Friday, September 30, 2005
And then finding the time to take a picture of it, get the picture developed, fix the horrendous picture the best I could (also a first) and 'stitch' the pictures together using the new photostudio software that came with my new scanner (another first).
And in case a knitted bag didn't count as a softie, I included a felt cake (yet another first) I made, my first attempt at felt food. If I hadn't been taking this picture with a disposable camera with the wrong film, you would have seen a) a centered photo, and b) that the cake is chocolate on the bottom with pink icing, red sprinkles, and a dollop of whipped cream on top. No, this picture was not taken at midnight. You would never know it, but this picture was taken in my back yard on a beautiful, sunny afternoon.
I promise to take another picture of the felt cake (and hopefully the others I am still working on) with our real camera, and I will post those pictures when they come back from being developed.
Anyone who feels so inclined can find all the ones from this month here.
Unfortunately I was home alone and only had a disposable camera with 800 speed film in it to document this. So you are getting a lovely night-looking shot of my bathroom, as reflected in the mirror. But it's done!
Thursday, September 29, 2005
-finally felted the bag I knitted a month ago (Yay! It was so exciting to see it come out of the washer all solid and cool-looking!)
-constructed not one, but three Halloween costume props out of cardboard, newspaper and duct tape, made paper mache glue, and put the initial layer of gluey newspaper strips on all three props after Nate decided the glue made his hands "feel gross" (I also did all this outside, where I literally dodged a swarm of mosquitoes for an hour and a half -- gotta love living in the South -- WHERE is the cooler weather???)
-laundered, ironed, laid out and started my dishtowel apron for this month's tie one on (finally, a challenge I think I may actually be able to do!)
After I had just started sewing on the apron, it was time to do something else, like make dinner. Heaven help us if for some reason dinner is late. We've found that if dinner isn't on the table by 6:30 that people start screaming and getting increasingly difficult as the evening rapidly spirals downward towards bedtime. And that's just me. So I will have to finish the apron tomorrow, which I should be able to do.
Although here's my agenda for tomorrow:
5:45 am - Get up (actually, that's when my alarm is set for; in reality it's 15 minutes or so later when I actually start moving)
6:30 am - Commence the dragging out of bed, getting ready for school routine for a minimum of two children (if I'm lucky and am able to keep everyone quiet enough so that they don't wake Hattie up - if not, make that 3 kids to dress, corral, feed, etc.); oh, and did I mention that tomorrow's Picture Day?
7:15 to 7:30 am - Schoolbus dash (x 2)
8:00 am - neighbor child comes over to carpool to preschool
8:45 am - go by Dunkin Donuts to buy doughnut holes for
9:00 am - coffee/get together/volunteer recruitment drive I am hosting at the preschool for parents in Hattie's class to get them to sign up for various functions throughout the year while they are still gung-ho about starting a new school year
Then I might have a break for about an hour or so.
12:00 pm - Charlotte gets off the school bus
1:00 pm - Charlotte's occupational therapy/speech appointment 10+ miles away from our house through heavy Friday afternoon lunch traffic
2:20 pm - Get out of appointment (always late!) to race home in order to be there when
2:40 pm - Nate gets off the school bus; also retrieve Hattie from thoughtful carpooling neighbor
At that point IF I was able to finish my apron during my earlier break, and IF I was able to take a picture of it, and IF I was able to drop the film off at the photo store, then after everyone wakes up from naps I will be able to go pick up the photos so I can scan them and I JUST MIGHT be able to have everything done in time to be able to participate in both A Month of Softies and tie one on.
Shew! One day I am going to have a digital camera and it is going to make things SO MUCH EASIER!
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Charlotte was supposed to have Speech Notebooks yesterday, but I sent it today instead, just in case, and it didn't come home. So I am guessing they may be holding onto it to do it later this week. I will post our entry for this week as soon as I get it back, whenever that might be.
I was able to run out to the fabric store this morning to find some twill tape to make my dish towel apron for tie one on this month. I've been lurking on there since tie one on began, but never had the time to participate.
