Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I apologize for the language, but, you see, I'm stunned. I was hoping to take some pictures today of the beautiful fall foliage in our neighborhood. Instead, this is what I got - This is front and back yard, just standing in the doorways. This morning at the bus stop it was raining, and we were all agreeing that cold rain is awful and we'd much rather have snow.

I guess I should be careful what I wish for. I've lived here 19 years, and I'm not remembering snow before Halloween. Ever.

The kids are probably so excited. Wanna bet William wants to go sledding?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A River Runs Through It

We went camping this weekend. I have no pictures to post, not a single one. Why?

It poured rain all day Saturday. I woke up at about 5am to the sound of rain on the trailer, and a steady drizzle by the time we got up. We rigged one tarp next to our trailer awning, which soon turned out to be leaky. Then the guys started rigging a REALLY big tarp in the empty campsite next to ours (with permission). By then it was a steady rain, which mostly just got heavier throughout the day. By dinner?

Monsoon. Severe weather warning with thunder and lightning. Torrential rain. Wind. Actually kind of scary, and so loud under the tarps that we were shouting to hear each other.

But, you know, we were CAMPING. And we were there with 4 other families, sharing food, so our options for indoor gathering together were limited. Most of the kids spent the entire day in one family's cabin, watching TV and playing games. The adults and older kids (and William) spent most of the day rigging tarps, huddling under them, and asking each other, "Why are we here? Are we having fun yet?"

And yet, we did have fun. Not quite the fun we were hoping for, but even when huddling around a campfire under a tarp, being with friends is fun.

And of course, today dawned clear, sunny but cold. Just beautiful - while we were packing up to come home.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kitty Knitting

Kittens and knitting don't go together. They're either attacking the yarn I'm using, because of course it moves, or trying to steal the skeins that I'm not using, because, well, just because, I guess.

Since I have finished hats for all three kids (although John decided that JC's was too "girly"), I needed a new project. Too many dollars worth of yarn from Michael's later, I spent yesterday evening figuring out a cabled scarf for Rachel - using the same yarn from the hats. She wants it to match.

I've decided it's just as well I haven't found my local yarn store yet - even the bins of sort of generic yarn from Michaels are too tempting. So now I have lots of yarn, I just have to figure out projects to go with it. I almost bought (twice, now!) a book of one skein projects that's divided up by yarn thicknesses. If you're like me, that seems like a good idea. And I need to figure out where to find more patterns on the internet. Free, ideally. And small - I need instant gratification.

I did buy a book of sock patterns. But it's a little intimidating to start that - the thinner yarn takes a whole lot more knitting than the chunky stuff I've been using. I still can't imagine knitting a sweater, but maybe someday.

Hundreds of dollars of investment in paper crafting - and I'm knitting. Go figure.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Life in Pictures (at least a little)

This is a picture of the consignment sale. Rachel and another little girl are carrying in a big Little Tykes Tool Bench - they wanted to help, so we put them to work! I didn't actually take a picture of the room as a whole. I wish I had, it is a truly amazing amount of stuff that shows up. The depressing part is how much is left at the end, but we sold over $6000 worth of merchandise. When the average price is probably $2-3, that's a lot of stuff!

We are still bento-ing. I have mixed sucess. William just doesn't eat very much at lunchtime, and even using only half the box (which is way less than bento guidelines for size for his age), he still often doesn't finish it. The yellow box is Rachel's current favorite lunch. Peanut butter sandwich, no jelly, no crusts. Pretzels (they're square, so they stack nicely), and watermelon or currently apples in the lower compartment.

William's is grilled cheese, cut with the dinosaur sandwich cutter, carrots (currently cut thin because he has a loose tooth), and a box of raisins. He also likes tortellini, no sauce, and I've been cutting up leftover chicken or ham or whatever we had for dinner. I thought he'd go for peas, since they're usually one of his favorites, but not lately. And we've been experimenting with onigiri (Japanese rice balls), although he doesn't eat much of that, either.

And these are my silly kittens. I had boxes from a book order on the table in my craft room (which is a perpetual dumping ground for things in transition). And since there were boxes, there were kitties. George is on the left, Sheba on the right. They curled up and took quite a long snooze. They have been the most delightful companions. I'm not sure I've ever had cats that followed me around quite as much as these two. And they both talk to me, although George is much more vocal.

Just Say No

So I'm having a little puzzlement this week. I mentioned (to friends) at the gym on Monday that I couldn't go out for coffee that morning because I had to run to the grocery store and be quick because I was working the school book fair for 3 hours that afternoon.

