Friday, February 26, 2010

Nothing New to Report but Snow

I've blogged about so much snow this winter I don't think there's much left to say.  We got between 10-12".  No school today.  The only new thing was I taught JC how to use the snowblower.  William and Rachel played outside for a long time, they came in for lunch, JC and Rachel watched a movie, William went back out, we're going over to a neighbors to eat pizza and watch the Olympics.

Just another snow day here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Maybe Next Time

Well, everything got cancelled.  School, my class, everything.  And after a little bit of disappoinment this morning (ok, a LOT of disappointment), I've made my peace.

For a while, it looked like the class would be rescheduled to Sunday - which would still have been impossible for me, unless I let the kids play hooky from church and found a sub to teach my Sunday school class.  And I left early to take Rachel to her dance exam.  The prospect of having it rescheduled and STILL not being able to attend was frustrating, but it turned out most of the other students had conflicts as well, so they're just going to refund my money.

I'm still out the fee for the class I missed yesterday, unfortunately.  No help for that one.

So we have more snow coming down.  A LOT of snow, but fortunately it is not accumulating as much as it could be as the temperature was just above freezing much of the day.  I think we caught a break there, because it's been snowing HARD almost all day, and we'd probably be looking at multiple inches except that it's been melting.  It's a very wet, heavy snow too, so there is a lot of concern about power outages.  Not much I can do about that, so not worrying about it.

John has been gone almost 3 weeks, working for CTV in Vancouver on the Olympic broadcast.  Not actually a glamour job, he's been working 12+ hour shifts in the broadcast center.  And while he can watch the feed from every single camera there, he's only managed to get tickets to two events.  Of course, one of them was the Women's Hockey final tonight, so we don't feel TOO sorry for him.  He gets back on Monday.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cautiously Hopeful

Well, William threw up again, around dinnertime, although he had very little in his stomach (pretzels and flat 7-up).  However, he felt MUCH better after that, ate most of a roll and had some apple juice, and was much more animated for the rest of the evening.  I got him to bed about the normal time, and I am very cautiously hopeful he may go to school tomorrow.

However, a big winter storm is predicted for tomorrow morning.  Not good.  Although the kids pointed out that JC can babysit if they don't have school tomorrow.  Assuming that my class wouldn't be cancelled...

We'll just have to wait and see.

It's A Bummer

I'm having a hard time not feeling sorry for myself right now.  Not that anything tragic has happened, just that I'm very disappointed.

See, I pushed myself, and signed up for classes at a local art non-profit.  They "specialize" in printmaking, which I find fascinating (not sure if it's the art or the machines!), and their winter classes were with a visiting artist who's a bookmaker.  How cool is that?  Monday's class, Content Development, ended up being an affirmation that I could think of myself as an artist (at least a little).  And I was really looking forward to today's class, Paste Paper and Simple Book forms.  I've done a couple of workshops on simple books (pamphlets, accordian fold, etc.), but was REALLY looking forward to Paste Paper.  That's an old technique for creating decorative papers for book covers, cards, whatever.  Kind of like finger painting, but more sophisticated techniques.

Then William threw up.  Monday night, so he stayed home Tuesday and I was gaining a glimmer of hope, until he threw up again about 10pm.

This morning, I did wake him at the usual time to see how he felt - which was not good enough to go to school (normally, I wouldn't consider sending him to school within 24 hours of vomiting, but this was a special circumstance).

So I spent the day with mopey boy, feeling pretty mopey myself.  It's times like this that I really don't like the life we've made for ourselves here.  John's traveling means that I didn't have the option of asking him to work from home for a day.  Both of our parents are thousands of miles away, so can't dump the sick kid with the grandparents (not that I would abuse that privlege!).  And somehow, asking a friend to babysit a sick kid so I can go play with art?  Crosses a line.

It's not the end of the world, but combined with grey yucky weather, John being gone for 3 weeks, and the opportunity to do something really creative and different?  It's not been a good day.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that William will go to school tomorrow, and I can go to my last class (Single Page Book and Building Creativity).  I've been housebound for two days, and it's not pretty.

