Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Week Of The Long Scarves

My hands HURT
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 party,where I did manage to get a few rows done (yes, I AM a horrible guest - horrible and desperate).

I finished off my socializing spree on Monday with our neighborhood Bunko night, where I was too busy winning 30 dollars to have time to knit.  In short, I was hard pressed to finish what I had envisioned as being a bunch of easy gift projects.

All right, it would have helped if I had started the darn things earlier, I know.

Seasonal favorite
So now my lovely creations are winging (or rolling, I don't know which) their way north, nestled in a box with several containers of Moose Munch; and I can finally turn my attention to the folks who live here. The gift-giving here has gotten a little boring, however, what with all the kids getting older - we paid to help fix Anna's 13-year-old truck and Theo's 8-year-old car, so that pretty much takes care of the 2 oldest (or, as we affectionately refer to them, the prototypes).

As for the youngest 4, they're all becoming a tad too jaded to make this gift-giving thing much fun. Essentially, we're dubbing this the Christmas of the Gift Cards and leaving it at that.

Gift cards and Moose Munch, actually - can't skip that Moose Munch...

*Copper Boom Scarf, for those of you who need to know

Friday, December 16, 2016

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'm doing. Let's go!"

And back home we went, with our brand new tree. David brought it inside for us, and we all helped set it up in the stand. Then we stepped back to admire our work.

"It's too small," Susie said.

"That's just because the branches haven't spread out yet," I said, confidently. "Just give it a couple of hours - it will fill out that corner, like it always does."

[2 hours later]

Wishing you a skinny little Christmas...

David and I stood in the living room, staring at the tree. "Don't tell Susie, but that tree is too small," I said. Being a young man of few words, David just nodded and shrugged. I kept staring at the tree. "I don't get it - the more I look at it, the smaller it gets."

"It's a tree," offered David, sensibly.

Yeah, it's a tree, all right. But, honestly? It just doesn't fill the space right. It makes Christmas look as if it went on a diet. If the Grinch came along, he wouldn't even bother to steal this tree. He would just look at it and think, "My work here is done."

Worst of all? Susie knows she was right. And she'll never let me forget it.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Get Thee Behind Me, Pretzels

Tired of these
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 approximately 4 gallons of conditioner I bought 2 1/2 months ago is GONE), curl scrunch (see above re abundant amounts of thick, curly hair), rubber car mats for my 7-year-old car (because the carpet mats are hopelessly dirty and my job consists of driving senior citizens around and I don't want to gross them out), and - oh, yes - a coat for me that I will probably send back because it will make me feel like a chubby 4-year-old stuffed into a snowsuit. Because they all do.

Ooh la, la! It's French!
I think I need a cape. A nice, woolen cape that swirls and hides the fact that I no longer have a waist. Look how happy the lady in that picture looks. That could be moi. Although, come to think of it, I'm not sure how one manages to carry a purse, wearing that thing.

You know, fashion is really complicated.

[Pretzels image: Snyder's Online]
[Cape image: Sportsman's Guide]

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

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?

NOT a fun place to be sick

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 possibility.

And I'll have you know that, despite my desperate condition, I persisted in cleaning the bathroom today. Scrubbed the tub and everything. Why? Because I'm a mom. I hope that in my next life (we DO get another one, right?), I remember to have a job that gives sick days.

Last I checked, Susie's lunch consisted solely of tater tots. I ordered pizza for dinner (Larry picked it up). I bitched at everyone to put their plates in the dishwasher. I napped. Anna drove Brian to work. We all managed. Still, I've lost valuable knitting time and the rest of the house is a mess.

Not the bathroom, though - the bathroom GLEAMS.

*Word to the wise - DO NOT Google images for "Patient Zero." I'm gonna have nightmares.

[Airplane image: Panda Clipart]

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Under Pressure

2-at-a-time - I am SO clever
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.

Old Faithful
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. I don't know, maybe I am just becoming dumber. I managed to burn (very slightly) my hand when I moved that steam release vent at the end. Maybe this dog is getting too old to learn new tricks.

The kids said the chicken tasted good, however. So I'll try the thing a few more times, see if it works for pot roast, maybe. I mean, it would be nice not to have my dinner plans torpedoed just because I forgot to defrost the roast the night before, to have it ready for the crockpot at 8 AM.

I like my crockpot, though. It's not scary. I value that in a kitchen appliance.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

God Bless Us, Everyone!

Look at this theater! So beautiful...
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...