Thursday, January 31, 2008

Know What I Like To Do?

When I'm driving and my light turns green, I like to rush at the people who ran a red light and are now in my way. I'm just sayin'.

Oh - and, seriously? Only one person wants something I made (see post below)? Is it that you don't like what I make, or is it that you don't have a blog? I need to know before I decide whether my feelings are hurt. Lurkers? I know you're there. I see your IP addresses on my stat counter....Anybody?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Fun Little Game

My friend Mary is playing a fun game and I signed up to play too! It's a pay it forward game. I'm just going to copy and paste what she copied and pasted into her blog:
“I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, which is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.”
The trick is, of course, that you have to have a blog.
Anybody else want to play?

Man Points

To those of you who will be offended by this, I apologize in advance: I live in a fairly male-centric family. And I like it that way.
Girls are something of an anomaly around here. I'm an only girl of an only girl, born to a dad with no sisters and I married a man with no sisters. My daughter was the first girl born into my husband's family for 40 years.
So, naturally, I have always gravitated toward guys when it comes to friendship, and my thinking tends to be a little bit more testosterone-y than most girls'. In fact, many of you who are reading this and have known me for a while are either my guy friends or women who married my guy friends. I hope that will help to explain why the following is the pinnacle of fun for me.
In keeping with Male Competitive Nature, we have a point system in this family. It's evolved rather slowly....and it's completely arbitrary. No one really keeps a tally, but the gains and the losses of so-called "Man Points" are announced out loud, often in public settings.
You can gain Man Points for an extraordinary belch ("nice hang time/tonal quality! that's worth at least 10 man points!"). You can gain man points by winning a game of kick ball in the backyard. You can even gain man points for gadgetry....say, being the first in the family to buy an iPhone. Usually, the gadget category is soundly wrapped up by my brother Jon.
You can lose points, though, for texting sweet nothings to your wife on you iPhone. This may even cancel out your initial pointage. You can lose points if your wife makes you wear a shirt that matches hers. You lose at least a week's worth of points for getting caught listening to Michael Bolton. Possibly more.
As I said, the scoring is pretty arbitrary, and though the scoring the guys give each other is pretty much by-the-book, the scoring the girls dole out is difficult to predict. This makes it even more fun.
Emma is pretty adept with the scoring, and I don't really understand her system. Her daddy can be losing kickball to her brother in the back yard and still wind up with 50 million Man Points to her brother's paltry negative four.
Emma announced tonight at the dinner table that there would be a new Man Point Competition that would last one year - this year. She also let it be known that her dad was going to kick all the other guys' butts. The prizes at stake are "a medal, 24 kisses and 10 hugs."
With prizes like that, the competition is sure to be lively.

DAILY BLISS: I stopped by "my spot" at one of the local lakes today - just for five minutes or so. What made it great was that I was supposed to be somewhere else. That was simply a delicious slice of life.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Knitting Knite

Friday night marked the beginning of something new and fun for me. I'm trying to gather all of my friends that knit and crochet (there are a surprising number of them - it's like some secret hobby that nobody talks about), and those of my friends who want to learn how to do it. We will be working on afghans and blankies for a local shelter for battered women. It really will be lots of fun. See how excited I am?

Julianna, my knitting guru, brought a bunch of stash she wanted to unload - or was generously willing to donate - whichever. We dumped it all in the middle of the floor, along with Julianna's and my knitting books and patterns printed on various types of paper and needles were everywhere and mess and fun was had by all.

Though, we did lose our youngest knitter a little earlier than I'd expected. Fortunately, Aunt Mindy's lap was available:

Here's some of m'girls:

Oh, and lime cookies were involved. And jasmine tea, coffee and water (with lime slices, of course - I do love snacks that match). Girls have to keep their energy up, you know.....

