Saturday, December 25, 2010

On the Needles

Let me start with what is off the needles. I knitted five pairs of arm warmers that were finished before Christmas, one pair was finished hours before Christmas, but that still counts. I am halfway finished with two more pairs of arm warmers, one finished of each. I actually unraveled a scarf I made with red suede yarn last year, and I have plans to make my Kindle a cozy cover. Have you eve unraveled something to knit it into something else? This was my first time, and since I wasn't happy with the finished product anyway, I really didn't mind.

I was hoping to get a gift card or two to hit the big yarn sale tomorrow at JoAnn Fabrics, but alas, I did not. I still have plenty of yarn to keep me going, anyway. Don't we all?

My next gift project is to knit a cross-body bag for my niece's birthday at the end of January. I'm planning to get some black yarn and embellish the bag with something when it's finished, not sure what. I will try to post pics.

I had a very successful year of knitting. This is one skill I truly enjoy. I love having the ability to create.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inception, finally!!!

I waited all summer to see Inception with my husband. We never made it. When it was playing at the $2 movie theater a month ago, we still never made it. I was at Blockbuster 15 minutes after the store opened, and I have the DVD ready to play. We rented Shrek the Final Chapter so the kids won't disturb us.


Inception, finally!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Quickie Update

It's been busy. I've been a bit overwhelmed, feels like I'm drowning sometimes. It's definitely not easy to work at home, homeschool three kids, cook three meals a day, clean the house, and maintain every relationship that needs attention. It's good to work and have a job, just extremely complicated trying to get people to understand that although I am at home, I am not available to answer the phone or chat on Facebook or referee fights between the kids. But, most of the time, my husband is extremely helpful, like taking over laundry duty and dinner duty most nights, so I can't complain too much.

All of this sorely cuts into my knitting time. My last completed project is a pair of black arm warmers that are very cozy, especially when typing into the wee hours of the night. I have a list of people to give mug cozies to and another for arm warmers. Thankfully, I have cut my working hours way back this month so I will eventually have more time to knit. Yarn therapy.

The kids have been out of classes for the past month. I now remember why we do so many classes. They need them, and so do I! Many times this month I have wanted to choke myself just out of frustration at the constant noise, demands, and activity going on in the house. And science. Do I really think I can do science with these kids? My experiments never work properly! I always end up saying, "Well, what should have happened is this . . ." Not fun for them, not fun for me.

So, back to basics. Less hours of work + more classes for kids = happier me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

So This Is My Day

What a long day this has already been! Isn't today a holiday you ask? Why no, not for us hoemschoolers who chose to take a Friday holiday and spend it swimming. Today is known also as Finish-Up Day since we meet with our charter school overseer tomorrow and need to have a good batch of work to turn in. It was a tedious morning.

"Go through all your papers and make sure your name is on the top."

"Here. Draw a picture of something you did in PE class and write three sentences about what you learned."

"You have to finish this math page, you know she wants both sides to be completed!"

"Where is your book list? You never wrote one!? Aack!"

"What do you mean all the origami is smashed!?!"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life is Going On

Here is a quick update.

Homeschooling is off and running since August 23rd. We are in full swing with PE, science, social studies, keyboard lessons and Legos Engineering class. I feel like this is going to be MY year. I am organized and I know how the system works. Lots of creative writing this year. We are also doing a lot more art. We spent the last week studying Van Gogh and the kids used his painting techniques to produce some paintings. It was fun and the book I am using,
is really incredible and chock full of practical ideas and projects.

I am hoping the year will be fun and interesting for all of us.

I have started a book group with a friend. We read and discuss a book. This has added such a wonderful dimension to my life. So far we have read and discussed 2 books, are finishing our third book and have plans to watch the movie of the last one. I love to read and I love to analyze what I've read. Good books and good discussion enhanced with coffee. Sigh. Bliss.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Can I Be a Friend to Chorizo?

My husband has the crazy idea to make his own chorizo. He saw a documentary about how it is made in a factory and thinks he can replicate this process in our kitchen. I am supportive of this endeavor. I know he likes to cook and that he loves to eat chorizo. I, on the other hand, hate chorizo. I have actually referred to it as “devil meat” a few times and refused to let it be cooked in my presence. The smell, the very idea of chorizo, repels me.

My first introduction to chorizo was not good, I admit. I was visiting a relative who had some chorizo and decided to cook it up with some sweet potatoes for our lunch. I ate it. The flavor was reprehensible. I gagged some of it down, with large gulps of water, and have hated the stuff ever since. I still enjoy sweet potatoes though, so go figure.

My second meeting with chorizo was at Yosemite National Park. My boyfriend had been invited to join my mother, my sister and her boyfriend, and myself on a short camping trip. My boyfriend brought chorizo. He wanted to make breakfast for everyone. That was fine, it’s in the open air and I don’t have to eat it. On the last day of our stay, everyone enjoyed his breakfast of chorizo with eggs and tortillas. My sister especially enjoyed it. A little too much. She barfed it all up on the winding trip out of the park. The backseat of my mother’s car was covered in chorizo. My sister was covered in chorizo. Her boyfriend was covered in chorizo. I was very thankful I wasn’t riding in their car all the way home since it was a six hour drive. A very smelly six hour drive for them. The next time I had to ride in the backseat of my mother’s car, a few months later, I was putting on the seatbelt, and I caught a whiff of barfed-up chorizo. I looked down, and the seatbelt strap was covered with old, dried barfed-up chorizo. I leapt out of the car, shrieking and frantically brushing off the front of my shirt. My sister was laughing from the front seat and admitted she knew the chorizo was there but couldn’t smell it really anyway. I made her switch seats with me.

