I heard tell that there was supposed to be an "I did it!" badge to put on the blog, on this, the last day of NaBloPoMo. But the site is down at present, so just pretend it's here.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
So, what exactly should you do with those felted beads you've made? Well, googly eyes are always fun.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Little Brother's class has head lice.
Say it with me: Ewww.
Most of the class got sent home today, Little Brother included, and so we spent the afternoon washing things in hot water, spraying things, shampooing, and combing. Although I have to say, when we did the combing, we didn't see anything. On Little Brother, J, me, or Baby Sister. And Big Brother was checked at school yesterday and there was nothing there. So, may be they were just extra careful in sending people home? I'm going with that theory, because it makes my skin crawl a little bit less. We'll do the second shampooing and combing in a week or so, and then forget this ever happened.
And if you'll excuse me, I need to go do something relaxing. Knitting needles or spinning wheel? Decisions, decisions . . .
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I think my daughter is taking advantage of my desire to give her some autonomy.
"Baby Sister, would you like some cheese?"
These are all tried-and-true favorites, by the way. She was, at one point, quite easy to please, and I gotta say I liked that about her.
"Do you want your milk?"
I give her the milk, and she throws the cup on the floor. "No."
She ended up having peas for her snack. A little bowl of peas, only peas would do. There was a similar scene when it was time to put a sweater on (would you believe it - 60 degrees in late November?), although she mixed it up this time by saying she wanted a certain sweater, then changing her mind, then changing it back again, etc. It's fun, really.
That's pretty much been my day so far, and I'm thinking the rest of it will be about the same. I did have a bunch of extra laundry to do, as the dry indoor air induced a middle-of-the-night nosebleed in my husband, and it looked like I murdered him in bed. So, yeah, there's some excitement there . . .
The fact is, it's November 27th and I'm just plain running out of things to say.
Actually, that's not quite true. First, go read this. I'll wait.
Oh, hi, you're back. So this is a topic I've been thinking about a lot lately, out loud with other people and internally. I do have things to say about it, and I guess right now I'm just waiting for my thoughts to become a little more coherent. What it boils down to is that I've been bouncing from part-time job to part-time job, all in the education field, for a while now. Mostly this is because I want to be home with the kids as much as I can, but I guess I am also feeling my way towards what will bring me joy. And the etsy store and the craft fair and all the stuff Jess & I have been discussing lately is all part of it too.
Is it selfish, to want to not just have a job but The Right Job? J is completely supportive of me, but he never talks about his job in terms of joy, or fulfillment. Actually, he likes to complain, if you ask me, but I think he's fairly happy. He gets along with the people he's with, he gets to tinker with things, equipment, every once in a while, and I know he likes that. I don't know that that's in the same category as what I am thinking about, or what Amy's post was about, though.
Now look, here I go, writing about this all stream-of-consciousness before my thoughts have
become coherent. I'll stop now, but I'm sure I'll revisit later.
Posted by jenfromRI at 12:39 PM
Monday, November 26, 2007
Yes, I have been tempting the Christmas-knitting fates and continuing to do a little bit of spinning. See, I think the fates are on my side. The evidence: I got an email from my aunt last week suggesting maybe the adults just enjoy each other's company for Christmas, and only do gifts for the children. Yay! That cuts about a third off my list! See what I mean?
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Well, I'll come right out and say we did not do as well as we had wanted to, sales-wise. I'll also say it's not a big deal. We had fun, we got a lot of knitting/spinning/planning done, and we do plan to do it again at some point. And all the leftovers will be up on the etsy shop by the end of this week, so hopefully it will get bought anyway.
11:00 - Knit knit knit. Jess is working on three of these at once, because she doesn't like knitting the same thing twice. Clearly, the girl is crazy.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
So did any of you head out to the stores in the wee hours of the morning, set to empty your wallets at the altar of the retail gods? Nah, me neither. I've done it before, actually I've experienced the day-after-Thanksgiving mania from both sides of the retail counter, and at this point I don't have any strong feelings about it either way. I doubt you are shredding the fabric of society if you choose to go, but I think I'll stay home.
In high school and college, I worked at a toy store. With Jess, actually, because we have way too many things in common. The day after Thanksgiving is nuts in a toy store, as I'm sure you can imagine. We would have a big meeting about a week or so before, and the contents of the super-secret special sale flyer that went out on Thanksgiving day were revealed, amid much oohing and aahing. Or in some cases, holy crap we're going to run out of those before the store even opens. Everybody had to work at some point on the big day, and really the most fun shift was the early morning. By afternoon any excitement the day might have had is gone, and people are just tired and grumpy. But in the morning, people really are excited, and if they are hoping to snag that year's Big Toy That Is Generally Impossible To Get, their hopes have not yet been dashed.
