Friday, December 26, 2014

Really, Pinterest?

Ruby (8) and Grace (5) are coming for a play date tomorrow.

I was worried about what to feed them and decided to go to Pinterest for some ideas and to be the "really cool" grown up.

Idea number the one. Grilled cheese roll ups. One slice of bread, flattened, crust removed with a slice of American cheese on top. Roll it and cook it like grilled cheese. I've never tried it but it's bread, cheese, and butter. How bad can it be?

Idea number the two. Vegetable pizza. Tastes good and good for you. Not really a novelty but new to me. I've prepared it but haven't yet tasted it. Again, there are only so many ways to mess that up.

Idea number the three. How cute is this?



Except when it actually turns out like this-



Those are Swedish fish floating on the left and sunk on the bottom on the right. I won't even talk about how it started in a more fish bowl looking container and only filled an inch of the space.

The last time they were here it was summer and we played outside, painted rocks and drew pictures with awesome markers. Tomorrow we will play with markers and cool coloring and activity books, and we will drum. I have several drums here in the house home for vacation. Enough for everyone. I also remembered I had these-



Boxes of buttons. And really, who doesn't love buttons.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Cracks Me Up.

Or ways in which five year olds are hilarious.

We are watching The Nutcracker this last day before break. We are five. I add commentary while they are watching to help them make sense of it all. At one point Marie (Clara) leaves her sleeping place and appears in the living room perfectly coiffed. I said, "my hair never looks that good right when I get out of bed." Sylvester says "it's probably because she has a bigger room." (Insert confused puppy look here.)

As they leave, Charlotte says "Merry Christmas Mrs. Terry, bring one of your toys to school when we come back." I said, "I'm not sure if Mr. Terry is going to get me any toys." She said "You never know... Maybe he will get you a puppy."

There is a second class of five year olds coming this afternoon. I can't wait.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Looking through a different lens

Do you remember Rusted Root?  Did you love them as much as I do?  Do you dance every you hear the Enterprise commercial?  I say yes to all.

One of the founders of the band, Jim Donovan, gives drumming workshops.  But they aren't your typical "I'm a music teacher, what can you possibly teach me" drumming work shops.

They are for people.  All People.  And he teaches about the power of chanting and vibrations in the body.  And you pause and meditate.  And you learn how to lead a circle of drummers.  And you don't need any musical knowledge.  At all.  And sometimes it even gets in the way.

I went to a workshop this weekend in Mt. Pleasant PA.  It was about 14 psychotherapists of one kind or another. He is all about using entrainment and sound energy and percussion to change the energy of the waves of our psyche.  Our brains latch on to patterns.  Percussion creates patterns for our brain.  If we can adjust the pattern with drumming, our wacky waves can become calm.

As a "music person" I had no fear coming to this workshop.  I've been an average performer always.  I understand that it takes practice to get better.  I learned this weekend that adults have more fear than children when it comes to creating in those spaces.  I've only ever been to music teacher workshops where everyone and their dramas are mostly ready to jump in at a moments notice.  I learned so much about people watching him teach adults how to find the musician inside themselves.  I learned so much about the things music teachers do to stifle these joys in children who turn into adults.

The method and training I have has always embraced student exploration and improvisation and I thought I was really "it."  I'm teaching what they need and giving them chances to create.  After this workshop I realized, not so much.  Or at least certainly not as much as I profess to do so.  When you're always fixing the sound, kids never let go of their fear and just be with the sound.  The urge to strive for perfection has become much less.

I am in my 28th year of teaching.  There aren't very music workshops that I can go to where most of the material and techniques are already known.  This weekend, after the Sound Empowerment workshop, I feel like I got a new toy to play with.

If you ever get a chance to attend a session (click here for linkety), run, don't walk to see him and meet him and know him.  It was AMAZING!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Some thoughts

I was a recluse when I started blogging. I had one good (not husband) friend and the primary basis of that friendship early on was that canceling plans was allowed if there was excess anxiety on either side.

When I started reading blogs I found internet friends who wrote about knit nights and yarn stores.

I thought, hey maybe I could go to a yarn store.

I did. They had knit night. After much trepidation, I went there too.

