Friday, November 29, 2013

And Now....a Word about Endings

It's the last post of NaBloPoMo, and the folks at BlogHer want to know my feelings about endings.

  To me, there are four kinds of endings:  catastrophic, blessing, miraculous or incomplete.

Catastrophic endings are the worst.  This would include break-ups, being fired from your job, losing someone to illness (no matter how much you believe "that they're no longer in pain and they're in a better place.  It still sucks hard, even when you see it coming.)  Especially unresolved endings.   We've all had them, one way or another.  They may be soothed over time by the passage of time itself, but they still bruise years later.

"Blessing" endings are when the end of something finally arrives and you run to it.  For example, when I finally finished my time (I should say "served my time") at a job that I absolutely hated so that I could move on to something more suiting and satisfying.  (It was a long four years, hence the "prison sentence" references.)  These are sometimes bittersweet, like graduations, where you have one foot forward because you are looking into your future, but are scared to take that step.

"Miraculous endings" don't happen to everyone.  I've had one, and they are beautiful.  You see, I spent the better part of a year unsure if we'd ever have children of our own.  Just as I made the appointment for fertility testing, I discovered a week later that the reason why the coffee tasted terrible and that I was tired down to my bones was indeed, because I was going to have a baby.  We're one of the lucky ones....not everyone gets to resolve the issue by calling back their doctor to cancel the appointment and tell the receptionist that she's pregnant.  Seven years later, I still feel incredibly blessed.

I call the fourth ending "incomplete" but it's kind of a misnomer.  Because if it isn't complete, it isn't an ending.  Not if you don't want to be.  An ending can also be a beginning in disguise, if you're willing to let it.

Anyway, that's just my feeling about endings.  And with that, I've successfully completed National Blog Posting Month!!!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

First Blog Post Feelings

Today's NaBloPoMo topic:  How do you feel about your first-ever blog post?

Here is the post, short and sweet.  Written and Published on 6/28/08:

Folks, what we have here is an all-out obsession. We got the Disney/Pixar movie "Cars" from Netflix a couple of weeks ago. Will loves it! In fact, he loves it so much that he wants to watch it all day, every day! He starts to cry and stomp his feet when the credits roll. He also won't watch it by himself, he wants Mama to watch it too! So needless to say, I've seen a lot of "Cars" this weekend. It's a pretty cool movie though. Pixar is working on a "Cars" sequel, it will be out in 2012. Will will be six years old when that hits the theatres. Think he'll still be totally obsessed? Absolutely!!
First of all, whoa!  I've been blogging since June, 2008?  I knew that I had been doing it awhile, but was surprised to find out exactly how long it's been!

I've got something close to 900 posts, which blows my mind as well.  I'm surprised that it's held my interest this long but I really enjoy it.  And I think that blogging on a semi-regular basis has improved my writing.  I know that not a lot of people read this blog, and I write it for me, not readers.  But I know that I have a handful of friends/family that read occasionally to stay caught up and sometimes send me comments.  (Hi Mom!)  It's also turned into a lovely way to preserve memories.  I really, really enjoy going back and reading about things that the kids did, or an adventure that Hubby and I went on, or something that I made.  I'm so glad that I did this!

Anyway......My older son wasn't quite two when I started writing this.  He's seven now, and isn't into "Cars" anymore.  (I know, shocker.)  We actually WORE OUT that DVD.  I didn't even know that was possible but guess what, it IS!  His younger brother Sean is almost four and loves Cars.  He's not obsessed like Will was, but he certainly does enjoy it.  The biggest surprise of all for both Brian and I:  we can still sit through  the original "Cars" and not want to rip our hair out.  The movie still holds its own, and is fun to watch occasionally.

  Both boys were very excited to see the aforementioned Cars sequel, which we did see in theaters.  Will hated it, mostly because the "bad cars" said they were going to kill his favorite, Lightning McQueen.  Sean was too young to really care.   Needless to say, we don't own the Cars 2 DVD.

See?  If  I hadn't blogged about this, it's something that I likely would've forgotten about in our lives.  Thanks, NaBloPoMo, for making me think of it!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful. :)

Time for my annual "Things that I am Thankful for" List!  It's the Day before Thanksgiving and we're cleaning up the kitchen so we can bake desserts for tomorrow's feast.  I'm also finally taking the time to go thru the family room and purge some toys for charity.  :)

First of all, I'm thankful for my family.  A husband that's my best friend and partner in crime, and two kids that keep us on our toes.  My parents, my brother and sister-in-law, inlaws, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, thankful for all of them.

I'm thankful that there's a roof over our head, food on our table and laundry in my hampers.  

Thankful for friends that keep me sane and grounded.  You know who you are.  :)

This year I'm so very thankful that our Adventures in Real Estate worked out in the end.  It was likely the most frustrating, crazy challenge we've dealt with in a long time and sometimes it didn't feel like it would resolve itself, but it did.  

I'm thankful that there's a light at the end of the tunnel finally, in this wonderful stage called Potty Training.  Fellow parents out know you've been there!

There's a million others, I've got a lot to be thankful for in my life.  But those are the biggies.

Happy Thankgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

What are you Hiding?????

One fun thing about buying a new house.....finding all-new places to hide Christmas gifts from the kids.  Well, not just the kids.  Hubby and I have to find places to hide gifts from EACH OTHER.

