Showing posts from 2016

The Week Of The Long Scarves

Hi! I spent the last 4 days or so frantically knitting crescent scarves* (bulky wool, thank goodness) for the Up North relatives, because I needed to mail them out by yesterday. This endeavor was complicated by the fact that I had to go out 4 nights in a row over this past weekend.

Apparently, I am very popular, but only on this one weekend a year.

Friday, there was the nursing home choir performance: I was in charge of refreshments, and a very spunky 93-year-old woman requisitioned 3 of my decorative fake poinsettias PLUS a very attractive new Christmas mug (MINE) that I had put the chocolates in (and tell me, is there any way to say no to a very spunky 93-year-old woman? No, there is not). The next night was our friends' annual honest-to-goodness-grownup cocktail party (remember? the one that Larry tried to sabotage for me 2 years ago?), definitely not a good venue to drag along a knitting project to; and the night after that, I attended another friend's ornament-exchange p…

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

David came home from college Tuesday evening, which meant that Wednesday we could go tree shopping. He's tall, you see, and completely capable of tying it onto the top of the van and of taking it off the van and into the house.

So we trooped off to Home Depot, where we tramped somewhat merrily through the not-at-all-snowy outside enclosure, searching for the perfect tree. I found one pretty fast. "Here it is, guys!" I said. "Let's go!"

Yeah, the bloom is off the rose with this activity. I just wanted to get the darn thing home and set up before I had to drive Brian to a math review session.

"Mommy," said Susie. "It's not big enough."

"They ALL look small outside," I told her. "Don't worry, it will look plenty big in our living room."

"Let's look at these," she suggested, motioning toward the 6-7 ft section. "These look better."

"No, no, those will be way too big - I know what I'…

Get Thee Behind Me, Pretzels

Hooray! Today was an eating day! I could finally ingest comestibles other than dry pretzels and flat soda! Although now I feel sort of queasy again, so I may have jumped the gun there.

Today was also notable in that I managed to doze off on an ultrasound table. Please tell me that happens all the time. In my defense, the technician did take a while to get the doctor to come in and tell me everything looked great.

No, actually, there was no excuse. I just stayed up too late last night buying things. Poor Larry -- he goes to sleep at a reasonable hour every single night, just so he can get up in the morning and go to work and make money so I can spend it online. He's definitely gotten the short end of the stick here.

And, to be fair (to me, that is), it isn't as if I were buying something extravagant. No, it was basic, unexciting items such as conditioner (there are 4 women currently living here, and we all have abundant amounts of thick, curly hair, which explains why the appr…

Not-So-Friendly Skies

Anna came home from her semester abroad on Friday. We were looking forward to seeing her and hearing all about her adventures (yes, we do know how to communicate via the Internet, but it is more fun to hear it in person), and see what fun presents she brought us.
Instead, she arrived home and slept for 6 straight hours. Seems that she spent the flight from Amman to Paris puking her guts out. She texted me from Paris, and I spent the rest of her trip praying that she had food poisoning and not some hitherto unknown-to-these-shores stomach virus, which would then rampage through our family and ripple outward, felling half the country.
Patient Zero* just doesn't look good on a resume, you know?

So yeah, she's home (and, no, I didn't hug her when she walked in the door, so sue me) and seems to have gradually recovered, but I woke up at 5:30 this morning with stabbing pains in my stomach and haven't been able to eat all day. So the Patient Zero scenario is still a possibili…

Under Pressure

It's Monday evening, and I am still trying to figure out where the heck the weekend went.

Today I drove. And drove. And drove again. Also? I almost finished the 2-at-a-time fingerless mitts I started while my friend drove us to see A Christmas Carol. Just the top ribbing and the thumbs to go...

Yesterday was the inaugural use of my InstantPot. People, when you rave about this thing cooking your frozen chicken breasts in 15 minutes, that is not exactly accurate. My pot took close to 10 minutes to get up to pressure, another 15 minutes to cook the chicken. What with shredding the chicken and putting it back in the pot on saute to let it cook a little more (because 15 minutes wasn't quite enough), that dinner took over 45 minutes.

