Showing posts from 2017

Are We Done With 2017 Yet?

Larry and I had a scintillating discussion this morning about the relative merits of various bathroom vanity heights. That's right, folks, there's still one more bathroom to be redone! We'd hoped to put it off for a while, but we're tired of watching water drip through the living room ceiling when the kids take showers. What can I say? We've gotten used to the finer things in life, like not sharing one shower among 6 people. I feel like Eva Gabor in Green Acres: "Dahling, you can't possibly expect me to share my soap dish!"

Actually, I don't think she ever said that. But if she were living here with 3 or 4 kids, she might.

I've recovered from Christmas, you'll be glad to hear. I've spent this week planning my New Year's resolutions - so far I have two: watch more TV and spend more time knitting.

I have a feeling I'm gonna knock this out of the park, so to speak.

I've also been trying to plan the annual New Year's Day pa…

Feliz Chanukah!

I won't lie - by this time last night, I was seriously considering never hosting ANYTHING ever again. Not that we did anything extraordinary yesterday for Christmas - just had another family over for Christmas dinner in the late afternoon, a family I was thrilled to celebrate the holiday with. And I did let everyone in my family laze around for a few hours in the morning, because hey, I'm not a monster.

But after that? I spent pretty much the rest of the day ordering people around. It's not that the kids weren't helpful (hey, I didn't even TOUCH a potato, and there were 10 pounds of them to wash, and cut, and cook, and mash); but bossing people around is still work, that's for sure. Throw in the fact that I had to cook a few extra items I forgot to prepare ahead of time (hello, roasted brussel sprouts!), and it sort of pushed me over the edge.

I just don't know if I'm doing our annual New Year's Day party, is what I'm saying. I'm tired. On …

Aiming Low

I just bought 5 pounds of 12-Flavor Albanese gummy bears from Amazon. Prime delivery. Christmas is weird. LIFE is weird. I mean, what sort of questionable life choices lead to bulk buying gummy bears?

In other news, tonight I finished knitting a pair of socks and they are awesome. I still have to get to the knitting store to buy some yarn to make hats for the people I actually live with, but at least now I don't have to waste time driving all over town to find those gummy bears for the Christmas stockings.

Really, Christmas might go okay this year. I guess I should buy a turkey or something, though. Man does not live by wool and gummi bears alone.

Larry took 3 of the kids skiing today, as a Christmas treat. He would have taken all 4, but Rachel declared she had no interest in the sport anymore. "What fun is it if you're worried about dying the entire time?" she asked pragmatically.

Hard to argue with that.

So she babysat a neighbor's child and I went to a friend&…

Christmas Macabre

Yesterday, after Larry took the package full of holiday treats and handknit items for the relatives up north and mailed it on his way to work, I sat in my house and congratulated myself on my unwonted holiday-gifts efficiency. And then?

I found the hat.

You know, the missing hat that I decided didn't exist and we didn't need because I was too tired to sit up all night and knit another one. Instead, I threw a hat in the box that Susie actually wanted and promised myself I'd find more of that yarn and knit another one for her before Christmas. Because I'm delusional that way.

So I was sitting there, with a hat Susie definitely didn't want, feeling way less efficient than earlier. I ended up mailing it today, and later I'm going to the yarn store and finding that darn yarn. So that's only 2 extra errands and one extra knitting project, all due to the fact that I can't see something sitting RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF ME where the rest of the hats were.

Not real…

A Mafioso Christmas

Turns out that hat knitting really takes away from blogging time. No matter, I've got - wait, only 4 hats done? What? No, I knit 6 hats, but one is for David and Susie took a liking to another one, so actually I guess I'm sitting up all night tonight and knitting a 5th hat.

Dang. I swear, I thought I had more than that.

Oh, well, who's counting, anyway, right? At least, we got the tree up yesterday and the lights put on.

