Saturday, April 29, 2006

To sweep, perchance to dream

Ok. Yes, it's a horribly corny title. But that's what I did today. The weather today was LOVELY. Perfect. Not too hot. Not too sunny. Not too windy. Just a fantastic around 7o degree day. I knew ahead of time that it would probably be nice today, and I wanted to take advantage of the weather. This week is Spring Cleanup week, so anything we put out on the tree lawn (devil strip...whatever you call that swatch of land between the sidewalk and the street that the city claims) the trash man will take next week, though much of it gets picked through before the garbage truck ever goes past at 7 am.

Today we cleaned off our back patio. It's really more of a carport attached to the garage, but I can't imagine having the driving skills required to actually put a car under it and get it back out without putting it into the kitchen or taking out the side porch. It does have a decent light in the center ceiling and a two-plug outlet, so I could bring out the laptop when it's low on juice or tunes if I wanted. Anyway, we had accumulated some junk and trash since last fall (old lawnmower that no longer works, kids' toys that never should have made the trip outside, and tons of organic debris). I set about mowing the lawn first, always with my trusty helpers, and then to clearing the porch. Once we got the porch cleared off, I pulled out all the lawn furniture and the Little Tikes slide jungle gym thingie (technical term, ya know) from the shed, and the kids and I scrubbed and sprayed them all off. Then I swept. And swept. And swept. There was so much dirt and leaves and muck on the porch that it took several wheelbarrowfuls to get it all cleared out. Now that it's done, I can think of all sorts of things I'd like to do to make it a little more inviting. Roll up mosquito netting so I can convince hubby to hang out with me in the evenings or have a bug-free supper outside, a firepit for the firebug in me, some fun string lights to set the ambience, a hammock for reading or knitting, new annuals to put in the flower boxes...ooh...I'm getting twitchy just thinking about it all!

Once we got the porch all set...the kids were bent to have a picnic. And picnic we did. Hubby got hot dogs and cheddar brats and potato salad and baked beans and mixed veggies, and we ate it all outside on the back patio. So nice. The neighbor girl came to play this afternoon, and the boys were insistent that she stay for the picnic, which I didn't mind at all. After a good meal and some more play, two dirty boys and one dirty momma decided to call it a night and come in for a bath. I couldn't believe the dirt that came off the boys. Then I washed my feet, and, well, they were worse yet!

We were so busy working that I neglected to take any pictures, but I did snap this one of J-rock yesterday sporting his freshly-trimmed locks while chomping into a candied sugar egg that he got for Easter...he decided after a few crunches of the hard frosting on the outside that he was more into the chocolate coins that he got in the plastic eggs.

Tomorrow will be spent tilling up the garden and hopefully laying the timbers for the raised bed!! I'll probably also try to snap some pics of the work outside. Unfortunately (well...or maybe fortunately, as it would be a bit embarassing), we didn't get any before pics.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Sunflowers and Butterfly...sounds like summer to me!

While the weather yesterday did not speak summer to me (there was a pretty fair frost on the ground yesterday morning), other things have me in the mood for the upcoming summer. There are now officially 2 weeks to go until I'm finished with this semester. I have 4 classes left total (one per day next week), and both of my finals are on the same Thursday the following week. Summer break, here I come!!

I decided that despite my poor performance on Monday's chemistry test that I'm gonna come back, kick fanny, and take names on the final. It's worth more than one exam, so I'm hoping that a stellar performance and the hope of some extra credit will help me out (that and maybe some groveling, which I'm not above). So much studying I will do, as a green pointy-eared fella might say.

In between the studying, I need some stress relief, and crafting always seems to fit the bill (well that and doing stuff outdoors, but the weather hasn't been so conducive to that lately). So I've cast on for Butterfly. The pattern starts with the frilly hem which is worked side to side and then the stitches for the body will be picked up from that. It's an 8 row repeat, and after the third time doing the repeat, I'm starting to get it down a bit so I don't have to go so slow reading the instructions. Here's my progress:

The picture was taken in front of the picture window in our front room in natural light, so the colors are bit more true than the picture I took of the gauge swatch the other night. You can't tell, but there is one bead at each of the points on the bottom of the piece. The purple yarn on the right is waste yarn (which is also why it is so wonky on that end). Later, that end will be grafted to the other end, so the waste yarn will be removed to reveal live stitches.

