Monday, December 29, 2008

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

Here's a picture.

Doesn't that look lovely and peaceful? A father cuddling his child. Awwwww.

Here's what was really happening.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas: A Time for Memories

Ours are maybe a little more skewed than others. (Does anybody remember that line from As Good As It Gets? Jack Nicholson says, "Some of us have good stories, with picnics and boats and noodle salad. Just nobody in this car." That line makes me laugh out loud just thinking about it.)

Paul reminded me this morning to turn off the ringer on the phone in the bedroom, in case Kooky Cousin calls again for the holidays. (If you didn't catch the story the first time, check it out here. It takes a few minutes to read, but it's worth it.)

Last week, we reminisced about the bullpen (a shellacked pile of cow poo with a pen holder in it) from the paternal family white elephant exchange - it went to another family who will undoubtedly enjoy it just as much, but we have fond memories.

Paul's maternal grandmother would have been 103 today. She died in 2001, and he still misses her. He's not the only one, I know. She was a lovely woman. She was always kind (and always feeding people, I hear), but if she thought you were a little too whiny about whatever pseudo-tragedy you'd just experienced, she'd say, "Well, I hope that's the worst thing that ever happens to you."

Two years ago, Paul and I fled the jurisdiction and spent Christmas in West Virginia, and had a Japanese Christmas Eve dinner with a serviceman and his fiance (the four of us were alone in a hibachi joint). They were getting married two days later, and he was shipping out in a week. I can't remember his name, but I hope he is safe.

A couple of years before that, I offered to have the family Christmas at my house and cook the turkey. First time for both. Things were going really well until the oven caught on fire.

If you're a little stressed about all the family celebrations and driving and schedules and all the pressure to be SO INSANELY CHEERY ALL THE TIME, remember that anything that isn't an outright tragedy will probably be hilarious later.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

What's In Your Stocking?

I know this isn't really the intended use for Levi's present from Grandma, but I couldn't resist!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Caption Contest

You tell me ... what should the caption be?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Should a Baby's Reach Exceed His Grasp?

Levi's newest little adventure has been textures. If he's sitting up in Paul's arms, he'll reach out and feel his sleeve carefully. Or the surface of the Boppy pillow (it's denim-covered). Or whatever he can reach, really.

My personal favorite is his discovery of Paul's beard. He reaches up and pats and rubs Paul's chin with one hand, and his expressions are so funny - I'd love to know what he's thinking.

He doesn't have a great grabbing motion yet, but he has managed to knock the wipe container off the changing table a few times, so I think we'll need to be on our guard pretty soon.

I'm having so much fun with his discoveries and his new little skills ... but I'm sad when things fall by the wayside. (He doesn't get tightly swaddled up to sleep anymore, for instance. And it was so cute.) All of life is a mixed bag, I guess.

In knitting news, I am about 60% done with a moebius scarf, and I'm looking forward to getting it off the needles to see exactly how it looks. It's so scrunched up on circulars that it's hard to tell what the finished product will look like. Hope to post "done" pictures soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Already Studying Up On Farming

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snow, Cousins, and the Cutest Picture Yet

We've started having snow around here - it looked like this mid-morning today.

A little while ago, we had a snow flurry. Nothing much stuck, but it did stay briefly on the cows. (It's a little hard to see with the picture this size. Squint, maybe.)

The camera has arrived from Canada, and refuses to answer questions about the delay in returning home. I mentioned the casinos in Windsor, and received only a closed shutter in response. I'm not sure what to think, but it is clear that we will have to keep a closer eye out when traveling abroad.

Here are a couple of pictures of Levi with cousins.

And we were able to get some pictures of Levi enjoying his time with the baby in the mirror. Daddy calls him The Boy, as in, "Do you want to say hi to The Boy now? He's right here in the mirror!" We're not sure exactly how much Levi has figured out about The Boy - whoever is holding him looks remarkably like Daddy, for instance - but he sure does get a kick out of looking at him. Here they both are, fresh from their baths and with plastered-down hair and big heart-melting grins. (Click to enlarge for maximum effect.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Man in the Mirror

Still no camera ... it is currently wending its way home from Canada. (Have I mentioned ever that customs via the postal service is a pain in the neck?)

I can give you a Totally Cute (tm) update, however. Levi discovered, for the first time, the baby in the mirror. Apparently he was quite pleased with his new friend and found him very amusing. He stayed in front of the mirror and laughed at him for a couple of minutes before he got tired of it. It was lots of fun, especially for Mom and Dad.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Phlegm for you? And you? And you? Yes, phlegm for three, please!