Also? It just doesn't feel like cooking. It's weird. You can't smell what's going on.

AND the InstantPot has what must be the worst instruction book ever. Tons of small print, no clear headings (seriously, does boldface cost more?), etc…

God Bless Us, Everyone!

Yesterday, a friend and I took her 2 girls and Susie on a road trip - we went to see a free dress rehearsal of A Christmas Carol, performed by a professional theater company a couple of hours away. I wouldn't have even known about it if this blogger hadn't told me, for which favor I am forever indebted to her. The performance was magnificent, AND I got lots of knitting done, since my friend did the driving.

Also, did I mention FREE?

While it was great to break out of our routine, traveling meant that Wednesday was my 6th straight day of no cooking. Not wanting to break my streak, I neglected to cook today, also. I'm thinking that maybe I should stay in the kitchen all day tomorrow. There's a Costco roasted chicken waiting to be made into white bean/chicken chili, and a half bushel of apples that need to turn into applesauce. We're all out of granola, too.

Or I could just knit. I mean, it's not as if ChickFilA won't be open...

Appliances R Us

Hello! Meet the new member of my family:

Yes, I succumbed. Every single person on my Facebook feed has been raving about this stupid thing and posting about how it is on super sale right now. "Who knows?" I thought. "Maybe this is the thing that will rekindle my love of cooking. I'll buy it!"

Would you believe I haven't cooked since last Thursday morning, by the way?

Anyway, I'm out all day tomorrow; but the next day...well, the next day I'm bound and determined to learn how to use a pressure cooker and make a delicious meal in minutes.  Although, from what I can tell, this darn thing doesn't do the grocery shopping for me, and really, the hardest part of cooking a meal is making sure you have the right ingredients in the house at the right time.

My ice cube maker is doing fine, thanks for asking. Here, another picture:

All these appliances doing my bidding - soon I won't have to do ANYTHING around here. Have I mentioned that my washer and d…

Ice, Ice, Baby

Today the plumber arrived to hook up our ice machine. I sure hope my children regard machine-made ice as the perfect Christmas present, because that plumber visit cost me $210. That's pretty fancy frozen water, if you ask me.

In other news, um, well, nothing. I drove around all day today, ferrying children hither and yon. Did the NYTimes crossword puzzle. Went to a birthday dinner for a friend. Wasted time on Twitter
I'm thinking I really need a regular job. I mean, once I finish the Christmas knitting. That comes first.


Sunday! Already!

As you might recall, our new refrigerator (which I adore) periodically made a VERY LOUD buzzing sound. As this is not behavior that one expects from a brand-spankin'-new household appliance, I called Home Depot and asked for a different one. I was very proud of myself for speaking calmly and assertively and getting positive results. I'm a grown-up!

SO, on Friday, as if I had not already moved food around enough on Thanksgiving, I had to empty the fridge of ALL the leftovers and ALL the condiments and everything else, so that the delivery guys could take it away and give me my new one. This was not fun. Still, I didn't like the loud buzzing sound, so I persevered.

The guys arrived and hauled out my almost-new fridge and brought in the even newer one. "Just leave me the hose for the ice machine," I told the one in charge. "I still need to have the plumber come by and do something under the sink so we can hook it up."

"Oh, okay,"…

Stuffed. Also? Tired.

Silly me - just because I made the stuffing, cranberry bread, and cranberry sauce ahead of time, plus bought the pies, plus cleaned up the house (somewhat), I naively thought that today wouldn't be too difficult. But no, I got up at 8 this morning and didn't stop moving for, oh, 5 hours. The whole time I kept saying to Brian, "I don't care WHEN you are working next year, we are NEVER scheduling dinner for 1:30 AGAIN." I just couldn't adjust to having the holiday meal that early. 
What made it worse was that it was a beautiful day out - who the heck wants to be inside eating dinner when the sun is high and the temps are almost pleasant? I kept thinking I would get a chance to go on a walk while the turkey was cooking, but there WAS NO TIME. Mashing potatoes, more cleaning up, finding 14 decent cloth napkins from our raggedy table linen collection - it took forever.

