Friday, November 30, 2007

done and done

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.

I did it!

Somebody said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Hang on a sec, let me Google . . .
Socrates. Socrates said that. Well, this month I feel like I have been living a very examined life, trying to mine my daily existence for things that might be interesting enough to share. Looking back over the month, I guess it was hit or miss. I mean, did you really care about the fraction of an inch of snow that stayed for about two hours, or the Perler beads? Probably not. But the process of trying to see things I might not otherwise pay attention to, or to say ordinary things in such a way that they were interesting, well, it was a bit different and fun. I wonder if it will take me a while to stop.

And here's where I cop out and leave you with some cute kid pictures (my dad, if he's reading, should be thrilled). I think I should maybe slowly back away from the computer for a day or two. Unless, of course, something genuinely interesting happens. See you soon.
To my fellow NaBloPoMo-ers: Congrats!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

finding fun

So, what exactly should you do with those felted beads you've made? Well, googly eyes are always fun.

And if, say, your 9-year-old son is sitting at the table doing his homework, and you sneak around the other side of the table, ducking down so he can't see you, and you slowly poke the googly-eyed guy right up next to him, and say in a funny voice, "I'm waaatching yooouuu . . ."
Well, he will about fall off his chair laughing. Not that I would disrupt my child's studies in such a way, of course.

Actually, I take that back. I would, and I did, do something like that. Because they're kids, and they're not going to be kids forever, and I like to take opportunities for fun when they arrive.

Today we received a package in the mail: the gigantic order from Omaha Steaks that my father-in-law sends us every Christmas. You know what is the best part? (Besides their freaking awesome au gratin potatoes, I mean.) It comes with a big chunk of dry ice. Dry ice is so. cool.

ETA: There's more, a lot more, to this video than those 5 seconds. Sorry - I'm not sure why it didn't all post.
Here's to taking time to find fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

just when I thought I had nothing to blog about . . .

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

the nos have arrived

I think my daughter is taking advantage of my desire to give her some autonomy.

At snacktime:
"Baby Sister, would you like some cheese?"
"Some apple?"

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.

Monday, November 26, 2007

a spinning post

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?

So as far as what I have been spinning - I ordered some fiber, a blend of cormo, rambouillet, and corriedale wool from this etsy store. As least, I thought I did. Turned out, when I read the listing a little closer, it's all from the same sheep, and the sheep is a mix of cormo, rambouillet, and corriedale. Also, his name is Ray. How cool is that, to know the name of the sheep your yarn comes from?

I wanted to play with overdyeing things a little, so I picked a darker-colored wool. Here's what it looked like when I got it (picture is from Artclub's etsy listing):

I put it in the dyepot with a little bit of orange dye:

Yummy, no? It was actually on the stove when J got home from work that day, and I had to hurriedly inform him that the nasty brown bubbling stuff that smelled like zoo + vinegar was not our dinner.

And here's how it looks now:

I like it. Actually, I liked it both ways. I remembered to divide it in half before spinning it this time, so I can hopefully make a two-ply without too much left over. So far I've spun the first half, although I haven't got any pictures of that yet.

When I ordered that wool, they also sent along a little free gift - a small amount of some mystery wool (white, very soft) carded together with some pink and green sparkly stuff. Not something I would have ordinarily chosen, but I figured it would be perfect to bring along to the craft fair. If somebody wanted to try out the wheel, I wouldn't really care too much if the yarn got all messed up. It spun up into this:

Such a cute pretty sparkly little skein! It's not enough for anything, really, but I think my horizons have been broadened.

But that's enough of this nonsense for now - those gifts aren't going to knit themselves, you know.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

craft fair report - for real

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.

As for the day itself, I took notes throughout because I am a nerd like that, so here is what a day at a craft fair (well, this particular craft fair) is like:

6:24 - Woke up, 24 minutes later than I meant to. Because of course this is the day my trusty Baby Sister alarm clock does not go off at about 5:30.

7:20 - Most things were packed up already, except for Cricket (the spinning wheel). I covered her with a blanket and strapped her into the backseat. It looks rather like I am kidnapping a small child. I decided to bring it because I figured it would be something interesting for people to check out. I did get a bunch of questions, and "Look - she's making yarn!" Didn't really seem to interest anybody enough to make them buy anything, though.

