Friday, February 29, 2008

POW! It's Been a Week

And what a week it's been.

I got slammed with work. And while I was having to cancel things left and right, there were things I just didn't feel I could and so I did all those things, too. (One was the teacher appreciation breakfast at the school this morning for which the boys and I got up at 6am. But as ready as they all were to go to bed early, they--especially Max--really had fun helping.)

I'm still slammed, but I have to stop and sleep tonight before getting up and starting all over again. It's snowing like the dickens. Max got on the phone and found a friend to go skiing with tomorrow afternoon. This made me happy. Tomorrow afternoon is my last lace knitting class. Mental note: no more doubling up on knitting classes. One knitting class in a month is fun. Two is a job and it doesn't pay nearly enough.

A lot happened this week. We found a treasurer for the PAC. I had a ton of fun reading poems with the second graders. I had the last session of the "Wellness" experiment I've been participating in at Penn State (I know, I haven't blogged about that at all. Ask me later. It was food for thought. Literally.) I got terribly behind in dishes and further behind in laundry. If the propane people don't show up this coming Wednesday I'll have been without a way to dry my clothes for over two weeks. They keep skipping me and saying, "oops." I'd just have them come get my tank and get a new company--but I don't want to pay the horrific deposit on a new tank.

And it's snowing again. So beautiful. I hope it's the snow that comes right before the big warm up and the crocuses.

Friday, February 22, 2008

More Ski Mom

Today the Powers that Be declared it a snow day. I worked through the morning, then tossed the kids into the car and headed over to the ski place so the kids could have some fun in the freshly fallen snow. In the short ski season that is Central PA, the kids can now use their school ski passes any day of the way--they just can't have a lesson unless it's actually 4 or 5 pm. Well, we were having the missionaries over for dinner, which meant the later hours weren't going to work for skiing . . . and since on Monday the boys had managed to successfully get on and off the ski lift without any bodily harm (just once, but once counts) . . . I figured, what the heck, we'll try it without the lesson. Just Ben, Milo, a biiiiiigggg gentle ski slope, and a death trap of a ski lift. No problem.

And it wasn't. Ben DID scare ten years off my life the first time up the ski lift. I won't go into details just in case child protective services reads the blog, but I was right there on the ground under the chair and I yelled, "Stop! Stop! Ben, don't worry about it. Just sit back in the chair and hold still!" And God bless the little bugger, he did. So it was good. And NEXT time he went up, the guy at the bottom who helps the little guys get on the ski chair DID REMEMBER to help Ben put the safety bar down first. God bless HIM, too.

But after that he was great on the ski lift and so was Milo and since it wasn't in the budget for me to get a lift ticket and rental, too, I walked UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN the side of the hill, mostly just coaching whomever was in the down position on how to move their skis around perpendicular to the hill to get up on their own. And then . . . I didn't have to do that anymore either. So I stood at the top of the hill and believed them when they sailed by saying, "Just one more time!" until it became clear that they were maybe NEVER going to run out of steam. They HAD it and skiing had THEM and they were happy little masters of Little Bear and Little Bear chair lift. I tried to get video, but I don't think you can really seen anything. The weather wasn't perfect. It kept sleeting for brief periods of time. The twins have goggles, thanks to Gramma Gaye, so the weather didn't phase them at all. I was getting pretty cold though.

Eventually I did have to pull them off the hill. They'd been skiing for about two hours straight. They would have kept going, I think, until they collapsed into little kindergartner heaps. But I was freezing, so we turned in their skis and they gleefully reported their success to Jon-the-ski-rental-guy (who always tells them they're "the coolest twins on skis," which makes him real popular with the twinks).

Meanwhile, Max and Brian came sniffing around for lunch, and I had a bunch of meal tickets to use up, so we all ate lunch (okay, the kids all INHALED lunch. I ate.) and then packed up and went home. We didn't get a full three hours of skiing this time (normally we do, but we didn't get there till 12:10 and the lift tickets were only good 12:00 to 3:00 and it probably took us a good 15 minutes to get out on the snow, so by the time we were done with lunch, we were done).

Max's last Saturday ski school is tomorrow and then I don't know if we'll make it back out on the hill one more time before all the snow is gone or not. Max has a season pass and we'll try to get out more than once before all the snow is gone, but the twins have to wait until I get paid and I can't say today exactly when that will be. I do hope to get them one more good afternoon on skis, though.

It's been a good little ski season for us this year. Totally worth it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Knit Blogging

A few updates.

Remember this problem?

The sweater knit up far too wide for Milo. I recently got it out and started to make repairs to it. I trimmed off the bottom and knit up, adding additional length so it would be proportional to the width. When I was all done, I realized it was going to fix Max perfectly.

This is a problem because a) I already have a sweater in the works for Max and b) I don't have enough of the red yarn to finish another sweater for Max. The sweater was supposed to be for Milo. So I did the only thing I could do. I ripped out the entire sweater and started over.

But I've been having so much fun with the viking cables on Max's sweater that I decided to do Viking cables for Milo's sweater.

So here is Max's Twisted Orange Twist so far:

And here is Milo's Prince Harald in Red:

I only started Milo's sweater this weekend, so that's just one time through the chart and I'm going to go twice before switching to stockinette until I get to the yoke. I'm planning a shawl collar which doesn't sound too terribly manly, but I actually got the idea from a Rowan man's sweater, before seeing it again in a women's sweater in the Viking book. My version will look more like the Rowan sweater. Anyway, I'm thrilled with the Harald cable pattern and I'm thrilled with how Max's sweater is turning out, and so when I'm not working, I'm knitting on one or the other. I'm 1/3 of the way through the first sleeve in Max's sweater and hopeful of finishing the sweater while there is still some winter and cool spring left to wear it in. The sweater fits him PERFECTLY right now, which is to say, it's too big and there's plenty of growing room--I don't think he can outgrow it until 9th grade, which IMHO, is just about right. (Okay, I may be a little in denial about how much he's going to grow over the next few years, but it should DEFINITELY fit for another year, maybe two.)