Last Friday I went into the tony part of town for the Swan House Flea Market, where all the society ladies contribute things to raise money for the Forward Arts Foundation. With only a few minutes to browse, I went straight to the kitchen section, snagged a stack of dishtowel-looking linens and an old apron and checked out. My grand total was $3.50! The apron is a blue and white cotton jacquard, with a cow on it. I think it looks very Dutch.
In the stack of 8-10 dishtowels was a linen dishtowel with big brown flowers on it and 2 identical Vera dishtowels with brightly colored flowers. No ladybug though, so these may not be as vintage as I might have liked. But looking on the bright side, now I can craft with them with no regrets!
There were a couple of other cute ones, but all their prints ran vertically -- not so helpful when trying to make an apron. I'm thinking I'll make the Vera ones and the brown flowered one into aprons. A few odd linen pieces with a fancy hand-embroidered detail in the corner were also included. Not sure what those are for -- too little for anything I can think of, but too big for a coaster. They are starting to look like pockets..........
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
With the new scanner up and working, I can now start with Speech Notebook Wednesday! The Speech Notebook is something that the speech therapist in Charlotte's preschool class uses to promote discussion among the kids in the class.
The assignment is for the parents to put something in the notebook that interested their child during the previous week. It could be magazine photos pasted in, real photos taped in, drawings, a french fry bag, whatever works.
Charlotte started going to this school earlier this year, in February. It took me a few weeks to find my style, but it gradually evolved into what you see here. These days I expertly draw and color a picture showing something Charlotte did the previous week. And by 'expertly draw' I mean that I produce stick figures that are sometimes recognizable. Drawing is not my forte. But it is a lot easier than going through magazines, newspaper ads, and other print media trying to find a picture that illustrates my point.
So here, to whet your appetite for these weekly offerings, are a few of the pages from Charlotte's Speech Notebook from last year. Again, I must emphasize that I AM NOT AN ARTIST. And one or two of these were obviously done 5 minutes before the bus came. Read 'em and weep.
Do any of these count as a self-portrait?
Monday, September 26, 2005
This is a picture that Nate drew in school. He told me he drew it "using shapes." I think it's terrific, especially for a five-year-old. And especially since his parents are not particularly accomplished artists.
My very favorite part is the square cow.
Around noon we drove into a fun part of town that we hadn't been to in a long time, got a sandwich, and Tim occupied himself at a used book store while I got my hair cut. (Every four months, need it or not!)
After that we went to the office store to pick up a new scanner (!!!!) and then we walked around doing some leisurely window-shopping. It was a beautiful day and I had an overwhelming urge to sit on a deck somewhere with a beer, so we ended up at the Brick Store in Decatur.
The Brick Store is a very fine institution -- it does pretty much everything right. The beer is great, the service is great, the food is fantastic, and I love the atmosphere. Tim and I went for the first time the same week it opened, in 1997. We were living in the area at the time and had no kids, so we frequently went out for dinner. The Brick Store looked appealing and we ventured in, only to find out that it had been open for just a couple of days. We've been back many times since, and it's been really fun to watch it evolve.
So we sat outside around a table made out of a huge cask, and watched the people go by while we ate appetizers and drank great beer. You really couldn't ask for a nicer way to spend a pretty afternoon.
We stayed there chatting until it was almost time to pick up the kids. On our way back to the car we got an ice cream and stopped in a book store, where I was able to pick up the latest book in a series I've been reading for about the last 10 years (Diana Gabaldon's Outlander saga).
When we got to Tim's folks' house, it was perfect. The kids were tired and glad to see us, and we were rested and relaxed, and therefore glad to see them too. We took them home, bathed them, and popped them into bed. It was really a very nice way to celebrate an anniversary.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
"Have you heard the news?" Tim said.
With a feeling split evenly between excitement and terror: "What news?"
"The governor has closed all public schools statewide on Monday and Tuesday!"