I got the "don't you ever say no" and "you need to take some time for yourself" reactions. I really wasn't expecting that. Ok, I did consignment sale two weekends ago and garage sale this last weekend, and I happen to have both book fair and library duty this week. But my main agenda this week is getting ready to go camping this coming weekend, which is totally a family thing and very enjoyable. So the stress this week was just adding that extra in, not really the volunteer stuff - Monday just happened to have only a small amount of free time between gym and book fair, and I wanted to squeeze in groceries in there because we were out of a few things.

I really don't feel like I say "yes" too often. And when I do say yes, it's more likely to be a short term commitment, or once a month or something like that. Yes, the consignment sale is a lot of work, but most of that is concentrated around one week in the fall and another in the spring. Library is every two weeks (I haven't even been yet because of how the vacations have fallen!).

I do like to have "a broad margin to my days" (Thoreau). I would rather spread things out and not feel rushed, although I'll admit to being much more productive and focussed with a deadline. If I'm not doing the things I say I want to do, it's most often because I'm spending too much time poking around on the internet, or reading the paper. Both of these are habits I'm working on (especially since I had a habit of snacking along with reading the paper).

So I really wasn't expecting that reaction. Tomorrow I'm free for coffee! But I do still have things that need to get done. But that's always true.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Take a Deep Breath

The consignment sale is over. It appears to have been successful - we grossed almost 25% more than we did in the spring. How that translates for the church is yet to be seen - we give the consignors 70%, but if we have donated items we get 100% of that. But there's lots of counting before we know that number (each item sold has a card with the consignor code, so those all have to be added up).

JC survived his wisdom tooth extraction, part two. It seems to have been a little more painful this time, there has been much more Advil consumed. But he's in pretty good shape, and reasonabley chipper about the whole ordeal.

Rachel has gotten through the first orthodontic appointment (spacers, to make room for the bands around the teeth) and has her second one tomorrow.

William is just cruising along. His current project for school is to observe the full moon every month and draw a picture or write about it. He likes the observing part, the rest he could do without.

I volunteered for the intermediate school book sale. I spent 2+ hours today helping to unpack and arrange all the books, and also putting the "last book, please order" tags in the last copy of EVERY @%$&!! BOOK. And I get to spend 4 hours on Monday working the sale. But Rachel is thrilled, and I happened to arrive during her lunch today, so she got a hug and was excited.

And John had a big demo today, and then jetted off to Toronto for meetings.

I'm just waiting for the "slow" week. So I can work on all the things I put off until after the consignment sale. Hah!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hmmmm, I wonder

Which takes more time, thinking up a blog post or finding stupid stuff on the web because I don't have time to post?

Now THAT would have been interesting!

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

This I like

You Are Ginger

Like ginger, you are a total shape shifter.

You can be sweet, spicy, mellow, or overpowering.

You are both soothing and unique. You are popular... yet you are often overlooked.

But am I good?

The Recipe For Ann

3 parts Vitality

2 parts Enchantment

1 part Ingenuity

Splash of Pride

Finish off with an olive

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bento, schmento

Ok, my gym partner called in sick, so I should be on my way to the gym but instead I'm blogging. So sue me.

A quick update on the bento lunches. William is eating more variety for lunch, although it's not clear he's actually eating any more at lunch time. He is often coming home and eating the rest of the bento after school, which is good. The bad is that he's decided he doesn't really like baby carrots (despite scarfing them down at most dinnertimes. ???) But today I suggested grilled cheese sandwich, which he was excited about. Only problem is that I burned it (doing too many things at once again) and had to start over so we were rushing. He grudgingly accepted apple rabbits, we'll see if he eats any. And he did make the bus, so all's well.

Rachel was excited to have watermelon in her bento today, and decided the rest of William's apple rabbits could hang out in the fridge and be her after school snack. So more variety of fruit in her, yay!

Apparently, cute food tastes better. Though with all the jokes about biting the heads off of rabbits, we may have much work for their future therapists!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And what DO I have to show for it?

I haven't posted because I've been busy. And yet I feel like I have nothing to talk about. Or at least, nothing terribly interesting.

I'm running a consignment sale for my church. I've done it once a year for the past, oh, I don't know, 4 or 5 years, in the spring. This year we're having a Fall sale for the first time in a long time. I'm remembering why we haven't done a Fall sale in a long time.

It's hard.

School has been in session for a month, now, but in some ways we're still adjusting. There's activities that are just now starting, and others that are in full swing. Registration for the sale coincided with the beginning of school, which is always unsettled, at the very least.

I haven't tagged any clothes yet. I have managed to get everything on hangers, at least everything that doesn't have cat hair on in (thanks so much, kitties). Still have to make the cards and pin them on. We're trying to fit setup around soccer practices and roller hockey, I scheduled JC to have two wisdom teeth removed on Thursday (we have 2 days off for Yom Kippur and a teacher in-service), Rachel has her first orthodontic appointment on Thursday, and William has a birthday party. The sale itself is Saturday and Sunday, so we have setup, dropoff, a preview sale, the sale, half price, cleanup....

