but I was too darn tired. So instead I did one of those big sweeps I have to do every week or two and cleaned the office so that at least I could have a productive day tomorrow.
Then I thought I'd add another project to Ravelry. So far this is my favorite feature of Ravelry. You can plug in the title of your project, the kind of yarn you used, where you got the pattern, all sorts of other fun details (including ranking the difficulty of the patterns and how much you liked the yarn), and then you can bring in your flikr pictures to illustrate.
So I thought I'd take a few pictures of the knee socks I'm working on for Milo. Here's how that went.
First, I convinced Milo to pose. This was not hard. I got this picture of last Christmas's socks. They're pretty snug now.
Then we changed him into jammy bottoms for the knee socks that are still in progress. I got this picture of the socks.
Aren't they smashing? Those'll be a great Christmas present. And toasty warm, too.
Then, because I was having fun with Chris' camera, which can do things mine can't even dream about, I took a closeup. Here's one of the bottom of the foot, showing off the Socks that Rock Fred Flintstone colorway.
And then I thought I'd document how much nicer my kitchener stitch looks than it used to.
And that led to me thinking, "Come to think of it, these toes were once one of my WIP's too!!" So I took a picture of those.
Like the bit of blue sock fuzz stuck in his toe? That's Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn fuzz. And that led to LOTS of giggling from the subject and his twinkie brother, so I took one more picture of how that "work in progress" is coming along.
Then I helped the kindergartener take the dpn's off his leg--and tickled the Ben and the Milo. A lot. And now it's time to jump into MY jammies and snuggle up with them!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
But today seriously competed with Tuesday for overscheduling. There was workwork to do, Parent Advisory Council stuff to do, gardening to do (we needed to plant bulbs along the front of Gaye's house--which only took us about an hour but the temperature rose like 15 degrees during that hour), and the kids had been bugging me to stop by Gaye's house after school so they could see the kittens again (read: scoop up the kitties and carry/cuddle them around the house like cute little pieces of crumpled aluminum foil. The kittens were AMAZINGLY tolerant of this--once captured).
By the end of the day Max and Chris had been to their first Boyscout honor court (they came home suitably impressed. Jess, if you're still reading the blog, Max would LOVE LOVE LOVE a photograph of Alex's framed Eagle/Boy Scout things. He is now SURE he wants to be an Eagle scout someday and he wants to see his Uncle's stuff.)
Max, Ben, and Milo had another great piano lesson each. (This week I managed to stay on top of the twins' piano practicing. Some weeks I don't and we slink into the lesson red-faced, having made no progress since the previous week. Some weeks me manage to practice "some" and they make okay progress, and some weeks we really nail it. This week we practiced lots, but I thought the kids weren't quite ready yet for their lesson--Milo needs a little more time, but Ben nailed piece after piece and I was proud of him for it.)
And now I seriously MUST get back to workwork or I'll be up till 3am with it again. (Which makes for a crabby Mommy.) (And Charlotte, whoo-hoo on only being 2,000 behind me!)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Of course it's happening this week when my only client just stepped up the speed on our lessons by twice what we were writing before. I'm not really complaining. That means I get to submit invoices twice as often, too. And it's not like I really need any encouragement to cast on anything else. But I'm still happy about it :)
Monday, September 24, 2007
Knitting Daily offers it as a free pattern after you register for the free newsletter. (See link above.)
I understand there's a KAL somewhere on the web already in progress. I won't be ordering the yarn any time soon, so I'll have to pass on the KAL, but I thought I'd mention it since at that price, it's very low-impulse-control friendly for anyone else who might want to.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
These are the Seuss socks (Gems Louet, sportweight). I wasn't following a pattern which is why I made yet another horrific error. When I made these I carried the alternate yarn color along the seam. After I turned the heal, the seam was on the bottom. Well, now there's a serious SEAM running along the BOTTOM of the poor kid's socks!
I offered to redo them AGAIN, but Ben declined. He said they were fine the way they are and he loves them. (Sniff, the kid really has unconditional handknit love down pat.) I told him they could be sleep socks (because he hates to sleep with bare feet and in the winter, I don't blame him) and showed him the Socks-that-Rock yarn I'll be using for his next pair--a simple pair of ribbed socks that will be knit all in one length of yarn and have no seams. Sigh . . . you'd think I learned to knit yesterday.
But they are cute!
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Oh heck yeah! Chris and I both replied and started walking over to her car. The other Mom there saw Max and looked puzzled because Max is bigger than his friend, but then caught sight of the twins and realized who she was clothing. The look on her face changed and in a sort of cyborg-mama calculation you could see her mentally measuring the twinks arms and legs and circumference. "Size 7?" she piped up? "You're about ready for a size 7?"
I kind of just stood there for a moment, floored by her ability to do that. I mean, I gotta measure my own kids seven times to knit something for them that might possibly fit for a week, and she nails it in one calculating look.
