Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We are about to put 2009 in the books.  We are going to wrap it up, put in in paper, tie it with string and relegate it to the corner and let it get dusty.  It isn't that I am bitter, which I am a little, it is because this year was bad.  It was not a good year.  It was one of Mac's top 10 but he is 9.

2009 was a year that had to happen to get us to 2010.  Without going through the hardships of this year, we would not be where we are today.  It is part of our growth as individuals and as a family.  I recognize that, but still, I would like to feed this year to the dog. 

As I look towards next year, I am in a position to make some radical changes to my life.  I am going to enter a new chapter and the page is blank.  I have been sad about leaving my old life behind, but now I am a little excited. 

So, my resolutions for 2010, are:

1) To get more healthy.  I am not sure if this really means lose weight, although that would help, but more a change in how I approach food and excercise.  I plan to be more aware of the choices I am making and try and make the healthier choice.  I think we can all benefit from trying to improve the quality of the food we eat and ensure that we excercise regularly.  So, we aren't talking about anything radical here!

2)  Do at least 4 things to position myself to get a job when Hannah starts school.  Some of this as already happened, but I need to do a few more things so that when I am finally ready to be employed on a part-time basis.  I need to cultivate some more connections and start to figure out what my employment will look like.

3)  Try and maintain a positive attitude.  I realize that this year has left me with many a rant about what is going on.  I would like to be able to look at the good in things and let the bad go.  It is hard to do.  Goodness knows I would like to hunt down Bob's old employers and do something drastic with them.  Forgiveness and moving on are what I would like to be the hallmarks of 2010.

I don't know what 2010 will bring, but I know that we will figure out a way to get through it.  Until then, I hope we make it back to Illinois without problem and that your New Years Eve celebration is safe.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Accidental Swimming

Let me paint the scene... We are at my Uncles house.  It is a gorgeous house.  It is enormous, like 5,500 square feet.  It is the kind of house that you have a 100 people at, and no one feels cramped.  We attend a party there once a year.  It is a big event, all my cousins and their kids are there.  About 25 people.  We are definately representing the white trash side of the family.

I always stress out before this, because I am sure that my kids are going to do something horrible.  Break something really expensive, or just cause some sort of embarrassing calamity.  Granted, M and V are lovely hosts, so anything, no matter how horrible, would be handled very graciously.  But, still I worry.

We arrive.  My kids go tearing outside to play.  There is a pool and a hot tub outside and one of my cousins kids says to me, they won't go into the pool would they?  I respond, no, we talked about that, they wouldn't do that.  Famous last words.

I go into the kitchen for a cranberry margarita.  Very yummy, highly recommend them.  Hannah comes into the kitchen and insists that I need to go see Sam.  I go outside.  As I get closer to him, I notice that there are wet footsteps leading from the hot tub to where he is.  This is not good.  I hope that one of the four dogs has been for a swim.  That is not the case, Sam has "fallen" into the hot tub.  Actually he was testing the cover to see if he could stand on it... yeah, not so much.  He is soaked, head to toe. I do not have any clothes for him.

I go inside to ask my cousin who has a 10 year old.  The youngest child there other than mine.  She has nothing.  She graciously gets me a towel, goes outside with me and helps me get Sam situated.  She put Sam's clothes into the dryer for me.  I carry Sam inside.  He is embarrassed, crying and generally carring on.  I put him on a bench away from the general hubbub.  And try and figure out what to do.

It finally comes to me, I could put him in a sweat shirt and he could wear that like a dress until his clothes are dry.  My aunt is a tiny woman.  I never realized how tiny, until tonight. I ask her if we can borrow a sweat shirt from her.  She hooks me up with a pair of shorts and a sweat shirt.  The shorts, while a bit long in the rise, fit Sam fairly well and the sweatshirt rounded out the outfit.  The items were too long, but not too big around.  So, my aunt is basically the size of a six year old.  I told you she was tiny.

When Sam finally got his clothes back it was a big boost to his self esteem.  All is well that ends well.  My mother said, it was a good thing he didn't drown.  I agree, but isn't that a bit morbid?  Next time when I tell the kids not to go into the pool, I will not assume hot tub is implied.  I will spell it out.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in California

I have a friend who has children who are grown.  The wisdom in starting early is that when you are young enough to enjoy it, the kids are gone.  She emailed me, said it was 1:00 pm and she had nothing to do but knit.  The house was clean, the dinner was prepped, the kids were gone.  She asked me about our day, and this is my reply:

1:00 in the morning the parade begins, little children in stocking feet to check and see what Santa may have brung. Shuffle, shuffle, sneaky feet, as the creep by my room loud as elephants in heat.

2:00 things start to wind down, children tucked snug in their beds, as visions of sugar plums dance in their heads.

3:00 one more check to see if the ho ho ho on the street was Santa stopping by for a quick slice of meat. (Seriously, that is what the excuse was, they wanted to know if Santa wanted cold cuts.)

4:00 Everyone settled, mommy finally can sleep. Children threatened with cancelations if they utter a peep.

6:30 It is light out, time to awake.

6:31 Gifts all open, children crying, why isn't there more? This is not what I wanted. My Christmas is ruined. Oh, why don't you love me?

7:00 All settled down to look over Mommy's credit card bill to show that she spent more than she should so they would have their fill.

10:30 Brunch with family, come one come all. Brother David winds up the children and watches them fall.

11:30 Grandma has had it, take your kids and your stuff and get out of here.  We all leave, mostly out of fear.

1:00 House is cleaned, preparing for more, dinner will bring them all ringing at the door.

2:30 Return home from the park, all is better. Sunshine...

3:00 The dinner for 15 is now down to 5, we think left-overs rather than roast and all that jive.

My friend's response:  This is why some animals eat their young.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Kids say the Darndest Things

Watch out Birds
As a way of background, It is a ritual to throw peanuts for the blue jays at my Moms house.  It is one thing the kids look forward to.  My mom is a big bird lover. 

Hannah to Grandma:  I would like the tennis racket you hit the birds with. 
Grandma to Hannah:  You mean a badmitten racket?
Grandma to Me:  Great, your kids think I lure birds into the yard and whack them with tennis rackets.

Anatomy of a Con:
Sam:  Come and play badmitten with me please.
Uncle Mike:  Not today, maybe next time.
Sam:  Please
Uncle Mike:  Not today, I already played with you, I am tired.
Sam:  Please
Mom:  Go outside.
Sam:  Ok, Mom
5 minutes later
Hannah:  Uncle Mike, come outside with me, there is something I want to show you.
Uncle Mike:  Ok, lets go, what do you want to show me.
Upon reaching the outdoors...
Sam:  Uncle Mike, lets play badmitten, you are outside already.  Hannah, good job, you got him out here.
Uncle Mike, you've been played.

Who does Daddy love?
Hannah:  Mommy, I know what girls Daddy loves.
Mommy:  Really?  Who?
Hannah:  Me.
Mommy:  Anyone else?
Hannah:  You
Mommy:  Is that all?
Hannah:  No, there is the girl Kim that he also loves that we see at the religous school park.
Mommy:  Is that so....
(Note:  Kim is Flaffies cousin, so I am not real worried about it.)

Well Stated

Sometimes, someone else says it better than I do.

December Dilemma

Hope you have a great day. We are enjoying the warm weather here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Art Museum

Yesterday I took the kids to the art museum.  They really enjoyed seeing the art.  Most of the museum was closed, so there wasn't much to see, so I was a little bummed about that.  There was one exhibit that really excited them.  They wanted to touch everything.  It was cool sculpture that really did make you want to touch it, good art should move you.  But, in a museum such as this you can not touch.

The security guard comes over after watching me struggle to enforce the no touching rule, and told them, "Listen to your Grandmother and don't touch the art please."  Well, my hair is done, so I am not any greyer than any other 40 year old mother.  My kids all stopped and looked at him.  Mac says to him, "She is my mother, NOT my Grandmother and she isn't really old enough to be my Grandmother anyway.  My Grandmothers are really old, not like my mom."  I am not sure how to take that, but I think Mac's heart was in the right place.

I looked at the guy, and he slinked away.  Actually, he slinked completly out of the room and had a new security guard come it.  Yeah, we scared him off.  So, all you would be art thieves, we offer our sevices for hire.  My kids will scare off the guard and then you can steal what you want, while we provide a distraction.

The other guard who came, was very nice, and told me that there was a children's exhibit in the basement that we could go and see.  He then told me that we could come and go as we pleased, so if the kids were loosing interest, we could just come back later.  I thought that was a slightly more diplomatic way of saying get the hell out of here before you break something.

We go the hell out of there by the way, went to the kids exhibit and left never to return.  I think the guards all were slightly relieved.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Degree of Seperation

Yesterday, I talked about how one persons' bad year is anothers' dream.  It seems that message keeps on keepin' on. One degree of seperation is all that keeps me from these wild and horribly tragic events that are happening in other peoples lives. 

