Friday, March 31, 2006

Bean of the week:

B: "I have bones! (Pointing to her ribs)"
M: "Yes, Sweetie, you do. So do I (showing her my ribs)"
D: "And I have bones"
B: "You have bones, and Daddy has bones, and I have bones. That means I'm an adult!!!!"

good, then you can start contributing to the mortgage...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Just how Super is it?

Pretty good, I'd say. I have not tasted the food yet, but it was easy and fun. Most meals come with six chicken breasts or pork chops and the owner suggested that I package them in twos, since Bean eats a bird portion if she deigns to try it at all. That was a really helpful suggestion and will stretch the meals alot further as I won't have leftovers.

Everything is frozen or canned. I'm sure it's from Sysco or wherever, but it all looked pretty good. The marinara sauce smelled nice, the chicken and meats looked lean, and there was an excellent assortment of meals. But there weren't any veggies.

I wouldn't call it "meal preparation" as much as entree marination. You are still going to have to thaw the chicken in advance and then cook it. And that's where I was needing the help. I can do a marinade. I've got several Fischer & Wieser marinades in the fridge (mmm, Mango Habanero Ginger!), not to mention my own marinades. There weren't alot of things you can just thaw overnight and stick in the oven, add a salad, and bingo! - a meal

The whole experience has made me think of how to prepare my own super suppers and what I really need. What I need to do is set aside one day a month and have a marathon cooking session so I have a freezer of meals that are already pretty much cooked and just require thawing, some quick prep, and cooking in the oven or on the stovetop without requiring alot of tending. And I need to make sure that there are alot of veggies in the meals, so I can really just add a salad for a healthy and low-fat meal.

I will definitely do Super Suppers again. I think it's a great idea and it's nice to have a freezer stocked with food that I didn't have to mess with alot. But if you go to one of these things, remember that there will still be cooking involved.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's not all bad, though!

Amazingly, we have managed to get necessary errands run this morning before ballet class. Usually, getting my daughter out of the house early on a Tuesday requires a crowbar, but the waking up at 6am meant she was bored by 9.30 and raring to go. Ballet class is next to a Starbucks, so now I'm raring to go ;>

Ronda (owner of The Shabby Sheep) and I are going to perform an experiment tonight. We are going to Super Suppers. I feel a bit pathetic staying home and yet needing meal prep, but we have at least one night a week where I really don't want to cook or where I'm totally out of ideas. These meals need a veggie or salad to round them out and that's it. Makes it really easy. The test will be in the taste. Reviews to come.

Adventures in Sleep Deprivation

This lesson is for those who have completed course level 101 (the 7th month and onwards of pregnancy), level 201 (dealing with an infant or house training a puppy), and level 302 (living next to a construction site). Attempts to complete this level of sleep dep without completing the prerequisites may result in a nervous breakdown.

Step 1: Instigate minor but painful back problem.

Step 2: Work full day on feet, thus aggravating said back problem.

Step 3: Convince non-napping preschooler to go to bed half an hour early. Child is exhausted and falls asleep before stories are finished being read.

Step 4: At 11pm, have full-blown panic attack for no apparent reason.

Step 5: At midnight, calm down and go to sleep. Just before dropping off, have said child wake up and need an Edwin story before she can go back to sleep. (Edwin is my child's imaginary best friend. Edwin is an alligator. Edwin is NOT a crocodile.) Tell Edwin story (Edwin goes on a hot air balloon adventure) because saying no would take more time and result in crying.

Step 6: Go to blissful sleep at 12.30am.

Step 7: At 1:15am, wake to horrible screams from said child. Husband blessedly says that he will deal with it. Go back to sleep. Wake up 5 minutes later realizing that child is still screaming hysterically. Get up.

Step 8: Child is having night terrors and cannot stop screaming (and you can't exactly slap 'em in the face like they do in the movies). Child is responsive, but not really awake. Get child calmed down enough to breathe normally. Rejoice that child did not throw up because for a while it looked close. Rock with child for a while and then convince child to go to bed. The process takes over an hour before resulting in sleep rather than more crying.

Step 9: Drag sorry self back to bed and sleep like the proverbial dead until 6am when evil, evil child comes in and brightly announces that she is a big girl because she slept all night! Realize that child has no memory at all of 1am festival of horrors.

