Thursday, March 31, 2005


I just got back from an awesome seminar. It was called "Girls Behaving Badly" and was presented by Rachel Simmons, the author of Odd Girl Out. It was amazing. She's a very good speaker, funny, off-the-cuff and totally on target. I learned a lot about girl aggression and how to try to counteract it and to, hopefully, deflect the cycle by giving my girls some language to deal with it. There's so much material that it's hard to put it all into words.

She's got another book out, "Odd Girl Speaks Out" and there is a movie on the Lifetime channel on Monday.

I liked the book, I'm so glad I got to hear her, I plan to read the second book and watch the movie - with my girls.

sugar season

Another beautiful warm sunny day today...I could get used to this.

On the way home from work I saw a number of maple trees with buckets attached to their sides filling up with sap. Maple syrup in the making. I remember when we lived in Vermont going to visit the sugar houses when the sap was running. The air was so thick and sticky sweet with the condensation. There's nothing like real maple syrup.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

sewing strips

I took a few minutes to sew more strips together for the fabric purse that I am going to knit. Cutting the fabric into strips was the easy part. Sewing all of the strips together is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r! And it's boring besides. If I decide to make another fabric knitted purse I may try knotting the strips just to see how it works out.

As soon as the ball is done I'll see if I can get a picture of it to post here.

bulbs and butterflies

I did go outside and do some gardening. More like garden cleaning actually but I was outside in the garden and that's what really counts. While I was outside I saw the first bulb flower. A pretty purple crocus near the house. So cheery and bright, I was thrilled.

Then S noticed a butterfly floating gently around the front of the yard. It was so sweet to see it. And rather surprising actually, I didn't think they'd be out yet.

Lots of wildlife today actually because on the way to school D and I saw a very large wild turkey by the side of the road. It was a little flustered by all of the traffic whizzing by but didn't seem inclined to move away from the edge of the road. I'm not that good at guessing but if I had to guess I'd say it was somewhere around a 15-18 pounder. Of course now that Thanksgiving is over we'll see lots of wild turkeys around. Somehow they dissappear at the beginning of November and reappear after the first of the year.

sunshine and snakes

68 beautiful fahrenheit degrees today. The sun is shining and there are whispy white clouds in a baby blue sky. It truly feels like spring. We opened the windows at the office and I didn't even need to wear my spring jacket home (I had worn it to the office this morning because it was a little damp feeling outside).

Miss Chloe, our snow-plow-growling cat, has proven herself to be a fierce hunter. She brought a snake onto the deck and dropped it off before parading around for praise and petting. It's a small garter snake, only about 12-14 inches long. Using a piece of paper and a wooden spoon handle I was able to lift it up and carry it back to the garden. It does have a small wound in it's side but hopefully it will survive.

I'm thinking that perhaps I need to run outside for a preliminary weeding/clearing session. Spring appears to have sprung.

Monday, March 28, 2005

easter sunday

We had a really lovely Easter. We went to my brother-in-law's house. The parent-in-laws were there plus assorted other in-laws on his side. 19 people in all, lots of kids, great conversation, good food.

It was so much fun to watch the kids running around looking for their eggs. Part of the hilarity was trying to keep the dogs from bowling over kids and stepping on eggs while they were excitedly racing around with the kids.

I made my crockpot ham roast which was a big hit. Everyone loves it everytime I make it.

1 precooked spiral ham
12 oz apricot jam
1/2 C. raisins
2 T. vinegar
1/4 C. brown sugar
2 T. flour

Mix ingredients below ham together and pour over ham. Cook on low 4 hours, slice and serve. When the ham is cooked you can remove it from the crockpot and make a gravy by thickening with cornstarch and cooking the sauce on high for 15 minutes.

The leftovers, if there are any, make a great ham sandwich.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

must read must see

I just realized that the long awaited "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" movie is due out soon. The trailer is very funny and it looks like the movie will be really good. Have to go digging around and find my copy of the book so I can reread it before I go see the movie. Should be fun!

seen about town

We have a very talented woman named Robin in our town who generously shares her artistic talents by making snow sculptures to delight the residents. In honor of the approaching holiday this is one of them. Additionally there are large easter eggs all over the center of town. Thanks to my friend Ed I can share this picture with you.

