Wednesday, November 28, 2018

No Clever Title Available

Hi! I was cooking dinner last night (gee, that's new) and I realized that, just for a moment there, I looked like a cooking blogger:

Surprisingly healthy, too

Amazing, right? It turned into a frittata, if you're wondering, but I forgot to take pictures of the finished project. Which is, uh, just one of the many reasons why I am NOT a cooking blogger.

It finally turned really cold here, which is how I just noticed that, hey, my car doesn't seem to be getting warm while I'm driving it. I spent a while telling myself that it was just because I'm not used to the cold yet; then I spent another while telling myself that it was just because it's so cold out, the car can't get very warm; because, hey, the heater couldn't possibly be broken.

And then I remembered how I spent the entire hot, humid summer riding around in a car with hardly any air conditioning, because I kept thinking that maybe the AC in my car was fine and I was just being too fussy and hey, it was really hot out, and then I finally got the darn thing fixed in October (mechanic said the coolant was almost GONE).

It wouldn't have cost me any more to have fixed that in June and not suffered all summer, you know.

So I came home tonight after picking up Rachel and said to Larry, "I don't think the car is heating up the way it should. Could the heater be broken?" And the man who trusts me to educate our children said, "You should check the controls."

For a second, I just stood there, thinking he could not have possibly told me to see if the little dial was turned to the red part and if the blower was on the correct setting. Of course not.

So I said, "What?"

And he said, "You know, check the dials."

And I said, "WHAT?!?"

Whereupon the poor man sensed he had entered dangerous territory. "Well, I only meant you might have it on the defogger or something," he huffed.

Really. Larry thought I sat in the Best Buy parking lot for 15 minutes, waiting for Rachel and freezing my butt off, in a car I have driven for over 9 years, and didn't think to see if the blower dial was set correctly.

Anyway, sensing the animosity radiating from my general direction, he Googled "Toyota Sienna not getting warm" and read that maybe the thermostat is broken and - hooray! - that's not expensive.

And then he went to bed, because I was still glaring at him.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Turns Out, Black Friday Is Fun

I'm terrible at remembering to take proper pictures. Do I have any pictures of friends and family seated around our Thanksgiving table? No, I do not. Not one. I do, however, have photos of silverware. That's right, SILVERWARE.

I don't even remember why I took this photo. 

Do I have a picture of my 3 youngest laughing and joking with their three next-door friends? No, I do not. I do, however, have a strikingly posed image of the leftovers I sent home with Theo.

That's definitely something the kids will want to look back on, years from now, right? Of course right. 

So you'll just have to take my word for it that we had people over for Thanksgiving, everyone ate and talked, and then (after our guests left and Rachel and Brian went to work at Best Buy) I went upstairs and fell asleep for an hour. When I came back downstairs, I apologized to Larry and Theo and Uncle Matt for my absence. Turns out, though, that they had all fallen asleep, too.

We are an exciting family, is what I'm saying here.

Susie and I finished off the evening with a rip-roaring game of Yahtzee, because that's how we roll. Get it? How we ROLL? Oh, I'm a laugh riot tonight. 

Rachel and Brian had to work again on Black Friday. I visited my yarn store (30% off, between 8 AM and 10 AM!) and did a little damage to my wallet there. Then I came back to find Susie waving a Michael's coupon at me, determined to go pick up a little snowman she'd had her eye on. So off we went.

So adorable! And only $5...
I used to be a total Black Friday refusenik, you know. I may have even smugly boasted in this very blog about not participating in this barbaric shopping ritual every November. Indeed, I looked down my nose at those consumption-driven souls who sacrificed family time to chase after some holiday bargains. 

Well, it turns out that the price for my soul is some discounted yarn and a cheesy holiday decoration made in China. 

I can't think of a good segue here, but I need to talk about trees. Stay with me.

Let's start with the sorry fact that the holiday magic of driving to our local Home Depot each December and tramping through the not-snowy parking lot to pick out our pre-cut tree has never really taken with Susie. In fact, she's been trying to convince us to stop buying live Christmas trees for a few years now. Since I usually spend the 2 weeks leading up to Christmas and the 2 weeks after convinced that our tree is about to spontaneously combust and kill us all, I am sort of on board with that plan. 