I hate chorizo.

My husband is determined to convert me. I say he’s lucky I’m even letting him bring it into the house.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My 100th Post

This is my 100th post. No fanfare, no big interesting topic. I can't believe I have had this blog for so long and barely now am hitting the 100 mark. Phooey.

Last night I got an obscene phone call. I'm not even sure if that is what it should be called though. It was a female who asked for me by name. Once I responded, "This is she." the expletives were flying! She called me so many names I was stupefied. When I asked who it was, she answered, "Your mom." Now, if I hadn't been so shocked, if not amused, by what was happening, I would have said something like, "Well my mom is dead (she's not) so that can't be right," but of course I thought of all the good responses much later. Apparently this person has never made a call like this before since I really have no idea WHY I was chosen to receive such verbal abuse. She never said why she was calling me those names which is really the whole point of making the call, right? Shouldn't there be some indication of SOMETHING I have done to ignite such a tirade? After a minute or so I just started laughing, seriously it's ridiculous, and that seemed to make her more mad, and then I simply hung up. It's a mystery.

I'm not a hateful person. I am happily married and not a cheater of any kind. My friends don't use profanity and if they were angry they sure wouldn't have called me a whore. So, who could it have been?

1. A wrong number. Maybe they are upset with another person with my SAME NAME.
2. My husband's ex-girlfriend whom we saw at a birthday party this weekend. But, seriously, they broke up over 15 years ago and aren't we all over 30 now?
3. A girlfriend of a friend on FB. This is my best guess. But how would she get my phone number? All my info on FB is so general I can't imagine why she would track me down. And besides that, my friendship with this man is totally above reproach.

Maybe I will never know. That's fine with me. I was really proud of myself for just laughing at this person. I told one of my girlfriends about this and she was telling me that if this happens again I should give this person an earful. But that's not me. I would rather find out WHY they chose to call and then deal with that instead of fueling the profanity fire. And anyway, I don't curse! I have a few times in the recent past but that was strictly for entertainment purposes.

Needless to say, I'm answering every call today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Couple Thoughts

Since we got back from vacation my focus has been to lose the extra weight I gained while stuffing my face with my sister's delicious cooking. She can cook all sorts of Asian dishes with pork and shrimp and they are so good! Too good. Most of the vacation was spent sitting on a bar stool in the kitchen and chatting with her while she cooked. Seriously. So, the same Capri's I wore on the plane up there were tiiiiiight when I wore them home. I was not happy.

I wish I could be overweight and be content. I really do. It's not just the health issue, high cholesterol and heart disease, all that scary stuff. I feel terrible about myself when I am overweight like this but actually I'm very happy with who I am on the inside. It's the outside that surprises me when I walk by the mirror. I feel good, look good from the neck up and then bam! I walk by a full length mirror and I swear some fat women is walking next to me all of a sudden. It's a big fat downer. Literally.

So I am back on the treadmill. It's so hard to get motivated to get on there sometimes. I need some new music or something on my iPod to get me going. I can walk without holding the rail and last night before starting, I put a big stack of magazines within arm's reach. I made it about halfway through Entertainment Weekly. I was bored. I switched to watching an episode of The Office on my phone. That got me through another 10 minutes. Finally, I hit 30 minutes and I stopped. Usually I go 45 since that is the "proven" length to LOSE weight, not just maintain weight. My hubby had my ab workout DVD ready to go, so I flopped down and did that, too. I guess I should be proud of myself but I am really dreading getting back up there tonight. Maybe I will head to the park and walk the track.

Being outside walking the track is a totally different experience than being on the treadmill. I love the open air, the people, and the passing game. Yes, I purposely speed up to pass people. It makes the experience of walking in very big ovals a lot more fun. Sometimes I will even run down one side of the track just to pass everyone ahead of me. If someone passes me, they become my next target. I keep my eye on that person and make it my goal to find a way to pass them back. It sounds crazy when I describe it on here, but in reality it's a great motivator.

Since it's Friday, we will also be watching a movie later. I put a few movies int he queue and I think a Liam Neeson Irish flick is arriving today. We watched the Lakers last night and even the kids were cheering. Professor X was making comments that he fashioned after what he has heard us say in the past, sometimes not making much sense, but it was cool to hear him trying.

My hubby is happy to have his family back home. We started our routine of reading in bed before turning out the lights and he made a point to tell me that the house was not the same without me. I'm happy to be home, too.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Goals for the Summer

1. Write more - try to finish the writing projects I have started.
2. Get Mr. M to write his name on his own so he can get a library card.
3. Teach Mr. M to read - he's right there, so close!
4. Find an MT job that is mostly VR editing and has perfect hours.
5. Make it a habit to get up early.

The school year is over and the summer has begun. Time to schedule some parks and rec classes for the kids and figure out what our summer schedule will be. I'm hoping this will be a very fruitful summer for my writing. I kicked it off with a new subscription to Writer's Digest.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Easter Issues

My in-laws love to give my children Easter baskets full of stuff. Literally just stuff. Generic coloring books and crayons (of which we already have tons), plastic toys that entertain for about five minutes but we step on for the next five months, and loads of candy. Now, the candy I don't mind. We all get to eat it. However, having just cleaned out their toy bins and art shelves, I am going to start a new rule this year: No Easter basket stuff.

