Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Alphabet Soup

Report card time: Two kids, eleven A's, one B and one D, two honor roll students.


Down Hill Slide

I hate this time of year. I'm not talking about the visual delight everywhere you look, the sharp blue sky contrasts wonderfully with the crisp yellows and reds of the maples and oaks. Today I'm talking about the number on the scale.

Kevin's birthday (carrot cake and cheese fries) is followed by Halloween (almond joys and butterfingers), which is followed by my birthday (more carrot cake unless the girl picks it out, then it's cheese cake), which is followed by Thanksgiving (lobster bisque, cherry pie and stuffing) and Christmas (more cherry pie and more stuffing). Food and candy everywhere (not counting the box of full-sized snickers dark bars in my desk). And on top of all that, it's so dark and cold in the mornings now making it so hard to get up to walk by myself.

Next weekend daylight saving time ends so it'll be light in the morning again, AM gets her cast off today, and L is recovering well from her mastectomy of last Monday.

Things are looking up.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Quick Question

Do any of you ever look at my progress chart over there in the right sidebar?

Do you care?

Sorry, that's two questions. Does that bug you?

Darn, that's three.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Aye Yi Yi

I had a doctor's appointment this morning to have a pain in my neck checked. No, not Fern, but I will discuss her later. I have pain in a gland on the right side that I've had for a long time. While I was there I got to donate blood for routine lab work. Except the donation part was not routine. The first lab tech finally found a vein that she could use in the right arm, but it kept rolling and she couldn't get the needle all the way in so she tried a vein in the back of my hand, again with no luck.

At this point I'm feeling very faint, after all, this is for fasting tests. The first vampire leaves and a second vampire comes in. More tourniquets, more prodding and she finally finds a usable vein on the left arm.
The lights are almost out in the room, it's very dark and I'm not sure how she could see to get all three vials of blood. After a short nap, the lights are back on and I prepare to leave. But, wait, that's not all, can you leave a sample in there, too? sheesh. How much more do I need to give here for a pain in the neck? In addition to the referral to the ENT guy, I asked for two other referrals, one for a beloved mammo and one to a psychiatrist so I can get meds for my ADD. My doctor doesn't know which doctor to send me to because a lot of them are not taking my insurance anymore. I guess psychiatrists don't want to help people who cannot pay to see them.

Before my trip to the doctor's office I had time to fold up a load of laundry that was partly a load I started mixed in with a load the princess started (princess said with the utmost contempt, by the way). There are three baskets of clean unfolded laundry around the washer. The princess, it seems, will start a load of her clothes for school and, when it's time to put them in the dryer, will move anything already occupying the space in a basket and leave it there, cold, wrinkled, and unwearable. Three baskets full. Sometimes I can fluff the unwearables back to life in the dryer along with a wet towel, sometimes they are just too far gone. I gave the princess a piece of my mind, you have to fold what's in the dryer, now I have three baskets to deal with, you can't just leave it there..... sheesh. Think she'll remember next time? I doubt it, too.

I don't have to worry about clean pants for a while. I got my order from LL Bean the other day. I have a hard time finding pants that fit me because my hip-to-waist ratio is so big and my legs are so long. If I find a pair of pants in a department store that seem to fit and seem to be long enough, they never are after washing and drying. on LOW heat mind you; they're 2" too short. sheesh. I need to gather them all up and give them to AM, her legs are shorter than mine. LL Bean sells long pants and promises they won't shrink. I ordered four pairs. Yesterday I wore the cotton chinos in "soapstone" and promptly dropped food on them. This, of course, is after I spoke to the aforementioned princess about wearing pants more than once before she puts them in the hamper. sheesh. Today I'm wearing "rosette" Adirondack jeans. And look! no spots!

How is your day?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fifteen Years Later

I need to plagiarize Mom's post from Monday. It's a great post about being a new mom.

Today my first born is 15. Fifteen years ago today I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't get back to sleep. I got up and watched trashy TV for a couple hours, you know those shows that are on at 2:30 in the morning, the infomercials and slutty match making shows. The contractions were about 10 minutes apart and I could still talk through them, although I only had the cat to talk to, so I wasn't freaking out. About 4:30 I tried to go back to bed, but the contractions were worse and I woke Dan up. He made coffee and read the paper for a while and I probably knitted, I can't remember, maybe he can. He kept track of the intervals and we walked around the neighborhood for a while.

