Still Chilly

Well, it’s almost March.  That seems sort of unbelievable to me.  Almost time for spring cleaning – didn’t I just do fall cleaning?  It is a bittersweet time of year for me, the early spring.  I am sad that winter is winding down, though happy that the early bulbs have started sorouting up from the ground.  To many people right now I am sure that spring seems far off, as they while away the days under blowing drifts of snow.  How I envy them!  I am sure they, in turn, envy me and the lack of white on the ground here in Virginia.  I actually find the dearth of snow more depressing – all around me there is brown.  Brown grass, brown trees, brown shrubbery, brown brown brown.  I’d rather see a pristine blanket of white than dead vegetation the entire season.

I take a lot of flack for this.  Most adults have outgrown snow.  I think it is sad, personally, that by the time we reach adulthood the majority of us have lost that sense of wonderment that makes childhood so special.  Remember when snow was magical?  You could run outside in it and it would seem like all the world was holding its breath;  it made it seem, if only for a short while, that the world was being cleansed and renewed – sort of a metaphorical clearing of the slate, if you will.  (Not to mention the fun!  Snowmen, igloos, snowballs, snow angels……ah!)

And it isn’t just snow.  We’ve collectively lost interest in the fact that the natural world around us and all of the small, simple things that are going on every day, are amazing. I feel ridiculously lucky that I am where I am right now, able to watch the subtle changes in the trees and the sky from my window and share it with my kids.  The lack of snow is unfortunate.  I’ve always thought that the lingering snow with the green sprouts shooting through to find the sun was a miraculous sight.

Yesterday we had an errand to run at the lake and since it was just before twilight and the lake looked so serene (and I had my camera with me) we decided to stop at one of the beaches and enjoy it for a few moments.  The sun was just dipping below the horizon, a few straggling ducks were still out and about, and the smell of smoke from someone’s wood fire hung in the chilly air.  It was a darn near perfect time to be out.


They loved watching the ducks and walking around in the sand.  (For the record – their coats were in the car, and I tried to make them put them on, but no luck. )  They even found two little shells by the water’s edge.


Not that they need anymore shells.  My parents have a shellfish addiction (clams, oysters, mussels) and there is an impressive mound of shells out near the garden where they toss them after meals.  My kids think it’s the most incredible thing in the world, and they came home the other night with a bag full of them each.  My house runneth over with shells.

But back to the spring prep.  I’ve dug out some Heather Bailey fabric I’ve had for awhile that I think is perfect for this time of year.


I am obsessed with this fabric!  So far it has become a carrying case for my knitting needles, but I think it is going to turn into many other things as well.  A new apron, some placemats, pillows, maybe a quilt………..

On the Wean

Forgive the spotty posts – I am weaning Oona and she is NOT happy about it.  I have also developed an infection, so we’re a real happy bunch here.

But, it’s all for a good cause.  You see, Paul’s company is rewarding its top performers with a trip to Mexico.  We’re staying at a resort in the Riviera Maya for 5 days in the beginning of May, sans children! So Oona can’t still be nursing.  And, she’s 18 months now anyway, so it was time.

More to come!

And the Clouds Parted….

…and an angelic glow descended, and the heavenly choir rang out with The Hallelujah Chrous because dudes – I finished the socks.


Emily is the foot model here and of course the socks are a wee bit big for her, as they are for her grandma (mamaw, as Oona would say).

Funny thing is that these started off as a very enjoyable knit.  Then with all the cabling and charting they became a very time consuming I-need-to-finish-these-GD-socks sort of knit.  Then by about the heel of the second sock they became enjoyable again.  Mostly because by then I had more or less memorized the chart and knew what I could anticipate and it made for much less stop and go to refer to the pattern.


The cables make them a bit thick, so I imagine these are best as “house socks” to wear like slippers, or with boots or clogs.  The yarn is (of course) from Blue Moon Fiber Arts , my all time favorite supplier (or dealer, if you’re looking at it as the addiction that it is).    It’s Socks That Rock lightweight, in colorway Grimm’s Willow Wren. I think I’ve mentioned that before, but, you know, just in case.   The pattern is called Slippery from Knitty.

And, with those done, I am going to go stash diving and retrieve some nice self-striping sock yarn I picked up from Knitpicks and work on something quick and easy (though likely not tonight – Lost is on!!!).