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Well, I'm not going to sit here and say that I am neatly wrapped up and all-better. I do have some things that I need to sort out in my head and yes, I could use a day all to myself, Aunt Claiborne. Actually two of them. I need one day to sort and then once my head is emptied out and I can enjoy it, a day to drive around and listen to angry rock music really loud while I scream and then do lots of fun things. The night before my two days, I would like to sit on the floor with Becky and we will "can't" together. Maybe it will be the closet floor and Alli can come too. And Mary, not only am I followed by that drummer, he is chasing me at high speeds. And thanks, Amy, for listening.
Thank you, Blog. I knew it would help to talk to you.
As for today, it was an odd one. Out of sorts and all.
But the boys went to Uncle Jon's for dudes' night and Em and I stayed home. We swung by Publx to pick up supper, and my self-proclaimed "expensive girl" asked for crab legs. Hokay. Why not? We got crab legs and fresh baby corn and some pomegranate juice to drink out of wine glasses. We had a delightful dinner and excellent conversation. I did the dishes and listened to my theme song (every girl should have a theme song) and a little bit of Led Zeppelin. I even picked up a trashy novel and sat in the mama chair with it for a while. There's a lady at the church where I work - I know I've mentioned her before - who asked me once if I liked mystery stories. Of course, I answered yes! And since then, she unloads a stack of books - dirty books - on me every so often. Which is scandalous and hilarious. I picked a pretty innocuous-looking one. Most of them end up getting trashed. But I feel obligated to read one or two, just to tell her I did and what I liked about a particular book. And it was nice. Sorting out my head will take more than an evening, so I have to wait until more than an evening presents itself. Until then, I plan to shove it down into a dark hole and find something to do so I can ignore it. That sounds healthy, right?

DAILY BLISS: sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup in my half-caf Starbucks and kisses from my big son, who will probably not be kissing me much longer, so I enjoy it while I can

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How I Feel

I know the answer to this, but I'm going to ask anyway. Do any of you guys ever feel like you have reached critical mass? Like you just can't. And it doesn't really matter what you can't, because you could fill in the blank with anything in your life at the moment and the statement would be true. I suppose I've been heading in that direction for a while, now. I even warned my Dear Husband that I was going to crack way back in November or something. I found myself standing in my kitchen today and I wanted to just sit on the floor. I am prone to sitting down in odd places when I need to escape - sometimes it's a closet, sometimes it's the fort in the back yard.
And it isn't even some certain thing that I need to take care of in order to feel better. It's just all of it. I can't do this is what my head says.
Of course, I know the answers. I know what I would tell a friend who was feeling that way. But in the moment, all you really want is to just feel what you feel and sit down and not even knit because you're that spent. I heard that collective gasp. Yes - I said I didn't even feel like knitting.
The to-do list in my head is overwhelming. I lost my paper brain (my notebook) somewhere in the mess of purses and bags that are strewn about my floor because I am too busy to put them away but too vain to go out in black clothes with a brown purse. I usually email myself reminders between work and home, but there are so many now that I just ignore them until it's time to forward them to myself at my next destination. Ridiculous. And who the hell decided I could handle two big kids a mortgage and a car that doesn't always start? I'm not qualified. I don't suppose anybody really is, but I feel particularly unqualified this week.
Not to sound as though I am in utter despair. I know the difference between what is true and what feels like it's true.
I know I'll wake up tomorrow and have a cup of coffee (half-caf, please), put on some secretary shoes and get about the business of making sure my keys don't get locked in my trunk by one of my well-meaning children. I'll go to work and put on my glasses and publish a bulletin and send out a church-wide reminder about Lent services. I'll make it to tennis and manage to smile at my son's coach. I'll sign homework planners for teachers.....
But sometimes there are moments that catch your attention. They tell you that something needs to change and it needs to change soon. I don't know what it will be that will change. It might not even be a big thing. We'll see.

DAILY BLISS: A real rainbow in the sky this morning and hearing one of my favorite bands (Band of Horses) on a car commercial

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend Update

We went to Sea World on Saturday - my parents gave us an annual pass (which is a great deal!) for Christmas. I haven't been there since I was, like, 14 or something. It was so much fun! A little closer to my speed that the mousie parks.....less crowded and more educational.
The kids enjoyed a few rides, and we really loved the shows. I am totally crushing on the sea lions. They were having so much fun doing their tricks and blinking their little eyes with pleasure and pride when they got their fishie treats. I didn't take many pictures. I'm never good with action shots and I don't tend to like random, half-fuzzy pictures. I also don't like having 53 shots of birds and water and dolphins, none of whom I will still be in a relationship with 12 years from now when I look at the pictures. But, here's a couple I did manage to snap, once I got over my own need for beautiful portraits of oceanic wonder:

We really had a good time.