A friend of a a friend of mine had her house burn down.  While everyone is ok, the loss of everything you own and the accompaning drama in rebuilding all of that is unimaginable.  Being a Californian, I have seen numerous people go through this.  Sure at the end everything is ok, but the trip to getting there is not pleasant.  I feel for them, 2010 will be a rough year for them.

Another is a family of a friend of my Aunts, they lost their 8 year old son in a boating accident Sunday.  Their pleasure craft was hit by a coast guard cruiser traveling at a high rate of speed.  Their other two kids are in the hospital, I don't know how they are doing, but I hope they survive, because the death of one child is all anyone ever needs to deal with.  The Dad is presumably physically ok, as he was interviewed for the paper, but 3 other adults are also injured.  I hope his wife is not one of them, they will need each other.

While I am perched, poised, and ready to leap on 2010 in hopes of a better year, I see these families that might not be so lucky.  I hope that my 2010 is better, and I hope that yours is too.  I also hope that these families are able to proceed with their lives and not be horribly derailed by the tragedy of 2009.

Fires, boating accidents, oh my.  All I can say, is be safe out there folks!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Perspective in the winery

I bought some wine infused chocolates for a friend of mine today.  We found the winery, the kids stayed in the car and I went in to the winery, and picked up the chocolates.  The lady in front of me was buying about 10 cases of wine.  By the way she was dressed and the way she talked about the wine, it was clearly for her.  For her holiday gathering, to be specific.

As she was leaving she wished the lady behind the counter a good New Year.  She said, "2009 was so horrible, I certianly hope that 2010 is better.  It just has to be."

While I totally share that sentiment, it is so outside my world that I would purchase 10 cases of premium wine for a party that I can not imagine how her year was bad.  Seriously, did she have to let her party planner go?  Does she have to do all the work herself now? 

That said, I am pretty sure other folks would look at my bad year and say, what, you had to let your cleaning lady go?  You have to clean your own house now?  You still have a house right??

It is all about perspective isn't it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Guess what mom?

Today Imagination Movers, a show on Disney channel, was about Santa loosing his ho ho ho.  The Movers helped him get it back.  My kids watched it, mostly because nothing else was on.  At the end, they sang a song, that said it is the Christmas season, and Hanukkah too.  Sam came tearing into the room, and announced that Hanukkah was included.

My kids were very excited to watch Phineas and Pherb save Christmas because Isabella is Jewish and she says, "Well, I don't celebrate Christmas, but I got the coolest stuff for Hanukkah, 8 whole days of dreams come true!"  The boys were so excited to see that episode, because one of the characters is like them.  (Except for the fact that she is a girl.)  They could wait to quote it at school the next day.

My sister-in-law, sends her kids to Jewish Day School.  I am starting to see the wisdom in that decision.  It is very hard to be the kid that is different.  There are more mulsim families in our school than jewish ones.  So, when I get upset about the over abundance of Christmas at school, parties, and other activities it is because, my kids while they enjoy the activity, still feel sort of left out.

Mac emailed Club Penguin to ask them to include Hanukkah stuff in their Christmas party.  I am sure he did it because he has seen me fighting about it in our actual lives, but the fact remains that he noticed it and felt left out.

I realize I have harped on this subject for ever, and that you are probably tired of reading about it.  I just some how feel that some folks still don't get it.  They don't understand why it is so hard to be left out because your faith is different.  I guess at the end of the day, I know who my friends are and I know what organizations support diversity.  I like diversity.

I just hope that when folks say they understand, that means that they will change their behavior.  Frankly, I haven't seen that happen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

1.  Don't brag about the weather.  The average high over the next week is 58, down from 69 - 75.  That will teach me.

2.  I hate it when the carbon monoxide detectors run out of battery in the middle of the night.  Why does that always happen?

3.  Is it because during the day we are so loud we don't hear it? 

4.  If so, why is it that it wakes you up at like 2 in the morning?

5.  Is it wise to sell me pointy sticks?

6.  We get to go to the craft store.

7.  They sell good yarn.

8.  I have a coupon.

9.  I love all Cookies. 

10.  1 down 1 to go

11.  I forgot a lot of stuff... thank goodness for the usps and kmart.

12.  Show of hands who thinks we should move here?

13.  I don't want to live the parking lot either.  That will teach me to be more specific.

14.  Knitting makes everything better

Friday, December 18, 2009

Harry Potter

I will start by letting you know, this post is being written with a loaded stapler aimed at my head.  Yes, that is right, I am being held at stapler point.  Mac would like me to get off the computer so he can play Club Penguin.  He is going to help me write this post.  We will see how this goes.

Today's topic will be Harry Potter.  We will now analyze Mac's theory that someone, Snape or Dumbeldore, had to die in book 6.

If Snape had not made the unbreakable vow with Beatrix, Voledmort would have killed Snape, because he would have know Snape was not trustworthy.  So, in the big climax scene where the bad guys, Draco, Beatrix are on the tower with Dumbledore and Snape, someone had to go.  If Draco killed Dumbledore, like he was supposed to, Dumbledore is dead.  If Snape kills Dumbledore, again D is dead.  If Snape doesn't kill him, TWO unbreakable vows will kill him.  If Dumbledore manages to escape all these bad guys the potion that he drank in the cave, was going to kill him anyway.  So, no matter how you look at it, Dumbledore was a gonner.

This concludes Mac's guest post. Hope you enjoyed it.  I am still being held at stapler point, but think once this is posted, and he is on the computer, I will be ok.

Check back tomorrow to see.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The real story

So, we arrived.  The real story:

7:30,  no limo.

7:45,  call to limo company conjures up limo and a white stretch limo pulls into my driveway, while I am on the phone with the car service.  Why does that always happen?  I would like to note that the driver is not hideous, but also not someone I would even consider violating my marriage vows with.  Here is the good thing, the male I would consider doing that with would never consider doing it with me.  I love how that works out.

8:45 we arrive at the airport, stand in line for about a month, check our luggage, and make our way through security.  All without event.  Even the cat that was in the carrier ahead of us did nothing interesting, like leap out of its owners arms and run through the airport.
10:45 we board the plane and we are told that our crew is on another plane.  That they will be there shortly.  Apparently, shortly means about 45 minutes in airline speak.

11:30 we are finally in the air.  Everyone is coloring, looking at books and everything seems to be moving along alright.  Snacks are being eaten, drinks drunk, kids generally hunkered down for the 4 hour flight.

12:30 "Mommy, can I watch a dvd?"  I get the dvd player out.  Which I charged prior to leaving on the trip.  Or at least I THOUGHT I had charged it.  Anyway, dig the player and the dvds only to realize that the player didn't work.  There was a brief moment of panic.  I stayed cool on the outside, explained the situation to the 4 year old.  Waited for the response.  She looks at me and says, "Oh, that is too bad, to you think it is broken or it just didn't charge?"  Me:  "Not sure honey, will look into it when we get to Grandma's."  4 yr old:  "I guess I will color instead."  Me:  "Good idea."  Inside, I am thinking, what just happened here?  Anyway, thanks for the prayers, it seemed to work.

1:30  We land, after 3 trips to the potty, numerous coloring pages sent to the pilot and crew, magazines being cut up and decopaged to the windows, books read and games played.  But, no one fought.  Sure there were a few moments where I had to threaten punishments, but nothing was doled out.  All and all, a first class flight.

2:30 we are on the road.

3:30 we stop at the park to let the kids run around a bit.

4:15 we load back up and continue to Santa Barbara.  We worried about traffic, that really never materalized.  The kids were mostly good.  A bit ansty towards the end, but I think everyone was.

5:30, 12 hours after we started, we arrive at my Mom's.  All and all a good trip.  Guess my trade on the looks of the driver worked out.

Sorry this isn't a more dramatic post on the harrows of flying with children.  Today it just didn't happen.  Is it wrong of me to hope that the return is just as good?  I fixed the dvd player, so we will have that next time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The trip to California

This post is being written in advance of the events actually happening.  I will post the actual events on Thursday, but this is how I will imagine my day.

7:30, a lovely black limo will pull into my driveway, and the drop dead handsome driver will put my luggage into the tunk and escort me and my lovely children to the car.

8:45, we will arrive at midway, and said driver will unload our luggage.  I will tip him generously.

9:30, we will have cleared security, and be scoping out a place to get a light snack.

10:45 we will be taxiing down the runway and have a relaxing journey to California.  There will be no fighting.  The kids will be quiet and enjoyable on the airplane.  I will be able to knit and read while we cross the country.

1:30 we will land, and we will meet my mom at the baggage claim.  The kids will be helpful and carry the luggage to the car.

2:30, we will be peacefully traveling along US 1 to Santa Barbara.  There will be no fighting, no traffic and everyone will enjoy the seeing the ocean.

4:30, we will arrive in Santa Barbara, and pick up yummy salads for dinner and the kids will enjoy a pizza.