I'm not sure the Spring is any less busy, but maybe we're better at juggling by then. Or inclined to let them skip a game or practice because it's further into the year. For whatever reason, from this vantage point, it looks easier.

But, you know, everything will get done or it won't. And the world won't end. The important stuff is all arranged. So hopefully, we'll have nice weather and not too many people will be out of town. And we'll get lots and lots of customers and make a nice bundle of money for the church and make it all worthwhile. A girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lunch Lunacy

I've officially lost my mind. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a blog about bento lunches (http://www.lunchinabox.net/). It's like food porn - and I'm addicted. I think I've read all her back posts, and envied her lunches, and especially envied the eating habits of her preschooler.

Last week, I finally snapped, and went to the cheapo online Japanese store she linked to. She's in San Fransisco, so there's a location there and it's basically a dollar store. Even the online stuff is CHEAP, and, well, I love cheap. Two kid's Bento boxes, various accessories. They arrived yesterday, and it was like Christmas with all this bright plastic stuff. William was enthralled.

My ulterior motive is to get him to eat better lunches. He's been eating a Quaker Oatmeal-on-the-Go bar for lunch for almost 2 years. And he doesn't usually finish it, because he also has a chocolate milk and it fills him up. So when he was excited about the possibility of rice and hard boiled egg (shaped like a bunny!) and maybe even apples, well, I'm all pushing that!

It was mostly a success - I was rushing the eggs and didn't use my usual procedure (warning, don't try more than one new thing in the morning when you're rushed) so I had to do a 2nd batch since the first wasn't cooked all the way. I almost burned the grilled cheese sandwich (shaped like 2 dinosaurs!). Long-grain brown rice isn't sticky enough to make rice balls (but he did eat some).

He was thrilled, he ate some at school and actually the rest for his snack afterwards. He even forgot to drink his chocolate milk because he was so excited about the rest.
The pictures are actually Rachel's lunch. I didn't have time to take a picture of William's, although it was probably "cuter".
She had a peanut butter sandwich, goldfish in a paper muffin cup, carrots, and apple rabbits. They're soaked in lemon water to keep from browning, and it curls their ears up, too.
William had a grilled cheese sandwich shaped like dinosaurs, a hard boiled egg shaped like a bunny, carrots, apple rabbits, and a rice ball (supposed to be shaped like a bear).
I guess "cute" food tastes better - wonder if the novelty will wear off?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Fought the Law, and the Law Won

Actually, I didn't fight the law. If anything, I fought on the side of the law.

In April, I witnessed a one-car traffic accident. The car turned right (from the left lane) at a high rate of speed, travelled in front of me already in a 4-wheel skid, and tried to turn into a side road. He almost made it - except he hit a curb, which launched the car into the air. It landed on its top, and rolled over onto its wheels.

It was just like the movies. Except real. And very loud.

I was in shock. By the time I processed what had happened, I had travelled well past the scene, and really didn't know what to do. John convinced me later that evening to call the local police department. When the officer called me back, he took my story, and very apologetically said he would have to subpoena me as a witness for the state.

Oh, goody.

So, after many months of delays, we all got to go to municipal court tonight. I must say, it was a fascinating slice of life. And the judge was fabulous - no nonsense but reasonable, very entertaining, and fluent in Spanish. Most impressive. Our case finally got called after about an hour, and the judge sent the young man and his mother (I assume) in to talk to the prosecutor. I took the chance to run out to go to the bathroom, and of course, ran into them in the hallway. I made the mistake of telling them I was a witness in the case (and where I was going), because of course, I didn't want to be AWOL, and I got an EARFUL about how they didn't know there was going to be a trial and they had witnesses too and...

Look, lady, I'm just trying to do my civic duty here, and I've GOT to pee. Fortunately the police office stuck his head out in the hallway just then so I told him where I was going.

By the time I got back to court, and knitted a little more, the officer came back in and told the judge they had decided to plead guilty. The judge asked if the witnesses had talked to the prosecutor and they HAD to have that opportunity before he'd accept any plea. So we (there were two of us) went in, the prosecutor clarified that it was a one-car accident, said they were pleading guilty to all the charges, and did we have any problem with that?

Mmm, no, not really.

Ok, thanks for coming, and you can go home now.

So I missed choir and rushed through dinner and freaked out (a little, ok, maybe slightly more than that) and never even had to tell the story. And the young man hopefully has learned a lesson (I can hope, right?).

And my conscience is clear. And I started a hat for JC and got more than a third done just in court.