I put a heaping amount of spinach, broccoli and wheat germ in tonight’s spaghetti and meatballs, and NOBODY NOTICED!  They gobbled up all that healthiness as if it were no more than the usual favorite.  I have to admit, I quite enjoyed it myself.  (Almost makes up for the fast food we had for lunch while out shopping with grandma).  And since I cannot make the evening too healthy, I’m off to gobble up some of the leftover Vienetta from Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day around here traditionally entails a large amount of Chinese take – out and some yummy dessert.  We’ve done it every year we’ve been married.

Now I’ll leave you with the Neve-ism of the night, as just overheard by me while she played with her barbies:

“I am beautiful, so you should RESPECT ME!”

And Now Back to……Me Against the World

What a week.  And it’s not even quite over yet.

There’s the new cat.  He’s a little lovebug, let me tell you.  If nothing else, I have gotten a ridiculous amount of cat cuddling this week.  And though I am nearly finished with the second sock I’ve been toiling away on, it’s kind of difficult to manage it all when your  little kitty keeps attacking your yarn and launching his little fishy smelling face straight into yours with a “purr”!  The same day we brought home Jasper, Paul brought home a new car.  In fact he was gone all day driving out to pick it up.  Sunday was fully devoted to grocery procurement and cleaning.

By Monday I was allowing for full cat interaction, hoping Jasper’s introduction into the general population wouldn’t cause too much fur to fly.  So far, it hasn’t.  Sushi has yet to venture back into my bedroom but for the briefest moments to scarf down some kibble.  I had to move a litter pan into the hallway to avoid problems there. She’s pretty much been herself otherwise, though her eyes widen as big as saucers when she catches a glimpse of Jasper, and she runs for the relative safety of under Neve’s bed.   Milo seems to be in denial.  He has been slowly ambling about his normal routine, very very studiously avoiding “seeing” Jasper.  It’s hilarious to witness.  You can almost see his thought bubble: if I don’t see it, it isn’t there. Jasper doesn’t seem to care whether they interact with him or not, as long as he can run around and eat and poop whenever he wants.  Considering he’s been at a shelter in a cage for several months, I can’t say I blame him.


Monday he went to see the vet.  I brought my mother to help with Oona.  Thank GOD.  We were there for forever and a day (seriously, when I die I am convinced that should I end up in limbo it will smell of bleach and dog and have bad fluorescent lighting).  The cat Did. Not. Like. It.  But, he got his de-worming that I asked for as a precaution, they checked out his sneezing but could find no evidence of any problems, and treated him for fleas.  (I also got two extra doses for Milo and Sushi, just to be safe.  Yes, I am paranpoid, but thoroughly so).

The real drama on Monday was being pulled over by a state trooper whilst at the Dunkin Donuts drive – thru.  I kid you not.  He had passed me on the highway and by the time he turned around to find me I was ordering my coffee, so he decided to POUND ON MY WINDOW.  Lovely.  There’s nothing less embarrassing than being in a busy drive – thru with lots of witnesses and having a large cop pound on your window and tell you to finish your order and pull to the side, all because your inspection sticker expired 9 days ago.  Ah well, that is simply how my life is.

Tuesday Emily had after school chorus immediately followed by Girl Scouts so I was once again driving aforementioned uninspected van and praying not to be pulled over yet again, because even though at last count there were no less than SEVEN other cars in my driveway, the only one driveable and legal (sort of) is the van.  If that is not a sad statement, I don’t know what is.  Anyway I took my life into my hands and brought Neve and Oona to the grocery store while Emily was at the meeting, and remembered that it’s never a good idea to take a child who does not excel in listening to me to the store.  She also pointed out to me that it was “inappropriate” for me to allow her to watch Chowder (a funny cartoon we all enjoy) because one scene shows a woman made out of ice cream, and there is a suggested shape of bosoms.

Wednesday I conquered the laundry mountains of doom.  Truly.  It’s all done.  How?  I was exhausted, and I am pretty sure that my washer, dryer, and garbage cans were as well.  Still, I had to drive out to two different locations to pick up the Girl Scout cookies that had arrived for both girls’ troops.  I also spent a lot of time chasing Oona.  She inexplicably and suddenly developed a taste for the little rocks in the large potted plants in the sun room.  I guess they must taste good with the cat food she seems to have such a fondness for these days.

