Tuesday, January 30, 2007


For the time being Tuesdays are very busy. Tuesdays start with me getting up early and trying to get in two hours of work before I get everyone else up. Then it's Chris and Max off to Max's school and I herd the twins into the Blue Truck and we go off to swimming. Into the YMCA changing rooms for a quick hop into their swim suits and into the water. Their lessons are in the super heated ultra-chlorinated therapy pool, which we're not allowed to be in, but there are chairs set up outside therapy pool--on the deck of the regular pool. And we can sit there and watch the lessons. I sit and knit and keep one eye on the lessons. I find my own kids cute and mostly fun to watch.

Then it's out of the pool and into the handicap shower which has the handheld shower head (DON'T point that at mommy, mommy is DRY and wants to stay that way!) where the boys get a shampoo and rinse. From there they shiver in their towels while I dry their hair and then it's off to the lockers to change back into civilian clothes.

We went from the Y to the bank to the dairy this morning. Then it was back home to get packages and off to the Post Office. I mailed off a book to Dad, sunglasses to my sister, and another book to a client. Back home, I started setting up the new computer. First, uninstall all the unwanted crap unnecessary programs. Then, install the necessary programs. Fight with the email program. Fight some more. Resort to yelling at new computer. (Astonishingly, this worked!) Use browser to find my blog and Chris's blog. Bookmark these.

Realize with horror that new computer will require rebuilding all of my bookmarks! Shut off computer and go into denial.

Grab knitting, Max's ski stuff and boyscout stuff, call Chris and nervously inquire when he'll be getting home because I'm worried about being late. He comes home. I hop in still running car. Off to school. Make sure all the kids are picked up and taken over to the ski place. Pick up Max and chastise him for forgetting his ski ticket thingy. Run home and get ski ticket thingy. Get back to ski lodge. Get him dressed and off to ski class.

Get other stragglers dressed and off to ski class. Count noses. All kids and chaperones on slopes. All good. Head to upstairs portion of lodge. Find spot near the fire and next to the window. Discover I can sit and knit and watch Max's ski class!

Feel very, very happy about this.

Watch snow come down harder.
And harder.
And harder.

Realize that 98% of kids on slopes today have GOGGLES. My kid doesn't. We don't own goggles. Go down to ski shop and buy son goggles. Feel really blessed that supervisor added $ to my last invoice so there was extra $ in the budget today. Take goggles out on slopes, find son, son is thrilled with goggles.

Go back to spot near fire next to the window. Knit some more.

Watch son ride up hill. Ski down hill. Ride up hill. Ski down hill. Sun goes down. Boys still going up hill, down hill, up hill, down hill. Some kids are coming in now, but in the end Max and Otis are the last two kids from our group to come in. It is very cold and very windy now.

Count noses, determine all the kids are where they should be, take son home for quick dinner. Beg husband to take son to boy scouts as I'm starting to feel permanently chilled.

Turn on new computer. Open browser to read blogs.

Remember about the bookmarks.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Busy, Busy, Busy!

After a rather inauspicious start (I ripped out two hat attempts before getting this one mostly right) I have two hats done and one to go. Ben wants one now. The hat on Chris' head is the Halfdome, knit mostly to direction, although I went bigger on it than written because a) Chris has a big head and b) it's much colder here than in San Francisco. The hat Milo has follows the same basic pattern, but I did it in the round and in Manos del Uruguay, color 51. Chris' hat is Berrocco Ultra Alpaca--a yarn we both love, even though it's only 50% alpaca (Cynthia at my LYS worried that 100% alpaca would stretch out). I'm hoping to use all the leftovers to make some fingerless mittens or something.

I've been working as usual, although things are lighter than I like them. March is going to suck financially. But with some time freed up here and there I have also been crossing things off my lengthy to-do list. I applied for my passport! That's a first. I'm going to Canada for the IRA conference in May (that's, um, the reading association, not the Irish Republicans).

I also discovered that I never got birth certificates for the twins. I don't know how this escaped me, but it did. So I had to order some so I can register them for kindergarten. I think now I just have to get them a bunch of shots to finish the packet. I should start making appointments since I wanted to spread those out.

