Showing posts from January, 2010

Happy 40th birthday to me! (a little....late)

Guess what this is:

Yep, I finished the bathrobe! Over two years after my mother gave me the gift of the fabric for my 40th birthday, I FINALLY got my act together and sewed it up!

Here I am in all my terrycloth glory!(I had to brave the boy cave to take the above picture. Nowhere else in the house is there a full-length mirror. Seems to me a full length mirror is wasted on boys.)

Fabric detail
#5 of my 2010 resolutions completed!

Knock on my front door before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m. if you dare! I'll greet you wearing my lovely bathrobe!

PS I hate cutting out and applying interfacing. I just want to sew whatever I'm sewing and having to deal with interfacing slows me down! (I know it's necessary, but it's not the fun and good part of sewing)


Not my projects, though. (Side note: I am 2/3 done with the bathrobe!)

Hayley has had three major projects in the works this week. One for math, one for Family and Consumer Studies (Home Ec in my jr. high days), and one for Health.

The biggie was the math project. She had to make a household item Paul Bunyan-sized. She had to work with ratios and measurements, etc. to make a dental floss container the size that it would be if Paul Bunyan was to use it.

My mother gave Hayley some posterboard to use and this is the front of the container.

But posterboard isn't very rigid so we had to glue it to matboard. And then we used styrofoam inside to make it stable.
After much whining and mess (guess who was responsible for both? "Mom, I don't understand how to do this!" "Mom, can you help me?" "How are we going to make it like a box?" "Whine!") (styrofoam is NOT fun to cut up. And it's difficult to get all of it out of the carpet), she finall…

Whoa, dude, I can hear colors!

I've been listening to Pierre Lunaire while reading excerpts of Kafka, Eliot, and Joyce. I feel like a cubist painting: disjointed, disturbed, and distanced (I'm "dis"ed). Don't try this at home; only trained professional Humanities experts can handle this type of sensory psych-out. It's a non-drug user's acid trip.

I think the only thing that saved my brain through that experience was that I was eating good, wholesome, American chocolate, which kept me grounded in the non-surreal world of my dining room. Having children around helps too, but the house was empty save for me and the two cats (who were no help at all); everyone else was at church. So I had no one around to break the brain-binding spell of modernist literature and unworldly music by hollering, "Mom, I need help making Paul Bunyan's dental floss!"*

~floats away on clouds of gray German poetry, giant bugs, and Hollow Men~


*More on that in a future post, provided I have…

Short post with practically no content

Words I like to say out loud because they roll off my tongue so pleasantly:

Lake Ponchartrain
and of course, chocolate

Four words I don't like to say because I don't like how they sound:

(plus the secret slangish word that drives me batty that I refuse to write or say)

How about you?

The universe gave me a present!

I've been having a somewhat wretched day (in comparison to days that I've had before. Not in comparison to, say, the people who live in Haiti. Must remember to count my blessings and pray that some of my blessings be redistributed among the Haitians, maybe even some of my monetary good fortune too).

While moping about the house with frowns and tears threatening to tattoo themselves to my face, I had to check on some grocery supplies to compile my list for shopping. I noticed I had small marshmallows. Those will be good for a craft for fake child tomorrow. I peered further into the recesses of the marshmallow shelf and noticed a brown package.

Hershey bars. 2 6-packs.


(squeal and dance of joy!)

I don't remember buying them and I don't remember hiding them from myself.

They are precious as gold today when I needed a pick-me-up and the other sources of good cheer in the house had neglected their duty. I nearly cried.

Thank you, parallel universe me who hid the choco…

Poor Matt

Matt is the only child in the family who had to go to school today. The elementary schools all have school but the middle schools and the high school got the day off (methinks the day off is for conferences. I will spare you the rant I have regarding post-elementary-school conferences. You're welcome). He is (understandably) miffed. He's hoping for rectification of this gross unfairness someday soon.