Step 10: COFFEE is my friend.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I was working at the Sheep today and had a horrific realization. I happened to glance at my reflection in the mirror - much better light than at my house - and I realized that My Eyebrows Are Out of Control. I thought I took care of them Saturday morning in preparation for a social event that night. I was wrong.

I'm going back to sitting in my driveway and plucking them using the vanity mirror. It's the only way I'm not going to have big, black Brezhnev's escaping my notice.

Speaking of big and black, Antoinette is growing. I'm on Sleeve Island, to be followed by Collar Island. [Go look at a black sweater in your closet and you'll see more detail than my camera is capable of revealing on a pile of black sweater.]

I'm enjoying this knit immensely. The pattern is my perfect combination of interesting details and relaxing stockinette. It will be interesting to see how heavy the Debbie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran is and whether the Rowan Cotton Rope would have been lighter. I can see making this one again in a color. It's very trendy but in a way that will last a few years. Good old Rowan. I love their patterns.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The last two weeks have been too much party and too much work. I'm hardly a dull girl, but I am also absolutely unable to return to my former glory days as The Party Queen. Forget alcoholic beverages, even in limited quantities they give me a headache. Late hours? A good idea until a certain someone comes into the bedroom at the earliest possible definition of sunrise and jumps on you.

I look back on the Party Days with a mixture of horror and fascination. I lived about a block and a half from our favorite strip of night spots, so I never had to worry about driving. I didn't have any money, so I didn't really drink either. But, I had a big group of friends and we went out almost every night. Seriously. Get home from work, have a quick snack, and go to sleep until around 9pm. Get up, primp (In those days, we *really* primped - none of this jeans and a hoodie stuff for going out. We went all out.), hit the club, dance until 2 or 3 (no workouts necessary when you dance for 4 or 5 hours a night), go home and crash and be at work at 8am the next morning.

Fast forward to the days when I sometimes struggle to stay up for Jon Stewart!

I have two weeks until Bean's birthday party and I don't even have the invitations out yet. YIKES!

We've ripped out all the bushes in the front yard (due to extreme deadness) and have to re-sod some major portions of the back and front due to the grass being washed away in the storm. We've got today and next weekend to finish the project because I want it done before the party. Mama had better be a good girl if she's going to get all this completed in time!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


We got nothin' but ducks here. Pecking me to death once again.

Our phone doesn't work. DSL does, but the phone is as dead as the proverbial doornail. Once I finally got through to a human at SBC (half an hour), I found out that there is a short in our line and the soonest they can fix it is tomorrow. The woman asked for an alternate phone number and I gave her my cell phone number. Then she said, "Can you give us an alternate number in case we can't reach you at that number." I modulated my tone to the one I have used when dealing with someone with a profound mental impairment, "Yes, but that number isn't working right now."


I mailed Bean's student registration stuff two weeks ago. It's lost in USPSland. I'm filling out 10 pages of forms, cancelling the first check, writing new checks, getting a new immunization form from the doctor, etc. etc. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

If the doorbell rings, I'm going to co-opt Dorothy Parker and open it saying, "What fresh hell is this?"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

It never rains

But it pours down socks!

After the torrential rains (for once, I can say that in a literal fashion), the grass has taken off. Except for the bare patches in the yard produced by too much runoff out of the gutters.

From left to right, we have a Sparkle Lace sock in Cherry Tree Hill something sparkly - I'm sort of making it up as I go along with the lace gacked from Susan's April 20th pattern.

A Jaywalker in STR Rock Star - my third pair of Jaywalkers and finally one in STR!

And, a gestating "yarn-ed sock" for Bean in Baby Star from Laines du Nord. I'm thinking of sizing down the Jaywalker pattern.

I am almost finished with the first sleeve of Antionette as well! It seems to be feast or famine with the knitting around here. I'm either tearing through it or not knitting at all!

Monday, March 20, 2006


My socks ROCK!

Do yours?

The Blue Moon Socks Club came today!

This month's colorway is Rainforest Jasper.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

F is for


This is the view outside my back door.

It's 3 in the afternoon!

The door is open and there is no screen - it's just raining like topsy. It's rained like this for most of the last 24 hours. The news said we've gotten 7 or 8 inches!

