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Nov. 23rd, 2011

Man, the Yarn Harlot managed to perfectly nail why I have been wicked cranky at the weather lately.

She wrote:

 A little while ago, the weather here made that mysterious leap from autumn to early winter, and all of a sudden I can't get warm.  The house can't get warm, it's like the heat won't sink in to it and nothing is cozy. I feel like the light of autumn is golden and warm, and then there's this shift, and the trees are bare, and the light (what little of it there is) seems thin and blue.   This phase passes.  It's a temporary thing, like everyone walking around right now when it's -1 and saying "It's so cold out".  Come January you're dreaming of -1, and by March you think that temp is a sign of spring.  What seems like the cruelty of early winter will give way soon to deep winter, with snow, darkness and storms outside, and candles, sparkles and coziness in the house.  You just have to get over the soul crushing hump of accepting another winter, let your inner thermostat remember how to deal with it.


We keep sinking down to the point where I'm adjusting to it being winter (which I love), but before we can make the last leap of transition to coziness and shelter, mother nature yanks us back to fall with a beautiful 65 degree day. I know that on one hand I should be grateful for the generous beautiful day, but part of me really just wants to get the transition over with, and I won't get caught sweltering or freezing because I did / didn't need a coat yesterday, so why would I today?

Plus, planning a beef stew and then having to eat it on a day better suited to a BBQ just feels WRONG.

Weird ass dreams and revenge fantasies?

Had a very wacky dream last night, that someone had taken their truck and driven over our car to get out of a parking space, but then posted gloatingly about it on the website of the place where we were parked at, so we knew their e-mail address and were able to figure out their actual name and address from that. Rather than try to deal with the cops, we decided to get good old fashioned revenge on them instead.

I woke up before I could really plot out anything truly horrific, but I've been amusing myself thinking about it all day.

Funny non-property destroying revenge that allows the prankster to remain anonymous - what would you do?

Interesting, the dream post the person wrote in my dream was horribly racist and stupid, but got Wiley's racial background entirely wrong. I wonder what weirdness my subconscious was playing with on that one?

Giant ball of stress

I should have known that this month long posting every day thing wasn't going to happen, but I actually made it further than I expected.  Life is a little too crazy right now, and I'm a little too sleep deprived.

Helping a dear friend through a crisis (that so far looks like it will end well, but there's still plenty of room for it to go pear-shaped on her), a couple of overnight baby shifts to help keep Carrie from completely losing her mind, and a test knitting project that is getting very close to the deadline and is not nearly finished enough piled on top of normal life have all combined to turn me into a giant ball of stress.  I hadn't realized how bad it was until I realized yesterday that I was driving around with my jaw clenched so tight that my neck and face were throbbing.  And I was just running errands, not doing anything warranting that level of mental torque, at least not right in that moment.

I'm a worrier by nature, and that's especially true when there's situations where I can't do anything to help.  I gather in all that stress and clutch it to me, as if I hold it tight enough, I'll be able to move the universe with the power of my mind and make things tun out OK.

Since I realized just how stressed I was feeling yesterday, I've been trying to pull myself back from it, mostly by noticing when I'm starting to tense up and taking a minute or two to breathe and let it go.  It's working remarkably well. Tonight I am going to settle into my couch with the test knitting and make some progress - double bonus, since I'll be moving forward on something stressing and knitting is a great relaxation tool - and I'm going to try to get to bed early enough to get some good sleep in.

Any other suggestions, besides a good glass of wine to go with the knitting tonight?



In good things, Hannah's chorus had their first concert Friday night, and it was lovely. Tonight is our third installment of kid's cooking night, and this week looks (so far) like it is going to be much more calm.

Kid's cooking night

A few months ago, one of the mom-blogs I read had a post about her plan to get her kids to cook dinner for the family one night a week. Her kids are a little older than Hannah, but I thought she might be ready.

Hannah has been my kitchen helper for years now, and she dives on Everyday Food and Bon Appetit as soon as they hit the mailbox - folding down the corners of all the pages with recipes she wants me to make. Most months, there's more folded corners than not, and we usually plans out the menu plan for the coming week together. She's a little foodie in training, is what I'm saying, and so actually being in charge and responsible for dinner seemed like a logical next step.

I ran the idea past her, and she was thrilled at the thought. Then life happened, and we've been so busy for the past month that we never actually got to do it - I could count the number of home cooked dinners in our house in October on one hand - but this week, life is mostly back to normal.

She picked out a shiitake mushroom pasta alfredo from this month's Everyday Food (I would link to the recipe, but I can't find it on the site) and she gave me a list for the grocery shopping trip. We got home late tonight (not quite back to normal, I guess) and she set to work. Since we were running late, I volunteered my services at a prep cook and chopped garlic and shallots and mushrooms while she got the herbs ready, the pasta cooking and all the other ingredients gathered. She needed help draining the big pasta pot and beyond that, all I did was answer questions. She made a few rookie mistakes but nothing that made a real difference, and the dish she turned out was actually delicious!

She was so pleased with herself for turning out a good meal, and it was awesome to watch how comfortable she was being in charge and making decisions about how the dish would get made.

Best of all? This, combined with my brainstorm about making Wiley cook on the night he works from home (and I'm out until 7 picking Hannah up from dance class) means that I'm only responsible for two dinners during the week, even if I'm still working in the kitchen for one of them.

Halloween!

This year, Miss Hannah decided to be a lion. After I might have been a little grumpy about her asking for another iteration of princess again this year.

But isn't she an adorable lion?



We went light on pumpkins this year - I was not up for 5 or 10 pumpkin lanterns.

Hannah went for a bat, and picked out a vampire for me and Wiley went off on his geeky way with his own thing. Lots of compliments on them - I can only imagine people haven't seen the template books that make it wicked easy to have fancy carvings.

