Wednesday, February 27, 2008

call off the SWAT team, the coffee is back

Well, the coffee situation has been resolved, for all of you who were worried. Much more quickly than things usually get resolved around here, but dude - it involved The Coffee. This morning I tried to rig something to stand in for the coffeepot to no avail. See, the coffeemaker has this cool feature where you can grab the pot and pour yourself a cup if you simply Need Coffee Now, even if the coffee is not done brewing and without spilling all over your kitchen. I was quite fond of this feature, but it did mean that I couldn't simply put something - a mug, a pitcher, a salad bowl - where the coffeepot should be and solve the problem that way. So I tried using something else to push the little knobby thingy that would allow the Liquid that Makes Life Worth Living to freely flow into the receptacle of my choosing. A spoon? Too long. A paring knife? Struck me as a bad idea. I was even going to try cutting a straw to the proper length, but it wasn't standing up right and dammit, I hadn't had my coffee yet. (Hey Jess, is this what you meant when you said "I know how you get"?) So Dunkin Donuts it was, after dropping the boys off at school. And guess what else I found out - my kids? In the morning? Are noisy. I also picked out a new gate while I was out shopping, since apparently Baby Sister can easily knock down the old one and stand behind me while I pick up broken glass commenting, "Mommy broke coffee." Very helpful, that girl.

Speaking of that little girl, she has all of a sudden developed an interest in music. Previously her reaction to music was pretty much: Meh. She didn't hate it, but if I listened to npr in the car that was perfectly okay too. That will no longer fly. Right now it is all James Taylor all the time in my car. She also likes some Cat Stevens, but James is her favorite. She has a deep, sensitive soul, you see. For her second birthday I'm thinking of getting her some peasant skirts and some patchouli. Actually, she'd look totally cute in a peasant skirt . . .

Can you tell it's the last hour of work, there is a grand total of one student here, and I have done absolutely everything I needed to do today? Of course you can tell all that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

first the glasses, now this

Witness the sad, shattered (and blurry -sorry) remains of my coffeepot.

Good thing there's a Dunkin Donuts around every corner.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Amy asked yesterday if my family looks at me weird when I take pictures of, say, our breakfast. Actually, they don't much care as long as I don't get them personally involved, which obviously happens more often with knitting than with French toast. When I start saying things like, "Hold still so I can get a shot of your feet," or "Hmmm, that's not working, come stand over by this window," they maybe get a little annoyed.

Much better to take pictures of things by themselves; the yarn doesn't care (Actually, I think it kind of likes it, don't you?). Like these:

The latest yarns off my wheel. These are the two merino rovings I got for Christmas. The green I started spinning pretty much immediately, then I got sidetracked by all the January birthdays. As a result, it's pretty uneven. Also, I tried winding it into a center-pull ball, then plying the inside end together with the outside end, rather than plying from two balls or bobbins of yarn. I'd heard this is doable, and you don't end up with any leftovers if your balls aren't quite the same size (hee). I ended up with a tangled mess that broke about a jillion times. Through sheer force of will and my thrifty and sentimental desire not to throw out perfectly good, beautiful merino, I got it finished. But it's not as nice as I'd like it to be.

The brown was my first attempt at spinning a singles yarn, with no plying. As a result, it is also, um, pretty uneven. I was going for a bulky single to make into the Yarn Harlot's Unoriginal Hat, except I was going to make an Unoriginal Neckwarmer, because I already have a hat. The cables, though, just didn't look right with the thick-and-thin yarn I ended up with. It was Just Too Much. So I frogged and made a neckwarmer in just stockinette, with a picot hem at the top and bottom.
It was. . . . a little big.

It was also quickly frogged, lest it become sentient and attempt to eat me. The third attempt is on the needles now, and I sure hope it works, because I've missed having a neckwarmer. It's a little bit of a change from a scarf, a bit less bulky (unless it is big enough to be a tube top, of course), and my old one is currently residing somewhere on the floor of Ikea.