And then afterwards, of course, there was clean up. The quote of the day came from Rachel, who -…

Thanksgiving Eve

It's almost midnight, so I could just go to bed, but that would be too sensible.

Naturally, with guests coming over tomorrow, and a big dinner to make (plus 2 dental appointments today), I decided to throw a flu shot in there for the fun of it. Here's hoping I don't feel under the weather tomorrow, because I don't even get to sleep in. You see, we had to schedule our dinner at the unaccustomed (for us) early hour of 1:30, because Brian is scheduled to work at 4:30 on Thanksgiving Day (THANKS A LOT, BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPERS).

But the tables are extended, (most of) the food made/bought, guests invited. Our event has turned into a BYOPlate deal, since I couldn't find cute Thanksgiving paper plates at a reasonable deal, and we only own 11 dinner plates (half of them chipped because we like to break things, apparently). I think there are enough forks, though, so there's that.

You know, Larry and I have been married for more than a quarter of a century. 25 YEARS. So I h…

Cooking, Plumbing, Fashion - All Right Here

Oh, dear - outrage levels are running high. Look at the comment I received today on this very old post, from someone who apparently doesn't recognize pretty heavy-handed sarcasm. One would think we have enough to be outraged about RIGHT NOW not to have to go looking back at something I wrote in 2010. Or maybe we are all just permanently outraged about everything by this time. I blame the Internet.

I spent my evening cutting large baguettes into tiny cubes. That's what we do around here on Thanksgiving Eve Eve Eve. Or, hey, Thanksgiving Eve Cubed! Get it? Cubed! Oh, my gosh, I slay me.

Anyway, that particular task has to be done by Monday so the bread cubes have time to dry out enough to soak up all the other stuffing ingredients without getting soggy. So now they'll sit around in pans on my dining room table for 2 days, annoying the heck out of me. Thanksgiving prep is fun.

At least I don't have to make the pies - I can buy those from Harris Teeter. For that, I am than…

In Which I Don't Even Mention The Election

Oh, uh, hi! Anyone still here?

Oh, who cares - I talk to myself all the time anyway.

Remember this? The French door refrigerator with the pull-out bottom freezer that stole my heart almost 8 years ago? Well, I've been watching the prices ever since but not buying, since spending $1500 or more on an appliance sort of horrifies me. But the other night, on my toilet-seat buying errand at Home Depot, I noticed my inamorata, sitting there in the main aisle, with a big SALE sign on it. It had dropped to under $1000, and I knew - I KNEW - it was time. I mean, hadn't I been pining to consummate our love for almost a decade? Didn't I own an 11-year-old fridge with cracked vegetable drawers that was threatening to quit at any minute?

Yes, it was time to take the plunge. So really, my $5 toilet seat ended up costing me way more than that. I went home, ordered the fridge online, set up the delivery date, all without even asking Larry. Feeling magnanimous, I promised the children that t…


A really quick note to say THANK YOU to those of you who chipped in for our handyman's medical expenses. It was nice to know you appreciated reading the blog enough (or at least were concerned enough about Larry's next home improvement project) to help out a person you've never even met. And now he is probably sitting at home wondering who all those people are whose names are showing up on his GoFundMe page.

Also, Auntie Kate arrived and we've already been to 2 yarn stores and managed to inundate the living room with fiber and needles and all. Plus, she went canvassing with me for GOTV. So, yeah, busy.

Despite that, I was all set tonight to begin work on the Nurmilintu shawl I promised someone for Christmas. You see, the hold-up for the past 2 months was that I didn't have the right size needles. I remedied that problem today, by buying them at the same time as that lovely yarn pictured above. Finally! I thought. I am all set.