The other three got to sleep in monstrously late (I was busy enjoying the quiet and did not want to kill the mood by having teenagers wandering around the house, ignoring my orders) but are now finally among the living, just in time for lunch.

As per my personal code of conduct as a parent on days off school, I assigned each homebound child a job that needs doing that I don't want to do myself or that I have been putting off doing until a day off school so I can assign it out. Hayley picked "scrub the tub," one that she seems to like to do, Paul picked "scru…

My own personal generic reading

I was reading one of the annoying blogs recently and got annoyed all over again. The blogger had a psychic reading done for her. My eyes rolled so far up in my head I could practically see my hair follicles from the inside (side note: once when I was little, I accidentally popped the head off my Barbie doll and was freaked out by the ends of the hair on the inside of the doll's head. The clumps of hair looked very much like spiders. I was very careful after that not to pop the head off my Barbie again). This blogger was very impressed with her reading and went off on how TRUE everything was. Regardless if I believe psychic powers are real, this woman's reaction annoyed the heck out of me. My opinion on psychics (and for the record, I have had no experience WITH an actual real live psychic, and keep in mind that this is my opinion--yours may differ) is that they make general statements that are easily applicable into the particular circumstances of a person's life. …

Why I can never get the kitchen counter clean

Children bring things home from school for me to sign/look at/remember/participate in. If I don't have the papers right out in the open, I forget and the children get all disappointed in me. I should sign things right away, I know, but sometimes I'm not home when they put things for me to sign on the counter.

Pens and pencils reproduce like bunnies. I leave two of them out on the counter and pretty soon, they have baby pencils and pens that scamper around and eat the papers that are supposed to remind me to do things.

There is always that ONE thing sitting on the counter that I can't decide where it goes. Right now it's a squat canning jar. All my canning jar hidey holes are full. Where do I put this little orphan. Heaven forbid I should trash it. Also, Christmas cards with pictures. I have nowhere to put them!

Projects that need my attention get put on the kitchen counter as well. I borrowed my mother's genealogy binder and have yet to do anything with it. …


Other Jim had his wisdom teeth out this morning. He's home now and feeling a bit sick.

When he came out of the anesthesia, he was a bit loopy. He insisted that he wasn't loopy, but he was. He was less restrained with his words and got a few of them mixed up. It was almost like he was slightly drunk--talkative, overly smiley, insistent that he WASN'T impaired, and wobbly.

He's more himself at home now, less happy-go-lucky loopy.

And now he's apparently NOT feeling sick, because we just had an argument about going to school. He wants to go, and I won't let him (backwards, isn't it?).

Day off

Everyone is home today because of the holiday. Jim even got the day off work.

So here is my list of ten things we are doing on the day off:

1. Cut two heads of hair. Matt and Jim both needed it. Jim got a trim and Matt had 2/3 of his hair weight removed. It was getting long.
2. Go for a run. Paul is out now, testing the running gloves that he got for Christmas. The ice mantle is almost gone from our street so hopefully his run will be slip-sliding-away-free. I plan to go on a walk in a few minutes, after I'm finished here.
3. Sleep in. I have yet to see Other Jim.
4. Have a friend over. Matt is having company because his friend wants to play Super Smash Bros. on the Wii.
5. Perhaps a matinee of Fantastic Mr. Fox after the friend leaves? We shall see.
6. I have to go grocery shopping. I have to take advantage of having strapping boys home to empty the van for me.
7. JOBS! Sink scrubbed, laundry room floor mopped, microwave wiped down, and floors swept.
8. Not by me.
9. Chuck is o…


I like to browse craft blogs, Craft Gossip, Tip Junkie, and One Pretty Thing to name just a few. I've started to notice Valentine crafts pop up. *Shiver* Not that I don't like the Valentine holiday, but several years ago, I set myself up for years of Valentine pain by starting a tradition of the Valentine treasure hunt for my children. One year (Katie's junior year) I let it get so big that I had started the puzzle creating BEFORE Christmas, and Kate's set of puzzles involved six of her friends, a web address, and practically a whole ream of paper.

