Monday, February 28, 2005

dumb math parents

What is it about school math and parents? I vividly remember my father attempting to teach me math back when I was in middle school. It was homework, he was trying to explain something that I didn't understand. But he didn't understand it either. And he's a pretty smart guy and an engineer to boot. In all fairness I must explain that I was part of the generation that got caught by the "New Math" craze that swept school rooms all over the East Coast mumphety mumph years ago. That pretty much explains anything you need to know about why I can't do math and why he couldn't teach it.

Nowadays we're back to "normal" math. V was having trouble with her Honors Geometry homework; her father tried to help her. He's a smart guy and *really* good at math. But somehow the words coming from the dining room did not sound like there was that much learning going on. She insisted that he was confusing her. He insisted that she wasn't paying attention. The actual fact is probably that he's not explaining it the way her teacher did but she didn't clearly get it the first time and the different explanation is confusing her. I think. I'm a little confused myself at this point. Don't even think to ask me for math help.

Several years ago S was in middle school needed math help and her father was not home I actually went out and purchased a book. "All the Math You'll Ever Need" Due to my "New Math" training I *still* don't get it even with the book. Good thing I have my husband to run interference for me on this one. If the kids have a problem with math I just tell them "wait till your father gets home." It's a promise, not a threat.

early dismissal

Another early dismissal. Apparently we are in the line of a major snowstorm expected to dump 7-12 inches of snow overnight and as much as 16 inches total over the next three days. The storm was expected to hit around 3 pm so the schools dismissed early. As I type it is 5:05 pm EST and there is still no snow. Hmmmmmm. Plus, the kids are very hopeful. After all chances are high that there will be a delay tomorrow if not another snow day! Yeee Haw! I think this is going to make six snow days. At this point I've given up being upset about it because there's abso-positively nothing that I can do about it.

Wonder what time it will actually start to snow. Any bets?

pajamas and tiaras

My friend Marilyn has a Pajama and Tiara party every year. She invites all of her girlfriends to come over in their pjs and rhinestoniest finery to watch the Oscars™ and eat junk food. It's a lot of fun. Imagine, 20 grown women hanging out at a girly-girl pj party admiring each other's costume jewelry and secretly planning a run on Claire's before next years event.

I wore my pink flannel pjs, borrowed S's pink fluffy sluffy slippers and, since I didn't have a tiara, borrowed D's maribou feather blue deeley-bobbers. I think the deeley-bobbers were the hit of the evening. The funny thing was that I kept forgetting that I had them on. Occasionally I would answer the door as new people arrived and the person arriving would burst out laughing. One hopes this was due to the deeley bobbers.

My friend Marianne and I carpooled to get there because we both planned on leaving early...tomorrow IS a work day ya know. Unfortunately we were having such a good time that the next thing we knew the award for Best Actress was on. Marianne said, "Don't they usually save those for near the end?" Then we both realized it was 11 pm and waaaaay past bedtime. We bid a hasty goodby and headed back home; since I was already in my pjs, I ditched the slippers and deeley-bobbers, brushed my teeth and climbed into bed.

How much of the Oscars™ did I really watch? Best Acresss.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


It's another cold wintery Sunday afternoon. The woodburning stove has a fire roaring to combat the chill outside that is attempting to wend its way inside. It is a clear blue sunny sky day. The sunshine helps in more ways than one. Psychologically of course it's wonderful to see that blue sky and the light ouside. Physically we are fortunate to have our house oriented in such a way that the rooms we occupy most, the family room and the upstairs office/loft space, make maximum use of the incoming sunshine.

This morning I actually got to sleep late...something that doesn't happen very often. S had to get up early to go to a French Conversation Club meeting. Apparently it was a lot of fun, she really enjoyed it and intends to continue to go to meetings.

If it hadn't been for that she would probably still be in her p.j.'s just like her sisters. I'm sitting here typing this listening to the three of them giggling and laughing downstairs, kicking back and enjoying their day off.

Me? I'm upstairs finishing up some work I have to do for a client from when I used to be self-employed. Currently waiting on hold listening to the most cool jazz music, bopping silently on the other end of the phone while typing this. At least it helps pass the time. They give you an option to sit on hold without music, not sure why anyone would want to do that, especially when the music is so cool.

D just invited me to go play DDR with her. As soon as I get off the phone and finish this last letter I guess I'm heading downstairs to jump around to loud teen music and try not to tangle my feet so hopelessly that I fall over and embarass myself.

One ringy dingy, now talking to customer support so I'm going to end this post here.

Saturday, February 26, 2005


I had a great day today; I went and visited my friends Sam and Meg who I have not seen in over a year. It was great to catch up with them live and in person instead of through letters and email and the occasional phone call. Made me realize how important it can be to actually see friends once in a while. I spent the entire day there, no kids, no housework, it was a really nice break.