Speaking of such toys, I was working there when some of the big ones came out. Remember Tickle Me Elmo? The original one, when just the shaking and giggling was enough. Now they fall over laughing and kick their feet and roll over and slap the floor and no, I'm not kidding. But the first ones just giggled and shook, and if you stacked up about ten of them and squeezed them all at once you'd get something resembling a skyscraper in a gale. Not that many people had an opportunity to be around ten Tickle Me Elmos at once in that particular year. Really, I am blessed.
There was also Furby, which was big but I don't think quite as big. Furbys were fun to keep on the counter for if it ever got slow. They really were pretty entertaining, in a kind of creepy way. They had that weird robot voice, I think that was the creepy part.
The first couple of years after we didn't work there anymore, Jess and I would go to the toy store for the day-after-Thanksgiving early morning. It was pretty fun to see it from the other side. And it wasn't like we didn't have any kids to buy for; we did have an actual reason to be shopping there. Gloating at those who had to be working was just a little bonus.
This year, as I said, there was no shopping. The day was hectic in a different way. Somehow an explosion of some sort hit my house without me noticing, or at least that's what it looked like. Then there's also that, you know, craft fair thing going on tomorrow . . . but I'm not nervous about that. Nope, not me. Because I think we're ready. Really. Ahem.
Posted by jenfromRI at 8:39 PM
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Today is one of my favorite days, a fall holiday laden with food and family and giant balloons. This morning the kids and I made a big batch of monkey bread, then settled in to watch the Macy’s parade, which I am just enough of a dork to totally love. I don’t know why; looked at objectively the parade is pretty awful, but I don’t question the love.
Later we will head to my mom’s house for dinner, a very low-key event. Potluck even, so nobody is unduly stressed. My brother and my aunt will also be there, and we’ll have a great afternoon filled with food, board games, and football/knitting, depending on your inclination. (For my mom it will be both.) Without my sister there, it will certainly be quieter, and she won’t be bickering with my brother, but it will also probably be a little less fun.
We’ll head home after dark, with the car full of leftovers and with any luck, a sleeping baby. I’ll be looking forward to next year already.
This celebration is something I am thankful for, and it seems a little silly to let this day pass without mentioning others as well. There are the obvious, and most important things: my healthy family, the fact that I am able to have this family and to give that gift to someone else. A strong and happy marriage, where maybe our interests aren’t the same but we support each other and are never at a loss for something to laugh about. That my extended family is all close by, all in good health, and all speaking to each other. A few close friends who are, in essence, family too.
Then there are other things I am thankful for, the things that don’t quite occupy the space of family and friends, but satisfy a different part of me. Knowing how to knit, and (sort of) how to spin, is being able to transform materials from one thing to another. It is magic, and I am thankful for it. It means I can make something entirely unique (because of course even if you are following a pattern, and paying as much attention to gauge as you possibly can, you’re not making a carbon copy of anything) for myself or to give away. For anybody, but especially I think for people who spend a lot of time taking care of other people, a creative outlet is essential.
And finally, a list of smaller things that I am thankful for – not so essential for the most part, but things that maybe make a good day better, and a crappy one not so bad:
- the internet. Okay, maybe this one is essential. What, exactly, did I do before I had a blog?
- hazelnut coffee
- the advent of the digital camera
- fall leaves, of course
- the fact that Baby Sister still naps every day
- the fact that my boys actually like school, and learning
- my big warm bathrobe
Happy Thanksgiving, internet. Enjoy your turkey. :)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
My inner five-year-old is jumping up and down, and I'm not ashamed to say that my outer 28-year-old is not far removed. Come February I'll probably not be so excited (although, really, who am I kidding?), but now my thoughts are pretty much "Oooh, look at that!!" Like my backyard:
Posted by jenfromRI at 12:23 PM
Monday, November 19, 2007
Lately I've been knitting a lot of little things. Actually, over my 2-ish year knitting history, I've knitted mostly little things. Hats, mittens, socks, etc. Which is why I can't get over the size of this to-be-felted seat cover I'm working on:
It doesn't actually look all that big; if it were a sweater, I wouldn't even be halfway done. But to somebody used to all those little things, it feels more like this:
surprising it hasn't come up before, both of us being fairly well into adulthood and all. But J has always come to my mom's house with us, and my sister Nancy has not really been seriously enough involved with a boyfriend for it to be an issue. Don't get me wrong: I and everybody else in the family like the boyfriend a lot. I'm just, at the moment, thinking, "Oh, yeah, that was going to happen . . ." It'll be different, that's all.