In the old house, we each had our favorite places.  His was his work bench, and I knew better to approach that part of the basement.  Mine was in my yarn drawers, or wherever I could stash things in a hurry.  I once hid tickets to a concert in a hair dryer box because I knew that he would never, ever EVER think to go there.  (Great....there goes that hiding spot!)

The only part that's bad about stashing things in a hurry is that you tend to forget where you put them.  I have to write it down, and then hide the list. You guessed it.....that list got lost.  This is the reason why my kids get stocking stuffers when I find them in April.  They're not complaining, trust me.  Christmas candy tastes just as good in the Spring as it does in the winter.  :)

So what am I hiding now?  There's a closet under the steps across from the laundry room that's filled with things like vacuums, mops, luggage and chairs.  The kids would never think of venturing in there on their own, so any gifties that have already come are cooling their jets in there.  (the pressure seems to be on this year, I've got quite a lot done already.)  Another way to keep them from going in there was to leave a bunch of stuff that I bought at Christmas Tree Shops in front of the door for a couple of weeks.  That one wasn't on purpose...another thing I'm finding out about having an upstairs/downstairs house is that I forget about a lot of the stuff downstairs for periods of time.  Good for the mess that the kids make in the family room, not-so-good when you actually need something.

  Hiding things from Brian will be a little tougher.  I'm working on it, though.  Just as he's working on hiding stuff from me.  :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hats for Halos of Hope

If anyone knows me or reads this blog, you know that I like to knit for charity.  I still make baby hats and blankets for Stitches from the Heart, I send them a box every June and December.  (December's box is almost finished, there are four blankets and I'm three hats short of two dozen.  Luckily we have a Thanksgiving Road Trip coming up, and baby hats are a great car project!)  I've flirted with the idea of becoming a Massachusetts volunteer for Stitches, but I don't know.  I'd have to give up Swap Groups on Ravelry, any time I spend blogging or reading....perhaps working or sleeping.  Oy.

Anyway, I'm always looking for new charity knitting ventures, and Webs has posted on on their site: Hats for Halos of Hope.  Plus, those babies that I knit for turn into grown-ups, and it's fun to break into knitting for grown-ups from time to time.  It sounds fiercely competitive, trying to collect 10,000 hats.  Webs is wonderful and I want to support their efforts.

The deadline to ship hats to Webs is February 1st, so it won't interrupt any knitting for the holidays time.  (What's kind of funny is that I have three hats that I want to make between now and 12/25.  Do-able?  I want to say yes!!)  

Power of Advertising

Today's prompt asks to write about the last thing that you bought because you were convinced by someone/some form of advertising.

Well, I don't know about anyone convincing me, it was the product itself.

You see, not only am I irrevocably in love with yarn, I'm head over heels with patterns, too.  This can get rather expensive, so I always look for free patterns online instead of buying them.

I also love going to the library and guess what they have there?  Knitting books!  Lots of them, with more patterns than I could ever knit in a lifetime.  I like to "test-drive" books before buying them.  Oftentimes, I am satisfied with flipping through one, and then realize that there isn't anything I "really" want to make in there.  So back to the library it goes, often saving me $20-$30.

Over the summer. I checked out a book called "60 Baby Knits" and brought it home to look at the cute baby stuff.  By the end of the evening I had cast on a lovely baby hat, which is one of the first three patterns of the book.  I was a goner before the hat was finished; not only did I order "60 Baby Knits,", I got the second one, which is "60 Baby Blankets."  I didn't so much fall off the wagon, I JUMPED.    In my defense, I make a LOT of baby stuff, for charity and for friends/family.

Three months later, I'm still not sorry that I bought them, and I can't wait til after the holidays to make something out of the blanket book.

Oh, and here's the finished hat!  It looks kind of weird lying flat on a table, the shape is much better when it's on an actual baby's head.  Theirs was green, I chose "Sunshine Yellow" for my hat.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Evolving Style

An outfit from any time in my life that makes me feel good.......hmmm.  Well, I've got a few things to write about I guess.

When I was in sixth grade, my friends and I found cheap sweatshirts at a flea market.  Being the eighties, they were god-awful color combos.  Mine was a red sweatshirt that had a picture of a girl lounging in a hammock between two palm trees.  In screamy PINK lettering it said "Lazy Girls Club:  Party all Night, Sleep all Day."  It was uber-ugly but I loved it at the time, because two of my friends had them too, in blue and black.  It made me feel like "part" of something.  I dunno......I just remember wearing it everywhere.  It probably fell apart because it was so cheap.  It was around this time that I had another eightie's sweatshirt that was black and covered with little mirrors and glittery pastel puffy paint.  Oh yeah....stylin'!  I paired it with black stirrup pants, pink socks and silver cheapie shoes.  If I had a picture, I'd post it for the cheezy (yes, with a "Z", it was that bad) hilarity.

When I find something I like, I wear the crap out of it.  In college, overalls became stylish again.    I say "again" because we probably all wore them as nursery schoolers, and hey, now we can wear them as college students!  I look at these pictures and shudder.  I felt pretty good in 'em, though.  And the shuddering may just as well be from my "Rachael-esque" haircut (c'mon, you know that you rocked a Rachel in the mid-nineties) and the purple "Cinnaberry" hued locks.  Augh!  I thought it was pretty hot at the time.