About 6:30 we drove to the hospital and settled on a name. Mike Devereaux had had a fabulous season with the Orioles in 1992 and because Devo was my favorite player at the time I thought Devon would be a good name for a boy, (Fern had already been chosen for a girl), but upon further consideration, we decided it was too "out there" and picked Kevin instead.

My sweet boy was born at about 5:30 in the evening with a loose knot tied in his cord, weighing in at 7 pounds 6.5 oz, 21" long. The L&D doc speculated he'd be a surgeon because of his early knot tying ability!

Now Kevin is 5'8" and about 95 or so pounds, and handsome as ever.

My digital photos only go back 5 years, so here's a shot from 5 years ago. (I'll have to find a baby picture to scan in later.)

And here's a recent shot:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Photos for Tuesday

Fern's costume is almost done, here she is trying it on. The pattern was designed for a very buxom 12 year old. I'm going to have to make some alterations to the bodice! I feel like a contestant on Project Runway. She still needs to find some wings and legwear before the weekend.

The other day I had to leave work early and found this in front of my car in the garage.
The key was not in it but I was able to put it in neutral and roll it out of the way. I'm kicking myself for not rolling it back, or even into the parking space. Oh well.

About a month ago I posted a picture of landscaping efforts within the view of the window near my cube:

This is what it looks like now:

I should have taken a photo every day for a "flip book." Oh well.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Visit to the National Arboritum

This last one is for Lorraine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Long time readers of my blog know I usually walk about 2 miles with AM about 6 mornings a week and have been doing so for the past several years. Long time readers of her blog know she severely broke her ankle while on a photo assignment a couple weeks ago.

Over the years, I've invited my across-the-street neighbor, L, to join us a couple of times, but the timing was never right because of her long recovery time from the chemo and radiation because of her breast cancer. Now her energy is back and she's ready to walk with us. She tells me this Saturday afternoon, the 15th of September, coincidentally, the very day AM broke her leg. I was able to continue my exercise routine with companionship. It's hard to get out of bed at 6 in the morning when you don't have to get up until 7, but knowing someone is waiting for you helps, it's what I need.

A week ago L had her routine mammogram and some abnormalities were found, Monday was the biopsy, Wednesday the results came back, and the mastectomy is scheduled for this coming Monday.

I've spent some time recently looking at my life and my friends' lives. One day you're walking around on two good feet, the next day, you've got ten screws and two plates in your leg. One day you're walking around with two good breasts, the next day you've got one. Yikes. How would I take care of my family if I couldn't take care of my family?

I'm trying to be a good friend and will try to be there for them however I can, I'm trying not to be selfish, but I'm going to miss my friends and my daily time together, it will be a long time before either one of them can walk with me again, to motivate me to get up in the dark and stay in shape. I've missed AM this past month and I'm going to miss L, too for the next several months. And I'm going to have to do this walking thing on my own for now.

Another Question of the Day

To avoid "popcorn lung" you pop popcorn the old fashion way, in a big ol' pan on the stove, with oil and a handful of kernels. If you pop said kernels in corn oil, is it suicide, homicide, or genocide?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Question of the Day

If you go into your spouse's or child's closet to collect empty hangers for future loads of laundry, are you harvesting or poaching?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I get oodles of spam emails in my spam folder every day and I scan the subject lines before I delete them just to make sure the spam filters didn't tag a real message. I see the usual collection of offers for watches, software and enlargement. Today I got a new subject I hadn't seen before:

Breast Enhancement Gel is only $62.65


Quilting Woes

Friday I bought some Pellon fusible quilter's grid with preprinted 1" squares for the challenge quilt I'm working on. I thought it would be easier to use than sewing oodles of squares together by the pair because you iron your fabric squares to the grid then sew the seems

I asked for 4 yards, paid and left the store. I didn't touch it again until Sunday at 7:00 pm. I opened the bag to a piece of 3 yards. The store closed at 6:00.

Last night I took it back to get the right sized piece. I was waited on by the cutting clerk. Her nametag read "Joy." I should have known right then to come back later.

