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Showing posts from January, 2015

Interior Decorating, High-Wire Style

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Congratulations, Patience Crabstick! You've won a copy of Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka The Yarn Harlot.  It will be winging its way to you via Amazon as soon as you message me your address (via The More, The Messier Facebook page).  Thanks!

That was sort of fun.  I've got to think what to give away next.

Still recovering from my death-defying skiing experience here.  Also? Admiring our new thermostat. This is what my life has come to, people - I'm excited to see our bright-white, modern thermostat sitting on the wall, blinking its easy-to-read numbers at me.

You see, our previous decades-old thermostat was this ugly, very-off-white color and the numbers were well nigh (there it is again!) impossible to see, unless I stood directly in front of it and angled my head just right. I can only surmise that people in the 1980's had both bad taste and wonderful eyesight.  My new Honeywell, however, is a delight to behold; and we even moved its location so tha…

Up In The Air

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I am not and have never been anything even approximating an athlete. I happen to be blessed, however, with athletic friends who are determined to keep me healthy, even if it kills me.  As already mentioned here, my Fit Friend made me get back on my bicycle and ride a ridiculous number of miles over the past 2 years.  There's also Winter Sports Friend - I met her during the girls' homeschool skating sessions. Turns out she is really into skiing.  Her children learn to ski when they are just 4 years old.

My kids? Don't learn much of anything at that age, actually.

So! Because her two youngest girls and my two youngest have hit it off during ice skating, Winter Sports Friend decided it would be a great idea for us to take all 4 of them skiing at a nearby resort, on one of the half-price days.  In a fit of insanity, I not only agreed to this plan but also announced that I, too, would take a beginner ski lesson.

Because skiing is a good sport for people who are scared of height…

Mini-Living

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[Reminder: Today (Wednesday) is the last day to comment on this post to win a free copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rules!]

Okay, I've figured out what I will live in if I ever run away from home.  How cute isthis thing, anyway?  The idea is that you plop it down into the middle of whatever tiny space you rent/buy and maybe add a kitchen table and a comfy chair or two, and you're all set.  LOVE.


I suspect that Larry will not share my enthusiasm for this invention.  I'm a pare-down-your-possessions type gal (well, except for the yarn, but only because yarn isn't so much a possession as it is an environment - like breathable air, you know?  You don't minimize your air, for heaven's sake).  Larry, however, is more of a I-know-I-can-use-this-sometime packrat.  I have already warned the kids that, if I die first, they need to visit their father at least once a week and throw out all the junk mail.

So, yeah, Larry will not admire the cunning closet stora…

Reminder: Book Giveaway

I am a tad under the weather right now and not up to posting, but I just wanted to remind people that yesterday's post has a book giveaway in it. Please comment there if you are interested!

My schedule for the week is busy: along with sulking over not experiencing a blizzard of historic proportions and looking enviously at all the photos from New York and Boston, I will also be throwing caution to the winds by taking a learn-to-ski lesson with the girls at a nearby resort. A friend talked me into it, maybe because she needs some comic relief.  I have only been on skis once in my life, when I visited Maine with a college friend and she convinced me to try cross-country skiing.  My only memory from that excursion is of me face down in the snow with no idea how to get up, whilst my skiing comrades stood in a circle around me and laughed themselves silly.

So, yeah, I am not too optimistic about this outing. THERE WILL BE NO PICTURES.

A Tribute And A Giveaway

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The Yarn Harlot just wrote a post announcing that it is her 11th blogiversary, and I swear I got all choked up by it.  You see - by coincidence - last night, when I could find nothing new to read, I picked up my old (autographed!) copy of Knitting Rules. And I recognized - as I started to go through this lighthearted book about knitting and the, uh, knitting lifestyle, as Stephanie Pearl-McPhee so succinctly puts it - how that book has changed my life since I first read it a little over 7 years ago.

You know, I can't think of many other books that have done that.  Oh, sure, many have enhanced my life, made it better or more enjoyable.  But this unassuming little book - all about yarn stashes and other knitterly foibles -has effected actual changes in how I live.

A knitting book.  I know.  Not exactly highbrow, but still...it made me realize I could be creative even if I did leave projects unfinished or else produced knitted objects of questionable quality. It gave me the courage …

Anne Frank's Electrician

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Today? Oh, I'm just still sitting around feeling relieved that I'm not in charge of feeding 100 homeless people tonight.  And you?