My new laptop arrives tomorrow. Thank goodness. Off to shop for groceries!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Of Babies, Alpaca, and The Y

I have to keep this one short as I am very, very tired and I need to get up early to get a jump on the day again. Nevertheless, there is a lot to cover. Let's get started.

First, the babies. Now--I don't have gobs of cousins because in general, on both sides of my family the generation before me kept things relatively conservative in the baby-having department. My Dad was the most prolific, having four of us. I have four cousins on my mother's side and four cousins on my father's side (and three siblings) and that's it. I am also the oldest on both sides and by luck and personality--way out ahead of all the rest in terms of getting married and then having kids. Max had to wait ten years for an honest-to-goodness maternal cousin and I think seven years for a second cousin or cousin-once-removed (I don't really know the difference).

But now my younger cousins are reproducing in earnest and there are at least three babies coming this spring. I must knit them all something. But what? Sweaters? I'd kind of like to do a blanket. But blankets are incredibly time consuming and I have that Orenburg Shawl to finish. (Not to mention Chris's second sock. and hat. and sweater.) I don't know what I'm going to knit but I think that I'm going to knit them all something in ALPACA because alpaca is what we bought for Chris's hat and I. am. in. love. This fiber is like buttah. It's so soft I have to stop knitting sometimes and just pet the developing fabric. I want mittens in alpaca. I want an alpaca teddy bear. (Plus, it's fun to say. alpaca. alpaca. alpaca. Now something magic should appear :)

I worked on the latest version of Chris's hat a lot today because it was a Very Busy Day. I got up at 5am in an attempt to finish a work project today while simultaneously being A Good Mother. I was mostl successful. I got Chris and Max off to school at a reasonable hour and took the twins to swimming. I am frustrated by the swimming lessons. We seem to keep signing up and the twins are thrilled and they go and they do pretty much the same thing every time and yet after over a year (on and off) of swim lessons, Milo is only just barely an Eel and Ben is a pike. This is like having to admit your sons are 7th year seniors. Now, I will grant that NOTHING seems to bring on a cold with a major asthma attack for Milo faster than signing him up for swim lessons. I'm starting to suspect there's a chlorine/asthma connection for him. So he never gets to go all 8 lessons in a row. This lesson won't be an exception. He was so sick last week with his asthma (he ran a fever for the first three days. After that, he just plain couldn't breathe. We didn't get any improvement until we got approval for the prednisone.) that he didn't go ANYWHERE. Not to church, not to school, not to swim lessons. I kept trying to will him better and he just . . . wouldn't.

Chris tells me this is no big deal and maybe I shouldn't get up so early. hmm.

So we came home from the swimming lessons that my sons will never graduate from (they'll be seniors in high school, still swimming with floaties) (what? my attitude is fine) and I worked and then the next thing I knew it was time to leave again. So I grabbed my knitting and gloves and warm jacket and packet of Intramural Ski Program stuff and headed over to the school and had a very hectic two hours of cat herding chaperoning, followed by a fairly relaxing and succesful final hour in which all our kids had lots of fun and found their parents at the right time and went home happy.

Except Max and Zach who went off to boy scouts because, you know, skiing isn't enough. They had a GREAT time there and then Max came home and got to work on his homework and now it's 9:45 and we're finally going to bed.

We didn't get any piano practicing done today. That's totally going to come back to haunt us at piano lessons tomorrow evening. Tuesdays are sooo long and yet--not long enough. Oh, well.

It was a good day though. One of those days that makes me happy because it's just so incredibly clear that a) I didn't just move here. I saw people at the ski lodge (because the whole flippin' town was at the ski lodge) that I knew and people from church and people from school and -- this is my home town and even as incredibly introverted as I am -- I know these people and b) we're never ever moving again. It's fine and safe to put down roots here. To bother to learn people's names and the names of their kids and the names of the OTHER elementary schools and . . .

YMCA. swimming. alpaca. work. ski lodge. friends. boy scouts. It's a nice collage of words for a Tuesday, no?