See that Santa thing to the left? One of my older kids painted that years ago - you pull on the string hanging down between his legs (I know, WEIRD) and his arms and legs fly up. It's really stupid and I will never get rid of it, because it reminds me of simpler times, when all my kids did for fun was paint silly wooden things from Michaels and no one had cellphones and streaming didn't exist.

It's a gosh darn ARTIFACT, people, that's what it is.

Anyway, my family was supposed to decorate the tree today, but no one did and I'm too busy …

Green Christmas

As promised, I whipped up a wee baby hat since yesterday, because I didn't have enough other projects happening right now. It is extremely cute and way faster to make than the adult-sized ones I've been working on for 2 weeks, that's for sure.

I've been halfheartedly Christmas shopping here and there. All year I think of cute/useful/fun gift ideas I could get the kids for Christmas, and then December arrives and I can't remember any of them. So David has 2 T-shirts with jokes on them, Rachel has a fancy water bottle, and Susie has a pretty loose-leaf binder. THAT'S IT. I know I probably should have picked things up all along, but I guess I was too busy buying yarn instead.

Even my own wishlist is fairly empty - the only thing on it is wool dryer balls, and Larry will be too scared to purchase those because they are laundry-related. Hoist by my own petard, I am.

But there's more to Christmas than presents, right? There's also decorating the house and mak…

Soup To Nuts

I had a brilliant opening sentence, but it's gone now, lost to posterity.

The good news is, one of my neighbors had a baby this morning and she had him AT HOME. I mention this because, 20 and 17 years ago, I also birthed babies here at home, a practice which I'm pretty sure was looked at askance by the neighbors but everyone was polite and didn't say anything. 2 decades is a long time to wait, people, but FINALLY someone else has had a baby right here at home in our neighborhood and I'm no longer the only weird one.

Thank you, lovely neighbor. I shall knit your wee one a tiny winter hat, in gratitude.

Yesterday I drove a woman home from cataract surgery and it turns out her father is 102 years old. He actually ran a CCC program in New York State in the 1930s, which means he's living history (just like that former British WAAF I ran into, earlier this year, when I was waiting for one of my clients at the dentist). Sometimes my job is sort of cool, you know?

Also yes…

Space Age Gifts

I don't know where I've been. I'm not going to even try to catch up, whatever that means. Just rest assured there's been a lot of knitting happening, with some cooking thrown in, and also tons of driving. Because that's pretty much all my life is about right now.

I made those blueberry muffins at 10:30 this evening (can I still call that evening?). I was just going to get the ingredients together and then get up at 6 AM to throw them in the oven tomorrow morning bright and early, but then I came to my senses. Now I can sleep in all the way to 7. For some reason I scheduled a well child physical for Susie at 8 AM tomorrow. I guess I thought it would be smart to get the first appointment and not have to wait?

Anyway, now I hate myself for that. But at least I'll be able to stop feeling guilty about having forgotten to do this earlier this year. I swear, every year, there is one kid who gets neglected, medical appointment-wise. 2017 was Susie's turn, apparentl…

This Month, Think Of The Knitters

In case anyone doubts the veracity of my statement that the living areas of my house are covered in yarn, I present the following photos for your viewing pleasure:

Behold a pair of socks, sitting on a sort of hutch type table that we got free from a neighbor and has been sitting in our front hallway ever since the basement renovations commenced, waiting to be delivered to another neighbor. I'm working on the legs now, which means it will take me forever, because once I finish the foot and the heel, I think, "Wow! I'm almost done!" and then go on to more exciting things, while my unfinished pair of socks languishes (like this poor homeless table) unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

And there is a Clara Cowl, sitting on the dining room table, which I finished in record time (for me), only I lost some stitches when I removed the provisional cast-on and I had to beg a knitting friend to find them for me. Which she did, which means I really should graft this item shut and put …

God Bless Us, Everyone! (Redux)

First things first. A reader from North Carolina commented on Monday's post, saying (essentially) that she wished she had someone nearby who made good pottery. So let me take this opportunity to let any readers from North Carolina know that Meredith and her husband create wonderful pottery: mugs, tumblers, plates, decorative tiles, etc. If you live within a few hours of Whynot, NC, it's worth the trip, I'm sure.