I recovered and sputtered, "Yes, yes, size 7!" and she said, "Well I was just on my way to Goodwill! I got a whole bag of size 7!" "No way!" says "J" "You, too!" and before we knew it, we had two huge bags of twink clothing in the back of the blue truck. I haven't even been through the bags yet. I'm saving it for tomorrow afternoon. That's not work. That's like unwrapping presents :) Ooooh, I hope there are jammies in there! And maybe some church clothes!
It's very exciting, but I also think it was God's way of sending me a little pick-me-up because it hasn't been a good month (am I the only one who reads something in the news about how the economy isn't really that bad and I just want to shake the paper or the computer monitor and give a great big Cuba Gooding Junior, "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" because here in Central PA we are all just trying to afford kindergarten shoes and the economy--she looks pretty ill to us. We're about ready to go ahead and call it a recession here in Pennsylvania.) But when you get two bags of good, free clothing for your kids (none of whom have EVER turned up their noses at hand-me-downs) from other moms at your school you feel like it's all going to be okay somehow.
Of course now I'm realizing I never got the name of the other Mom. I want to write her a thank you note, but I'll have to hope that "J" knows her name.
Did you see Gaye's new kitties? If not, head over to Chris' blog. He CAT BLOGGED. LOL. They're adorable.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
:::Chris and I look at him quizzically:::
Ben: Well, I have math tomorrow, so I better go do some homework to prepare for that.
Ben and Milo love school. They love school so much that weekends are merely a pleasant interruption in which the Gamecube is permitted again. (No gamecube during weekdays during the school year.) They love school so much that any excuse to use the word kindergarten is a good one. Today they told the Music Academy director and their piano teacher that they were wearing their kindergarten shoes, "going to kindergarten", and "are kindergarteners now"--for the third week in a row.
They love their kindergarten teacher. Truly, madly, deeply. I can see why. Mrs. C *is* Mrs. Bindergarten. Only she has a lovely Russian Assistant teacher instead of a parrot. (Mrs. K is at the top of my list of favorite people this week as she tracked down Milo's missing thermos.)
They do not love all their classmates (L has "hot breath" and "keeps breaving on me when we're on the carpet." N pinches. Nobody likes a pincher. This is one of those lifeskills N has yet to learn.) but they love most of them.
Max was having a bumpy adjustment to 6th grade, but it's all good--his Dad is there. With Chris teaching Reader's Theatre twice a week (and Max in that same club), they've had some good conversations on the way home from school with Chris providing some gentle guidance that pretty much amounts to "Son, you need to spend less time and energy trying to be funny. Just relax and be Max. That's enough." Today Max got his first "excellent" on the class behavior scale. I'm thrilled. It's only September!
I have one simple wish for Max for the next month. Please son, master the behavior expectations of the teacher enough so that when I go to your Parent-teacher conference at the end of October we can touch on your behavior improvements briefly and then. move. on. I want to hear about your facility with math, your charming short stories, your insightful comments during reading. Call me selfish, but I want an honest-to-goodness Great Year for you.
Today was the day when I wiped off the write-on/wipe-off calendar and moved all the stuff from the second half of the calendar (it's two sets of 5-weeks) to the first half and then write in the next month in the second half. On the section I erased were things like "Gaye's house closing" and "Move Gaye" and "First Day of School!" It's been a busy five weeks. Coming up is General Conference, going to the Pumpkin Patch with Gramma Gaye, teaching a baby sweater knitting class, a Field Trip to Harner Farms, Fall School Pictures, and the first round of Parent-teacher conferences. Now on the calendar in the second half of the next ten weeks is Ben and Milo's birthday, teaching another class on the Santa Mittens, the deadline for the cheap tickets for the winter ski program, Thanksgiving dinner, and the first day of December.
I'm glad we didn't do football this fall. We're still crazy busy--but not as crazy as last year. There's a lot going on, but Max is done with his homework before 9:30 pm. Instead of the frustrating, stressed-out plateau he was on with piano during football season last year, he's enjoying a period of rapid growth. I can't believe that's my son playing Baby Elephant Walk (it's a tough piece and he probably won't play it in a recital until the spring, but he is tenacious and it sounds better every time he plays it).
And that's Wednesday evening this week.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Central PA wild rodents: 0
It's been four hours since she got the cheeky bugger, and she still can't stop trotting about happily. This one was really asking for it though. You know, most of the mice have the sense to stay in the ceiling tiles where Emily can't get them. They're active only after 11 pm at night and they never show their face. I have to use the sticky traps on them because nothing else seems to work.
This wasn't a mouse though, it was another ground squirrel (like a very large chipmunk) and it was making all sorts of racket in the ceiling tiles while I was trying to work today. I finally took off the ceiling tile over my head and flashed a light around trying to see if that would at least scare it off because it's hard to think when you can HEAR the bugger thinning out your insulated ceiling tiles.