I found that I could be a part of that tribe and I made friends.

All that practice being and making friends while knitting helped in the real world. For a while I carried my knitting to combat social anxiety and only rarely did I need to resort to it.

Now I can go out into the world without it and have fun, not even needing medication. Of late I've even initiated a few social gatherings and looked forward to them with anticipation rather than dread.

Anyone who suggests that there is not magic in knitting has never heard my story.

Thanks everybody.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Knits of Wisdom

Enchanted by the thrill of larger than life knitting,


Two fair isle sleeves at a time


Fair isle WVU toboggan
Double knitted fair isle scarf


More trickery to follow

Let the simple pleasures of k1p1 malabrigo not be forgotten.



Friday, August 08, 2014

Who Am I?

HusbandBob's daughter is an effortless food artist. During the first week of vacation she threw together an amazing chicken tortilla soup with a store roasted chicken some tomatoes and some chicken broth and leftovers from a previous meal. She also made a kale salad that was delicious and seemingly effortless.

That combined with the crazy kitchen dictatorship of week two and the last week of freedom has led to some more forays into healthy delicious cooking.

On Monday I tried a sausage/summer vegetable dish. Peppers, onions, red potatoes, zucchini, rosemary, garlic, and chicken apple sausage. Roast the potatoes and fry it all up in the pan. There were some glitches. It took longer for the potatoes than the recipe indicated, it was a little light on the sausage, but it was edible, interesting, and not spaghetti.

HusbandBob ate it but not without trying to turn it into spaghetti or stir fry. This would be good with red sauce. What if we had more peppers, no potatoes and served it over rice or noodles. What if you used ground beef instead of chicken. Oy.


Today it was Julia Child's eggplant pizza. It had a little higher difficulty level. I have never bought let alone cooked an eggplant. Nor have I ever salted anything to draw out the water. (Daughter did this with the kale so it wasn't completely foreign). This was delicious. I did it! I've got to think that the top shelf (as opposed to Kraft low fat shredded) mozzarella had something to do with it.


So, for at least the second time this summer I have to ask, Who Am I?


Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Back To School Letter

Today husbandBob and I participated in our annual tradition of counting grammatical and syntax errors in the back to school letter.  Sadly for both of us, our guess of three underestimated by more half the actual number of errors found.

Fortunately, given the option, I'd much rather work for someone less smart than someone who is mean.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Miss Manners' Tips

Week One of vacation was incredibly spectacular.  Soon there will be a picture heavy post of smiling kids, nightly spontaneous dance parties and a HusbandBob who likely had the happiest night of his life.

Week Two, on the other hand, was a challenge.  In addition to a few family members (who consciously opted not to come when everyone else was there), we had space and invited some friends from home.  Of the four, two were ones likely never to have a chance at such a vacation any time soon due to limited resources.  The other two were a couple and the invitation was a form of repayment (the only kind the husband might take) for all of the around the house handywork that he has done for us.

We may have been naive when considering the guest list for the second week but there are some things you can't anticipate.  Below is a list of things to consider should you be invited to join someone at beachfront property free of charge for a week.

1.  If, once invited, you declare that you would like to be in charge of meals and food for the week, don't come to the hostess (who spent the week prior happily catering to every family members needs) on your second day there and tell her it's "her night to cook."

2.  When your hostess is grudgingly making dinner that second night, it is not appropriate to hover in the 3'x5' kitchen area, looking busy and getting in the way.

3.  Also consider keeping your 2 oz. of pasta per person opinions to yourself.  Back seat cooking is strictly prohibited.  Have you seen these people eat?

4.  It is not appropriate to head to the kitchen any time you hear someone in it. (see #2)

5.  When "the whole gang"  goes out for ice cream and you offer to pay, do not point out your family members to the cashier and say you will only be paying for "these four."

6.  The person who pays gets to decide the thermostat setting.  When someone sets the thermostat at 71 degrees, believe me when I tell you, they will notice it if you move it up to 76 and they will not be the Dude and they will not abide.  There are many blankets available and it is quite warm outside.

7.  When you offer to take care of food for the week, please realize that not everyone is going to want to eat the 20 lbs of chicken you had leftover from church camp for the entire week.

