Showing posts from January, 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Remember this post last week? Where I was making fun of myself for thinking I had taken all the Christmas decorations down and then I noticed that red-and-green paper chain hanging in clear view on my kitchen wall?

Yeah, that one.

Well, for starters, it is still there. Apparently, I am too busy blogging about it to take it down. And then, the other night, while I was taking pictures of Rachel modeling my Nurmilintu shawl, I noticed that there was a chain hanging above the dining room doors. Hey, that's understandable, I thought. It's way high up and out of the way.

So tonight I was taking that picture of it there to share with all of you, when Susie said, "What are you doing?"

"I'm taking a picture of that paper chain. I thought they were all gone, but I missed one."

"But there's more," Susie said.

"What? No, there isn't."

"Mommy, turn around."

Danged if she wasn't right - there was a HUGE chain stretching acros…

It's Saturday - No One Is Even Reading This

I think this is the post where I am supposed to announce the winner of the Yarn Harlot book, but I haven't gotten around to figuring that out yet (not least because some people who want the book are commenting on the wrong post, so I have to go find those comments and include them and WHY are you people making my life so difficult, anyway?). So, yeah, you have another day to comment (ON THE CORRECT POST) and let me know you want the book.

Who knew giveaways could be so hard?

In other news, let me introduce you to our new shower doors! It's been an entire 24 hours and they still stay on track, don't get stuck, and have not once tried to hit me over the head. I call that a home improvement win, don't you? I took my first shower in there today, and it would have been a marvelous experience if we weren't having this weird problem lately with our tankless water heater - i.e., we never know if our shower will be hot, warm, or barely tepid. It's like Russian Roulette,…


See that red-and-green paper chain hanging in full view on my kitchen wall? Well, I certainly didn't, not until today. Apparently, when I say that I have taken all the Christmas stuff down, someone should check my work.

Oh, and here's a lovely picture of what Larry, in his quixotic quest to insulate our entire home, has done to our basement over the past week or so. Just to be clear here, that is the INSIDE of our basement, not the outside. Feels very cozy, for sure...

Susie, unfortunately, has taught herself how to make lemon bars. She baked 2 batches over the past 3 days. Double batches, really. This new hobby of hers is wreaking havoc with my already nonexistent waistline.

And, lest you forget, make sure to comment on this post from earlier in the week if you are interested in winning a copy of the book Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It's much more than your standard learn-to-knit book, filled as it is with ruminations on the knitting lifestyle and the natur…

Putting On The Blitz

Another day, another crazy morning of having to get out of bed, line up for our showers, and dash around like mad neatening up the bedroom and covering everything with tarps before the contractor gets here to work on the master bath. At 7:30.

Yeah, it's fun. It brings to mind Anne Frank, actually, because I'm Jewish and was therefore expected to read Anne Frank's Diary at an impressionable age, including the part about how she and all the people who were hiding in that attic behind the bookcase had to get up super early and rush around and get dressed and neaten up before anyone came to work downstairs; after that, they had to be super quiet and not move all day until the workers left. I read that when I was 10 or so, and I remember being glad that I didn't live in hiding, because I didn't like getting up and dressed that early.

Growing up Jewish can be special sometimes. Especially because everything reminds you of Anne Frank, in one way or another. I mean, I just…


It's the Yarn Harlot's blogiversary again (gee, it feels as though that happens EVERY year around this time - weird), and I am once again celebrating the occasion by giving away a copy of her book Knitting Rules. Not your ordinary how-to-knit book, it's more a compendium of whimsical ruminations on the art of knitting, the nature of creativity, and the intoxicating effects of yarn fumes. All wrapped together with a few knitting recipes for an ambitious beginner to try at his/her leisure, of course...

As I mentioned in this space 2 years ago, this book changed my life. By treating failure as a normal part of the creative process, it freed me to try new things; by virtue of her personal knitting anecdotes, Stephanie gave me permission to knit even though my supplies were not organized and I could never find the right needles. She allowed me to make mistakes and keep going, because really, who cares? This book helped shatter the bonds of perfectionism that kept me from ever g…

Power Pants

Over the past year, as I kept tugging on the worn-out waistband of my spandex pants to keep them up during yoga class, I would think, "But I just bought these. These are my NEW exercise pants."