Someday I'll be driving through there, Meredith. SOMEDAY.

And, yes, I know North Carolina is a large state. But, using my prodigious GoogleMap skills, I have determined that Whynot (and please, Meredith, explain that town name to us!) is smack dab in the middle of it. Conveniently located!

Okay, back to regularly scheduled programming. Below is a picture of one of my favorite things: cranberry chutney, made by friends who are the daughters of my dear friend and neighbor who passed on back in 2011. They have kept up her custom of gifting me with a couple of jars…

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

My favorite weekend of the year is over, which fact makes me feel bereft. The 3 days after Thanksgiving always feel like an oasis of calm before the rest of the holidays hit, and I took full advantage of it this year, visiting yarn stores, getting together with friends to knit, going with Susie to see Wizard of Oz on the big screen...that sort of thing.

No cooking happened whatsoever. In fact, my family has been eating Thanksgiving leftovers for 4 days now. Today I broke down and cooked up a batch of baked beans in the crock pot. They weren't ready in time for dinner, though - so it was turkey and mashed potatoes one more time. And stuffing - last night we discovered a full 3-qt pot of stuffing that we had forgotten to remove from the cooler on our back deck (which functions as our back-up refrigerator the night before Thanksgiving).

Look, we're not proud of that, okay?

I also attended my neighbor's annual pottery sale on Saturday. She's talented and has her own wheel …

Too Stuffed To Think Of A Title

Around 10 PM last night (Thanksgiving Eve), fed up with the low level of help I was receiving from fellow members of my household, I decided that my family was composed of ingrates who didn't deserve the lovely holiday dinner I had been spending most of the week cooking for them. I vacuumed loudly to share my displeasure; and by the time I was done, not only did I have a clean floor and staircases, I also felt calm enough to compose a complete list of chores to be done NOT BY ME the next day.

Moral: Never underestimate the problem-solving power of passive-aggressive vacuuming.
It also helped when I then sat down and logged onto Facebook, where approximately half the middle-aged women I know were complaining of the same thing. Solidarity, ladies! Shoulder to shoulder, we march on, planning the festivities and making sure that our children have something to remember besides (hopefully) that their mother always seemed strangely cranky on holidays.

So today went well! Brian and Rachel …

Holiday Prep

Today was a cooking day. Cranberry sauce and brandied sweet potatoes and stuffing...LOTS of stuffing. Throw in an orthodontist appointment and a trip to the bank, and it was a pretty full day. I got it all done, though, so I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself here.

The house didn't get cleaned, however. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow, maybe I won't. All I know is, day after tomorrow? Is Knitting Day. That's the day I get to just sit and knit, in a (maybe) clean house full of leftovers. Also, yarn stores have gotten into the whole Black Friday thing, which explains why a former Black Friday refusenik such as myself is leaving the house at 7 AM on Friday: I've got to take advantage of a "30% off everything from 8-10 AM" yarn sale.

We all have our price.

Brian, retail wage slave that he is, has to work from 4:30 to midnight on Thanksgiving  (THANKS A LOT, BEST BUY).  Folks, before you run out to shop on Thanksgiving evening, think a second: those people…

Cut-Rate Entertaining

So tonight I did what I know I shouldn't - I tried another "copycat" recipe from the Internet, this time for Nando's amazing Portuguese rice. However, unlike my previous attempts to imitate beloved restaurant food (and don't think for a second that Brian isn't still scarred by my attempt at Panda Express Orange Chicken), this rice turned out not quite the same as the restaurant version, but...close. Very close, is what I thought when I tasted it. I would call it a win, but Susie deemed it unsatisfactory. Rachel ate her rice uncomplainingly, but she hasn't had the real thing yet, so her opinion doesn't really count.