8.  Regarding meals and gratitude.  All religions are respected.  Knowing that your hostess is not of a Christian denomination, it is rude to have prayer before meals that is all Jesus all the time.  Your hostess will not complain because she is classy like that, but by the third time around, she will not hang out to be a forced participant.

9.  The Coffee Conspiracy.  Caffeine manipulation is a heinous crime punishable by torture.  When your hostess comes home, she will realize what you have done and your secret motives behind the nightly coffee prep.   She will no longer hold herself responsible for her less than pleasant demeanor and needing a nap after coffee each morning.

10.  Complicated card games involving mental acuity are not appropriate when ages and I.Q.s range from  30-72 and 100-140.  You might win, but it will be a shallow win.  Also, you might find that the "stupid" person you thought you would beat will kick your ass.

11.  If you come early enough to play some poker with the kids, please realize that we are not out for blood.  Taking money from children is ugly.  The really astute ones will say quite bluntly "I don't like it when you play."

12.  Handing said children $10 as they leave does not repair your reputation nor does it qualify as "taking care of" the kids.

13.  If you are a financially secure relative who was initially supposed to pay for your week of vacation, it is not appropriate to later ask "how much do I owe you."  You looked into the rental, you knew the cost.  Your 25% offering is insulting and does not relieve you of the responsibility of saying thank you.  Even when you call later to make sure everyone got home.

14.  Racist innuendos (while not full blown jokes) are offensive.  Beach or no beach.  Free or not free.  Guest or relative.  You stupid fuck.

On a positive note,

15.  If you are a resourceless guest, you completely earn your keep by telling Chuck Norris and pirate "aargh" jokes for the week.  Really.  You are a treasarghre
What's a pirate's favorite breakfast?  Pop Taarghts
How does the pirate get revenge?  Kaarghma

16.  Multiple references to The Big Lebowski are also welcome.

17.  If you feel you are unable to adequately express your gratitude because you are overwhelmed, we understand and are really glad you could come.  Your hugs and the sparkle in your eyes says it all.

18.  Also your ability to make me laugh loudly and at great length in spite of the annoyances is a gift I can never repay.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Emerald Isle, NC Friday-Sunday

They say to wait to do blog posts until after you get home from vacation so your house won't get robbed but really, we have all of our electronic devices with us and our t.v.'s at home are ancient.

The brilliant HusbandBob realized that some hotels allow dogs so instead of leaving at half past dark thirty on Saturday morning, we did a leisurely 7 hours to Cary, NC on Friday and finished up on Saturday morning well before the standard beach traffic hit.


And we're off!

Before leaving I declared my intentions to BFFAmber that no matter what worries were surrounding me, I was not going to allow them to infiltrate my being.

The map/direction app on the tablet was of great assistance. HusbandBob likes to have directions heard, repeated and repeated again up until the moment of any driving maneuver. Unless of course he understands them at which point there is a little growly "I know," suggesting that I refrain from stating the obvious. There is always doubt and questioning so much so that we miss many turns because he causes me to doubt myself. I swear sometimes it feels like defiant behavior, annoyed that someone would tell him what to do. But maybe I exaggerate.

He believes Maplady. She can do no wrong. She repeats herself at the same distance away regularly. She never doubts herself even when she is wrong. He listens to her. And then asks me to repeat what she said. Which is fine. It was the smoothest navigating of our ten years together. My absolute favorite bumper sticker from the day's travels was "Jesus is coming. Look busy."

The first wave of visitors here includes brother and sis in law, and HusbandBob's son and three grandkids. We spent some time at the waters edge. Then while I took care of my second major anxiety (we need food in the house and a plan for dinner) at the grocery store and pizza place, he had the older grandgirls divvying up the change for the poker tournaments later in the week. I have full rock star status for knowing to buy apple juice without being asked and thwarting a major meltdown.


Everyone starts with a bag full of coins.

This morning he and brotherJerry left in search of bike rentals and boogie boards. The grandgirls had a Frozen dance show. Elsa in her various incarnations. My second level of rock star status came when I had a charger to fit the son's portable speakers. Woot woot. In a very strange sequence of events, as the dance show was ending, the very tune I used to dance to in my living room (Sugar Sugar by the Archie's) popped up as the next song.