It seemed like a very bizarre thing to do, given that it was Friday afternoon after all the schools were already let out for the weekend. But apparently the Governor of Georgia decided that, in the face of Hurricane Rita bearing down on what remained of Georgia's gas suppliers, it would be a good idea to ask every school superintendent to use two "snow days" next week to keep the buses from having to run. The thought is that every day the buses don't run, the state saves 250,000 gallons of gas.
So. While I hope this measure is overreacting, it is kind of nice to have a four day weekend. And Tim will be home too, even better. Fortunately I didn't have anything planned for Monday and Tuesday, so we are in better shape than other parents who are suddenly faced with a childcare nightmare. And also fortunately we got gas in both of our cars last week when prices were at a mere $2.53 per gallon.
So all that's left is to enjoy this unanticipated holiday and hope that things don't get too much worse for the people in Rita's path.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
When I was growing up it was my birthday during the first week of October that kicked everything off. Then nine years ago that all changed when I got married 11 days before my birthday. Now it's our anniversary that's my official starting point.
Between now and January, we have 1 - our wedding anniversary (yesterday), 2 - my birthday (beginning of October), 3 - Halloween (and my sister's birthday), 4 - Nate's birthday (mid-November), 5 - Thanksgiving, 6 -Christmas, and 7 - Charlotte's birthday (first week of January).
I don't know if it's because of my birthday or because starting school always seemed to be the real start of my year, but I have always loved the fall. I love the cool weather, the clothing, the fun things to do, all the holidays, even the rain.
Tim bought Now It's Fall for Nate years ago for his birthday, and just reading it puts me in a good mood. The colors are great, the pictures are wonderfully old-fashioned, and the whole book has a small-town feel to it.
Now all we need is for the thermometer to get below 90 so I can break out my turtlenecks.
You Belong in Rome
You're a big city girl with a small town heart
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The ladies in his office were horrified that he would even think to get me a kitchen implement, thinking that I should be getting jewelry or some other more suitable gift. Fortunately for me, Tim knows me much better than they do. I am not a jewelry person. I do love my engagement ring/wedding band and the occasional pair of earrings I buy from craft fairs, but other than a field watch, that's pretty much it. And even then I had to be talked out of the men's field watch.
So now I can do some serious chicken frying, which is lucky for Tim as it's his favorite food. He did feel kind of like he was giving me a dump truck, but he is off the hook as it's something I really did want.
It takes a strong man to defy the conventional office wisdom of many women by giving his wife something that could be considered a formidable weapon. I just think of all the comfort food I'll be making in it from this point forward. Thanks for sticking to your guns, Tim! Happy Anniversary!
She reluctantly looked up whether other stores had it in stock, but none were near us, and, she informed me, they don't do between store transfers.
Thank you very much for nothing! I will take my business elsewhere. And unfortunately do without for the time being.
So I will just have to tell you that I got lots of great clothes at the consignment sale (for the girls only -- I've found that as boys get older the selection gets smaller and smaller at sales like these). Nate got a puzzle, several books, and a Rescue Hero instead.
And in the last few days I got a WONDERFUL, huge box of hand-me-downs from my very dear friend in Pennsylvania, whose daughter is Nate's age. She included 10 pairs of pants, 15 (!!) long-sleeved shirts, 3 sweatshirts or sweaters, 2 pairs of shoes, and a tutu!!! And 4 books for me! We were all so excited to get it!
Charlotte is now absolutely set for the school year. She wore some very cute purple capris to school the very next day. In case you can't tell, I am so thrilled to get the clothes -- my friend has fantastic taste and now both my daughters will be able to wear them!
As a thank you I am making felt cakes to send back to my friend. They are very fun to make, if not entirely practical. But they're so cute! I'm hoping to make one for her as a pincushion, and one for each of her two kids. Wish I had some pictures to put on here, but the cakes aren't finished yet anyway.
Maybe in the next day or two I will figure something out.
Friday, September 16, 2005
I'm starting to figure out how to post pictures. Come to find out, when you are digital photo-impaired and you get your pictures put on a CD at the photo developer, they make the photos very big. Therefore when you download them to flickr, they use up all your free allotted monthly bandwidth.