Best Outfit I've ever worn, hands down?  The dress that I wore to the Commencement Ball in college.  It also happens to be the night that my husband proposed.  I wore a gold-colored ball gown with rhinestone straps....very glamorous.  The gold dress reminded me of Belle in "Beauty and the Beast."  I still have it in the back of my closet, despite never fitting in it again I will never get rid of it.

Nowadays....what clothes make me feel good?  Clothes that fit well.  Again, I'm a creature of habit and I tend to wear the same things over and over.  Recently, I had to buy some new work clothes because it appears that I donated a lot of them to charity when we moved.  I've gotten a few new pairs of pants, several new sweaters, etc.  I go to work "Professionally dressed" every day, and I even take the time to pick out jewelry/accessories to compliment my attire.  That's what makes me feel good these days....being put together.  Though that early Nineties girl is still in there....and she still likes her sparklies from time to time!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Different Kind of Christmas List

It's that time of year....people's thoughts are heading towards Christmas.  I myself have started shopping, because it feels good to be ahead instead of behind the eight-ball.  I'm placing an order for Christmas cards today, want to get the jump on them this year because of the address change.  We've got big plans to actually GO through all of the holiday decorations this year and let go of some of them, thus making room for new ones.

I love Christmas.  The decorations, getting Christmas cards, seeing the kids open presents on Christmas morning, cooking all sorts of goodies that we don't have during the year, etc etc etc.  There's a little bit of Grinch in me, though, and I know that a small piece lives in everyone.  So, to get it out of the way early and to get it off my is a list of things that irritate me about Christmas.

1.  The biggest one:  The ELF ON THE SHELF.  When it first came out, it was kind of a cute idea.  You get this creepy-ish looking elf and you sit it on a shelf.  You tell your kids that the elf is there on Santa's request, reporting their behavior to him daily.  Now, thanks to sites like Pinterest, it's become the Overachiever Activity of the Year, replacing handmade Valentines for your kids' whole class and huge fanfare over St. Patrick's Day with "leprachaun traps" and gold pieces, etc.  It starts with having to make the elf do different things every day for your child to "discover."  There are actual CALENDARS that you can download for a different activity every day, and why is it that the damn thing is supposed to be doing something messy or naughty?  Don't parents have enough messes to clean up?  I also feel like this is a setup for failure, because with how busy this time of year is, besides regular everyday stuff, there is a good chance that one will forget to move the elf every day and then the kids will think that they did something wrong.  And, AND!  I actually saw one site that had printable templates of notices that the Elf leaves your child when they've committed some infraction behavior-wise.  WHAT??  Ok, rant over.  Perhaps this is the "grinch-iest" thing about me yet.  But I've got to believe that I'm not alone in this thought.

2.  The cost of Christmas cards.  Since having children, I've enjoyed getting photo cards of the kids to send out to my Christmas card list.  I've got a pretty lengthy list, despite going over it every year and making a cut or two.  I haven't yet been able to order cards for less than fifty bucks.  This isn't including return address labels or actual postage costs.  I do like the convenience though, pop the photo card in the envelope, address and stamp, then mail.  Going back to writing out

3.  Stores starting their holiday displays in September.  Christmas Candy in the grocery aisle on October 15th.  Yet, when you run to the grocery store on Christmas Eve because you are making cookies and need red and green sprinkles because you ran out and they're nowhere to be found because they're currently stocking VALENTINES.......that really ticks me off.  (this really happened one year.  Not even a clearance area....augh!)

I've thought and thought, and I can't come up with any other things that truly irk me about the Holiday Season.   Christmas music....I love it when it first comes out but by the end I am quite ready to see it go.  I think just about everyone else feels that way about it, too.    So the list was a lot shorter than I thought!  I reserve the right to revisit the list in January.  :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My First Friend

 I was born in a large town in MA (it technically should be a city but isn't, and I have no idea why) and the first real house I remember is a two-family on the south side of town.  It was an old Victorian-style house that had been renovated to be a two-family and was the color of peach ice cream.

The house next door, also an old converted two-family, was where the T. Family lived.  The first friend that I can remember any concrete details about is Nicole T.  She and I went to different schools, her to the local public school and I to the private Catholic school in our neighborhood.  She was the youngest sibling in the family, and her family was quite strange.  Actually, to use an old fashioned word, her brothers and sister were a bunch of hoodlums.  Her parents, as I found out many years later, were divorced but they still lived together.  Her father spent a lot of time outside, sitting in the family boat and drinking beer.  (Yep....classy AND sad.)  Anyway, I loved playing with Nicole because we could get away with murder at her house, because her parents didn't give a crap what we did.  We would eat candy for lunch and watch all kinds of bad TV at her house, until one of her brothers or father would kick us out to go back to my house.  We got in trouble a lot, Trouble with a capital T.  I'm pretty sure it was her idea for us to paint our nails while my mom was on the phone.  Did I mention that we did this with black sharpies??  We would play in my backyard for hours, in the winter we would sled down this "hill" that had an abrupt ending.  It used to hurt but I'd play anyway.   We'd ride our bikes all over the neighborhood.  This was a different era, when it was perfectly acceptable to take off on your bike and be gone for an hour.  One of the scariest memories I have is with her was playing with her and her brother Andy on an icy creek and I fell in.  I don't think the water was that deep, but for a seven-year old girl it was terrifying.