I have also been feeling a spurt of creativity coming on. I just need to be making something! So, tonight while I had my ladybug apron still on, I decided to be Kiki the Maker and just make some stuff. Chris said I was cute with my apron and glasses and crafts and took a picture of me.
I got started sewing a nightie I cut out waaaaay last year, before my cute sewing machine busted. Note to self: in the future, "cute" should not be a motivating factor in the purchase of a sewing machine. I cast on another, super-secret knitting project, which will be revealed in due time:

I needed something other than cranberry wool for a little while. This is oatmeal-ish alpaca and acrylic. It is fuzzier and is shedding more than I expected. I hope it quits that before it gets used....
And for those of one of you that asked me for a Mama Cardigan update, here's a photo, though I do apologize for the crappiness of it. I only remembered to take its picture just now and it's dark in my living room.

You can see its size in relation to my toes. My toes are medium-sized, in case you needed that as a reference point. But it's a lovely cranberry color and I am starting the increases under the arms. Oh - that's the back of the cardigan.
I know myself well enough to not expect the completion of any of these things soon. But starting something new is always an energizing thing. I like feeling optimistic and I love planning. Following through is kind of another story.

DAILY BLISS: Long girlfriend-ish conversations with Mindy and chatting with Bill the Sand Hill Crane today. Herb and Tillie took off somewhere and left him to fend for himself in the parking lot. He seemed absolutely bewildered.

Friday, January 18, 2008

An Unexpected Gift

My parents took us out to dinner tonight - a really nice dinner. They've been telling us that they had a surprise for us. We were all mystefied, my brothers and I. If you have met my parents, you will understand what I mean when I say that a surprise from them really could mean anything. Jon (oldest brother) had Joe (youngest brother) nearly convinced that they were adopting a Russian orphan. I suggested that my dad may have decided to move to the wilderness, eat cockroaches and live the life of a prophet. He did buy a walking stick last month, after all. Joe thought that maybe Dad had some health issues to talk to us about. He has a strong family history of heart disease and just had his first checkup in years.
Once our orders were all placed, though, they passed out cards to us. Each card contained a gift that has come to us through the loss of my dad's parents this past year. Not really an inheritance....just a gift.
I was surprised at how many tears I have cried tonight over that gift. I have definitely mourned and it's been hard to watch my dad walk through this, but it's not an every day sort of a loss anymore.
But, see, my grandparents always had a hard time saying goodbye. There would be hugs and tears and more hugs and waves from the driveway and admonitions regarding traveling safety. But always - always - once the car had pulled all the way out and you shifted out of reverse, you could look at their big, front window and see them standing there, waving one last goodbye.
And pretty much what this gift feels like. One last, very final goodbye.

Herb and Tillie.....and Bill

Herb and Tillie are two of my friends from work. They are sand hill cranes. I first met them several months ago in the parking lot. There was the most raucous noise and Julianna and I had to see what was going on. And there they were, arguing in the parking lot. Apparently, they were on their way to Albuquerque and Herb had gotten them lost. Matilda, who goes by Tillie for short, was reaming him out for not Mapquesting their route first.

I presumed after that day that they'd just gone on and found their way, but no! A few weeks later, they were dining out in the all-you-can-eat Orange Grove Buffet and jabbering on the way all our local retirees do. I guess they decided that the weather and the atmosphere suited them just fine around here, so why risk getting stuck in Mississippi or something and not being able to find their way to Albuquerque in the long run?
From time to time, they show up, Tillie always fussing at Herb about something. And right before Christmas they were joined by Guilliermo. He's a new golfing buddy of Herb's. Tillie has been trying to set him up with some of her single girlfriends for a while just so that she and Herb can go out alone once in a while, for Pete's Sake. But how is she supposed to find a nice girl for him when he can't even manage to wipe his beak after a juicy grub? I mean, she's tried once or twice, but since she wants to stay on the girls' good side, she's about ready to quit. Sure, he's a little weird, kind of a third wheel, but at least he keeps Herb busy and out of her hair.
Guilliermo and Herb are pretty funny guys - except that Herb can't pronounce Guilliermo's name. He just chuckles good-naturedly and calls him Bill.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Slippery Slope