Only, the yarn gods have seen fit to l…

Passing The Hat

I almost posted last night, but I'm glad I didn't, because in retrospect I was borderline insane. Auntie Kate (she of crafting fame) is arriving Saturday, which means we had to excavate our guest room in the basement (where Anna had been staying all summer and where she left ALL HER STUFF because she is studying abroad this semester and could take only two suitcases with her). But first I had to GET TO the guest room, which meant Larry had to clear the hallway down there of all the stuff he pulled from the laundry room during the Great Foundation Leak of 2016.

That's right, he put it back into the now extremely disorganized laundry room (remember? the one I paid our handyman good money to organize for us?) so that I could deal with the rest of the basement.

Look, I never claimed that we were normal.

Anyway, by yesterday evening, I was practically weeping. There was SO MUCH STUFF, plus Larry had never put the camping gear away in the guest room closet, back in August, so w…

Visions Of Snickers Bars

So I went to the doctor and told her I couldn't stop coughing and she checked that I was vaccinated for pertussis (I was!) and agreed that 3 weeks is too long to cough and also agreed that my lungs were clear, so could I have my medical degree now please? Thanks.

Anyway, she gave me antibiotics (because SOMETHING is going on in my windpipe and why the hell not?) and some prescription cough medicine in pill form, which seems to me shouldn't work because it's not a liquid and whaddya know, it didn't. I spent the last 48 hours or so telling myself the antibiotics were working, but I really don't think so. I mean, I'm still coughing and I still feel exhausted if I think about doing anything remotely strenuous (like cleaning the bathroom or cooking dinner, say).

Maybe it's just an allergy to housework?

We had an absolutely gorgeous, unseasonably warm fall weekend here, perfect for biking, which I got tired just thinking about, so no. Susie made me go to Michael…

Doctor, Doctor

OMG, posting 2 days in a row - something exciting must have happened, for sure!

Only, um, no. I just happen not to be coughing right now and thought I would sit down here and let you all know. My theory is that the coughing has lessened because I actually made a doctor's appointment for tomorrow morning, if only to get all my well-meaning friends and family to stop saying, "You really should see a doctor about that."

And, yes, that IS what I am going to tell the doctor tomorrow, when she asks, "Why are you here?"

This morning Brian had ear surgery, so apparently our theme here today is the medical arts. The only other surgery our kids have had (aside from wisdom tooth removal) is the adenoidectomy we foisted on Rachel when she was 7. You know all those books and pamphlets that give you instructions on how to prepare your young child for surgical procedures? Yeah, me neither. Essentially, the morning of the surgery, we told Rachel we were going to the doctor…


Um, hi! I would have written sooner, but I have spent the better part of the last, oh, 10 days coughing uncontrollably. So much fun! And no, it's not bronchitis or pneumonia. It's just an irritating thing in my windpipe that is freaking out absolutely everyone around me.

Nothing that a lot of Halloween candy can't cure, I am sure...

It has also cut short my not-so-illustrious career as an elder companion - seems that no one wants to let you drive them to the doctor when you sound as though you have TB (I don't - we checked). Technically, I AM on the upswing here - I mean, the past few days, I have even been able to sleep through the night instead of sitting up drinking tea and coughing sporadically for hours on end.

So, yeah, there's hope.

In the meantime, Halloween has snuck up on me. In desperation, I ordered a Hogwarts robe from Amazon for Susie and told poor Rachel she's on her own. I bought the candy at Costco and have managed not to open it yet (although …

Fall Color (Virus Edition)

I don't often blog, but when I do, it's at 3 AM, apparently.

Susie and I went to Lake Placid last week, to visit a friend and her girls who have a place up there. Oh, how fun to go on a road trip with just one child! We were like Thelma and Louise, only without the shooting or the 7-11 robbery or the suicide. So, really, not at all, I guess. And that's a good thing, I'm thinking.