Also, I'm waiting for the electrician.  I have no idea what this guy thinks of us, by this point.  Due to Larry's insulation-installation hobby, once or twice a year, we invite our electrician to visit a gutted room in our home and install more electrical outlets.  It looks almost...I don't know...sinister, really.  Maybe he thinks we're building false walls to hide kidnapped people behind.  And the outlets would be for, um, I don't know...their Wi-fi?

No, that doesn't make sense.

Maybe he thinks we're planning to hide Jews from a newly resurgent Gestapo.  I'm Jewish, after all, and every Jewish person in my generation was raised to make plans to do an Anne Frank, if need be. Seriously.  We had games in Hebrew School during which we would discuss who would live where if every Jew we knew were to be confined to a few …

Dial-A-Jew

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So, that thing where Larry is using my dining room table as a workbench?  It's still happening.


But, hey, he's got the insulation up.  We just have to wait until Friday for the electrician to install some extra electrical outlets, and then we can finish the drywall.

"We" - as if I am going anywhere NEAR this crazy project.  No, I am just sitting in our little den (into which we have had to squeeze an extra couch and armchair) and knitting away.  You know, pretending none of it is happening. Denial is my default mode, so far as chaos is concerned.

You know, I just realized that the table that's usually in the den - a lovely maple dropleaf given to me by a neighbor - is missing.  I have no idea where Larry put it when he rearranged (to put it mildly) our house. Where does one hide something that large?

Never mind - it's probably under another pile of tools and drop cloths somewhere...

Someone I don't know called me from our church today, explaining that th…

Photographic Evidence

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I promised.  Pictures, people, pictures - I have photographic proof that Larry is a madman, taking a perfectly good house and ripping it to shreds.  I give you Exhibit A:


The living room pictured above used to be habitable.  Note the new look of distressed cinder block and hanging wires.  Looks like a good place to brew meth, right?

And Exhibit B:


Dining room - formerly known as a pleasant place to gather for meals or a game of cards, or occasionally as a good spot to take out my sewing machine and swear while attempting to sew on Scout patches. No more, my friends! Larry's design scheme of stacked insulation and attractively draped plastic tarps cleverly precludes any social or creative events from taking place in this area.  Have I mentioned he does not enjoy playing card games?

Here's Exhibit C, for good measure:



An erstwhile cozy nook in our living room, wherein resided an overstuffed Ektorp armchair with matching ottoman.  It is now a staging ground for all Larry's to…

Wherein Larry Invents A New Lung Disease

I would LOVE to blog at you tonight, but Larry has resumed practicing his hobby of tearing out our walls, and this time the living room was his victim.  Meaning, the entire main floor of the house smells carcinogenic due to whatever nasty stuff he was using to seal all the cracks in the cinder blocks that were under the dry wall he ripped off today.  We even opened all the windows for a couple of hours to try to air the place out, but the air still smells poisonous in here.  So I am going to escape to our (hopefully) smell-free upper level and try to pretend that our house doesn't look vandalized and somewhat haunted.

Also?  It's my bedtime.  I'm trying to stick to my January resolution here.  I'll be back tomorrow with pics of the devastation, I promise.

Why This Isn't A Homeschooling Blog

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So those of you who visit here may not have picked up on the fact that I homeschool the kids.  The homeschooling isn't mentioned a lot in this blog, mostly because I haven't a clue what I am doing and also because a lot of what you might have read about homeschooling on the Internet - you know, the fun projects and the children reciting Latin at breakfast? That isn't really happening around here.

For example, last year some other homeschooling moms and I expended a lot of time and effort putting together a high school co-op to teach the kids Biology and Physics and Spanish.  Lab sciences and foreign languages tend to be the toughest items to cover when you have high schoolers, so we were pretty ding-danged (thanks for the word, June) pleased with ourselves for overcoming numerous hurdles and getting everything ready to go by September of 2014.  Pleased as punch, I would say. Oh, the self-congratulatory emails flew!

Of course, in late July, our location fell through. We spe…

Wherein Everything Easy is Difficult Again

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Ice storm predicted for this morning, and of course nothing happened.  So now we're facing a cold, rainy day, with none of the glittering prettiness of bare tree branches encased in ice.

Says the woman who does NOT have to drive to work in the morning...I'm sure the rest of my neighbors are actually very happy with these weather conditions.

All my library books are overdue.  It's a January tradition in our family, made more galling this year by the fact that most of those books have been riding around in my car for a week, waiting for me to remember to stop by the library and turn them in.