As a result, my flickr account doesn't have room for this shot of Hattie's horse wearing his blanket with the plaid side out, so I thought I'd put it here.
He looks a little more "loved" now after spending two weeks with an affectionate two-year-old.
The plaid flannel is from what used to be my all-time favorite pajamas -- a one-piece outfit from J. Crew made of all different plaids. Unfortunately one night several years ago it happened to be on the floor next to my young dog (he turned 10 last January). Who proceeded to use it as a teether. It's a real testament to my pack-rattitude that I have kept a pair of old pajamas with a six-inch bite in them for lo, these many years. And taken them with me when we moved, not once but twice! But you see, I did need it!
And the original pic with the flowered side out:
Not a great picture of the bunny, because he gets lost in the bench. Here's a slightly better one where he's standing next to the adorable cupcake bag that Kelly made.
I put the bunny in the bag for Hattie to open at her birthday party, and then gave her the horse a couple of days later when it was her actual birthday so she would have something to open then too. It was a very crafty birthday!
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
And having done more research, I feel I should change the day so as not to compete with red current's interesting weekly/monthly challenge. Thereby leaving myself unconflicted should I choose to participate. Which I won't. Yet. As I have no means of digitalizing any pictures.
I had chosen Tuesday because that's the day the Speech Notebook is due. But in retrospect it would probably be easier to do it for the next day anyway. So one happy Wednesday you may find pages of the Speech Notebook up. But probably not until the first week of October, if we're lucky.
As consolation I have posted some older photos on flickr.
In our family, these entries consist of stick drawings, expertly drawn and colored by yours truly.
My plan is to scan these weekly entries, but unfortunately when I went to do it yesterday, my scanner wasn't working. So watch this space! They're coming soon!
For my birthday early next month I am also angling for even a cheap-ish digital camera, so with luck these posts won't be so text heavy.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
It happened like this: on Saturday, my very sweet husband agreed (with NO questions asked or eyes rolled) to stop by the sale (half-price day was still in full swing) on the way to the football game. I ran in, prepared to do whatever it would take to get that list, only to find out that they keep the lists in the office upstairs FOR UP TO TWO WEEKS if anyone wants to pick theirs up. Wish I had known that before all the hand-wringing.
So we proceeded joyfully to the game where we sat on metal backless bleachers in the direct sun to watch the Yellow Jackets whomp the tar out of the Tar Heels for the next four hours while we gorged ourselves on junky concession stand food until we felt ill.
On Monday morning I dropped everyone off at school and proceeded directly to the church office where I received both my list and the check for my portion of the proceeds ($45.85). Not enough to cover the $78 I spent at the preview sale, but $45 ahead of where I was before.
For the next sale I vow to 1) start preparing earlier so I can 2) put in more stuff to sell and 3) stop obsessing about getting the inventory list!
Saturday, September 10, 2005
For the last two weeks it seems that there have been an unusually large variety of competing and equally valid situations requiring me to be in two places at once: one child has to have an important lab test done at the hospital at the exact same time I'm supposed to be picking up my youngest child from her first day at a brand-new school which she is attending all by herself. My turn to drive carpool is at the exact same time as when I am supposed to be at the other school getting on the bus to go on their first field trip (and I can't switch with my neighbor because I desperately need her to do the pick-up that same day since I won't be back). On a lesser scale, I can't go to the bus stop to pick up my son because my daughters are in the middle of their naps.
To arrive at even a marginally acceptable resolution to any of these seemingly innocuous situations, I have had to get creative. And for a person like me who hates to be in other people's debt, that is stressful. Especially since I have been leaning on all of these same people for assistance for the last month or more.
And the latest: the only time I am allowed to pick up my leftover clothing, my inventory sheet detailing when and for what amount everything sold, and my check from this weekend's kids' clothing consignment sale, is between 7 and 7:30 pm tonight -- and we have tickets to the first home Georgia Tech football game this afternoon at 3:30.