She took for-ev-er to measure my original 3 yards, then cut another 4 yard piece for me. I was trying to hurry because my husband and son were waiting in the car. I unrolled the bolt for her in attempt to help speed things up. "Don't do that, I can't cut that way." She wrapped it back up on the cardboard and did it her way. I asked her for an extra inch because I was going to cut it half for two 2 yard pieces and I needed every bit of those 72 inches. It was as if I had asked for the rest of bolt for free. "I'll have to charge you for it." Aye yi yi. I'm thinking my original piece was 3 yards and a few extra inches cut in this very same store, why can't you give me ONE extra inch?

I get back to the car and apologize for taking so long and get home. I cut the 4 yard piece in half and start to lay out my fabric squares. They are 4" squares. The preprinted 1-inch grid squares aren't; there is about a 1/4" difference between the grid and the edge of my fabric, and, yes, I measured my squares again.

Now I'm going to have to adjust the way I lay out my square and the way I sew them up. And I don't know how to do that without messing up the whole project.

Monday, October 15, 2007

How was your weekend?

My weekend was busy. I wrote a post the other day about Kevin but had to save the draft and run off to something.

I missed work on Friday and spent a lot of the time working on the living and sewing rooms, getting them so you could walk around. (I still owe Lorraine a picture of my miscelaneous kitchen stuff I haven't put away yet.) It was just as well that I missed work, one of our servers is not functioning properly so I wouldn't have gotten a lot of work done anyway.

I also got most of Fern's pixie costume constructed; I just need to attach the lining to the skirt and attach the fringe on the bottom. Oh, and put grommets on the corset.

I got my sock knitting needles I ordered off the 'net and I finished another pair of socks with one set and started working again on the corn fiber Hibiscus socks (remember those?) using the other set. You can see them in the picture. These are 4" (10 cm) size 1 Addi aluminum needles by Skacel of Germany, which is very short so I'm still getting used to how they feel in my hands, they are almost like knitting with toddler needles, if there was such a thing. The other set I ordered was for the socks with the thicker yarn, size 8 5" Bry-Flex plastic needles by Bryspun. Both needles have a higher drag coefficient than the longer metal ones I had been using, so my stitches were snug and I've had to adjust my tension. I hope it won't be noticeable in the results. In the picture the green socks are for my daughter (normal woman's sized foot) and the brown socks are the first pair of Christmas present socks I've finished.

I now have 14 badge sewing clients (including my daughter) with the promise of two more. I got a lot of badges sewn on this weekend too, several clients are done. Several bags of vests are catch-up work: badges and patches earned in a previous level of scouting but neglected so I have years of things to do. Ugh. I've decided to charge extra for this, especially when it's a lot to do. On the happy side I raked in over $140 for my services.

Check my to-do list in the margin for my progress. :) But don't look for finished laundry, I didn't do any this weekend.

And now, here is the post I about my son I didn't get to publish when I started it. I must confess I stole Maddy's writing style from over at Whitterer on autism when I relay Kevin's conversation. She has such a great style of writing about her family with two autistic sons, I love reading it.

I've been spying on my son. Sort of. He will go out for a bike ride around the neighborhood and be gone for a long time. He can't tell me where he goes specifically. So I bought a bike computer and installed it. When he comes back from his rides I check it. His rides are 2-4 miles long. OK, I realize it's not really spying, but now I know how far he's riding.

He's been packing for our trip to Great Wolf Lodge. Since he has little conversation skills, he'll enter a room and just start in on what's on his mind. Like his packing list.
"He packed two pairsezez ov babing suits, and two pairsezez ov shorts, and free pairsezez ov socks, and free shirts."
"Where are we going?"
"Great Wuf Wodge."
"When are we going to Great Wolf Lodge?"

Sometimes he even puts the suitcase in the car. Every now and then I have to find and empty his suitcase so he has regular clean clothes to wear. If he sees me touching his bag he goes ballistic, so I have to be stealth-mom but whatever he's been reciting, is in the bag.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I've agreed to make a halloween costume for Fern. She wants to be a "woodland pixie." She picked out a pattern, one with multiple possibilities. She wants her outfit like the green one in the center of the picture, but with short sleeves.