Anyway, my parents sold that house and we moved twelve miles away to a new town in 1984.  I hung up my school uniforms and attended the local public school.  Nicole came to visit me once.  After that, we became pen pals but that dried up after about a year.  And I never heard from her again, though I never forgot her.

A few years ago, my mom told me that she had been reading the paper and came across Nicole's obituary.  She passed away at the age of 33, leaving two children.  There were no specifics, no cause of death.  From the way that the obituary reads, it sounded like she had been a single mom.  My heart broke for her, and for her two kids.  I often wonder what life would've been like if we had stayed in that house, and if we had remained friends.   I probably would be a very different person with her influence.  I'll never know though, so I will continue to remember fondly the little girl that I drew Princess pictures with, rode bikes with and stirred up a heap of trouble at such a young age.  And I think about her two kids who lost their mom way too soon.  Rest in Peace, Nicky.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lessons in Parenting

Ten Things I've Learned as a Parent

1.  Really, it's better to lower one's standards of cleanliness.  Though I'm a bit messy/scatterbrained myself, I've learned to accept unfolded baskets of laundry around the house, a trash can that never seems to empty, that dirty dishes seem to multiply like rabbits and that a house isn't a home without a series of matchbox cars on the floor.  Or even better....legos for me to step on in my sock feet.

2.  Things that made me gag as a kid-less adult are a breeze now.  I can clean up puke and other bodily fluids pretty much gag-free.

3.  Parenting makes you say things that you never thought were possible to come out of your mouth.  I once told a baby Will that, after trying to slip a softy shoe on, that "Pee-pees don't wear shoes."  That's actually one of my personal favorites!  Last night I actually said to Sean, "What are you doing?!  We don't bite our plates....that's made of glass and will hurt you!"

4.  There will be disappointment along the way.  There will also be lots of times where you question your judgment, your sanity and your self-worth.  It will take only one phone call home from the school principal about your "little darling"  that will make you want to crawl under a rock.  It's tough to remember sometimes that we are our own worst critic.

5.  To appreciate every age, and to document when possible.  I take plenty of pictures, and I love reading this blog to re-live things like their little socks, the way they pronounce things, or when my oldest insisted that he didn't want a baby in the family because he wanted to sleep.  (Kids really are wiser than we think.)

6.  To never say never.  "My child would never do that."    My mother tells a story about my grandmother insisting that her daughter would never sling mud at a neighbor's clean sheets while they were drying on the clothesline.  Hint:  She totally did it.    It hasn't happened to me yet, and I stress "yet."

7.  How's the phrase go...."When angry count to ten.  When very angry, a thousand."  Sometimes you have to stop and count, before going nuclear.  It's a lot prettier for all involved if you take a deep breath.  I don't always follow this one, but I am trying.

8.  Birthday parties outside of the house....they are expensive but if you can swing it, they're worth it.  Not cleaning up the mess that fifteen children made after a two-hour party is heaven.

9.  It's the best job that I've ever wanted to quit.  Getting paid in snuggles and "I Love Yous" rocks.  They may not pay the mortgage, but they're worth their weight in gold!

10.   Also worth it's weight in gold...the fact that these children are someday going to call you up and tell you the woes that their child is causing them and ask you, how did you deal with this?  They will understand what their parents have gone through because they are now going through it themselves.  I already know this is bittersweet, I've made the call a few times to my own parents.  I am doing the same kind of work that my mom did when I was in elementary school.  An actual conversation with my mother:  "Mom?  Remember how B and I used to call you up at work, because we were fighting?  I'm REALLY sorry!"  :)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Inside the Actors Studio

Have you ever seen the show "Inside the Actor's Studio" on Bravo?  I love it!  My favorite episodes are probably when he had Tom Hanks on the show, and Sarah Jessica Parker as well.  I haven't seen it in a long time, but I really enjoy how James Lipton interviews actors about their work and their lives.  He always closes out the interview with a ten-item questionnaire.  
If I were on “Inside the Actors Studio” these would be my responses to James Lipton’s 10-questions:
1. What is your favorite word?
"copious" or "plethora."
2. What is your least favorite word?
"puckered."  (today's word, anyway.)
3. What turns you on?  
A sense of humor and a smile.  
4. What turns you off?
5. What sound do you love?
My kids laughing together.
6. What sound do you hate?
A fork scraping on a plate.  Nails on a chalkboard.  Any scrape-y, squealy noise, I just can't stand it!!
7. What is your favorite curse word?
Honestly?  I love the versatility of the "F-word."  Though I am also particularly fond of "asshat" too.  
8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Something creative.  Acting is high on the list, but writing is too.  
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Work in a morgue.  I don't think I could handle that!!
10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
"Welcome, I've been expecting you.  Help yourself to anything in the fridge."  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dress My Windows

Good Gawd, I hate curtains.  I hate how I always have the wrong size window for what I am looking at, and why fabric for windows is so damn expensive.  Plus, with the exception of our family room, I hate that the previous owner had such gaudy taste in curtains!