Also, yesterday I spent more time making some more stitch markers. The ones I have in my Clapotis right now are ginormous, and I wanted some with rings that would better fit the size of the needles. I think some of the ones I have on there now are made for small branches. So I got a little out of control in making these new ones. They are completely addictive, partly for the instant gratification factor, and partly because it feels good to dive into my bead stash. I bought most of these glass beads a few years ago with the intention of making jewelry (that never happened, as knitting always seems to reign here, and I never got really inspired with a design) and some of them are Fimo beads that I made a very long time ago when I lived in Bloomington.

Some of these still need the jump rings attached when I get a chance, but I've at least got enough now to replace all the ones I don't like on my Clapotis.

I particularly like the ones with the sunflower Fimo beads. I also noticed that I made them in pairs or made a pair with another similarly designed third marker. The hematite ones will be fun with smaller rings for smaller needles. I also noticed that I had a lot of green beads. Hmm...anyone want to guess what my favorite color at the time was? It's hard for me to say now what my favorite color is. I'm drawn to so many.

On to other things...this picture was sent to me by the girl in the middle, Kathy. She and I worked together last semester on research. Think I might have posted about that a while ago. There was a contest for best poster, and ours won. Probably because of all the pretty fluorescent pictures of cells. The prize was a $20 gift certificate to the bookstore (which doesn't usefully divvy up between 4 people, so the other two gals bought a frame and some highlighters and put the picture of the 3 of us in it to give to the professor who supervised the research. He was touched, I think. So here we are on the day of the biology symposium posing with our poster. Dr. Kline took the picture, so he couldn't be in it with us. The girl on the far right worked on it this semester after I left. Oh, and that's me on the far left, in case you didn't know. And, yes, that is a Booga Bag in action on my right arm.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Another one bites the dust

In my post MCAT fog, I had to find time and brain cells to soak up three chapters worth of organic chemistry. Needless to say, it didn't work so well, and I didn't do well on my test yesterday. After crying in the car on my way home and again once I got home, I decided I needed fiber therapy. So I grabbed my new ( to me anyway) Rowan #37 and headed off to the LYS for some SEX (stash enhancement mom...well...and yarn p0rn). I wanted Rowan yarns to use, but since my LYS doesn't carry them, and I needed new fiber in a hurry, I found another mohair yarn that will work equally well, and I loved the colorway. So I picked it up and got a steal of a deal on it. The colors are very pastel with purples, blues, and pinks.

As soon as I got it home, I swatched. The pattern for Butterfly is really pretty easy for lace. I found the perfect beads for it today.

So here are a few things I would like to make:



Umm...can't remember the name... many things I'd like to knit...and nothing in the stash to knit them! In addition to this are CeCe from ChicKnits, the Somewhat Cowl, and Tempting from Knitty. I have a lot of worsted weight stuff with one or two skeins but not much in the light worsted or double knitting weights, which it seems so many of the Rowan patterns call for. I see lots of SEX in my future, although not at JoAnn's. I was hoping to make some of these things with cheap yarn so I could throw it in the wash and abuse it and wear it out...but JoAnn's has turned into Novelty Yarn Hell. This is the place they send knitters to who have been very, very bad. Can't think of anything off the top of my head that could be that bad (except maybe knitting the Freedom Poncho), but good grief. They now have some yarns that have a decent fiber content (like real wool, some merino even...and a wool/cotton blend), but none of them are in a gauge that anyone knits with (like a very light sport weight but not fingering weight or weird stitch row combinations), or they're in a super bulky gauge. Hasn't anyone told them that sweaters made out of bulky gauge yarns make you look like you ate a seal. In one bite. A furry one at that. Needless to say, I vented my frustration on the poor girl working there who knew what yarn was but wasn't sure what to do with it.

Guess this means I may be doing some Ebay diving or online shopping.

The other thing I need to do is some serious spring cleaning of the stash and equipment. Can't find needles and things because they're all over the house in various places, and the yarn stash is becoming a tangled mess. I may need to employ the Fluffa! method of stash control. No new yarn purchases until the project on the needles is being seamed. You know what that means? Project monogamy. That's a huge commitment for me. Not so sure I'm ready for that.