We are so fortunate to live in a place where talented people are so willing to share their talents with the community.

Friday, March 25, 2005


I've been wanting to try geocaching ever since one of my neighbors told me about it. We don't own a GPS which makes things a little tougher.

Today S and D and I went out looking for our first cache. It was so much fun!! Climbing all over the rocks, peering in the crevices. We had our little treasures burning a hold in our pockets while we excitedly hunted for our "buried treasure."

I found the cache and then we all sat down together, examined the treasures contained within and read through the log. What a great way to spend some time outdoors hanging out with my kids. We really enjoyed ourselves and plan to do this again soon.

sam's okay

Sam is okay for now. He appears to have a bladder infection which is not good but at least is treatable with antibiotics. The sad news is that he apppears to have doggie alzheimer's, he has lost a lot of weight, about 10% of his body mass, and his back legs are definitely weakening.

He's still a happy dog though so we don't need to make any decisions now. If he continues to lose weight that will be very concerning but we are going to add in canned food to his diet and see if that helps.

I've realized that every pet I've ever had has either died when I wasn't around or I didn't have to make the decision to euthanize them; someone else did, usually my Mom. Having to think about that decision is so hard and I'm not ready to do that. I guess I'm selfish and want to keep Sam around a lot longer. We love him so much we somehow didn't notice how much he had aged. For now we're just focussed on giving him his antibiotics and trying to see if we can help him gain back some weight.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

wake up

I just heard about this very cool invention by someone at MIT. It's called Clocky. Basically it's an alarm clock on wheels. The first time you hit snooze it jumps off your dresser and rolls around the room looking for a hiding place. The next time it goes off you have to find it! This is the best parent-of-adolescents device I have ever heard of. Apparently it looks for a new hiding place every day so as long as their room is relatively clean (which can be dubious at times) it's a sure fire way to wake them up. I like it!

good morning sleepyhead

If you guessed that there would be a school delay this morning give yourself a pat on the back. We got about 4 inches of snow, really wet heavy slushy stuff. The trees look like a winter postcard and the lanscape is completely covered.

The furnace was still working this morning. A major blessing as far as I am concerned. While in the shower it occurred to me to be very grateful that we have a modern plumbing setup. In Vermont our hot water ran through our furnace in an old fashioned rather unusual setup. If that had been the case here we would not have had hot showers the last few days while we were having furnace problems. Of course if we hadn't been rescued by the plumber last night we wouldn't have had showers today anyway, so another round of thanks to Ron.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

happy yoga

Last night was Tuesday and that means yoga. As always it was a great class.

This time Lara started our session with a discussion of this article about how people who meditate are happier. This has apparently been proven by PET and MRI imaging of people who are meditating. Fascinating.

We started the class with a meditation and then followed our regular class. I don't know if it was imagined or reality but I do know that I felt much stronger and clearer in my yoga practice after clearing my mind of all of the daily/accumulated weekly junk and then practicing.

daily digest

*sigh* What a day it's been.

The washer was delivered, hurray. Upon delivery it was discovered that the taps were corroded. Off to Home Depot to get new ones. Installing them the pipe cracked. Below the wall. An emergency call to the plumber who, thankfully, came right away to fix it -- Thank you Ron. The hole in the wall is barely noticeable and two loads later the machine definitely works. One down.

The furnace stopped working. Again. Another call to the heating oil company who sent a technician to fix it. Turns out the igniter went bad. Unfortunately it's not one of those things that would have been discoverable when they patched the heat exchanger yesterday. Now to shop around for a new furnace. It's so nice to have heat again.

Snow. *whimper* On the way home it started snowing. A lot. Coming down thick, fast and wet. The prediction is for 6-8 inches overnight. The kids are convinced that there will be no school tomorrow. D is determined to make this come true by sleeping with her pajamas inside out and backwards and a tablespoon under her pillow. Apparently this is a no-fail prescription for a snow day. Check back tomorrow to find out.

With all of this excitement it isn't any wonder that I have no time for knitting, sewing, etc. I think I'm going through withdrawal.


Sam, our beagle-basset, is a rather old dog; near as we can figure he's sixteen years old which is something like 93 in people years. We adopted him from a shelter over almost 14 years ago. He's been getting senile, going blind, getting arthritic, all those old age things.