On the way home I stopped for Chinese food. The place was packed and it took nearly twice as long for my order. It's a nice place, nice people, and they always give you extras. When I got home we had what my Nana used to call "free eating" and ate in front of the tv. After we ate it was easy to clean up. Then D and I snuggled on the sofa and watched more tv while S went to a babysitting job and V went upstairs to clean her room.

It was an emotionally very quiet day, not something you often find with three adolescents living in the house, a really good thing and something I appreciated very much.

Friday, February 25, 2005

another delay

Yesterday the kids had early dismissal due to a threatened snowstorm that didn't start until 6 pm. This morning there was a 90 minute delay called. While it does look pretty outside again as all the trees are dressed in their winter white snow coats I am getting thoroughly tired of the delays and snow days. I've lost count again of how many this adds up to. Apparently State law mandates that the children cannot go to school past the end of June but we're getting awful close to that.

The funny thing is that when I was a kid somehow I seem to remember that we didn't start until after Labor Day and we ended before Memorial Day. Now they start before Labor Day and go until almost 4th of July. What's going on here? Where did those extra days creep in to the schedule? The kids don't (to my knowledge) have a lot of extra vacation days and I'm pretty sure that the mandated 180 school days is the same number of days.

Oh well, they're happy, they got to sleep late.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


Gosh I love crockpot cooking. Actually I guess it's called slowcooker these days. It's kind of like the Kleenex thing. They're facial tissues and Kleenex brand marketed them and now everyone calls them Kleenex. Rival invented the crockpot so they're the only ones who can call it a crockpot. Everyone else who manufactures and markets the same thing has to call it a slowcooker.

I use mine a lot. It's the greatest invention ever. I can prepare dinner, set it to cook and when we come home the main course is done. Tonight we're having chicken caccitore:

3 lbs chicken thighs
1 cut up pepper
1 cut up onion
1/2 can tomato sauce
1 T. chopped basil, oregano, parsley
(forgot the marjoram oh well)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

I'll serve it over pasta with a side of steamed broccoli and peppers, a nice salad and voila! Dinner.

My sister-in-law just got one. She got the new 6 quart fancy button kind. I'm tempted to get a new one. Mine still works well but it's a 5 quart and only has an on and off button. It's 25 years old and still works great. However, you can't preset the start time and it doesn't go to a warming setting when the food is done. This way I would have two and I could consider doing a dessert or side dish in the one I have now while the main dish cooks in the new one (can you tell I'm trying to talk myself into this?). They're actually not that expensive anymore. I just need to decide if I really want to have two crockpots because the one I have works perfectly well (I'm waffling here). I guess I'll have to ponder a little more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

substitute teacher

Tuesday again. Yoga. This time we had a substitute teacher. It's always interesting to see how other people teach and how they interpret yoga. Colleen is used to teaching a power-based class. Since we are a beginner/intermediate Hatha-based class it was very interesting. The poses moved much more quickly and we kept moving up down forward backward not much stretch and hold like we are used to. It was a good class, I felt like I got a good workout but I missed Lara.

Monday, February 21, 2005

more snow

Yup, more of the white stuff. We got six inches of snow last night. Since one inch equals one foot of rain I'm sure glad it didn't rain, but I'm getting a little weary of winter. I can't really figure out what that is because we have lived in colder snowier climates. But this winter I've really had enough.

Luckily today was a holiday so the kids had no school and I had didn't have to go to the office. D and I made chocolate chip cookies. It was fun mixing and baking together. Everyone else in the family was very appreciative and enjoyed the cookies very much. Great with a glass of cold milk.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

lovely fabric

I've decided that the idea of knitting with fabric is very intriguing and does border on cheating on my rule not to add to my stash of yarn. This is because I will be knitting it; but according to those in Stitch Sisters who I have mentioned this to it hardly counts. And how can you be expected to not acquire any yarn/supplies/patterns at all? I'm with them!

After looking at this material I realized that once it is knitted up it will look very different than it's current state. So I made this scan in order to preserve the appearance.

Then I immediately ran downstairs and carefully cut it into 1/2" strips. Do you know how long it takes to make 1/2" strips from a yard of fabric? About 12 minutes. And that's only because I couldn't find my quilting ruler and had to make do with a 12" school ruler. Otherwise it would have been faster.

Now I have a lovely pile of strips. My options are to glue, sew, or knot the ends together to make the yardage. I've decided that glue will be too hard in the spots where it's glued. And although knotting would be faster I'm worried that the knots might add an unevent quality to the finished product. So I'll have to sort through and find a decent thread and start sewing all these strips together. I figure that will take me quite a while. Hopefully in the meantime I'll be able to concentrate more fully on finishing the hat since it's on the size 10 needles that I need for this purse.