I study the pattern guide, everything is lined with lots of pieces, bias cut skirts and gathers. Yuck. Fern watches me nervously. I explain some principles of garment construction. She sees it's not going to be easy and is afraid I'll back out. She asks how I learned to sew (as her friends are amazed I made her halloween dress a few years ago). I tell my 7th grader and she is shocked. I first learned to sew in 7th grade Home-Ec class. One third of the year was spent cooking, one third sewing, and one third in crafts, although I can't remember what else I learned except knitting. She's jealous. She wants to have Home-Ec. She wants to learn to sew. She also wants to be able to help with my badge sewing business. (I should have 5 more clients by the weekend, yay me!) She wants to learn to knit, I'd love for her to knit her own socks and sweaters.

I guess Home-Ec and shop got cut from schools when money and scheduling got tight. No child left behind. I wonder what kind of long term repercussions will result in this. The kids, theoretically, will be able to read, but will they know what a healthy meal is? CNN had a bit on a few weeks back saying people think of food as ready to eat. Is the lack of cooking skills leading to overeating of fast food alternatives? Is the increase in childhood obesity a result of no Home-Ec in schools?

Just wondering.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Yesterday was a true holiday. Schools are open and government is closed. Husband and I played golf together for the first time in a while. I did ok, 120 for 18 holes. My drives were a lot better with the new driver, most longer and straighter than they had been with the old one. I still need to learn to get more of my body into the swing for more speed and power instead of just swinging with my arms; use those large muscles.

I surprised Fern when she asked if she could skip Girl Scouts and I said yes. As much as I think it's a great program, I still need to remember not to push her too much and let her cut out if she wants too. She found out her friend is a scout, but inactive. I told her her friend's membership was only good until the end of October. Fern panicked about her own membership and I was secretly very pleased when she was relieved to know I'd signed her up for another year.

Last night at Bee meeting I got my challenge quilt fabrics ironed and cut out, so now I have no excuse, I must sew it together. I have to have it done by November 14. Pictures to follow.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Greeny and Lorraine wanted to know about my cheese recipe. I use this one from cheesemaking.com. I bought their beginners' kit.
I'll post a picture of my first batch when I find it.

found it! This is a slice of fresh cheese with tomato and olive oil.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Everyday when I get home from work I check my box on the front porch, the box from which I run my business. Everyday it's empty. As much as people tell me it's a great service, I'm still disappointed when I'm not serving anybody.

Until last night when I got home from the local Six Flags, which is a horrid horrid place, by the way. It was the first time I'd been all year, hadn't been there since the fight last year. There was yet again another fight this time and a roller coaster got stuck. Anyway, there was a bag in my box with a vest and badges ready for my attention. In the words of London Tipton, "Yay me!"

The youth group at church went to Six Flags yesterday and I went as a chaperon, mostly beacuse I'm continually trying to get Kevin acclimated at church and Church with Kevin. Seven or eight years ago he was "kicked out" of Sunday school because of his autism, nobody knew how to deal with him. And the pastor didn't want to try or work with me for a solution. That pastor (why can't you accept my son, Christ does?) has since left and the new pastor, not so new now, he's been here over three years, is very accepting of all kids, he even lowered the age of junior church which meant if you were older than 7 you were welcomed in regular worship, noise and all. Back then I tried Kevin at a special needs Sunday school at a different church, but I didn't like their service, so it didn't last.

Now that Fern is of middle school age and participating in youth activities, I'm trying to get Kevin involved too. But not where it'd be stupid to try; I try to pick appropriate events. The other junior and senior high youth group kids at the park last night were very welcoming to Kevin and he would have been just fine without me there, but since I went to chaperon, he hung out with me and we rode rides together.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Facing Reality

Do you watch reality TV? Top Chef had its season finale Wednesday night, with Hung, the least appealing chef of the three finalists, winning the title. Now I'll start to feel the effects of RTVSFDS (Reality TV Season Finale Depression Syndrome).

However, Survivor is on this fall. That's good, RTVSFDS averted, but as my husband said to me last night, Survivor's starting to jump the shark with all the extreme physical challenges they've been having this season. It's a turn-off. The contestants have to fight one another to win; the fighting takes many forms: tackling, pushing, pulling and knocking someone over. I still watch it, but it's getting to the point where I probably won't miss the show if they quit producing it. It's getting too old. It's the same thing again and again.