The obvious answer, to leave the game early, is apparently not an option after talking to my husband. It's not the clothing that I mind not picking up. There's obviously a need for donations at a time like this, and I really never expected to see the items again. Even the check could be mailed to me. Really it's the inventory sheet that I am lusting after. Then I would know what to take off on our taxes as a donation, what I had priced too low, what I had priced too high -- it's a veritable treasure trove of analysis info, to be trite. I really, really want it.
So I called an acquaintance from church whose name I saw on the volunteer board to see if she could possibly get my stuff. She was sweet but unfortunately she wasn't picking up her stuff either. Just the fact that I called her is significant, since I try never to ask for help from anyone, least of all someone I have barely had even one conversation with.
I am verging on asking to take two cars to the game, which would require 1) paying an extra $10-15 to park, assuming I could find a space and 2) walking the mile or so back to it by myself when I need to leave. My sister lives on the other side of town, as do my in-laws, who will be busy babysitting our daughters anyway.
So how, how, how, am I going to figure this out?????
Friday, September 09, 2005
Most of us fed the calves pieces of cabbage (experiencing huge amounts of cow slobber in the process) and fed some goats a pellet/seed kind of mixture (Goat Chow?). We saw how they milk the cows, how they process the milk, and where and what the cows are fed (used-up grain mash from a nearby Budweiser plant). There was also a hayride, and the highlight of that was when the cattle dog, Jake, rounded up the cows and brought them over to the wagon where we were riding.
We capped off the visit with free pints of chocolate milk, definitely a hit with this crowd.
Then it was home again on the schoolbuses. The little girl who sat next to me told me how old everyone in her family was, and that her father (an attorney) used to have a mullet that was all the way down his back! That really made me laugh, because she is very cute and her mother is, as Tim would say, SMOKING (as in really hot, not as in cancer sticks). Definitely not the type who would hang out with someone with a mullet. Lucky for that guy that he cleaned up his act.
With luck I'll have pictures of the outing in the fairly near future.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
2. Wake up children 10 minutes early for crazy morning routine.
3. Drag out of bed, dress, feed children in record time. Make appropriate lunches, pack 3 schoolbags with assorted necessary items, sign papers, write check hastily for fundraiser items due today. Cram sandwich into baggie for on-road breakfast for self.
4. Get everyone into car only 5 minutes behind schedule.
5. Arrive at neighbor's house; trade one of my children for one of hers.
6. Drive away, waving merrily. Arrive at school, drop off children.
7. Go to work. While congratulating self for near-perfect implementation of crazy morning routine, suddenly realize have forgotten both daily antibiotic for one child, and daily blood pressure medication for self.
8. Leave work only 5 minutes late in preparation for getting home in time to meet child getting off noon bus.
9. Arrive at home with minutes to spare, run inside for pit stop and to check phone messages.
10. Listen to message from extremely thoughtful neighbor apologizing (?!) for not getting my traded child's bag out of my car during the trade-off and explaining that she hopes it's okay, but SHE MADE HER A LUNCH so she wouldn't go hungry at school today.
Note to self: next time check twice before patting self on back for expert handling of morning routine.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Me: [talking to Tim on the phone]...so anyway, I was backing up and the mailbox was shorter than the back of the van, so I didn't see it, and...
Nate: EEEEEE! I just saw something running after the cat! [fingertips to mouth]
Me: I'll have to call you back. [hang up phone] What was it? A mouse?
N: It looked like a mouse.
Me: [following thread on floor to more thread, wadded up into a big ball, caught on cat, who is now under the bed] Oh, it's just this thread.
N: Good, because I thought it was a giant booger and when it went past I jumped backwards down the stairs.
Me: [winding up thread, walking down stairs] Charlotte, where are your pants?
N: She went pee pee!
Me: WHERE?!?!? Charlotte, did you wet your pants?!?!?
N: In the potty.
Me: Phew! [go into bathroom to inspect; find that remarked-upon output does not completely cover bottom of cup in training potty] That's great, Charlotte! That's a great couple of drops! Can you go any more?