Sunday, January 21, 2007


My sister ran a marathon today in 4 hours and 5 minutes. I um, I went to church, came home and made waffles, played a game of Dread Pirate, and took a nap. Then I called her and got the blow-by-blow and wished her Congratulations. I have no aspirations to run a marathon, but I can respect hers and know she did something wonderful by setting that goal and achieving it. Congratulations, Alycia!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside

I sent Max off to do Klondike days with the Boy Scouts today. He definitely has mixed feelings about it. He feels it's a test of all of their boy scout skills--and he doesn't have many boy scout skills because the Tuesday evening scout meetings seem to conflict frequently with sport activities.

So we're hoping . . . that he has a good time anyway. There's sledding involved. Hopefully there is snow involved.

It's 25 degrees right now with a forecast high of 28--and a "real feel" of 9F. It's really windy today. Chris is racing RC cars with his friends today, so the twins and I are here by ourselves (I'm trying to get some work done. I really should be cleaning the kitchen and living room, but I'll have to get to those later.) and mostly we're hiding out downstairs near the pellet stove. It's cold, even with plastic on all of the windows, upstairs.

Maybe I should do a quiche for dinner so that I have an excuse to let the oven heat up the upstairs a bit. Max got me The Amish Cook: Recollections and Recipes from an Old Order Amish Family for Christmas and I used it for the first time last night to make Winter's Day Chili Soup. My favorite part was that it assumed that I had on hand two quarts of home-canned tomato juice. And of course, I do. I made that with four loaves of sandwich bread and four loaves of french bread. We ate half the french bread with the soup and are using the rest of it up today (it doesn't keep well) in sandwiches. The soup turned out well though I thought it wasn't spicey enough (so I added some cayenne pepper and doubled the chili powder). The kids weren't sure what to make of it, but they enjoyed dipping their bread in it and eating that. The recipe as written serves 15, so there were plenty of leftovers for Chris and I to eat for lunches this coming week.

Anyway, I was reminded of that with the quiche, since she has a recipe for "Never Fail Pie-Crust" and since pie crust is one of those things I haven't quite mastered, I'm going to try it with the quiche.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something Else I Learned About Knitting Recently

While lurking on a knitting email list I saw repeated references to "relaxing" new circular needles.

I'd never heard of such a thing. I can say that one thing I don't like about working on circular needles is the way they like to coil around and sometimes seem to fight back against you.

So, apparently you've got these people out there who go out and buy their needles and then come home, boil a big pot of water, and dunk the line part of the needles in the hot water till it relaxes, then you pull it out of the water and pull the line into a straight line. No more curly-q when you're trying to knit.

Who knew? I tried it with one set of needles that I happen to have two of in case I did something like melt the needes clean away or something. I nearly forgot about the pot on the stove (I do that a lot actually) but the actual straightening of the needles was easy peasy and . . . I like them better.

So that was another new trick this old dog learned this week.

I finished three assignments today and I'm sick to death of typing. Off to put the kids in bed and sit and knit beside my husband.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Day in the Life of Me

Monday. Stardate: January 15. 6 more months till my 39th birthday party.

5:00 am. Alarm clock goes off. I crawl over husband and two five-year-old boys. I turn off alarm. I crawl over husband and two five-year-old boys. I go back to sleep.

6:00 am. One boy starts whimpering. I am instantaneously wide awake. FAR more effective than alarm. Feel boy's head. Wince. Crawl over husband and two five-year-old boys. Go to kitchen (Dog in kennel lifts head, looks at me as if to say, "Go back to bed!" Puts head back and down and paw over eyes. No kidding.) Get 2 tsp of children's motrin. Go back and give to feverish five-year-old. He immediately and gratefully passes out again (he loves the taste of children's motrin).

6:05 am. Feel around on dark floor. Find jeans. Find long-sleeve shirt. Find sweater. Find socks. Undress. Dress. Head downstairs.

Check wood stove. Little red light is on. Open hopper and refill with new bag of wood pellets. Hit reset button on stove.

Go to desk. Turn on little space heater under desk. Turn on computer. Say prayer of suplication. Computer makes normal computer noises. Say prayer of gratitude.

6:15 am. Check email. Check blog for comments. Check weather report.

6:30 am. Start working.

7:00 am. Hear pitter patter of little feet. And coughing. Milo, looking sick as a dog, but at least not as feverish, is sitting on stairs watching me work. He wants water. I get water.