Now he's getting worse. He's been throwing up a lot, he's become very incontinent to the point where he needs to pee every 20-30 minutes and his back legs don't seem to hold him up very well. We called the vet concerned that it might be a kidney condition or a bladder condition or who knows what. They gently reminded me that he's very old and they will see him tomorrow morning. I'm really sad. I'm not ready for him to be this old. He's still such a happy dog and he loves sniffing around outside and leans into us when we pet him and genuinely enjoys our company.

I'm really hoping that this is just something benign like a bladder infection that will be curable. Well, maybe not the part about his legs being so weak. But still...we're all very sad about this and hopeful for tomorrow.

washing day

Our brand-y new washing machine was delivered today. Yippee!! Can't wait to do the wash. Unfortunately there is a problem with the faucets where the hoses connect. After 18 years they are a bit corroded which did not show up until we had to replace the machine. Then they started leaking like crazy. Off to Home Depot to buy new faucets/fittings.

We're all eagerly gathered around waiting to do that first load. It's ridiculous how excited the kids and I are about this new hunk of metal sitting in the laundry room. Of course it's not ridiculous considering the last week without it.

the saga continues

The furnace was patched yesterday. Apparently the patch did not work and we are once again without heat, bleah! The furnace guy is here again looking at it to see what, if anything, can be done to generate heat and get us through this last bit of the heating season. Stay tuned for further developments...

beautiful bay

Look what arrived in the mail yesterday! Thank you Mom!! It's a baby laurus nobilis or Bay Laurel to the rest of us. I'm so excited and am definitely looking forward to using it in cooking.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

robins all around

32 degrees fahrenheit this morning, bright sunny skies and lots of robins busily pecking away in the yard. Perhaps spring really is on the way. We'll ignore the weather forecast that is calling for the frozen white stuff tomorrow.

When I let the dog out this morning I notice tiny green shoots peeking above the ground. All of a sudden I find that my spirits are lifted. Perhaps Spring is not quite here yet but the spirit of Spring certainly is.

wallace and gromit

I'm so happy, I just discovered that Nick Parks is making a full-length Wallace and Gromit film. I LOVE those guys. My kids do too. We have seen the shorts many times. The new movie is due out in October, I can't wait.

Monday, March 21, 2005

heat update

The furnace died, sort of. Apparently we developed a hole in our heat exchanger (probably due to age) which caused a backdraft of air and a loss of pressure which caused the furnace to go out in the first place. It then caused the smell when we got the furnace restarted.

The furnace guys came, patched the hole, put in a new controller and told us we need a new furnace. The patch is probably good for a few weeks so it definitely needs to be replaced sooner rather than later. Luckily it's close to the end of the heating season and we have a wood burning stove so it's not as bad as it might be.

pea soup

It's so thick and foggy this morning that it's hard to see anything at all. A distinct change from snow and one that I am happy for. The warmer temperatures are very welcome as are the small green shoots that I see in the yard indicating the bulbs about to burst forth with their lovely welcome colors of spring.

When letting the dog out we startled a small herd of deer, I think five or six, that were grazing in the garden in the back yard. I swear every year they get braver and come closer to the house. Luckily Sam, our beagle-basset, is old, deaf, and not so inclined, one hopes, to chase them anymore. His sniffer still works but they bounded away before he realized they were there; lucky for me because the fog is so thick that I wouldn't have been able to follow. Which would have been a pretty silly sight anyway. Very fast deer being chased by an arthritic senior-citizen dog who is nonetheless faster than an average out-of-shape human.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

raining, pouring

Why is it that one machine goes all the other machines in the house get jealous for attention and decide to get cranky?

I've come home from purchasing a lovely new washing machine to discover that my furnace is not working properly. In other words the house is cold and the furnace won't come on. A call to the heating oil company helps me find the reset button and the machine comes one.

A short lived sigh of relief because an hour or so later the house is filled with the noxious odor of heating oil. Off goes the emergency furnace switch, a call to the heating oil company to let them know that now the furnace is completely off and a silent blessing of thanks that we have a wood-burning stove and that my husband chopped enough wood last summer to get us through this late season cold spell.

