Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kittens and Bulbs and Heatstroke, Oh My!

Tuesday is so unbelievably full that after it's over I kind of feel like I'm golden for the week. That, and the first graders I work with on Reader's Theatre prove I've forgotten everything I knew about classroom management. They are soooo little and soooo cute and soooo out of control! So every time we all live through my 45 minutes of an attempt at volunteer reading instruction, I'm just so relieved.

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


I just checked my place in line--only 2100 people ahead of me! Since they're inviting 500 new people a day right now--I could be in by next Monday!!

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

My Next Shawl Project

Sarah's Yarns offers the Icelandic Shawl yarn as a kit at a very reasonable $17.50 for the whole thing.


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

Finished Object

I'm embarrassed to admit it's not Adwen's sweater.

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

I Love Hand-Me-Downs

I love hand-me-downs. Hand-me-downs are like an unexpected check in the mail. Or that box of 18 lbs of formula that my cousin mailed me when the twins were four months old. Anyway, on Thursday after extended day club Readers' Theatre, the five of us were walking through the parking lot of the school and arrived at our truck at the same time that one of Max's friend's mother (J) was chatting in the parking lot with another school mom. She saw us and hollered over that she had a bag of clothes in the car that she thought might fit the twins and did we want them.

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

You Go, Ben (and Milo, and Max)

Ben: I have to go work now.
:::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

Emily Wants You to Know the Score

Charlotte, you may want to skip this one.

Emily: 3
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

I Have NO Self-Control

It's only September 17 and I cleaned out the wood pellet stove this evening and set the thermostat to 63. It came on! We only have the 30 lbs of pellets in the hopper of the stove, though. So Chris is right, my only real solution is another sweater. Luckily, things start to warm up again tomorrow and the rest of the month looks totally peachy.

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

Can I Get an Amen?

So Chris spoke in Sacrament meeting this morning. He was up till 1am working on his talk, which was supposed to be about his spiritual journey. Honestly, Chris is a talker. Those husbands who don't talk about their feelings and have to be reminded to say "I love you"--I don't have one of those. I have the guy who wants to wake me at 3am to talk about the dream he just had. In our house, I'm the one raised on Mars. (But I wasn't, it was 13th St., NW in Washington D.C., mostly--which is maybe a little like Mars--or was in the 70's.)

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

All She Wants to Do is Blog

forgive me Don Henley.

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.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thursday Evening and Where Did the Day Go?

The day didn't get off to a promising start. The mail brought news we could have lived without, a rousing fight with the State of California Franchise Tax Board. It made me cry so Chris took the paper and called and did his best PupDaddy growling and may have actually cleared the whole thing up already. Good Daddy!

I had what seemed like a million things to do to get ready for tonight's first parent/teacher organization meeting (which, like most things in Pennsylvania, is called something different than everywhere else in the U.S.) but if I say Parent Advisory Committee, none of you will know what I'm talking about. So I spent most of the morning working on that and then a couple hours in the afternoon running errands to copy things. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to school to run the extended day Readers' Theatre club. My second graders are sooooo much easier to keep on task than my (Tuesday afternoon) first graders. The time flew by and we scooped up our pups and headed over to grandma's house to help install her new washer.

Then we hurried home and made sausage gravy with biscuits, left the kids with Gaye, and hurried off to meetings. Chris went to a boyscout meeting and I went to my parent org meeting and . . . we met. Chris got home first and freed Gaye.

So here we are back home. All the puppies in bed. Catching our breath and getting ready to put ourselves to bed. But we both agree--tomorrow we have GOT to get some workwork done.
The missionaries are coming for a late dinner and I'm making taco pizza. There's laundry to wash and clean laundry to put away and workworkwork to do.

Makes me want chocolate.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Oops, I Did It Again

I drank Diet Pepsi after 6pm.

And now I'm GETTING WORK DONE! And it's GREAT!

But at 1 am I am going to be soooo bummed.

Now that Chris is Senior Scout Leader extraordinaire of Troop 40's 11-yr-olds, I get to sew a LOT of patches on shirts. HIS shirt gets lots of patches and Max's shirt gets every patch that Chris gets, but more. I am historically pretty shakey on the hand-sewing, but things are looking up. I even managed to go two whole weeks without losing my favorite thimble (which you need to get the frackin' needle through the patch). But it's gone again today. Even so, I've sewn on three patches this afternoon. This is a new record for me. Ordinarily I don't even start sewing on the patch until an hour before the meeting is supposed to begin. This time I was done a whole day early.

Chris is supposed to be coming up with a patrol cheer. This was my suggestion.