When we first moved in (actually when we were LOOKING at the house) I noticed that although the house was empty, there was a load of curtains in the washing machine.  Cue to moving-in day, and well, let's say that the seal on the washing machine is incredible.  And if you leave wet curtains in there for months, mildew will permeate in the washing machine and whatever's in there is definitely now trash.  Looking at the curtains though, I knew that they were destined to end up in the trash even if they were mildew-free.

Except one of their kin was still in the kitchen as a valance.  Every time I looked at it I resisted the urge to tear it down immediately.

I never took a photo of the window while THIS was up there.  It was ugly, trust me.

So imagine my surprise while I was at Christmas Tree Shops last week, just poking around.  BAM!  Country-style valances in blue, and only four bucks a pop!  

I dragged out the iron today and Brian hung these beauties.  So much better!

This is such a little thing, but it feels so much bigger in the progress department.

Next up--getting some drapes on the slider door out to the backyard.  Because even though no one can see inside (It's all woods in the backyard with no houses directly behind us)  it still feels like we're living in a fishbowl.

Sweater, Sunday, Sickies.....

-Last week, I took a look at the sweater that I had been knitting for my niece's birthday.  I started it in June, got the lace body finished and figured I'd add the sleeves later.

-I pulled it out of hibernation and saw that there were mistakes in the lace.

-A week before her party, I decided to frog the sweater and make a new one.  Yeah, a week before her party. I picked a short-sleeve number that I've made and loved before, and set out making it in size 2T.   I work GREAT under a deadline!

-Worked all week on it, every free moment.  I even knit a row or two in the mornings before work and during my lunch break.

-Saturday night, I still had two rows to finish, the bind-off, weaving of ends and the much-anticipated sewing-on of the buttons.  I had purchased two kinds to choose from (Because I am a little obsessed with buttons.)  So which will it be....brass-colored rosettes or clear plastic embellished with white?  Hmmmmm.

-Morning of the party....binding off.  And then we decide that we're not going to the party because Hubby is sick.  Truth be told, I'm still not feeling 100% myself.  Two (sicky) parents at a party?  I don't think so.

-That being said, I'm sick of sickness.  It's been at least three weeks that someone (mostly me!) has been sick.  No more Rx's!  Down with thermometers!  Begone, tea and ginger ale!!

-So, no party.  Next week we'll take a trip to see the birthday girl and her parents for dinner and to give her her birthday presents from us.  But the birthday girl's sweater is done, and now I have a week to spare.  Time to cast on something else.  Knit all the things before Christmas!!

-To be fair, I am still following my rule of not going bonkers trying to knit up a bunch of stuff for Christmas this year.  Truth be told, I have one present cast on right now and two ideas.  Small ideas.  But there's other knitting group's Potluck and Swap Night this year's theme is "Ornaments."  Guess I should get on that.  Plus, I'm doing Ravelry's birthday swap again, for the fourth year running.

-Reading this last paragraph....I think I've got some crafting to do.  See ya!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bad Habits

"If you could stop one bad habit instantly what would it be?"

Mine would be biting my nails.  I bit my nails as a child and it drove my parents batty.  They said that I would stunt their growth, they bought the stuff that tastes bad when you bite them....they tried everything.  Nothing helped, I'd bite them til they bled.

Then one summer, right after I met my now-husband, I stopped.  I stopped for an entire summer, and that's how long it took to grow them out!  I rewarded myself by getting some acrylic tips, and covered them up for ten years and appointments every other week.

After a while, I didn't want to spend the money or time on my nails anymore.  If i were being more honest, I'd say that it was more about the money.  I begrudgingly had them taken off....I can still remember how I felt about it at the nail salon.  My own nails underneath were brittle and easily broken, and I was sad to the core.  Three months later, after they grew out, I swore I'd never get acrylics again!

Flash forward five more years (this post is making me feel old!)  Our house is on the market, and we have a persnickety buyer (the depths of my politeness show here, because there are definitely sterner words for the situation)  The buyer falls through six days away from our moving day, and we're now left in the precarious situation of being stuck with a house we're trying to sell and losing the house we're trying to buy.  So what's the first thing I do?  BITE ALL MY NAILS OFF.  And although everything ended up working out in the end, I can't seem to stop nibbling.  So YES!  I would like to instantly be able to cut that crap out.  I'd love to have pretty hands again.

Counting Crows

Last night as I was leaving work, I stopped dead in my tracks.

A house on the other side of the church (I work for an apartment complex sponsored by the church) was being STALKED  by crows.  It was absolutely creepy.  I don't know if I've ever seen crows before, and if I have I certainly haven't seen a "murder" of crows before.  No seriously, a gathering of crows is called a murder.  Just to add to the creepiness further.

I took a short video, just for the sound.  And then jumped in my car to get the boys, with an ominous feeling.  Nothing bad happened, but it was pretty unsettling.  If I didn't see it again, I'd be OK with that!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Morning Person vs. Night Owl

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt asks if I am a morning person or a night owl.

Ha!  If you've read this blog more than five minutes then you know that I am the biggest night owl that there ever was.