I guess I'm working at home tomorrow while I wait for the furnace guy to come fix it. Another silent blessing of thanks that at least I can work from home. In the face of challenges there are things to be grateful for.

yarn un-diet

I broke down and bought yarn. But it wasn't for me, does that count? I was actually very good because I was tempted. The shop that I went to was having a 15% off sale on any green yarn for this month in honor of St. Patrick's Day. There was an awful lot of green yarn and yarns with green in them arranged in very fetching displays.

My friend Christina offered to buy and hold for me if I really wanted her to. But I was good, I only bought what I wanted for a gift and bought nothing for myself. The yarns were pretty. There was even a fabulous alpaca that I sat there petting for a while. Luckily that one was not in green otherwise I might have broken down and bought personal yarn.

On the project front we are closer and closer to finishing the hat. I've decided the perhaps the fingerless gloves may not have to be finished now since by the time I finish them it will be summer! After I am done with the hat I will inventory and see exactly how many projects I have left.

Still s-l-o-w-l-y stitching all of the strips together for the fabric purse that I plan to knit. The slowness is more due to a lack of time to really sit there and just stitch than a lack of desire because I really do want to work on that project. *sigh* too many projects and not enough free time.

washing machines

I have bought a new washing machine. I'm actually excited about it and can't wait for it to arrive on Wednesday -- in part because the laundry is piling up like you wouldn't believe.

I bought a Kenmore HE3 machine with a 3.8 capacity drum and a 1050 revolution spin cycle (don't I sound knowledgeable? Thanks to Tom, my Sears salesperson, I have a bunch of buzz words that sound like I really undestand this stuff. All I care about is will it do the wash). Apparently this means that I can fit a king-sized comforter or 23 bath towels into one load! Wow! And supposedly the high spin cycle means that the clothes will need less dry time. It was expensive ($999 after my rebates) but if it lasts as long as the last one and cuts down on dryer use it's not so bad.

It really makes you appreciate how far we have come with laundry in the last 100 years or so. Let's face it, at the turn of the last century washing was a three day process and very labor intensive. Now, our heaviest chore is shifting the wet laundry to either the line or the dryer. And thank goodness for no more scrubbing boards. I think our first load is going to be all of the sheets. Now I'll be able to get all four sets of bedding into the machine in one load, it's going to be great.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

clown car

Today has been a crazy day. Left the house early this morning to go to the library book sale where I *shhhhhhh* bought books. Then had to go buy a few last minute supplies for V's birthday party. Off to D's Super Saturday presentation. Next on to Costco (ugh on a Saturday?!?!). Then to the grocery store to pick up the birthday cake.

While leaving the grocery store I get a call from V. Can I please pick up one of her friends who is stranded at home because her mother is still at work. Huh? I took the SMALL car today. It's really full because I went to Costco (and I bought paper products there among other things and we all know how bulky that stuff is).

D points out that if I rearrange the back I might be able to put up one of the seats and pick up V's friend. So with a heavy sigh I start driving over there praying that when I get there we will have enough room in the car. To make a long story short we do have enough room but boy is it tight. D is stuffed into the back seat by virtue of the fact that she's the smallest occupant of the car.

We get back to the house and unload just in time for the first guests to start arriving, while the kitchen looks like a war zone. The phone is ringing, the dog is barking -- some days it just feels like Grand Central Station around here.

science fair

D has been participating in a program called Super Saturdays. It's a science exploration program, a full day program where kids from all over the area get together to learn about science and do team building activities and explorations. It's been a lot of fun for her. Some of the things that they did included learning how to make a lava lamp, working with polycrystals, learning about optical illusions and much much more.

Today was the final Saturday and parents were invited to come down for a presentation and hands-on examination of everything that they had been working on. It was neat to see the pictures of all of their activities and then to walk around to the different stations and have the children explaining what the project was and how it worked. Such a cool thing and a wonderful example of something educational that is fun. She can't wait to do it again next year.

Friday, March 18, 2005


I'm so sad, I just found out that Andre Norton has passed away. She was one of my favorite authors when I was a child and as an adult I continued to love her books and to read them. I think I'm going to have to go back to the beginning of the Witch World series and read them all over again, it's been many years since I've done that.