And there's not even any chocolate in the house.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Content Development

That's actually the title of the class I took today.  It was very interesting.  Pictures tomorrow, hopefully.

And the Olympics, they suck up my time.  Yes, I know I don't have to watch all of it.  And I don't, really.  Just as much as I can.  But I'm starting to suffer from "burning the candle at both ends" syndrome.

But ah, my friends, and oh, my foes, it gives a lovely light!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tend Your Garden

So I've been working on an art project.  I've spent a lot of time thinking about it, and bursts of time working on it, and a big stretch of time the last couple of days to actually finish.  Due date is next Monday, but I'm taking a class that day (another personal push!) so I had to have it done by tomorrow to take it to someone else who can deliver it for me.

This is Rooted.  I'm pretty happy with it, although I wish I'd polished the text I wrote more, but I just kept re-writing and re-writing and finally had to just do it.
Sheba insisted on being in the picture.

Inside is a book I altered, and all the paper that you see is the extra pages from the book.  The flowers are two pages glued together and painted with artist's acrylics.  The text around the edge is "The garden of our life is rooted in our heart."

The stuff hanging down from the lid is "roots", or string, if you want to be exact.  It actually does look quite root-like when you first open the box.  And I textured the "paint" with gel medium, so it's not just flat brown, but more dirt-like.
"Where does activism come from? Local people see a local problem."

"The common people see a common problem.  It is not ROOTED in pity."
"Pity has no roots, no staying power.  Faith. Compassion. Love.  These have roots."
"We must be ROOTED in the faith that there is a difference to be made and one person can begin it."
"Compassion has both sympathy and change. Compassion does not stop at feeling, but moves to action."

"Whether the ROOTS of activism begin in religion or morals or stubborness, self-interest is not enough."
"There must be faith and compassion for deep ROOTS to grow.  Then, the endeavor can grow and flourish and change the world."

The final "page" is actually a shallow niche cut into a bunch of pages glued together, so it's very 3-D.

I'm really happy with the way the flowers and the box itself came out, and I ended up liking my painted pages way more than I thought I would.  The quotes are on vellum, and I'm reasonably happy with those, they fit with the theme and flow pretty well.  My text is kind of hokey, and I'm not thrilled with the pen I used (paint pens), but it was the only thing I had that would write on the painted pages.  I took the whole thing to a rubber stamping workshop and got my friends to critique it last night.  They all thought it was really beautiful, and gave me some good suggestions.  All the people in the book arts group are "real" artists, though (at least in my head) so I am somewhat nervous.  But I also think I haven't embarrassed myself.
The auction isn't until March 13th, so we'll have to wait to see what happens.  I'm debating about bidding on my own piece so I can take it home - don't know if that's "done".  Or what I would do with it afterwards.  But I've accomplished what I set out to, so I'm feeling pretty satisfied with that.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Post That Is NOT About Snow (even though it snowed again)

The book/lunchbox project is coming along.  Having to wait for the paint to dry does slow things down.  I  put in quite a bit of work today, and I think I'm close to finishing.

The box itself is on the far left, with cut out paper flowers on top - they still need to be painted.  The book is pretty much done - I used my own writing and words, in addition to printed quotes.  I'm not completely happy with my writing, but unless I repaint the whole thing, it is done.  I was thinking about adding flowers and buttons and do-dads to the pages of the book, but I think I like it better simple.

So I painted the medium size flowers and the leaves tonight, and tomorrow will paint the rest of the flowers.  While they dry, I can attach the painted ones.  And add the final touches.  Feet?  Or no feet?  Still debating.  Also debating "antiqueing" the lower half of the box.  It's covered with torn book pages but they're awfully pristine.  A little toning down might be in order.

And the words I used around the edge of the lid didn't go as far as I thought they would.  So, more words?  Repeat the same phrase?

More pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's Been A LONG Weekend in Lake Woebegone

Somehow, looking at the calendar did not really prepare me for this weekend.  We started with two snow days on Wednesday and Thursday, then Friday the kids had off from school - except for JC.  Because the high school was closed for a bomb scare in December, they had a makeup day.  Rachel and William and I spent the day running around getting ready for Rachel's birthday party Saturday.