Elsa the Youngest


Elsa the Middle


Watcher of Elsa the Elder


(Picture taken from bedroom balcony)



Before I left, BFFAmber wished us a trip of Ease, Joy, and Glory. (I don't really "get" the glory part but it's what she says.). The name of the houses we have rented are Glori East and Glori West. The waffle cones we purchased yesterday had individual wrappers on them that said Joy. One of the kids in the next wave of guests is a trapeze artist (that's a bit of a stretch but it works for now.). Or we could just rename these three girls to make it work.


Joy, Glory and Ease


Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Reason You Still Read This Blog.

In addition to my clever words, one of the reasons you keep coming back is because every now and then I stumble upon a priceless gem of gems that will keep you giggling through the day.

In related news, today's 10,000 steps were brought to you by the Saturday morning flea market (a generous description) at the local fairgrounds. On my second lap (of six) around, I saw a box of craft books for $5. My reward for making all six laps was the magic box.

In honor of crackmeup Saturdays of days gone by, I give you the highlights from this box. Leave a comment if you want any of the patterns.(bwa ha ha)

The first book is this one-


Which suggests this as a Christmas craft-


Stupid stemless oranges and lemons.

And now for your viewing pleasure-


Where is she now?


Happily married to him?


Maybe she's sad because he left her for someone who could do a more traditional granny square


Or maybe she made him rue the day he left by becoming a granny square designer extraordinaire.


Or else she joined a cap wearing cult


That designed ties for bike-riding businessmen


And necklaces of subdued color to make ends meet.


Likely she had doubts as things started to get weirder.


The male blanket ritual was more than she could handle.


She thought she was doing him a favor when she tried to "Kill Kenny"


And was forced to wear the sheepskin of shame.


So she found new friends and began again.

Sometimes the universe just gives you a little flea market present. Other times all you get is a crocheted tennis racket cover.


And sometimes you get both.


Today's Walk

Was brought to you by the parking lots and air conditioning of America's most prevalent box stores.








Thursday, July 03, 2014

The Perfect Day


  • Nap all day
  • Take a walk
  • Track whistle pigs
  • Spot whistle pigs
  • Chase whistle pigs
  • Bath
  • Sleep


Friday, June 27, 2014

Your Daily French Lesson

We have a new knitnighter. Sadly I am not there as I type because HusbandBob is mansick.

However, knitnightbarry will fit right in after this awesome Facebook exchange between several of our knitnighters. It also proves that the term "balls of yarn" is funny in any language.

P.S. Knitnightbarry has a PhD in French.




At this point, of course I had to look up la roupette. Wouldn't you? It was an invitation to dance.



Monday, June 23, 2014

Another day at the office.

I will say this for the weekend's meditation retreat. Just as one goes to a therapist to gain clarity of mind, so goes one to a retreat such as this to gain clarity of body and presence.

It was lovely. With some new agey silliness. It's not every morning after breakfast you step outside to someone embracing a tree for 15 minutes. Also the bits of nature one woman brought to be mindful with was cacao. And if you are the lover of the tv show Portlandia as I am, then you know that I " 'bout lost my shit" inappropriately at that point.

There was zero walking for me but the flip side of that ws that all of the food served was vegan, gluten free, and dairy free. To be honest, I have no idea other than greens and beans what it was actually made of but no loss no gain in that department.

This morning's library treat was a few pages of "Constant Comment" ( a review of books known to be done not so anonymously by Dorothy Parker). Hilarious and one I might go back to. Reviewing a book called Lay Sermons by Lady Margaret something she notes that in spite of Lady M's opinions, the Thames was still full and wet. Also that the potential reader might do well to change the last word of the title to Off.

A joke now.

Q: What did the heart say to her misbehaving children in the back of the car?

A: if I have to stop, I'm going to pull over and give you a sound beating?

I didn't make that joke up but am lucky enough to have a friend lead me to it in improvisatory exchange. This also gives you a little taste of the laughing of the weekend.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Promotion!

HusbandBob teaches one class of "you didn't learn enough in high school algebra and now you want to be a nurse" math during the fall and spring semester at the local private college. (They call it a university but I have my doubts.) Today we took a drive past the building where he teaches. We also went to the library.