I also picked up larger jump rings and made a couple of stitch markers tonight. Nothing too exciting or special, but this is addictive....and a good excuse to dive into my bead stash. Yes...another stash that I have. I seem to be accumulating a lot of craft stash lately, from Waldorf things to yarn to beads. This summer is looking like a craft bonanza! Woot! Two weeks from Thursday I will be D.O.N.E.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

So spent that I can't afford to pay attention

The MCAT is finally over. Finally. Over. If I never see another physics or general chemistry passage before I die, I'll be happy. Now comes the wait. Eight weeks or so to be imprecise. Why it takes so long is beyond me. I did the hard work of filling in the bubbles and guessing. All they should have to do is feed the sheets through their 'puter and let it spit out my results. Lick a stamp, in the mail, done. Instead, I paid a ridiculous sum of money to sit and fill out bubbles while doing arithmetic in my head and flat out closing my eyes and randomly picking any answer, while watching my two proctors make goo-goo eyes at each other (which was beyond me, as they really did not seem like a good match. It was like the guy with the stapler in Office Space hooking up with Jennifer Aniston, though this girl wasn't that cute), and now I will have to wait until June and wonder whether or not I'll have to repeat this hell in August. At least I had knitting with me...and the needles were plastic, else I might have committed hiri-kiri about halfway through the physical sciences section. I felt better after it was over and I had lunched on Chinese buffet. Mmmm. Chinese Donuts.

I think I rocked at least the first part of the writing section. Almost made me feel like the kid in the Christmas Story when he writes his essay about the Red Rider BB gun and in his imagination his teacher reads it out loud and then draws big fat A+++++ across the board while the rest of the kids cheer. I almost stood up and took a bow. Second part of the writing section sucked, but it was a politics prompt, and well...politics and I, we don't get along. Biological sciences was tough. Hard to say how I really did on that.

More on politics later. Ok, now. I met Sherrod Brown yesterday and told him our sob story about how the plan at Pocket Protectors 'R' Us is still to lay off several hundred workers by next May, one of the first possibly being my non-seniority hubby who works his arse off 10 times as hard as some of the other blokes in the office who make watching paint drying look like busy work. The congressman came to our school to chat with the university's Dems group, and I'm just a nosey kind of gal, so I went to check it out. It was actually a really intimate gathering. I'd pictured a room filled with hundreds of people where you basically get to sit and listen but never really get your questions answered, but there were maybe 30 or so people there. It was pretty nifty actually getting to ask questions and make comments and get response and feedback. If all politics were like this, I don't think I'd mind so much. It's not, so I do, but that's another story. The fella actually had things to say that I liked to hear, so that was good. He was quite sympathetic to what I had to say and wrote down the details. Not sure what he'll do with it, but if he could put a bug in someone's ear before next May, that'd be great. I kinda like the area and don't want to have to leave, which is likely what would happen if hubby did lose his job.

So after today's test, I came home to a CLEAN house (love you hubby, love you MIL, love you kids!!!), which made my day after feeling all bubbly. I got to come home and play with the kids OUTSIDE until hubby put dinner on the table. Am I spoiled or what? I pulled out the tent E. Bunny brought the kids for Easter, and we had a ball. Dinner was awesome, thanks to my skilled houseboy.

Easter was great. We were down in C-bus with the hubby's side of the family and E. bunny made quite the appearance. With all the warm weather we've been having, spring fever has hit hard, and we all want to be outside digging and playing in the dirt. The kids both got gardening tools. Jonah's favorite is the watering can. He goes in and out of the house filling and emptying. Liam got a bug vacuum and other bug things so he can check out all the creepy crawlies. Have to say that the bug vacuum is one of the best inventions EVER. I have borrowed it on at least two occasions now to suck up 8-legged freaks and dispose of them back out into nature where they belong while not having to worry about whether or not Ms. Muffet's best friend is going to escape and crawl up my arm. The tent was part of the haul as was a pair of walkie talkies.

Even I've been fascinated with the bug vacuum. It has a detachable piece that you can look at the bugs through a magnifier after you've sucked them up and closed the trap door. Yeah. Spiders up close? Um. Those should not be looked at through magnifying glasses. Some things should just stay small. My mom used to suck up bugs with the vacuum cleaner when I was a kid, which is probably why I'm so into this toy, but I've always been afraid that they'll crawl back out and then I'll have to deal with them again. Mom once used the vacuum to suck up what seemed like hundreds of praying mantis babies when they hatched out of a sac in our Christmas tree one year. I wanted to keep them as pets. She vowed never to get another real tree and got out the Electrolux. The bug vacuum is the next best thing. I suck them up and ditch them back outside far away, like the neighbor's yard, where I know they're not as likely to end up back in the house. Found a big hairy spidey this morning like the one in the toilet paper roll last week, only this one was in the shower. Fun.