I'm not sure how well this will be received but since my in-laws are not the easily offended type, I am not too worried. My concern is that the kids will be expecting a bunch of stuff and might be disappointed. But, what a great learning experience. How did Easter end up about baskets of stuff anyway? (that's rhetorical, I really do know) I think an Easter Sunday at church and then dinner with family is a perfect way to spend the day.

My side of the family has restricted even the mention of the word Easter. They call is Resurrection Day. Of course the Oriental Trading catalog is full of Resurrection Day stuff now, too.

I could make a whole other blog entry of the various Easter activities my family has morphed through over the years, including one year I had to dress as the white Easter bunny and entertain at the base Easter gathering. Seriously. I was twelve and my peers all knew it was me because there were no bunny feet, just my pink and white high tops. Not a great year. There is also the more recent memory of the adult Easter egg hunt at my in-laws where the plastic eggs had money and lottery tickets hidden in them. Much more fun.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Great Day So Far

This morning I have been very productive.

I scheduled my final exam for the medical transcription program I have been working on for the past year. I thought there was an issue with a couple things, but apparently those were technical issues and have no influence over my eligibility for the final. Yay! So this Friday I am taking the test and finishing the program, hopefully! I just want to pass and get the certificate. Getting a job will come later!

I clarified a lot of murky class info for some homeschool classes. The murkiness was only in my brain so this really helped and didn't take very long. We have one week to get work done and then Spring Break next week. The month of April will be our last official month of organized schoolwork since standardized testing is in May. The end is in sight!

I am also putting concrete dates down for our vacation to my sister's at the end of the year. See how all this ties together? I have to take care of A and B before I can take care of C. My hubby is being very patient and checking on his vacation dates at work even though it's a couple months away. Nothing is real to him until the day before it happens. He is obviously not a long-term planner like I am and this can causes frustration for both of us sometimes.

I'm moving a little slowly today still. I am really, really looking forward to taking a shower tomorrow! Does it gross you out that I haven't showered for about 5 days? Well, I haven't. Doctor's orders. And I really miss that time alone. Tomorrow the bandages can come off. The countdown has begun! I'm thinking about cheating and taking them off tonight. We'll see.

The only other activity for today is taking the kids to science class. They are learning about worms today and I can't wait to see how Princess O will react. The professor will enjoy it I'm sure. He named his meal worm last week. I didn't have the heart to tell him that Mr. Wiggly was going to be dinner for a bearded dragon when class was over. Hopefully the worms will have a better end.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Medical March

This month had been a series of medical issues for our family.




Our 6-year-old daughter had to have an emergency appendectomy at the beginning of the month. It was a shocking experience. It was shocking in the way it started, with complaints of right-sided pain, shocking in the way we had to decide to let the doctors cut her open and remove something, and shocking to see her wheeled away from us deep in sleep, she herself unaware of what was going to happen to her. But she recovered very well, and perhaps most shocking was the fact that she was outside riding her scooter three days after her surgery.




I found myself back at the hospital two days after my daughter's discharge with my youngest son who had been struggling with an ugly cough for the past week and then complained his ears were hurting. Great. Back we went and for the next week and a half I was dispensing antibiotics to two kids, not fun.



A week later, I went in for my own surgery. I had the same surgeon who had operated on my daughter which was a bit weird. I mentioned to the surgeon during my preop visit that I had just met him the previous week when he operated on my daughter. He agreed it was weird! I think he did me a huge favor by scheduling me first on my date of operation. I checked in at 5:30 a.m. and was home by 11:30 a.m. This is a picture of my recovery area at home. I splurged on a new Bed-in-a-Bag and my mom and sister sent me some flowers. I have a stack of DVDs and a new BH&G magazine. It has been the perfect spot to recuperate.I also changed the pictures on the wall to some lovely Van Gogh prints that were hidden away so they feel new again.

Friday, March 19, 2010

After-Surgery Thoughts

I am not the kind of person who likes to rest and recover. When I have a cold I am in denial, telling myself and my family it's just "something in the air". I can't lay down and rest. It seems there is always so much to do. In the week before my hernia surgery (which was yesterday) I had several goals to accomplish and really looked forward to my recuperation period as a vacation of sorts. I finished my reports module for my transcription program, got homeschool plans settled, and hooked up my Kindle with lots to read.

My best efforts though were directed towards my bedroom which has not had a make-over EVER, in the 12 years I have occupied it. I truly did not think I could rest in a room that provoked so many "I wish it didn't look like this" thoughts. So, I splurged and bought a new bed set, took the quilt off the wall and replaced it with a homemade headboard, cleaned up my desk and set up the area next to my bed with reading materials, knitting projects, and a tv tray to hold my drinks and snacks. Best idea ever. I am loving it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scarf Frustration

Tonight I tried to start a new knitting project. I have the perfect colors to knit a LA Dodgers scarf for a friend of mine. I finally sat down to get it going on the needles and wouldn't you know, didn't work. I had the design worked out in my mind but just couldn't get it going at all. AT ALL. I ended up ripping out three different starts and finally said, "I'm just not meant to do this right now," and put it away. Grr.

I think I burned myself out doing so much work on my transcription reports. I worked almost nonstop from 5am until about 2:30pm. The kids were pretty good about it, with minimal interruptions, so I had a very productive session. I cannot wait to get through this program!! Only about 150 reports left. I would really like to get finished before the end of the month. We'll see.

I got some good reading time in with my Kindle finally, too. I started an historical fiction novel about Ireland. I love my Kindle! Oh, and the story is good, too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Few Thoughts

Today is the first day of a new month and here are some goals I have for myself for the next 31 days.