The only thing that I can think of which might save Survivor and attract viewers for another season would be an all-female cast. It's not been done before. Most men would like to watch 18 scantily-clad women for a whole season, duh. And women would watch to do what women like to do, talk about other women. (Do we?) And and all-women cast would be much more interesting to watch than all men. And also they'd be without the men to attract and manipulate. I think it'd be an interesting dynamic.

I could be wrong.

What reality TV show would you like to be on?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Status Report & Follow-up

Status on knitting: I've finished socks number 4 and 5 (socks nos 3 & 4 shown). Number five was the toe cover for AM's new cast. It looks a lot like a preemy cap found in a NICU. Silly me, I forgot to photograph it before I sent it off for delivery.

I want to get started on the socks for Christmas presents so I don't run out of steam on this knitting frenzy, but I don't know how big to make them given the recipients have size 13 boats for feet. So, I could start on another pair for myself out of this new yarn that I bought (see above, pink for me, brown for gift) or wait to get foot measurements and run the risk of running out of steam with the socks. Or, I could go back to my sweater I had been working on, or the pair of hibiscus-colored corn fiber socks waiting for my attention and forget about the Christmas stockings altogether. Or I could work on the challenge quilt. Or I could sew on Girl Scout badges.

Status on Kitchen Remodeling: nothing new to report, still waiting for a space in the painter's schedule. He's going to rebuild the wall around the fridge so it fits better and so I'll be able to open and close everything nearby, like drawers and doors. The living room still looks like a yard sale. The longer I wait to move stuff back into the kitchen, the more evident it becomes: which things I need and use and which things I can get rid of. But therein lies the problem, I can't wait that long to finish the living room.

So now we come to that portion of our show where you get to vote via comment.
  1. What should I work on next? (knitting, quilting, or sewing, etc.)
  2. Do you want to see another memory game photo taken of the left-overs in the livingroom?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Not counting the Hibiscus socks I'm making for myself, I've finished 3 socks in the last week and have 6" of the cuff done on number 4, the second of the pair for Fern. Hers are shades of tweedy green. I make a lot of progress knitting during our weekly staff meeting, it tends to be boring when the boys are talking systems stuff so I knit to stay awake. When we get around to the stuff I work I'm ready to spout off the status of my assignments. (When I have client meetings, I leave the yarn at my desk, in case you were wondering.)

I finally got some clients for my home business last night. A fellow Girl Scout mom brought two vests to me for my sewing service for her daughters and a check for $50. (Yay!) She also brought large bags of badges to sew on, of course, it'd be silly not to, but it's several years worth! For each daughter! I'm not complaining, I like to have paid work to do, but this is seriously going to cut into my knitting time.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My husband called home on Saturday from Colorado, evidently having read my last blog entry, "Did she really say that?" (Referring to the last bit.) I think he thinks my readers will think he does nothing while I'm gone. But in reality, my girl just misses me and there is nothing to worry about. I've gone many days without touching the dishes or laundry. And she'll start a load of her own clothes.

Husband got away to Denver for the weekend to hang with some high school buddies and play golf. It was pretty uneventful while he was gone. Well, there were plenty of events, but none bad.
The girl had a sleep-over Friday, the boy went to an open house at the community center.

I took myself out to the new restaurant in town for supper. Saturday, the boy went to Swim-n-Gym and the girl had practice at church for Youth Sunday. Which went well, by the way. She did the opening announcements and the call to worship. The boy handed out bulletins.

He did fine, but there were a lot of kids at the doors too. I was secretly disappointed he didn't get to shine more than he did. Saturday afternoon was the neighborhood block party and Sunday afternoon I vacuumed the garage.

Somewhere in the mix I bought another gallon of whole milk with the hopes of making another batch of cheese, but kept myself busy knitting instead.

I finished the regular sized socks for AM and I'll make a cast sock for her when she gets her new cast tomorrow. My ADD kicked in again and I found myself thinking I could make more pairs of socks for Christmas presents since they work up so quickly. Let's just see how many pairs I can actually get done before I get bored.

I also got my hand-dyed fabrics rinsed out, washed and dried and I've been trying to work out a pattern for the challenge quilt to use them. I have six weeks to get the quilt done.

Socks. Quilt. Quilt. Socks. Kids. Kitchen. Laundry. Socks. Quilt.