Thursday, November 20, 2008


You've got to watch this! Found it blogging around:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Mark works with a guy named Louis. Whenever he pages us at 3 in the morning, or 3 in the afternoon on a birthday or takes Mark away from a family/holiday dinner, I break out in song. This song. Listen to it, it's worth it.

Now it turns out that after working 8 days straight, 12 hours with a one hour commute each way, Louis is trying to take away our Thanksgiving. Turns out also, he looks and acts nothing like the hot seventies guys on the album cover. His last name is half a mile long, he's short, overweight and, well, nothing like the Louie of my imagination.

I've had many men in my bedroom courtesy of Mark's pager. Gary, famously, on the fourth of July at 5 in the morning. Lately, Dave, who had the riot act read to him when he called at 7 a.m. the other day (you really don't' expect me to wake him up when the JUST got to bed, do you?). Louie has always been there for me. I can rally and sing "She was black, as the night, Louie was whiter than white..." and feel better.

Now I want him dead. Or at least mutilated.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So many blogs, so little time

Lately, I've been adding and adding to my blog reading list. I can no longer read blogs in the morning. Despite getting up at 6:30 when Mark comes home, I have no time. Confession: the past few nights, I've not gotten up as Mark came in. Small has been waking each night at 1 or 2 crying for his Daddy. "But I need Daddy every night AND every day."

Still, my blogs are too many and too wonderful. I have my list of homeschooling blogs, my knitting blogs, my crafting blogs. There are too many projects, too many wonderful things to read about. Have you seen this fabulous collection of patters, for example, at Twist Collective? Or these great projects at Whip Up? Not to mention a homeschooling project at Paper Dali? I need to stop clicking through my blogs, adding to my read list and actually do some of these things.

Then again, maybe I should just clean my house and prepare for Thanksgiving. Or get on with my spelling program.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now that's smart

We went to the Museum of Science and Industry today to see the Smart Home exhibit. We were also remarkably smart about parking, taking a tip from friends and finding the free lot. Free parking. Of course, it's all the way at the end of the museum, by the Omnimax theater, but that's also where the exhibit was.

We were all impressed with the exhibit, and the tour guide was impressed with the five homeschooled kids in my little group. Actively engaged kids, listening, answering questions, asking them too. I know two of my three really took a lot away from our tour, wanting to do things differently in our own home. Not just the compact fluorescent light bulbs, but rethinking how we fix and replace older items in our home. It's probably easier just to start all over, but we'll be re-tooling our home improvement efforts differently from now on.

We also saw the space exhibit, the circus exhibit with the really fun screen of bubbles that can be moved around with your hands, and all the wonderful Christmas trees. Christmas, already! It snowed a bit outside and on the hour and half-hour, inside as well.

Another great museum trip.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Museum Day

Hah! Here's my picture from yesterday. Can't upload pictures from the faster upstairs computer sometimes. I wanted the picture to show that, occasionally, I really can knit with no problems. This is one of two toys I'm making for my niece for Christmas, there is little worry that my sister will read my blog and spoil the surprise.

With Mark's work schedule being nuts, I try to get the kids out of the house in the mornings so he can sleep. Yesterday we went to the Field Museum for the first time in, probably, three years. Large and Medium wanted a membership for their birthday in August, we just got around to doing that yesterday.

They have made a quantum leap in how they enjoy museums. Maybe they are just at that time of life when it is the most interesting. We went through the Evolving Plant exhibit, a permanent one, but new to us. It's the one with the dinosaurs. Small is really into dinosaurs lately, but was a bit frightened of the bones. The exhibit is great. Full of wonderful interactive bits, little movies explaining all sorts of things, touching things, reading things, looking things. I think they designed it to appeal to every possible learning style.

The kids were enthralled. They actually spoke with the volunteer docents, questioning, wondering. They read everything that interested them, watched the little movies, followed the time line, they were engaged the whole time. We had been there about an hour and a half when I was worried their interest was fading, but I was wrong. Before the dinosaur portion there was a short movie explaining a mass extinction that paved the way for the beasts. Afterwards there was another movie explaining the dinosaur extinction. These movies were projected on big screens in a separate room area with benches. When we got to the second movie, it was already playing, but we sat down to wait it out until the beginning of the loop. Large turned his back and covered his ears, not wanting to hear the end before the beginning. And then he sat for the whole six minutes, absorbing.

Of course, I didn't have my camera, so we don't have pictures of them with the apatasourus or with Lucy. Except for my cell phone pictures, which I'm not able to get off my cell phone. We'll be back. They wanted to go to another exhibit after 2 1/2 hours in the Evolving Planet, but they were hungry and wanted to see their Dad more.

While we were there, a high school field trip group was running around with clipboards and worksheets to fill out. They couldn't just look at what they wanted to, they had to answer questions. We joked about that and I threatened to give them a worksheet next time. Eye rolls all around, it was a funny moment.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Knitting Woes

Blogger wont let me put a picture in. Sigh. It kind of goes well with the problems I'm having on the knitting front lately.

I don't normally knit things that require seaming. I'm not good at it and don't enjoy it. But, it's a useful skill to have, so I did up a pattern for Mark's birthday. He got me the book for my birthday and I repaid the favor by giving him a box of yarn for his. He prefers cotton, but I may just have to sneak in some wool sometime soon.