And now for a bit of knitting content...Anyway, I had Clapotis with me today. It seemed like a pretty easy project that I could work on between sections of the test. Why not the ribby cardi, you ask? Because it's going to have to be frogged. Probably completely. For various reasons. Erg. So I finished all the pieces last week, right? And I started seaming at SNB on Wednesday. Got the left and right fronts seamed to the back and got one raglan sleeve attached. I was so excited that I tried it on. Hubby is not much bigger than me. As a matter of fact, he's about the same size. So when I tried it on...and the armhole was too snug, I knew it wouldn't fit him either. The size of the armhole from the shoulder to the bottom of the armpit is not tall enough, and so it's too tight around the arm. That combined with the fact that hubby isn't crazy about the all ribbed sleeves being so snug either, just wasn't going to fly. The body fit great, though. I knitted what I thought would be a larger size because I knew he'd want it somewhat fitted but not tight. I lengthened the body and the sleeves, which would have worked out great (actually, I think I may have lengthened the sleeves too much). So now what? I have no idea how to rework the armholes and sleeves, and hubby has decided that maybe he'd like a pulli instead of a cardi, so it's looking like the whole thing is going to the frog pond. Too bad really, as that has been a semester's worth of knitting down the pooper. I may cast on another one for myself in the all ribbing in another size larger and see how that goes. I'm planning on doing other knitting in the meantime while I recover from that. Rowan #37 came in the mail the other day from an eBay purchase, and I'm going to make Butterfly...and a few other things. Oh, Rowan, why didn't I check into you before??? Unfortunately, it seems their yarn is difficult to substitute for, and my favorite LYS doesn't carry it, so I may be scouring the internet looking for some Rowan stuff. If the yarn is anything like the patterns, I can see why some of it is referred to as crack. Like Cracksilk Haze...gonna have me some of that. My treat for finishing the MCAT.

Sorry for the lack of photos (and editing), but I'm trashed ( friends are literally tonight) and gonna get some kip before settling in for a long day of studying tomorrow. Organic test 3, here I come....

Monday, April 17, 2006

As heard on the way to Columbus

Liam: "I'm going to take a nap so that when I wake up I'm all-powerful."

We spent the weekend in Columbus with the hubby's family and had a great time. More about that another time. This week is the last week before the MCAT, so I'll be pretty well MIA.

Of note, I did finish the sleeves to the ribby cardi, and I'll post pics this week if I can.

Friday, April 14, 2006


We bought tickets to go see the Cavs through Liam's school a while ago. The tickets were a fundraiser for a mom who has cancer, and when the poster encouraging ticket sales was hanging up at the door where we go into the school, Liam could barely contain himself. "Mom...look...can we go see LeBron?" How could I resist? I've never been to a pro game before (I've done tons of high school hoops), and I thought he was at just the right age to enjoy going. So, we got three tickets, and last night was the big game.

The anticipation has been building since early in the week. Liam would ask what the date was, and then he'd do the math on how many days he had left until the game. He could hardly contain his excitement yesterday. By the time I got there, he was literally bouncing off everything. He was in the car, buckled, and ready to go with Cavs shirt on nearly the instant we told him it was time to leave.

The ride there took about 45 minutes or so, and traffic was fairly snarled by the time we got close to the stadium. Turns out there was also a home Indians game, so things were pretty wild. We finally got parking, and he skipped (the boy can skip now!) nearly the whole way to our seats. The tickets were fairly inexpensive, so I knew that likely meant nosebleed seats, and I wasn't wrong. There were only a few rows above ours to the very top of the stands. We were at about midcourt, so the view wasn't too bad, considering how high we were.

When we came in the arena, they were handing out rolled banners to everyone. They had two handles, and as the handles were pulled apart, the banner would unroll to reveal "GO CAVS!....GO CAVS!" This alone was a great source of entertainment. The introductions were loud and used pyrotechnics, and Liam's comment was that those belonged outside. We brought binoculars, and he used those to get a closer view of all the activity on court.

Once the game started, he really got into it. He cheered the whole game, hollering out DE-FENSE offbeat, clapping and screaming when the Cavs scored, and laughing at the antics of Moon Dog the mascot. The thing he found funniest? The cheerleaders. Apparently, scantily clad ladies dancing is very funny. I thought so, too. The guys around me, however, did not. They were talking about getting autographs and the such.