But not Larry. He clings to the romantic idea of the fresh pine smell in our living room, to the dubious enchantment of an honest-to-goodness tree draped with lights and ornaments, gradually dropping all its (flammable) needles on our living room floor. Also, he apparently thrives on the stress of running to all the stores (ALL OF THEM) 5 days before Christmas, looking for lights to replace the ones that used to work but don't anymore.

So! Susie convinced me that what we needed to do was gradually introduce Larry to the wonder of reuseable, less-ignitable trees. You know, wean him gently from his addiction to the combustible kind...


Yup, while we were at Michael's, we bought a cute little pre-lit tree, which Susie happily set up in our downstairs family room. Hey, it was only $20, okay? Doorbuster prices!

And, whaddaya know, it's been 2 whole days and all of its needles are still on. I call that a win.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018


I don't know when cooking got so tiring, but I passed out on the couch last night after baking 8 loaves of cranberry bread and making a double batch of cranberry sauce, plus all the usual stuff I do EVERY SINGLE DAY around here. Then I bounced back up this morning to make a vat of stuffing and roast 6 pounds of vegetables, which look to have shrunk down to approximately 5 mouthfuls, and no, I don't know what I'm going to do about that, thanks for asking.

LOTS of cranberries

I was getting a little annoyed, what with ordering the kids to help me and getting a ton of attitude from some of them, even though this food is being prepared for them. You'd think they'd know better by now. I mean, really, Rachel is a smart chick, yet she still thinks she can out-bitch me? Girl, please.

So, like I said, I was sitting here feeling a little pissed off and thought, hey, hasn't this happened before? Yes, indeed, it has. What's happening here is, in fact, an honest-to-goodness holiday tradition, albeit not the heartwarming type. The solution, happily, is the same as last year's - I'm going to be a Thanksgiving prep Nazi tomorrow (also a tradition). All hands on deck!

I'd like to mention here that Theo (who lives in his own place now) spent the day preparing 2 pumpkin pies to bring tomorrow. Maybe they all just need to move out?

Anyhoo, in the middle of all the holiday prep, Larry came home early and we all went out to see Fantastic Beasts 2 (don't know the real name of the movie and I'm not looking it up). Because, when you're super busy, it's always a great idea to plan a major family outing.

I did that, you know. I planned it. I can't even pin the blame on anyone else.

In other news, Brian is home from school! And this is what happens when I ask him to help cut up the bread for stuffing.

Edible jenga, anyone?

What can I say? He's an artist.

I need to get to bed, so I can rise bright and early and order the kids around. Tradition!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Yarn Is Complicated

Deb, a long-time reader (I'm talking 10 YEARS here), messaged me on Facebook, asking if I had any yarn organizing tips to share with her. Once I stopped laughing (I mean, really, she asked ME for organizing ideas), I decided that yes, I do have some ideas. They're just not well executed, is all. Apparently, the road to knitting chaos is paved with good intentions.

For example, there was my project bag organization idea, which got sort of, um, out of hand. And then there was the yarn dresser approach, which worked for a few months, anyway. And, of course, there was the day I bowed to the inevitable and purchased under-the-bed storage bins for my worsted and bulky weight yarns.

But, as devoted readers (there must be one or two of you) will recall, I now have an entire ROOM in which to organize my yarn, because Brian was kind enough to go off to college a few months ago. And I won't lie - I envisioned a beautiful set-up in this room, a sort of working studio, as it were, with the added benefit of a bed to sleep in if Larry were snoring too much.

I know I've asked this before, but where DOES a dream go when it dies?

Not very comfortable to sleep on

So, yeah, step one of yarn organization is to leave a lot of junk on the spare bed, because you're going to get to it some time. Are you taking notes, Deb?

I do still have the yarn dresser. I moved it into the closet of my, ahem, studio. Unfortunately, it's full. Full of yarn? Well, sort of...

The, uh, miscellaneous drawer

Spinning supplies, because I'm delusional like that

Drawer for sport weight yarn, but other stuff sneaked in

No idea what all this crap is

I also still have the two under-the-bed storage bins, now under the bed in my wannabe studio. It is nice to have them out of my bedroom, so I can Swiffer under my own bed more efficiently. But they are also full.

Worsted yarn I'm gonna do something with. Someday.

Bulky yarn, ditto

Oh, and I have this three-drawer rolling thing-y that Susie no longer wants. I shoved most of my fingering/sock weight yarn in there. That's organized, right? Tell me I'm right.