The pattern - Arthur's Field of Dreams from The Natural Knitter, had problems. First the chart was wrong for the basket weave. Then there was the small problem of a stitch put on a safely pin in the middle of the v-neck and never resolved. I wove that in. Then came the horrible realization that, despite following the directions to the letter to get the lovely decreases in the v-neck, the front was a good three inches longer than the back. The final blow came when to make the increases work perfectly on the sleeves, I would have had to have been married to an orangutan.

Yes, I did a swatch. Yes, my gauge, both stitch and row, was right on. I ripped back the long bits, decreased rather inelegantly, blocked it on election night to measurements. I checked and rechecked the measurements as the thing dried on the dining room table and a card table in the living room. Then I did a couple of new to me techniques - nothing like a little something new to make me happy - a three needle bind off in the shoulders and an i-cord bind off at the back of the neck. And I seamed the whole thing up, threw it on Mark as he was headed out the door to work and realized the sweater was gargantuan. Big on me, even. I used Knit Picks Shine Worsted, which is a combination of cotton and a plant fibre called Modal. Huh. It's heavy. And the sweater stretched after blocking.

So, now I'm faced with the prospect of steeking it. I can't just throw it out and wont use the yarn again. It's big all over. I'll rework the neckline, which is very sloppy from the stretched yarn, to an i-cord bind off all around and than I'll steek. Yikes, machine seaming and cutting my knitting? Ravelry has saved my butt again, but I do hope to talk to someone who's done it first.

The kids have been witness to my trials and tribulations with this sweater. I'd like to think they are learning to roll with the changes life throws at you. Instead, I fear they may be learning a few words muttered under my breath not fit for their delicate (ha!) ears.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Three things I discovered, or rather, rediscovered today.

  1. Still can't talk about it. I had hoped that by now, three full days after the elections, I could get through a conversation about it without tears leaking from my eyes. Nope, no can do. The emotions are still too raw, I'm still in the unbelieving stage. Did we really elect a smart, capable, inspiring leader? Oh, here I go again...

  2. Being with my husband, even in public, for more than a few minutes at a time restores my soul. Mark is off on his, sadly, annual outage, where he is gone for 15 hour stretches six days a week. Today we juggled things to be home in time to sleep enough to join our Roots&Shoots group at the Ted Stone Forest Preserve. Chopping down invasive brush restored his soul, being in the same general vicinity of him restored mine.

  3. Delivered pizza is better than grocery store pizza. No explanation needed. Thanks, Mark, for working the outage night shift and giving us the extra cash to splurge. I'm fighting every urge not to analyze where that $15.95 should have gone.

    Life is good.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Imagine this. Except that for the people there it went on for 57 minutes, from 10:00 p.m. when it was called until 10:57 when Obama spoke. Friends say it was unbelievable love and uphoria.

Oh, What a Night

I feel like, for the first time, my American has voted and been counted. It's an end and a beginning, we will never be the same again.

With Mark's work schedule, we couldn't possibly head down to Grant Park. I would have been in charge of the three kids on my own, would have ended up carrying Small the whole time and, well, it would have been just too hard. I regret now that I didn't' splurge like my friend Kim and stay a night in a hotel, witnessing it without the long drive home.

We watched the coverage on primitive, cable-less TV and on two computers, connecting with Mark by phone. I didn't start crying until Obama won Ohio, then I was just weeping uncontrollably. The kids were enthralled, cheering. Medium and Large went into the voting booth with me, loving the touch screen, participating at their level. They felt a part of it.

Here's a funny bit from Letterman about the coverage:

Yesterday we went downtown to Orchestra Hall for a concert and a quick trip to the Art Institute, bordering Grant Park. Clean up was still in progress. Road closures, sidewalk chalk remnants of the celebration, garbage cleared. When we drove home we passed the remaining TV crews parked along Columbus Drive - huge trucks, satellites and equipment. It was fascinating and the city was still in a friendly, happy mood. I'm glad we went.

It's still pinch me time. I'm proud of my elderly parents getting to their polling place in Indiana. My father unstable on his feet, my mother just unstable. They voted, they made a difference.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Creative Overload

Wow, this was one hard to carve pumpkin! Lots of little lines, curvy lines. But I was pleased with how it came out. And it made lots of grown-ups smile as they waited for their kids to get their goodies. I am hoping those smiles are ones of approval, ones of support. Only two days left, the anxiety is killing me.

And then there were my Super Mario kids. Mario, Luigi and fire Mario. I should really learn not to buy the cheapest fabric possible for these things, but I couldn't see forking over significant money for something they would be wearing just a few times. You may notice only Small, Fire Mario, got the side pockets. They were way too complicated with this slippery fabric to do six of them.

The reaction to my kids' costumes was best from the teenage set. They would answer the door to pass out goodies and get rave reviews on their costumes. they were just brimming from ear to ear.

I have to say I behaved myself pretty well for the holiday. I only complained to a few close friends about how it is my least favorite holiday, didn't hover over my allergic children or repeat endlessly that they shouldn't eat anything until we've read the label. Small announced to his Uncle Bill "I'd like to have a piece of candy, but can't have any milk, eggs or nuts!" No need for hovering anymore. They get it and have moved on.