Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Next Day

We did it. I had curled hair and makeup. He had a tux. In addition to walking me through the whole salon experience, BFFAmber brought accessories, hairspray and an appropriate coat. What a friend!


The shellacked nails


Curls from the back
The instagrammed makeup
The dashing escort.

I have to say that this summer's cruise did me a great service by improving my art of chitchat. One somewhat unfriendly face relaxed and smiled as soon as I said "what's your dog's name." And we ate hors d'oevres that were carried around on trays by waitstaff. Now that's classy.


Friday, December 27, 2013

The Results Show.

Regarding the last post, the fake apple dumpling recipe was a win. HusbandBob requested it for a gathering the next day and it was eaten with gusto.

The icecream cake was so so. It would have been easier and tastier to just eat a box of Klondike ice cream sandwiches.

Not pictured was a "meatball hoagie casserole." First layer was Italian bread, second layer was a mayo/cream cheese texture adding thing. This was followed by mozzarella, meatballs, sauce and more mozzarella. Again, plain old meatball hoagies would have been tastier and easier.

Also finished today was a pair of men's size 13 felted clogs. The high efficiency washing machine does not felt well. I ended up boiling them in a big pot. This is his third pair. The first pair was done in an older washing machine. They were perfect. The second pair never really reduced in size so he put them over the first pair. I am hoping these are winners because how often does one get to knit something the husband really likes?


In other exciting news, tomorrow we are going to a black tie optional birthday party for his cousin. It's at the Frick museum in Pittsburgh. He's rented the tux, I have a black gown and the squeeze your belly in garment. BFFAmber is taking me for the hair and nails trip in the morning because I wasn't going to go that route unless she came with me. It never ceases to amaze me, the things that I've never done that most people have that make me anxious.

I went to buy the accessories last Monday at a mall near Pittsburgh but still on my familiar roads. The power was out at said mall and there was nothing else left to do but DRIVE INTO PITTSBURGH BY MYSELF. I'm only telling you this now in case you missed it on the news last Monday. It was truly an historic occasion and now one less thing I am afraid of.

Pictures of the grand event to follow. (In case you're wondering, "why the hoopla" you should know that we got married at city hall in matching Carhart jeans so this is likely the first and last time for such costuming.)


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Pinterest Anyone?

First there's this: it's baking now.



Apples rolled in crescent roll dough with butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. You add some Mt. Dew and bake it. With 2 sticks of butter, how can it be bad?


Then there's this: the first layer is Klondike bars, cool whip, caramel sundae topping, bananas and walnuts. The second layer is the same only chocolate sundae topping.



They call it ice cream cake. I think I will call it my boyfriend. When all the ingredients are your favorite and you can't mess it up by cooking it, what can go wrong?


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Just when I thought it couldn't be funnier

Here is what I said to the audience at the show. I said it slowly and with much intention.


Have you noticed? Your kids are excited. They are proud of themselves. It makes me happy to know that they can be excited about something that doesn't have to be charged or requires batteries. I have found that the one of the worst things we can do to children when they are excited and proud is ignore them. This is why I am asking you, please please, please if you need to have a conversation while someone is singing, go out into the hallway to do it. These proud and excited kids deserve our respect and attention and it hurts their feelings when we talk through their performance.

You could hear a pin drop for 95% of the performance. During the other 5%, audience members felt empowered to shush the offenders.

It. Was. Awesome. I am pretty certain that both my audiences (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) were the quietest elementary music program audiences on the planet. I also got to be proud of them.

Also adding to the joy of the day was this:

Awesome husband was there to watch it in action.


It wasn't all serious. Once I knew he was coming to the show I had this vision of him as elementary school program bouncer. As in "Hey you, shut the f up, that's my wife up there." After sharing this image with massage therapist, new BFF and mother of first grader,(BFFAmber from now on.) she said "yea, Bob and I could really bust some heads if we had to."

That led to me imagining this:


Which led to this horrible but hilarious selfie (which I realize is in reverse and I have too much smile to really be Harvey Keitel.)

And really, it's only because the whole concept is so hilarious that I even show you. Husband Bob using Geri-curl? Really?

And finally all of this leads to a weekend planned doing what I am inventing and calling Pulp Fiction Yoga where you act out the movie while it's playing with only the movement and no dialogue. I think we're onto something.