Once we arrive, everyone will be happy, rested and peaceful.  I will have a glass of wine with my mom, and the kids will play happily in the backyard.  Bed time will come and everyone will go to bed happily.  The weather will be lovely.

Ok, Thursday, I will give you the real story.  But, if we could all say a little prayer that it isn't much different than what I imagined, that would be great.  I am willing to concede the hot driver, if it means no fighting on the trip.

Peace out!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A rock in the pond

Today I walked the kids to school.  I know, earth shattering, I never do this.  But, while we were walking Mac and I were discussing the books for the Battle of the Books competition he is in.  One of the books is The Boy in the Red Coat, by Barbara Park.  He was telling me how he remembered the authors name.

I asked what the book was about, and he told me it is about a boy who moves and is the new kid.  I look over at Mac, in his red coat and say, you are the new kid and you are a wearing a red coat.  He told me that he wasn't the new kid anymore.  That after a year you are one of the regular kids.

This was in interesting observation.  Mac is now one of the regular kids.  He stopped and looked at me, impressed by his observation too.  He told me that it was nice to be one of the regular kids and not the new kid anymore.  I agree!

I told him, that moving the way we did is like throwing a big rock into a pond.  When the rock hits the water, it disrupts the pond, it makes a splash and there are ripples on the water.  When the rock hits the ground, the dirt moves around, the other rocks have to shift their position, and the entire environment is disrupted.  But, after a while, everything settles back down and the rock becomes part of the eco-system in the pond.

I think the dirt is starting to settle and that we are starting to be part of the eco-system.

On a separate topic, my toasty warm boots came and the zipper broken while I tried them on!  I was so excited to have warm feet and the zipper broke.  Sigh.  I guess I will have warm feet in a few days, because I will be in California.  I am taking flip flops.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A lot of knitting

I have been looking back over the year, sort of a year in review if you will.  I knit a lot of things this year.

I knit:

9 pairs of socks
1 pair of mittens
2 string bags
8 hats
6 scarves
9 stuffed animals
4 baby blankets
1 dishrag
Over 200 squares on my sock yarn blanket

I have one pair of socks on the needles, which I will probably finish before the end of the year, so I may be able to bump up the total to 10 pairs of socks.

So, in 2009, I knit a lot.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let's put it to bed

Since the year is wrapping up, I have been pondering the events of this past year.  Now, most of you have been along for the ride, so you know that this past year has not been really a great one.  You know I am ready to put this year into the books and close it up, tie it up with strong string and toss into a corner, never to be thought of again. 

That will be pretty hard to do, not think about this year.  2009, really has been a year of such great change, that it will be hard not to remember where we were, and compare that to where we are.  Pretty much everything in our lives has changed, except for the one main thing, we stand firmly together as a family.  But, even our definition of family has changed, in a good way.  I think each and everyone of us is closer to the others.  We are, as a unit stronger than we were last year at this time.

I think that while most marriages are challenged by job loss, moving and other stressors, for Bob and I, it has made us realize that we really do have each others backs.  Sure we fight about when to shovel the snow off the driveway.  I would like to go on the record as saying ALL snow must be removed, because it ices up and I have to walk the kids to school twice a day.  Bob on the other hand, feels if he can get up the driveway, no need to remove the snow.  But I digress.

 Well, only 18 more days and we can put 2009 to bed and start in on 2010.  I hope it is a better year for us, and for you, I hope it is filled with blessings and joy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I signed up to do what???

Last night, I tucked the kiddios into bed.  They were tired from a long afternoon of playing video games.  I am a bad mother, wanna make something of it?  I came back down to watch a little Food Network or HGTV.  I had my warm blanket and my knitting.  It is some wild times here in the big city.  Wild times.

I was happily watching some chef make something I would never even consider eating.  Bob was working on his computer telling me about his day.  He prattles on like a 5 year old who just got a new toy.  He is seriously excited about his new job.  As depressed and mopey as he was about being unemployed, go to the other end of that scale and you will find how happy he is about his new job.  Every day, he practically leaps out of bed and giggles as he puts on his big boy pants and heads off to work.  He keeps this up and it won't be called work much longer.  I am glad he likes his new job, and I will get back on track here.

So, I am watching this chef make something out a chicken that should really not be served to people.  And Bob announces that his company is having a Holiday Pot-Luck on the 22nd.  Hmm, what Holiday might that be?  We joked around about that before getting to the serious business of what he is going to take.  I am going to be out of town on the 22nd.  I LOVE my husband, seriously I do, but 13 years of not having to cook for himself, his cooking muscle has atrophied and he is pretty clueless in the kitchen anymore. 

What can I make, freeze, and have him defrost that will 1) taste good, 2) not take up a lot of time to make and 3) not be expensive.  I immediately thought of all the frozen dinners I made after freezer-gate.  But, that work is done, and I sort of want to keep my meal portioned dinners. 

Since we have tons, and tons, of sweet mixes, I told him, volunteer to bring the cookies.  Do it now before someone else jumps on that and you get stuck with main dish.  So, he did.  Now, I have to make a cookie platter.  What the heck was I thinking?  I have to leave for California in 4 days. 

How does this sound... Chocolate Chip Cookies, Brownies, Chai Spice Shortbread, A fourth cookie to be named at a later date.  I think I covered the bases, a classic, chocolate, something gourmet, and well, if you have an idea for a 4th cookie, please let me know!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Didn't see it coming

It is interesting how when one thing comes to end, another pops its head up.  It makes me wonder if this happens because your are willing to entertain the option.  For example, about 6 months ago a felt horribly over committed, and wasn't quite sure I could keep all the balls in the air.  After careful consideration I decided to let a couple of of the balls drop.

I let a few too many balls drop, but based on my criteria they were the right balls.  No sooner had I let the last one go, did another opportunity pop up.  An opportunity that is more in line with my goals and beliefs.  It is an interesting thing how that worked out.

I haven't heard the fall out from letting the last ball drop.  I imagine I will, but maybe I won't.  Life is uncertain.  I felt a little bad letting the last one drop, because I really felt that I was letting some folks down.  But, sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

So, here we are, I am looking to fill the void and start the process of moving on to the next phase in my life, and an opportunity walks up and says hi, how are you?  Did this happen because I noticed the opportunity, because I was willing to even entertain it?  I know 6 months ago, I would have dismissed it out of pocket.

Regardless of how it came to be, it looks like I am going to be able to start to do something that is going to position me to do the next thing.  Start making the connections I need to be able to do the type of work I want to do.  I didn't see that one comin'!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It is chilly outside

In preparation for today's post you will need to acquire a few accessories.  First off, you will need to protect your knees.  You only have one set of given knees, so take care of them.  To that end, get your knee pads, yoga mat or something to protect your knees on the ground.  Don't worry, I'll wait.

A little warm up, light stretching.  Perhaps a few side touches, and arm reaches.  What ever you need to do to get loosened up.  All set?  Ready to go?  Great, prepare to be moved to bow down at my awesome hard-coreness.

Let me paint the scene, it 1 degree Fahrenheit outside, with a steady wind of 15 mph, and gusts up to 50 mph.  So to say it is freezing, is perhaps an under statement.  It is freakin' arctic outside.  We are talking, exposed skin = frostbite.  This is some serious cold.

The kids and I walked the block and a half to school.  Yeah, we bundled up and walked.  Hannah and I walked back.  We were outside for 20 minutes today, walking to school, waiting to be let in, and walking back.  We waved at all our friends, as they drove by snuggled into their cars, with their lattes.  I said we were awesomely hard-core, not necessarily smart.  I think that the only way people recognized us is because they know the colors of our coats.  Seriously, all you could see is our eyes, because any exposed skin was going to be frozen off. 

So, us walkers, we are awesomely hard-core, we walk to school in 1 degree real temp, significantly colder if you factor in wind chill.  Yeah, so this California girl, who put her van on the neighbors lawn the other day, walked to school in the arctic temps.  We are going to walk to do pick up too...

I know, I am awesomely hard-core.  You warmed up, and you may now genuflect.  Remember, you have knee protection and you warmed up.  You should be good, you won't hurt yourself.  If you do, don't come calling on me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some more knitting

Some more finished objects!  Hannah was complaining that she did not have a hat that fit her anymore, so I whipped this up for her.  She loves it!

These socks are toasty and perfect for a cold snowy day.  The pattern was shared with me by Miss T... Thanks!! :)

Finally, everyone needs felted alpaca mittens.  Love how warm and cozy they are!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let it snow!

I am a California Girl.  I bleed salt water.  My toes love the feeling of sand between them.  Seriously, there is nothing better than fun in the surf and sun.  I did not grow up with snow.  The only snow I ever saw at my house was the snow my brother and his friend loaded up in his truck and drove down to my moms house.  That seems like a special kind of crazy, to shovel snow into the bed of a truck to drive it down so that the kids the in 'hood could have a snowball fight.  But he was 20 something, and it really didn't snow that close to our house that often ever.