We didn't get to see LeBron play, as he was out with a sprained ankle, but we did see him in his bright yellow vest and tie sitting the bench. Despite LeBron being out, the game was pretty exciting with a come from behind victory. By the end of the 4th quarter, weariness was really getting to Liam, but he hung in there, cheering between big lion yawns. I did see other children who didn't make it to the end of the game and were sleeping agains their parents before the last shot was thrown.

The antics during the time outs and halftime were pretty entertaining. MoonDog was everywhere rallying the crowd. During halftime, they did a bowling thing were they set up large inflatable pins and used a giant slingshot to catapult Barney the purple dinosaur and then Moon Dog across the court and into the pins. They also showed a story about a boy with autism who was the manager of a high school basketball team. The boy was actually pretty highly functional considering his autism, and during the final game of the season, they let him dress and put him in for the last few minutes of the game. He sunk several 3-point shots and ended up being the highest scorer in the game. So they brought the whole team out, gave them all Cavs jerseys with their names on the back, and then let the autistic boy shoot some shots. He actually made several, and the crowd went wild for him. I can only imagine what an impact that made on him.

He fell asleep on the way home, as we knew he would, and this morning talked about all the fun he had. I didn't get to snap too many photos, but I did get these. I tried catching Liam with the huge grins he had for most of the time we were there, but every time I snapped a picture, I caught him not smiling.

Can we go now Daddy?

I see you...

What are those girls doing?

MoonDog catapulted across the court


Probably my favorite parts of the game: Liam laughing at the cheerleaders and seeing how much he enjoyed the game, the guys doing breakdancing during time outs (they had a guy who spun on his head for 2 minutes!! How he didn't fall over or puke when he was done was beyond me), bowling using Barney as the ball, the sweet autistic kid they honored during halftime, and the come from behind win.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Of snakes and spiders and creepy crawly things

First off...and only because I'm proud as all get out...I got an A+ on my molecular test. 106 out of 100. Quite the improvement from a 59 on the last test. And 59 was a B last time, so I was still on the good end of the curve last time. Most of the class did much better than last time, and going to the help sessions and doing all that hanging out on campus studying really helped. So now I have high hopes of an A in the class. Phew!

You can tell that the weather is finally improving. All Mother Nature's creatures are coming out from their slumber and basking in the sun and the warmer temps. Highs yesterday were in the 60s, and today topped out in the low 70s, both days with brilliant blue skies. The crabapples are starting to bloom, and the small bushes and trees are sending out green shoots. The frogs have been singing in the ponds lately too.

Because of this, some of the things that were previously hanging out in dark holes to slumber are now coming out to say hello. Now, I've never been much of a basement person. Goes back to my uncle's basement when I was a kid. You know the kind. Dark, damp, laden with cobwebs. And what is it with old basements having random creepy bathroom facilities? My uncle's had a shower. Nothing but a shower head and a curtain hanging on a rod and a drain in the middle of the concrete floor. Creeped me out everytime I went down there, which, mind you, was not often, but these things only take once or twice to take effect. This fear of basements plagues me still. When we first moved into this house, the basement was half finished, but it was still dark, damp, and had a shower stall on the unfinished side. The ceiling in the shower stall was open to the rafters, and I could never get up the unction to get in and clean up. Maybe I saw too many horror flicks as a kid where the spiders dropped down on the poor unsuspecting gal while she soaped. That's always where the psycho killers get their victim, too. I'm sure they were all basement showers. Or I thought that I never could get clean in a dirty basement. Mostly it was the creep factor.

Our basement is now mostly (and very nicely) finished save for the utility room. There is plenty of light, and it doesn't feel like a basement except for the utility room. Which is where I don't go unless I need tools for something or a cleaning supply or to get out decorations. While the basement is nicely finished, we still get our fair share of creepy crawlies. Centipedes of a couple different varieties, daddy long legs spiders, and this time of year, fat hairy spiders. We sometimes get them in the shower, likely from crawling through the exhaust fan. You can see where I'm going with this, right?

So I'm in the basement bathroom this morning getting ready to go to class. In our bathroom, there are a multitude of rolls of toilet paper. One on the dispenser where it belongs, and this morning, another on the sink likely displaced from upstairs. Heaven knows why. While applying my lotion, I overindulged and needed a quick piece to dab at the extra. So I grabbed some from the roll on the counter and then put the roll back down where I found it. As I was putting it back down, I caught something out of the corner of my eye in the center of the roll. At first, I thought I was putting the toilet paper on top of something else (my bathroom is always in disarray, despite efforts otherwise), so I peered down the center of the cardboard tube to see what I had hidden. Turns out something was hiding...and not of my doing.