I've also got a sock going for Baby Sister, from the leftovers from my mom's socks, which is going very slowly since it's pretty much traveling knitting. It hangs out in my work bag or my diaper bag, waiting for spare moments I don't often have. Don't worry, I'm making it big.

My other current knitting project is still the seamless hybrid I started a while ago. I've been working on it, I swear, but it is a little boring. It makes good tv knitting, but not particularly interesting photos, so I'll wait until something's going on with it before I show it again. You should look for it sometime in April. :)

Finally, once I started with the spinning wheel again, after a bit of a break in December and January, I can't stop. I'm working on this pretty merino I got at Manmade by Jonne:

Yeah, the colors are a little bright. J called it "circus wool." But after all the green and brown and the white alpaca I had worked on before, I wanted a bit of color. I'm thinking fun bright socks. Next on the wheel, once Jess gets it dyed up, will be the wool for her contest. (If you haven't seen her contest post yet, click the link - I can wait.) It's Shetland, and sooo soft. I think it's going to turn out pretty great, and I'm not just saying that so you'll click the link already.

So, yeah, I've kind of got my hands full. I guess I have a touch of startitis - I've always been prone to it. It's worse than it looks, actually, because there are other things done that are waiting for another post, and stuff that is destined for the frog pond because I suddenly had a desire to do something else and I'm going to need that yarn. There's always something more I want to try!

Man, I just love knitting.
*PS - Happy Birthday Magic Baby!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

reason #6,942 why I love my husband

He makes me breakfast.

Mmmm yummy French toast.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

a vacation of sorts

This week the kids are on winter vacation. No school, just hanging around, and the weather even obliged with a little bit of snow. Unfortunately, Sylvan doesn't close when schools do, so I've still had to work most of the week. I did take a day off, which was intended to be part of a little sojourn to the Cape.

The plan was this: Jess would take all the kids down Wednesday morning (one adult and five children - an act of sheer bravery) and I would meet them there that night after work. (None of the menfolk could get the time off.) We'd stay until Friday night, hit some of the local attractions, enjoy the hotel's pool. Well, part of it worked. Jess did indeed bring all five children to the hotel on Wednesday and hang out with them there, and they did get to enjoy the pool that day. I did meet them there that night, and the next day we brought them to the Cape Cod Children's Museum, which was pretty cool. But that was about where it ended. We came home early, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, remember that snow I mentioned? It arrived Friday, pretty much all day, when we would have been driving home. Also, we may have overestimated the amount of people we could comfortably fit in the hotel room. (I don't think it was seven.) Lastly, poor Magic Baby had caught some sort of virus, and was pretty miserable. So we packed up and came home a bit early.

It turned out all right, though, and Friday was actually a really nice day, just me and the kids. We braved the snow for a little bit, to bring Little Brother to the dentist but also to do a bit of book-shopping. This was one area (of many) in which I can see how different the two boys are: Big Brother picked out a couple of fantasy stories, where Little Brother went for some nonfiction and a math workbook. I got this book for Baby Sister, and the pictures are just fascinating - it's hard to tell which member of the family likes flipping the pages most.

So all in all, I think my boys have enjoyed their vacation week. They spent a lot of today outside in the snow - we are lucky enough to have a good-sized hill in the backyard for sledding - and tomorrow is, of course, NASCAR day. (I may escape to a yoga class, if I can.) I've enjoyed the week too. Work has been quiet, with a lot of kids away for the break. I've been doing a lot of knitting and spinning - I'll try to show you that tomorrow - and I picked up some books for myself, too.

I think whoever planned out the school calendar had it just about right when they decided to break up the everlasting blah of February. Why is it that the shortest month seems to be about twelve weeks long??

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Did you even know a baby could do this?

I mean, breaking the frame, sure. Even snapping the sides off. But a crack straight through the lens? That girl is talented.