So, being in a snowy climate for the past, well, a lot of years.  My feelings about snow have changed a lot.  The first time it snowed when I lived in Cleveland, I called my mom all excited.  This guy, don't remember his name anymore, took me to an empty parking lot and taught me how to spin out, or more importantly how to stay alive if I spin out.  It was fun and exciting.  I loved to play in the snow.  I loved everything about it.

Fast forward A LOT of years.  A lot more than I wish to remember, and now, I am not such a fan of snow.  It is a pain in the ass to put three kids in snow suits and get out the door.  Today, the kids were a bundle of energy.  I woke up to screams of delight, it is snowing!  Followed by, we don't have school, it is snowing.  The kids don't quite understand what level of snow will cancel school.  Face it, we live in Chicago, no amount of snow will cancel school.  The President's Daughter was right on that account.

So, I bundled everyone up, and out the door we went.  I had not even left the house and Hannah drops to the ground, on the walkway.  I am thinking, she fell.  But, no, she was making snow angels.  She made one about every 5 feet on the way to school today.  It took a lot of doing to keep her from making on on the road.  I am not sure, but something tells me that would not be a good idea. 

The kids had a great time, throwing snowballs at each other, making snow angels, and generally playing.  They can not wait until recess.  Because, yes, even in the snow our kids go out.

After putting the car on my neighbors lawn this morning, shh, don't tell, this California girl, longs for the surf and sand.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Expectations.  That is what it all boils down to.  I have an idea about how things should be, and I have expectations about what should happen.  Sometimes things just don't work out the way I think they should.

Mac spent the night with a friend on Saturday.  I had the expectation that we would have a lovely peaceful weekend.  That was not to be.  Sam and Hannah fought with each other all evening.  When I put Hannah to bed at 6:00, on her request, she was tired. Sam was bored.  He whined that there was nothing on tv to watch, that none of his video games were good and he wanted someone to play with. Here I thought, the kid would like having the house to himself, but he ended up missing his brother.

Bob and I did not have the peaceful evening we imagined.  Sure the wine helped with the whine, but still... I had visions of peace and quiet dancing in my head.

The next morning, Mac was to be delivered to religious school.  This is not a hardship for the friends family, as the friend was also supposed to attend the same religious school.  Apparently, it was a hardship for this family, as he did not show up until half way through.  He missed his first class, and half of his second class.

I teach a class that uses the room that the friend is in prior to my class, so I see him when he leaves.  I was a bit freaked out when I didn't see him.  Why wasn't he there?  Where was my baby?  I just assumed I had missed seeing him walk out.  Mac was at my door at the end of class, which was a relief.  But, Mac was very unhappy that he missed his first class.  I guess my expectation that he actually show up on time, was too hard for this family to enforce, as the kids were tired.  Really?  Big surprise, the kids were tired after a sleep over?  hmm.  Next time, the kid can come over here, and we can enforce that they arrive on time.

I guess I need to calibrate my expectations better!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

News Stories

I have been reading the newspaper.  Yes, I still read the paper EVERY day.  I know, very old school of me. Some days I walk away wondering what the fuck has this world come too?  Seriously, the massively stupid things people/countries do boggles the mind.  I wonder, do they read the article in the paper and wonder, "why did I do that?"

Let me start with the IRS.  They audited a woman who only made $19,000, because they felt she made too little to have two dependents, Article.  Seriously, she didn't make enough money to support her kids?  Ok, so, you are poor, you get pregnant, you have kids, what the heck are you supposed to do with them, because apparently the IRS says you can't support them.  The IRS believes she has unreported income, but after spending $10,000 on lawyer fees the woman in question was not proven guilty.  But the IRS still didn't believe that she supported her kids.  So, these kids don't exist as far as the IRS is concerned.  Makes you proud to be an American doesn't it!

The whole situation with the Swiss sort of befuddled me as well.  I thought Switzerland was neutral?  Apparently not anymore.  But the French re-action, well, that amazed me.  Seriously, you are going to out law Burkas?  This is a slippery slope, are kippas next?  I guess eventually there will be fashion police.  Where does the government get off mandating what I can and can not wear.  I guess there is some basic expectation of covering my private parts, but much beyond that, isn't this my problem?  When the government gets into my panties enough to tell me what I need to wear over them, we have an issue.  Note to self:  don't move to France.

Last year at this time, all the articles about holiday shopping were about how to trim your list, make things, give the gift of time, etc.  They were not about buying things.  Today, I read an article, entitled, "Buy a New Dress for that Holiday Party."  This isn't the only article I have read lately encouraging us to buy things for the holidays.  Have we forgotten that 10% of the population is unemployed?  That many of us are under-employed?  That the majority of us are probably scared shit-less that we will loose our jobs.  The editors of the Chicago Tribune, think it is a good idea to promote shopping.  In thing perilous economic recovery, that is what we should do, spend more.  That said, if we get the consumer engine up and running it will help the economy.

Finally, who has had enough of Tiger Woods.  I don't freakin' care what he did or didn't do, or about who he did or didn't do it too.  The interesting thing is that the President talks about leaving Afghanistan, the next day the whole Tiger things blows up, and what are we talking about?  Tiger Woods.  No wonder other countries think we are idiots.

Now, lets all hold hands and hope the kids do something funny, otherwise I will talk about the news again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Premium Theaters

I went to see New Moon with some girlfriends last night.  We went to a premium theater. I was a newbie... I didn't know what to expect.  I gassed up the credit card, just to be sure.  It didn't cost much more than a matinee to get in.  So far so good I thought.

When we were finally seated, a waitress comes around to take our drink orders.  DRINK orders at the theater, so awesome.  This is where the catch comes in, you have to order something, that is why the ticket price is so low.  But oh well!  Then, she came back around to get our food orders.  I had already eaten so I just had a melon ball slushie, so yummy. 

They do not darken the theater as much as a regular theater, so you can see your food, and presumably so the wait staff doesn't kill themselves.  The up shot to that, was that it was light enough for me to see my knitting.  Here is where my conflict came in.  I was out with some of the cool moms from school.  I wasn't sure it would be acceptable to pull out my knitting and start working on it.  Then there was the whole, friends don't let friends knit and drink.  Back and forth I went. 

In the end, I decided not to pull out the knitting.  Too bad, because it might have helped smooth the massive plot leaps.  Seriously, one minute Bella is hangin' with werewolves and the next she is jetting off to Italy.

When I got home, I told Bob about it, and I was all, we need to go and see a movie there.  It was awesome.  He looked at me like, is this only because they serve booze?  I finally confessed, it was also because it didn't get very dark.  He couldn't figure out why that was a good thing.  Then the light goes on.  He turns slowly and looks at me and purposefully says, "do you like the fact that it is lighter so you can knit?"  I love a man who gets me.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Since the old theme song really doesn't seem appropriate given where we are.  It would seem we have made it through hell, and the devil didn't notice.  So, now, we have a new theme song, it is Boundin' from the Pixar short associated with the Incredibles.  I hope you enjoy.

Here's a story on how strange is life with its changes
And it happened not long ago.
On a high mountain plain, where the sagebrush arranges
A playground south of the snow
Lived a lamb with a coat of remarkable sheen,
It would glint in the sunlight all sparkly and clean,
Such a source of great pride
that it caused him to preen.
And he'd break out in high stepp'n dance.
He would dance for his neighbors across the way.
I must say that they found his dancin' enhancin',
For they'd also join in the play.
Then one day…
Then a-boundin up the slope
Came a great American jackalope.
This sage of the sage, this rare hare of hope,
Caused to pause and check out the lamb.
“Hey kid, why the mope?”
“I used to be something all covered with fluff,
And I’d dance in the sunlight and show off my stuff,
Then they hauled me away in a manner quite rough
And sheared me and dropped me back here in the buff.
And if that’s not enough
Now my friends all laugh at me
Cause they think I look ridiculous, funny, and pink.”
“Pink? Pink? Well, what’s wrong with pink?
Seems you’ve got a pink kink in your think.
Does it matter what color? Well, that gets nope.
Be it pink, purple or heliotrope.
Now sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down,
When you find that you’re down well just look around:
You still got a body, good legs and fine feet,
Get your head in the right place and hey, you’re complete!
“Now as for the dancin’, you can do more,
You can reach great heights, in fact you can soar.
You just get a leg up and ya slap it on down,
And you’ll find you’re up in what’s called a bound.
Bound, bound, and rebound.
Bound and you’re up right next to the sky,
And I think you can do it if you give it a try,
First get a leg up, slap it on down…”
So every year, along about May,
They’d load him up and they’d haul him away,
And they’d shave him and dump him all naked and bare.
He learned to live with it, he didn’t care,
He’d just bound, bound, bound, and rebound.
Now in this world of ups and downs…
So nice to know there are jackalopes around.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Let's just eliminate December

It has been a long day and it is only noon.  Some things I would like to see changed...