Ugh. We have picked up icky colds. Paul is less sick than I am (I have written this before, and notice a trend; how is this fair?), and we are waiting to see about Monsieur Bean.

I managed to leave our camera in Canada over the weekend, so no new pictures for awhile. In the meantime, enjoy these from the archives.

Bean Boy in his little cold-weather outfit made by mama. (If you follow the knitting, that is the BSJ I was working on in August. No pattern for the hat - I used the gee-I-hope-this-works method.) We went to an outdoor party/fish fry a couple of weekends ago, and the ensemble was put to good use.

Hats are good. Hats that slip down over your eyes are, clearly, not. Ooops.

Baby contemplates next move. Torment mother by crying inconsolably for no apparent reason? Smile spontaneously for maximum cuteness effect? Maintain dignified demeanor while entrapped in inexplicable and torturous baby-toting device? So many options.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Really, It's Unfair to Other Babies

Isn't it?*

*Please note that this blog does not claim to be an unbiased news source and that the above post is undoubtedly affected by blinding adoration. We do not intend any disrespect to other babies, and no babies were harmed in the creation of this post.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Daddy Is Silly

This is not exactly news to anyone who knows us well, or even really at all. But tonight he reached new heights (depths?) when he gave the baby ...

a shamp-hawk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Yes, I'm a bad blogger. Oops. The baby is unhappy about it, too. See?

Or he has gas in his tummy. It's hard to say.

I've been trying really hard to get a good picture of him in the sling. He spends really a lot of time there, and I figure we should document it. This picture was not it, though.

And neither was this one.

This one would be wonderful if I hadn't cut half his face off.

And this is the best I've achieved so far, I think. I'm going to keep trying, though.

We had to have a test done a couple of weeks ago which did not involve any needles nor any crying, but still resulted in him looking like he'd been in a fight.

Poor little guy. Time to go retrieve him from his nice warm living bed (he's sleeping on Daddy's chest). I'm sure he'll be really happy with me.

P.S. I neglected to talk about any knitting I've been doing. Which pretty much tells the whole story right there. Maybe later this week. (Oh, hush. Let me hold on to my illusions.)

Monday, September 29, 2008


I just got word that the neighbors had their baby tonight and everyone is safe and well. Mama Neighbor and I were doing a bit of plotting earlier and sort of hoping that the baby would be a boy, because how fun would it be to have a built-in playmate so close in age and just right up the street? And we got our wish, and Levi's buddy has arrived. Hooray!

(I don't know who I think I'm fooling. If the baby had been a girl, I'd be over the moon about that, too.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gratuitous Cute Pictures

That's it. Just some cute pictures. (If you have complaints about this post, please direct them to Auntie Lou, who will straighten out your priorities in short order.)

Levi likes his bath, although he loses patience with us when it's time to wash his hair. Last night, he took a shower with Mama (he's a slippery little sucker, but she held on very tight), which he really seemed to enjoy. His expressions were hilarious.

This was during a chorus rehearsal, when he was sleeping in his car seat. I was overcome by the cuteness of his little feet peeking out. I still am. (Hmmm. I cannot figure out how to rotate that picture in the blog. It's rotated on the computer, but doesn't transfer that way. To view properly, please flop your head over as if you are reading spines at the library.)

One of my favorite pictures so far.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Reward for a Good Deed

My sister-in-law called this morning and said, "I'm going to bring you lunch, and I can stay till 3:00, so you can take a nap, or run errands, or whatever you want!" I was excited. She brought me an Oriental Chicken Salad from Applebee's (Yum. Perhaps my favorite salad ever.), and I took a nice shower without listening for the baby, and then I decided to run to Target.

This was such a nice thing for her to do, and I am so grateful. So grateful, in fact, that when I was leaving for Target, I just went ahead and backed right into her car.

I'm so proud.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Friendly Ghost

I had a totally weird experience today.

It was late morning, and I really wanted a shower. (I know. I'm so demanding like that.) I fed the baby his bottle, made sure he was well burped -- Paul is still trying to figure out why burps from the baby are praised, and burps from the daddy are not -- wrapped him up tight, and plunked him in his swing. I didn't turn it on, though, because he only likes that sometimes, and when he's not liking it, he lets you know. And off I toddled to the shower.

Just after I soaped up my hair for the first time, he started yelling. "Oh, well," thinks I. "Yell away." I'm really not heartless, but what am I going to do about it anyway? I may as well finish my shower. About that time, I thought that I may have heard a car door outside. But I didn't hear the house door, and I didn't hear voices or a knock or a doorbell or anything. So I rinsed and repeated, and then conditioned.