Where was I? Oh, yes, Lake Placid, which was experiencing peak color (the Adirondacks in NY, you know) and crisp fall air and everything was absolutely perfect for hiking and checking out the cute little town and oohing and aahing over the scenery. Naturally, we wouldn't want a vacation like that to be all unalloyed happiness and cheer, so I managed to come down with a vile head cold the same day we arrived. My hospitable friend spent over 48 hours watching me clutch a tissue box and complain about how my head felt. She also did an emergency run to RiteAid for Sudafed and Ricola.


Hostage Situation

So, as already mentioned, Larry and I decided that we could try doing what normal people do when they need household renovations - that is, hire a professional. I know! It sounds so radical! But my neighbor recommended the guy who is currently redoing her kitchen, so he came by and measured our two decrepit bathrooms and talked about tile and vanities and lighting and such. By the time he left, I was feeling optimistic that FINALLY we would have all working bathrooms in our home - complete with toilets that don't mysteriously flush themselves in the middle of the night - AND that the work would be completed in a timely fashion.

Really, I should have known better, right?

We got the quote yesterday, and it was, well, quite a bit higher than I thought it would be. Larry, seeing the total, shook his head. "I can do the tear-out myself," he said. "No way I'm paying someone $1200 per bathroom to do that!"

"We could get our handyman to do the new drywall,&qu…

Online Shopping Run Amok

I'm not going to make excuses for not showing up here lately, because there are none. My muse, it just up and left. She didn't even say good-bye. Oh, well...

Larry keeps threatening to tear out the basement walls, but he doesn't because there is all this STUFF down there and I'm thinking he's not sure what to do with it. I went so far as to have someone in to give me a quote on redoing the 2 bathrooms we have to fix, but then I never heard back from him. I take that as a sign from above that the 5 of us should simply continue sharing the one shower here that actually works.

This weekend I went to yoga (twice), took Susie to a local fiber festival (meh), and managed a trip to the commissary to stock up on everything cheap. Except toilet paper, of course - I've got that covered.

You see, while I wasn't blogging in September, I was spending money online. In a desperate attempt to lessen the amount I spend monthly on the girls' favorite hair conditioner, I …

Life SHOULD Be A Beach

I'm trying to adjust to school and fall and schedules - I really am. But then I threw the whole thing in the air by going to the shore for a weekend with 3 other knitters, one of whom married well, apparently, because her in-laws own a beach house that they share generously. So we did that and had a great weekend and now I am back at square one re that whole adjusting-to-fall thing.

When I got back home, I told Larry that we need a beach house. I suggested that he retire right away and we could sell our current abode and buy a house on Long Beach Island, and he mumbled something about money and kids and food and blah, blah, blah. Let me tell you, that man is NOT a visionary.

So now I am focusing on FINALLY getting 2 of our bathrooms redone (one of which hasn't been touched since 1969). That way, I am ready to sell this house once Larry sees the error of his ways.

Living within your means is vastly overrated.

The problem with redoing bathrooms is that I have to set up appointme…


A new school year. Vacation re-entry syndrome. Fruit fly invasion. All good reasons for not having time to write lately. But really? I ran out of words. And believe me, you don't want to be around a writer when she runs out of words. She gets very cranky. Poor Larry.

So I am typing now and trusting some words will show up, for the sake of everyone around me.

Our Rachel (she of the stuffed toilets and decapitated stuffed animals) decided to attend a real high school this year, the kind with teachers and homework and lots of other kids. Let me tell you, 9 years of homeschooling was totally worth it, if only to generate the sort of enthusiasm Rachel displayed when getting on the bus that first day of ninth grade. Granted, she probably sounded a tad weird, but I'm sure she'll settle down soon enough and be as jaded as the rest of 'em.

That leaves just Susie and Brian (a high school junior) at home this year. As Brian's courses are all outsourced (Glory, hallelujah!), S…

A Joy To All

Having not learned our lesson from earlier this month, Larry and I are embarking on our main camping vacation of the summer, up to Acadia National Park in Maine. Considering that it has been over 90 degrees here forever and that tells me Bar Harbor has been topping out near 75 degrees every day, I'm willing to risk it. Besides, we are familiar with this campground, the one of the excellent bathrooms and the morning pastries.