1. Finish my transcription training. (yes, I'm that close now.)
2. Finish all the books I have going right now. (about 4.)
3. Walk for 45 minutes every day possible. (Gotta drag the treadmill back out.)
4. Lose 10 pounds. (Very cliche, I know.)
5. Buy a good digital camera to replace my lost one. (to spice things up here.)
6. Blog more. (I signed up for NaBloPoMo.)

These are my attainable goals. I have a few more, like relax more, knit more, watch my Netflix movies the same week they come, but those are less attainable. If I could buy time in a bottle...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Beautiful Day

Coffee with morning Bible study time
Perusing at the library
Knitting during Legos class
Corn dogs and chili fries for lunch
Relaxing and reading at the park in the sunshine
Kids making new friends and playing for hours
Husband goes to the grocery store
Quick baths, dinner and laundry
Productive evening with transcription
Feet up and laptop humming
Almost time for sleep

Monday, February 15, 2010

Goals for the Week

Hello, my neglected blog. I haven't forgotten about you.

This week is the last week of classes for the kids every day. Thank the Lord! I'm so done with such busy-ness as this past month has seen.

With that in mind, I am trying to tie up the loose ends of all my ongoing projects and thoughts. Such as:

1. Make a menu for dinners and go grocery shopping.
2. Finish the 2 scarves I have on the needles.
3. Set my calendar and goals for the next medical transcription unit.
4. Wash everyone's sheets from their beds.
5. Finally call the neck and back clinic and get that ball rolling.

If I can square these items away, I will feel great.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Update aka I Don't Care

Home sweet home. I love that cliche more and more when I return home from a trip away.

The cabin experience was nothing surprising. My SIL is a nut. That is the nice word for it. :) She is snappy with my kids and always trying to manipulate things to get her way. I was hoping to watch some TV since we don't have cable at home and there is Direct TV at the cabin. No. She wanted to listen to 70s music on Sirius all weekend. No, the kids couldn't watch anything either. Thankfully I had anticipated this and brought my computer with the kids movies. Meals were cooked when she wanted to eat, usually hours later than my family is used to eating. Fine. I had bags of snacks and treats we enjoyed. No, you can't make coffee on the last morning, it is already packed. If there were games being played, like cards or dice, my kids were told "It's too hard. You guys can't play," so I took them in the other room and played other games provided in the cabin. My oldest is 8 and loves to play games and it really broke my heart to see the look of incomprehension on his face. Grr. I won't even get into what she tried to pull with the sleeping arrangements. I will just say that it would have left my 3 little ones on the floor and myself and my husband incredibly uncomfortable. This is the short story. By late Friday night, after being kept awake until 2:30 a.m., that's the longer story, I was dry heaving in the bathroom. I swear it was from the stress of the whole rotten situation. Everyone else said it was from the altitude. Riiight. At one point on Saturday I was completely miserable, wishing I could just pack up and leave. But, sigh, I knew that wasn't going to happen. I had to suck it up and keep going. So I did.

I spent some time outside with the kiddoes. They really enjoyed the snow and I enjoyed watching them enjoy the snow. I did a little sledding and snowball throwing, but when I was too cold or wet, I headed inside.

I got LOTS of knitting done. I crocheted the edge around my practice scarf and it looks okay. The scarf itself is just okay, but I am keeping it. I started a purple birthday scarf for a friend and worked on my garter rib scarves that I have going. Of course, I endured a lot of stares and snide comments while I knitted, but I did what I wanted to do. I am finally realizing what it truly means to do what you want to do and not care what anyone else thinks. I have a hunch that my SIL is planning to learn how to knit and make pet garments. She was encouraging me to do this. Meh. I have no desire to do that, which of course she couldn't understand. :) I don't care! (you have to sing it like the boy Pierre sung by Carole King). I pulled out my knitting every time we were all sitting around.

Oh, thank you God it is OVER. I am so happy to be home.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Few Minutes

I am alone for a few minutes for the first time all week. Hubby is in the shower. Kids are in bed. Bliss. I never realize what a creature of solitude I am until I have none. I get very edgy and internally stressed out when I don't get enough time to myself, to finish my thoughts without another person butting in. I think that can really drive a person crazy.

Having kids helps with the insanity, too, pushing you further toward the edge. I swear my kids are part cat because they always get tangled up in my legs while I'm trying to walk! Inevitably someone will step on my toes, which is no small event since I am always wearing flip-flops. My best new tool, the no talking rule. Once the kids have danced on my last nerve for the last time, I say, "No talking!" (or shout it, whatever) That usually gives me at least 5 minutes, longer if we're in the car, to collect my thoughts, my sanity, my breath, and keep going about the day.

We are heading to a cabin this weekend to spend my niece's birthday with them. I am excited to be in the mountains although I'm dreading the drive. I am wondering if I will have a good time since my idea and their idea of what is appropriate around my kids are very different things. I have packed only one outift since I plan to stay inside the cabin and not in the snow. My wonderful hubby took us to Costco and purchased a vast amouny of biscotti that I felt was absolutely necessary for this adventure. We'll see if my vision of knitting by the fire with hot coffee and chocolate biscotti comes true.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Quick Recap

This blog is not one of those "what I did today" blogs that eventually get really boring. Really, it's not. But sitting here with my fresh hot mug of coffee, I just feel like doing a quick recap of this particular day. It was a great day. I was productive and planned ahead. Well, granted the planning part was done late last night when I got back out of bed because I couldn't sleep and then I made a few lists and worked on some report stuff, then went back to bed before 12:30am which for me is not bad.