When I got out of the shower, I noticed that the baby had stopped crying. Nice. Probably fell asleep. I got dressed in peace, and walked out into the kitchen.

Where the baby was all swaddled up in the swing, wide awake. Swinging.

Somebody was in my house. The swing does not swing regularly all by itself unless you turn it on. Even if you walk by and give it a push, it doesn't start the mechanism. It just swings a few times and then stops when it runs out of steam.

As close as I can figure, somebody meant to stop and say hi. They came in through the garage, and stuck their head in the door when I didn't answer the knock. Heard a baby screaming, and so came in to see what was up. Heard the shower running and figured it out. Decided to start the swing (probably thinking that it had originally been running and had stopped), and then decided to come back another time.

I think it's clear that our ghost was benevolent. S/he wanted the baby to be happy, and for me to be able to finish my shower in peace. But I have no idea who it was. There was no note, no borrowed item returned on the table, and not even a footprint or anything for a clue.

So. Was it you? I'm really quite curious, and hoping someone will 'fess up. (And considering locking the doors more carefully when I shower, not because you are a kidnapper, but because you might have been, and then where would we be?)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Settling In, and a Completed BSJ

We are all three settling in, and getting into some sort of a routine. I know it takes awhile. Here are some things we have learned:

1. Wet diapers are apparently quite comfortable.

2. Dirty diapers, on the other hand, are not to be tolerated for even one second.

3. It is wise to cover the plumbing at all times. A millisecond of non-vigilance leads to cleaning up the changing table. Again. (Yes, I know boys do this. But really, this much? Nearly every time? It's sort of impressive, really.)

4. Vitamin drops do not taste good. I am dreading the future on this front. Right now, all he can do is cry a little. In a while, I'm afraid it's going to be worse than baptizing a cat.

5. I like my blankie from my online aunties. (Grandma liked it, too.)

6. The sling is a Good Thing. Even though it does not necessarily induce sleepiness. (He tends to stare up at me for a long time after he's all bundled up. It's pretty funny, and the picture does not do it justice. Though it does show off his delightful pointy little chin, does it not?)

I did complete my first BSJ. The morning before Levi was born, in fact. (I have not done much knitting since.) I am excited for him to be big enough to wear it, and I will surely post pictures of that! In the meantime, here's the finished product, minus a model.

I really enjoyed this project, and I'd like to do another. This was a worsted weight on size 6 needles (I think), and I may do a worsted on size 8 for a slightly larger size. I have great grand ideas of doing a coordinated set for some twins that are yet to be born. We'll have to see how things go, and how much knitting time I can carve out of my days in the future!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Breaking Radio Silence

I've been pretty quiet during the month of August. It wasn't on purpose, but I was fairly distracted, and trying to get a bunch of things done around the house. Last week, I reorganized the basement, so everything is in totes or boxes and on shelves. I feel like an "after" picture in an organizing magazine. Anyway, the reason I've been so distracted (and so motivated to get the basement done) is this:

That's Levi Michael. He was born Friday, August 22, and he came home to us on Wednesday, August 27, after all the adoptive placement paperwork was completed. We are head over heels in love with him. Even after last night. (I'm sure the nurses in the nursery didn't mind him being up all night, since they had to be up anyway. It's not going to work long-term at home, though!)

I'm a little foggy, and I can't think of any other news to report, but here are more pictures, since that's probably what you want anyway. Oh, the cuteness!

My mama likes me, I think. (Ignore her puffy eyes. I made everybody stay up pretty late.)

See, I do have eyes.

Ready to go home!

Sleepy boys, home at last.

Bean baby. :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

A BSJ Attempt

I am at last making an attempt on the venerable Baby Surprise Jacket. This pattern was written by Elizabeth Zimmermann in 1968 and has apparently been knit in great numbers every year since then. It's still very popular, which I find amazing. It is in fact so popular that it's known by its initials (the BSJ) which is sort of like being Madonna. Or Cher, if you're old enough to remember her. Mostly what I remember about Cher is that scandalous outfit she wore in the video for "If I Could Turn Back Time." Understand that I grew up without a television, and did not see music videos. Then we went to a hotel, and I turned the TV on and saw a woman dressed in fishnets and ... belts, maybe? dancing around a bunch of sailors. It was all rather shocking, and I've yet to figure out what the Navy has to do with that song. You may still be trying to figure out what Cher has to do with the BSJ, and thinking that I don't have much of a leg to stand on if I'm going to get all snotty about relevance. I'll try to reign myself in.