And then came this morning.  As I watched my kids run for the bus (Emily loping rather awkwardly and ungracefully in her thick white athletic socks and slippery black patent leather clogs that she can’t quite keep on her feet, her hair an abject failure despite brushing) I felt a could finally find some relief.  I had some minor projecs to tackle today (cat litter, sink full of dishes, fix shower organizer that somehow fell and exploded all products everywhere for no good reason) and then there was nothing else major to worry about.  I could enjoy a mostly decent house, a half day for the girls tomorrow, and a long holiday weekend.

Then I discovered Milo lougning in plain sight in Neve’s room.  Odd, thought I to myself as I wandered over to him and nuzzled his cute kitty face.  He lifted his head slightly and nuzzled me back softly, breaking into his trademark “insta-purr”.  And then, he sneezed fully into my face.  And then he did it again.  And then he snorted, and began making the unmistakable “I have a bad cold” noises.  And by the way, Jasper is still sneezing, too.  So it’s bck to the vet tomorrow morning.  Just another instance of “things can’t ever just be boring and normal here”.  Because if there had been no real ramifications of inserting a new cat into the house it would certainly be a sign of the coming apocalypse.  Nothing can be easy.  Not here, no way.  I need a nap.


And Now For a Crazypants Moment….

I know some people can’t understand why I would do this to myself.  I’ll just explain by saying I couldn’t resist.  I needed the kind of purry cuddles and social aptitude my other furbabies were unable to give.  Not that I don’t totally understand that, and I still adore my two scaredy furbabies.  But clearly we needed another one.


This is Jasper.  He’s about 8 months old and has extra toes (I have a weakness for kitties with huge feet).  So far he is very friendly and happy, and I hope he will be able to act as feline ambassador here when people visit, so that I don’t continually get accused of lying about owning cats.

You don’t think I am crazypants?  This hasn’t convinced you?  Just wait until I build the chicken coop and procure some hatchlings.  Maybe that’ll do it.

And now back to my regularly scheduled knitting.

Sneaky, Sneaky

Yes, I am still working on that sock.  No, I don’t have a picture yet. Soon, I promise!

We woke up to  nice fresh layer of actual snow this morning – shocking!!!  The girls got a 2 hour delay from school, but I went one better and just let them stay home.  Mostly because after the school called at 6:30 this morning (instant alert system – it ROCKS!) I went back to sleep and woke at 8:00 with Emily standing over me fully snow – suited up and ready to play.  Figuring this may be the only snow we get all winter I let them stay home to enjoy it.  I rarely allow them to stay home unless they are sick (doesn’t help my sanity to keep them home when they’re not too sick to misbehave!) so I don’t feel too bad about it.   Neve  (predictably) made me miserable most of the day by responding to everything I said with a petulant “that’s not fair!”. But Emily spent much of the day working on mastering knitting.  I’m so proud!  SO even though the snow had all melted by lunch time the day wasn’t a total loss, and I finished off the batch of sneaky brownies I made.  (They’re sneaky because they’re healthy!)

I bought a book about how to sneak healthy foods into your kids’ normal less – than – nutritious foods.  I’ve tried a few of the purees added to a few of my normal dinners, and so far, so good.  No one suspected the cauliflower hanging out in their mac & cheese or their meatballs.  Or the spinach chilling in their blueberry milkshakes.  But the best, my friends, is those brownies.  The recipe is directly from the book and makes use of the berry and spinach puree (as well as wheat germ and oats), and it somehow manages to still be one of the fudgiest, best brownies I have ever made.  I think the kids aren’t the only ones that are going to be getting a better dose of nutrients from now on.

Speaking of doses, I think Neve is going to over dose on tea.  She got a tea set for Christmas that she painted herself and we neglected to put it in the oven ever since (to set the paint and render it safe to eat off of), but I got around to it finally last week and she has been requesting tea for it several times a day.  I’m thinking of investing in some chamomile, given her normal energy level.


Think it’ll work?

Yeah, me neither.