Recently there was a tv movie of Legend of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin. Perhaps they will do something similar for the Witch World series, I think it could be really good.

movie night

It's movie night at our house. S invited a bunch of friends over for dinner and a movie. They take turns going to each others' house every Friday; I'm happy that they like coming to our house. They're a great group of kids and there isn't a lot of choice for them around here as far as places to go. I like having them around; they're interesting, smart, funny and very sweet. It's so great when kids turn out like that.

Feeding them is a tricky proposition, after all these are teenagers with ravenous appetites. I decided this time I would just order a party sub at the grocery store. I asked how many kids were coming, added a few for the rest of the household occupants and ordered a 5 foot sub (half ham and chees half turkey and cheese in case you are interested). I thought 12 teens were coming. Turns out it's more like 6! And one is a vegetarian! I guess there's going to be a lot of sandwich left over.

What movie are they watching? I don't know they haven't gotten to the movie part yet. I stopped at the town library earlier in the day to pick a couple of movies just in case no one remembered to bring any. We are very lucky in that our town library has a fabulous selection of movies to borrow and the Head Librarian is wonderful about continually supplementing the collection. My choices for tonight were Hidalgo, Wyatt Earp and Time Machine. I have seen Hidalgo and Wyatt Earp, both of which I thought were good movies. I haven't seen Time Machine but I heard it got good reviews and it seemed like an interesting movie. Others did bring movies as well so they have plenty to choose from. I wouldn't mind watching any of the three that I got but don't want to squash in on their party so perhaps I'll watch one later this weekend.

drip dry

Our washing machine just broke. With laundry in it. Of course that would be the best time to discover that it doesn't work. Luckily I have nice neighbors who have agreed to let me use their machine until I can get to the store this weekend to purchase another one.

Our current machine is approximately 18 years old. Obviously in that time it has been doing a LOT of laundry so it's not unreasonable for it to break down at some point; I just wasn't prepared for it to break down now.

I am going to replace it with a front-load machine. From everything I've read front-loaders are better because they are more gentle on the clothes, use less water and detergent, and do a better job in the spin cycle thereby creating less stress on the dryer. They are more expensive though. I'm thinking of getting either the Kenmore or the Maytag. I know there are other brands but these two seem pretty highly rated.

Comments? Questions? Feedback?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

stitch sisters

Thursday, Stitch Sisters night! There were seven of us there tonight, it was great to sit and chat, catch up and admire each other's projects. It seemed to be show-and-tell night as several of us brought FO's to show the others.

I worked on the hat some more, getting closer to finished. The yarn diet is in serious trouble though. It turns out that a local yarn shop is offering 15% off any green yarn during the month of March in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Wah! I want to go buy yarn. My friend Christina offered to go with me and buy the yarn for me. My other friend Martha offered to hold it for me until I was off my self-imposed yarn diet. What to do what to do.

Monday, March 14, 2005


We have another FO. I finished him a while ago from a knitting and sewing/stuffing point of view. But the mane took forever because each piece had to be put in one at a time. And I carefully ordered them so he would look full and dashingly handsome.

I finished his mane today while listening to D at her piano lesson. Truly one of the better ways to knit as I have mentioned before.

I'm posting this picture (although the quality isn't great sorry) because I'm pretty sure that the person for whom my little friend here is intended for does not read this blog. As soon as she saw him D squealed, "oooh, he's cute, I want one." After coming home and showing him off to S & V I got pretty much the same response. I guess I'll be making a few more of these.

The pattern is one that I got from "The Zen of Knitting" which I read while visiting my Aunt Carol this summer. Apparently it is one of the patterns that the Waldorf School uses to teach their third graders how to knit. It was pretty easy to follow and can be made into a dog, sheep, lion, etc. Basically any four-footed animal, depending on alternative characteristics. I think it's also a good way to use up some scrap yarn.

I did work on the hat today also. When I finished Mr. Lion here I pulled the hat out of the bag and managed to get in a few rows before the lesson was over. I'm looking forward to Stitch Sisters this Thursday so that I can hopefully make some real progress towards finishing the hat.

weekend update

Friday the girls and I went to have dinner with my friend Chris who was visiting from Romania. It was wonderful to see her as she hadn't been here in a while. We had an excellent chili dinner, sat around chatting and enjoying each other's company. Now that she lives so far away even though we keep in touch it's a real treat to spend time with her. It was also great to see her parents again, it had been a couple of years since the last time I had seen them. They are such nice folks I always enjoy their company and conversation. We also got to meet her nephew Timmy who is just the most adorable rascal ever.