7:05 am. Back to work.

7:45 am. Call doctor. Make appointment for both boys.

8:00 am. Dog fusses. Find boots. Find warm winter jacket. Find leash. Take dog out to do her business.

8:20 am. Back to work.

9:00 am. Potty break. All kids are up now. Dh is trying to sleep in, but not successfully. Go in and talk to dh for a bit. For no particular reason, end up sobbing over today's to-do list. Anxious about doctor appointments this week. Anxious about work due. Anxious about how light work is otherwise. Dh listens and hugs and says all the right things. Wipe nose on sleeve. Change shirt.

10:00 am. Dh dresses twinkies. I get things together and take twinkies to doctor appointment.

10:45 am. See doctor. Ben entertains. Milo coughs and coughs and coughs. Doctor says Ben is a little wheezy but getting better enough that we don't need to do anything further. Milo is a lot of wheezy and if he's not better by . . . etc. etc. We get refill of albuterol for nebulizer and some stickers.

11:10 am. Run into friend and her two daughters on way out of office. Am tempted to run off to lunch with them, but remember I have to turn that work in today. Reluctantly head home.

11:45 am. Boss of the project due today calls because her email is down. I get brownie points for asking good questions. I admit that I opened the package of materials I was sent last week late and didn't notice today's due date until yesterday. She isn't worried. She has too many other pieces to read today anyway and there's still the problem with the email. Anxiety about work goes away. I can turn this in tomorrow. I also will finish another small project tomorrow. I have the rest of the week to do otherwise light project. I feel a little better.

12:00 am. Make everyone except Max lunch. Max is in and out of house looking for his friends and has to make his own lunch.

12:15 pm. Back to work.

1:00 pm. Milo arrives at desk looking, at best, awful. He turns big puppy dog eyes to me. I take him up to my bedroom, sit with him through a breathing treatment, and then knit a bit while I wait for the sandman to take him off to a nap. He is insulted that I think a big five-year-old like himself would need a na----zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

2:00 pm. Leave for appointment with brand new shrink. Stop at Barnes and Noble on the way. Trade in baby hat book for "The Millionaire Next Door" after deciding that Barnes and Noble sold all the good knitting books for Christmas and hasn't restocked yet.

3:40 pm. Arrive for appointment with new shrink. Meet with him. Go over meds and medical history. Decide new shrink is a) older than me (always a plus), b) funny and smart , c) going to work out just fine. I get reassured that the "old school" tricyclic that I put myself back on (with help of family med doctor) after Wellbutrin stopped working was great choice, is totally appropriate with other med I'm taking. He tweaks its dosage, runs over brief plan for future . . . I leave feeling very relieved. I get to keep my el cheapo generic drugs that don't make me gain weight AND there's no need to play anti-depression med roulette with new doctor.

4:45 pm. Stop at grocery store and get some meat for meals this week, two boxes of hamburger helper, some caffeinated beverages, more milk, a box of ice cream, and a candy bar.

5:30 pm. Arrive home. Start browning ground turkey. Hide candy bar in desk after dh tries to run off with it twice.

5:35 pm. Set up Milo with another breathing treatment.

5:40 pm. Add hamburger helper to ground turkey.

5:50 pm. Serve family "dinner." Family is thrilled. I never buy hamburger helper and they LOVE it. I justify it tonight because of the ground turkey.

6:30 pm. Desperately try to focus on work. Fail miserably. Spend next two hours working on Chris' travel plans for March and talking to MIL on phone about her move.

8:00 pm. Chris gets back from pharmacy with prescriptions.

8:15 pm. Start blogging.

8:30 pm. Give everyone some ice cream.

9:00 pm. Another breathing treatment for Milo. Read a book to twins. Chris helps get Ben and Max in bed.

10:15 pm. Finish silly blog entry in which point is basically, "Jeez, I was all worried about today for basically no reason. It turned out fine. Though I didn't get very much work done, did I?!?"

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sunday, Rainy Sunday

I was all set to go to church this morning, put the church clothes in the dryer last night and then went upstairs to check on the kids. Milo had a fever. So much for that. Checked him again this morning in hopes that he was just running hot last night, nope.