Jimmie Johnson won the championship, if you're interested. J, for one, is pretty excited.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Hey - didja check out the new header? Hard to miss it, I know, it's freaking huge. (All attempts to make it smaller only made it bigger, so there it stands.) I've been meaning to add it for ages, pretty much since I started blogging back in January. Originally, I wanted to have a picture of one of those Newton's cradle things, like this:
Saturday, November 17, 2007
So, where was I? Oh, yeah, being a nerd in school. Onward:
11. I graduated second in my class in high school. I got into an Ivy League School, but it was a smidge out of my price range.
12. I went to Rhode Island College instead, and I think the education I got was just fine, thank you very much.
13. I majored in physics, so anything you may have heard about a lack of personal attention at a state school does not apply.
14. I'm reasonably sure that during my years at RIC, the physics professors outnumbered the physics majors. And I don't just mean the physics majors in my year, I mean all the physics majors.
The good: lots of individual attention, plus since I was the only graduating physics major in 2002, the departmental award was in the bag.
The bad: many classes had to be independent study. Ever try to learn about quantum mechanics on your own out of a textbook? I don't recommend it.
15. Big Brother was born when I was 19, during my freshman year in college.
16. I vastly prefer the term "surprise" to "accident," or worse, "mistake."
17. J was a chemistry major at RIC at the time, and Big Brother became something of a science department mascot. I would meet people, and they would say, "Oh, you're Big Brother's mom!"
18. We managed a crazy schedule - both of us at school full-time, J at work full-time, and some semesters, me at work part-time. In spite of all that, Big Brother spent most of his time with a parent or grandparent. My mom and J's parents are heroes.
19. We were married in 1999, when Big Brother was a year and a half. It was a perfect day in October.
20. Little Brother came along the next year. Both J and I have siblings close to our own age. I think that is a very special bond, and I wanted it for our children.
More later . . .
Friday, November 16, 2007
First, an "eye candy Friday" fall leaves picture; the last one, I think.
- Is it a sign that your relationship has gotten too, um, comfortable when your husband sends you a love letter via monk-e-mail?*
- Flu shot = clingy, sort-of-cranky baby. Consider this a public service announcement.
- When two people with two cameras take two sets of pictures (lots of pictures) from the same photoshoot (I swear, I tried to think of a word that would better reflect our unprofessionalism, but came up empty), it is going to be a giant pain in the ass to figure out which ones to keep and print. Even more so if it is a new computer/printer/photo-printing-and-editing program with which you are working.
- I stop nursing and suddenly my jeans are a wee bit tight. Crap.
- The fall leaves are dancing today, and it's colder than it looks outside.**
- Baby Sister's winter jacket is jaw-droppingly cute.
And I think that's all I've got. See you tomorrow.
*The chipmunk thing is an old inside joke. Sorry about that.
**as sung by BNL.
Posted by jenfromRI at 12:38 PM
Thursday, November 15, 2007
I love casseroles. I really really love casseroles. I wish I could make them year-round, but turning on the oven in the summer is just not going to happen. But at this time of the year - well, there's nothing better.
Macaroni and cheese is a favorite. The real kind, not the kind my kids would really prefer me to make. It's easy and yummy and you get plenty of leftovers, too. So here we go:
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook a box's worth of elbow macaroni and cut up a crown's worth of broccoli.
- Melt about 2 tbsp of butter in a medium-sized pan. Add an equal amount of flour and stir stir stir. It will get really thick, and it will want very much to burn, so keep stirring.
- After about 5 minutes, or once the color had darkened a bit, add 2 cups of milk and salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. (Like how I say "to taste" because I don't really know how much I add?)
- Bring to a boil, still stirring to blend in all the lumps.
- Turn off the heat and add a package's worth of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir some more until it's all melted.
- In a 13 x 9 pan, pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and broccoli, mixing everything in well. Top with bread crumbs and some olive oil.
- Bake it for about 40 minutes until the top is browned and crunchy-looking. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
That is a picture of a spider attempting to eat a ladybug on the ceiling in my living room. Before you ask: no, I did not, despite my latest obsession, intervene on the part of the ladybug, but yes, the ladybug did get away. It was really way too big for that spider (a spider big enough to eat a ladybug would probably make me ask J to kindly get a shoe). Btw, do you love how the camera focused on the chip in my ceiling and not so much on the bugs? Oh well. You may also wonder why I chose to photograph the drama unfolding on my ceiling instead of just getting the bugs out of the house. I'm generally not that squeamish about bugs as long as they aren't huge and they don't fly (so I always pretty much know where they are). Besides, I had just heard an interview on npr with this spider researcher and she told about this population of brown recluse spiders that have been living in the basement of a Goodwill store in LA since the 1950's. All attempts to eradicate them have failed, but nobody's ever been bitten and they've never spread beyond that basement. So I figure I'm pretty safe. As for the ladybug, well, they're cute. Plus they're everywhere this year, and I'm sure they'll be gone when the cold weather really sets in. And though it was no toad being eaten by a snake, it was pretty interesting.