And yes...I'm cheating. I've decided that I need to make this purse and the other objects on needles (still too embarrassing to mention how many) will have to wait just a little while longer.


We needed to get out of the house today. Another very cold day and I'm sick of winter at this point. But I didn't feel like doing any housework and wanted to do something fun with my kids. One of my friends was taking her son and his friend bowling and suggested that we go with them. D and S thought that sounded like fun so off to bowling we went.

I got really cool shoes, very colorful. Apparently they even glow in the dark for midnight bowling. But since it was 2:00 pm we didn't get to see that.

We played two sets? rounds? of bowling. Boy do we all really stink at it. One set was without bumpers and one with. Funny enough we all got much better scores on the set with bumpers. But we all had a good time which was the important thing.

student yoga

Lara, my yoga teacher, teaches others to become yoga teachers. As part of their "graduation" requirements they have to teach a class. Lara lets the students in her other classes know when these new teacher classes are. No cost, just fill out an evaluation afterwards. It's always nice to take them because it's an extra yoga class (always a good thing) and it's interesting to see how others teach.

Today's class was good, I felt like I got a nice work out. The teacher was a bit nervous and a little rushed in some areas but overall it was good. And at the end of class we all shared the most amazing OM. I think it must have been partially due to the structure of the room that we were in, but even so it was good. Perhaps I'll wind up seeing this teacher again if she subs for Lara some day.

sad news

My brother called this morning. Their cat Tangy died last night. Apparently he jumped onto the dresser and somehow managed to pull the whole thing over on top of himself breaking his neck. My niece is very upset, he was her cat, slept in her room, and was the sweetest, most malleable cat I've ever seen.

D is very upset and sobbed for about 30 minutes when I told her. Then she wrote a card and drew a picture to mail to her cousin. It's so sad to lose a pet, even a cousin-pet. I wish I had a picture of Tangy to put up here so everyone could see him, he was a marmalade stripey cat. He'll be missed.

Friday, February 18, 2005

drive on

S is learning to drive a stick-shift car. This is by virtue of the fact that the new car is stick shift and so is the older one. Now that the Hyundai is gone she has to learn. Truthfully she's doing a heck of a lot better than I did when I had to learn. I was 16 and my parents bought a Volkswagon Thing for my brother and I, bright orange and manual shift. It turned out to be a really fun car.

She's a little nervous starting on a hill but overall I'm very impressed. The very first time she didn't even hiccup around town. She stalled a couple of times at stop signs but really that's not so bad. We think it's a useful skill that everyone should have anyway so it's a good thing she's learning now. The funny thing is that it's sort of a minor step backwards because she's gone from total car independence to having use of a car if a parent is available to go with. Eventually she'll be on the road by herself again but not quite yet.

does this count?

Today while out shopping I saw the cutest craft kit. It was for a knitted purse. But the purse was made out of fabric that was cut into strips and then knitted and sewed. The kit was $12.95. I thought that was a bit pricey and wandered over to the discount fabric section where I purchased two yards of fabric for $2.00 and I intend to cut it into strips myself and knit it into a purse. [If I can figure out how to get better pictures out of my web cam it might actually appear here one day when I am done with it.]

So I didn't buy yarn. Does that mean I am keeping to my promise? hmmmmmm

And I am seriously tempted to abandon the hat-in-progress to start working on this purse which I know will be delightful when it is done. So delightful in fact that it may be "borrowed" by a daughter whether I want them to or not. Possibly even delightful enough for others to want me to make one for them. A true dilemma.

The compromise for now is that I will s-l-o-w-l-y cut the fabric into strips while working on the hat. Then when I am done with the hat I'll consider inserting the purse. After all I'll need something cute and pink for summer. Stay tuned....

Thursday, February 17, 2005

baking day

I was in the mood to bake today. When I came home from work I pulled out my Kitchen Aid and started whipping up several desserts. First a pound cake. Followed by Pear Cranberry Muffins. And then a Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Cake. In case you hadn't guessed I had quite a few pears in the fridge that needed to be used up. So far we have tasted the pound cake and the muffins and they are delicious if I do say so myself. Luckily I have several other people living in the house who concur.

I've wrapped the Gingerbread Pear Upside Down Cake to freeze for later and bagged up the muffins. Depending on how many are left tomorrow afternoon I may freeze a few of those as well. The cake will probably not last long since the weekend is almost here. Besides toasted pound cake with jam makes a tasty (albeit fattening) breakfast. If I'm really feeling in the mood for a treat toasted pound cake with nutella is a great afternoon snack. Pound cake, a perfect food for any time of the day (or night).

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

fo two

Yes, we have another FO, finished object in knit-speak. It's another scarf, and a lovely one I might add. Unfortunately it was a matched set project so now I'm working on the hat. Not sure if this is in line with my finish-everything-on-the-needles projects but it was planned as a pair so I'm finishing them. It does feel good to have one less thing cluttering up my many knitting bags and baskets around the house.

