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.