  • Counting down the days till Christmas in class
  • Making elf shoes in art
  • Making stockings in class
I just want it to be January.  Only 13 more days until California and it will be time for fun and sun and the end of December.

I hate December.

I just talked to one of the offending schools, and came up with the best solution.  I really think that the director at Hannah's school is AWESOME.  She offered to share the lesson plans with me, and if there was an issue with one of them, then we could work together to come up with a solution that works for everyone.  How totally awesome is that?  I think I am going to suggest this next year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some finished objects and some not finished objects

I have finished a bunch of things.  I thought I would show off a bit!

My mojo socks, remember the yarn.  I love these socks, they make me really happy!!

 Then I finished a baby blanket I have been working on forever.  I like the pattern, but there was so much drama with this blanket, I ended up giving it away to someone else.  I was happy to part ways with this blanket.

We have all heard about Mac's teacher and everyone knows that I love him.  I made him a hat for the holidays.  I hope he likes it.

Finally, an update on my blanket.  I am at about 220 squares, so only 515 more to go.  I plug along on this little by little.  I love the blanket and how it looks! 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mass Customization

Mass customization.  Yep folks, it is finally happening.  You see, I think part of the ills of this country come from the fact that Burger King lets you have it your way.

During the industrial revolution, we started making products more inexpensive by realizing economies of scale.  In doing this, we created a middle class.  But we also allowed people to have more things.  Don't get me started on things, that is another post for another day.  As we became very good at making lots of similar things, people started to want something that was different than their neighbor.  Hence, mass customization was born.  When I worked in manufacturing, it was the goal to figure out how to maintain the economies of scale and let you have it your way.

A lot of companies have figured this out.  We have lots of products that we can get that are made for us.  Dell lets you make your computer and pick the color.  Moen lets you design your faucet by picking all the trim pieces.  Burger King makes your burger to order. 

Because we have gotten used to people letting us have it our way, we have come to expect that we will get things our way.  So, when we interact with other, we are surprised when we can not have it our way.  I think our push to be more tolerant is in conflict with our need to have it our way.  It is hard to be considerate of someone different and be self centered.

We have become a country of people like Sally in When Harry Met Sally.  We want to hold the pickles and substitute the cheese for lettuce.  So, when it comes to planning a party or what ever, when someone suggests that you might need to do it differently, it is met with objection.  But I want to do it my way.  The spirit of working together and understanding each other is lost.  We immediately become polarized. 

Perhaps it is time to start walking my way, and I'll start walkin' your way.  We'll meet in the middle by the old Georgia pine.  Perhaps it is time to realize that you can't always have it your way.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Brown Baggin' it!

I was going to do a post about mass customization.  But I decided one on lunches was more appropriate.  I know, don't all run out in the street screaming about the lack of a mass customization post.  It will come, it will come.  It has been bouncing around in my head for so long, I need it to leave, so I will write it.

But for now, on to lunches.  We packed them.  Yup, the kids packed their lunches, into the little lunch bags.  We put them into the fridge.  The night before school.  It was like the first day.  Everyone got their backpacks all set to go.  We even remembered to take the lunches out of the fridge this morning.

Bob packed his lunch.  He packed his brief case.  He got up, and put on big boy clothes and went to work.  It really is like the first day of school.  He too remembered his lunch.

We no longer have free lunches at school, because Bob has a job.  It was a happy moment in a perverse way to write the check to the school so the kids could get milk.  I have to pay for my milk.  Yippee.  I know, that is so unlike me.

We may not be out of the woods yet, but today, it looks like we are headed on the right path.  We packed our lunch.


Some other unrelated topics:
*  I snaked a toilet yesterday, because all the plunging in the world wouldn't solve the problem.  It was seriously gross, but I did it, saved a call to the plumber, I am woman, hear me ROAR.
*  Hannah left the freezer open AGAIN.  Seriously, when do they learn?  Oh, and she denied it.
*  Is half way through the party the very, very end?  I don't think so.  I hate people who break the rules.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Luck.  Some people seem to have it and others profess that they don't.  This has made me start to wonder, is luck something you have or something you create?  Is luck a perspective on life or is it just a thing?

There are arguments that say that luck is something that in inherent to how we perceive the world.
The key to good luck may be a heightened sensitivity to your surroundings.  Richard Wiseman, a professor at the University of Hertfordshire, spent a decade studying people who had self-identified as either lucky or unlucky. He posits that lucky people, through their superior observational skills, consistently encounter seemingly chance opportunities. In one experiment, Wiseman asked his subjects to count the photos in a newspaper. In the middle of the paper he placed a message that read “Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win 50 dollars.” The lucky people tended to notice this, but the unlucky — with their narrower focus — often missed it.

Think about it, some people will tell you they are unlucky, but maybe it is just that they miss the opportunity to be lucky by not perceiving the opportunities in their surroundings.  It is my belief that once you start to believe you are lucky, more luck tends to come your way.  Also, just like a positive attitude, lucky people tend to have a belief that they are lucky, and tend to ignore the bad things that happen to them.  Conversely, unlucky people tend to believe that they are unlucky and tend to ignore the good things that happen to them.

This makes me wonder, can you change your luck?  If you focus on being lucky and trying to be more aware of your surroundings can you turn the ship around? 

There is lots of research out there that basically points to the fact that luck is a matter of perception, just like a positive attitude you can have a lucky perception.  Research proves out that people who perceive themselves as lucky tend to minimize the bad things that happen, and look for the "silver lining."

Bob and I would say we are lucky.  Sure we have just gone through a rough patch, but we have had amazing support and it has hopefully, worked out ok for us in the end.  I look at life as a series of self-corrections.  I believe that when things start to go bad, it is time to try something else.

At the end of the day, can you change your luck?  I think so.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The definition of discriminate in it's purest form is to differentiate.  This can mean you can discriminate between good quality and bad quality.  The word is often use to describe someone's taste.  She has very discriminating taste.  Used in this way, the word is a compliment.

But, when folks start differentiating based on race, religion, looks, socio-economic class, politics, etc, we start having problems.  Is it showing discriminating taste to not allow people that are different from you to feel included or welcome?  I think that when you are in the group that is making the decisions it might feel empowering.  You might feel like you are popular so you get to choose.  Usually when I find myself in situations where we have to exclude anyone, I feel a little uncomfortable.

Sometimes situations come up and not everyone can be included.  There are only 6 seats in my van, so only 5 other knitters can ride with me to the Fold.  If I leave you out, am I discriminating against you?  I guess it would depend on the criteria for the selection.  I tend to be of the first come first served philosophy to avoid using any other criteria, because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

If in knitting club, for example, there is a decision being made about something that impacts the entire group, then the decision should not exclude anyone in the group.  It is not ok to say, you may come for part of the meet-up, but you can not stay for the whole thing, because making sure the activity in inclusive isn't important to us.  Essentially, if you are saying the club wants to do something, and the majority of folks are ok with it, then you have to get on board, will exclude minority groups.  You may not like the minority group.  You may not agree with their opinions, but if you differentiate between one group and another you are discriminating.

Apply this rule to your life, have you ever made a decision that excluded one group/person?  Did you make that based on religion, politics, socio-economic class, etc?  If you made the decision to exclude someone based on say, religion, you have discriminated.  But, only you can know your reasoning for the decision, insert your reason, and it may be that you have discriminated.  In our culture, discriminating against a group based on religion, socio-economic status, race, etc, can put you in the position of being called a bigot. 

I am not asking you to out yourself.  I am not asking you to tell anyone, but I am asking you to look long and hard at your behavior and think, do I discriminate?  If so, am I a bigot?  If the answer is yes, and I would find it hard to believe that it isn't, think about what you can do to right the situation.  None of us is perfect, and we all have biases.  I know that I make decisions that could be classified as discriminating, and not in the good way.  I try not to, but I am not perfect.

Finally, it is my opinion that if you did discriminate you did something wrong.  Judgment aside, saying you are sorry you hurt someone's feelings does not mean you have to acknowledge you did something wrong, only that you are sorry that they are hurt by the situation.  If you did do something wrong, and you recognize that, it is also a good thing to acknowledge your part in the situation.  But, some people don't realize that their actions are hurtful, so they don't know that they were part of the situation.  This is why I am so big on saying sorry, even if you don't think you did anything wrong.  Trust me, it will go along way.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Play by Play

The Thanksgiving Day play by play.  As a kid, my mom got up at o-dark-fourty to start cooking, and was in the kitchen all day.  Was that just a ploy to avoid my Grandmother or did she really need to cook all day?  I thought today I would find out.  I did not do any prep before the big day, except to shop and defrost and brine the turkey.  I know I have all the ingredients on hand, but can I pull it off and still have time to knit and blog?  Let's see!