Monday, February 11, 2008

excuses, excuses, and the big day

Every time I get a bad cold, it happens in roughly the same way; the same symptoms, in the same order. Because I can't help analyzing and categorizing things, I like to divide it up into three stages:

  • stage 1: This stage includes a stuffy head, runny nose, and most fun of all, some fever and chills. All I want to do is curl up under many blankets and make some attempt at sleeping. During this stage I am absolutely no use to anybody.
  • stage 2: I start to feel a bit better, the cold is moving downwards and is hanging out in my throat. Highlights include a sore throat and a bit of shortness of breath.
  • stage 3: Cough, cough, cough. I feel okay, but I can't stop fricking coughing. The cold is rattling around somewhere in my chest and is usually pretty reluctant to leave.

At the moment, I'm still chilling out in stage 3, waiting for this stupid thing to go away. And of course everybody else in the house had to get their own, personalized version of Killer Cold 2008 (except J - what's up with that?). So we've had assorted fevers, coughing, sniffling, even a nice barfing episode just to mix it up a little. Really, there should be a biohazard label on my front door right now.

Which is all by way of saying - hi! How've you been? I can't believe I haven't posted in so long! I really want to tell you about the big day - the big Egg Retrieval day, which was a couple of Fridays ago.

We had to be in Lexington (about an hour away) by 7:00, and this is definitely not something you can be a couple minutes late for. So my mom showed up to get the kids to school and everything, and we left the house at about 5:30. We got there 45 minutes early - the parking lot was nearly empty, the main waiting room was empty and dark, and the smaller waiting room where we had to go was nearly empty. There was one nurse there, who seemed rather surprised to see us.

So we sat and waited a while, filled out some paperwork, you know, boring stuff. After a bit we went into a big white room with beds all around, curtains dividing them off. The nurses' station was in the middle and they were all chatting, the doctor there was making them laugh. I got changed into the super-hot hospital gown, waited and talked with J a bit more, eventually got my IV put in. (The IV was, of course, the worst part. It was also the worst part of the births of all three of my children. I hate IVs.) Other couples came in over the hour or so we waited in that room. I didn't mean to eavesdrop or anything, but there was only curtains and natural curiosity in there, so I managed to gather that we were really the only people in there for a donation. Everybody else was having the same procedure I was, but their eggs would then be fertilized and put back in (I think that's pretty much how it works anyway; I don't really know the details of that part). They were getting their instructions for afterward, and I was again thankful that I was able to have my own children without intervention. There were so many reminders that day of why I was doing what I was doing.

Finally I was brought into the operating room, which was a little bit scary. It was a small room with tiled walls and floor, and it was surprisingly dim. The only light was a bright one right over the bed I was on, and there were about five or six people in there, masked, waiting. I don't really remember too much after that. I laid down on the bed, and the anesthesiologist asked if I was feeling the effects on the medicine yet. I said no, but about two seconds after that I thought to myself, Oh, now I am. Two seconds after that I was back out in the big white room and J was making some joke about how they said he had to carry me out of the building. Of course I believed him at first; I remember thinking that it was pretty icy and that didn't sound very safe. Taking advantage of a woman in a compromised state, can you believe that?

So the whole thing was a success - they got fifteen eggs, which they tell me is a good amount. J and I were back home by 10:00 that morning, and I spent the rest of the day lounging around, watching a chick flick and having the Gatorade and protein bars they told me to. (I feel I have some idea, now, about what it is like to be an athlete. It sucks - I knew it.) I went to work the next day and I felt just fine until Killer Cold 2008. I got an email from the coordinator at Prospective Families and she said the Intended Parents, as they call them, were just thrilled. I can't wait to hear how it all turns out. She also asked if she could continue to present my profile to other couples, if I would be willing to do it again. I haven't gotten back to her yet. Partly because of the cold, but mostly because I'm not sure. I'm leaning towards something along the lines of "Yes, but not right away." But we'll see.

Have a great day! You'll hear from me again soon, I promise.