As for the fo, allow me to present my mom's first sock!
She did a very nice job, I must say. And it's lovely soft bamboo - yum. (Anybody with tips on washing bamboo? Thanks!)
I have been knitting some new stuff, myself, totally cheating on the craft fair. J, if you're reading, stop here. Thanks. Love ya. Dude, I just can't make anymore hats/neckwarmers. We've got, like, 75 items, and that is not even an exaggeration. So here is what will be a felted stadium seat cover for my mom's Christmas gift. Here also is the chart I'll be working from when I get to that point, because the big old blue stockinette rectangle is not terribly evocative of the finished project:
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I have just returned, exhausted and somewhat irritated, from eleventy-thousand jillion errands. Both of J's cars (his everyday truck and the 1984 Camaro that is his second wife) broke yesterday. I tried not to gloat as I chauffeured him around this morning, because he often makes fun of my car, using any euphemism for "junk" that he can think of. But whose car is actually running?? Ha! This is a long way of explaining why a meme really hits the spot about now. Quick, before the baby's nap is over!
1. Name one person who made you laugh last night. My brother Rock Fan. He's really good at the whole deadpan thing.
2. What were you doing at 0800? Starting out on the eleventy-thousand jillion errands. What time is it now? Past noon? Yeah.
3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? Eating a piece of cold pizza while putting away groceries.
4. What happened to you in 2006? Baby Sister! Oh, did you want a picture? Of course you did:
5. What was the last thing you said out loud? "Bye."
6. How many beverages did you have today? I've been nursing the same travel mug of coffee all morning, which is generally what I do. I'm sorry if that grosses you out.
7. What color is your hairbrush? Yeah . . . my hair is generally between 1-2 inches long. Hairbrush not so necessary.
8. What was the last thing you paid for? J's blood pressure pills.
9. Where were you last night? Home, teaching my mom to knit a sock heel.
10. What color is your front door? White for now, soon to be reddish-orange. The paint chips are on the fridge, the job is on the list.
11. Where do you keep your change? In an old value-size Skippy peanut butter jar that J's mom cut a hole in for him when he was about 10. He doesn't throw anything away.
12. What’s the weather like today? Started out rainy, but the sun's out now.
13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Coffee, of course. My username is jenfromRI, remember?
14. What excites you? Ideas - about knitting, parenting, figuring out exactly what I'll be doing career-wise eventually, etc.
15. Do you want to cut your hair? I couldn't cut it much more. But soon, when it's ready, I'll head into the bathroom with the scissors and come out a new woman. :)
16. Are you over the age of 25? Yep.
17. Do you talk a lot? Not really, but I guess it depends on whom I'm with.
19. Do you know anyone named Steven? Yes. Has anybody answered "no" to that question?
20. Do you make up your own words? Not on purpose, but probably.
21. Are you a jealous person? Nah.
22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter "A." Amy.
23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter "K." Kathryn.
24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? I don't have a cell phone. No, really.
25. What does the last text message you received say? See above.
26. Do you chew on your straw? No.
27. Do you have curly hair? Sort of. I'd use the word "frizzy" myself.
28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? The kids' school, to pick them up.
29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? Baby Sister. That girl pulls my hair, throws food around, has been known to fart on my lap. Jeez, can you believe her?
30. What was the last thing you ate? The aforementioned slice of cold pizza.
31. Will you get married in the future? What, again? No, I don't think I'll do a trade-in.
32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I mostly watch science/history documentaries from Netflix. Yes. I'm a nerd. I get it.
33. Is there anyone you like right now? *blushing* That's such a personal question!
36. Did you cry today? I don't think so.
37. Why did you answer and post this? It looked like fun. My brain is unwilling to cough up anything else. It's NaBloPoMo!
38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. Anybody who is also doing NaBloPoMo - you're welcome.
