Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quarterly Update

I was debating whether to abandon this space, as the kids have introduced me to tumblr, and there's Facebook and Pinterest and so many places to express all sorts of things...

But, no. I'm back, for now at least.

It's been an interesting fall. We've had the adjustment to life with only two kids at home, which has been easier than expected except for the niggling worry, "is JC really ok? Is he really going to class and eating healthy and making friends and...." I'm pretty sure that's just my inner "Mom" voice that will be worried about my children for the rest of their lives.  I'm making peace with it.

We've gotten through marching band season. It went well, though I felt even more involved than previous years. I managed the band uniforms and chaperoned once and several new jobs, plus dealing with Rachel and the drama of colorguard (mostly not HER drama, but her dealing with the drama of the other members). And the colorguard uniforms were complicated this year (fantastic. But lots of laces). And the buttons popped off, so we got good at sewing on buttons, or did you know you can hold on a button with a safety pin if it has a shank and you have NO TIME to sew it on?

Soccer for William is over. They had practice Friday evenings, which was a pain in the patootie because, of course, band plays at the Friday night football games, so there was a lot of driving back and forth and compromising.

The big charity gala I help with is over, and went very well. Our only glitch was the online credit card acceptance wouldn't let us log in for some reason, but we managed to change the password and I ended up typing in credit card numbers on my phone. It worked well enough.

I have finished a scarf for JC. It matches the hat I made him over the summer. The stripes are a Fibonacci series (1,1,2,3,5,8... Next number is the sum of the previous 2). And I'm about to turn the heel on the socks I started in August. Knitting doesn't happen very fast if you don't sit down and do it. Picture later, the iPad and Blogger don't play together very well.

So I have a craft fair I'm running for the band parents in early December, and then, it's just family. Now that I'm down to one major volunteer commitment, it's a much less hectic time. But herein lies the trap for me - I'm much better organized when I have to be. Deadlines are my friend.

How about you?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

I don't know about you, but I'm with the Yarn Harlot on Fall being the real beginning of the year. This year in particular, Fall brings a very "new" year for us.  William is in 6th grade, not yet in the Middle School but we can see it coming.  Rachel is a sophomore at the High School, that odd year between being a freshman and really being an upperclassman.  And JC is away at college.  There are a few adjustments inherent in that statement.

1) I am not in the least bit old enough to have a college freshman.  I only play at being an adult, how did this happen?

2) Likewise, he can't possibly be old enough, I REMEMBER going off to college and I was much older than he is (never mind that my calendar age was actually almost a year younger).

3) We are a family of 5 - in fact, on the way home from dropping him at school, we stopped for lunch and John was arguing that the server had forgotten a drink on the tray.  There were only 4....oh, wait.
(I will admit that #3 does make it easier to get a table at restaurants, but I digress.)

We are slowly adjusting to his absence.  I haven't cried, though I have worried off and on. I've tried very hard not to text/call him too often, though the weirdness of not having daily contact and knowing what he's up to is still pretty fierce.  I'll even admit that I've missed him most during band camp, as last year he was driving himself and his sister to every practice.  And Rachel will surely miss him more as she waits for the bus tomorrow morning - she didn't ride the bus once last year.

Tomorrow the other two start school. (There might be a very discrete happy dance from this mom). I'm looking forward to a more settled routine, football games and marching band, discussing books with Rachel and hearing William get better on the trumpet.  I'm even almost looking forward to helping with homework since Rachel is taking Chemistry and it was my favorite subject.  We'll see how much I remember...

I'm not looking forward to nagging about homework and bedtime, and getting up at the crack of dawn, but it all goes together.  And I'm sure by May of next year, I'll be counting down the days, looking forward to summer again.

Friday, July 19, 2013


It's been hot. We have central a/c and its still hot. I opened the front door to take out the garbage last night at 11pm, and it was like walking into a sauna. And we wake up in the morning and its already over 80 at 7am.  I don't know how you people in really hot climates live like this.

But hope springs eternal. I'm sitting here listening to tremendous thunder outside. Here's hoping that the heat and/or humidity breaks with the storm (at this point, lowering either would be an improvement!) and the weather report promises cooler weather next week.

Here's hoping the weather breaks before I do.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

17 Years

In case you haven't been paying attention on the news (or perhaps you don't live on the self-centered East Coast), this is the year of the cicadas.  The much-ballyhooed "Brood 2" of 17-year cicadas has emerged and is singing their love song and leaving shells and carcasses everywhere. Including my yard.

Seventeen years ago, we lived about 4 miles from here in the next little town down the hill. My sister-in-law lived in this house, and my oldest, who is about to graduate from high school, was a one-year old.

 And that was the last time the 17-yr cicadas were out in New Jersey.  Makes you think how long 17 years is, doesn't it? I was going to add a picture of JC as a toddler, but it was long enough ago that THEY WERE TAKEN ON FILM.

Two people stopped by my house yesterday, and both of them commented a variation on, "Are they always this loud?" Well, yes and no.  They aren't noisy at night, and they get louder as the day warms up. And then another friend mentioned that she had a decibel meter app on her smartphone.  Ah!

They were at about 65 decibels at about 10am and are now around 75dB at noon. According to the app, that's a loud conversation. John thinks they sound like car alarms.

How many more weeks of this?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Again

It is Friday again, but unlike last Friday, I am not frantically rushing to finish a to-do list. In fact, the only plan I have for today involves coffee with a friend, and getting William to soccer practice on time.