8:30  After sleeping in, I wake, grab a sweat shirt and go eat breakfast and read the Black Friday ads.
9:00  A few warm up exercises, to prep for the big day of cooking
9:15  Make pumpkin pie, with fresh pumpkin and crust from scratch  (My Mom used canned)
9:30  Put pie in oven.
9:45  Turn down oven and settle into some knitting and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade, while toying with the idea of also making an apple pie, really isn't it all about desert?
11:00  Finally convinced that we need a second pie
11:30  Put apple pie, with crust from scratch into the oven, and work on hat for Mac's teacher
12:30  Pull out turkey, stuff with lemons and dressing
1:00   Put turkey in the oven
1:05  Take shower
1:30  Watch UP with the kids and knit
3:30  Discover someone left the freeze open and most of my 100 lbs of meat is defrosted, all the ice cream is ruined.
4:00  Start to cook meat from freezer so as not to loose all the meat.  Discover not all it totally lost, but have about 15 pounds to cook up ASAP, and about 15 more can be cooked tomorrow.  The rest is not defrosted and can be refrozen, according to my mom.
4:30  Finish potatoes, putting steaks in the crock pot, make stuffing, set table, drink 1/2 bottle of wine
5:00  Drink other 1/2 bottle of wine, and eat dinner
5:30  Put turkey carcass in stock pot to make broth, open new bottle of wine
6:00  Drink dessert
6:30  Eat pie... there are 2 of them

Realize that it does not take all day to make Thanksgiving dinner, but it is hard not to be in the kitchen all day.  It seems someone wants something all the time.

OH, and we have about 5 pounds each of beef and sundried tomates, orange chicken and BBQ beef, not to mention the Thanksgiving left overs.  Guess I won't have to cook for a while.  Tomorrow I will make mexican chicken and beef for enchilladas and tacos.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Three things

Three things.  Laurie Perry over at did a post about the three things she is thankful for.  It got me thinking.  It has been a hard day kid wise... what three things am I thankful for...

1)  My friends who have been an amazing source of support.  They understand why I am upset about things, they laugh at my jokes, and they read my blog.  They are there with yarn and ice cream if needed.  I could not have made it through the last 18 months without them.

2)  My husband.  He works very hard and is very dedicated to his family.  He lets me do what I want to do without question.  He is always available to watch the kids, should there be an alpaca farm to visit or yarn tour or trip to the spa.  He loves me for what I am, what I could be, and what I am not.  The good, the bad and the ugly, pretty much without complaint.  I am a lucky girl.

3)  Free Turkeys.  Seriously, life with 45 pounds of free meat in ones freezer is a darn good one.

What are your three things?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Key Lime Cove

We celebrated Bob's new job by taking the kids to Key Lime Cove!  The picture above is a shot of the splash pad area, where Sam and Hannah hung most of the time.  They ran around like wild monsters for about 5 hours.  When it was time to leave they cried, and begged to stay longer.

Mac and Bob did the big boy slides.  Which take you out of the 65,000 square foot water park.  The body slides were fast and furious and the tube slides were great fun.  Not a fan of enclosed body slides, it took quite a lot of doing by Mac to get me to go down them.  I did the two body slides the first day.  The next day, I told Mac no more slides.  But, he convinced me to try the tube slides.  They were awesome.  So much fun.  I wish I had tried them the day before.  I would have lived up there.

Bob loved the lazy river.  Jump into an inner tube and float around the park.  It was a great way to chill after riding the slides!

They also had craft activities, scavenger hunts, a story time and family game night.  We never spent any time in the room.  Which was a good thing.  While the rooms were entirely adequate, they were a bit small for a family of 5.  We are spoiled by usually having a suite, and just having 1 room was a bit tight for us.  The whole facility is on the edge of needing a remodel.  The carpets are beginning to show wear and tear. 

The pool area was very clean and the life guards were definitely on their game.  I watched them pull 3 people out.  They don't screw around.  Which gives you a great piece of mind when your kids are running around without you!

The hotel was deserted, so we never had to wait to do anything.  I can imagine that if it was full it would be as much fun, but Bob and I agreed that it might be a fun week-day winter activity in the future!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Half.  There are some times when half is good.  The things I can think of are:

  • 1/2 a burger at Hamburger Mary's
  • 1/2 a huge dessert served at those places that serve the big desserts
  • 1/2 a time out
  • 1/2 the time unemployed
  • Half-time, as a band geek, I like half-time
But half isn't always good as in:

  • 1/2 your old paycheck
  • 1/2 a party
  • 1/2 a book
  • 1/2 of a cookie
  • 1/2 a movie
  • 1/2 an outfit
Sometimes things are ment to be whole, not half.  Sometimes half makes sense, but sometimes half means you have to give up something and be left out.  

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Love the Laces!

Lorna's Laces... it was a beautiful day.  The weather was perfect.  We didn't get lost.  I of course mapped it out a million different ways, and brought the Navi.  Get lost once, oh well.  Get lost twice, shame on me!  I was leaving nothing to chance.  We didn't get lost even once.  Yeah us!

I drove into the city, without fear.  I had my directions, the Navi and a local, I was good to go.  It was also Saturday morning, so traffic wasn't too bad.  We arrived at Lorna's Laces, found a place to park, where we wouldn't be towed or booted.  We then grabbed a bite to eat at a local coffee house, under the el.  Yeah, I sat under the el and sipped a latte.  Growing leaps and bounds here aren't I?

We then hooked up with other crazy knitters and went and saw the Lorna's Laces dye house.  It was so cool to see all the pretty colorways.  It was also interesting to see how they dye process works.  Sure they use acid dyes, and I use food safe dyes, but it was still a good learning experience.  I learned how to keep the colors separated, use your hand... who knew?  I also learned that I am really sensitive to acid dyes.  So, I don't think we will be using them here at the house.

The owner, Beth Casey, is really inspirational.  She quit her job and shuffled around for awhile and then bought this business, and she has really turned it into a top notch dye house.  It like to hear stories like that.  It reminds me to follow my passion.  Her husband is super cute, and supportive.  Sort of like mine! 

I bought a few souvenirs from the mill end table.  Which was good fun.  I can't wait to knit my goodies up.  It was a lovely day, with great company.  A nice way to kick off our week of de-stressing!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

9 years ago

My Dad died 9 years ago today.  He was 70 years old.  I spoke to him about a week before he died.  I was looking for a brief case to buy for Bob.  We talked about the importance of it not looking like a laptop bag, because when you are in an airport you don't want anyone to know you have a laptop, because they might steal your bag.  How much have things changed in 9 years.  Now it is assumed every businessman/woman in the airport has a laptop.

We discussed leather vs. canvass.  We chatted about colors.  I eventually selected the bag I did, based on our conversation.  Bob used the bag until it disintegrated and I bought him another one just like it.  I still have the brief case that my Dad bought me when I got my first professional job.  I don't think I will ever get rid of it.

My father died on my second day back at work full-time after having Mac.  I was in my office when Bob called me, but I was just walking out to nuke my lunch.  I let it go to voicemail.  When I got back I listened to the voicemail and I will never forget what went through my mind.  Bob told me it was important, and I needed to call him immediately.  I thought, Mac is ok, he is at daycare.  Something bad happened, maybe his Dad died, or his Mom.  It never occurred to me that it might be my Dad.  But I knew something bad was up.  So sure I was that my family was ok, when Bob told me, I was immediately sympathetic about the fact that HIS father had passed.  I asked how HIS mother was taking the news.  Bob set me straight.

I threw my lunch in the trash.  Turned my computer off and told my Secretary I was going to California.  I would call my boss and let him know what was up later.  She wouldn't let me drive myself home.  So she drove my car home and the other Secretary took her car so they could both go back to work.

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Of my family I had to travel the furthest to get home.  I was also the only one who made it that day.  Besides the ones that lived in town.  My brothers said, Susanna will get here, she will charter a plane if she has to, but she will get here.  Sure enough, I did.

I still can not believe that it has been 9 years since he passed.  I miss talking to him.  So many times I wish I could ask him for his advice.  I wish he could have met my kids.  He got to see Mac, but he never got to see the others.   I wish my kids could follow him around in the garden and eat peanuts with him.

Now, my Mom is the Grandma without a Grandpa.  I miss my Dad.  He was a good man.

Friday, November 20, 2009


We have rules in our house.  Most of the rules have been created to solve a problem.  Such as the no electronics in the morning before school.  It solves the problem of no one being ready on time and freaking out because they have to do everything all at the last minute. 

A greater proportion of rules in my house have been created because Mac needs so much structure.  The breakfast menu was enacted because Mac could not decide what he wanted to eat and had a major melt down every morning. 

Some rules have been created to keep order in my life.  The one rule I have, to save my sanity, is if Mommy is in the potty, NO fighting.  I don't really care what he did to you.  I don't care if your sister took your toy.  If I am on the toilet, unless the house is on fire, please do not bother me.

Seriously, if I need to move my bowels, the kids need to have some drag out fight.  I hate it.  At what point to I get to poop in peace.  I have complained about this before, but I can not express enough how much it annoys me to start my day with the kids fighting while I am trying to poop.  I ask for this every year for my birthday and the holidays... I want to poop in peace for 1 day.