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Then There's This

I finally jumped into Jared Flood's Rock Island shawl.  I thought it would be hard what with increasing and decreasing stitches on both RS and WS but with proper color coding, it's been completely manageable and definitely a lesson in blocking.

I bought this necklace at the Arts festival this summer.  I wore it today to keep me laughing as  I slither along into music teacher program mania.  If anyone asked, I said it was my sister and I in childhood.  She's the one sticking her tongue out.

And finally, I can't believe I've never written about this before.  It's really the absolute best part of my job whenever it happens.

I'm going to assume that most of you know the song Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.  I'm also going to assume that, unlike my aunt or my husband, you also know the little echo parts.

Used to laugh and call him names... like Pinnochio

Join in any Reindeer games.... like Monopoly.

Santa came to say... ho ho ho

You'll go down in history... like George Washington.

Very often, kindergarten students do not know the little echoing part.  It's a first grade/second grade thing.  If by chance (as is often the case ) kindergarten students haven't heard the additions and I get to be the one to sing them to them, it is the best thing in the entire universe.  They giggle and laugh and seriously crack up at what I'm doing to their song.  I think it must be the innocence in the room as they react.  It seems very real and very pure.  

When they get to second and third grade, inevitably I hear the one change that only older kids can  make with this line:

Santa came to say... in his underwear!  

I never heard that one as a child but when second and third graders sing it with a sparkle in their eyes, it cracks me up.   And I have to act all "this is inappropriate" like and they have to act all "look at what we got away with" like.  It's a laugh riot.

Finally, when you sing Jingle Bells with any grade, there is always always always a young man (or sometimes a girl with older siblings) seated on the side who is mouthing the words:

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg.  The batmobile lost a wheel and the Joker got away! 

What this kid in the back is not expecting the second time through is that I start singing that version and they all join in.  It's no longer the skeleton in the closet.  It's out in the open.

I did, however have one adorable first grade girl change the second half of that song to:

He blew his nose in cheerios and ate them anyway, hey!

We did not sing that version.  I had to draw the line somewhere.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A finished project?


Serendipity's Marvelous Mitts. Dark yarn is Artyarns, light yarn is Colinette. All but one thumb was done in September. It finally got cold enough for me to want to finish the last thumb.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

What does a dragon say?

PEW!  PEW! pew! pew!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013



To the left, Knitnightgina is fixing my lace errors. To the right, knitnightjustine is fixing my k1p1 errors after I turned them into cables when they slipped off the needles. I am the "queen" of knitnight. Servants abound.


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time I had a massage therapist.

I met her because she gave 5 minute massages on Teacher's Day and I missed it so I went to where she worked to get a massage.  I teach her kids.

Every time I saw her I would laugh and laugh at one thing and another.

One day we became friends.  It was like the best friend in high school that knows what you're thinking before you can say it.  And laughs at the same seemingly ridiculous unfunny things that you do.

Last week during the massage she suggested that when she is working, body parts and muscles make sound effects depending on how loose or stiff they are.  She demonstrated.  Keep your eyes and ears posted for an avante-garde theater piece coming to your area.

Also she told me this story:

One day during massage school she went to an outside agency to get a massage.
Twenty minutes into the massage she opened her eyes to see that the masseuses thumb had been replaced by a big toe.

I'll just wait a minute to let that sink in.

Don't worry, it was a donor toe.  Or not.  Or maybe she had a thumb on her foot.  None of this was clarified, as nothing was asked or said about the toe thumb.

Later discussions at massage school centered around whether the masseuse should have warned the client that she had a toe where her thumb should be.  Not sure what conclusion they came to, as I never really got past the "really????" part of the story.

This week she has a job interview in the big big city and I'm taking her.  It's the big big city that I've been saying I'm pretty sure I could get around in but haven't tried it yet.  It should prove to be an adventure.

I have some blog guilt going on.  I don't read the blogs of my friends as much as I once did.  I catch up once a month or so.  It makes me think that I have "no right" to be blogging.  But then I realize that I won't remember the toe thumb story in 5 years if I don't put it here first so I guess what I'm saying is;  I'm sorry I haven't been such a good commenter/reader.  You can quit reading my blog and it won't hurt my feelings.  I might not write as much but I'm thinking that you can count on some funny when I do.

Also- working on Bigger On the Inside (from Knitty) in Stichjones' Whovian Blue.  Love It.

Friday, September 27, 2013

3rd annual knit knight outing.