Well, I need to be honest, here. I spent a lot of yesterday evening - okay, all of yesterday evening - in my chair, watching tv.
Self indulgence!
It seems that once I sit down and rest, I don't want to get back up again.
But I totally blissed out meeting up with Mindy at Starbucks for some coffee and a little public knitting yesterday afternoon. I'm teaching her to knit. She will be awesome. Plus, it will help me to feel less crazy if there's somebody else around that Knows About It.
So, I faced down today with such good intent. I got up and looked Today square in the eye and said, "I'm back now. Throw at me what you will, and I will not even visit the Mama Chair once." And I must say that Today behaved quite nicely. I must have been making my scary mom face. I've heard that it can strike terror in the hearts of grown men. I had a lot to do at work today, and I did most of it. It was not the kind of day where sound effects like "zing!" and "zap!" follow you around (in your head), but it was a decent, accomplishing sort of day.
I think I needed that.
Maybe it was the leather boots I wore. Red strappy heels might have induced zing and zap, but leather boots Mean Business.

DAILY BLISS: a new printer at work (hooray! it works with Vista!), puffy sleeves that don't make me look like a pirate, and free coffee samples from Starbucks to take home and brew later

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Feeding My Soul

I am sure that you all are as tired as I am of my endless complaining and public display of my to-do list! So, here is something fresh and nice:
I fed my soul today.
Sure, we had church and that always refreshes, but after church....I did nothing.
We put all of the Christmas away yesterday. Normally, we do this much earlier in the year, but I'm always sad about it. This year, it has been up for just long enough that I did not mourn the passing of the season.
In fact, I rearranged my living room and put the birds by the front window, next to my chair. The Mama Chair. I curled up in my big chair with the cardigan I'm knitting and enjoyed the light on my hands and the deep cranberry of the yarn. I sang to the birds and they listened attentively, heads cocked to the side and eyes shut into tiny slits. I tuned out the football games that my husband and son watched - all afternoon. It rained and my window was open. My wind chimes sang to me. It sounded so lovely.
I ate lunch in my chair.
Then I knitted some more.
Then I stole Chris' laptop and did research and read fun things in my chair.
Then I knitted some more.
Then I ate supper in my chair.
Maybe I can handle tomorrow after all. We shall see if I still feel that way after the grocery shopping tonight (which I neglected in favor of knitting), but I think I will.

DAILY BLISS: oatmeal with raisins and cinnamon and feeling smart in my glasses

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Small Victory

We made it out the door on time this morning.
I need to celebrate.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wha' Happened?

Well, I had the loveliest of Mondays and fully intended to share it with all of you. Here it is, nearly Friday, and I have not had the time. Here is the short version:
This Monday saw the return of my One Hour on Mondays that happens between the end of work and the end of chess club for both kids. There were no errands to run and no presents to wrap. I went to my favorite lake and knit. I took pictures with my phone of my cup of tea from Starbucks, my iPod, my cranberry red knitting and my Secretary Shoes. If I only knew how to get photos off of my phone and onto my computer, you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. C'est la vie. Monday also included my new ladybug apron which is sooo, sooo cute and matches my tattoo, and it was worn while I put together a lovely supper for my family, still wearing the Secretary Shoes. And then I listened to records on my new record player. Herb Alpert, to be precise.
But, from here on out, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be smashed together as one day. I toyed with calling it Twethursday or Tuesnesthursday, but neither one, nor any of my other brilliant concoctions seemed to fit. In order to fully express the lengthy smash of days it will just be all three, mashed in to one: Tuesdaywednesdaythursday. We have added tennis lessons to our schedule. Don't get me wrong (Mom), we are very happy to have this opportunity, a gift to Drew from Grandma. He is enjoying it. But that means that we leave school on Tuesday and head to tennis and don't get home until 5:30 and have to squeeze in homework and dinner seemed like there was more. Maybe there was. I don't recall. Wednesday sees ballet and this Wednesday included activities that filled up the afternoon in between school and ballet, such that we ate at McDonald's for supper. McDonald's! That is a very irregular occurrence, and only happens when they are offering a special toy with their kids' meals. And Thursday (oh yeah - that was today) saw a repeat of Tuesday, with a little help for a friend added into the afternoon, such that I was making dinner at 7:00 and children were hollering homework questions at me.
Sigh. That doesn't look like as much on paper as it felt like it was. Suffice it to say that we left home at 7:30 every morning and didn't make it home until nearly 7:00 for three days in a row, and still homework, etc. to finish up.
So, I did not get to blog about Monday.
And on Wednesday, Emma was up on toe shoes again. I took pictures of her first time on point, but they are on my phone. And now we all know what that means. So....presenting the lurvely Miss Em and the cashmere legwarmers that I finally finished:

Oh - I know what else happened on Tuesday! I got my glasses! Here's a crappy mirror shot, but you can still get the idea:

I think that pretty much covers my week so far. My eyes are burning. Could be looking through glasses for the first time, but seems more likely that the problem is lack of rest. Ah well. It's the stage of life, right? This is over in about 10 more years, right? I think I can, I think I can......

DAILY BLISS: Sitting in a breezy park while Drew had tennis class and combing Emma's wavy, beautiful hair

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Can I get an extra Saturday, please?

Because mine was wasted at a chess tournament. I suppose "wasted" is a strong word there - I invested my whole Saturday in my son's chess tournament. Does that sound more nice-mom-y? In order to feel like I was being productive, I brought my mom's birthday cardigan to work on. I frogged it. Twice. 290 stitches down the, I guess that's really 580 stitches, since I frogged it twice.
I started to get cross-eyed looking at those stitches (my glasses still aren't here!) and tried to forge ahead in a book I'm reading. Or I'm trying to read, anyway. It isn't going well. It's just over my head and I'm practically licking the page trying to get at least something out of it. Some fiber might just be a worthy compensatory prize.
Tomorrow is Epiphany Sunday. My husband decided to get all pastor-y and research Epiphany a little extra this year before we kick off that season in our church tomorrow. He suggested we make a King's Cake (is there supposed to be an apostrophe there, or even an "s?" I'm just not sure....) for breakfast. Sure, I thought, I'll just grab a recipe online tonight and whip it up in the morning. Lo and behold, it's yeast bread. Brioche, actually. Soooooo, I will be waking up in the wee hours so that it can rise several times before I shove it into the oven.
Yeasty breakfast aside, though, I'm looking forward to a new year with new direction for our little church. Having recently solidified our resolve to keep doing church this way, we have been in standing still through Advent. Now, I think we're both ready to jump back in and start exploring our identity and how we fit into the Body of Christ. It should be interesting.
Anyway, in the spirit of Epiphany (the revelation of Christ to the humanity, summing it up, also it's the celebration of the visit of the Magi), we usually emphasize some kind of service and charity. I have a few ideas to bring up tomorrow and I'm excited to see which one we pursue. I think I'll also be starting up a little charity knitting group. Nothing too time-consuming....maybe once a month. Any suggestions for either one are welcome in the comments section!

DAILY BLISS: looking at Chris' two-weeks-of-vacation beard - it just looks so friendly on him - and new music on my iPod

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I do love living in Florida when we get a cold snap. It doesn't happen often that our temperatures dip below freezing, and when it does, things get pretty colorful around here.
People pull out jackets and hats and scarves and boots that have been in their closets since the late seventies. Well, it's likely that the boots and scarf have been there since the seventies. The hat was maybe purchased as a cold front approached in '85, and the gloves could be a more recent purchase.
Whenever the purchases were made, though, we look amazingly silly in all of our mismatched layers and wide, frightened-at-this-weather eyes. Hurricanes? Sure. We can handle those. We have emergency kits and gallons of water stored in our garages. But cold weather? What the heck? We are completely unprepared for this eventuality!
I also love to see the sprinklers in the strawberry fields. They make a glittery halo over the crops and the plants themselves sparkle in the sunlight against that clear, bright, blue sky that only happens after a real cold front passes through. Where else?