No - no, they weren't. I had bought them in January of 2014, when I hobbled back into the yoga studio. They were cheap. And they were finished.

So I noticed an Amazon Deal-A-Day sale for exercise leggings last week. Only $15! But they were all of the patterned variety. Now, I'm a basic-black chick, myself, but for $15? I thought, Heck, everyone else wears patterned leggings - I can do this.

Look, I know it's not bungee jumping, but I've got to start somewhere, all right?

I wore them to yoga on Saturday, where I swear I felt the Power of the Pants. I mean, it probably helped that I didn't have to keep hitching up the waistband, but beyond that - they put the bark in my dog pose, the fierce in my warrior. I did keep mixing up left and right (as is my wont), but a fel…

So That Happened...

I'm still here, just...uh...adjusting to Trump's America and all that. Yeah, adjusting...that's it...

I took the girls to Hidden Figures today, which I managed to enjoy, even with the phrase "Trump's America" running over and over in my head like a broken record. We walked to the theater, even though it was raining, because I am annoyed that our local upscale shopping center has started charging for parking.  As if we don't spend enough money there already, dammit...

Larry spent the day completing his destruction of the main basement area, which I think was his way of adjusting, so hey, I didn't get in the way. Brian helped, but I don't think he was too happy about it.

All in all, a good, productive day, until we came home from the movie theater and Rachel rolled her eyes at me one too many times. She then tried telling me what was and wasn't her job. I explained that her job was whatever I said it was. Sheesh, Michelle wouldn't take that …

I Feel Rich

I was so busy telling you about my exciting, home-renovation-filled Monday that I neglected to regale you with the tale of our car crisis the day before. You see, on Sunday, Rachel and I were heading out to Costco to get her new glasses (this actually took 2 tries, because apparently it is customary to bring one's eyeglass prescription along when attempting this task - who knew?); but when we got to my minivan....

Remember? The 8-year-old minivan I chose to keep, so Larry could get the new car, just a few short weeks ago... key fob wasn't opening the electric sliding doors. And neither were the buttons inside the car. We had to push the doors open slo-o-owly. By hand. I know, first-world problem, but still.

"Was this happening yesterday?" I asked Rachel. Larry had used the van Saturday to transport a bunch of Civil Air Patrol cadets to a weekend workshop.

"Oh, yeah, we were opening them this way the whole time!" she said.

Nice of them to let me know..…


It was a Parcheesi kind of day today, while Larry was busy destroying our basement (more on that below) and the contractor was hammering away upstairs in our dismantled master bathroom. I taught Susie how to play and we whiled away a couple of hours, whilst Larry hauled wheelbarrow loads of torn-up drywall out to the pickup truck he rented from Home Depot and then drove it all to the dump. I think we all can agree that Larry sure knows how to spend a holiday weekend.

It was also a play-with-your-yarn sort of day - when I wasn't torturing Susie with old-fashioned board games, I was busy photographing my yarn and adding it to my Ravelry stash. Susie saw me taking pictures of my recent yarn purchases and said, "Why are you doing that? That is really silly." But I think she's just mad I won at Parcheesi.

I also organized all my leftover sock yarn and started using it to knit a lap blanket. Those of you who do not play with fiber may not realize that knitters consider bo…

On The Road

So, I came across this blog post about a week ago - you've probably seen it shared on Facebook, all about traveling across the US via Amtrak for only $213. In reality, it's about double that, if you want to get on and off the train at all; but the idea captured my imagination, big time. I mean, I have never seen the Rockies, I've never seen the prairie, I've never even been to Chicago. Susie is 11, which means that she still enjoys spending time with me (I know, that won't last) AND she is half-price on Amtrak for another few months.

Have I mentioned how much I love train stations?

So a plan was born: Susie and I (Rachel is also invited, but only if she doesn't glare at us) would get 15-day Amtrak rail passes, good for 8 stops anywhere in the US. We are planning to sleep primarily on the train, to keep things simple and costs low, with maybe a stay at a hostel in San Francisco thrown in there to mix things up.

We are very excited (do you realize how much knitt…

I'm Not Even Going To Bother Titling This

Really? NO ONE was impressed by my post title yesterday? I was so darn proud of myself.

