Monday, November 26, 2007


Yesterday was a semi-ordinary Sabbath. We went to church, which was a skeleton of its usual self, since at least half the congregation is either a student or an employee of Penn State--they all went home to whereever they're from (admittedly, a large portion went to Utah). You add that to the usual number who go out of town for Thanksgiving and you're left with, primarily, the townies with older children. Still, we had a good morning of church, picked up Gramma Gaye and headed home to decorate the tree. We made good progress until we got to the lights and discovered that exactly half of EVERY light set was out. Now, I don't know if you've tried to replace lights in your mini-light set in the past few years, but they make it terrifically hard now. You're pretty much just supposed to toss the set and buy new ones. Last year I fought this and it took five trips to Target to get all the outdoor features with mini-lights working. (To complicate things, there are different sizes of bulbs in those mini-lights and then you try to match colors--only they're out of the color you need in the size you need . . . .) I had learned from my experience, sort of, so this year we decided to just run to Target to get new lights. Because this was supposed to be a day with the family, we decided to all go.

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


First let me say that we had a great Thanksgiving. We had lovely guests and great food and it ranks up there with one of the best Thanksgiving's we've had thus far. Ben and Milo were a little squirrely, but that happens when you hold them off lunch too long. Well, actually, it just happens sometimes.

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

You Say That Like It's a Bad Thing

Yesterday I had to go see my doctor for a small, but irritating issue, and their scale was like 5 lbs off, causing me to go into near hysterics, because the weight I have gained back this summer from eating all sorts of garbage in an attempt to feel better about our financial situation (I know, but it makes sense at the time, go figure) is bad enough and if you add 5 lbs and jeans and snow boots to that, it--well, it can make a grown woman cry. Having hopped on the scale this morning and reassured myself that I can still lose this weight and get back to that 167/168 that made me feel so good and happy, I can now view that conversation with a sense of humor. This was my favorite part:

[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

Ben, Milo, and BB King

There is a song that BB King does called Better Not Look Down. I thought of it tonight for my two larger-than-life, stars of the YSCP Kindergarten class, as tomorrow is their birthday and they are SURE that turning six will bring them even more wonderful things.

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

For Ann and Dy

Dy gets a baby sweater because I totally dropped the ball and LOST smidges dimensions and then completely wiped it from my brain until I found the yarn I'd set aside for his sweater WITH the dimensions about a month ago in the back of a closet. Needless to say, Smidge is not that size anymore. So Dy just has to email me her snail mail address and the new baby gets something when we know a little about which team he or she will be playing for--pink or blue.

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

Yay! It's Strep!

As in "Yay! We have health insurance!"
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

Fever Dreams

It's been an interesting couple of days here at the house. On Thursday evening Max informed me that the he thought he was coming down with something, and might not be up to going to school. In any other 11-year-old, you'd immediately email the teacher to see what test he was supposed to be studying for, but Max's teacher is a seasoned ex-high-school teacher who usually schedules exams for Thursdays. Now that's clever. At any rate, Max was convincingly sporting an unpleasant cough and his throat sounded swollen. So when I went to check on him Friday morning and found him running a fever, I didn't even wake him. I dressed Ben and Milo and took them off to kindergarten and Max had a relatively pleasant morning at home playing his gamecube until . . . he discharged the contents of his stomach around 11am. This led to the first of many naps and that led to the first fever spike and in the meantime . . . . .

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 frozen tundra Boy Scout Camp and I settled in for what I thought would be a quiet weekend at home. I would write textbook copy. The kids would play electronic gadgets. Grandma Judy was scheduled to visit briefly Saturday night/Sunday morning.

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 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

Ben and Milo Welcome Lakshmi, goddess of Wealth

My kids go to a "World Languages" Charter school and about a third of the school doesn't speak English at home. One of their classmates gifted every child in the class with a Divali light on Friday. We got a little note giving a brief explanation of their use and a pretty colored lamp with a votive candle. (Milo's was missing its wick, so we punted with his candle.)

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

Happy Birthday, Dr. J!

Today is my younger brother's birthday--Happy Birthday Dr. J! I hope it's a good one for you :)

Yesterday, of course, was Halloween. We had Ketchup and Mustard.

and Zorro

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!)