Dinner at the Bean Curd. Claire got the Hawaiian fried rice. A pineapple filled with fried rice and loads of seafood.


A trip to the Awesome Natural Stitches where Christina and Jack offered amazing customer service and tried some subversive marketing on us. I did not buy one skein of yarn. It helped that I snapped a few photos of my stash before I left.


That did not stop Ruth from buying me a present. She thinks I'd look good in red. See Lisa Simpson, you Could have Come!

I did spend a few dollars at Trader Joe's. I like their treats. There might have been some oats, granola, and honey sesame cashews purchased as well.


The highlight of the evening was the Giant Rubber Duck in the river. Gina would not rest until we got a good picture. I felt like we were in the Fast and the Furious dodging in and out of the city for the prize.


Oh, and there was some laughing. Lots of laughing.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Bad Dialogue? I love it.

We watched Sharknado on Monday night. It takes a special kind of actor to work in movies like this. Not everyone can deliver that hilarious faux serious dialogue without cracking a smile. Oh how I wish I would at least get a chance to audition for a speaking part in the sequel. There has to be a sequel.

Or better still... Live on Broadway... Sharknado: the Musical. I've got to believe that bad dialogue is more hilarious live.

I love it. I love when I am laughing at it in a public place and no one understands why I am laughing.

IFC ran the movie The Warriors this evening. If like me, you too enjoy really badly written scripts, then this 1979 gem is a must see.

Does it surprise anyone that I don't really "fit in" in my surroundings. I have friends, I interact with the world. But there aren't many people that I have met who can truly appreciate the Gertrude Steinishness of poorly written (and delivered) pseudo-conversations.

Mostly after watching sharknado, I spent the rest of the evening begging HusbandBob to write me a horrible screenplay and then take me to one of the Carolinas for movie production. I'm envisioning a Blair Witch Project meets Flight of the Concords.

Once you get into the groove of the absurd, it's hard to leave.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Somebunny's been knitting



KnitnightRuth had some extra white wool she wanted to get rid of. I took it. Super chunky almost roving like. The pattern is Ysolda Teague's Stuffies.

Speaking of knit night. The conversation became a discussion of the weird things men do in preparation for a vacation.

KnitnightGina's main squeeze eschews lists and instead posts stickie notes around the house where there are things he wants to remember. I wonder if he has a stickie note listing all the stickie notes.

More than once Mr. Sophanne (who will from this day forward be known as HusbandBob. I think I will retire the Sophanne moniker now that I know this corner of the Internet is safe.) has to be convinced that he will not need 4 pairs of shoes for a seven day trip. If he were a little man it would be no problem but 8 size 13 boats means a whole extra piece of luggage.

The pièce de résistance however is KnitnightClaires husband. In preparation for a trip to Iceland, Mr. Claire packed a week in advance, very proud of how lightly he packed. And then when he remembered something else he had to take, he'd just ask Claire to add it to her suitcase. Not happy with the 1/2 tube of regular toothpaste AND the two dentist office tubes, he purchased a fourth tube to bring, just in case. (Maybe there's a toothpaste problem in Iceland?) Finally, when Claire peeked into his suitcase she found one pair of jeans, three shirts, and fourteen pairs of socks. Laughed until we cried, we did.


Also, I used the words eschew and moniker in this post. I'm pretty impressed with myself.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Sublime Serendipity

Yesterday I met Knitnightgina and saw the knitted Andy Warhol Bridge up close and personal.


It was a sight to behold.




One main event of the afternoon was yoga on the bridge. Not something you see every day.


As we were leaving KKG mentioned that she and husband and mom were going to Hartwood Acres that evening to hear Rickie Lee Jones.


My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. Rickie Lee Jones has been the soundtrack to my life. I can tell you exactly where I was every time I obsessed over a newly released album. As I told KKG, given the choice between a sweater's worth of cashmere and a chance to see her live, I would go for the latter.

I got to join them. My two live music desires have been fulfilled. I've gotten to hear Mozart's Requiem performed live and I heard Rickie Lee Jones in concert.

It made me very happy.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Still love knitting

And I am so happy when I'm able to hook up yarns with no plans and patterns with no yarn and make it happen. These will be Karendipity's Marvelous Mitts. It is a pattern that I purchased seven years ago finally happening. Sometimes I like size 0 needles. What is wrong with me?