Later in the evening after dinner the kids gave a mini concert. S and D played piano for us; Chris and I sang along. S really enjoyed playing Beatle's songs; I guess we'll have to get her a song book of her own so she can really learn them instead of just sight reading (although she is an excellent sight reader).

Saturday S and her friends wanted to go to the mall to look at prom dresses. D was supposed to have a playdate -- I wound up driving a van full of kids to the mall. We met up with two other friends there. S and her friends went off on their own, D and her three friends wandered around to all of the girly stores: Claire's, Icing, etc and had a great giggly time together. They even rode the carousel twice.

Normally I hate the mall. I am a go-to-the-store-buy-what-I-need-go-home type of person. Plus the mall tends to be rather noisy and crowded so after a couple of hours I have had enough. Somehow we managed to stay for four hours and everyone had a great time, it worked out well.

That evening the kids and I sat down and watched Merlin. It's one of their favorite movies, we borrow it regularly from the library. It's a great story and I enjoy their delight in watching it so often.

Yesterday one of our neighbors had a St. Patrick's Day get together for the neighborhood. He made 21 pounds of corned beef! He makes what is probably the best corned beef I have ever eaten and he truly enjoys feeding a crowd, but that is a LOT of cooking. The party was great and it was wonderful to see everyone. It seems that we all hibernate during the winter and don't get to see each other until spring. So this party, which has become an annual event, is a great way for all of us to catch up on the news, admire how much the kids have grown and socialize. Funny enough, even with about 100 people in attendance, we still all want to gather in the kitchen. Makes you wonder why no one builds a house where the first floor is simply all kitchen.

With all of this activity there was no time for knitting or sewing of fabric strips. I'm also still not done putting together my order for seeds and plants. Little by little it will all come together.

Hopefully there will be an FO to publish soon.

Friday, March 11, 2005

snow snow and more snow

Again! Aaaaaaaauuuuuuugh as Charlie Brown used to say. It's snowing again. Big fat white flakes. According to the weather man we are only supposed to have 1-2 inches. We'll see. I'm just hoping that the kids do not have an early dismissal again. I may have mentioned this before but I am seriously beginning to wonder if they are ever going to be capable of attending five full days of school in a row again. I don't think we've had this many weather shortened weeks in a row in a long time. Plus next week is Easter week so there's Good Friday, another short week. Thank goodness April Fools Day is *not* a holiday.


Another finished object. No, it's not the hat. I took a break from it and decided instead to finish a toy that I am making. Sorry, no pictures. I really need to work on a better method of getting pictures into this blog.

I had Stitch Sisters last night and S went with me. It was really nice to be able to spend the time with her. Luckily when D has Girl Scouts it is at the same location which is very convenient. This week Stitch Sisters has been the only knitting that I have been able to get to what with all the running around and work etc. So it was a good break.

Hoping to be finished with another object soon and then the hat. But *still* sewing all those strips together for the purse so I may not be working on that as soon as I thought.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


If you guessed that we would have a school delay this morning pat yourself on the back because you were right. We got a fair amount of snow but it's hard to tell exactly how much because the drifts are so high.

Currently it is 12.5 degrees fahrenheit outside but with windchill somewhere around -4 degrees. Brrrrrrr. Apparently the winds are 20-30 miles per hour with gust of up to 50 mph. It's bright and sunny today but looking outside it looks like the air is clouded with baby powder because the snow is so fine it's just being blown all over.

I think this evening I shall retreat to the imagined warmth of my gardening catalogs to pick plants and seeds for next year in a vain attempt to ignore the weather howling outside my door.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


As in six degrees outside right now. Six whole degrees! Man am I ever sick of winter. Especially after yesterday's lovely hint of spring. The kids had early dismissal today. I happened to be at the school and saw the Principal; when I asked for his opinion on tomorrow's schedule he said that he predicted a delayed opening. BLEAH!!!

We're tentatively slated to get as much as 9 inches of snow overnight. So far we appear to have gotten around three. And this afternoon it was almost blizzard conditions in part because the snow was falling so fast and furious but also because the wind is so intense. It's howling around the windows as I type. I haven't seen near white-out conditions like this for years.