Of course, I have no idea how we will manage to pack up the car and load the bicycles and all that, as the heat wave here shows no sign of letting up before we leave. I'm thinking it will be somewhat akin to a space walk, where Larry goes out there in a climate-controlled suit and tied to a rope, so we can pull him in should the 100-degree temperatures and overwhelming humidity render him disoriented and unable to function.

I went to Panda Express with Susie today (because she thinks it is the BEST PLACE EVER, and haven't I raised kids wit…

Not Dead Yet

Well! Looks as though I took a vacation there, doesn't it? I didn't really, I just didn't feel like writing anything down. Which is scary, because once you take away this blog, I have nothing to do but look at the Facebook and wonder why my kids don't listen to me anymore.

I think I'll write a book: How NOT To Live a Fulfilling Life.

So, yeah, I found out over the past week that the company I had a contingent job offer from was not awarded the contract. So, no job for me. I'm still trying to figure out if another contractor that I applied to got it, but I am not too hopeful.

Another book: Life Decisions That Guarantee You Will Never Be Employed Again.

We did take a mini-vacation last week, to the beach. Or, more precisely, we got it into our heads that it would be FUN to hitch up the camper and take the youngest two to the seashore, staying at a local campground for 3 nights.

I don't even know where to begin detailing all the things wrong with this plan.


I Am NOT A Pet Person

You know, watching political conventions takes up a LOT of time. Throw in complaining about the humidity and my days are just about full lately. Oh, and I even cooked dinner last night. I know, Hillary Clinton probably wonders how I do it all.

Larry and I postponed our 3-day camping trip to the beach to next Sunday, because we figured sitting on the open sand in 100-degree weather this past week might not be a smart thing to do. Never mind living without air we've been hanging out here, chatting with my bug boyfriend about rats, visiting cat adoption places (because I am looking for an outdoor cat to scare vermin away), and doing other equally not-exciting things.

Dear Lord, I cannot believe I am cat shopping. You see, I noticed that Jennifer Jo has two cats that live outside only, and she convinced me that I don't need to be a cat lover to own a cat; so I am forging ahead with my feline-centric rodent-eradication plan. The kids are thrilled, even though I k…

I Am Music

Yesterday morning, my bug boyfriend showed up to do his monthly anti-insect thing, and after he sprayed all around the outside perimeter of the house, I invited him in to do the inside of the outside wall of the laundry room (if that makes any sense), because, as I oh so cheerily told him, "You can actually reach it now, because my husband had to empty out the entire room due to a water leak!" Always a silver lining, eh?

Only, NOT. I followed him downstairs to revel in the sight of the accessible exterior wall and realized that Larry had already managed to throw a bunch of stuff back in there and half the wall was blocked. My bug boyfriend tried to pretend that was perfectly normal and all, but EMBARRASSING.

Things are better today, though, because I took my kids to the bowling alley, which had 70's music playing (because it is ALWAYS the 1970's in bowling alleys, and WHY?), and I heard both "Delta Dawn" and "I Write the Songs"; so my life is just…


Praise the Lord, Larry found someone to help him! Of course, it's costing money, but not $10,000 worth of money, so that's good. The helper guy came by today with his wetvac and sucked all the water out of the trench (because it rained hard yesterday) and then he determined that water was being channeled under our stoop and spilling out by the basement wall, so there's another thing Larry has to figure out how to seal up.

Being a homeowner? TONS of fun.

Anyway, our savior is coming back tomorrow to do drainage-type stuff, and at some point he will have his men shovel all the dirt back into Larry's trench, and then Larry and I will live happily ever after, The End.

We are still planning to head to the beach with the girls and the camper on Sunday, for a few days of fun in the ocean. Only, I heard it is supposed to be about 100 degrees, which sounds a tad hot for fun, if you ask me. I mean, unless spontaneously combusting is your idea of a good time...

"At least we …