I didn't intend for it to be that way.  I'd love to be able to be the kind of person that pops out of bed early and gets a ton of stuff done before noon.  Not. Happening.  I thought that having kids would turn me into more of a morning person.  Not. True.  If anything, I've become more of a night dweller.  Do you know why?  The hour or so after everyone is in bed is the quietest hour of the day.  I can watch re-runs of The Big Bang Theory and knit to my heart's content.  And it gets later and later....and I keep going despite being tired because my "me time" ends when I go to bed.  Sunday nights are especially bad for this.   Even when I have good intentions of going to bed early, I think of fifteen more things to do in the walk from the living room to the bedroom.  I think that just comes from being a Mom, though.

One good thing is that I appear to be raising two boys that are destined to be night owls.  Especially the younger one....he gives me a run for my money every morning in the pokey department!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Best Hour of the Day

Today's prompt:  what is the best hour of the day?

The best one is when I read to the kids, and spend a little extra time with them before bed.  (I'm not crazy a lot of nights about getting them IN bed, but usually it's not too bed.)  After some books, a lullaby, some extra hugs and kisses...once I close that bedroom door I'm off like a bandit.  I always feel like I accomplished this BIG THING and am getting away with something when I get them down for the night successfully.  

After that....Hubby and I have our time.  Most of the time this involves television and ice cream, but it's perfect.  We unwind before bed, watching whatever tickles our fancy.  Yep, that amount of time right there, from putting the kids to bed and then ending the day next to him....that's the best hour of my day.  :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Fridge Challenge

Five Things in my Fridge and My Feelings Regarding Said Five Things

That's a bit of a strange prompt.  But Ok, I'll play along.

1.  Milk.  We simply cannot keep enough milk in this house.  That, and orange juice.  The kids drink them like there's no tomorrow, and once of us is always reminding the other to stop for milk on the way home.  But neither child has a taste for soda, so there's definitely worse things.

2.  Hershey's Syrup.  This isn't just a staple in our house, it's a must-have.  Some friends of ours have a running joke that a shortage of Parmesan cheese in their house is a divorceable offense.  If we were to think that way, our item would be Hershey's Syrup.  Hubby loves this stuff, he's just like a kid.  :)

3.  Sour cream.  Although I love it on baked potatoes and the occasional taco, we never can get through it before it gets a nice mold topping.

4.  Corona.  We don't entertain often anymore, but when we do, people usually bring their own drinks.  Which is fine, because everyone likes different things.  One of our guests left four bottles of Corona over the summer, which we will never drink.  Ugh.....gross!  So why don't I just throw it away?  That's easy....too much effort to take everything in front of it out so I can get to the Corona.

5.  The last item is......leftovers.  If you open our fridge there's a pretty good chance that there's a bunch of Tupperware (or knockoff) containers.  I despise sandwiches for lunch and lost my taste for Lean Cuisines a long time ago.  So quite often, I bring leftovers for lunch.  That being said, when it comes to leftovers, it's feast or famine around here.  Either we have so much left over that the fridge is bursting at the seams, or there's absolutely NOTHING.

Monday, November 11, 2013


The target:  Worcester Art Museum.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it:  cover the railings of the front entrance with yarn.


I've always wanted to yarnbomb something.  But I know that some people see it as vandalism so when I saw a general invite on Ravelry looking for yarnbombers at a Community Day event at the Worcester Art Museum, I jumped!

I didn't know exactly where the location was until a few days before, so my  friend Kristina and I couldn't make up any pieces beforehand.  A lot of  this was knit on-the-spot, hence only two railings got done instead of the top four.  Kristina and I got to the museum at 11:00 and there were three women from Providence participating as well.  Later on another girl from our group, Cat, joined us.  It was an incredible time!  However, it was not incredible weather.  We had to move inside to knit the pieces after a while, it got quite frigid out and even started to rain.     Almost every person that walked by us commented on how cool it looked, and some wondered how it would stay on.  The answer is that the pieces are sewn on.  You can use zip ties as well, but sewing looks nicer.

 The end results look great, though.  And I'm told that the museum is going to leave them up for about a week.  I also get to cross "Yarnbombing" off the ol' Day Zero list.  And I made some new Ravelry friends.  Success!!

Guess what?  Yarnbombing is addictive.  I'm already thinking about what's next someday.

Help! I'm stuck inside a movie!

Today's prompt:  What movie would you like to be stuck in for five days?

That's easy...Harry Potter!  Don't make me choose which one....because it's too hard.  Any one of them will do.  I want to go to Hogwarts, ride the train there.  I want to experience the "Beginning of the Year" feast and see all that magic up close!  I want to play Quidditch and drink Butterbeer and experience all the tricks of the Weasley twins.  I especially want to visit The Burrows, and Hogsmeade.  Oh, can I go?  I'll don a Hogwarts robe and make a great student.  I'm not even sure which house I'd be sorted into, and I don't care.  Seriously, when do we leave????

Friday, November 8, 2013


The boys posing at Will's birthday party last week.  (or the week before....I've lost track.)