ETA: It's 10.30pm and I just watched the news. My area of town received around 10 inches of rain today. The flooding is really bad in parts. Now, 10 inches is alot of rain in any situation, but last year, we had 17 inches of rain for the year. We just got over half of the rain we got in the whole of last year today. And it's still raining and there is another line of storms coming. Better get that ark ready.


Wearing Burnt Peeps!

Jaywalker pattern
Koigu color P326 (aka Burnt Peeps)


With pancetta, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, crimini mushrooms, and parmesean.


The Fancy Rib (conveniently Rowan's term) on the sleeves of Antointette. The sleeves have the Fancy Rib and then you pick up a large collar, which is knit entirely in the Fancy Rib.

I have completed the back and both fronts (a pile of black stockinette stitch - you can use your imaginations!).

Friday, March 17, 2006

Shipping News


Blue Moon Fiber Arts just shipped the first installment of the Socks That Rock club!

I can't wait!

Things have been going and blowing in my world. Husband has been busy at work. Bean has had Spring Break, resulting in my having to schedule playdates and activities so we don't end up spending every day watching Fred Astaire movies and doing nothing else. And, we are embroiled in the School Situation. In Texas, the "s" in public school stands for Suck. It's really shameful how poor the schools in my district are. So, we either move to the 'burbs - not really an option we're willing to look at - at least not yet, or we send her to private school.

Thus begins the cycle of trying to find a good private school that doesn't cost the Earth. The "best" private schools have outrageous fees. We're talking $10K or so a year for Pre-K. Ten thousand dollars a year for a half-day program for four-year-olds. That school ends up being $20,000 a year for high school. Bizarre.

We have found a school we really like, and that has rational fees. But, it's been hard and stressful and I'll be happy when "school" starts next fall and this is all over with.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

E is for Eviscerate

Molly decided that THE TOY MUST DIE!

It never rains

May 20th

Wedding in Amarillo. Husband has been asked to be a groomsman.

Wedding in Des Moines. Close family member of husband.

Murder mystery dinner to which we have already purchased rather expensive tickets.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No, Mom, I said tapas bar!



Carole tagged me for this meme last week and I'm just getting around to it.

Meme instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you might read, cross out the ones you won't, underline the ones on your book shelf, and place parentheses around the ones you've never even heard of.

There aren’t any I won’t read, but there also aren’t any on my unread list that I’m planning to read. That’s not to say that I won’t read them, but my reading these days is pretty much whatever strikes my fancy at that particular moment. I just finished a Maggody mystery and The Namesake by Jhumpi Lahiri. I just started London by Edward Rutherfurd (loaned to me by a friend who I watched the HBO series Rome with).

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
(His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J. K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert

Friday, March 10, 2006


The left passenger window on the Jeep has now become separated from it's moorings and goes up and down with every bounce and bump of the car.

I'm waiting to see what's next. I was hoping that this year might be an improvement over the pecked to death by ducks syndrome of last year. This year it just looks like the ducks are getting an earlier start.

E is for Ennui

I've been having a bad case of Startitus Interruptus.

Normally, I have raging Startitus. Rampaging Startitus, even.

Lately, I've just not been able to be bothered to cast on for a new project. I spent the first part of the year knitting mostly one project at a time. Now, all I have on the needles are the Burnt Peeps Jaywalkers and, frankly, I'm a bit tired of them. I'm one of those people who knit more when they have more to knit!

Last night, I decided that enough was enough.

I raided the books. I raided the stash. (Despite having crashed out of the Stashalong, I'm still trying to knit alot from stash!)

Bardot in a corally Rowan Calmer.

Gwen in white Cotton Ease.

in black Debbie Bliss Cotton Silk Aran.

Lots of my beloved, meditative stockinette paired with interesting little details to make it a bit more fun.

I'm baaaaaaaack! I may finish the Peeps soon, too!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Never buy a Volvo

Unless you are into unreliable, badly built cars.

We have a 2001 Volvo S60 with about 43,000 miles on it. We've had to have both front struts replaced, a bunch of other stuff go wrong and, now, the transmission has gone bad. Yes, you read that right. The transmission is going out on the car at 43,000 miles. Fortunately, the dealership has responded to my husband's annoyed phone call and between them and Volvo of North America, they'll cover part of the repairs. But it's something that shouldn't have happened in the first place. You ought to be able to get 80K plus out of a car before having transmission problems.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

D is for Dwarf

I think I told y'all abaout the house that was razed to the foundation and is being turned into a McMansion. Across the street from me. In a neighborhood of ranch and mid-century moderns from the 50s and 60s.