8:00am - turned off the alarm, snuggled deeper into my electric blanket heaven.
8:30am - got out of bed, shivered, and headed into the day
8:35am - 10:30am - made breakfast (eggs for everyone!), got the kids up and going, did the dishes, prepped schoolwork for the kids, gathered my laptop and knitting, packed the DS for Mr. M, made lunches, got dressed, hit the road.
11:00am - dropped off big kids at class and headed to Starbucks with Mr. M. We spent the class time at the Towne Center playground. He played and I knitted on the blue/brown scarf.
12:00pm - Picked up big kids and headed back to playground. Everyone ate lunch and I edited the reports I pasted into Word. This was a vast improvement of my time spent waiting for the kids and during breaks in the class schedule. Editing 12 reports put me way ahead for working tonight.
1:45pm - Dropped off the big kids at class and sat in car with Mr. M to wait. This class is an hour and since he like to play the DS, we just sit in the car. Plus, I think my kids would be distracted if I sat in the class with them. I got to knit for an hour, which was wonderful.
2:55pm - Pick up kids and marvel at the way this science teacher always gets the experiments to work right. The kids made ice cream today and I just know that if I had attempted that at home, it would NOT have worked.
3:15pm - Get home and check my email. Fret about classes that I need to sign up the kids for and haven't. Wonder how many messages we missed out on since the rain messed up the phone. Kiss hubby hello and goodbye as he picks up the van and heads to the mechanic for a brake inspection.
4:30pm - Start dinner, empty the dishwasher. Hubby returns with BAD news and we have a serious discussion. Sometimes it really sucks to be an adult. I would much rather be playing the Wii than commiserating about brakes and budgets and long trips up a mountain on icy roads. (Heading to a cabin with the in-laws this weekend. Gulp.)
5:30pm - Eat dinner and decide that I will do my reports as planned and not give in to tiredness. Make a pot of coffee.

So, here I sit, poised to start my reports, fresh coffee spurring me on.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Knitting This and That

A quick note: Check out Knitting Tips By Judy and read her celebrity page if you want some inspirational reading. I was amazed at how many unique items she has knitted for movie that I actually REMEMBER seeing. Like the Forrest Gump sox and the scarf in the Kranks Christmas movie.

I just started a garter stitch rib scarf in autumn colors and am still working on the blue stockinette stitch with garter border scarf. I need to get some purple yarn and get going on a birthday scarf for a friend. I have yet to figure out how to knit socks or hats. Grr. I'm adding a blanket to my list of knitting projects for this year.

Odds and Ends

An interesting event occurred today. I made the decision to transcribe in the front room instead of my bedroom due to heat issues. You know, it was one of those times there was this little voice telling me to make the effort, move all my stuff, get settled in the front room. And I did it, I didn't ignore the voice. Good thing. About 15 minutes after I started working, headphones on, kids in their room playing, the space heater suddenly shut off. It was plugged into a power strip that was plugged into an extension cord (yes, I know you shouldn't do that. Tell that to my hubby.) I thought it was a blown fuse, which sometimes happens since the wiring in our house is so old, but when I glanced around, nothing else was switched off. Weird, I thought, maybe the heater got too hot and turned off, although that hasn't happened before. So, I got up to investigate, and suddenly the lamp, also plugged into the power strip, flashed a brilliant white light three times, and I realized there was a crackling noise coming from the power strip. A fire was starting! I suddenly smelled plastic burning and started to pull everything out of the power strip. I realized that the electricity was still coursing though as the lamp was flashing a bit more, so I dashed to the end of the couch and ripped the cord out of the wall. I pulled the cord out from behind the couch and discovered that the extension cord was incredibly hot as was the plug from the power strip. I let it cool off for a minute and when I pulled the plug out, the area around the inlet on the extension cord was brown and burnt. Holy cow. That was a close call. I have an intense, very real fear of fires in our home and thank God I was working in the front room or our house could have gone up in flames real quick.

Thank God for that small voice!

Of course when I told my hubby what happened, he didn't think it would have been a fire. When he saw the plug, he rubbed at burnt plastic and shrugged. Probably a bug crawled in it and shorted it out, he said. Riiight. Sometimes I wonder why everyone else who knows me will believe what I tell them and respect my opinion, but my own husband doubts everything. Meh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Knitting Projects

I finished the two-color green and ecru striped scarf. The colors are closer together than I had planned since the stripes are so narrow. I really did this as a first attempt with two different yarns. I am still pleased with the scarf although it was somewhat flattened when I ironed it. But I had to iron it since it was all curled in on itself due to the stockinette syndrome. Sigh. My plan is to crochet a green border and be done with it.

I started a blue and brown scarf, which is just one skein, not two. I'm doing it with a garter border, stockinette for the body with a garter strip up the middle. So basically it looks like it has two panels. I love this yarn.

I need to learn how to iron to uncurl, not flatten. I need to learn how to do some tassels too. I find myself incredibly lazy at the end of a project, more willing to say "good enough" than go the extra mile and add a bunch of tedious finishing touches. Boo.

What the Rain Does to Time

Rain changes time. The minutes and hours seem totally different when it's raining. Inside the house, the day seems long and cozy, listening to the rain while still in pajamas, watching videos, knitting or reading. If I am outside the house, the minutes seem to last even longer, hampered by the stress of driving or having to drag the kids through the rain. It's a mystery to me. Everything slows down. Traffic, people in the grocery store, kids even seem to move in slow motion.