8:47 - We arrived at the school. Only 17 minutes late - not bad.

8:50 - I bring in Cricket, and a Rumpelstiltskin joke is made immediately.

9:29 - We finished setting up. Whaddya think?

10:00 - Fair officially starts. I don't think anybody really noticed.

10:20 - First sale! Yay!

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.

12:30 - My family shows up to say hello. The boys got to make some crafts and play some games; I think they had a good time. They arrived just in time to steal some of my lunch -thanks, guys.

1:15 - It's Jess' family's turn. I think there was a brief overlap when everybody was there, but you know, a baby's nap time can only be tampered with so much before consequences must be paid. Basically the men & kids left when the babies told them to.

1:40 - A guy making balloon animals shows up. He does a nice job, and he entertains the children by making sound effects and yelling really loudly when he finishes a balloon. It scares the crap out of me every time.

2:03 - Speaking of scaring the crap out of me, a kid comes up and starts grabbing at Cricket. This was not unexpected, and I did bring her with the intention of letting kids (or adults) give it a spin (ha!) if they wanted to. But my heart nearly stopped when he just ran up, all hands and no supervision. I didn't freak out or anything, I just showed him how to sit and treadle (he treadled really fast) and answered all of his questions. Some of them were really cute, not that I remember any of them now, and I managed to keep him from losing a finger to a rapidly spinning hook. Or breaking anything. So all was well.

2:24 - Mmmm . . . . sugar cookies.

2:30 - Scary fur lady. Check out Jess' pictures - not to be believed.

3:48 - We clean up and head out. I had a good time, and I saw some really beautiful things that other people were selling. I have to take a minute to show them to you - no affiliation or anything, of course, just things I thought were really nice and I'd like to share. Here and here, go take a peek.

As I said before, the planning time alone was so great to have. Jess and I tossed around a lot of ideas. I don't know where we're going to go with all this stuff, or how serious about it we're going to get, but it certainly is exciting to think about.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


It's been a long day, and I promise I will share it in more detail tomorrow. For now, though, I hope my fellow NaBloPoMo-ers will forgive this quick post.

Hey look, a funny hat!

runs away from computer . . .

Friday, November 23, 2007

black Friday

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.

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
  • snappis
  • 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

before & after

The winds of change are a-blowin' around here today, it seems.

sigh . . . . I am going to miss those curls, though.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dude. It's snowing.

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:

This picture is deceiving; it's really only sticking on grass/leaves. Most things are just wet. Like my car:

Yeah, I tried to get a picture where you could actually see that snow is falling, which you can see best against a dark background. My car is black, so I figured that would work. You can sort of see it - see? The little white lines? Snow, of course. But I know my big goofy reflection kind of distracts from the snow. Eh, oh well.

This afternoon the boys and I will bake cookies. This evening, although I do have to work, I will settle down after everything's all done with some knitting, a cup of coffee, and J. I will spend today welcoming the snow. Even if it's not really here for a while.

Monday, November 19, 2007

big things and little things

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:

Miles and miles of stockinette, receding into the distance. When I pull it out of its bag, and when I'm knitting on it, it just feels like there's so much fabric all over the place. Hanging all over my lap - I'm so not used to it. One thing I can say, though, is that I'm so glad I did the chart after the plain bit. I can't imagine finishing the interesting part and having about 100 rows of plain knitting ahead. . .
Another little thing that is feeling like a big thing to me: this is the first Thanksgiving I will be spending without my sister. She's going to her boyfriend's family's house, and I guess it's kind of
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.
And lastly, something that is a big thing around here: yesterday was the final NASCAR race of the season. Her are my boys all geared up for the race:

Jimmie Johnson won the championship, if you're interested. J, for one, is pretty excited.
See you tomorrow. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

bloggy makeover

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:

but all the balls would be balls of yarn. Cool, right? But maybe a bit ambitious. So I decided on the picture of Isaac with his needles, but I couldn't figure out how to draw on the picture. The only photo-type program I have is the one that came with my camera, but after my playing around and helpful instructions from fellow bloggers I knew how to trim pictures, add captions, tweak the color, contrast, brightness, stitch pictures together, and get them into the header, but I couldn't draw the freaking knitting needles in Isaac's hands. This is where it had sat since late summer.
So the other day, J comes home from work and starts telling me how he and his friend at work were playing around sending funny emails to each other.
"I sent him a picture of a big SUV, and I put a garden gnome in the driver's seat and 'canyonero' on the license plate!" he told me. (The man works very hard all day.)
"Tell me how you did that." I asked him urgently. Perhaps I missed the point of his story.
Anyway, it turns out he did it using the Paint program. Can you believe that? Paint - the program I used to play around with as a kid on my dad's computer, making blocky pictures of horses and castles. Occam's razor, you know?
So there it is, pretty much how I envisioned it. I did have to combine it with another picture to keep it from being a big scary stretched Isaac across the top of the screen, but that's okay - I got to put in some of my beloved fall leaves.
Funny how a little thing like this just makes my day. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

100 things about me - part 2

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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

macaroni and cheese

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:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook a box's worth of elbow macaroni and cut up a crown's worth of broccoli.

  2. 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.

  3. 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?)

  4. Bring to a boil, still stirring to blend in all the lumps.

  5. Turn off the heat and add a package's worth of shredded cheddar cheese. Stir some more until it's all melted.

  6. 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.

  7. Bake it for about 40 minutes until the top is browned and crunchy-looking. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

wild kingdom and an fo that's not mine

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:

I realize that's not the Patriots' logo. Don't blame me - I know nothing about football - but she likes the Giants. She has since childhood, the Giants were her mom's team too, so that's that. My sister is a diehard Pats fan, if that helps.
Also I started some socks for J. He has made some rather pointed remarks about not having any handknit socks yet, so he shall have them for Christmas. I had a ton of leftover Berroco Ultra Alpaca from Mrs Darcy, so that's what I'm using. Yay for unisex brown.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a favorite cold-weather recipe. Holy crap, am I actually planning posts in advance?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

meme today

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

supermodel photoshoot

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.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun. We didn't even have to bribe them, so that was cool. And now our pictures have hip teenagers in them, instead of, well, us.

So, without further ado:

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.

2. on my spinning: Here's the second skein off my Ladybug:

It's the merino I bought when J and I had our date. This was my first time Navajo-plying and it definitely came out overplied. I like it anyway. I am, after all, still riding the learning curve on this thing. I am actually out of fiber to spin now, which is probably good. Did you know there are only 44 days until Christmas??

3. on the craft fair: Jess and I are knitting away - hats hats hats, neckwarmers neckwarmers neckwarmers, bracelets bracelets bracelets. We scoped out another craft show yesterday, mainly to get some ideas on pricing, but it wasn't too much help. It's really hard to figure out what to charge for things. Do you try to figure out an amount per hour? Do you compare it to what's in stores? Do you factor in the fiber content? Do non-knitters even care about the fiber content? If anybody's got any input on this, I'd love to hear it. Anyway, we did get to check out all the different ways people display things, and get a few ideas. And speaking of displays, look what J built for us!

I'm telling you, single ladies, don't marry for love, or money - marry for DIY skills. I really lucked out: J does woodworking, home fix-it type stuff, car repair, plumbing, electrical stuff. . . He's pretty cute, too. :)

Well, I think things are pretty well caught up now. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

perler beads are taking over my house

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:

Boy they sure are tiny. And we've got a bucket full of 8500 of them sitting in my kitchen like a plastic vacuuming-disaster time bomb.

The thing is, Little Brother is obsessed with them. He wants to play with nothing else. He wakes up in the morning, sleepy-eyed and bushy-haired (really, his hair is like an entire separate entity), and asks if he can "do Perler beads" as soon as he is done with his breakfast. My iron has never seen so much use. I asked the boys to make Christmas lists (my family starts bugging me about such things early) and Little Brother's consisted of "1. Perler beads" with "please please please" written around it in red.
It amazes me the things that will suddenly catch his interest like this. A couple months ago he spent an entire afternoon organizing rocks he had collected outside into an elaborate "rock museum." They were all categorized and laid out neatly on the top of his bookcase, but if he had turned around, he would have seen the scary mess that is the rest of the boys' room. This is the same child who, throughout first grade, had to enlist the help of the kids in his class to clean his desk every few weeks. Sometimes the kid is an utter mystery to me.

