Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring, or is it?

I'm sitting in my rocking chair near the front of the house. Gray clouds float along the horizon while blue sky peers in from overhead. The light is low and sumptuous. And it is hailing. Yes. Hailing. The weather has been doing this all day; oscillating between spring and winter. The poor bulbs, lured above ground with the promise of spring, now must suffer winter's indignation; for them this truly is April fools.

As for me I've been busying myself with spring projects; specifically felting an Easter egg and knitting it a slimy companion. Additionally I bought myself a treat - tulips. Looking at my bright new table runner coupled with these floral delights I can almost forget old man winter continues to wield his influence.

Tonight's meal was also quite spring-like. Spinach salad complete with tomatoes, warm bacon and homegrown hard-boiled eggs. Topped with a balsamic vinaigrette -- perfect. Of course the kids refused the green stuff opting for an evening of bacon and eggs.

And now we are watching It's the Easter Beagle Charlie Brown. A perfect end to the day.


This year my eighth grade son is taking the equivalent of home ec. Of course now it goes by a different name. Actually three different names; Foods, Sewing and Crafts. And today report cards came. The teacher's comment for sewing was this: socializing interferes with learning. Needs to use class time wisely.

A week ago my thirteen-year-old son brought home an apron that he made. An apron he sewed. Himself. A thirteen-year-old boy. I'd say he is using his time wisely. And truthfully this teacher's comments bother me.

Sewing and crafting is and should be social. What's more fun than working on a project, surrounded by friends and chatting? I mean really? C'mon lady - lighten up. Cut the kid a break and let him enjoy the process. Don't ruin it for him. Don't ruin it for me. Don't drain the joy from creativity because that is what it is all about. Joy. And, God forbid, fun. Criminy!

Now crafting does come with problems of its own; specifically stealing time from other endeavors, say, housecleaning. Tomorrow I will have two extra six-year-olds before kindergarten. As much as I'd like to tell you otherwise I am embarrassed about the condition of this house. So, tonight, I will stay up late and clean. Only just to impress the parents. Or actually not so much to impress but more as to not make a negative impression. What can I say? I can't help myself. And now off to clean. Have a lovely evening!

P.S. if you want to knit yourself a snail go here. Likewise if you'd like to felt and egg there is a tutorial here. Happy crafting! Just don't blame me for your messy house!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Random Mumble Jumble and Thursday Love

The house is quiet. I can hear the gurgle of the dishwasher and the hum of the dryer. Today is cooler and grey outside. The wind is picking up and I can hear the occasional squeak of some roof top contraption. In my mind this is the tv antenna of days gone by. But all our information comes underground via a cable network. There is no longer the need to climb on the roof and jiggle the reception back into place. I doubt my children have ever seen static on television.

The kids are still visiting relatives (though the boy comes home tonight). My husband is at work. Our two dogs and three cats are contentedly sleeping the day away. I myself am a little sleepy. But soon I need to get into gear. Showering would be a good idea. I'm having a bad hair day and wearing a scarf. The scarf is fine for puttering about the house but doesn't seem like appropriate work attire. Yesterday I donned a housewife doo-rag. Again only appropriate for being indoors and alone. You see I'm growing my hair out and we've hit that holy cats nothing looks good stage. I'll probably pull it back into an almost ponytail and call it good.

So here I sit. My week of freedom is over. Back to work and back to parenting. I did not accomplish much. I was hoping to clean the house top to bottom. There is an odd sticky ring in my bathtub -- of what I have no idea. I was hoping, at least, to eliminate that. Yet I don't know how to make it go away. I keep thinking of The Cat in the Hat and am subsequently stifled; Thing One and Thing Two won't pop out from under this scarf to fix things when I get in a bind.

I was also hoping to buy some wool roving and felt some eggs. Instead I've barely left the house. I did clean the kitchen table, the fridge and rearrange the spice pantry. I even scrubbed the kitchen floor (which doesn't happen all that often). So I 'spose something is better than nothing. Oh yes I also managed to shop for food. My cupboards were truly bare. It seems I took the frugality thing to its utmost limit and most definitely needed to restock.

I think I need to make a list; a checklist of things to do so I can actually accomplish what ought to get done. But maybe later. For now I will shower and call it good.

Things I love today:
  • Changing Flickr into a different language - what a great way to play with Spanish (a big one on the bucket list; learning a new language that is).
  • Figuring out why I am so sleepy (I just took a new allergy medication - duh!) and now am feeling a little better about my lethargic state of being.
  • Thrifted fabric turned into my new spring table runner - easy peasy!
  • Quiet houses.
  • Clean and stocked cupboards.
  • Anne Lamott in Sunset Magazine (permission not the clean the house and just be -- hooray, I've been quite good at that this week!)
  • Flowers.
  • Thoughts of all the things I will accomplish once I get around to it.
Happy Thursday!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dagnamit those viruses!