I have no idea what kind of spider this guy was, but he was pretty hairy. Now, I used to be horribly squeamish and scared of spiders. I can pretty well guarantee that if one crawls on me I'll have a conniption and dance freakishly. I am not a huge fan and won't be making pets of tarantulas (though I might an inchworm...another story for another time) any time soon. Now that I have children, I'm trying not to pass my phobias on to them. Spiders do important things. They eat other crawly things and flies. They just don't belong in my house. Used to be if I saw one, I would holler for the exterminator (hubby), and he could come smush the spider with whatever flat thing happened to be handy and then remove the carcass. Now, I'm getting braver as I mature. I took two cups that happened to be in the bathroom (See...disarray has its occasional advantages). One over the top of the roll, delicately picked up the roll and rested it atop the other cup and carried it outside. I then left the roll on the back porch to give Mr. Spider time to whether he was ready to vacate or not.

I came back this afternoon, and the dog (or the wind, who knows?) had moved the roll off the porch and into the back yard. I peeked into the tube, and wouldn't you know, the darn thing hadn't moved out. I decided to give him a nudge and picked the roll up and dropped it, hoping to jar him out, but he built himself a nice nest in there and didn't fall out. I'm thinking the roll is going in the outside trash can. The trash man can figure it out next week. I did my duty in putting him back outside where he belongs and was nice in not squishing him into oblivion.

And of other slithery things....I went on a nice long bike ride yesterday not far from campus. The weather was spectacular, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. Part of what I love about this area is the plethora of parks and bike/hike trails that are nearby. So I took the mountain bike and rode out the bike/hike trail. I always see some fun wildlife on my trips. Usually birds, sometimes deer, the occasional hedgehog (which I did see yesterday!), and plenty of chipmunks and squirrels.

As I rode along the trail yesterday, I rode past something that looked like a coiled piece of rope or rubber. Something in the back of my head said, "gee...that looked like a snake." Curiosity got the best of me, so I looped back around. And it was. A snake. A skinny little garter snake, about 10 inches long and greenish brown. Cute for a snake. My gramma always said the only good snake is a dead one, and this one was. Someone had come along, quite recently, and run poor little Garter over. I felt bad/sad, since he looked like a decent little guy, and out of respect for the dead, and the fact that the ladies riding behind me would think I was a kook, I put Mr. Snake back in the grass to lie peacefully. I had never really thought about snakes being prevalent around here, which I'm sure they are, but they just hide from people. Now I'll be looking for them on our visits to nature.

I can see my little J man making jokes about it. Mom...why did the snake cross the trail? Why did the chicken cross the road is his favorite joke to tell. He delivers the punch line with such gusto that you can't help but laugh. I can't help but wonder what a good punch line would be? Certainly not to get to the other side!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Grinding it out

Oh, what a week! Got back to the routine on Monday with class, and I basically spent Monday through Thursday on campus in the library studying for Molecular. No fun to be had at all. So after not seeing anyone at all until Thursday afternoon, I took yesterday off. No studying to be had. Heck, I didn't even shower until midnight. I did, however, make some killer Spaghetti Delle Rocca that the kids refused to eat. Hubby, however, loved it, and said it tasted just like the Olive Garden's. They've stopped making it, so the only place he'll be able to get it is here at Momma's kitchen. Don't forget to tip the waitress.

Now that I'm through my Molecular test (think I did pretty well, but no way to tell if it's an A or a B yet...please, oh, please let it be an A...will depend on how generous he's feeling when he grades it), now I'm on to the MCAT which is two weeks from today. Ugh. Once that's done, I'm home free until finals. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. About one month to go and I'll be on summer break. Woot!

Though by the weather this week, you couldn't tell it is even spring. Like this:

Yes. That's snow. About an inch and a half of it on the ground earlier this week (it had already started to melt when I snapped this pic out our kitchen window). After near 70 the day before. Yesterday was pretty much the same scenario. Beautiful mid 60s during the day. Today? Low 40s/upper 30s. The kids can't stand it. At least the sky was clear today, so it looked so much more inviting outside than it really was.

So the kiddos went out this afternoon bundled in their winter coats (as was I...even wore a hat, which I never do). Pink cheeks abounded. Jonah rode his trusty beat-up trike, and Liam rode his new favorite wheels...his Razor scooter! I'm actually pretty amazed at how well he does on it. Braking is still a bit of a sore spot (sometimes literally), as he refuses to use the brake on the back wheel as it should be. He'd rather hop off while going at breakneck pace. At least I've managed to get them to both wear helmets.