Here it is hovering over the house across the street from me. Keep in mind that the new house is at the absolute bottom of the hill - there is a fairly sharp drop from the ranch next door. Also, my house is at a higher point than across the street.

Godawful, no?

I'm all for tearing down something dilapidated to build something new, but folks, can we at least TRY to keep it in the general nature of the other houses in the neighborhood?

Apparently not.

At least there is some sky for Sandy!

ETA: We don't have basements here. The ground is too unstable and we have lots of ground water. If I had a basement, there is a good chance I'd wake up some morning with my house next to the hole that had been the basement!

Monday, March 06, 2006

In-laws have come and gone. All the piled up laundry from last week has cycled through the wash and dry cycles and is currently mostly through the hanging up or ironing cycles. Hosted a dinner party last night for inlaws and my parents. Worked today. Am tired.

Ultimate Oscar-watching-with-Midwestern-inlaws-in-their-70s cringeworthy moment: Watching "It's hard out there for a pimp." Nope, I'm just sitting here knitting my sock - lalalalalalalalalalalala!

We will return to Burnt Peeps tomorrow. Much progress has been made!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

It's been a busy time here. The outlaws are in town again. Yes, AGAIN. I don't want to talk about it because they will probably come back for Bean's birthday next month as well and if I think about it too much my head will explode. It's lots of fun for Bean but alot more work for me. The plus is that we had a big party to go to last night and a party tonight, so free babysitting!

Yesterday was the first sweater class. Seven people signed up! Including the two women I taught last month in a fingerless glove class! Very exciting for me. I've always had jobs that had a teaching component, so teaching knitting is so much fun.

I'd love suggestions from anyone on things you wish someone had told you when you first learned to knit.

Also, your top tricks and tips would be most welcome. I've amassed a reasonable list, but it's always nice to have input - it usually makes you say "D'oh" when someone else points out fun tips.

So, onto the party last night. These people have more money than God. They live in a very large house in a very nice neighborhood. The house itself is huge and there is a large guest house at the back of the property. The lots in that neighborhood are large enough to be deemed "property". They also just built a 10,000 sq ft lake house. Ten THOUSAND square feet. Apparently, that house has a guest house as well. Because you might not be able to fit all your friends in a measly 10,000 sq feet.

This was an early St. Patrick's Day party with three bartenders and a cook. Morris dancers. An Irish band (who played Smoke on the Water and other Irish favorites). It was wild. It would be nice to have all that money, but I want to live in a house that I can clean myself without getting lost!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Monday was my first day of work at The Shabby Sheep.

It's been a long time since I've worked outside my house. I've taken in the odd technical writing contract job (and if you ever know anyone who wants a technical writer but doesn't want one on staff, contact me!), but that's all done from home.

The optical switching company I was working for in 2001, laid off my entire department and then folded about 6 months later. I was 4 months pregnant at the time and barely anyone was hiring technical writers, much less visibly pregnant ones.

I didn't realize how much I missed having a job.

I'm working on Mondays from opening until 2 (when Bean gets out of school). On Fridays, I'm teaching knitting classes for around 2 hours in the morning.

It's just enough work to get me feeling very useful but not enough to make me feel overwhelmed. That sounds like a sit at home feeling sorry for myself - far from the truth! But it gets kind of boring just doing laundry and paying bills and generally keeping house. I get too bored to even knit. Ennui at it's finest.

Hopefully, this job will get me revved up for a good year.

Last year was the year of being pecked to death by ducks.

Nothing actually bad happened, but we could not go a month without some annoying and expensive THING. And while alot of it was endless car repairs, water heater, oven, etc. ; lots of it was wierd stuff. Bean got ringworm on her head. We didn't get the simple "put some presription cream on it" fix. Oh no, when it's on your head, you have to take two months of oral antibiotics. Fortunately, Bean is a trooper, but imagine having to give your 3-year-old three teaspoons of oral antibiotic every day for two whole months. Sure, there are lots worse things that can happen. But man, it was a pain in the ass. Like I said, pecked to death by ducks.

2006 better be better!

If nothing else, this small job may perk me up to deal with the ducks!