Showing posts from October, 2015

All Spun Up

Today I dragged Susie and my awesomely fit friend to a beginning spin class.  No, no, not the bicycle kind - that would be exhausting. This class was for learning to spin roving (fleece, wool, whatever) into yarn.

You know, because I don't have enough to do.

It was a lot of fun, actually.  Fun to learn something new, fun to talk with interesting new people (the instructor is also a potter), fun to introduce my daughter to more fiber-related activities.

And then I came home and fed everyone leftovers for dinner.  Because that's how it's going to be around here from now on, I'm guessing, what with my needing to braid rugs and spin yarn and, oh yeah, knit. Particularly if I manage to land that job in January.  Of course, there are always those cheap Harris Teeter subs...

Almond Joys Are Calling My Name

Harris Teeter has $5 subs all week.  I swear, I don't know why I bother to cook anymore.

Rachel made her own costume this year. Determined to be a black widow spider (no, I don't know why, let's not dwell on that), she designed the legs (black stockings filled with batting) and the hourglass shape on her belly (red felt) all by herself. We're ahead of the game here, costume-wise, as she has already had 2 Halloween parties to attend. In fact, both occurred yesterday, and boy was that fun, what with her costume not being finished until noon (first party was at noon-thirty) and her needing to bake something for each event. Hell hath no fury like a teen girl intent on socializing, obstacles be damned.

You know, I don't think I EVER went to a Halloween party.  So that's the question of the day: are there more Halloween parties than there used to be, say, in the 1970s? Or was I just a friendless loser? Or both?

Discuss.  I need to get back to not eating the two huge …

A Sign Unto You

I was walking out of ChikFilA today when I saw my first sure sign of the impending holidays - a poster announcing their Operation Christmas Child - you know, that thing where you fill shoeboxes with small gifts and useful items for underprivileged children overseas and bring them in to a local ChikFilA?  In exchange, you receive a coupon for a free chicken sandwich.

Free, as in pretty darn expensive, actually, what with shipping costs and all, but hey - CHARITY.

Anyway, this has always been a good way to show my kids that not everyone in the world has the lifestyle we take for granted here. The girls and I head over to Michaels clutching our 30%-off-entire-purchase coupon and a list of suggested gifts, where we have a grand old time choosing items and figuring out if they will fit in the box. We talk about why some gifts are better than others and what the recipient's lives are like. Educational! Then we go home, pack the boxes, bring them to the restaurant on the appointed day, …

Feeling Festive

You know, being as short as I am, I hate crowds; and being a generally irritable person, I am bored to death at festivals. I hate walking around and looking at things, I hate waiting in line, I hate having to stay vivacious and engaged for prolonged periods of time. It's just all too hard for someone like myself. And, of course, where I live, any festival held at a fairgrounds is more an endurance test than anything else, what with the humidity and the mosquitoes that are common during summer and fall. Everyone walks around pretending to enjoy themselves, but - to my mind - the looks on their faces would be more suitable to the Bataan death march than to a festival.

I know, I am a FUN person.

So, I was worried about Rhinebeck.  I worried I would hate it. I was worried I would drive hundreds of miles and sleep in a stranger's house only to feel bored to death by the whole sheep-and-wool thing.  I worried about making Larry take a day off work just so I could drive hundreds of m…


At Knit Night a couple of months ago, I heard the leader of our group mention that she had used Airbnb to rent an inexpensive room in a house near Rhinebeck. Wow, I thought, she's older than me.  Isn't Airbnb something for young folks?  She added that there were still other rooms available in that same house. I don't understand quite how it happened, but I went home that evening and, stepping FAR outside my comfort zone, committed to staying in a room in a house owned by a person whom I had never met, a room that slept 3.  Then I texted my friend who was out of town for work and told her where we were going the third weekend of October.  After that, I messaged Auntie Kate and explained that she would be meeting the two of us at Rhinebeck.

It was that simple.  I was really going to Rhinebeck.

Confused? Rhinebeck is shorthand for the one of the biggest sheep-and-wool festivals in the US. It is, quite simply, 2 fiber-filled days in that autumnal utopia otherwise known as ups…

Larry's Really Fun Life

We're having an appliance mutiny of sorts, here.  Early last week, as documented in these pages, our dishwasher caught fire, and then this past weekend, the clothes dryer joined in on the pyrotechnic fun.  Luckily, we smelled the smoke from where we were sitting in the living room and managed to turn it off before the house burned down.