Have I mentioned the library is only about a mile from my house?  Sometimes I impress even myself with my capacity to make an easy task well nigh impossible.

Anyone else like using the phrase "well nigh"?  Just me?  Oh, well...


Duct Tape - Not Always The Answer

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School was canceled today.  I bet you're thinking it must have snowed again, right?  Wrong.  It was so cold (how cold was it?)...it was so cold that the schoolbuses couldn't start.

3 degrees, in case you are wondering.  Apparently, we can't HANDLE the cold.
So how do those kids in Canada and Maine and Wisconsin get to school in the winter, anyway? Horse and buggy? Someone enlighten me, please.  Green Girl?

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Let's hear it for Facebook - if it weren't for the wisdom dispensed there, I would still have 2 muffin tins crusted with cooked-on egg (result of a Pinterest fail) soaking in my sink.  Because they were non-stick tins, I had no idea how to get the stuff off without damaging the finish.  The answer? Baking soda, that unassuming hero of the kitchen. 
I should have known, right?  After all, baking soda fixes everything that duct tape can't.
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Larry and David are still in Alabama, where it was 5 degrees this morning.  I didn't even know that was…

3 Inches

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Larry and David left town early (EARLY) this morning to visit a college farther south, where - I would assume - they are safe from the cataclysmic 3 inches of snow that hit us this morning.

3 inches - enough to create utter havoc across the entire metro area, commuting-wise.  Multiple accidents occurred, involving commuters and dozens of schoolbuses.   One news article stated that snowplows were having trouble plowing because of snow and icy conditions.  Because, uh, usually they don't deal with that sort of thing?

3 inches.  That's all it took to bring this region to its knees - well, that and the unfortunate decision by our local school districts that it would be okay to have school today.  Which it would have been, if ANYONE in charge had thought, upon hearing the snow forecast, to maybe have the plows deployed and the roads sanded before this all started at 5 AM. You know, the way they usually do.  It's as if someone just didn't bother checking the Internet last nig…

Be It Hereby Resolved...

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Last January, I decided I needed to return to the yoga classes I had abandoned, oh, back in January of 2010.  I didn't mean to abandon them.  Things were crazy here and I couldn't seem to make the time for them anymore.  I figured, when I left, that I would get back to yoga soon.

Well, I'm telling you, it was as if I had encountered the Weeping Angel of Yoga and blinked. Because, suddenly, it was 4 WHOLE YEARS later when I hobbled back into my favorite studio (January of 2014, for those of you who hate math), plunked myself into a class a level or so down from where I had left off, and prayed that I could keep up.

By the way, don't you love how the British say "maths"?  I do.  All through The Imitation Game, I got to hear Benedict Cumberbatch say "maths," and each time he did, I swooned.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, yoga.  So, anyway, I just realized that I went to yoga class all year.  ALL YEAR.  Sometimes even twice a week.  Which means that, for the fi…

Old Marrieds

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We've talked about Larry's penchant for ripping out walls to install insulation, right?  He's done 3 rooms in this house so far, and - apparently - he has no plans for stopping.  Ads for insulation products have just started popping up in my sidebars, no matter what website I am on, which can only mean he has another set of walls in his sights.

Every guy needs a hobby, I tell myself.  And this is a whole lot less expensive than collecting motorcycles, say, or vintage cars.



In other news, today is our 24th anniversary.  We'd be out to dinner right now, but I am having trouble figuring out what to feed the kids first.  I suggested we just bring them with us, seeing as how they wouldn't even BE here if we hadn't gotten married in the first place; but Larry didn't seem too excited about that idea.

So, essentially, he's offering to take me to dinner, but first I have to plan supper for the children.  The romance is almost overwhelming, isn't it?  We'…

O Canada!

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Well! It looks like it will be a fun summer, what with a tropical mosquito-borne disease taking root here in the US.  You know, I'm having a hard time seeing the downside of moving to someplace like Canada, where the only public health threat would appear to be frostbite, a danger that can easily be offset by the production of a lot of handknit woolen items.  Hunkering down to knit most of the year in subfreezing temperatures while the snow falls outside and the insects hibernate would be infinitely preferable to being locked in my house from June to October for fear of contracting chikungunya or Lyme.  I just don't feel like knitting in hot weather, you know?

And wool doesn't ward off insect bites, anyway.


Are mosquitoes one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?  I can't remember.