Aaaaaaaah.

Squam was, as usual, magic. More about that can be found over here: http://www.nograndplan.com/?p=243

The re-entry has been... rough. Yes, rough would be a very good way to put it. Someday I will find a way to indulge all the things I need to feed my soul. Someday.

Chickens!

I've been TALKING about wanting to get chickens for a very long time now. I have never actually managed to do it, because there were just enough complicated bits that I never quite wrapped my head around getting it all done. I mean - just the description of ordering wee baby chicks alone was enough to make my head spin, never mind picked a coop, figuring out how to care for them, worrying about the neighborhood coyotes, not to mention the neighbors.

A few weeks ago, a friend of Wiley's mentioned that they were moving to a bigger coop, and might we want their Eglu? They'd be happy to include the two adult chickens who had been living together in the space as well - a little starter flock!

Today was the chicken pickup day, and Wiley headed out this morning to their place, way up on the end of the North Shore. Dismantled the coop, packed it all up, boxed up the chickens and drove them home.

We just spent about an hour getting them settled in and introducing them to our cats - Cosmo seems intimidated and not quite sure what to think, while Pye seems to think they look pretty tasty. We're pretty sure they won't be able to get into the run, but we'll be keeping an eye on them for the next few days.

Hannah is going to get to name one of them, and I have my heart set on naming the other Camilla. It may be a bit cliché, but Gonzo has always been one of my favorite Muppets, so Camilla it is.

Here they are, all settled into their new home!



On the crafty front, I am almost to the end of my first scarf - I'm hoping to finish it up tonight and take it off the loom. I already know what I want as my second project. I've picked a name for the loom - taking Kati's suggestions as a jumping off point, I looked up "weave" in a bunch of different languages. According to Babelfish, in Italian, it is "tessuto". I don't know if it's quite right, Babelfish being what it is and all, but Tess seems to be a good fit for the loom, and so shall she be christened.

I'm also getting ready to head off to Squam for SAW this week. I'm not sure how, but it went from being very far away to being in less than a week! This is the first year I haven't had to run around buying all kinds of weird supplies - my classes are all either things I've done before (knitting and embroidery) or are providing the supplies (woodworking). I'm appreciating the chance to have a more relaxed run up to the vacation this year, and I think it's making me look forward to it even more.

No mas! No mas!

Okay, universe, I give. You win!

The past few months have been crazy, with the things breaking and costing me lots of money.

First, one morning, we woke up to the faint odor of gas in the house. After checking all the obvious suspects, and finding nothing, we called the gas company. With the help of their gas sniffer, we found that one of the valves on the furnace wasn't quite closing all the way when it switched off. Not a big deal while the heat was running, since it was leaking slowly enough that it was safely burning off when the furnace fired, but bad news once we turned the heat off for the season. Gas guy turned off our gas, but with a quick call to our plumber, we were back in business. Goodbye, $350!

The NEXT week, I was driving home one night and my engine light and temp light in my car went completely bonkers. Limped the car home, took it to our mechanic the next morning to have her diagnosed as having a blown water pump. Goodbye, $1200!

The NEXT week, Wiley went into the basement to retrieve some laundry before work to find water all over the basement floor. Our hot water heater? Had a big hole in the side of it. Called the plumber again, and he was able to come out and replace it the same day. Goodbye, $900!

Added in to those numbers were the bills we were paying for Hannah's camp for the summer, the cost of airline tickets for her to go out to visit my MiL this summer (three round trip fares, since we're not keen on her flying herself with a connection quite yet), and a tax bill that was high enough to make my brain seize.

Then, two weeks ago, the washing machine died. This time, it was a mortal injury and Wiley was not able to resurrect it as he had done at least twice before, and so this week, we replaced that too. Goodbye, another $800!

Today, while heading for the train station, the oil light in the car started screaming at me. I hobbled her home, and Wiley (who's not here today, of course) is pretty sure she's just low on oil and it's not going to be another expensive repair. Can you guess how much I am hoping it isn't?

I'd kind of like to stop hemorrhaging money, at least for a little bit.

And through it all, no matter how frustrating these ridiculous expenses have been, coming all at once, I am profoundly grateful that as annoying as it all is - it's ANNOYING and not something that has catapulted us into financial disaster or debt. I sigh, I grumble, I write a check and my problem is solved. With that said, though, I'd like the universe to go pick on someone else now, really.

New fibery adventures

Never content to stick with one hobby for too long, this yea, I decided that I wanted to learn to weave.

So, for my birthday, I asked for a loom. Sadly, there's not space in my house now for a floor loom, but there is for a little table loom.

On Monday, Wiley gifted me with this:

New Loom

Last night, gala came over and helped me get her warped for the first time. Hannah picked out some yarns and my first project is going to be a scarf for her.

WAY faster than knitting, I learned how to warp the thing and got about 5 inches of weaving done just last night.

A feeling of foreboding

I started my garden a few weeks ago. Mostly, I put in an asparagus bed that I am hoping will serve us well for years, and I'm trying a bunch of brussel sprout plants. When the tomato and basil seedlings appear at the garden store, I'll be adding as many of those as I can fit.

Last night, my husband looked out the window and called Hannah over to see what he had spotted. I looked, and was filled with a feeling of doom for my garden.



Can you see why? Maybe this will help. (You can also click to make the pics bigger.)


 


I've never seen a bunny in my yard - between having outdoor cats that scent the place up and several packs of coyotes in the woods around our house keeping the population down, they never seem to make it into our backyard. (The squirrels on the other hand, oooooooh, they're annoying).

Mr. Rabbit sat out there without moving for quite a long time without even really moving, but he was gone this morning. I'm hoping he doesn't come back, but if he does...

Does anyone know if rabbits like brussel sprouts?

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