Friday, August 16, 2013

Exercise can make you feel better.

are words that I never believed I would say.  This is a post about my exercise.  It might be boring but I would kind of like to bear witness.

When we were in the Alps village near the Matterhorn, everybody walked.  Some of them had two sticks, some of them had one stick, some of them had no sticks.  You might recall I did both some walking and some tumbling.

On this trip I realized that I could walk up and down hills.  (I used to do it all the time in high school)  The road in front of our house goes down the hill and up the hill.  I never walked it because I thought it would be too hard.  After I walked in Switzerland, I realized (and remembered) that I could do it.  I got a walking stick just in case I needed help carrying my lard ass up the hill.  The dog goes with me.  It's a beautiful road that I sometimes pretend has magical creatures living in the nooks and crannies.

This walk always goes faster than I think it will (it's a mile) and it's just the right amount of cardio coming back up the hill to get that energized feeling that comes with the right kind of exercise.  In most exciting news, today I did it without the aid of the walking stick.

In addition to obesity, another (likely related) body issue that I've been having is back pain.  Much of it loosened up through the massages of the summer.  As soon as school started and I began working at my school computer and desk, I could feel everything tightening again.  Significantly, I was aware of what was happening in my body rather than just noticing it later that night.  I also noticed that using the walking stick caused less than upright healthy back walking (which is why I tried sans stick today)

My favorite massage therapist was forced to leave her position (because the business refused to process insurance claims).  Also $60/week (plus a $20 tip cause that's the way I roll) is a little steep.  I am making arrangements to have massage house calls from her but they certainly won't be as frequent.  I am happy to say that the summer of massages was more than just a decadent indulgence.  It was a learning experience that involved getting reacquainted with my body.

What to do?

I bought a yoga mat.  I started using the yoga app that I purchased not for the mobile device but for the mac laptop.  I'm pretty sure all I'm doing in the most basic series of movements are sun salutations, broken down for the yoga-retarded.  When I am finished, my back feels better.

Two forms of exercise that make me feel better.  One that I can even do in the wintertime.    And I'm just getting the feeling (because my body craves the idea of feeling better) that it's something I'm going to stick with.

This, my friends is monumental...MONUMENTAL!

People post so many inspirational things on facebook.  There's that guy that is walking normally after being told he'd never walk again.  He used yoga to get there.  The video shows his struggles including regularly falling down. It was an amazing video.  I have friends and acquaintances who are committing themselves to healthiness and looking better every day.

I might be trying to join that party.  When Mr. Sophanne was gone, I realized that much of my evening eating was anxiety related.  He doesn't make me anxious but the whole watching tv, always changing the channels, violence on the shows does make me anxious.  I think maybe going to the kitchen is a way to escape that interaction.

Also I think that I may be the introvertiest introvert there ever was.  I do gain my personal energy from within.  Interaction with others is enjoyable to me but leaves me exhausted.  Walk time and yoga time give me a chance to recover.

Mr. Sophanne has said he prefers that to me dumping him and the dog and living the life of a hermit,  so I think we'll be able to work it out.

I didn't write about it but feel like I should let you know that school has started. I am so happy to be at one school all week long.  It makes being head teacher so much more manageable and I can't quit smiling. ( It has only been one week though and 2 actual days with students)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Bunny


Image from

The name of the lure bunny at the greyhound races is Spunky. At the start of every race, the announcer says "Here comes Spunky" so that everyone knows the race is to begin. The following questions/statements happened over the course of an hour as the youngest tried to process what she was seeing.

Is the bunny just getting dragged?

Do the dogs think its a real bunny?

What's the name of the bunny?



Where do they start the bunny?

But it's not a real bunny.

It also took some time to realize that number seven in race five is not the same number seven as in race three. It wasn't until the following statement that we realized it was even an issue.

The seven could lose. It's a different dog. It could be a really bad dog.

Grandfather is somewhere in the air between Houston and Seattle delivering kids home. I'm not with him because teachers go back on Monday. Just a little secret between you and me..... I'm feeling kind of lucky.


Friday, August 09, 2013

ETA... Again

But then, as you lie on the floor, reading Hans Christian Anderson stories to giggling girls, properly scolding them because they have to get up early and catch a plane, and ignoring the "jackass" videos the boy is watching on his iPad, you get the following email from the daughter-in-law who was once upon a time less than friendly and trusting in your direction...




Day the Last

Sadly the bickering has begun. Two and a half weeks with relatives and away from home have taken their toll. We had one last field trip today.