Ready? Okay!
Give me a boom!
Give me another boom!
Give me a cardiac arrest!
Lightning Squad!!

(I learned everything I know about cheering from T-T-T-Torrance! in Bring It On! Also, the above is funnier if you picture Kermit the Frog delivering it complete with the waving arms. Maybe Gonzo the Great should do the boom lines.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Early September Thoughts

We're in those last days of summer where we're over the heat, bored with all the greenery, wondering if we really need more quarts of spaghetti sauce or not . . . but it is still hot, still humid, and the tomatoes (especially the cherry tomatoes) are still ripening, still flowering even, still producing. They don't really seem to know fall is coming. But there are signs. A few trees starting to turn already (how do they know? Is it a light thing? Because it is still soooo hot.) I would say the corn is already going brown, but that probably has more to do with the lack of rain than anything else.

I haven't been to the garden in days because of the taxing nature of the first week of school and I'm afraid I'm going to find bedraggled, semi-dead plants, dying of thirst. They could have used watering. There's almost no point in watering them tomorrow. They say it'll rain some tomorrow evening. But if I don't water the plants--then it won't rain. And we really need the rain. So I'll water.

The kids all did well this week--I think. I haven't heard a word from Max's teacher, but I'm sticking with the positive for now and assuming that means all is well. She had a behavior system in place on the first day of school. Last year his teacher didn't have one until January some time and it continued to change nearly weekly for another two months. Max thinks this one is pretty on top of things.

Ben and Milo's teacher says "They had a great first week." Ben has a new best friend, W-A. Ben says his first and second name are done together, giving the boy a grand total of 6-syllables in his name. I suspect this is really a first and last name, but I'll take Ben's word for it until I can look more deeply into things next week. I did meet W-A's mom Thursday afternoon. I think she's Castillian Spanish. W-A is the youngest of five and has four older sisters. She's very happy my chatty, gregarious Ben has taken on W-A as a new best friend. In honor of their friendship, I'm going to actually mow, bushwack, clean up the backyard tomorrow so we can invite W-A over for a playdate soon.

Milo has some new friends, too. True to form, he has a list. Two girls and three boys right now.

The twinks are celebrities at their school. Among 140 students, a couple of cute, chatty, outgoing identical kindergarteners can quickly rack up the social points. As they walk through the hall they get shout-outs from a dozen kids--some in kindergarten, but many not. Those who know their names use them. The rest of them call them simply, "The twins."

"There's the twins! Hi, twins!"

Ben and Milo wave back. Ben, without abandon. Milo, stylized, like British royalty. I asked them if they minded being called "The twins." They said they did not. I offered that if they DID, they could reply, "Use our names: Ben and Milo." But Ben simply said again, "No, it's okay." So I shelve my own guilt for "twinking" them together sometimes.

I am focusing mainly on work this week and next--when I'm not doing something for the charter school. But I got fairly far behind in August and I need to get caught up to feel good about things. For some reason, it kind of made sense to pick one knitting project and try to stick with it. I've been working on the Viking Twist on Orange Twist sweater pretty exclusively--although I think next weekend I'll put it aside to finish Baby Girl Sweater #3. This weekend though my-mother-Judy is visiting and we have planned another afternoon of working on unpacking Gaye and there won't be more than a few minutes here and there to knit--so I'll continue on the Orange Twist variant. The Viking cable is working beautifully so far and the design basic enough that if I don't have the chart in front of me, I can pretty well figure out which way to shove the cable needle without it. I can't cable without the cable needle yet though. That's not entirely true. I can cable to the right on a four-stitch cable without it. That's useful when working on Milo's sweater. But that's it. At any rate, I'll try to take a picture of the Twisted Orange Twist (ooh, I like that name better) soon and put that up.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

First Day of School

We'll have some photos later. Chris already downloaded them, but they're on his computer where I can't get them to post them because he and Max are already at boy scouts.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are once again the days to survive this year. In addition to the extra hour of school that our charter school has because of the extra half-hour each of Chinese and Spanish instruction, there is the extended day program. At no additional cost to students, we have a big snack break followed by a 40-minute class, another 5 minute break, and a second 40-minute class. Then it's 5:25 and some of the kids still have to ride a bus home.

I've always thought this was a bit much for a little guy, so I don't encourage Max to do the extended day program more than twice a week and I wouldn't have signed up the twins at all--except that Chris and I are teaching Readers' Theatre there twice a week--so the twinks are doing RT with me on Tuesdays and going to kindy Science club on Thursdays.