Stay tuned to get your school/winter update tomorrow.

Monday, March 07, 2005

spring preview

Today was a beautiful day. It started out a little grey looking but soon warmed up and the sun came out. I actually took a short walk this afternoon and it was fantastic! The wind rustling all around, I could hear the dripping of snow melting, hear birds. The warmth was wonderful. At one point I closed my eyes and opened my mouth and let the soft breeze of early spring fill my lungs, it felt so good.

Right now 40 degrees feels very warm; give it a couple of months and it will seem chilly again. Amazing how we adapt to the temperatures so easily.

In addition to the general warmth of the day I saw lots of wildlife. Young deer in my back yard eating the garden....hmmmm....time to start mixing up bobbex already? Small squirrels busily digging around in the garden perhaps looking for nuts that they may have missed last fall. Unfortunately bobbex does not keep the squirrels away but they usually don't do too much damage. I also saw a woodpecker and a robin. It looks like some of the birdhouses are started to be investigated. I really need to pull down the martin house and clean it out before the weather gets too much warmer, I didn't get to it last fall and I do like have occupants in it. I also noticed that two birdhouses came down during the winter so we'll have to put them back up soon. And this year I plan to put out two more butterfly houses and see if I can attract even more butterflies than last year. It's going to be a busy gardening season, that's for sure.

Now I'm impatient for it to get here so I can go play in the mud. My mother pointed out that the way the weather has been going and the storms that are predicted pretty much guarantee that no one in this zone will be planting peas on St. Patrick's Day this year. The ground is softening a bit with all the melting snow so you might not need the jackhammer she jokingly mentioned, but it certainly wouldn't be easy under any circumstances.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

the crud

I haven't been knitting for the last couple of days even though it was originally my intention to get to work on the hat and finish it. I've been ill with the crud, horribly runny nose - which currently feels like sandpaper-- headache and achy eyes, not conducive to knitting. And I'm sure you needed to know that. But I'm bummed because although I am a slow knitter I was hoping to be close to finishing the hat and that much closer to knitting the fabric purse.

Speaking of the fabric purse I have finally started sewing the strips together. Goodness it's going to take a long time. Good thing I have another project to keep me occupied because there are more of these things than I thought. Note to self: next time figure out how to cut longer strips. I decided to use a red thread for this and am hoping that the threads won't show up too much when I am knitting the strips. I'm *really* looking forward to seeing how this whole project works out.

Friday, March 04, 2005

piano knitting

Two of my kids take piano lessons. S takes lessons on Friday afternoons and I realized today how wonderfully soothing it is to knit while listening to the strains of Moonlight Sonata wafting through the doors. And if she and her teacher happen to be playing a jazzy duet it's pretty wonderful too. Like having my own mini symphony while knitting, I can't think of a better way to spend that time.

And what am I knitting you ask? I'm virtuously being good and working on the hat that matches the scarf that I finished. The strips keep calling me from the sewing table where I have left them but I haven't had time to sew them together so they aren't ready to knit with yet.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

delicious delight

Today on a random stop at the grocery store I happened to peruse the checkout candy, which honestly I never do in order to avoid temptation. I found a candy that I haven't seen in years.

Going back in time...when I was in High School I was an exchange student and I went to Austria. It was really wonderful and I'm still in touch with my host family who I love very much. While in Austria I developed a weakness for a particular type of candy called Mozart Kugeln. They were little round truffle-y balls of heaven.

Now my grocery store is carrying Mozart Piano Bars. The same candy in a bar format. The back of the package reads "finest pistachio marzipan and hazelnut nougat in a crispy milk chocolate." Yummmmmmmmm And it tasted just as good as I remembered.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

happy birthday dr. seuss

Today is Dr. Seuss' birthday. To celebrate D's school served Green Eggs and Ham for lunch. Our local library had a Read-A-Thon where the older kids read to the younger kids and then had a birthday cake. When I arrived to pick up D from the festivities I found the Librarian and assorted helpers picking cake out of the carpet while the Children's Librarian was reshelving stacks and stacks of books. I assume this means it was a successful event.