So I called a friend from church and got Max a ride to church so he can see his friends there and I settled in for a quiet day. It was a resolution of mine to try to actually HAVE a Sabbath day instead of a maybe get to church maybe not definitely work day. Those were wearing me out. So I finished up a work project yesterday and then spent the afternoon and half the evening doing what I told Chris was a mini-move.

See, Chris has made two Decisions recently (I'm done waiting for him to blog about all this. He won't have time until later in the week, frankly, and then he'll probably be painting for the next few weeks to catch up.). The first is that he's going to pursue portrait photography professionally down the road, and the second is that he is applying for the Penn State program for his MFA in Photography. We haven't a CLUE what his chances are for the MFA program at this stage in the game. But since we're never, ever moving again, he can't shop around. And the deadline for the application is Wednesday. And he didn't really decide that he was definitely going to apply until early last week.

So then he had to tear the house apart looking for his portfolio of slides. Only to find that we probably lost them all in the great Icky Rat Incident of 2004. Which means that his portfolio had to be reshot. And the program will only take slides. And Chris's photography equipment has dwindled over the years. So there were new bulbs to buy and -- it's been a huge project.

Plus the last minute nature of it all has involved lots of fedexing and begging of favors from friends and relatives and coworkers-past -- I've mostly just been sitting on the sidelines eating popcorn and watching it all with great interest. (Well, and working and cooking and getting the kids to all their activities and dealing with my little knitting dramas.)

But I noticed I had this tremendous urge to clean the house, throw things away, and pack things up. It occurred to me that this whole Start of A New Deal feeling has been accompanied by moving boxes and house showings fairly consistently in our married life and since we don't DO that any more (move, that is) I felt a little at loose ends.

So yesterday I went through all the boxes we'd pulled out of the storage closet (while looking for the missing slids) and tossed most of it. I got six boxes down to two. Most of what is gone were the last of my classroom files (which probably dooms me to returning to the classroom at some point so I can regret finally throwing away all my lesson plans) and a lot of old CTP books that I hadn't had a need for in the last year so figured I probably wouldn't in the future.

Then I went through my work files and tossed all the paperwork from the last year.

Then I reorganized the closet, four of my bookshelves, and my entire yarn stash.

In the process I found two more boxes of poetry that need to go back to last year's Main Client.

I'm still not actually done. I have to finish cleaning off my desk. But I'm pretty happy about what I've accomplished so far.

If Chris gets accepted to his MFA program I'm going to paint a room to celebrate :)

So anyway, that's where Chris is today--driving a gazillion miles to the nearest camera shop that is both open on a Sunday AND offers expedited development of slides. I'll watch the coughing, hacking twinkies, knit, read the relief society lesson I'm missing, and enjoy the day the Lord has given me.


P.S. For Elizabeth--the UAB was really for me, even though the whole family is enjoying it. I also have another HUGE afghan on the needles which I envisioned sharing with Chris as we watched a movie together on the cough we don't own yet. And this summer I finished a sleeveless cotton "sweater" that was for me. For the stuff that's in progress--well, that Faorese shawl in the side bar is for me and I have yarn (JaggerSpun Zephyr DK weight in Claret) and the Bridie pattern in my stash for someday for me. I have to finish a few more things before I can allow myself to cast on for that. Otherwise, I know it's vain of me, but I like receiving thrilled exclamations of love and adoration when I finish a piece of knitting and I get that when I finish something for the kids. When I finish something for me? I'm just relieved it's finally done. I am inspired to knit for babies because babies are wonderful things, even when they come in batches and I am a little late with the sweater for the last one in the batch. I will also confess that I bought the yarn for the knee-high socks in Handknit Holidays:

Which I will not start knitting until I'm at or really darn close to my final goal weight, sometimes later this year. I hold my weight in my legs and hips and so the last 30 lbs--they will come from my legs and hips. I will never in a million years have legs that look like those in the photo, so my version will have the adapations detailed at "Dances with Wool" (click on March 2006 in her side bar).