Well, someday, I suppose they will be out of the house I will be wishing for the days when their voices filled the silence.  But for now, I want want to poop in private.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Elephant Slides

Mac likes elephants, but I am not sure if I would let him use this slide.  I am not sure where it is located, but who thought this was a good idea? 

The thing that gets me is that there is more than one of these in existence.  Some engineer didn't think this all the way through.

This door has closed

The post I have dreamed about writing.  I have imagined in my head a million times what I would say, how I would say it.  Now, it all seems sort of flat.  Now that it has happened, it is sort of anti-climatic. 

Bob got a job.  He actually got 2 offers.  Since you can't have 2 full-time jobs he had to choose.  Both offers had their pluses and minuses.  In the end he chose the one he wanted most, in spite of the fact that it was not really more money.  In this economy, he got 2 offers, and potentially, had the timing worked out he could have had 3.

There was a safe, comfortable choice and a risky, high potential choice.  When we came out here, we took a risk.  I think we were a bit cavalier about the whole thing.  Things were bright and shiny in Connecticut.  We had the world by the balls.  Nothin' bad would ever happen to us.  This whole experience has been humbling in that respect.  It doesn't really matter how good you are, shit happens.

So, here we are, faced with the challenge of choosing between risky and safe.  We chose risky once, and it didn't work out so well for us.  So, the intelligent choice would be to chose safe right?  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That said, no one ever got rich or had a great opportunity by playing it safe.  Playing it safe means that you are going to do the same thing over and over.  Didn't we just say that was the definition of insanity?

We went round and round about this, one minute safe would be the winner.  The next minute risky would be in the lead.  Risky, safe, risky, safe.  What to do.  At no point did either company make is easy by giving us an offer that was clearly better.

We have learned a lot in the last 24 months, especially the last 12.  It would seem this was some sort of final test, to see if we got it.  If we understood.  I don't know if we understood, or if we made the right choice.  Time will tell.  Since no one ponied up to let me borrow/buy their life decoder ring, we chose.

We chose the way we always have, risky.  Because well, Bob was lookin' for a job when he got this one.  We hope and pray that this time it will work out better than last time.  Perhaps last time was a fluke.  This isn't the first risk we have taken.  Generally they have paid off well for us.

So, keep praying for us.  We will keep praying for you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who supported us during this difficult time.  We truly love and appreciate everyone of you.  Seriously, we would not have made it if it wasn't for you.  You know who you are!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Out of the pot

Just out of the dye pot:

The colors are a bit brighter in real life, but it is so pretty.  I really don't want to break it up into a bunch of mini hanks and swap it!  But, blanket needs more yarn.

On the topic of blanket, I am almost up to 200 squares.  Sam got some new sheets and they came in a nifty plastic bag, which is now my new mini storage container.  Works great, and now I don't have ziploc bags all over the house.  With all the zippies everywhere, I felt like a drug addict!  I guess swapping mini's is kinda like crack.

As for all the baby blankets I was working on, I decided I wasn't feeling it anymore and have been focusing on socks and mittens for me.  It was so freeing to work on projects that I actually wanted to do, not ones I felt like I should.  It certainly has brought the joy back to the knitting!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Not a Christmas Tree

At Temple today they had a family program.  Since Hannah is not involved in Sunday School yet, she tags along with us.  As part of the program we were painting umbrellas and making Hannukah cards for a member of our Congregation who is in Isreal. 

Hannah immediately got to work on her card.  Bob showed her how to make a menorah.  She made a really nice one.  It was very pretty.  Clearly the artistic talent in the family fell to her.  Then, Bob showed her how to make a dreidle.  I walk up to the scene.  Hannah, hard at work, Bob reading the paper.  I look down and what I see, is a triangle, colored green and red with a brown square at the bottom.  I wish I had a picture of what she had drawn.  But, it looked just like a Christmas tree. 

This is the point, I think, great, her father isn't paying attention and our four year old has outed us as bad Jewish parents.  Great, how am I going to explain this one?  I mean really, what was her father doing, if he had just been paying attention, we could have avoided the situation all together.  Of course, there is our educator and our Rabbi, coming now, to see what she is doing.  Making a freakin' Christmas Tree at Temple, that is what my daughter is doin'.  The feeling was close, but not quite as bad as when Sam wished the Rabbi Merry Christmas.  Another proud moment.

I ask Hannah to let me see her card, thinking I could hide it from them.  Do some last minute rip and eat the evidence.  At which point she announces that she made a menorah on one side and she was working on a dreidle.  The sigh of relief was audible.  I was looking at it upside down.  It was not a Christmas Tree, and I did not have to 'splain myself to the educator and the Rabbi who where now talking to Hannah.  Not that our lesbian, recovering alcoholic Rabbi with a partner who was not born Jewish, and we aren't sure if she has even converted, would probably care.  But, it is still a sticky wicket I was glad to have avoided.

So, we left Temple today, with our gold star of good Jewish parenting, still intact.  I am sure I will blemish it sometime this week, but at least it was shiny for Temple.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Why do you blog?

A couple of people have asked me why I blog.  I have actually had a blog since Mac started Kindergarten.  So, it isn't like this is a new concept for me.  The part that is new is that I try real hard to write one post a day.  I have been averaging 6.5 a week since May. 

Blogging for me is a creative outlet.  Here I have this blank canvass that I can fill with anything I want.  I think it is really tapping into my inner, closet columnist.  I think ever since I was a kid and I would read Jack Smith in the LA Times, I wanted to write a column about my life.  Sure sometimes Jack would touch on issues that were topical in the greater environment, but mostly he just talked about his wife, kids and their dog.  It is interesting to me that I still remember those articles so many years later.

The likelihood of me ever having a column like Jack Smith is pretty low.  Folks who write those daily columns have spent years in journalism.  Actually know how to write without making stupid grammatical and spelling errors.  They do not have hanging participles in their columns.  They have paid their dues.

Many times I think about what I am going to say before I write it, and sometimes I sit down and start typing.  Some of those posts end up in places I never really imagined that they would go.  Sometimes I got nothin' and that is why posts with random stories appear.  Some posts just write themselves.  Sometimes things that happen are too amazing to make up and they literally show up in my life as gift wrapped little blog posts.

I have been asked recently if I blog to cause trouble.  That is the furthest from the truth.  But, at the end of the day, this is my house, my story if you will.  If you don't like what I have to say, then don't read it.  Seriously, there are about a million other blogs out there you could read.  This blog is narcissistic, it is about me and my opinions.  I make no apology for that.  That said, I also want people to read what I have written.  I always find it interesting who reads my blog.  When someone comes up to me and says, "hey, great/interesting/stupid post, it really made me think/laugh/spill my coffee," it kinda makes my day.

So, until I am published in the small town paper, I will blog.  Hopefully some one will read it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Is this the point when things change?

I never thought that on the eve of our prayers being answered I would feel so apprehensive.  I thought it would be all balloons, confetti, musicians and champagne.  But, I keep waking up with my jaw all tight and clenched, which means I am grinding my teeth at night.  Perhaps it is because life has kicked my little family so much that when ever we turn a corner I have come to expect someone to dance the funky chicken on my spleen. 

It is hard for me to accept our good fortune.  Because the last two years have basically been misfortune, with small sprinklings of good.  Just enough for me to maintain my hope.  Usually in my darkest hours something happened to restore my faith.  I have spent so much time licking wounds, trying to figure out what to do, how to keep on keeping on, that it is hard for me to roll with what is currently going on.

I am not trying to be cryptic, I guess I just don't want to talk about it until it is all hammered down.  I guess I really believe all of this is some trick, and as soon as I relax, the universe river dancers will be on my spleen like flies on poop.  Even once it is all hammered down, I think it will be hard for me to believe that it will be ok.  I have such a horrible feeling of foreboding.  I feel like perhaps this is just another lie.

Have I really become such a cynic?  It is sad that this is the point that I am at.  But, it would seem a larger proportion of people have not lived up to their end of the contract with our family than actually have.  That is the state of nature for us.  It makes me wonder if I am just worried because that is what I do, or if we are really heading off into the abyss of another bad decision. My intuition is generally accurate.

Sure, I should roll with it, stuff happens to all sorts of people.  Sure what happened to us wasn't so bad.  Well, for us it was.  This is not to minimize what others have gone through, and I know there are much worse stories.  This last year in particular, has been hard, and while some folks have really supported us, and I try very hard to focus on them, others have been very mean.  It was a meanness that I was really not accustomed too.  People you would expect and some that you would not, have been down right mean and nasty.  To them, ppppllllllbbbb. 

It is scary to head towards the light, because given our luck it will be a train.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I don't get it?

Some things just don't make sense to me....

Pokemon Cards, my kids will kill themselves for these things.  They play with them all the time, and yet, I still after 5 years of this, have NO clue why they like them or what they are doing.