So, earlier this month, Theo spent a week with us on his way back from the Sinai before heading to Ft. Bragg. As is his wont, he brought his parents and siblings gifts from overseas.

We know what that means, right? It means that there are a couple of newcomers to what has become a considerable collection of camels.

These fine specimens join their fellows, featured on this blog a good 2 years ago:

Also, and totally unrelated, I thought that this was the year I had actually managed to pack up ALL the Christmas tchotchkes without leaving any behind. Alas, as usual, I was wrong. While I was cleaning up before history class this afternoon, I discovered these lovelies hiding on my dining room hutch:

What's annoying is that we haven't used these in years, because I keep forgetting to get candles for them. And even if I did get candles for them, we probably wouldn't use them much, as I am terri…

Talking 'Bout My Renovation

Currently we have the bathroom contractor AND our handyman showing up at the house bright and early every morning. This means I have to be up, showered, and dressed before 7:30. Now, I know that most of you think that isn't that early, and really, I am usually awake and up by 7:15. But the pressure of HAVING to be up and completely dressed is a bit much for me, hardened SAHM that I am.

Yeah, I AM spoiled. What of it?

So, anyway, today I overslept until 7:10. I dashed around like a madwoman and managed to be presentable by the time our contractor walked in the door. He looked like hell. "I'm so sick," he said, standing in my hallway and breathing into my air. "I went home yesterday from here, took some Nyquil, and went straight to bed."

"Well," I said, drawing my scarf over my face, "feel free to go! No rush on that bathroom - we can wait!"

"No, no," he said, "there are a few things I can do today. I'll just work as lon…

5 Minutes Of Fame (The Transcript)

Apparently, Rachel was a full decade ahead of her time. Look what they are selling in Target right now:

That's right - the severed heads of stuffed animals. If only we had thought to market Rachel's creations, all those years might have paid for all the toilet repairs her mischief-making necessitated.

Which reminds me, I never posted the text of my 2016 LTYM piece here. I can remedy that right now. Better 8 months late than never, I say...

A long time ago, in a universe far, far away, my husband Larry and I were the experienced parents of 6 children, ages 14 on down; and we ran our household with an iron hand.  There were bedtimes, and rules at meals, and offspring doing chores without whining.  It was, in retrospect, a veritable paradise, wherein dwelled children who listened to their parents and behaved, for the most part, appropriately.  And Larry and I looked at what we had created and saw that it was good.
You see, we prided ourselves on that, for WE were in …

Crossing A Line

Today, I did something I swore I would never do. I went to Target (no, that's not it, I do that all the time), where I bought 2 storage containers specifically designed to go UNDER THE BED. For my yarn.

It's always been a point of pride, you see, that - no matter how cluttered the house has gotten - I've never fallen so low as to be storing items under our beds. No, I always left that space clear, so I could easily Swiffer the dust bunnies and could climb into bed without worrying about stubbing a toe against something. My counters may have been covered and my bookshelves overfull, but that space beneath the bed remained pristine and, well, inviting.

I never actually hung out under there, but I could have if I WANTED to.

So, yes, in a desperate attempt to clean up my room before the bathroom contractors arrive tomorrow (and maybe even free myself from the tyranny of the yarn dresser), I filled up those 2 underbed (wheeled!) containers, one with bulky yarn and the other wit…

We Own All The Things

Any spare time this weekend was spent in the basement, sorting through books and filling boxes. I think I managed to get rid of 6 or 7 full boxes of books (and seriously, people, I do not know where they all came from - if memory serves me correctly, I did the same thing last year). I managed to persuade Susie to get rid of any duplicate games we own (for heaven's sake, what family needs two sets of Dominos? And, uh, THREE Parcheesi boards?), and we agreed to toss the portable Scrabble, because it is so much easier to play online. Still, there is a lot left, so I've been ruthlessly culling any items left behind by grown children - I figure that if they haven't missed them yet, they never will.

When cleaning house, sentiment is NOT your friend.

That said, I stayed my hand when I came across a binder full of Brian's drawings from childhood, all in plastic page protectors (yes, I used to be THAT organized - hard to believe, I know). Scrawled pictures of volcanoes (remembe…

Boxes And Balls

Remember Andy, our handyman, who you all were so generous to? He showed up at our house the other day, looking thinner but rested. I almost wept with relief.