Anyway, having recently fallen rather hard for the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono and knit three of them in quick succession, I've had a few people mention the BSJ to me as an even more fantastic baby pattern. One of the yarn shops I visited had the pattern in stock, so I snapped it up. I'm about 40% done right now, although the picture below doesn't show quite that much progress, since it was taken yesterday and I've been working a bit since then.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "Uh, that doesn't look like a baby jacket." You are so right. Hence the surprise. This is such a clever pattern. Basically, you knit a blob, fold it a certain way, and you get a baby jacket. It's great motivation to keep knitting. I keep thinking, "Really? This is actually going to work?" so I keep knitting along to get to the surprise.

Aren't the colors cute? My friend Beth (the Fetching recipient) helped me pick them out the other night. I'm calling it the Lil' Punkin jacket. Heh.

I know Elizabeth Zimmermann is probably spinning in her grave, but I'm not knitting this up in the strongly recommended wool. It's in Berocco Comfort, which is a very nice quality acrylic/nylon. I have not yet been able to bring myself to knit a baby garment in something that has to be handwashed. I know what babies get on their garments.

There's an adult version of this jacket as well. Perhaps I should knit one for Cher. That outfit can't be very warm.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sisyphean Dreams

Someone said once that dreams are the only way a sane man may express his madness.**

Well. I must have some serious unexpressed madness about me lately. For the past three nights in a row, I've had what I can only describe as Sisyphean dreams. Dreams of being given a completely impossible, unending, and frustrating task, of trying so, so hard to get it done, and of feeling like I can't walk away from it. The task is different every night, and to be honest I can't remember the details, mostly (although I think one of the tasks was trying to keep Paris Hilton from buying anything while in a ten-floor posh shopping mall, and how weird is it that I was dreaming about that?). But I wake up exhausted, and discouraged.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that it's about the total lack of control I'm experiencing over large events in my life, and my inability to be at peace with that lack of control. A lesson which you might think I should already have learned (and you'd be right about that), but at which I am apparently quite a stubborn pupil.

So if you have any suggestions -- preferably of the non-trite variety -- for hastening the learning process, I'd be grateful for a good night's sleep. One in which I actually rest.

** I googled my little fingers off and couldn't find the exact quote; if you know what it is, I'd be delighted to credit it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Little Fainting Spell (and, Knitting Again At Last)

Oh, well, actually ... not quite. I've always thought it would be romantic to faint (preferably dead away, and preferably with a prodigiously handsome man nearby to catch me), but I've never managed it.

I did squeal like a little girl, though. My very attentive husband thought I'd been shot. Or seen a mouse. What brought on this excitement, you ask? I was mentioned by The Yarn Harlot herself. (It took awhile to explain to him why this was so eventful that it was necessary to give him a mild heart attack. I'm not sure he gets it yet. I don't understand why none of my links show up, so we're even.)

I feel like I've been allowed to touch the hem of her garment. I'm inspired to cast on all sorts of things that are far beyond my ability. I, too, can knit multiple baby sweaters in just a few days! *cue Chariots of Fire theme*


I am knitting again, though, which is Very Good. I know it sounds silly, but honestly I could hardly think of my own name there for awhile. I could just manage some garter stitch if I concentrated really very hard, and went along at a pace at which snails would scoff. Now, though, I'm five days out of quarantine and back on the thyroid medication.

I'm not back to normal (or what usually passes for it), but I'm making progress and have graduated to working on Annie's little surprise for Italy again. I've committed to finishing that before I cast on a Tuscany shawl for myself in Pumpkin (lovely, lovely dark-ish orange) Sea Silk.

I'm still deciding whether to rip out the Dashing I finished, or knit another and give the set as a gift to someone. Here's a picture:

It just does not fit me and my manly wrists. But it might be lovely for someone else. What do you think?

In other news, I noticed that I got "occurrence" wrong in the title of my last post, which I've now fixed. I used to be an editor, for heaven's sake. That's just embarrassing. And now I'll wait for someone to point out something awful I've done in this post as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An Occurrence that Shouldn't Be Newsworthy, But Is

I just got off the phone with someone at our health insurance company who:

- knew what he was doing,
- got me the answers I needed,
- apologized sincerely for the month-long runaround I've been getting, and
- seemed to actually give a hoot.

I don't have words.

Wait, I do:

Thank you, Michael.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Of Cheese, and Other Things That Make Me Happy

I am tiring quickly of this silly diet. Of the things I may not have, I think I miss cheese the most. More than chocolate, even. Since I may not have any cheese with this particular whine (oh, har-har, I know), I thought I'd make me feel better by listing some things that make me happy that I may have:

- dozing through thunderstorms
- Handmaiden Sea Silk (being knit up into a surprise for Annie)
- big sloppy wet kisses from nieces and nephews
- friends who listen to me whine
- Netflix, who is singlehandedly keeping me entertained while I am too mentally foggy to focus on reading
- friends and family who will ferry me about without whining
- Socks that Rock, being knit up into socks for me

And none of those things are fattening, either. Perhaps I'll have to rethink my love of cheese.