Saturday was the party.  We took 6 of her friends to see Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, which, while we enjoyed it greatly, took substantial detours from the book.  Of course, we had gotten party favors and planned the party based on the book - and none of the stuff we used made it into the movie.  None.  Except the gold drachmas (we used chocolate coins).  Oh well.  The kids enjoyed the movie, and gobbled down blue cake (Percy's favorite color), ambrosia (food of the gods, you know.  We used blondies), and nectar (ok, there was nectar in the movie but they never actually mentioned it.  Our version was apple juice).  My favorite was the red rubber balls, for distracting Cerebrus when you're trying to sneak into the Underworld.  Even that didn't make it in!  So we explained everything for the kids that hadn't read the book, and the kids who had thought it was great.

After we finally got rid of everyone we had pizza with the family that had come to help as chaperones (because John is out of town), and they went home about 7pm.  We had left for the theater at 12:30.  It was a LONG afternoon.

Sunday, we had Sunday school and church, and had to go to a birthday party at an indoor pool (for one of the children of the family from Saturday, actually).  Of course, despite my nagging, the kids did not actually try on their swimsuits until Saturday night.  0 for 3 fit, of course.  So after Rachel's choir practice ended at noon, and before the party started at 2:30, 30 minutes away, we hit Target and McDonald's and scored lunch and 3 new swimsuits.  Rachel has now outgrown the girl's suits (at least at Target) and fit pretty well in a women's small - except for styling.  I had to search high and low for the one tankini that was modest enough and yet not matronly.  Fortunately it fit well enough (although she was a little uncomfortable with the neckline), so we lucked out.

That party ended at 4:30 (or rather, I hustled the kids out at 4:30), which gave us an hour to drive home, drop the boys, hit the bathroom, and drive 20 minutes to Rachel's dance class.  Fortunately that gave me almost an hour to sit in Starbucks and knit.  Home from there by way of Burger King (yes, a less than steller nutrition day, sue me), and an hour to chill before Rachel had a babysitting job next door from 8 to 11pm.

It's kind of like doing a puzzle, fitting it all in.  I much prefer "a wide margin to my day", but sometimes, you know, it just all clumps together.  Tomorrow holds a tuba lesson, dungeons and dragons for the older kids, and another batch of cookies for William's Valentine's party.  We ate the first batch - I figured they wouldn't hold from Wednesday 'till Tuesday very well.  And then, hopefully, everyone back to school on Tuesday.

They're predicting snow for Monday night.  Just shoot me now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

In Which I Become Somewhat Tired of Snow

Here in the Hundred Acre Woods New Jersey, it has been snowing all day.  It stopped about 8pm or so, leaving us with 15" of snow.

The deck (currently unfinished) is about 2' off the ground, just for reference.  Now, there was a small amount of snow from last weekend's storm, but I'm not sure how much there was in this area.
This is right out the back door, and somewhat sheltered, which may make for less snow (sheltered by the house), or more snow (sheltered by the house so it didn't blow away).

This was truly a 24 hour storm, as it started snowing last night about 7:30pm.  The kids had the day off from school, which was good because the worst of it was about the time they would have been on school busses coming home.  And they actually have tomorrow off as well, which I find totally surprising because the snow has stopped and there's plenty of time for the plows to clear all the roads.

I do have a little work to do on my car, obviously.  JC and William and Rachel shoveled the driveway - mostly William, but it snowed another 6" after that so we'll have to do it again in the morning.

I'll admit to being a little tired of snow and cold.  I have not stepped foot outside the house all day except for taking the pictures.  Oh, and I went outside when I looked out the window and all I could see was Rachel's legs lying very still in the snow.  I had a moment where I thought she had slid down our hill headfirst into the neighbor's tree.  Turns out she was watching the birds and seeing how fast the snow piled up on her snowpants.

I'm kind of looking forward to weather where I can throw them outside and not worry about frostbite or sledding injuries.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


This time, for real.  This time, we're really going to get a substantial amount of snow.  Like, a foot or more.  Even 18 inches!

You'll pardon me if I'm rather skeptical about that.  Although it is already snowing.