I also have some shimmer yarn set aside for myself for the Shetland Tea Shawl in A Gathering of Lace and at some point I'll get hold of some more Barefoot Mountain Colors in a blueish or purplish colorway and make myself some socks from that.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Really Must Take a Knitting Class Sometime

I took a knitting class a few years ago when I'd been knitting for thirteen or so years. It was a knitting class that pretty much took you whereever you were and taught you a thing or two. You showed up with whatever you were working on and then she made suggestions as she watched you work or she helped you solve problems or whatever. At the time I was working on a baby outfit and trying to overcome my fear of anything sweater-related, and I was quite pleased to finally learn, after all those years, a second way to cast on.

This week it was brought home to me again that I am still essentially, the slowest-learning knitter in the World and that if it weren't for the internet and the occasional bit of luck, I'd never learn (or finish) anything.

Remember my Orenburg Warm Shawl? I was nearly done with the right border (which you knit first) and preparing to start the diagonal stripe that goes next to it. I went to the LYS's Calendar Club--this thing where you buy a Knitting Calender. This one:

And then get together at the shop once a month and start knitting something from it. If you come back before the next class and show them your finished object, you get to fill out a ticket towards a $100 shopping spree at the store (which would take me, like, five minutes to spend).

I wanted to do it mostly as an excuse to get out of the house once a month, but when Cynthia (one of the shop owners) suggested we do the monthly projects as future Christmas presents, I was intrigued.

At any rate, I was there for the first "class" on Wednesday when she went over all the rules and then we started knitting the first project. I won't say what it was, but I picked out two balls of yarn in a deep purple and then put them away to worry about later. I got out my shawl project and started knitting on that.

Well, to make a long story short (which I have to do now as I need to mediate the breathing treatments tonight. When they both need one, they rush each other, squabble--the next thing you know there's albuterol on the wall and none in the kids.) it was ultimately decided that I was knitting the shawl far too tightly. Like, hopelessly so. There was nothing to do but frog and reknit.

It took me another two days to get around to it, but I did. I frogged. I swatched. And then, on a whim, I decided what the heck--I know I've been knitting for awhile now and HOW basic is a yarn-over? But something had struck me a little while ago. I never once saw another knitter mention online how tricky it was to knit into their yarn overs coming back across on the next row.

Here's how you do a yarn over. You bring the yarn to the front of the work and around the needle. Whenever it was that I first read those instructions in print, I had noone around to actually SHOW me a yarn-over. So I read those instructions and I thought I followed them. And so, all this time, I've been doing a yarn-over upside down. You're supposed to bring the yarn UNDER the needle and then up and to the back of the work. I've been bringing the yarn OVER the needle and then back--you know, OVER as in YARN OVER.

This means you have to do some serious tweaking on the other side to slide the needle in to knit the stitch properly. Doing so, also causes a twist in the yarn that takes up half the slack introduced by the yarn-over. In other words, my yarn-overs do a great job adding a stitch, just like they are supposed to. But they don't leave much of a hole. They DO leave a hole, but you have to look for it.

So the biggest complaint that Kim (the other LYS owner who looked at the shawl as a second opinion) had was never mind that it was too small/short/narrow--it didn't look . . . lacey. It looked PRETTY enough. But not lacey.

So I googled the yarn-over, found an online video, watched the upside down yarn-over, and sighed. I knew this was the missing piece of the puzzle. I did the next row of the new swatch in the "new" way and my chin hit the floor. The new "holes" were three times the size of the other ones.

I frogged again. I went DOWN a needle size (from the three sizes I'd jumped up) so that now I'm on size 3 needles instead of the 1's I knit the first try on, and I swatched again. And it's really pretty. Much nicer than before.

So I feel STUPID and INCOMPETENT, but I can't say it's all for nothing. I tore out the new swatch and I'll cast on for the Orenburg all over again. Hopefully, for the last time.

(In the meantime I knit the purple project. I already finished it. It was blessedly free of yarn overs.)

Now. Do I rip out the Faroese shawl which is clearly rife with Yarn overs, but I'm only 12 rows into it? Or do I just . . . let the 12 rows go and start doing the yarn overs correctly from here on out? (whine, whine) I'm tired of frogging! (Mentally goes through her list of all of her projects on the needle. What else has yarn overs? I don't think anything else.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Don't Have the Exact Diagnosis

But I'm pretty sure that whatever is wrong with my computer is terminal. In this moment though, with one item turned in and the other due in 40 minutes and it having chosen this moment to slow the heck down to nearly nothing, I am possessed of a very strong urge to hasten its demise with a baseball bat.