Milo's sweater is more fitted, so I keep reminding myself to be generous in length and to decrease in moderation when I get to the stockinette section so he can get three seasons out of it. It's in a cotton blend.

I know someone is going to ask, so I'll say it now--Nope, I don't have anything on the needles for Ben right now. All in good time. It's more important to me to finish these so they can actually wear them before I go casting on a new sweater. I'm learning . . . it's all well and good to take a year to knit a shawl. Sweaters for boys must be finished up while they're still the same size as the sweater.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ha ha

Today while waiting for his ski instructor, Ben thought it hilarious to practice skiing deliberately into the Ski Lessons sign.

Well, it WAS funny :)

So I took a picture.

This is my second to last week of criminally insane over-activity. The first week of March I get 10 hours back in my week and the following week is Spring Break. I'll still have to work, but at least we'll get a 1-week break from school activities. On the one hand, I'm grateful for the hectic schedule. It's a good way to keep my mind off February, which never feels all that great to me. On the other hand, well, no, it really changes nothing. I can't wait for March.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ski Mom

It's Saturday morning and that means I'm happily camped out at a table in the ski lodge. It's 10:45 and the music being piped in overhead is from the late 70's, early 80's. It's a little too loud but it's been a long time since I've heard "Life's Been Good to Me" and the longer the music plays, the less I hate it. (For the first half hour I was here, there was no music and the place so so peaceful and quiet . . . .)

I don't get to do much here. I can maybe get a little work done because I have my laptop and my work with me, but the noise is distracting and in spite of good intentions, I only occasionally get much work done.

OTOH, what I do get to do is know that if Max is not here at the table, then he's out there having fun and skiing down the hills. Today we have the best snow fall we've seen this winter. It's beautiful, and as long as you're dressed properly and wearing goggles, it's a lot of fun to ski in. It's supposed to keep snowing on and off all weekend and starting tomorrow the lodge will start making new snow on all the slopes. In short, the forecast is great for my three little skiers on Monday.

For most of this month, I have to leave a little early to go home and change into my knitting-teacher hat. (In this case, I mostly just need to trade cars with Chris because he needs to Taurus to go pick up Max with the twins.) I mentioned this to Max on the way home and he frowned, saying he much preferred things when he knew I was in the lodge the whole time.

I can understand that. If you're out there taking risks for four hours straight, trying all the new stuff your instructor is asking you to do, it's helpful to know that if you really get sick of this, or need a break, or worse--break something, that your Mom is right there in the lodge. And I admit that I like being here to do just that. I can't really see him skiing from here --the best view from the lodge is actually of the learning slopes, and this class doesn't spend any time there.

But I like sitting at the table waiting to hear about how it all went. Drinking a cup of hot chocolate (we've learned to bring food from home whenever possible. The food served in the lodge is both expensive and horrible with the exception, maybe, of some cookies. So I bring two mugs and some packages of hot chocolate and two lunch boxes with hot-food thermoses, some fruit, and some yogurt.) Iming with Chris who is in his garage at home painting plastic car bodies and keeping an ear open for the twinkies.

Speaking of which, some of Max's class is coming in from the slopes now, so I'm going to wrap this up and wait for the update on what he learned so far. It's lunch time and they'll all head back out soon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

We Don't Get to Vote Today

Here in PA, we don't hold primaries until April, so I didn't vote today.

Mostly I whined--about my throat, not about not voting. I came down with a cold Sunday evening and although it's not the most vicious cold I've ever had, the timing is horrible. The kids' school wanted help finding volunteers for the Chinese New Year Celebration on Thursday and the Health Screenings on Friday. Gaye and I have business of hers to take care of tomorrow. I need to write two lessons for one client and take care of a conference call with another.

It's just one of those weeks.

On the upside, skiing went fine yesterday. Ack. We interupt this blog to go lay down or I might throw up. I hate being sick!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tonight I went out in the slush and the ice and the rain

to put Senator Clinton on the ballot in Pennsylvania. Chris was worried that our neighbors would think I was a looney and judge us, but even though it was 8pm when I started (Chris got home late for dinner and I didn't want to take the twinks out in that weather), everyone was super friendly. The Republicans all got a grin on their face when they said, "Nope," they couldn't sign. The Democrats were all happy I'd come by so they could.

I really think most people WANT to participate in the process, frankly.

We quit when Max slipped on someone's porch. (I asked him to come with me because I'm 39 and I'm still afraid of the dark and our street is underilluminated. He peppered me with questions about the electoral process the whole time and it made the time fly by.) That was the sign that it was time to be done (and it was 8:30--I needed to get out there and get signatures because the deadline is Friday and I still need to mail these to Philly, and I need 50 signatures before I can mail them and this whole week is insanely scheduled, as was last week--but then, I only got my paperwork on Monday. Anyway, having canvased for 30 minutes, that got me over my own fears of going door-to-door, and now I'm ready to go after the remaining signatures before time runs out.)

Tomorrow I have to take Max to his skiing class, and then run and teach a lace knitting class for three hours, but then I'm going to take the twinks and go do two streets over in one of the new developments. Then I'll go around after school hours on Monday--and hopefully have my 50 signatures. (At most homes around here, where there is one democrat, there are two.)

(And Max is fine, don't worry