Okay people. It's spring break. All my children are visiting relatives. I am only working one night this week. And what do I get? The WORST cold I've had in ages. I had such great plans. Oh the things I was going to accomplish. However, at this moment, it's all I can do to sit on the couch. I can't even bring myself to knit. So that's just what I'm doing; sitting on the couch with my fingers pinched on my nose and a snot rag over my shoulder. Wonderful visual I know. Sorry for that.

And yet I am also sitting here feeling amazingly blessed. I mean really and truly grateful. You see tonight we watched Precious. My life, everything in my life, is phenomenal.

Things I'm grateful for right now:
  • Wonderful relatives who are loving and entertaining my children
  • Not having to work this week (mostly)
  • The opportunity to sleep
  • This amazing wonderful house
  • The privilege of an education
  • Not getting hit by a bus today (that one is for you Michelle!)
  • A nation that, despite its fears, is moving to care for its weakest members
  • Benadryl
  • Books from the library
  • Take out chinese and fried won tons
  • Dandelions
  • Spring
  • Real life invisibility cloaks. I mean how cool is that?!!
Oh yes. How could I forget? I also love you all. Really and truly.

Now I will continue to wage this war against these lovely viral invaders. Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Love Thursday and tidbits from the week ... again.

At this very moment I am sleepy. I worked last night, spent the morning constructing a dog sweater (to stay awake) then attended parent-teacher conferences in the afternoon. Tonight it's back to work. But it's not all bad. Tonight is Mr. Peculiar's last graveyard shift for at least six months (we made it!!). And after this shift I'll have six nights off.

This week has been surprisingly productive (I suspect it's the result of our spring like weather that put a little spring in my step). I baked cupcakes and cinnamon rolls, went to sweater upcycling party and book club meeting. I constructed a new pillow and a sweater. Shaved down our mangy mutt and made a delicious pork tenderloin (hint: pour a bottle of beer into the crockpot to keep things moist). In addition I started a new knitting project but that one is under wraps as it's a gift.

So all in all we're a bit sleepy in these parts but life is good.

Things I'm loving today:
  • Warm breezes and budding leaves
  • Crocuses (also valid croci or simply crocus)
  • Friends who are wordsmiths
  • Book clubs and crafting parties
  • Spring break (i.e. SLEEP!)
  • Naked dogs (poor poor Walter)
  • Coworkers who do not admonish my dog grooming skills
  • Excellent school reports from today's conferences
  • Babysitting little ones and their genuine smiles (oh she is growing up!)
  • An upcoming Saturday night date with friends (to watch Mad City Chickens)
  • Dreams of summer, reading and lazy days at the pool.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks.
May your heart be as light as a song.
May each day bring you bright happy hours,
That stay with you all year long."

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nice to meet you and thoughts on perfection

Rub a dub dub, Three men in a tub, And who do you think they be? The butcher, the baker, The candlestick maker. Turn them out, knaves all three

Who am I?
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a writer. But writers make time to write.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a photographer. But photographers know what they are doing behind the lens.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a crafter. But crafters are, well, crafty.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a sewer. But sewers have fancy machines.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a housewife. But housewives don’t have jobs.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a career woman. But career women don’t scrub their own toilets.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a knitter. But knitters don’t leave holes.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a doting mother. But doting mothers are never exhausted.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a baker. But bakers measure everything precisely.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a cook. But cooks are good at following recipes.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a veterinarian. But veterinarians don’t question their abilities.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a farmer. But farmers own more than four chickens.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a wife. But wives always make time for their husbands.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m a voracious reader. But voracious readers read every night.
  • I’d like to tell you I’m an athlete. But athletes aren’t out-of-shape.
  • I'd like to tell you I'm a piper. But pipers own a set of bagpipes.
There is only one thing that I can tell you and that is I am me. Nice to meet you.

On Perfection

After eight months I finished knitting my Moderne Baby Blanket. This blanket, originally, was for a baby. But that birth has come and gone.

In the beginning the blanket went with me everywhere I went, snuggled in my carryall bag. I knit at the pool, during slow periods at work, at the allergist, etc.

Also in that carryall bag? An ink pen. Specifically a leaking blue ink pen. And the ink managed to touch only the lightest colored yarn on the blanket - the apple green. Yes. It stained. Permanently.

Due to it’s imperfections the blanket lost it’s gifting status and became mine. And it was subsequently shoved into the closet to be completed at a later date. Because, as you well know, knitting for others takes precedence over knitting for oneself.

Well this week I finally pulled the thing out and completed it. Besides the stain it contains many other imperfections. The border was inadvertently knit in two similar but different yarns. The colors don’t knit together perfectly. It has other hiccups here and there.

And yet. This imperfect blanket is perfect for keeping my lap warm on chilly nights. Just as my messy house is a perfect shield against the rain and wind. Smooshed cupcakes still taste delectable and my scuffed shoes still protect my feet.

The revelation? Well it's not really a revelation. It's something you and I have known all along. Perfection doesn’t exist. Never has and never will. We need to let go. To embrace our stains. We are all perfectly imperfect.