My week has been interesting. We spent the first two days soaking wet as we ran from class to class. After the Tuesday class, the rain was coming down incredibly hard and we had to wait a few minutes before leaving the class. I could tell the manager wasn't too happy about that, maybe she didn't want a group of people hanging out all day, I don;t know. The minute there was a lull in the rain, she urged everyone to "go now while it's slowing down". Huh? My brain was giving me a warning signal, like, isn't that when it's NOT good to be out, during the lull? We all left anyway, and lo and behold, we were on the road during the sighting of a tornado 15 minutes from where the class was located. Stupid manager. I should have trusted myself. I drove home, white knuckles and teary eyed, kids freaked out, the whole way, which was about ten minutes in normal time but 20 minutes in rain time.

The streets were flooded, water up to the curb most of the way. The kids got a great visual of the damage a storm can cause and why it's not safe to go out in a storm. When we decided to stay home from all classes the next day, no one complained. Those classes are a 45 minute drive in regular time, who knows how long it would have been in rain time. Plus, the area is near the foothills, so the storm gets backed up against the hills and just sits there, thunder and lightning and all that. No thanks! I did feel some guilt at missing those classes? Why? Why do I feel guilty for making the decision to keep my family safe at home? Crazy. I hate to miss out on commitments, but seriously, I had to keep reminding myself to just "let it go!" We spent a great day at home.

I can tell I am getting a touch of cabin fever because when the piano teacher came today, I was really too excited to see him and he probably thought I was flirting with him. I was just feeling very social and talkative at seeing a new face! It was our first time meeting, he comes to the student's house for lessons, and I wanted to be sure he was comfortable. Ah well. Thankfully we are braving what is left of this storm and heading over to a friend's house tonight for dessert and conversation. I have so many words to use after these days of being home!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Don't Judge a Book By it's Movie

I just finished reading The Runaway Jury by John Grisham. I enjoy reading his novels because they are full of interesting characters, suspense, and great plot lines. I can understand why Hollywood likes making Grisham novels into movies, but I don't understand why they can't stick to the book more.

The Runaway Jury movie, which I watched last night once I finished the book, is all about a trial involving guns. In the book the trial is about big tobacco. The movie focuses on Nicholas and his relationships within the jury, with a broader scope involving Fitch and the family members of the jury members. The movie focuses on the relationship between Marlee and Fitch, most of which is totally opposite than what is portrayed in the book. The Fitch character in the movie is very different from the book as well, although Gene Hackman matches the physical attributes perfectly. My thought when the movie was over: Meh. The book is infinitely better.

I wonder what John Grisham thinks of this. Yes, I know the movie is only "based on" the novel, but I wonder what he was thinking when he saw how much was changed between the two products. The movie has a lot of violence, including a fight scene between Marlee and one of Fitch's goons. I enjoy Grisham's novels for their intelligent story lines and plot twists, and for the lack of violence. It was interesting to see how violent the movie was compared to the book, and again I wonder what Grisham thought of that. Maybe I will have to search the web and see if anyone interviewed him on this topic.

I think this makes for an interesting analysis since so many Grisham novels have been made into movies. Next on my list is The Client. I've already seen the movie, but it was so long ago I really just remember bits and pieces of it.

Being an aspiring writer myself, I wonder what I would think if the option to turn my novel into a screenplay came up. No doubt that is one of the golden tickets of success, but would I want my novel, with all my creativity poured into it, in the hands of Hollywood, to be turned into something completely different. Would I let my work be morphed into something beyond what I imagined? I don't know and it may never happen, but it's interesting to think about.

I am taking a break between Grisham novels right now and reading Love Mercy by my absolute favorite author Earlene Fowler. Earlene mainly writes mysteries, my favorite of which is this one. Love Mercy is not a mystery and I really wasn't sure what to expect. When I started reading the novel, it was like talking to an old friend I haven't seen in a while. The characters, setting, and plot are so enjoyable and quick to draw you in, it was definitely hard to put down. I love Earlene's style of writing and her ideas for stories are realistic and believable. When some of her characters from the mystery novels popped up in this novel I was so happy to see them again, and it was very natural the way they appear. Love Mercy is really wonderful book so far.

What else is going on in my brain? I am almost finished with my green and white scarf and a pattern for another scarf is bobbing around in my head. Homeschooling has been very relaxed this week due to the BIG STORM covering this area this week. I am very thankful I did all my grocery shopping on Sunday! There is very little so enjoyable as a rainy day inside a house chock full of food, good people, and fun activities.

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Night Out

Last night I went to see "Sherlock Holmes" with one of my best girlfriends. This friend and I are very similar in many things, like our sense of humor and our drooling over Robert Downey, Jr.

We had such a great time in the theater during previews since we were the only people there. I am known for making loud comments which I think are amusing, in between previews, during the quiet before the next preview starts. My husband gets embarrassed when I do this, which makes it infinitely more fun to do. My friend last night thought I was hilarious, and that was one more reason the night was so fun. (yes, this is meant to make you roll your eyes and say, "oh brother, this girl is probably not that funny anyway.")

The best parts of the movie were enhanced by having a friend there to giggle with and say, "oh, mama!" when RDJ looked especially good. I have never been a big Jude Law fan, but he was great with RDJ. This is not a movie made for men. This is a chick movie. I think my husband would enjoy this better as a rental anyway.

The storyline was good and the Watson character was really the only aspect Hollywood tampered with and made completely opposite from the stories. My friend is a Sherlock Holmes fan and was curious to see how true the movie would stay to the books. I have read many of the stories, too, and we weren't disappointed. Guy Ritchie directed and his style really made the movie very entertaining.

I give it a thumbs up.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Redecorating and Some Things To Do

Yes, I am still wearing the finger brace and typing with my ring finger. Boo.