Top: Liam braking his way. Bottom: Liam braking the proper way, though her is oblivious to the fact that he's doing that.

My flowers seem pretty oblivious to the polarity of the weather, and have continued their post-March march toward spring. All that were buds last week are now in full bloom. The only bulb yet to pop buds are the tulips, which I anticipate coming in the next week or two. The forsythia bushes (wish I had some!) blossomed overnight, and on the way to take Liam to school, there is yellow everywhere. If it isn't the forsythia, then it's a carpet of daffodils.

After dinner tonight, Liam had the sudden urge to get out his guitar. We bought the guitar for him for Christmas a year ago in the hopes that he might have some interest in learning. I noodle around on my own every once in a while, and I'm definitely a beginner when it comes to playing. I thought it would be great for us to play together. Previous to this, he has had his own idea of how his guitar should be played. He likes for the tuning pegs to be all aligned (which of course means the guitar is way out of tune), and there is no fingering of the frets for him. Just strumming on the out of key strings like a rock star. When we have tried to convince him to let us tune the guitar or show him a chord, he has been completely resistant.

I'm not sure why the change tonight, but I went with it. The guitar came with a great little CD that has lessons and tuning on it, so I popped it in, and he let me tune his guitar for him. I then tuned mine, and we worked on strumming with the beat. He played for nearly an hour, and when it was time to go to bed, he went without a peep. Coulda knocked me over with a feather. I promised him I'd play with him tomorrow, and I've decided to just go with the flow and let him take the lead. Here are baby and Mommie guitars:

Hopefully I'll get some knitting done and will be able to show you a nearly finished cardi. I'm almost to the armhole shaping on the sleeves. The end is in sight!! I'm already dreaming of what I want to knit next. Too many projects already on the needles that probably need finishing first.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Can't get any privacy

When Liam and I had our "day out" the other day, we stopped in the Thinker Toys on the way back to grandma's. I've been looking for a doll house for the boys. One that's not girly. One made of wood. One with furniture in it already. It's not easy to find a prefurnished house meeting these specs, and the wooden doll houses and accessories are already pretty pricey. I loved the Ryan's Room one I saw at one of the other local quality toy stores, but just the house alone was over $100, and that doesn't factor in the price of furniture. We already have a few of the dolls, but still...I'd have spent over $200 to get the house and furniture.

So when I found this one by Melissa & Doug that was already furnished for $99, I went ahead and splurged. There is an atrium and balcony piece that detaches from the front of the house, and there are sliding doors in the front. There aren't any stairs, but I'm sure we can figure out a remedy for that. The house has 4 rooms, two smaller, two larger, and furniture for the dining room, kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom. Some of the furniture has doors that open and close, and the nightstand has a little drawer that opens. There is much potential for adding things to this little house.

The boys love it. Particularly Jonah. He enjoys opening and closing the doors on all the furniture. The dolls have wrapped wire bodies, so they can be posed, but you can't take their clothes off. Kind of hard to take care of business when you can't get your pants down.

And if you're Al Bundy, how are you going to get your hand in your pants when you watch TV if your bottoms are glued to your shirt?

Funny story to go with the Al Bundy theme. I'm raising a little Al apparently. When he sleeps, he likes to put his hand in his pants. I'll wake up in the middle of the night and roll over, and there he'll be with his hand down his pants, fast asleep. One of these days I'll get it on camera. Good blackmail fodder for later.

No Foolin'!

Yesterday was a long crappy day. Well, up to a point anyway. I had an MCAT practice yesterday, and not surprisingly, taking a week off from using my brain whatsoever does not bode well for test taking. I felt completely stupid and frustrated by the end of the day, and by the time I got home I wanted to cry. I've got 3 weeks to finish preparing for this test, an exam in molecular next week that I'm not even close to prepared for, and lab reports a comin' due, and I got nothing done on anything over spring break that I was supposed to.

I did get to spend tons of time with the kids, though, which was good and much needed. I got home from my test about 4, and we had to get ready to go to the auction for Liam's school. Each year the school has an auction as their major fundraiser. Families from the school donate items for both a silent and live auction. Each class also makes something to donate for the live auction. These things are positively priceless, and last year I was just amazed how much some of the items sold for.