Later in the week will be a Read-in-the-hall event at school. For an entire afternoon teachers, students, administration and others will sit in the school hallways reading books. The picture that was in last year's paper was really sweet showing kids lining the hallways, noses in a book. Dr. Seuss would have been proud.

attack cat

Working at my desk this morning with the Chloe perched on the windowsill next to me I was startled to hear her growling. I looked out the window thinking that perhaps there was an animal in the yard that she was growling at but did not see one. When I followed the direction of her gaze I noticed she was staring at the snow plow. Can't be, I thought to myself, cats don't growl at trucks. Later she did it again, when the snow plow returned. I guess we have a fierce guard-kitty on our hands.

more weather, etc.

It looks like we got another 2-3 inches of snow last night. School is delayed this morning. For now at least, who knows, they may change their minds.

It's funny I started this blog as a place to talk about my knitting, baking, crafts, kids, etc. For now it has almost turned into a weather blog. I think it's because I am so tired of the cold. I can't believe I'm saying that, we used to live in Vermont for criminy-sakes and it's a *lot* colder there.

So here is an update. In case you're wondering why I didn't post about last night's fabulous yoga class it's because there wasn't one. Anytime the school is closed there's no yoga because we meet at the school.

Knitting? I haven't knitted lately. I'm bummed. I enjoy it so much but haven't found the time between school delays, cancellations and all the extra running around that this seems to create. Luckily tomorrow is Stitch Sisters so I should get at least a couple of hours in. We're close to some FOs to keep your eyes peeled to this space for a further update.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

irish brown soda bread

Yesterday I found a recipe for this in a magazine at a friend's house and copied it down. I love to bake and haven't done any bread baking for a while. The recipe seemed deceptively simple and I thought I would treat my family to fresh baked bread with dinner (this is a catch-up post). Whole wheat flour, white flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk. How hard can that be. Apparently more difficult than I thought.

The first batch I followed the directions which said to mix ALL dry ingredients together, make a well and add in the buttermilk. Somehow it was too much flour and not enough liquid. It wouldn't adhere together and trying to add liquid simply created old-fashioned wallpaper paste.

Into the trash.

The second batch I did 2/3 of the flour and then added flour as need until the dough was no longer sticky. Now the recipe called for what seemed like a lot of salt (2 teaspoons) plus 1 teaspoon of baking soda which can have a salty effect. But I really do try to follow recipes exactly when I first make them before I start fidgeting around with them. I should have followed my instincts and halved the salt. It came out *really* salty. So salty that no one wanted to eat it, even fresh out of the oven with butter on it.

Into the trash.

I guess this was not a day to bake bread. Perhaps I'll try again and manipulate the recipe my way and see how it comes out. Brown soda bread does sound yummy.

the woofer

D is pet-sitting for the people down the street. Their Yorkshire Terrier, Woofie, is really cute and very people oriented. Today we decided that instead of leaving him at home alone in this awful weather we would bring him down to our house to play. He even got a bath in the laundry sink so now he's all squeeky clean. He's wandering around exploring. Chloe is not impressed and Sam is looking rather confused.

Update: Chloe was unimpressed as long and she and Woofie were not in the same room. Woofie, who is a very mild-mannered dog, morphed into the World's-Most-Ferocious-Feline-Chaser as soon as he spotted Chloe. Chloe puffed up and then turned tail and ran. She ran to her accustomed safety spot, under our bed. Unfortunately for her Woofie is small enough to fit under there. There was a multi-hallway back-and-forth chase until Chloe took a sharp left into D's room and someone managed to grab Woofie and banish him to the downstairs.

Now he's back to his mild-mannered self and Chloe is cautiously stalking the upstairs warily investigating each corner. At least she got some exercise today although I'm sure this was not her preferred method.

say it with me

SNOW DAY!!!!! That's right. It started snowing at 7:30 last night. And when it started it was fast and furious. This morning we woke up to a lovely snow cover of at least 7 inches and it's still snowing. So the kids are hanging out in the pj's, hubby is snowblowing the driveway in an effort to stay on top of it and we are home for the day. Sledding and snowman building to come later.

I will confess that it is much nicer to have this quieter start to the morning as opposed to the usually flurry of activity that accompanies getting ready for the bus. But I think this makes six snow days. At this point I'm beginning to wonder if the kids will be able to handle a full week of school .