Monday, November 30, 2009


I'm totally fascinated with this video (from CRAFT by way of Folding Trees). I would love love love to spend lots of time printing and making books - but I'm intimidated by content. Not the fabrication or technical details, content. But you can only make so many blank books!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Shoot 'Em Up

We had William's birthday party last Friday. At home. I have given up on doing the big party place thing with him - he's social but doesn't have a lot of good friends, so he usually doesn't have a long list of friends to invite, and those places are SO expensive. I'd rather get a better goody bag gift or give him more presents!

Last year we did Marshmallow Shooters. It was awesome, loud, unstructured, and we were finding stale marshmallows for MONTHS afterward. William wanted to do it again, but since there would be some repeat guests, I asked him to come up with something else. Of course all of my ideas were unacceptable - he asked to have a Nerf Gun party. Well, fate seems to smile on 8 year old boys, because ToysRUs had a sale 2 weeks before the party and some of the knockoff Nerf guns were on sale. A 2-pack of six-shooters, 12 bullets per gun, AND a target for $10. Score! And it was even the same guns that he had bought earlier in the year, so I didn't have to buy new guns for all three of my kids. I bought 10 guns (5 2-packs, so $50! Way cheaper than a party place), and we invited 9 friends.

So it was William's "Nerf" Blaster Birthday; everybody got a gun, goggles, and a bucket with 20 bullets in it (we bought extras). And they spent a hour shooting each other, the targets (well, near the targets), the walls, pyramids of empty cans, and anything else in sight. Except the adults, we were mostly unscathed. Then we decorated cupcakes (that's a LOT of sprinkles!), ate ice cream, sang "Happy Birthday" and that was it. Everyone had fun, they all got to take home a gun, a bucket, and 20 bullets, and I have no stale marshmallows in the couch. Foam bullets I can live with.

Except for feeling a little deaf for the next few days, and a LOT of crumbs and sprinkles on the floor, the damage was negligible. It's going to be hard to top this one, but I said the same thing last year, so we'll see!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Love NPR

I've been a mostly-avid NPR listener since I moved to NJ. It helps that one of the premier NPR stations - WNYC - is based in New York City and I'm within the broadcast area. But I also can usually get Philadelphia public radio as well.

I have become a news junkie. This was reinforced when my children were very small, and I didn't necessarily want them exposed to the images on TV, but I could listen to the radio. I developed the habit of listening to All Things Considered while I made dinner almost every night. I love the "comedy" shows like Car Talk.

But I think my favorite-est thing on public radio is Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I find this weekly news quiz show just hysterical every week. I rarely catch it when it's broadcast, but through the magic of podcast, and Internet radio, I listen most weeks.

As I was preparing to listen online today, I noted a link at the bottom entitled "Knitter's Revenge." Mo Rocca had made a comment a few weeks ago about hand knit sweaters being "itchy". So, well, the knitting community just couldn't take that lying down...

You just don't find this sort of thing published on other networks, you know?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaBloPoMo? Not so much, apparently

Obviously, making a commitment to blog every day was a little ambitious - perhaps a month that didn't contain so many germs...

William came home from school early on Wednesday, and by Thursday evening was running a mild fever. Rachel was warm on Thursday, and didn't appear to spike much of a fever but has been very run down... but I'm 99% sure it's not the dreaded flu. William had bounced back by Friday afternoon, and except for a lovely hacking cough, has been obnoxiously happy. Rachel is still dragging, so she stayed home from school today, although she went yesterday. JC is now really tired, and I'm waiting for the fever and cough to hit.

I think I've had a touch of it, or at least, I've been exhausted the last two days. Could perhaps be that John had to get up at 5am to catch a plane on Monday, and by the time I got the kitchen cleaned up and the necessary chores done that night, it was 11:30pm. When the alarm went off this morning, it was REALLY hard to get out of bed.

So we are dragging through November so far. All the activities have been hit-or-miss. I'll go to the band parents meeting tonight, but I think JC is going to skip robotics club, poor thing. That's an indication of how he feels - he really wanted to go. But I'm plying everyone with orange juice and vitamin C, and hopefully will get ALL of us to bed early tonight.

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's Not Over 'Till It's Over

It's over. Well, almost, anyway. Our competition season for Marching Band is over. Yes, there's a few more football games to play (our team made the playoffs for the first time in who knows how long), but there are no more practices, no more marching in the rain. Just doing the fun pep band stuff in the stands.

So the last competition was in Pennsylvania on Halloween night (who schedules these things?). The performance time was late enough (of course) that Rachel and William went trick-or-treating, THEN we loaded up in the car and drove west. I figured we had the time change, the kids could stay up late.

So we drove out, in the rain (of course! Did you expect less?) and darkness, and got to the stadium during the break between groups. We saw all the bands in our group. Some were good, some were great. There was drizzle, off and on, but not really rain. One of the sousaphone players (not in our band) FELL DOWN during the routine. My heart broke for him - this was a BIG deal competition, and he landed on his bottom. Poor thing. Our band marched out (last, of course, but that's because we'd scored highly the previous weekend, so it's actually good) and the drizzle kicked it up a notch. Then it became actual rain. Then a little more rain. Then it slowed and stopped - just as they finished their routine. Just for us. Special.

While we were waiting for the scoring, a university band came out and marched. JC later told me that there were 425 members in this band. They filled the field! They were marching on, and they just kept coming! And they were really good, and did lots of fun stuff. 24 sousaphones. William really enjoyed that, but by that time it was about 11:30pm, so we started to leave before they announced the scores. We could hear the announcer while we were walking down the street, so we walked very slowly, and heard the whole thing.

WE WON! Our band has never won this competition before. John described the director as "beside himself." It was a stunning end to a really surprising season. And now, I won't be blogging about marching band anymore (probably). Until next fall. Unless I can get the video I took to upload.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


National Blog Posting Month. Post every day for a month. I don't know, think I can do it?