Last Friday:
1. Got the map put together for the vendor fair  - took less time then expected, but I also didn't get fancy and try to make a computer version.  Just made a list of table numbers and vendors, which was fine.

2. Got the cookie bars baked (they were yummy), but not the cupcakes.  That was ok because it turned out there were a couple of people who made cupcakes, which was plenty. Not everything sold, but I got to bring home my leftovers, which the kids appreciated.

3. Underarm gussets worked.  Yay!

4. Got 14 spell packets made by sewing 3 sides on the machine on a bigger piece of fabric, then cutting them apart. Then whenever I had 5 minutes, I filled and handsewed the 4th side. To explain it better, I'd have to draw you a picture.  Suffice to say, Rachel was appreciative - and the scrap of rainbow stripe fabric I used was a big hit.

5. Got William to soccer  bit late, but since we're almost always the first ones there, I feel no guilt. Rachel and JC didn't leave until after we got home anyway because the other girl they were giving a ride got home late from a school field trip.

6. Didn't try to meet with the janitors until Saturday morning, they got the cafeteria arranged in 20 minutes flat. Excellent.

I'm enjoying quiet week or two, but graduation is looming in about 7 weeks. Since the grandparents are coming, we are having a party, which means cleaning the house. Given the state its in right now, I think it might take all 7 weeks. Yikes!

Friday, April 26, 2013

I've Officially Lost My Mind, edition ?

Yet again, I have made choices against a deadline. And yes, they are choices that I have deliberately made.

1.  Tomorrow is the Band Parent Vendor fair.  I'm the co-chair.  I'm in charge of the vendors, and I have yet to make the plan of who gets which table (if we have people selling similar products, they get REALLY cranky if they are next to each other, and some people need electricity, and some have more than one table...). I also have to stop by the middle school and ask permission to put up a few posters because they are having an event tonight.  I also have not made said posters.

2. I have also volunteered to bake a couple of dozen cookies for said Vendor Fair.  Which is tomorrow.  I have not started (although the butter is softening right now).  I have ambitions to make cupcakes as well, but that may not actually happen. I know, I didn't need to make cookies - but we are having a sad lack of participation from the Band Parents for this event, and since I've told two different vendors they cannot sell baked goods because we're going to, I feel somewhat obligated to make sure there are baked goods.

3. Rachel and JC are going off Live Action Role Playing this weekend. JC has LARPed many times before and has his kit together pretty well.  This is Rachel's first time.  She asked me quite some time ago to make a white shirt for her existing Renaissance Faire costume - she has a two-sided bodice we bought her, but the floral side doesn't play well with her current striped shirt.  Yesterday, I decided I had the fabric, I really should do this.  They leave this evening.  I declare victory on this one:
 If you're thinking, "that looks like a nightie!", you are not far off.  A chemise was the multi-purpose undergarment of the Middle Ages. You wore it next to your skin, under your corset/bodice/jerkin, and it also acted as your slip or underskirt.  At night, you took off your outer clothes and slept in your chemise. I whipped this together after dinner last night (hemmed this morning).

I made it from a very simple pattern (rectangles and straight lines) I found online.  However, and I am kicking myself because I've made it before and had the exact same problem, this pattern makes an armhole that is way too tight for even a skinny girl like Rachel. She said it was "okay", but with that tone that says, "no, really it's not but I don't want to make a fuss."

Behold the fix:

That, my friends, is an underarm gusset.  My first ever. It is not the most perfectly sewn thing, and may break all sorts of tailoring rules, but I am hopeful that it does the trick. It's a costume, after all, and is only required to be reasonably sturdy and washable. And at least somewhat comfortable. But sucked up time this morning.

4. Rachel realized last night, in the middle of chemise construction, that she wants to play a spell caster. Spells are represented by mini bean bags. Oh. There are some for sale by enterprising players, but I really hate spending money on something I really can make for almost nothing. Put it on the list for today while the cookies are in the oven.

5. William has soccer practice right in the middle of when JC and Rachel are planning on leaving.  The saving grace is that JC can drive them, so I don't need to spend 2 hours on the road tonight.

6. Oh, and I probably need to go in and meet with the school janitors to explain how we need the tables arranged.  Guess I better get working on the floor plan.

I made the commitment to the Vendor Fair months ago, although I suppose I didn't need to say I would bake. And I could have been working on the sewing last week or even earlier this week.  The floor plan and cookies are really the things that HAD to wait until today (we still had vendors signing up earlier this week).  But you know? Don't tell anyone but the urgency is kind of fun.  Wouldn't want to do it every day, but once in a while adds a little spice.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Am in Love

Yesterday was rather challenging. I lived in Boston 4 years during college, and have been back many times to visit. We still have friends in the area, and in fact, were there less than 3 weeks ago for Spring Break (in Copley Square on Boylston Street, no less). My heart goes out to all those affected by the bombs, and I pray for healing for the city.

That said, this morning, I missed a step while taking out the garbage and twisted my ankle (a bit, no swelling but it twinges some). Seemed like a perfect excuse to sit on the sofa with my foot up and cruise the internet.  And I found this:


This is a magical website full of fabulous videos. I started with Adam Savage of Mythbusters 
building a miniature Strandbeest. (Google it, it's awesome) I have watched video from a weather
balloon in space (with Hello Kitty!), how to make several recipes, liquid density experiment, and
on and on.  It is a simply marvelous collection for young and old.

I love this website. And it was just what I needed today.