Cold Snap


What’s funny is that as I write this it is in the mid 60’s outside.  No wonder we can’t get well – the weather can’t seem to make up its mind.  We had quite an icy week.  The girls had 2 days off due to the hazardous road conditions, and it was quite a disappointment, since we were hoping for snow.  Emily and Neve were all set to make snowmen and igloos, “and a snow castle, too!!!”  Well, that didn’t work out so well but Emily still explored outside a little bit, but finding only a few icicles here and there (which always reminds me of Ralphie from A Christmas Story) she decided ice was simply no fun.


I will say that even though I am no fan of ice it was rather delightful not to have to wake up early those 2 mornings for the bus.  There was also no chorus practice or Girl Scouts for Emily on Tuesday which made my day a whole lot easier than normal.  We celebrated by eating blueberry pancakes shaped like snowmen for breakfast.  And the satellite install guy came out even though we felt sure he wouldn’t, given that climbing onto an icy roof was probably not the smartest thing to be doing.  Turned out he wasn’t the smartest satellite installer guy.  He ended up being at our house for 5 and a half hours and then Paul still had to finish up the job for him after he left.  I may have mentioned this already.  Anyway the satellite works now and it has helped out in the mental health department for me dramatically, as has (surprisingly) having a tv in the bedroom.  Oona has been much easier to manage in those early morning hours when I am not ready to be awake and she has had enough of sleeping.  Now I turn on Spongebob and we can snuggle until I am in a happier and more wakeful place.

The two days reprieve from school also gave Emily more time to work on her diarama, which was supposed to represent an arctic biome, complete with 2 animal and plant types.  She spent quite awhile researching, and then we threw it all together in just under an hour once all of the information was complete.


She included polar bears, arctic foxes, bearberry plants and caribou moss.  I was ecstatic once it was complete.  One less thing to worry about!

Sadly our winter weather lasted all of 3 or so days and today it has been rather warm.  Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that the sun and dryness and warmth motivated Paul to clear out a bunch of scrub behind the house and clear spots for my garden shed and pumpkin patch, but I hate these warm day fake – outs.  You see, it goes like this:  it’s winter.  You know it’s winter because the calendar says so.  February means winter.  But suddenly the warm weather pops up on you and you’re outside without a coat looking at the grass and the garden beds and the green sprigs that have been fooled into poking up through the dirt and you start thinking about spring, and you catch that bug.  You know what bug I mean – the one where you want to scrub out the house and replace the flannels with cottons and organize your seeds and go buy some bulbs and little flowers and just generally do all things spring – like.  Except that WHAM!!  Before you know it it’s 12 degrees and snowing!  Just like that!  I am a firm believer that winter should be winter, spring should be spring, and so on.  I am not a fan of ambiguous weather.

Which is why I have shunned the out of doors for today and instead have focused on finishing up that sock that I have been working on forever and a day.  I haven’t gotten to the heel yet, but it is definitely going more quickly this time, perhaps due to the fact that I could probably work the chart in my sleep at this point.  The only glitch in my plan has been the entrance of Oona into the terrible two’s.  The thing about this is that I didn’t see it coming.  Emily and Neve did not go through the terrible two’s.  Wait!  Do not scoff!  It was far worse than you think!  They went instead through the terrible three’s!  The terrible three’s is much worse because they are fully articulate at that stage and have no problem making clear why they are throwing their tantrums and delight in embarrassing you with this info in public places and in front of family and friends.  They also have the dexterity and strength to get into whatever it is they want at 3.

Oona has always been a delightful, sweet little thing, so I figured she was on track to become horrible at a later stage in the game as well.  The last week has proven me woefully wrong.  She is my first biter, and she gets great satisfaction out of causing me awful pain, either with her teeth or fingernails.  When I am knitting she will throw herself upon my yarn and needles as though she knows how best to cause the most dire problems for myself and for her (needles I say!!!).  If you allow her to self feed (which she is quite capable of) she will instead feed all of her food to the dog.  The dog LOVES Oona.  She adores pulling Neve’s hair and has twice left large purple bite marks on Neve’s face.  She can and does remove any article of clothing that is put on her, even those that button or snap up the back.  Ditto the diaper.   There is nothing that she is not interested in breaking or tasting.  Her mess making skills are unparalleled.


At first I could not imagine why my sweet tempered little cutie was acting this way suddenly.  And then it hit me – she’s 18 months old, and at the right stage for the terrible behavior that is the hallmark of her age.  And she is enjoying every minute of it.