This year is my 12th wedding anniversary and my big idea to celebrate is to finally decorate our bedroom. I can't begin to describe this room. Picture a Cal-King bed taking up all but 3 feet of space, a nice desk area made out of a baker's rack, and a wall lined with a pack rat nest of papers, stereo equipment, and records. Yes, the vinyl kind. Somehow my husband has managed to maintain his bachelor style of decorating throughout all these years of co-habitating. Go figure. I have never been big on interior design, decorating, or any of that. BUT I have a vision for this room. Finally.

This picture by Klimt, called The Kiss, is our favorite picture since it resembles us. He has dark hair (hubby shaves his head now, but whatever) and she has wavy red hair. We have always considered this to be "our" picture and I have decided to buy a big print, frame it, and use the palette for the room decorating. It won't be cheap, but I'm planning to buy things here and there and stash them at my mother-in-law's after I enlist her help. She is the Decorating Queen in this family. We'll see how it goes.

Things to do: I was very inspired to write a list here when I started writing, but I honestly cannot remember what the heck I was going to write. I found a couple new blogs to follow and have been listening to a Pandora radio station one of my friends made for me. I remember a mention on one of the blogs about a blank notebook and I have always loved blank notebooks.

A blank notebook holds so much potential. I have a few ideas for some notebooks I wanted to get going throughout this year. One, of course, will be my knitting projects. I am writing out patterns for each project, naming them, coloring them and all that into a project pad I found at Target that has graph paper on one side and lined paper on the other. I'll just tape a photo on the lined side when I finish. My other notebook is more of a scrapbook and I want to record all my nights out with my homies in there. We always have such a great time and are always laughin together and I just don't want to forget any of it. My other notebook idea was for my bedroom decorating project. Just a mix of ideas, pictures, and wishlists of how my perfect room would look. I think these notebooks are just a blend of my love for journaling and collage. Maybe I'll call it "journallage". You heard it here first!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Disney on Ice was a Fun Field Trip

My Princess O won some Disney on Ice tickets from our library and after weeks of anticipation, we got to go to the show today. It was the first time any of us, me and the kids, had ever been to an ice skating show and we loved it! The costumes were cute and pretty, the music was fun and loud, and it was just long enough, not too long. Mr. M made it all the way through without much restlessness.

During the intermission, I was scrounging my dollars and quarters than are always loose in my bulging purse, thinking I probably had enough to get Mr. M some popcorn to keep him occupied through the next half of the show. Yeah, right! I had $4 and when the vendor came by, I asked him how much for a skinny, not-much-in-there box of popcorn. His response, "$7." My response, "Ha ha ha ha! Never mind." The vendor kind of smiled at me, like "I know, it's crazy," then went off down the aisle to give some to some poor sucker behind us.

There were all sorts of over-priced souvenirs being paraded around the aisles during intermission. Coloring books for 5$? I told the kids, "If you want some Disney pictures to color, I'll print some for you when we get home." They all nodded like that was such a great idea. Good kids. I scrounged around my purse some more and came up with a slightly smashed Milky Way for Mr. M which he was very happy to have.

There were some very loud and pushy vendors in the arena, but once we left after the show, the vendors had lined the walkway to the parking garage and were extremely overbearing, pushing fairy wings, light-up spinners, flashing swords, and all kinds of foam hats. I told the kids, "Walk fast! We're being attacked!" We made it safely to the van without any spontaneously ridiculous leakage of cash for crap, and went on our way. Seriously, I'm not cheap, but when you win tickets to soemthing, isn't the goal to see how great of a time you can have for free?

Total cost for our trip: $10 for parking, of course.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Glass Chocolate is Delicious - to Look at

While walking around the extremely expensive shops in Claremont near the kids' art and cooking classes yesterday, a window display of glass chocolates caught my eye. They were beautiful! I had to go in and out of the building several times and every time I purposely passed by the gallery window that displayed these chocolates. I am a passionate chocolate lover, only the good stuff satisfies so these truffles were very appealing to me. I don't collect anything, but I cannot stop thinking about those glass chocolates and how perfect they would look on my desk, the one area I have to display my very favorite possessions without little hands grabbing them. I could never afford them all. But I want them. Even just one, resting in its brown paper, glistening and winking at me. Sigh. They're delicious to look at.

** I want to do these chocolates justice. They are not that expensive. They are incredibly beautiful, even my husband was very impressed. These chocolates are very detailed and intricate. The rounded, shiny edges and dark, rich colors are truly amazing. This is a collectible item, something to possess just for it's beauty. Look at the slideshow below. You'll see what I mean.**

I found this looking for pictures of the chocolates. Lovely, just lovely.

100 Books in 2010

This is a great way to get reading next year!
It doesn't seem like that many books until you actually try to do it!