Or not. Only 11 1/2 more days, Lord willing and I pass the blood test.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fetching Relatively Vegan Food

I cast one my first pair of Fetchings about 10 days ago and finished them in two days. (For those not obsessed with needle arts, Fetching is an insanely popular pattern published about two years ago at I began to see immediately why it's such a popular pattern. They work up really quickly and are very pretty. I used a cotton nylon blend yarn from KnitPicks, so these are also super soft. Here's a picture.

As of this morning, they're residing with their intended owner, Miss Beth. Who is married to Uncle Jeffy, but is not called Aunt. Keeping track of our actual relations, shirt-tail relations, and those we have just shanghaied into relation is rather complex. Ahem.

It's my fourth day on my not-quite-vegan low-iodine diet, and I'm doing well so far. Yesterday I made egg salad with egg whites only and avocado instead of mayonnaise. I found some dry mustard in the cupboard to spice it up a bit, and if you can get past the color -- sort of non-gendered baby blanket green without the cute factor -- it's pretty good. I had it open-face on bread today, with tomato slices on top. Fresh pineapple on the side. Not bad at all.

Not that I wouldn't jump on some lasagna if I could. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Whirlwind Tour of New England

And only bits of it, at that. I'd like to go back at and take a more leisurely pace through Boston, at least.

Our original reason for going was the annual meeting of the American Milking Devon Association, held annually in Tunbridge, Vermont. Tunbridge is a delightful town. We met in the Town Hall, next to the church.

After leaving the meeting in Tunbridge, we stopped at the birthplace of Joseph Smith (paging Carrie!) and visited the monument there.

At the bottom of the hill, we stopped at Dixie's. I believe there were eight tables inside, they only took cash, and they had the best turnovers I have ever eaten. Which cost $1.25. It is good Dixie's is not nearby, or I fear I would develop an addiction to her raspberry turnovers. Yum.

Continuing our (completely unintended) religious education theme for the day, we stopped at the Enfield Shaker Museum. Our guide was pretty funny, and tried to draw us into a discussion of national and local politics. Having no knowledge about the latter and being pretty tired of the former, we politely declined. In fact, I believe we played dumb, which is a more useful tool than you might believe.

The next morning, after church, we drove to Walden Pond, and saw a replica of Thoreau's house, and the pond itself. I was most struck by how quickly I could clean that house, leaving plenty of time for knitting. Of course, I'm not sure my yarn stash would fit. Or I'd have to choose between Paul and the yarn. So probably moving is not a good idea.

Sunday evening, we arrived outside of Boston, and the next morning we went on a whirlwind tour of the city. We saw the harbor

and the aquarium

and the Old Burying Ground

where Sam Adams is buried

and then a swan napping on the Boston Common.

We left the next morning, after deciding that the 12 hour trip home would be better split into two days. We stayed overnight in Seneca Falls, New York. (Thank goodness there was one hotel room left. One. We didn't have a reservation, and ended up in the handicapped access room, which is the same except more room between things and a very large shower. In fact, we liked it a lot.)

After breakfast in Seneca Falls, I realized that one of my favorite yarn dyers is in the Finger Lakes region. I couldn't remember exactly where, but I thought if we were really close, I'd never forgive myself for not trying. Figuring we were probably a couple of hours away, I decided to give it a shot anyway. A friend at home found their phone number on their website (thanks, Big Daddy!), and I called. We were only 15 minutes away. I was very excited, and Paul was very tolerant. :)

Here's a picture of one of the stockrooms at Schaefer Yarn. I nearly had the vapors.

The company operates out of an older yellow farmhouse, and I was able to watch some of the employees dipping yarn, and hand-painting yarn. I was asked not to take any pictures of the process, so I can't share any here. Lovely, friendly employees. I enjoyed myself very much.

We drove back to Seneca Falls later that morning, and went through the national park for women's rights. Here's a picture of me next to a likeness of Sojourner Truth.

If you've never read her famous "Ain't I a Woman?" speech, delivered in Akron, Ohio, you should go do that right now. (That's a link, for your convenience.)

That's about it. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I'm off to bake cornbread and chocolate chip blondies, and then take a nap.

P.S. Picturs? Ain't I an editor? Thank goodness for the edit function.