Though they may squabble and have a three-year gap between them, they really are friends, too.  Brian and I took them to the park last weekend, we had a day that was close to the seventies in temperature so it seemed a travesty NOT to take them.  Their favorite thing to do that day?  Not the slides, not the swings.  Nope, to run up a hill and then run down, with Will holding Sean's hand.  This was repeated over and over, with lots of giggles.  I love moments like these!  And though I know that the fighting will continue (Brian likes to point out that "Brotherly Love" isn't what most people think it is) I hope that they're always friends.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

First Crush

Who doesn't remember their first crush?  I hadn't thought about mine for years until this week.   I went to a private Catholic school and were forced to wear these gaggy outfits of plaid jumpers, yellow blouses and ties.  Oh, and brown kneesocks.  Sexy.  The boys didn't have it much better....brown pants, same yellow shirt and that "gorgeous" white/black/brown/yellow plaid as a tie.   I vaguely remember this boy.....he had blue eyes and slicked-back hair, and was quite skinny.   I do remember that his name was John, and that I chased him around the blacktop at recess.  That was me....quite subtle.  If I liked you, believe me, you knew about it.

Why all this thinking about crushes?  Last week at Will's birthday party, a friend from our old neighborhood gave him a gift of a rubber-band bracelet.  These are the latest craze, kind of like friendship bracelets or ribbon barrettes or even safety pin-beaded bracelets.  Kids all over are getting these bags of little rubber bands that I think resemble the rubber bands I used to have to use with my braces.  Then you do something with a loom and it makes a cool bracelet.  Well.  I'd been hearing about "Mom!  We NEED to buy a loom!" for over a week.  I had purchased bands but AC Moore was out of looms.  Then lo and behold...while shopping for a big coffee pot for work, there's a bunch of looms at the checkout at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  (I guess that follows in the "Beyond" category.)  I brought it home and he's quite excited!  We're figuring them out together and it's slow going....because though I am a whiz with the knitting needles, I'm kind of crap with a crochet hook.  We'll persevere though, probably by watching YouTube videos.

I asked him who the first bracelet would be for, expecting him to say himself.  I was wrong.  Instead I got "Well, there's this girl named Caroline in my class.....I'm really glad you got pink bands, Mom.  Because those are her favorite."

 And so it begins.  Right on schedule.  :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sweet Mother Hen

Today's blog prompt for NaBloPoMo is about one thing that you would change about yourself.  I would make myself more adventurous.

In high school, I earned myself the nickname "Mother Hen."  I was very much a follower, not a leader.  Other people have stories of parties that went well after midnight, sneaking out to Boston, etc.  I have none of this.  Sure, I had friends (who did stuff) and I had fun, but there are no "fearless moments" and nothing bold.  My husband has asked every old friend I've ever had for some dirt on the younger version of Ginny, and they are all surprised that they have none.  If people were partying at someone's house, I was the one hiding in the corner or staying home to avoid getting in trouble.  Then again, my parents never had to pick me up at the police station.  I'm sure they're glad for that.

I've never lived abroad.  I've never immersed myself into a local culture to speak Spanish better. I don't have any stories that start with "When I was in Barcelona/Paris/L.A./New York" or end with "And that's the last time I ever tried flamenco dancing" or "See this scar?  That's how I got it, windsurfing."  

I've never colored my hair purple, or pierced my nose when I thought that I could get away with it.  I've never had a friend say "Let's go to Vegas!" and we do, right then and there.  I've never driven a convertible.  I've never placed a bet on a horse.  Heck, I've never ridden a horse.  I've never jumped off a high dive because I'm afraid of heights.  I've never done theater, I was too chicken to try out for the annual show at the high school, Oskey, or work on any plays in college.  Part of me feels like it's too late for a lot of these things.

You know what I do have?  Happy memories of meeting my husband in a seedy dance club in downtown Providence.  Not a lot of girls would approach a group of Navy sailors and see if they wanted to dance.  Speaking of dancing, I did dance on a table at a bar once, with my friend Joyelle.  I also kissed a stranger once, five minutes after meeting.  (That would be my now-husband.)    So I guess I'm not a total snore.  I also have proof of responsible living, and a clean conscience/rap sheet.  I've got a decent job, and a great family that loves me just as much as I love them.  So I guess being adventurous is great and all but not something that I'm really missing out on.

It's not too late for all of that stuff.....I still could get a tattoo and drive a convertible, right?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Parties make the Best Deadlines

The best way to make sure that something in your house is going to get done?  Plan a party.  

We did that more than once in our old house.  Hubby and I are at a professional level of biting off more than we can chew, and having projects halt due to some kind of chaos of the no-time/no-money variety.  Our old stove was a bit of a loose cannon, and we had two small fires when we first moved.  (Blaming the previous owners....which we did frequently.)  How to cough up enough cash for a new one:  offer to host Thanksgiving Dinner.  Setting the Thanksgiving turkey afire is entertaining, but your guests will likely not want to have dinner at your house again.

One of our bathrooms desperately needed gutting.  We started the project and right after demo I lost my job.  Luckily I was only unemployed for about five days and went back to my old job.Still...dirty words like "Budget" and "cash flow" got in our way.  Here's a fix....Easter was two months away.  Host Easter dinner!  Problem solved....dinner guests had a lovely time and the bathroom was perfectly done in time.  

Brother-in-law coming to stay with you for a week, with three days' notice??  Sure, we can paint the guest room and get new bedding....hell we can even buy a bed!  