And I have successfully, so far, resisted the urge to buy more yarn. But I keep reading books and magazines and wanting to make more projects! Oh well, at least I'll never run out of things to do.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

yeehah yoga

Tuesday again, that means yoga. Tonight was a fabulous class, as usual. My teacher is so wonderful and I really get inspired by her class. One of the great things is that occasionally we depart from the regular structure to explore something different.

Tonight we had a very large class of 18 people. She had us working in pairs doing partner yoga. A lot of different poses where we pulled, stretched and balanced using a partner instead of the floor or a wall. It was amazing how much more stretch you get when you are working with a partner and you are leaning away from each other pulling. The wild thing is that somehow you know exactly how much stretch you have, and it's more than you think, and you wind up perfectly balanced. At one point I told my partner, Kathy, that I felt like I was floating because I felt so perfectly aligned and balanced. We were doing a pose called King Dancer but we were balanced with our hands pushing up and against each other. We were both able to raise our back legs so high because we had found the balance point with our hands. It was a very fun class and I felt even more stretched out and lengthened than usual.

Sunday, February 13, 2005


My Aunt Susan is celebrating a milestone birthday soon. So a number of Aunts and Cousins got together for a celebratory brunch. We went to L'Absinthe which was a really neat experience. The inside of the restaurant feels like one imagines Paris should be. The waiters all talk French and even seem to converse among themselves in French.

It was a Prix Fixee three course brunch. Delicious food, fabulous company, marvelous conversation. It was great to all be together; we spent three hours there.

For dessert the restaurant had a truly spectacular looking dessert trolley. One of the items happened to be Susan's favorite dessert Isle Flotant. Most of us had that and it was delicious!

It was a truly lovely way to spend a day in the company of loved ones sharing a good and leisurely meal.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

sweets for the sweet

My kids are so lucky to have such wonderful people who care about them. With Valentine's Day right around the corner mysterious packages arrived in our mailbox with delicious and otherwise sweet contents:

A lovely display of holiday goodies sent by Grandma and Grandpa.

From one Aunt and Uncle, adorable bugs with candy.

From the other Aunt and Uncle, "bearing gifts".

Of course with the parental 10% candy tax my husband and I make out okay too ;-) Yummmmmmmm......

Thursday, February 10, 2005

knitting - the mental yoga

Went to Stitch Sisters tonight, my knitting group. We've recently decided to hold meetings every Thursday instead of every other Thursday. Mostly because we could never remember which was the "other" Thursday. It's such a wonderful group of women. Some come to knit, some to crochet, we've recently had a beader join us. We've even had women bring their mending! I find that I truly enjoy the peaceful companionship of this group. Plus it's always fun and inspiring to see what everyone is working on...there are some truly talented and artistic ladies in this bunch.

We recently did a charity project knitting baby blankets for the local hospital for their neo-natal unit. We're hoping to deliver the blankets next week. Apparently they are very grateful for our donation as they are almost out. Looks like we'll be making more blankets after we deliver these.

cute car

We just came home with a new car tonight. We needed another car and have been shopping around. Used cars that met our criteria for safety and consumer ratings didn't have the pricing that we wanted. New cars seemed to expensive. Then we found our Scion. Found it on the internet actually. Went to the dealer yesterday, test drove it, went back today and drove it home.

It's very roomy, very comfortable. Great high beam coverage, good radio/cd player. And fabulous gas mileage, 31 city/38 highway. We're happy.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

heeeeere's chloe

It seems like a lot of knitting bloggers have a cat. Well, I like to knit, I have a blog and, funny enough, I also have a cat. So I introduce to you...

Saturday, February 05, 2005


After enduring the single digit weather for what seemed to be an eternity we decided to get away for a few days. Anywhere. As long as it was warm!

We went to North Carolina. We had never been there before and enjoyed exploring the area. We visited Holden Beach, Southport and Bald Head Island. It was a neat place to be, very beachy, very relaxed, the architecture was interesting. However an ice/sleet storm and cold weather was heading in so we decided to change locations.

We drove three hours to Raleigh Durham and hopped a flight to Orlando, Florida. The weather was much better there, 65+ degrees and mostly sunny. We were able to spend two full days there visiting Universal and Epcot (for a different view visit the Wikipedia site) entry on Epcot.

Back to our hometown after six days away we seem to have brought the warmer weather with us. Today was actually warm enough to run errands without a winter jacket, hat, scarf, mittens, and long underwear. Perhaps Spring will eventually arrive.

And speaking of Spring I must note that our family mascot, Punxsutawney Phil, did predict 6 more weeks of winter. The countdown has begun!