(The screen no longer functions, it occasionally shuts itself down with no warning, it has these work slooooooooowwwwwwdoooooooowwwwnnns with no warning or explanation, and when I shut if off it sometimes acts like it can't remember how and when I turned it on this morning it made a noise I didn't think a computer could make. More like a credit card in a blender than a $1,200 piece of electronics.)

I will grant you that I ask a great deal of my computer. It is on nearly every day and it is on for a good 15 hours straight. It has virtually no battery function left and as I mentioned, no screen. I have, at this moment, 7 separate applications running and I need them all to do this !@#$% assignment. My 1 gig of RAM is struggling under the load.

But still! I want to talk encouragingly to it and instead all that comes out is, "You better not flippin' DIE until I get your replacement and get all the *&^%$# financial data transferred!"

Deep breath. In through nose, out through mouth, haaaaaaaaa. >choke< >sputter<


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Good Morning

It wasn't a resolution, but I've been going to bed earlier and getting up earlier and that is working out generally better. The twins go to bed earlier and get up earlier when I do this--actually, the whole family does. Max is the only one who is trailing. He's staying up too late reading and then having a difficult sloth-like morning in which he is constantly harrassed to please hurry up.

I think I need to look to some other time of the day for his piano practice. This is tough as evenings can vary so much from day to day and if piano isn't at the same time each day, it doesn't work.

I don't think the slot before breakfast is working out though. It's not enough time and there aren't enough of his brain cells attending the practice. 7:00 pm. It's as good and as bad a time as any. We'll try that. His extended school day doesn't allow for afternoon practice.

Today reads like a page out of someone else's journal. I'm scheduled to leave the house for a reason that doesn't involve my kids! I have a monthly knitting class to attend this year and immediately following that, a PAC meeting. I guess the PAC meeting kind of involves the kids in that I wouldn't be going or a member if the kids weren't there . . . but they won't be with me.

I also have Max's piano lesson this afternoon.

Which means that I need to get all my workwork done by, um, 3pm. I'd better get started. I used the early start on Monday and Tuesday to get work done, but this morning I used it to pay the bills and balance the checkbook, so--off to work.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Up Drafts and the Red Tailed Hawk Pair

This week the new "spring" schedule gets off to a real start. In spite of the snow, everything about the days right now feels like those initial days of spring when you see signs of new growth everywhere. It's not a global warming thing--it's an updraft. A period where you feel supported by an unseen force. Spiritually warmer than you can explain. Hopeful. Expectant. And things seem in proper perspective. You are aware of the problems (one of my clients is struggling to pay in a timely manner. I just got a check but it was two weeks late. I don't know when I'll get paid again.) but they are not blown out of proportion (it is what it is). Although things are less stressful than they have been in a long time, we are still not at the point we plan, eventually, to be. It will be awhile yet. Still, Chris's business plans are really taking shape. They may involve sending him back to school. I'm really okay with that. He and I were both a bit surprised by that. He knows I'm ready for him to start contributing more to the family financially. But we discussed what that would need to look like and we agree that it doesn't exclude going back to school. The specific degree program he is interested in just sounds right to me. He can learn and do simultaneously with this new path.

My goal, more than two years ago, when I first suggested to Chris that he cut his ties with Honda and we sell the Southern California "life" and "buy into" the life we have now in central Pennsylvania, was to be HIS updraft, (may the first person to quote Bette Midler lyrics in the comment section die a terrible death) until he could spy what it was he wanted next and would begin to beat his wings again--off in pursuit of whatever needs he and I and our children would need. I have wondered, sometimes, in the last six months or so, if this was a mistake. Maybe an adult should always find his own updrafts. Maybe in urging him to leave Honda, I missed some critical . . . thing . . . about men and their careers . . . I worried that rather than lifting him to a new level--I had inadvertently led him down a path where he didn't even WANT to fly anymore.