My class is in the first "hour" and Chris's class is in the second "hour" on Tuesdays, so the twinks and I leave at 4:40 and Max and Chris stay for another 40 minutes and then come home. But Tuesday nights are also boy scouts, so just as soon as we get home, the twinks practice piano while I make dinner. Then Max and Chris get home, we all eat, and the big boys head off to Boy Scouts. The twinks are now reading books on the couch and I plan on trying to get them in bed at 8:00 pm--fully an hour or more earlier than they went to bed most of the summer. But with such a long day--they need some sleep!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's go back to the beginning. I woke up at 6am with a sour stomach. So I went off in a futile search for Tums. I may have taken my medication for the day at this time. I'm not really sure. This is important.

I settled in at my desk and did some more work on the Viking Twist on Orange Twist sweater until the alarm went off. I got the twins dressed, got myself through the shower, Max through the shower, and Chris to feed the twins. I was feeling kind of anxious, so I went to the cupboard and took my medication--again. I had no memory of having taken the medication earlier. Now this anti-anxiety medication--you can't overdose on it. But it WILL put you to sleep. I take a *very* low dose of it, but even so, in all, I tripled my normal dose this morning.


We got out the door at 8:00 am, Max gave me a huge before we left the house saying he wanted a hug, but not in front of "everyone in class." He's 11. Honestly, I am just grateful it's taken him this long to get picky about public displays of affections. We picked up Grandma Gaye, and headed over to school. We took pictures of Max and his teacher, pictures of the twins and their teachers, handed out some first-day-of-school treats to the teachers (blueberry jam and salsa, mostly), hugged the twins, and left.

Oh, wait. Little Ben story here. In the kindergarten class was one tiny little kindergartner that is the little sister of one of Max's friends (15 out of 19 students in this year's kindergarten class is the younger sibling of an existing charter school student). She and her baby sister and Ben and Milo had had a wonderful afternoon last winter chasing each other all around the ski lodge.

So anyway, this morning little T was just not wild about this whole kindergarten mess. She had been crying hard and was still sniffling loudly when Ben and I went over to say Hi. The conversation went something like this.

:Mom gets down to Ben and T's height. She puts arm around Ben. Ben stares with concern at T. T glances at Me, but won't make eye contact. On the other hand, she doesn't run away, either.:
Me: T, do you remember Ben?
T shakes head, no.
Me: Ben remembers you!
:Ben raises an eyebrow, but does not correct me. He has already told me that he doesn't remember T, but he's willing to pretend to:
:T glances at Ben again, this time taking a longer look at the face. Nope! Still don't know that kid. Shakes her head a little, but is listening.:
Me: Ben's big brother is friends with your big brother Kurt.
:T glances at me. Her face says, "Keep talking.":
Me: You and your little sister and Ben and his brother Milo met at the ski lodge last winter.
:T glances at me incredulously. She is clearly thinking, "What in the heck is a ski lodge, lady?":
Me: The four of you chased each other around while the big kids went skiing.
:T glances at me again. She has to admit this does sound like something she would do.:
Me: You caught Ben and you were Soooo strong, you even picked him all the way up off the ground!!
:Ben stands up straighter and smiles. He remembers that part.:
:T flashes Ben a dimple. Yeah, she may be half his size, but she could TOTALLY lift that dude up off the floor. She forgets to sniffle.:
Me: Well, Ben needs to go back to his seat now, but he wanted to tell you that he hopes you'll be his friend now in kindergarten and he's glad to see you here.
Ben: Yeah.
T: 'k.
T smiles shyly and turns away. Ben grins and hurries to go tell Milo about T.

Mom and Grandma and Daddy exit, stage left.

We checked the mail (good mail day) and went to the Waffle Shop where we met up with Jill and ate our fill of yummy breakfast food. At the start of breakfast I was starting to feel kind of yawnny, and by the end of it, I was leaning up against Chris to stay upright. Jill, Chris, and Gaye had giggles at my expense as we all realized that I had somehow miscalculated dosages somewhere in the morning.

We headed home and I tried to get started on work, but didn't manage more than a few emails before I had to give up. 15 minutes later I lay down on the couch for a short nap and slept like the dead for over 4 hours. Jill came to get Emily to take her to the park and I have no memory whatsoever of her bringing Emily back. Apparently Schwan's showed up and left a note on the door fifteen feet from the couch, but I have no memory of that either. I feel a little guilty about all the work I didn't get done, but then again--it was a great nap and I woke up in time to throw together the first lesson for this afternoon's Readers' Theatre.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Little Bits

Tonight as Chris and I were making lunches for the boys to eat tomorrow and Chris was trying to talk me down from a full-blown anxiety attack about the boys' starting school tomorrow, we talked about Max starting kindergarten and what that was like (in a word--horrible) and why it won't be that way tomorrow. This led to that and the next thing we knew we were missing some friends of ours in Minnesota--they'd been our friends before we ever lived in Minnesota (they were friends of Chris', I really married into the friendship, but it worked out well for me) and they're just the sort of super terrific people that every couple needs. But they have a full life and we have a full life, and we just hadn't had a good chat in a long time. So I told Chris to go call them up while I finished up the vocabulary lesson I was working on. Two hours later, he's still doing that. I sat and listened in for a good portion of it, and then, feeling happy through association that we'd reconnected, I came upstairs to blog a bit.