So, yeah, back to Nando's for more research, I guess. Luckily, one just opened nearby. People, words cannot express (although you know I'll try) how good their chicken is. I mean, you take a bite and suddenly you are no longer an adult, assessing calories or fat or whatever else we adults think about to ruin our meals. You're a …

Doing The Can-Can

Wow, the Internet is helpful! I ended up going with the razor blade approach that a number of people suggested (turns out Larry has an entire collection of these little thingamajigs that hold straight razors) and then some WD-40 towards the end, to get off the last of the film. It worked great. Maybe one scratch on the stove, but I don't care.

Today Susie and I spent the morning sorting food the Boy Scouts collected for the local holiday food drive. The church basement we met in had full grocery sacks piled high (HIGH) in one corner. The rest of the basement was filled with tables pretty much groaning under the weight of donated comestibles, already sorted. The walls were lined with shelves holding even more food. It was an impressive sight.

I probably wasn't as helpful as I could have been, because my OCD kept kicking in when I'd see the different types of soups all jumbled together on their table or the different boxes of pasta practically screaming at me to be organized…

5-Alarm Applesauce

Good news of the day: my house didn't burn down!

Bad news: I still have to figure out how to get dried melted plastic off the glass cook top of my stove.

Feel free to chime in with suggestions, because I've lost the capacity for rational thought at this point. I was counting on Larry to come up with something, but he came home from work in a rental car and explained that his car was in a body shop, getting repairs for some extensive rock damage incurred on his way to work that morning. All the poor man could do was stare at the stove as I explained - again - what happened and say, "Uh-huh, uh-huh" while attempting a knowing nod that looked weirdly off kilter. And then he went to the basement fridge and got a beer.

What happened? I was using the Instapot as a crockpot, simmering apples for sauce, and at one point I pushed it further back on the stove and then left the kitchen. I didn't realize it had somehow hit the stove knob in the back and turned the rear burne…

A New Day Dawning

So I was throwing something away in my bathroom the other day when I spotted something strange in the trash. I looked closer. Could it be? Was it possible?

Yes, it was.

Larry THREW AWAY AN EMPTY TUBE OF TOOTHPASTE. Long-time readers of this blog will know that this is an event which is about as frequent as the appearance of Haley's Comet. In fact, I have always been the one in this marriage who finally discards a squeezed-out tube and replaces it with a new one. It's as if we've been playing an ongoing game of Chicken for the past 27 years, a game that I have repeatedly lost.

This means, of course, that anything is now possible in my marriage. ANYTHING. Maybe Larry will purchase a household item without first creating several spreadsheets documenting the pros and cons of every similar product on the market. Or perhaps he will someday refrain from embarking on some household maintenance task a mere 2 hours before a major social event. It might even mean that - dare I say it…

No Thanks

[A repeat, from previous Veterans Days - STILL relevant]

There's a lot of talk on a day like today about how selfless military people are.  People left and right in the blogosphere are thanking veterans like me for our service.  So I just want to set one thing straight.

I joined the Navy because I needed a job.  I had student loans to pay; I was ashamed of not being on my own (unlike many "kids" in their 20's nowadays); and no one wanted to pay a fresh-faced History major anything close to a living wage.

In other words, I joined the military for totally selfish reasons, as do many in the armed forces.  I joined for money, I joined to gain my independence, I joined in the hope I would get a chance to travel. What I got was a lot more.  For the first time in my life, I worked and lived alongside people of another skin color.  For the first time in my life, I saw African Americans in positions of power.  And I came into close contact with those heretofore exotic people kno…

Gonna Fly, I Am

The dishwasher man is here. He pulled into the parking lot just as my sisters-in-law were pulling out after their week-long stay, if you want an example of the antithesis of perfect timing. And now I hear him on the phone to someone else at Geek Squad, describing some problem with the dishwasher he just found, which worries me. I mean, this thing IS getting fixed today, isn't it?