There is a small but sufficient (even with a little Jesus bias) college library in our town. Within walking distance. (3 miles or so away). It opens at 8:30 am. That's when I like to walk. That's the distance I like to walk. I like books and libraries.

My new job description (begining next week) will be to walk to the library, get a cup of coffee from the coffee bar set up in the basement, read a book about something I know nothing about for a little bit, and walk home.

I was nothing less than gleeful throughout the visit. They gave me a library card. While HusbandBob is an educated man, he isn't the sponge of learning new stuff that I am. He smiled at my joy but couldn't necessarily feel it. But then, that's why I have a blog.

Also, I walked eight miles today in between thunderstorms. And yesterday YouTube taught me the two second shirt folding method and I cleaned out my closet and my dresser. Who Is This Person Living In My Body?




Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Knowledge

When turkey buzzards are roosting, they do so with their wings spread.  They used to hang out on a creepy dead tree near my house that has since been cut down.  I'm glad to see they have found a new if not as aesthetically pleasing home.  They are, in fact, one of the many banes of Liza Jane's existence as she believes they will be attacking our home at any moment.

 There are flowering trees that I have never seen in my life.

I pass this view every day on my way to work.  It wasn't until I walked the route that I even realized it was there.  The field belongs to the local private university.  The distance almost makes this 'burg look like a lovely place.

A woman down the road has two chickens in a little house.  While adorable, I question whether those chickens have enough room in life.  The turkey buzzards are no doubt wondering if they have a key hidden under the mat.

The same neighbor has two cats that pose well together in the morning sunlight.

The same cannot necessarily be said for this guy.

I've managed to get at least 5 miles of daily walking for the last week or so.  I am  pleased.  Things I have learned from this are:

  • I've been wearing shoes that are too small.
  • The product "New Skin" for blister prevention is my new best friend.
  • If you find yourself out of "New Skin", vaseline also keeps the toes from bumping into each other.
  • I can't really concentrate on an audiobook when walking in new places.
  • My new second choice for the desert island book is The Count of Monte Cristo
  • I'm not sure what my first choice is, but I'm not ready to commit to one.
  • Once you get up at 6:00 am every morning to walk five miles, sleeping in until 9:00 am and taking care of household chores seems like a vacation.
  • Unless you are a cheater pants on fire, you must remove the fitbit flex when spinning (as well as knitting)  I am not a cheater pants on fire. 

 I attended the support spindle workshop at Natural Stitches on Sunday.  Why yes, I did drive all alone into the big city.  And when I drove home, I didn't even need a map to get out!

Here's what I have to keep reminding myself-  you draft to let the existing twist travel to the fiber.  You don't draft and then spin the twist into it.  In spite of repeating this to myself 742 times, it's still something I'm working on wrapping my brain around.  Also for a little while it hurt my brain to watch the process while flicking and spinning.  I had to practice with my eyes closed.  The other 3 workshop attendees (who seemed to have a good bit more spinning experience than I did) did not need to do so.  I can see where it will take time to get better.  The support spindle is less frustrating to me than the drop spindle and less crazymaking than  an actual spinning wheel.  It might be a stepping stone or I may have arrived at my spinning boundary with it.

Pinterest continues to be a source of inspiration and entertainment.  I made this with a collection of rings that no longer fit my sausage fingers.  It looks like the one in the picture except a few of my rings are deformed and unround from beating on drums.

I feel like I've done a lot for the first full week and a half of summer vacation.  I hope the trend continues. This weekend I am going to a meditation retreat (ha ha- typed medication at first) with BFFAmber. There will be chanting.  I may be opposed to chanting (ha ha typed changing!)  That remains to be seen.  I am also thinking a lot about crocheting and granny squares.  There are so many kinds and some of them are so beautiful.... and so hard!

Today, however, is household chore day which includes trying to figure out what clothes I have and how to store them in such a manner that I don't forget about them.  I'm one of those people that has to see what I have to know it exists.  

Thus ends summer update The Two.  Thanks for sticking around.  Also, thanks for the encouraging walking words.  I'm talking to you Suzanne of Minou's Minute!