For Katie's senior year, I made it easier on myself, but it was still a workout for my brain and for my calendar. Even preparing the easiest treasure hunt involved lots of time and brain power.

Last year I had other worries and didn't do a treasure hunt with puzzles or clues. I felt very guilty. (I realize that the guilt was of my own making and that Valentine treasure hunts are not necessary for my children to g…

Not supposed to be

I'm not supposed to be blogging. I'm supposed to be exercising.

Last night, Other Jim was not supposed to be making brownies. He was supposed to be sleeping.

Hayley isn't usually supposed to be socializing at the library. She's usually supposed to be practicing her clarinet or the piano.

Matt is not supposed to have such long hair. He's supposed to be able to see without hair in his eyes.

Jim wasn't supposed to spend the evening sleeping on the couch. He was supposed to be giving me a good back rub.

But we've all enjoyed being miscreants.

Paul is always doing what he's supposed to be doing. And he enjoys it.

Insecurity, get thee hence!

I'm not going to post a giant essay (like I did yesterday) today because I am going to try to spend most of my day in my happy place.
I wish I were going there for real so I wouldn't have to deal with tonight. I'm in charge of a church activity and I don't do "in charge" very well.

PS--I think that picture would make an awesome 1500-2000 piece puzzle.

Oh say, I can't see

I just got back from the eye doctor, and my eyes are dilated and thus non-functional. I would have to schedule an eye appointment on a bright winter day with lots of snow around to increase the light reflection so that when I walked out of the office it felt like the sun himself had come down to earth and was standing between me and my van, and he was directing all of his sunbeams right into my corneas, sunglasses notwithstanding. Instant headache. I hoped the roads are empty on the drive home because I was going to have to shut my eyes the whole way to keep out Mr. Photon-torpedoes-right-into-the-optic-nerves Sun.

I came home, shut all the drapes in the house, turned off all the lights (um NO, I didn't leave the lights on while I wasn't home! Must have been the cats who turned the lights on), and searched by touch in my fabric pile for anything that could be used as a blindfold.

I can't read, I can't type (I don't know how I'm doing this), I can't do hou…

FINALLY and a list

The demons of evil puzzlery are finally exorcised. I slept very well last night. And my sewing room table is much cleaner. We'd been storing the unfinished puzzle there since late July.

Ten other things about today and yesterday:

1. Other Jim and Paul tried to see how few bites it would take to each a slice of pizza. OJ did it in two bites. I was officially grossed out. Paul did it in three.
2. I cut out the bathrobe!
3. We got a Lego catalog today and how cool is this: Toy Story Lego sets!
4. I've been corresponding with a third cousin once removed regarding a family history mystery that has been solved! A mistake lead to a correction which led to correspondence and we now have information on a great-grandmother on my mother's side that previously we knew nothing about!
5. I've been very good at crossing things off a week's worth of to-do lists. I rewarded myself with chocolate.
6. It's been egregiously cold for a while now. I'm glad I have my knitted …

No more M&Ms for me EVER

We have a New Year's tradition: every Christmas, our family gets a puzzle under the tree to put together on New Year's eve.

This year, we decided that we would put together the puzzle that Katie brought on her last visit here in July. She had gone to the M&M museum in Las Vegas and bought us an M&M themed puzzle.

It is the hardest, most frustrating puzzle alive.

After a week, we still haven't finished it! And keep in mind that we did the blue M&M part and the border WAY BACK IN JULY when Katie gave it to us! Jim and I have been working on it every evening that we are free, and we're lucky if, between the two of us, we get 20 pieces in one evening. Most of the pieces are nearly the same shape and the little M&Ms on the puzzle make the pieces very difficult to place. We've never had a puzzle go this long unsolved. Even the 3000 piece puzzle we did two years ago was finished by Kate's birthday (Jan 6). And this is only a 550 piece puzzle!!!