School has already been cancelled for the morning.  Yay!  There is much rejoicing in my household.  And since I don't have to get up early, I'm going to bed early.  Don't try to make it make sense.

Monday, February 8, 2010

And Even More Snow?

No, really, they're predicting 12-18" for New York City, and we usually get a little more.   We'll see, though.  We've been missed by a bunch of storms, so I'm not assuming anything.

Last night, we had the church youth group over to watch the Super Bowl.  In years past, we've all dumped our kids at one martyrs' host's house and gone home (or to an adult only party!), then picked up the kids at halftime.  This year, I am a "widow" (John is off to Vancouver for the rest of the month), so a couple of the parents said they would stay to keep me company.  Turned out almost all the parents stayed, and it was a good party!  The littlest kids got bored, since they weren't interested in the game, and the teens mostly hung out in the kitchen and talked, but that meant that the adults mostly got to watch the game.  We had WAY too much food (no surprise there) and Rachel and William both had stomache aches at bedtime.  Hmmm, could it have been all the kettle corn, chips, and ice cream they ate?  Ya think?

There's been lots of commentary on the commercials, so I won't say much besides that I loved the Google commercial.  If you missed it, go look on the Internet.  It was charming.  Even my 15 yr old son thought so.

And, yes, even though I love Peyton Manning, it was really cool that the Saints won.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

And Yet More Snow

Oh, yes, the "stormageddon" has hit us.  Well, not really us, I think the worst is well south of here.  We have about 4-5" and it seems to have stopped, so really pretty normal for here.  It is a bit windy out - the kids are out sledding down the sidewalk with neighbors so we'll see how long they last.

I had to take John to the airport this morning for a 7am flight - and yes, he did check to make sure it was still scheduled.  Air Canada, so I guess snow doesn't scare them.  I must say, driving to the airport at 5:30am in heavy snow was a bit more adrenaline than I usually care for that early in the morning.  The local roads were very slick, there seemed to be ice underneath the snow, and the first few miles of the interstate were only slightly better.  Then, boom!  Suddenly, no snow, just wet roads.  Clearly that town had gotten their salt on the road at the right time.  Clear sailing from then on, and got him to the airport only a few minutes later than hoped.

Driving back was somewhat easier, I took the longer and more interstate-heavy route.  Didn't help much, though, there was again a clear dividing line back to snow-covered road, and the snow was definitely heavier the further west I drove.  But it was easier because I didn't have a deadline in that direction.  I had the internal debate - do I stop and get donuts or bagels as a treat for the kids?  At that point, I decided I just wanted to be home in one piece, so, no.

So I am safely home, and already took a nap because it was a short night.  Rachel and William are out frolicking withe the neighbor kids.  My very kind next-door neighbor is currently snowblowing my driveway - unasked.  I mentioned yesterday at the bus stop that John was flying out, so I'm sure that's why.  People are so nice.  But I was ready - I even got gas for the snowblower yesterday, and I was going to teach JC how to do it.  After all, I have a teenage boy for a few more years, I have to take advantage of that, right?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

And More Snow

Yep. It snowed again.  This week, however, it started last night, so the plows and salt trucks were out overnight. And the school district called a 2 hour delayed opening.  The roads were better this morning than last week when they didn't delay, but that's ok.  I got the call at 5:30, got up and told JC, turned off Rachel's alarm, and went back to bed.  I was GOING to post about how I love the new(ish) alert system that robo calls everyone, except for the fact that I get 3 calls (one for each school), but I only got one call!  Perfect!

William said it was the best school day ever - I let him play video games this morning.  And it just so happens to be Rachel's birthday, so she was PUMPED that she got a delay today.  Even though, get this, she was up BEFORE her usual time.  ???  I turned off her alarm, but apparently I wake her up when I call William every morning, so by the time she gets back to sleep, she's really asleep when her alarm goes off and that's why she's so sluggish every morning.


So I have shoveled half the driveway - couldn't get the snowblower to start, and it was only <2" of snow.  I'm saving the other half for JC when he gets home from school.  And I've already cleared off my car, and I got an hour and a half of extra sleep!  Life is good!

But I have to get the snowblower figured out - they're predicting a BIG storm for this weekend, and John will be out of town.