And so it seems I am the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. Who knew?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Make It Monday

This morning I was lucky enough to attend an upcycling party; enchanting women, scrumptious food and charming projects. The gals made felted bags, coffee cup cozies, slippers and fingerless gloves. Me? I fashioned a pillow from thrift store finds. What fun!

What are you making today?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Love Thursday and tidbits from the week ...

Conversation in the car with a 6-year-old:

"Mom. Your hair looks dyed" said Little ever so innocently.

"Oh really? Why?" I asked.

"Because there is a HUGE white streak across the side" she said.

Lovely. I'm choosing to assume she's commenting on the natural blond highlights. Mmm hmm. That's it.


Things I love today:

  • This Mac 'N Cheese prepped for tonight's dinner
  • Delectable thrift store finds
  • Cloth fortune cookies (another 4th grade town project)
  • Sleep (It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do)
  • Coffee, coffee and coffee
  • Two weekends off in a row
  • The way my eyes wrinkle when I smile (I should smile more often)
  • Knitting in progress (for 7-months) that is nearly complete
  • An upcoming (and very quiet) spring break -- the kids will all be away!
Happy Love Thursday!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue Monday

Today was one of those days; a day when exhaustion set in. We looked around at the mess and wondered what are we doing? Women's lib was all well and good but, honestly, I'm not liberated. As a working woman I have two full time jobs -- the care of the house and family and the job that pays me to maintain that house and family. The candle is burning at both ends and the wax is melting quickly.

Don't get me wrong. My husband helps out. He does dishes and laundry. But he's equally as exhausted. And we're stuck. We've got a mortgage, a business loan, student loans and mouthes to feed. Oh yeah and then there's the saving for that seemingly elusive retirement that neither of us are sure we'll live long enough to see. We're living as frugally as we know how and yet it's barely enough.

Eight years of intense odd-hour schedules have unhinged us. The kids want us to be home, to be present. The bills need to be paid. The house needs to be cleaned. The food needs to be prepared. And, somehow, money has to enter our bank account.

If I could do it over again I'd make different choices. I wouldn't pay so much for my education. I'd buy a smaller house. I'd save more money from the get go.

I don't have it to do over again. So I just keep plodding along. Most days I live with blind hope that better days lay just over the horizon. If we can just make it through this set of shifts or through this week, then things will be better. If ... then.

I also hope and pray our children will learn from our mistakes. I want to teach them to live simply. To appreciate the things that truly matter.

Really we are lucky. We are employed. We have a roof over our heads. We have food on the table. We have three wonderful healthy children. We have so much to be grateful for.

And yet, on days like today, we fall apart. We break down and cry a little. We wonder if we're doing the right things or if we made a lifetime of erroneous choices. We wonder if it's too late to correct our mistakes. We wonder how badly we're messing up our children by being tired, by working so hard for what often seems like so very little.

After tonight I'll have a week off work. I suspect in a couple of days, with a couple of nights of sleep tucked in between, things will look much brighter. At least I can hope.


Mr. Peculiar and I are both working tonight. The kids have once again been shuffled off to our friend's house. As such I made another video, a virtual bedtime story. At the end is a slide show of our family from my computer photo booth. There's solace in watching our marvelous imperfect selves at play. You may check it out if you are so inclined.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called 'Yellow'

So then I took my time
Oh what a thing to've done
And it was all yellow

Thursday, March 4, 2010

For the Love of Color (and other things)

Today begins for the LOVE of COLOR week. And the color of the day is, ba da da dum ... Green! My favorite hue of green is bright lime (almost a yellow green). Such a cheery invigorating sight for the eyes (and soul).

Yesterday my daughter and I went on a photo walk in search of this elusive color. It's rather amazing what can be found when one opens his/her eyes (and heart). Who knew so much color was just lazing about waiting for admiration. Go look. Yes. Right where you are. See all the radiant color?!!

Lovely, 'eh?

Today is also Thursday. One of seven days for gratitude and love.

Today I love:
  • The sun!
  • The Hothouse Flowers
  • A river trail oh so close to my house
  • Learning to run again
  • Homemade pizza dough waiting in the fridge
  • Little girls all dressed in pink (stay tuned for tomorrow's color)
  • Little old lady clip on earrings (absolutely perfect for dress up)
  • Sumptuous snow-capped mountains standing guard
  • Simpson clouds speckling the sky (as seen upside down while stretching)
  • Living in a place with next to no traffic
  • Reading, reading, reading
  • Knitting, knitting, knitting
  • Family

What do you love today?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Birthdays, Doughnuts and Color

Birthday Doughnut for a Birthday Girl.

We had a nice family celebration for Middle's 10th birthday. In lieu of a party she and a friend will be visiting her grandparents for spring break. Whew! One less party to plan.

This morning we went out for birthday doughnuts. Mmmmm. Pink AND sprinkles. A most excellent way to start the day.


And on a completely different note: I must say I'm very excited about this. Today is gray (yet again!) Snow flurries are dancing about the sky, teasing and gesticulating; naw naah naw naah naw naw, tis not spring. Not yet!

And what do I have to say about that? Bring it on! Bring on the color I tell you. I'm soooo ready!