Continuing my hawk analogy though, I don't know if I would do anything differently if we were back there again. We needed to fly off and bring home the equivalent of a dead DEER every freakin' day there. And it was killing us both. That's a LOT of meat for two small hawks with three chicks (two of whom would color on the walls every time we turned our backs.) Maybe if we'd been better at doing it together--but we weren't. The constant moves and Chris's specific responsibilities at Honda had trained us to live "separate but equal" lives, and not "equal and united" lives.

And so we have spent the last two years relearning how to a) live in the nest together again and b) live on mice, instead of deer, and c) be content with that.

Two years and one week ago--it was the first Wednesday of January--we were in a similar spot. Having resolved together to reopen the search for "where to go next," we prayed and received as an answer an old college friend's Christmas letter, which included praise for the area and an invitation to at least have a visit. If you've been reading this blog for long, you know how that all worked out (if you haven't, the simple answer is: well. It worked out well.)

Today in the kitchen Mr. Hawk and I touched wings for a moment and I felt that familiar warm rush of air. He seem in that moment to lift higher into the sky and I watched him beat his wings and fly a little ahead. In that moment he seemed everything a She-Hawk could want in a mate. Solid. Dependable. Generous. Good at finding tasty mice morsels. Not in too big of a hurry to push the chicks from the nest. Sexy streaks of red in his tail feathers.

All updrafts come to an end. The cold air swirls around you again and you're back to beating your wings to stay up--but don't they feel amazing when they come--like the breath of God, lifting you and your mate above the tops of the trees and providing you with a brief glimpse of the future. Here's wishing you and yours a warm winter updraft of your own. I am using this one to spiritually refuel a bit. I feel badly for not blogging as much, but we'll get things caught up soon.

Monday, January 08, 2007


My stomach is STILL tied up in knots and hurting from the stress, BUT

Tonight the State College school board approved the expansion of Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania's charter from K-5 to K-8, adding one additional grade a year over the next three years. Max's fifth grade class will be the first 6th grade class, the first 7th grade class, and the first 8th grade class.

And Ben and Milo and Max will attend the same school, together, for three whole years. I'm am so thrilled. I am beyond thrilled.

Max's teacher asked me if I wanted to measure his feet for the socks I owe him :) I told him I have to finish Chris' socks first, but I'll let him know when I need the measurements ;)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Evening

I have to make this short as I've promised myself an early bedtime tonight.

My little sister was here all week. I had to work most of the time that she was here but managed to get a few hours with her on Tuesday, most of the afternoon on Wednesday, and all day on Thursday. We signed Max out of school on an educational outing and took the boys to Washington D.C. to the National Zoo. We'd hoped to get to more of the Smithsonian, but the travel time alone was more than we had expected. I hope to go again soon, but the ideal way to do the Smithsonian from here would be to go for a weekday, spend the night in a hotel, and go back for a second weekday, before pointing the car home again.

After the zoo, I took her over to my brother's house in Baltimore (who, having no warning that I was bringing the three boys and coming for dinner, provided us with a huge Boston Market dinner. It was good!). We had a brief visit with them, but it was really wonderful (in a "I can't believe how far we walked today and now I am too tired for meaningful conversation" kind of way) to have all four of us (brother, sister, sister-in-law, and self) at the table.

We left there at 8:00 and got home at almost exactly 11:00. We'd left the house at 8:15 am and I was just wasted tired all day today. I got lots of things done, but but very little work, no matter how hard I tried. (I was at the computer from 10am to 3pm, TRYING to get work done, but there were just not enough synapses participating.) I'll be working tomorrow to make up for it.

I update my UFO's and FO's in my sidebar and discovered . . . wow, I have WAY too much on the needles. I finished two baby sweaters in the last few days and need to get the one in the mail and the other off to the yarn store. Chris' sock continues to come along. But I can't work on it exclusively. I'll go crazy. I decided to put my afghan upstairs in a canvas bag to work on when I can. The sock is traveling around in the poodle bag, which means it goes everywhere with me. I have another 5 inches to go on it, so it should be with me at Monday's School Board meeting when we learn the fate of YSCP's middle grades. I hope that's good luck.

More later this weekend on resolutions and the like :)