Charlotte: Yes. [starts to wander around, pantless]
Me: [calling Tim back] ...so it was just some thread....no, no it wasn't a ploy to get off the phone after telling you about the bumper... [glancing up at Hattie, who is walking by with cup from training potty, now removed] Don't play with that! It has PEE PEE in it!
Tim: And you said your life wasn't glamorous.
Me: I have to get off....NOT ON THE COUCH!
Hattie: [banging potty cup upside down on ottoman; looks up]
Me: [slamming phone down, rushing over] DO NOT DUMP THAT OUT! It has PEE PEE in it! [Fortunately not very much, but still.]
Me: [panicking, grab paper towel and dab to sop up wettish looking ring on ottoman] Let me have that! [grab potty cup]
Me: [going back into bathroom where Charlotte is now sitting on big potty] Charlotte, you're done. Get off the potty and put on your pants. [still panicking, throw paper towel used for ottoman into the toilet. Flush toilet. Toilet fills up and DOES NOT GO DOWN.]
H: [coming into bathroom where we are all staring at the full toilet] Band-Aid! Band-Aid!
Me: [hypothetically] Would it be too much to ask to have one crisis at a time? [put toilet paper on Hattie's mosquito bite, now bleeding profusely] Nate, can you get Hattie a band-aid, please?
N: [toilet draining veeeeerrrryyyyy slowly in background] She doesn't want this one. Hattie, don't waste band-aids!
H: [ripping off band-aid] NOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Me: [holding disinfectant wipe in one hand due to inability to flush; toilet still draining] Charlotte, put on your pants!
H: [bumping head slightly on doorframe] AAAAAAUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!!
Me: Hattie, don't bleed on anything! As soon as this toilet flushes, everyone is going to take a nap!
N: Except me.
Toilet: Flush! Draaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn..........................
Me: [toilet still draining] You are going to lie quietly in your room. Charlotte, put on your pants. Nate, help Charlotte put on her pants.
N: She doesn't want me to.
Me: [muttering under my breath] &%$# the toilet. [closing lid] Come on everyone, we're going upstairs for naps.
C: [pants on, but askew] 'Kay.
H: [having slept a total of 45 minutes all day] No nap!
N: Can I have a new book?
I have our friend, Mike Wolf, to thank for this relatively new section of my life. I met Mike about 10 years ago when I started a new job. He was actually good friends with another guy I worked with, and who I ended up marrying about 18 months after that first day. The three of us hung out some at work, and some more outside of work. After Tim and I got married, we saw a little less of Mike.
Shortly afterwards, Mike got an IT job in Connecticut and moved to New York. We corresponded infrequently by e-mail, mostly about college sports. Once or twice he mentioned that he had been in the hospital, and when we pressed him for details he referred us to his blog rather than go through the whole story again. As new parents of one, and then two, children, we couldn't find the time to visit his blog regularly. Then about a year ago when he was in town, he asked us to meet him and some other people out for dinner. It was a weeknight, and since we had three kids by this time, we couldn't make it.
This past February I got a call from a friend who I hadn't spoken to in a while. She also knew Mike, and she, unlike me, had kept up with what he was doing by reading his blog. She said she had been checking out Mike's blog that day and someone had posted in the comments that he had died. We couldn't believe it. Mike was 35 and about as vital a person as I'd ever met. Nevertheless, there were definitely several comments on there about his death. Apparently he had been talking to his girlfriend on the phone the night before when he'd had a seizure and died immediately. His girlfriend had called 911, and the paramedics broke into his home and found him lying on the couch. They notified his office, and his colleagues had been the ones who posted on his site.
Mike was an active blogger since 2001, and he had a large circle of friends who he met through the NYC blogger community. After we went to his wake and met some of these friends, I was compelled to visit not only his site daily, but also those of his friends as a way of dealing with the grief.
No doubt like everyone else, once I started to read those regularly I found others that I added to my list. And the rest, as they say, is history. I think Mike would be glad to know that he was independently responsible for opening up this door to the world of blogging for me. I just wish he was still here to share it.