Naturally, when I got home in my altered state, I also had difficulty finding something to wear. I usually have a fashion crisis before going to big events, but this one was particularly bad since I was feeling so down. The weather yesterday was much cooler than the past few days have been, and the dress I wanted to wear, a strapless green number that I got last summer, I thought would be too chilly, particularly since the shoes that go with it are slip-on sandal pumps, and the dress is only just above the knee. I couldn't find any nice pants that I thought would be warm enough to wear, nor anything to go with it that was dressy enough. Enter retail therapy.

I left the hubby spinning on his bike in the basement, threatened him that he better be ready when I got back, and announced that I was going shopping to buy an outfit to wear. Time? 4:30. Auction starts at 6. The crunch is on.

So I drove out to the mall, which is only about 10 minutes from my house with Gap card in hand. I never made it past the Kaufmann's. As my sister can attest with all her fashion prowess, I typically look like a Gap billboard. I love the way their clothes fit me, and they have the best jeans (they sell longs, which are a must have for my near 33" inseam) with a bit of lycra in them. On the other hand, I knew they wouldn't have too much in the way of dressy wear.

I headed myself up the escalator at Kaufmann's with the intention of just browsing and not really anticipating finding anything in my price range. They had many beautiful spring dresses which I would have loved to try on, but the price tags were frequently over $100. Not going to happen. Tucked in the back corner of the dress section was a rack of dresses that were more winter-type colors (blacks, reds), and so I started thumbing through this rack. Found a handful that were my size, and off to the dressing room I went. Two of the dresses were perfect. So much so that I couldn't choose between them. One was a black strapless A-line tea-length satin number with a black satin ribbon that tied at the waist. Price on the tag? $35 marked down from over 100. Second dress was a black spaghetti strap dress with toile (sp?) that was also below knee length that had gold glitter sparkles all over. Price on the tag? $25 marked down from around $100. When I saw the sign on the top of the rack as I took back the rest of the dresses, I knew I was getting them both. Take 50% off the marked price. All together, both dresses cost $34 (when together they would have been $200!). And both dresses are very classy black dresses that I could easily wear over and over. Suddenly, I'm feeling much better.

I don't have any nice black heels, so I headed downstairs to look for a pair. Time was about 5:15, so I was starting to run short on time. I looked around and found a few pairs I liked, but the price tag on many of them was more than the dresses I'd just bought. I went ahead and asked the sales associate to bring me a few pairs in size 9.5, and she came back with some in 9s, some in 10s. Apparently no one likes to sell half sizes anymore. The 9s weren't going to work, and some of the 10s were great in the length, but too loose around the balls of my feet. I found one other pair I wanted to try, and she came back with two boxes. "I brought this pair, because I thought they'd look great with your dress," she told me. So I tried on both pairs. Wouldn't you know the pair she chose were perfect. There was no price on the box. "How much?" I asked, assuming that the price would be too high. She went to check, came back, and whispered "13.50." Done. No April Fool's here.

It was now pushing 5:30, and I still had to drive back, get dressed, and drive the 20 minutes to the auction, so I was in a hurry, but my spirits were definitely lifted at finding the good bargains where I did in the short amount of time I had to work with. No such luck with the accessories to go with the dresses, but by then it didn't really matter. I needed to get home. Got home around 6, so we were going to be late, but then again, when aren't we.

I decided on the sparkly dress and paired it with a sparkly taupe openwork bolero that I'd gotten to go with the green dress originally. I threw everything on in record time, and when hubby saw me, he went and changed clothes. We dashed out and got to the auction by 7, and a wonderful time was had by all. We bid on and won a family membership to the zoo, which I was planning on getting anyway, but since it was a donation, the school gets all the money. The purses I donated were each bought, and I received many comments on how beautiful they turned out. We didn't stay for the live auction, partly because there was no where to sit, but also because we were hungry, and the hors deourves (or however the heck ya spell it) weren't going to fill the void.

Since I was all dressed up, we went and had a very nice dinner at Pad Thai, my favorite restaurant. Mmmm....spicy peanut chicken (onions, peppers, carrots, chicken, and peanuts done in a spicy Thai coconut sauce served with jasmine infused coconut rice) and Thai rolls, which are like spring rolls filled with pork. Yum.

I made hubby take a picture of me, just to prove that I clean up nice, and because I wanted to show off the dress. I tried to get a picture of hubby, but he was hesitant. Said he was having a fat day (but probably only because his clothes are 2 sizes too big. He needs some retail therapy too, but that's another story for another day). I managed to snap this of him...he was sassing me as I snapped it. That's what you get!