Tuesday I drove with Aunt Mary and Auntie Kate to IKEA. Because Auntie Kate had never been there, we pulled out all the stops: a slow meander through the entire showroom, the Swedish meatballs plate for lunch, an even slower meander through the entire Marketplace, a stop in As-Is, and then, after the registers, an ice cream cone (plus the purchase of 6 cinnamon buns to take home).

What I'm saying is, we know how to do IKEA right. Also, I somehow ended up with a small desk I had totally not planned on buying. But that's pretty standard for a trip to IKEA, I'm thinking.

Wednesday (yesterday) I t…

All Washed Up

Little time to write, what with entertaining sisters-in-law, changing clocks, and washing dishes the livelong day. I generally like the fall time change better than the spring one, but I have been SO TIRED in the evening. I crashed by 9:00 last night and I was going to do the same tonight, only Larry wouldn't let me because the bed wasn't made because I pulled the bedclothes out of the dryer too soon without realizing it. For some reason he didn't want to sleep on wet sheets - go figure.
I'm feeling pretty pleased that I got to use the word "bedclothes." I've been in love with that word ever since I read it in the book "Five Little Peppers and How They Grew" when I was a kid. Feel free to comment and share your own favorite words from antiquated children's books!
Hello? Anyone?
We've been doing the "take your guests to all the places you mean to visit but never do until guests come" routine. Also, it turns out that Auntie Kate …

Wherein I Don't Even Mention Candy

Okay, so yesterday I buzzed around the house cleaning up the Halloween stuff so we could put the Halloween bins in the attic before my sisters-in-law arrived today. I kept thinking I was done, but - just as with the Christmas decorations - I kept stumbling across more items (and believe me, we don't have that much!). So, finally, after stuffing the Halloween place mats into the almost full bin and feeling confident I had slayed that particular beast, I asked Larry to put everything in the attic.

We know where this is going, right?

Not half an hour after he did so, I entered the kitchen (where I had spent at least HALF my waking hours that day) and saw this facing me from the opposite wall:

Yup, not exactly hidden - but, hey, after the paper chains incident from January, I suppose I knew anything was possible.

As discussed in these pages recently, our dishwasher has chosen this week to go on the blink. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal. I'd feed the kids cheap pizza hal…


Well! November! Let's do this thing!

I spent all day yesterday wondering why Halloween was so hard and why I didn't enjoy it anymore. Seriously, I didn't even want any candy. And I didn't know what any of the little kids coming to my door were dressed up as, which irritated me.

I decided I must be getting old and boring and that poor Susie would spend the next 6 years living with parents who were no fun whatsoever. For some reason I failed to attribute my poor attitude to the fact that I had a bad sore throat/head cold and had been running full tilt all day despite it.

But then at 4:30 this morning I woke up feeling miraculously better (I could swallow! I could breathe!) and decided Halloween was pretty cool after all. Hooray! I love happy endings!

So today I have a new lease on life - I feel like Scrooge when he wakes up and discovers it is still Christmas Day. I celebrated by eating some candy corn for breakfast. Then I cleaned up the kitchen because - oh, happy day …

Anything-But-Lazy Sunday

Today was Sunday, and instead of having fun hanging out with my knitting friends, I spent the afternoon in the basement with Larry, trying to finish up the Great Clean-Out of 2017 before his sisters visit and before I totally lose my shit about all the crap we have accumulated.
That was only one sentence, but I'm tired. New paragraph!
So, yes, Larry and I stood down there and discussed what to do with boxes of books (GET THEM OUT) and Whiffleball bats and soccer cones and DVD's; I rifled through my oldest's "Collect All The State Quarters" book, removed the coins, and threw the pages out (sorry, Theo!); I dumped old binders and file folders relentlessly in the giveaway bin. We hauled some bookshelves and cabinets over to a neighbor's house (that was emotional for me - we bought those faithful HUSAR cabinets at IKEA 20 years ago and they've served our family well).
We still can't agree on rugs.

In the middle of all this, I managed to bake up a batch of