Totally gonna knit this. Soon. Really soon.

Let's not forget the cotton collection! Attractively arranged in a pretty hatbox I stole from Anna...

This used to be full, but I gave some away. See? Organized.

Organizing my knitting needles was definitely a challenge. Used to be, I never knew what I had, so I would just go out and buy a new set every time I started a project.

Look, I'm not proud of that, okay?

But then I came up with the idea of sorting them by size into those plastic zippered pencil cases that go into three-ring binders. It's like I'm a genius or something, you know? So now I have two binders full of needles, and I'd say that I can find the size I need at least 50% of the time. That, my friends, is progress. In my world, anyway...

This actually works. Yeah, I'm surprised, too.

Complete with needle gauge and template of someone's foot...

To round out my studio, I have one of those cube things, to store books and needle binders (see above) and such on. There are supposed to be a few blue storage bins in there, too, for odds and ends, but Susie confiscated them. The bins, that is. That's okay - I would have just filled them with junk, like my dresser drawers.


Surprisingly empty, but we know it won't stay that way, right?

And I have a regular bookcase, too, that I use to store my sundry knitting bags and baskets filled with unfinished projects.

Can you spot the sweater I was going to finish last week?

Look, I'm an artist. You can't expect me to operate in a linear fashion. STOP STIFLING MY CREATIVE INSTINCTS.

Oh, and speaking of unfinished objects (UFOs, in knitter parlance), here's a basket of sock yarn leftovers that are slated to be used for a blanket I started knitting, oh, 2 years ago.

My pretties....

I believe the project bag holding the blanket is in that first picture, lying on the bed under the purple yarn that is waiting to be knit into a school-colors scarf for Brian. No rush, people, I've got 3 1/2 more years to get to that scarf. More, if he does grad school there...

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Ticket To Ride

Hi! It's November! It's raining! IT'S NOT HUMID!

Excuse me, I'm a tad giddy. It was an awful summer, meteorologically speaking. "Summer," as in May all the way through October...

Anywhoo, here we are, enjoying fall weather and then a knitting friend of mine up and buys a beach house. OH, YES, SHE DID. So 5 of us are setting out tomorrow to inspect the house and make sure it is fun to knit in. Everyone's schedules fell into place perfectly (Larry has some days off this week!), because miracles can happen like that.

Not-yet-knitted Christmas presents

Except, I just realized that Theo's birthday is this Friday. Sure, he's turning 27 and probably doesn't care if I'm there or not; but this is the first time in years he's been here on his birthday. It feels sort of rude to abandon him, you know? Also, he's the oldest, so his birthday is always special - it marks when I first became a mom and less of a callow idiot.

Gonna finish this sweater, too...
But, hey, I'm leaving anyway. We'll have cake on Saturday, I guess. I think Theo's moving out this weekend, so it can be a farewell cake, too. Don't worry, we won't be too lonely - Anna is moving back in early next month. I need a revolving door on that guest room, I'm thinking.

I applied for another editing job (a job I've already done as an independent contractor, so HIRE ME ALREADY) at the company Theo just started working for. Good son that he is, he submitted an internal referral for me. That means my resume might make it past the recruiter to the hiring manager's desk. Woohoo!

Of course, if I do get an interview, I have no idea what to say. Anyone have interview tips for a middle-aged woman who hasn't had a real job in, oh, 27 years?

I need to go pack now. You know, all the yarn and the leftover Halloween candy and whatever else I think to throw in my bag. Clothes, maybe? Yeah, those too, I guess.  And, for those of you keeping track, this will be the THIRD time I've gone away this fall. I'm telling you, after a quarter century of not going anywhere much, this being able to get away is really novel. Seriously, there used to be entire years when I wouldn't leave town, aside from a weekend trip up to my parents' house, maybe, or a day trip to the beach with 5 or 6 kids in tow.

I'm reveling in my new-found freedom, is what I'm saying. All those years listening to people talk about frequent flyer miles and getaways with their girlfriends and weekend excursions to fun cities, while I nursed babies and cranked out 3 meals a day, every day, and thought it would never, ever end?

It did end. I'm going to the beach in the middle of the week with my friends, and everyone here will manage just fine. See? If you wait 27 years, anything can happen.