This is in sharp contrast to Big Brother. I have always been able to have a pretty good idea what he's thinking; we're just on the same wavelength. We'll be talking about a book, or have just seen a movie, and he'll come out with something that sounds completely random, except I know just what he's talking about, because that same line/image/phrase stuck out for me too, and in just the same way. He shows me the little shortcuts he's devised for himself in math and I remember doing just the same thing. He doesn't always laugh at my jokes, but he always gets them.

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.

Kaffe Fasset, watch out.

Friday, November 9, 2007

eye candy Friday: frosted leaves

These are both pretty ragged specimens of fall leaves, actually, but the frost makes everything pretty.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

we rock story hour

Thursday mornings we go to toddler story hour, and I am going to make a bold statement here: my local library has the coolest toddler story hour around. No, really, "cool toddler story hour" is not some sarcastic oxymoron. I mean, how many can say that theirs starts with the leader? teacher? library dude? saying, "I'm ready to rock"?

Typically we read a couple of books (duh) then out comes the acoustic guitar and harmonica. Library Dude plays versions of "If You're Happy and You Know It," "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad" in a Dylanesque, MTV-Unplugged kind of way. (Does MTV even do Unplugged anymore? Or, well, music?)

We Kinneared him this morning. :)

The kids totally dig it. Really, they go nuts, it's Beatlemania in there.

One of these days they're going to throw their diapers at him. Oh, booger - and I said I wouldn't post about diapers!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

100 things about me - part 1

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I was born three days before Christmas 1978. My parents brought me home on Christmas Day, in a giant stocking. And a carseat, presumably.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. I don't intend to do the same thing, however.
  7. 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.
  8. I learned an awful lot about babies and kids having a brother so much younger.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

all right, I'm in

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

Pup-py! Woof! Woof!

In all likelihood, that is what Baby Sister will say when she gets her Christmas present:

That "Woof!", btw, is a full-body kind of sound. It actually looks like a lot of work for her. She does this every time she sees a dog, or looks out a window through which she has once, at some point, seen a dog. There's a lot of woofing around here.

If a dog looks at her, however, or god forbid moves toward her in any way, there is an entirely different kind of yelling. I doubt this little guy will pose much of a threat, though.

pattern: Classic Teddy Bear by Mary Ann Gebhardt from the Interweave Knits Holiday issue
yarn: my first non-sucky handspun!
needles: size 6 Addis (although the whole thing is knitted flat, in little pieces)
mods: well, it's not a bear. Also it's bigger; the pattern used size 3 needles. I didn't do the jointed arms and legs, either, because I don't know what the heck a cotter pin is.

On the Beginner Spinner's group in Ravelry, somebody once said you should knit with your first handspun ASAP, even if it's crap, because it's kind of a magical thing. I totally get that now. I mean, when I first got this wool, it was just that: cream-colored carded wool. Now it's a red/pink/purple knitted dog. That is seriously cool.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

in which I talk about spinning

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.

It came during baby Sister's nap, while the boys were at school, how cool is that? So I got to put it together and take a few (hundred) pictures right away. I didn't get to spin until after the kids were in bed that night, but that's okay. We spun all night and made beautiful yarn together.

Okay, so, pulling my head out of the clouds a little bit, some details. This is the spanking new Schacht Ladybug. Why did I choose the Ladybug? It's hard to say. There are so many different wheels out there, and with only one local spinning store and limited alone time to try things, most of my research was internet-based. I knew I liked the more modern-looking wheels, and I knew my budget was not astronomical. The wheel I got to try in person and kind of fell in love with was the Schacht Matchless. It's price was, well, a bit much for me - $800ish. Enter the Ladybug, made by the same company, using the same flyer and bobbins, and a bit more wallet-friendly. The plastic drive wheel turns some people off, but I like the shot of color. Again, I do tend to prefer the less traditional-looking wheels anyway. At some point I'd like to do a real review of the wheel, both here and on Ravelry, but I'm such a newbie right now I wouldn't know what to write. I guess I'll just have to practice . . .

Oh, and in the grand tradition of spinners naming their wheels, I have called her Cricket. As with the names of my children, I have no explanation for this; it just came out of the ether.

Okay, just one more picture . . .