Then I left for my Reader's Theatre group. Apparently no sooner did I leave than the squirrel came out of the ceiling and into the main room of the basement. Emily didn't immediately catch on. It was Chris who saw him first and tried to direct Emily's attention to the squirrel. Emily thought FINALLY he was going to throw her tennis ball for her and wouldn't look and they argued back and forth until Emily caught the scent of the squirrel.
Well. After that it was just a matter of time.
I came home, Chris went off to his Reader's theatre class, and forgot to mention the incident to me in passing. I didn't know what was happening until I was sitting at my desk, typing away, and Emily came racing into my little corner, under my desk, around the chair and back out again. I started hollering at her to stop chasing the tennis ball when I heard the sound of the little claws against paper (I have references for a current project spread out on the office floor) and I immediately got out of the way.
RIP little squirrel.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Max is practicing his piano right now, but tomorrow gets to start a new musical adventure. He's taking up the drums in his school's instrumental music program. They get a 10-minute 1:1 lesson on Tuesdays in their instrument and on Fridays they get a half-hour or so as a "band."
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Nevertheless, even a talker can worry that he won't say the right thing or communicate clearly, or be interesting. I told him he should just say whatever he wanted and if someone in the audience was supposed to hear something in particular, leave it up to God and the Holy Ghost to translate things correctly.
And we went to bed and I slept great, but Chris tossed and turned. We have the 9am Sacrament meeting, so before you knew it, he was up on the stand. He pulled out his notes and said a few opening words--and then the Spirit took over and he just started to talk. Instead of a five minute talk, he gave a 20 minute talk. And none of us listening wanted it to end. When he closed with "in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen," there was a full-audience-participation Amen from the congregation.
I am so proud of him and just about every adult in the Ward made a point of telling him how much they enjoyed his talk. I couldn't be happier. My husband has embraced my church and my church has embraced my husband. Amen!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
It was a busy Saturday. The twinks had a birthday party to go to and I hadn't been to Target yet for presents. Once kids and presents were delivered to party, I hurried home and instead of working, balanced the checkbooks and worked on the budget. Then it was back to the party to pick up Ben and Milo. Max ran off to play with a friend and came home just in time for dinner. We had curried butternut squash and corn soup for dinner which is really a wonderful soup and I always feel so clever when we have it because the squash are from our garden and the chicken broth is from food storage and I already have all the spices and the corn was canned from corn grown locally. It tastes like fall and it was very much a fall day.
Blustery, as Pooh would say. There's a possibility of frost for early Sunday morning. I'm not sure what that means for my remaining tomatoes and hot peppers, except that if the frost holds off, I'm pretty sure I'll get a few more from the harvest before the real first hard frost comes.
When the temps drop like this, all I want to do is knit. I want to knit mittens for small hands and scarves for all the pups and pupdaddy and hats and sweaters and socks for them all, too. But there isn't time for all that.
Late last winter I knit up these socks for Ben for Christmas:
It doesn't take too much looking to see what the problem is. They're two different sizes. And it's the smaller one that's "right." I knit it a wee bit loose last winter and it'll fit him perfectly by Christmas. But when I went to knit sock #2, I upgraded (entirely unintentionally) from size 3 needles to size 5 needles.
For a million reasons (primarily because I wove in all those ends as I worked), I didn't rip out the second sock once I discovered the problem (which was after I finished the toe, anyway). I just set both aside until I could be reasonable about things. I have now decided to knit two more socks. One with size 3 needles and one with size 5 needles. One pair will be for this year and one for next. At least I love the yarn. Moving on.
This sweater needs button bands, buttons, and a collar. If I work on it tomorrow, I may finish it by tomorrow night. It will go off to baby Adwyn. I think. I'm not certain that's how her name is spelled.
These next two are from the beginnings of Twisted Orange Twist for Max (Cotton Fleece). I have a long way to go on this one. This is a mix of the Orange Twist pattern and the Narrow Panel with Little Lattice from Elsebeth Lavold's Viking Patterns for Knitting.
Now, for these next two, I have a "What Would You Do?" I have an error in this sweater. I actually have a few, but the only one I'm concerned with is that I have a knit a sweater for my skinniest child that is wider than it is long. Because this child eats like the little carniverous predator he is, I have no doubt that he will grow both longer and wider, but I'm wishing I'd made the back longer because a too big sweater can be grown into but a too short sweater must be passed along--and to whom? He doesn't have any chubby cousins.
So what I really want to do is cut off the ribbing on the back, knit a new ribbing and another two inches or so of sweater back, and graft the pieces together. I haven't gotten to the arm holes yet on the front, so I can just keep knitting on the front. Charlotte and anyone else with more experience than I, what do you think?
There. I'm off to finish the lesson I was working on, cast on a new Seuss sock using the size 3 needles again, and maybe start a button band on Adwyn's sweater. I really should finish that up.