A Kate, a sock, and a bee

It's weird not posting post-birthday pictures. Katie got a little "present" at work in the form of a very nice special mention in a review form. The bank she works at sends out surveys to all their departments to review other departments and her department gets negative reviews all the time because they are the police of the new accounts. It's her job (and her department) to find errors, if any, in signature cards. So they get a lot of bad feedback. But Katie was mentioned by name in one review, which said that Katie is always helpful and pleasant to this new-on-the-job person who wrote the review. The reviewer said that Katie has made learning the system easier. So Katie was happy.

I knit a sock.Now I have to knit the other one.

Matt has been chosen to take part in his school's geography bee (which will take place a week from Friday I think). He's very excited. He likes learning and knowing factoids about the world around him, especially in the areas…

20 years of parenting

...and I still am not sure if I'm doing it right. But I'm doing the best I can, and Katie has been a good daughter.

Happy birthday, Katie! I'd post pictures of cake and party and happiness and stuff, but Katie isn't here. She might update if she had internet and a working computer, but she doesn't.

I remember bringing her home from the hospital and wondering what to do with her. I babysat a lot when I was a teenager, but never for babies. I diapered my youngest brother, but was never tasked with caring for him (Mom waited until we were both a bit older). I had a hard time even calling her Katherine, because it seemed like such a long name for a baby. It also felt weird to call her Katie, or even Kate, because they were nicknames and it seemed to be a sign of familiarity to call someone by a nickname and I certainly was not familiar with her. And she wasn't going to be called Kathy because it would be weird saying the name of my mother and applying it to s…

Where, oh where, has the pattern gone?

::Deep breath::

Today I was going to FINALLY tackle the bathrobe sewing project. (Nevermind that I was supposed to start my two weeks' off of babysitting and guess who called and needed me to babysit today?) Today I was going to actually exercise BEFORE getting on the computer. Today I was going to complete TWO household chores before breakfast. I was going to read my scriptures and make the bed.

I did one household chore already--I ironed three shirts. Matt gets himself ready for school and all I have to do is shout from whichever room I'm in, "Did you brush your teeth? Do your cat job?" and he'll scamper off to complete whichever task (or both) he forgot to do. Jim got himself off to work today too (after an unscheduled day off yesterday) so I was SO on the ball with my list of things to do. I ironed! In anticipation of crossing off more things on my list, I got out the material for the bathrobe and put it on the table. I got out the scissors to cut the …

Parenting trial #1112399952z&$#@#!&

We've had a really FUN beginning to the new year! (said with slight sarcasm)

What did I learn? I'll present it in list format.

Ten things regarding a child stuck in the snow on a rural road in Iowa by himself (which is how Other Jim spent a few evening hours on New Year's Day):

1. Answer those phone calls from children while you are at a movie, even if it's the movie Sherlock Holmes and you've been waiting all month for a date with your significant other.
2. Try not to let the panic slowly build as your significant other is gone 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15, 20, 30 minutes presumably on the phone. You are allowed to waffle about whether or not to go out into the lobby to see why the phone call is lasting so long and to convince yourself that you can stay here because all you'd do in the lobby is bounce around and interrupt the phone call with questions like "is he wearing his mittens?" "What is he doing now?" "Should we go down there?"


How many of you are making New Year's resolutions? I made some last year and promptly forgot about them until yesterday. I knew I would do that. I'm not a very good resolution keeper.

This year, I looked up the definition of resolution in an online dictionary because the word itself has usages other than just promises to oneself that one doesn't really intend to keep.

I will base my 2010 resolutions on these various definitions, just for fun. We'll see what I come up with.

1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. So I resolve to be more opinionated, to speak up more in group situations, to not be such a wallflower.

2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something. Ummm, I resolve to be less lazy. I will be more determined to DO some of the things on the interminable lists I write for myself. Example: yesterday I actually made three phone calls tha…