I mostly worked today, but I got some vacuuming done (Gaye has loaned us her Kirby because she has two working vacuums and our one vacuum just doesn't get the job done anymore.) and caught up with the dishes and did a spot of knitting.

Now, I'm working on Orange Twist for Max. I cast on a week or more ago, but you know me, I get things done in spurts, so in the last day or two, I got about 5 inches done on the back. Enough for me to start feeling . . . suspicious about it. I added another inch to it today and finally got out the measuring tape. It wasn't going to work. At the rate Max is growing, I need a minimum of six inches of ease, and the more, the better. If I knit it another whole size too big, it might fit perfectly by the time I'm done. So I was going to have to rip back. Before I did, I was trying to decide how many more repeats to add in order to make things the right size.

At the same time, the pattern is rather . . . simple. And to make matters worse, it goes from a simple rib to an even simpler mix of stockinette and a right twist cable. You don't even need a cable needle for it. You just knit into the second stitch and then the first and then pull them both off the needle. That's it. So I was kind of thinking, "You know, as long as I have to pull this out, maybe I could add a couple of more interesting cables to this."

Well, months ago, on a whim, Charlotte sent me a copy of Viking Knits.

Viking Knits is like an Advanced Placement knitting pattern book. The author just goes ahead and assumes you wouldn't be tackling this stuff if you hadn't already mastered every other cable pattern in the Universe. No hand holding in this book. If you have to knit in the round, she won't bother to remind you to be careful not to twist when you join. You'd better have figured out all those basics before hand. And the wacko symbols in the charts? No legend. She breaks down and gives you a legend in the back of the book, but I think she expects you to commit it to memory and never look again at it.

At any rate, there are some lovely cables (seems like you really shouldn't even call them cables, they are just above all that) in the book and I found one that I thought would work with the pattern, so I pulled out some leftover blue in the same kind of yarn that I'm using for Max's sweater and swatched a bit. Having confirmed that they'd work together, I recharted Orange Twist--first, to work it so that the main body of the sweater is done in the round. It's a boxy design and there's no reason not to do the body together until the armpits. I added seam stitches to each side and ran one each of the fancy Viking cables up each side, about three inches in from the edge. The center portion will be "plain" Orange twist (the stockinette & right twist pattern) and hopefully the end result won't be so weird he'll refuse to wear it.

I printed out my pretty chart and cast on 244 stitches. By the end of the day I've got a little more than an inch done. I'll take pictures when I'm out of the ribbing and have the first repeat done.

Well, there. Chris is finally off the phone, so I'm off to hear all the news from him.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Happy Labor Day Weekend

It's been a busy weekend for us, but it's just about over. We don't have a BBQ planned for tomorrow--Chris needs to paint and I need to write and the kids need to squirm anxiously waiting for Tuesday to come and their first real day of kindergarten and 6th grade. Ben told me today that it was going to be "really different from Preschool." I had to agree.

I processed a lot of tomatoes. I had a little less than half a bushel of various varieties of cherry and plum tomatoes. About half of them were yellow varieties, so the juice is very orange. I've canned up quite a few pints of juice to drink, so I put these in quarts for cooking.

I had a little more than half a bushel of various varieties of larger tomatoes, and I had quite a few hot peppers, so I decided to do a batch of salsa. Salsa is more time consuming than just about anything else I can think to can up. Having to skin and de-seed each and every one of those tomatoes is just the biggest buzz kill. The end result is so worth it, but I can't say I enjoy skinning tomatoes. At all. On the upside, this year's salsa finally has some true heat to it. I don't think I can't call it more than medium, but I have two varieties of hot pepper that will be fully ripe in another two weeks and I think I have one more batch of salsa left in me--although perhaps not as large as this one.

After church today we headed over to Gaye's house to see what needed to be done. The kids sat in the living room and watched old Muppet show episodes while the three grownups worked on things. I mostly lined shelves and reorganized the tupperware. We were all tuckered out by 4pm, so we headed home then.

And that about brings us up to date. It's a big week coming up. We'll try to take some pictures.