If two people love each other, why can't they get married?  Seriously, I don't understand what all the fuss is about.  They will just live together anyway, so might as well let them get married.  It is not going to have that big an impact on the economy or our society.

Why it is ok for me to take my nephew to the gym childcare but not my daughter?

 If it is ok to get into a major all out brawl on the playground, why is a slap fight punishable by 3 days of detention?

Are 6 adults really enough to manage 200 kids?  I don't think so.

Should our kids play on a playground that is actually a public park with such little supervision?  It isn't my 4th grader I worry about but my 1st grader? It is all fun and games until one of these kids is abducted.

Non-Religious = religious activities ok.  So where I lost the meaning of non-religious.

What exactly do they want him to do?  It is so unclear, I just don't get it.  It makes me nervous.

When is the sheep going to have fingering again?  I need a fix.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last Names

I didn't change my last name when I got married.  There are a number of reasons why I didn't do it.  One of them was that I didn't want to have to go to the DMV.  It was going to be a hassle, and I just didn't want to deal with it.

I have friends who have gotten divorced.  Some have kept their married names and others have gone back to their maiden names.  So, you get to do the whole DMV thing twice if you choose to change back.  Then what happens if you get married again?  Do you start the whole thing over?

Bob and I have been married for a long time.  The fact that my last name is different has usually been a non-event.  Sure it has created some funny situations with Bob being called by my last name.  But other than that, nothing ever.  The kids all have Bob's last name.  This has never created an issue for me.  I have flown with them, I have gone to the Dr. with them, I have registered them for school, etc.  Never has anyone ever once given me a hard time about the fact that our last names are different.

There are many reasons why the mother of a child could have a different last name.  The list is long and the reasons are as varied as there are situations.  The fact that my kids do not share a last name with me does not make them any less MY kids.  The one thing we know is that they are mine.  They are Bob's but you can not prove that as easily as you can that they are mine. I was there when they were ripped from my body.

Lifetime Fitness Centers seem to think that if your last name is different than your kids, you are up to something and you have to PROVE that they are your kids.  The only way to do this is to show them a birth certificate.  I would think my word and my money would be good enough.  Apparently not.  Since I can not find Hannah's birth certificate, I hope they can come up with a solution.  Because if they can't my money and my daughter will be going to the gym elsewhere.  Somehow, I think that if her father shows up and says, this is my daughter, this is my wife, see the marriage certificate, they should be able to work it out.  But no one is available to make this decision, so tomorrow I can't go, because I can't take Hannah, in spite of the fact that I have a 2 foot long scar on my gut, a huge butt from being pregnant with her and she looks like me, she isn't in their eyes, my kid.

Something else to keep in mind, they try and sell you services every time you are on the equipment.  There you are on the treadmill and the trainers come up to you and harass you.  To the point where you have to be rude.  It is like telemarketing.  It is so horrible, that just that alone makes me want to leave the club.  Perhaps this is a sign that this place isn't for us!

For the record, at this late date, I am not changing my last name.  They can bite my big butt that Hannah made.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Last Post

Can we tolerate one more post about Santa?  If not, perhaps you should just skip today's installment.  I will wait a second for you decide.  (imagine soft music playing while you weigh your choices.)

Ok, if you are here, I am going to assume you have signed on for the ride.  There are no chicken exits, so here we go, you sure?  Last chance.  Suddenly I feel so alone.

The essential spirit of Santa, the giving aspect of him is very appealing to me.  I know the shock of it all, but I actually really like spirit of the claus.  To give unconditionally, without expecting anything in return.

My family engages in and receives many random acts of kindness, which is in my mind the spirit of Santa.  I have shared with you many of the different random acts of kindness we have received.  From yarn in the mail to flowers on our door to dinners piping hot that show up at dinner time.  My neighbors, friends and family are an amazing source of support.  To each and everyone of you, I say thank you.

We try and teach our children to do the right thing, even if it isn't the easy thing.  It was in my mind the right thing to try and create a club where ALL people are comfortable, while the easy thing would have been to stay quiet.  Sometimes things don't work out the way I want them too, such as when I gave the homeless man money and he used it to buy alcohol.  But that gift was between me and G-d, and how he chooses to spend it is between him and G-d.

Mac and I have spent a lot of time talking about this issue.  He has read and we have discussed everything I have had to say on the topic.  Mac as usual is very thoughtful on the this issue. I was very proud of him when he told me that he stood up for a kid that one of his friends was trying to pick on.  Mac shares his good fortune with his siblings.  Of my three children, Mac has the most generous spirit.  The irony of that is that of my three children he is the one most offended by Santa.  Out of the mouths of babes, he said to me, "Mom, I get the idea that Santa is a generous spirit, but it seems to me that he really just represents getting stuff not giving."

He went on a little bit more, and said, "if they really want Santa, why can't the club do a party at a hospital or homeless shelter and instead of giving more stuff the the kids that already have plenty, give to kids who have nothing?"  My reaction was a mixture of pride that my kid gets it, and annoyance, I mean where was he with this idea last week?  What a great idea.  Too bad that ship sailed.  But, I told him I would do one last post on Santa and share his idea.  So, this one is for you Mac!

His final idea is that next March, a month chosen as it was the first one that came into my head, do something to embrace the spirit of giving.  Give without the expectation of getting.  To do the right thing, even if it isn't the easy thing.  Rather than waiting until March, try it tomorrow.

Ok, seriously, I warned you, you had a chance to leave.  That said I promise to try and not preach anymore... I will try and retire my soapbox and stick to the funny things the kids do.  Just remember, I really like my soap box, it is green.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Things I love

1)  Mr. J is back.  In a cacophony of car horns, yelling of welcome back, hugs and high fives, our crossing guard returned to work after being off for about a month.  All is right with the world and order is restored to our little corner.  Mr. J is back.

2)  Knitting on Monday mornings with M.  Yeah, this helps with the goal of a knitting group everyday.

3)  Scarves hanging from trees and hats in a circle.

4)  That Hannah puts her poop in the potty.

5)  The Dizzy Sheep.  Seriously, the best prices, the best service, the funniest blog.  LOVE that sheep.

6)  Sheep in general, but the Dizzy one is my fav.

7)  That K is back from vacation.

8)  Free food and food they pay me to take out of the store.

9)  S because she is my favorite born-again, muslim lesbian friend, don't worry her husband is ok with it.

10)  That my knitting group is diverse, open minded and generally supportive of everyone.  All we have in common is that we knit.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Summer of 1988

The scene, it is 1988 and I am in the parking lot at the Amenesty International Concert with my college friend.  I am a junior, majoring in philosophy and religious studies.  We are picking up her old boy friend, who is coming to hang with us.  I am supposed to take him to a party the next night because she is going to be busy.  I was like what ever, he is a looser, I will ditch him at the party.

In the headlights of the car, I see this guy walking towards us.  I can not describe it, but it was an instant attraction.  It put a giggle in my chest.  I think my eyes popped out of my head.  He gets in the car and I had to work really hard to be cool.  She drops me at my dorm, and I go in and start to plan what I am going to wear that next night.  He was so sexy it was mind boggling.

So, I picked out my best going to a party outfit.  My friend drops him by my dorm and we go grab something to eat.  Well, that was the plan anyway, we ended up totally connecting and we were on the same page.  It was totally amazing.  We ended up spending the entire time he was there together.  We had a blast at the party.  Although I don't really remember who else was there.

When he left, I was bummed, but I knew it was a short term thing.  My friend tells me that he called her and he wants my number is it ok to give it to him?  Is it ok?  Uhh, yeah.  Anyway, she does just that.  That is the beginning of a tumultuous long distance relationship.  He moved to LA to be with me and in the end it didn't work out.  Too much passion and not enough in common.

Anyway, the song by Kidd Rock about Summer in 1984, reminds me of this guy.  Driving home from knitting, I was blasting the tune, drivin' a little to fast in the mini-van, but not so fast as to attract the attention of the police, I may be slow, but I learned my lesson.  Yeah, in the mini-van that I swore I would never own.  But like Kidd Rock says, he will always hold a special place in my heart and that song reminds me of our trip to Bass Lake.    Good times, good times.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Don't get to excited, we didn't celebrate a job offer, but after 5 long, dry months, it seems like it might be starting to rain.  So, we celebrated.  This process of finding a new opportunity has been hard on all of us.  Not just Bob, not just me, but the kids too.  Since we have had a lot of good news on the job front, we decided it was time to celebrate the win.

We went to Culvers, toasted our current good fortune with milk shakes and spritenaide.  We ate in a restaurant where they bring you your food.  Yes, you order off a menu on the wall at the front of the store, but hey, someone brought me my food.  This is the first time we have spent money to go out to eat as a family since all of this started.  It was a fun surprise for everyone.

We hope that this brush with good luck continues, that we are able to put this experience behind us and focus on the future, soon.  I have said it once, I will say it again, pray for us to make good choices, and to be able to find the opportunity that puts in the right place.  But, most of all pray for a job offer.