It started at the fountain in Bridgeport, Ohio where many moons ago, Mr. Sophanne was on city council when they built a fountain and his name is on the plaque.

The next stop was in front of the house where their mama grew up. You may or may not be able to tell that the thirteen was feeling thirteen today. Still, that slips away at bedtime when she won't go to sleep without a story and one of us in the room.



The last stop was the dog races. Really, each of us should have picked a number and then bet on the three remaining dogs because that's how it turned out. The younger two maintained interest, the older one, not so much

I'm officially a little weary. Grandfather much more so. And tomorrow he flies with them back home (across the entire country) and stays there for a week. I believe that I am grateful to only have to be going back to school!


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Day Three.

Too bad there's not a squiggly font to show the tiredness of the camp counselors.

Yesterday was a trip to the cousin's house in the Bigburg. He's the one who lives mere blocks away from The Greatest LYS ever. I am now convinced I can get myself there the next time I want a solo field trip.

We finished at cousins too early for the game but too late for anything else so we took a ride on the T.

We went to the other side of town to a small shopping mall that had restrooms and gambling claw games.


I'm not sure who to point the finger at for lack of planning. The boy for not realizing he would have to find a way to get those stuffed toys on the plane or us for not realizing that he would go for the biggest toys!


After taking the T back, and the prizes to the car, we went into the ball field where things looked a little ominous. Our seats were three rows back under the eaves. When the downpour began, we were high and dry. It's the little things that mean the most.


We got some cotton candy when the ice cream was gone.


And the only fan more enthusiastic than the Pirate Parrot was the boy.

In the crowd of fans, he became the puppy everyone wanted to play with. He would start a chant and the great group of college-aged kids in front of us would pick it up and run with it. When the game was over and the Pirates had won, he stood on his aisle seat and high-fived everyone leaving the stadium.


Today we slept in. Four of us had Chinese food for lunch and one had..... Wait for it..... Subway. Mr. Sophanne is leading an expedition to the movie theater for Smurfs 2 this afternoon while I do laundry and round things up around the house. Tomorrow, to the dog races, where there will be no underaged gambling.




Tuesday, August 06, 2013

ETA (edited to add)


Because you can't wait until the next day when you have the puppy guarding the "baby."


Summercation at Grandcamp. Day 2

Mr. Sophanne has relaxed a great deal. I'm so happy. Today he realized that just being here and having us say yes to nearly everything means as much as any planned activity.

This morning oldest and I made some pasta. She was less interested in it when she found out that there was no pasta machine to roll and cut the dough. Everyone ate and go figure, I haven't freaked out about feeding everyone yet. It helps that they have asked if we could eat at Subway every day. By saying yes to that, they will think of us every time they pass one.

Mr. Sophanne took them to the farm,




while I prepared festivities...



Ice cream, it's what's for dinner.

This was followed by a water balloon fight.


Picking ammunition

Which quickly disintegrated into an out and out water battle.


And after convincing the boy that he could NOT disrobe and just have a shower with the hose, I am expecting some knitting, a little star watching, and a good nights sleep. Lunch with a cousin, Carnegie Science Center and a sold out Pirate game in the Big City tomorrow.

The best part? Mama of the other three grandkids, after seeing all the fun, has booked an advanced reservation for grandparent camp for next year!


Monday, August 05, 2013

Summer Camp

Some kids go to ballet camp. Some kids go to basketball camp. This week these kids are at Grandparents Camp.


After blueberry pancakes and a game of Yahtzee, the day began with the youngest (who has never been here) giving us a tour of the grounds. This included the wagon, the shed, the lawnmower, the birdhouses her siblings made years ago, and the back acreage.





This was followed by a trip to the local box craft store for birdhouses. A family tradition. Add a little flarp and a Beatle's sing-a-long and the 30 minute drive flies by.



The birdhouse adventure went freestyle as the oldest began painting our gate, the middle one wanted to mow grass and the youngest kept at her birdhouse.


The next bit of entertainment came in the form of the laundry chute. I can remember my fascination with Aunt of Sophanne's laundry chute but hers went from the second floor to the basement as opposed to just being a hole in the floor/ceiling.





Then the knitting session commenced.




I declare Day Three of Grandparent Camp a smashing success with pasta making, four wheel rides and a giant birthday party on tomorrow's agenda.



Pleasant Dreams!