Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Cold

Yes, I'm going to while about the cold, just like every other East Coast blogger.  Yesterday morning, I checked the Weather Channel and our town clocked in at 8 F.  Single digits don't happen very often, and just for perspective? Toronto, Canada at the same time was officially at 11 F.  It was colder than Canada, people.  That's cold.

This morning, though, we're besting Toronto by a full 4 degrees. Ooo!

Friday, January 18, 2013


I always sit in the chair at the end of the counter. Since I'm always the one getting up to fetch things during meals, it has become MY chair.

It has also become George's cuddle place.  If I sit for more than 5 minutes, George will hop up on my lap, whether I invite him or not. And he likes to be held, with my arm around him.  Anywhere else, he'll sit on my lap for awhile, but won't tolerate being held.

But every time he hops up, I was about to get up to do something - refill my water glass, stir a pot on the stove, something. It's uncanny how bad his timing is.

I need to teach George to bring a cup of coffee with him.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Small Things

1. Last Friday, I took Rachel to school. We left as the sky was just starting to brighten with the sunrise, and it was bright red. Candy apple red streaks, and really striking.  It wasn't until later in the day, when it had started to rain/sleet, that I remembered "red sky in morning, sailors take warning." I guess it's true.

2. I have studio time on the printing press today and tomorrow. The studio is sponsoring a print exchange - if I can get 25 prints done by the deadline, I'll receive 20 different ones in return. I have a somewhat ambitious plan, wish me luck! I'm hoping to remember to take pictures of the process.

3. I spent a very enjoyable morning last Thursday helping a friend learn to knit.  She is a long-time crocheter, and had a good grasp of knitting except for the casting on. I cast on a scarf for Rachel (Wingspan, on Ravelry), and am close to finishing the third triangle, which makes me excited since I might finish it before winter is over.  Maybe.

4. The scarf is to match her new winter coat.  It's purple and blue plaid. Do you know how many purples are in my stash, none of which were a good match for the coat? We settled for a variegated blue.

5. I have rediscovered my father's treasure trove of Terry Pratchett books. Terry Pratchett is a British fantasy author with a wicked sense of humor, best known for the Discworld series. I'd read a number if them, Rachel and JC have read almost all of them, but I picked up one of the books a couple of weeks ago, and now I can't put them down. I think I've been through 4 in the past week and a half or so.

6. Pinterest is to the Internet what crack is to cocaine. I might need an intervention.

7. I can't decide if I'm amused or annoyed - my computer has a touch screen (which I never use). Sheba the cat has decided that if I'm on my computer, that's the perfect time to get very affectionate with me and anything in the vicinity.  She rubs up against the monitor, and invariably her tail touches the screen and selects something random.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Year, New Start

I have no excuse for not posting.  I can't say that I was exceptionally busy - the weeks before Christmas are always busy.  We got our Internet/cable/phone service back a week after our power came back on, so even that was before Thanksgiving.  So I'm not even going to try to recap all that happened between Hurricane Sandy and now, although I reserve the right to post about events at a later time and out of order (the horror!).

We took the kids down to Florida for Christmas - John's parents live near Daytona Beach, and we haven't been down there for several years.  They usually come up to New Jersey sometime in the summer, as three of their kids live here, but they didn't come this summer, so we hadn't seen them in a while.  It was time.

We drove.  It's not a challenging drive, but tedious, and slow before Christmas because it seems that everyone on the East Coast is driving south at that time of year.  We "collected" license plates, because, you know, you have to, and got all but 4 states (Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming).  And 3 or 4 Canadian provinces, too.  There's a lot of cars on the road. We left Friday evening around 5pm, spent the night in Fredricksburg, VA, and then didn't get into the Daytona area until midnight because there was so much traffic.

And now it's easier to tell the story in pictures.

Christmas morning, at my in-laws

Don't know if you're familiar with MineCraft, but it's a currently popular online game.  We paid way too much to get this set of limited edition MineCraft Legos on eBay, but it was worth it for the thrill it caused. If you're familiar with MineCraft, please notice that he's also wearing a MineCraft t-shirt.

William gave Rachel a small stuffed octopus that she was far more excited about than I expected.

John got a camera.  He picked it out, shopped for it, bought and wrapped it himself. I feel no guilt; he's happy.

Monday, John's dad took all of us (and our niece and nephew) to visit the Fairchild Oak.  It was big 400 years ago when Europeans arrived in Florida. I think one of the signs said it's estimated to be about 2000 years old.

Love the bit about "the follies of Mankind"

To say that it is dripping with Spanish moss is an understatement. And it should be in the dictionary under "gnarly". I don't mean the California definition, either. 

John's sister and her husband had to work Christmas week so their kids came over and hung out at Grandma and Grandpa's with us.  There was much video gaming on Wednesday. And another MineCraft t-shirt.

Thursday, we dragged everyone to a nearby plantation ruin.  This is the remains of the sugar mill, which processed sugar cane into white sugar using slave labor in the 1820s. It was a remarkably good historical site for a small state park - good signage and well-maintained. The kids actually seemed to enjoy themselves. A MineCraft hoodie this time (the green one on William).

And then we went mini-golfing. JC didn't want to participate until we divided into 2 groups.  I took the teenagers and John took the little boys.  They had two "courses", so we played separately and everyone actually had fun.  JC had a couple of unbelievable bounce shots - including one which bounced 3 times and did NOT go in the water hazard, much to our surprise. Rachel and Danielle tied for the win.

Mini-golf was across the street from the beach, so we had to walk over.  We walked down the beach about 1/4 mile, then back.  William was dying to go in the water but we hadn't brought towels or anything. And we were headed to a local chocolate factory  for their tour, so we kept him dry.  Ish.
And then the battery in my camera died and I didn't bother replacing it right away.  I have a few pictures in my phone still to upload, so I may share those later.

It was a nice vacation, although without our usual Christmas rituals, the kids kept saying, "It doesn't feel like Christmas!" It was lovely to see John's parents, and we had a nice visit, but by the time we left, John's dad had a bad cold.  Time to go.  We drove home all in one LOOOONG day (about 16 hours), because it was forecast to start snowing/raining along the I95 corridor that night and we wanted to beat the snow home.  It was nice to sleep in our own beds, but that's the only upside of doing it all in one go.

We had a quiet New Year's Eve, Rachel and JC each had a friend over for part of the day, but neither stayed past 10pm.  So we all stood in the kitchen, counted down with the TV, shouted "Happy New Year!", gave each other kisses, and went to bed.

And now we are back to routine.  School started on the 2nd, John leaves on a business trip to Toronto on Monday, band practice, dance class, midterms are in 16 days.... It's like we never even left.