Tomorrow I'll do a real post. I promise. :)
Monday, November 12, 2007
Am I on the right blog? That's what you're thinking, right? Well, it's okay, the supermodels to which I am referring are Jess' cousins. Today we had a little fashion shoot with them, to get some pictures of our wares. And it's a good thing too, because other than that there is absolutely nothing going on around here. Want to hear about my laundry? No, I didn't think so.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
1. on the egg donation: Not too much to report yet. I have just finished up all the testing, paperwork, etc. that I had to do before everything gets started. When I was at the doctor's office this week, I was chatting with the nurse and she mentioned that I was the first egg donor they've had there. I found that surprising, do you? She also told me that the recipient would be very lucky to get a child like mine, as they are so smart and well-behaved. Clearly, she knows how to get in my good graces - I think she's my new best friend.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
For the uninitiated, Perler beads are these little plastic cylindrical beads that you use to make designs on a little pegboard. Then you iron the whole thing so they melt together and you have a lovely little objet d'art. They look like this:
This makes it sound like I feel a stronger connection to Big Brother or something, but no. You parents know, it's just different from one kid to the next. Little Brother has an unparalled ability to surprise and delight me, sometimes with a thoughtful gesture, sometimes with a silly noise. It makes me curious and excited to see Baby Sister's personality emerge more and more.
So, yeah, I was talking about Perler beads. I can't end this post without showing you some of Little Brother's masterpieces.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
I started this whole "100 things about me" list ages ago, while I was proctoring a practice SAT and I couldn't knit (too loud, with the clicking). I love seeing these on other blogs and I read them whenever I have the chance. I like seeing not only the "things" themselves, but what different people choose to share, what they think is relevant or important. Or interesting or quirky or fun, you get the idea. I think I just like finding out about other people. Even in books, I always gravitate toward books with great characters over anything else.
But, 100 things in one post is kind of a lot, no? I mean, if it's over in the sidebar of a blog and I've got some time, it's pretty awesome. But if I just clicked to check on a blog I like to read and I saw this ginormous column of text I might be taken aback a little. Then again, perhaps I am merely justifying the fact that I'll, um, get more posts out of breaking up my list. Aw, don't look at me like that - posting every day is hard!
Anyway, so here goes.
- Except for the first year of my life, I have always lived in the same city. Not really out of any loyalty or anything, it just kind of happened that way.
- I was named after a Barbra Streisand song. Incidentally, I got an invite to the "circle of Jens" group on the NaBloPoMo site (is that not the funniest group ever?) and I discovered there that I am not the only one. There are other "just Jenny's" and other Jenny Rebecca's. It's a revelation, I tell you.
- I was born three days before Christmas 1978. My parents brought me home on Christmas Day, in a giant stocking. And a carseat, presumably.
- I have a sister who's almost exactly a year younger than I am. She's a radio DJ in Connecticut - she works about 5 hours a day, talking. She reads, knits, surfs the net when she's not on the air. She gets free tickets to lots of stuff, not to mention a free tattoo and free Lasik eye surgery. The girl lives a charmed life.
- My parents divorced before I was old enough to ever remember them not being divorced. Both remarried when I was about 10-12, and both got divorced again. My dad remarried again when I was 18. Honestly, I don't feel like any of this has done me any damage.
- I don't intend to do the same thing, however.
- I have a brother (actually a half-brother, but whatever) who is 17. My mom lets him get away with so much more than my sister and I ever did. He's a good kid, though, I feel I should mention that.
- I learned an awful lot about babies and kids having a brother so much younger.
- I went to Catholic school until 5th grade. Not to impugn all Catholic schools or anything, but I think I got a much better education having left when I did. Especially in math.
- I was a nerd in school, from kindergarten right on up.
Well, that's it for now. Have I whet your appetite for part 2? :)
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
So I'm sure everybody in the blogosphere knows about the NaBloPoMo thing by now. I had been toying with the idea of doing this for a little while, torturing myself with the pros and cons, as is my wont. And actually, the toying time should have pretty much been over, as it is November and thus already started.
I thought it might be too much as the most posts I have ever written in one month is 16, and 16 to 30 is a pretty big jump. But it seems fun, and one of those camaraderie-laden bloggy internet-y things like KALs and Ravelry groups that I love so much. Because I am a joiner! And finding new readers, meeting new people, making new friends - that's why we do this blogging thing, right? I realize I am totally overthinking all this.
Anyway, I figured I'd try it out for a little bit, see how posting every day would be, then join if I thought I could do it. This is probably cheating. But I have posted every day for about a week now and my brain has not exploded, so there - I've officially joined. I'll put the buttons and whatnot on tomorrow - it's about my bedtime.
My apologies in advance if I post about diapers some time in the next month. I hope it will not come to that.
Monday, November 5, 2007
In all likelihood, that is what Baby Sister will say when she gets her Christmas present:
Sunday, November 4, 2007
The wheel arrived Friday, accompanied by a chorus of angels. I think the UPS truck may have been glowing, too. I was a little excited.