"Just stopping by to see if Larry has anything planned," he said. "I'm looking to do a little something."

"Planned? PLANNED?" I said. "The man's getting ready to rip out our entire basement."

Andy's eyes lit up. I swear, I saw dollar signs in them. So he and Larry got together today and mapped out their plan of attack and my assignment this weekend is to go downstairs and pack up everything that is not Larry's.

The man doesn't trust me. He just got huffy when I suggested we toss all our VCR tapes.

So this is the moment of truth: am I really going to keep games the kids play with once a year or not at all? Books that they've enjoyed but will most likely never look at again? It's time for hard choices, but I do know how happy I feel when I'm not surrounded by a…

Hoi Polloi

Vanities are being delivered to our house tomorrow (OMG, is every post for the next month going to be about bathroom renovations? Probably), which means that I had to find a place to put them.

"We'll just move the dresser at the foot of our bed into Brian's room," Larry said, breezily, "and move that chair out of the corner. We can put the boxes there."

Then he went back to reading whatever depressing news site he was looking at on his tablet and I went upstairs alone, where I cleaned off the top of my yarn dresser (shut up, it is TOO normal to have a yarn dresser), went through the huge pile of flotsam and jetsam that was sitting on the floor NEXT to the (totally normal) yarn dresser, moved the many baskets of yarn (you know, the yarn that, uh, doesn't quite fit inside the yarn dresser) downstairs to the living room (whence I had taken them while cleaning up for last week's party), swiffered the floor, picked up all manner of gift-wrapping debris, …

26th Anniversary - That's Sheetrock, Right?

I lost, folks. In our annual competition to see who will remember our anniversary first, I am usually a strong contender; but this year? Larry won right out of the gate. "Happy Anniversary!" he shouted at me (lovingly) as soon as I opened my eyes on Tuesday morning (which, if you will recall, is the same morning he couldn't even remember that our daughter needed to go to school, ahem).

I don't know if it was a fair win, though - I mean, I didn't even KNOW what day it was at that point.

I have to clean out my entire master bathroom and part of my bedroom this weekend because contractors are coming next week to rip out our existing bathroom and install one that actually works. That's right - soon we will actually have shower tiles that don't move when you push on them, shower doors that don't fall off the track and land on my head, and a toilet that does not insist on flushing itself in the middle of the night.

Best of all, I will be able to take a show…

Sleep Is Wasted On The Wrong People

Last night I thought, Hey, why don't I go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up bright and early for once? So I tucked myself in around 9:30 and fell asleep shortly thereafter. Healthy!

By 11:30, I was lying in bed, wide awake, as Larry snored gently (for him) next to me. By midnight, I gave up and went downstairs, clutching my blanket and my book. I did the NYT crossword puzzle. I played SET on my IPad. By 2 AM, totally fed up, I threw together all the ingredients for our applesauce breakfast cake.

Have you ever tried to chop walnuts quietly? It's challenging.

Now that I am in my 50's, normal sleep hours elude me. No matter how tired I am in the evening, I am better off waiting until midnight or later to go to bed. Any earlier, and my body thinks it is just a nap. This would be fine if I weren't a confirmed morning person. That's right: if I sleep past 7:30, I feel sluggish and my day is ruined. Ideally, I need to be up at 6:30 or 7:00.

Being middle-aged is so m…

2017, Huh? That's Weird

Well, well, well, what have we here? A brand new year, full of unsullied days just waiting to be lived to their fullest?

Don't worry, we'll fix that.

In the meantime, I enjoyed what is my very favorite day of the year. I spent it knitting (all right, belatedly finishing promised Christmas presents, if you must know) and eating party leftovers. In the interest of full disclosure, I have meringue-cookie crumbs all over the front of my shirt. Yup, it was that sort of a day. Because, oh yes, we held our annual New Year's Day party yesterday. And the prep was pretty much as grueling as ever, except Susie really represented by cleaning up THE ENTIRE BASEMENT while I was at yoga on Saturday morning.

Long-time readers will recall that this is the same child who, at the age of 7, actually replaced a roll of toilet paper on her own initiative. Yes, she is a keeper.

Theo, our Army officer, showed up last Friday, home from the Middle East after 7 months. I spent all day Friday cooking…