BOOKS IN PROGRESS
1. War and Peace by Tolstoy (audiobook) which my mother and I plan to listen to while we knit together once a month. We call it our Knit Lit Day. (This never got started and I now have a very fat copy of it on my nightstand - one chapter in)
2. Audiobook White Fang by Jack London. (I listen while I knit). In progress. (still)
3. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes (I'm at the recipes part)


FINISHED BOOKS

1. The King of Torts by John Grisham - halfway done - a great weekend read! Finished 1/5/10
2. The Appeal 1/7/10 (what else can be done when you have a sprained finger but reading?)
3. 2. The Appeal by Grisham (a side goal of mine is to read every Grisham I haven't read yet).
4. 4. King of Torts by John Grisham - halfway done - a great weekend read! Finished 1/5/10
5. Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor: Being the First Jane Austen Mystery by Barron, Stephanie (K)
6. Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (K)
7. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella (K)
8. The Full Cupboard of Life: More from the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (K)
9. The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith (K)
10. Morality for Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith (K)
11. Tears of the Giraffe by Alexander McCall Smith (K)
12. A Series of Unfortunate Events #3: The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (read while I was on the treadmill) (K)
13. A Series of Unfortunate Events #2: The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (K)
14. Baby Bonanza by Maureen Child (K) (my first free romance Kindle book)
15. Tillie, a Mennonite Maid; a Story of the Pennsylvania Dutch by Helen Martin (free K)
16. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (K)
17. Lies I Told My Children by Karen McQuestion (K)
18. The Log-Cabin Lady - An Anonymous Autobiography (K)
19. Bram Stoker's Dracula by Bram Stoker (K)
20. Ireland: A Novel by Frank Delaney (K)
21. Born to Run by Christopher Mcdougall (K)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finger Sprain

Hard to type
Boo
1 week

see? I told him I was hurt!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Finger

So, I quite possibly have done something bad to my finger. It has gotten progressively more swollen throughout the day and alternates between cold and hot. It must have happened this morning while I was cleaning up the kitchen, but who knows. I was so incredibly focused on getting things done that I can't even trace my steps to a moment of "ow, that hurt". Okay, fine.

I mention this to my husband late in the evening. He has to look at it. He has to compare the swelling to the index finger on the other hand. He asks what I did, I must have done something. Of course it's swollen, he says, all that transcription you just did. Um, no. His solution? "You should run it under some cold water." LOL! I really tried hard to maintain a straight face. How the heck will that help me? Yes, the swelling may go down, if I apply ice, but seriously this was the lamest advice ever! I am half-expecting him to wake up tomorrow and tell me that HIS finger hurts now. You know how men are.

You know that if it had been HIS finger hurt that my response would have been, "You need to go to the doctor," not something about cold water. If he finger had been hurt, he would have curled up on the couch and fallen asleep, woken up to eat dinner with his finger held high in the air, and basically been a big baby. You KNOW how men are.

I made dinner. I typed about 10 1-minute transcription reports. I taxied the kids to class, the park for PE, and the grocery store. My finger hurt the whole time. I even did some knitting at the park. Why, why can I just suck it up and keep going? What if I did just flop down and wallow in it? Nothing would get done! But this also means that when I tell him I think I really hurt my finger he doesn't take me seriously. I should go pound it with a hammer, go to the doctor and get a horrible diagnosis, then he would take me seriously, right?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year Kick-Off

I don't want to burn out on my resolutions, so I'm focusing on a few at a time. Tonight I gave my husband time alone at home to practice. His band has a big show on Wednesday night. I grabbed my knitting and my Dell Ditty which holds my audiobooks and hunkered down at Starbucks while the kids were at church for clubs.

I got about 6 inches knitted while I listened to White Fang. The story is starting out good and I feel like the guy reading it is my friend already. I really, really enjoyed being out and knitting, listening to my book. That is the person I want to be, and slowly I am becoming her.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

We're Livin' in a Society Here!

Today I spent a few hours at the park with my younger two children who were happily playing with new friends on the park equipment. I was sitting in a sunny spot about 50 feet back from the playground reading a book. Occasionally I would look up and make sure the kids were still having a good time, and on one such glance, I noticed a butt crack.

I was seated farther away from the play area, but most of the other parents were quite close, sitting on the grass with their feet in the sand. The butt crack I noticed belonged to a mom who sitting by the sand and was oblivious to the fact her butt crack was glaring. I'm not sure why she didn't know, since it was cool and breezy, but hey, whatever. My dilemma was do I tell her? Do I wait for her to feel the exposure? I was furthest back from everyone, so no one else had noticed. What would you have done?

I contemplated for a few minutes, then decided if it was me I would want to know! So I told her. I walked up behind her, and realized that she was holding a small baby, so I bent down to her ear level and said quietly, "You should pull your shirt down a little in the back." She was very grateful, thanked me and laughed a little, and in an effort to not embarrass her further, I made quick conversation with my kids and then headed back to my chair.

I almost can't believe I did that. I am ultra-nonconfrontational. To a fault. I don't approach strangers at the park and tell them their private body part is winking at me. I wait, too long usually, and someone else does it. Not today! Why not? My husband couldn't believe I did it. I'm gald that I did.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Some New Year's Goals

1. Finally I can start working on the Read 100 challenge! I have a few books I have been waiting to get into because I wanted to count them towards my 100 books for 2010. Also, my reading goals include reading every Grisham novel yet unread and the knit lit project I have going with my mother.

2. My knitting goal for the year is to build my inventory and have a Christmas boutique at the end of 2010. I also am working on learning how to make socks and hats, and baby blankets to donate. My third knitting goal is to knit 1 scarf in each pattern of the Chick Knit book I have. I have no WIP right now since I finished everything this week so as to start the New Year fresh. Yay for me!

3. Exercise. More. I love to hit the track and walk. It helps me mentally and also physically, obviously. I enjoy it a lot. Time is usually the only obstacle to my getting there. Also, one of my homies and I have several class sessions left for our step class we started last August. We're back in class on Tuesday. When we finish that, we're going to sign up for line dancing, woo-hoo! I'm also squeezing in an ab workout every day. It's only 15 minuted and really intense.

These are the basic improve-myself goals. I have others for my wife role, mom role, homeschool role. But I haven't really gotten specific in those areas yet. I have all weekend. I love the new year.