So.....we've been living in the "new house" almost five months.  This whole "settle in" thing is refusing to complete itself.  It's really hard to dedicate time to it with working and the rest of life getting in the way.   We are still not unpacked.  All of our walls are basically naked. There are no curtains.   I still haven't gotten a "big boy" comforter for my younger son's twin bed, he is sleeping with a toddler bed-size one of Lightning McQueen that is much to short for his growing body.  The list goes on and on, and things are added daily.

But.....guess who's hosting Christmas this year??  There IS hope after all!  :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sometimes a Little Mystery is a Good Thing

Confession:  I am an Aerosmith Fan.

No, not of their new stuff.  As someone who's listened to hours and hours of Aerosmith songs, read their autobiography "Walk this Way" several times,  bought quite a few of their albums and seen them live two (three?) times, they should stick to the classics.  Well, their last good album IMHO was "Get a Grip."  I was in high school, and I remember listening to it in my then-boyfriend's family room from beginning to end.  (God, does anyone do that anymore??)

Anywho....they had a little album called Permanent Vacation come out in 1986-ish.  This was an important album for the band because it was right after they had all gone through rehab.  (Oh yeah....they were whacked outta their minds through most of the seventies and eighties.  But again, another 70's era band making music while on drugs....and later on not making good music sober.)  I'm losing track....back to Permanent Vacation.  It did well and so did the next few albums, putting them back on the charts and on top again.

On Permanent Vacation, there was this song called "The Movie."  It was entirely instrumental, and it was creepy and futuristic sounding.  In the middle of the song, there's a woman speaking alone, and the language was one that I did not recognize.  I always imagined that she was saying something cool, predicting the future, or I don't know...the meaning of life.  I didn't understand it and that's what made it intriguing.

Years later, we have Google.  So one day, I was remembering "The Movie" and decided to plug it in and see what this chick is talking about.  And I was sorely disappointed.

The language is Gaelic.  And the message is:

Theid sinn dhachaidh am bliadhna seo 's bith ceilidh mhor againn
We'll go home this year and we'll have a big ceilidh

's theid sinn chun na Hearadh agus ni sin ceilidh air Nora agus Raonailt [Raonaid?]
and we'll go to Harris and [pay a] visit [there to] Nora and Rachel

's tha mi an dochas gu faigh sinn buntata agus sgadan
I hope we get potato and herring

'S theid sin gu Scalpaidh 's theid sinn a choimhead air Mairi agus ... 
And we'll go to Scalpay and [we'll go] visit [or: go see?] Mary and ...

I think that there's a big BAZINGA! in there somewhere.  And the band must've had a laugh over this for years.  The big about visiting friends for a traditional social gathering, hoping to see our friends Rachel and Nora later, and noshing on spuds and fish.  Huh.

I think I preferred it better when I didn't know.  :)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Belated Halloween Post

I've been sick for almost a week.  I'm getting better, though.

I came home from work on Monday night with the dread that a fever was developing.  You know...that chilly, achy feeling.  Hubby knows I'm stubborn and insisted that I go to bed early (I'm a bit of a night owl) and for once I agreed, thinking I could nip this upcoming thing in the bud.

I didn't realize that it was going to be much, much too hard to nip with just one night of decent sleep.  Why?  Because it wasn't the usual little cold virus.  It turned out to be strep throat.

I've never had strep throat til now.  And if I ever get it again it will be much too soon, my friends.  This has been quite a long week, missing four days of work and barely having the energy to head into the living room and watch TV without needing a nap.  That's the thing that's thrown me for a loop....the absolute energy drain.  I didn't get antibiotics until Thursday night, which happens to be Halloween.

Halloween night!  Hubby took the books trick-or-treating and I agreed that we would leave the bucket of candy outside with a "Happy Halloween! Please take two" sign.  And likely that the first trick-or -treater would empty the bucket.  Ah well, at least I wouldn't have three bags of candy to eat once I felt like eating food again.

My sweet Harry Potter and Spider-Man.  Yes, I knit the scarf!

A half-hour later, they're back.  Because apparently, there's NO ONE giving out candy on our street.  I know that my neighbor said that we don't get many trick or treaters...but none?  Brian had come back for the car, to take them to a different neighborhood.  And our candy bucket in front of the garage was still full at the end of the night.  So next year I'll just turn off the front light and we'll go trick-or-treating as a family!  

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Million Dollar Question

"You've got a million dollars!  The catch is that you have to spend it all by sundown.  What are you going to do?"

I'm assuming that the money has to be spent and not given away...nor put away for something like college for the boys.

Responsibility bills.  Goodbye, car payments and Mortgage.

Then, I'd pay for my whole family to take a vacation together.  Because that would be a LOT of fun!   I'd also share the wealth a bit with them, paying some of their bills and things.

Now, for some charity.  A donation to pay for a year's worth of shipping for Stitches from the Heart so they can ship baby hats to hospitals.  A large donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.  And paying it forward....hitting Walmart and paying off layaway balances, making Christmas a little happier for those in need.

Then, hubby and I would hit Lowes for his dream oven.  We'd also go bonkers in Bed, Bath and Beyond!  Christmas shopping would be a snap this year.  I'd also book a cool knitting excursion for me, some friends and my Mom.  Season tickets to the local theatre would be ours for the next several years.

I've honestly no idea if that would all take up a million dollars, or if it even can be done in a day.  But it sure all sounds great!