So Larry got to spend his day off on Monday taking apart the dryer and the long pipe leading to the outside vent and declogging everything of lint.  This is one of his favorite tasks, second only to cleaning piles of bat guano from between the walls. He stopped his labors long enough to drive Theo back to the airport and then - for some reason - decided to go to his office.  Probably to get some rest.

So the dryer worked all of one day, but now it has no hot air.  Something is either wrong with the circuit board or else Larry managed to knock the moisture sensor loose while he was cleaning the lint out from around the drum. Hey, I can Google with t…


Today is Larry's birthday and, as is my wont, I was having a hard time finding a good present for him.  He doesn't really have any hobbies (I mean, aside from destroying our home and drinking coffee and beer). One year, in desperation, we bought him a shredder. I know, sad.

We buy him candy, and he doesn't eat it.  One year, we bought him chocolate-covered espresso beans (coffee AND chocolate), and those are still sitting in the cabinet.  All he likes are Altoids and TicTacs, and damned if I'm buying those for him again.

I just made Larry sound like the least fun person in the entire world.  But, seriously, what sort of person prefers Altoids and TicTacs to normal candy?

So, yeah, I was stuck. Until I got an idea.  An awesome idea.  You see, Theo hasn't been home since last Christmas, and Larry misses him.  So Theo agreed to use his 4-day pass to fly home and surprise his father this weekend.

The surprise is what makes it fun, folks.  That's what I learned this…

Going Round In Circles

Today, a friend volunteered to take my girls to a local fall farm festival thing - you know, the kind with corn mazes and big slides and pumpkins and LOTS OF PEOPLE.  I did it myself once, years ago (come to think of it, I took someone else's child that time, along with my own), and I swore never to go again. Did I mention LOTS OF PEOPLE?

So let's hear it for good friends willing to take one for the team, okay? The girls were thrilled and came home carrying the mini pumpkins each ticket holder receives. I was thrilled because I didn't have to pretend to be having fun for 4 hours. It was a win-win.  Well, except for my friend, I guess.  But I'll make it up to her, I promise.

Oh, hey, I just realized, another friend took my girls last year.  Okay, so all my acquaintances know that I am so lazy, my girls would never have fun if they didn't step up.  What of it?

And what did I do with my afternoon off?  Did I scrub the refrigerator? Did I catch up on laundry? Did I may…

O, Captain!

As those of you who have liked this blog's Facebook page already know, our secondhand dishwasher gave up the ghost last night.  I came home around 10 to find Brian and Larry staring sadly at the soot-covered, silent appliance which had become such an important part of our lives over the past 4 years. An acrid burning smell filled the kitchen.

"What happened?" I cried, rushing to our fallen comrade, as Larry just stood there, shaking his head.

"It's gone," he said. "It's gone."

"Not necessarily," I said, determined to hold onto my dream - you know, that one where dishes are washed at the touch of a button? And no one bickers?  "Maybe something fell through onto the heat element," I suggested.  "Remember the chopstick incident?"

"Mom," said Brian, patiently, "it's too late. Something burned out. We need to let it go."

"No!" I said, yanking open the blackened door and peering inside.…

Singing The Blues

We kept Larry busy all weekend painting Susie's new room.  I know, I know, I said he was all done with renovating our house (except the basement), but I didn't want him to come off his remodeling jag too quickly - he might get the bends or something.  So the painting is akin to a step-down program, if you will - sort of a methadone approach to weaning oneself from a home-repair binge.

Anyway, Susie's new room: since Brian moved into David's old room, Susie - eager to escape the frequent death glares leveled at her by her sister and erstwhile roommate Rachel - claimed Brian's former bedroom for her very own.  And never mind that we had just painted it for Brian less than 3 years ago (after Anna moved out - do try to keep up) - Susie didn't like the dark blue he had picked out. So we took her to the paint store where she picked out a paint color on the very first try.

I know! She shares our DNA and everything, yet this happened. We're calling it the Miracle o…