DAILY BLISS: wearing my long wool coat and needing slippers while I cooked supper

Since You Asked.....

Here you go, Becky - a better shot of the new tattoo:

It's a low-back one. Which I said I wasn't going to do, because that's where most girls get their little tattoos. Only, my hubby's not really into tattoos and this was the only spot we could agree on.
Which leaves me just the behind-the-ear one to go. Maybe for my birthday....hint, hint, honey?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Still Chaotic?

We have reached that point in the cycle of seasons that we should be taking a deep breath and feeling refreshed and jumping back into our lives full of resolution and new hope, haven't we?
That just doesn't seem to be the case for me this year. I knew that work was going to be a little hectic leading up to Christmas. Just lots of publishing and printing and phone busyness and stuff. It isn't like being a part-time secretary is a hard job. That's what my brain says. Meanwhile, my computer-strained eyes and quick-as-lightning typing fingers beg to differ. Not only were they overworked this Christmas, it has not seemed to end yet. Each work day ends with me feeling hopeful that tomorrow - yes, tomorrow - I will find my desk under the pile of papers. Having a couple of days of sleeping in and staying in jammies should have cured my tiredness, shouldn't it? After all, my mom tells me I am under-employed. I am soooo on top of this job. Well....I should be, right? It's just that I don't seem to be. I mean, it isn't that bad, but I don't like the sense of being snowed under with papers. I prefer to be on top of things. I really enjoy answering requests with, "Yeah! I can do that!" or "No problem." It's more like, "uh, I'll do what I can" right now.
Maybe I just didn't recover quite enough. I've been under the weather. I had just enough time to catch up on sleep and not enough time to catch up on the parts of life that passed me by during the Christmas rush.
School paperwork for the kids - they go back tomorrow and I just now pulled out their stacks of paper.
Setting up my 2008 Calendar - there are things happening tomorrow and Saturday that my husband had to remind me about because I haven't done this yet.
Putting knitting projects on Ravelry - that should be fun and spare-time-ish. So far, no spare time. It's starting to feel more like an item on my to-do list than fun.
Grocery shopping - I always forget that there is life after Christmas. I plan meals and buy food through the 25th. After that, it's every man for himself. Usually, that lasts a couple of days until I can get to the store. Still....January 2nd and no groceries yet.....
Anyway, you don't need to know my to-do list. Nor should you concentrate that I was irresponsible with my time and got a tattoo yesterday instead of getting groceries. Just blot that fact from your mind. I just.....I still waiting to feel ready for this year to start. But it already started. And I'm not ready.
I hate that.
But Chris was still on vacation today and he did some nice things. He hooked up my new record player (my Christmas present from my honey). Now I can pull out my Bing Sings collection and play it. I think I'll do that tonight. And he set up our radio in the living room. Five years in this house and no NPR in the living room. It's been a long five years. Prarie Home Companion, I have missed you! He cleaned out the game cabinet. We really have outgrown Don't Spill the Beans and Candyland. Sad, but true. Now we have room for the six different kinds of Monopoly games we own.
My sweetie even took the kids to the park today and they rode their bikes (that requires supervision in our neighborhood), neither of which happen as often as I feel responsible parents should make them happen. I will never live up to my own standards.
So, I am still needing vacation, but my hubby has had an accomplishing sort of day....which almost sort of makes it better.

DAILY BLISS: an hour of down time at Emma's ballet class and dried cranberries in my oatmeal

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Two Down, One to Go

So, Julianna calls me last night and says, "Hey! What are your plans for tomorrow?" And I tentatively say, "knitting and not much else." Then she says, "You know those tattoos we talked about? I'm ready to do it. Tomorrow."
And that was that.
I had not been planning to add to my tattoo collection quite so soon, but since I already knew what I wanted....well, why not? Chris and I finally agreed on the spot where it should live and I really like it.

Sorry for the rough photo. I promise to get a nicer one up here soon if you all are really interested. My guess is that you're probably not. It says "selah" and yes, we checked and double-checked to make sure our tattoos actually said what we wanted them to say. Biblical Hebrew is very dangerous with dots and dashes that can change the whole word.
Oh - and this one hurt way more than the first one.

DAILY BLISS: being at home with my kiddos