Previous month:
February 2011
Next month:
April 2011

Entries from March 2011

Flower Power

My girls, they like to craft with Mommy. And who wouldn't? Mommy has lots of stuff with which to craft. I open a drawer or cabinet, and ideas come forth.

So last night and tonight, while the boy-child was occupying himself with instructional, informative and sometimes gross videos on YouTube (you can a learn a lot on that thing, like how to autopsy a baby or how a giant centipede eats a mouse...), we did some crafts.


I was looking for Easter-related crafts for them, so we could decorate the house like we did for Valentine's Day, but this came up first, and so that was a done deal. The ladies got right to work.


Perfectionist Chloë somehow managed to be first to finish cutting out her flowers. I asked her to spread them out randomly on the cutting mat for a photo. She immediately got to work sorting them out just so. "No, no, randomly - just spread out! LIke this!" I insisted. Then I mashed them all up and moved them all around, willy-nilly. I thought she would pass out. She is too much like me.


She picked out her ribbons and strung her paper flowers, and look! Instant Flower Child. Isn't she a darling? I thought so, too.


Sophia took a little while longer, and she had a harder time stringing the smaller flowers without ripping them, but I think she looked pretty cute, too.  (Plus, I just realized she strung them in the wrong way, with the ribbon atop the flowers. Oops.)



This picture gets me. I could look at it all and not stop finding things to inspect. Look how long her hair has become!


Tonight, with my help, the girls made this version of the Pop-Up Egg, also on the Family Fun site, which I adore. As you can see, I still had plenty of that patterned, glittered paper to use up (it was all over the Advent box, among other things), so they begged to use that. But of course!



It's pretty rad. 

Now I'm in search of any Easter- or Springtime-related crafts we could do using the Cricut, so if you know of any, holla!

Craft on.




Let me tell you about that girl: Smart as all get out, maybe the smartest of the bunch (and they are a pretty smart bunch). Funny as hell. A good-time girl.

But today?


We went on a field trip to watch (and listen to) the Virginia Symphony Orchestra take us on a musical world tour. It was pretty awesome. I'm so glad we went. Totally worth the five bucks a pop that I paid at least two months ago.

Anyway, at almost-six, the thumb in the mouth is still a constant for Soap.


(If you look past her in the picture, you can see the same is true for Jack, and on occasion, I'll still catch Chloë with her thumb in, too. I know they say that it's indicative of emotional problems if they suck their thumbs past five years old, but as someone who sucked hers until she was nine - okay, I probably DID have my share of emotional problems, but still - I can say from experience that it's pretty much just a comforting habit by that point. Anyway.)

Since I was sitting right next to her on the balcony, I gave her a whack on the shoulder and a quick, "Thumb out." 


Her response? Shove the thumb in even harder and hold it in place with the other hand.

That kid. 

Gotta love her.


Makin' Stuff

We've been in the middle of a semi-major crisis (again), which either will or won't come to a head this afternoon. Hopefully the whole thing will just quietly go away, like it should, and all my anxiety will have been for naught. But in the meantime, I've been knitting and crafting, which is what I do when my stomach (what's left of it) is in knots. So I've got some stuff to show ya, 'k?


This was made from the beautiful beaded silk from Artyarns that I picked up at the Loopy Ewe in St. Louis. Remember? If you're on Ravelry, the pattern is the Sagebrush Shrug, and I loved making it (although I screwed it up and kept doing 3 pattern repeats instead of 4, but I did the math and worked it out). I think I'll make it again in a less-fancy (read: less majorly expensive) yarn, just because I really like the pattern. As far as the yarn, it makes an absolutely gorgeous product, but man, oh man, is it ever fiddly. It would have to be something really special for me to work with it again. Sirrusly. I totally love every Artyarns product I've ever worked with - and there have been a bunch - but this was a total pain in my arse. Hopefully, when I wear it with the dress I made it expressly to go with (listen, it's not even 0800 and I don't feel like making that grammatically correct), I'll get some better snaps. And it'll look beautiful. And people will say nice things about it. And actually notice the beads. Because if they don't notice the beads, well, then, shit.


Hey, do you remember I was making this thing, back in November or something? I'll be darned if I didn't tag that post with any of the usual suspects, so I can't find it, but I know you remember, 'cause you hang on my every word. It's a knitted dodecahedron! How cool is that? If you're a math fan like I am, anyway. I made about 7 of the bumps and then set it aside for, oh... five months. I picked Celestine back up on Monday or so, and I finished it in the wee hours of this morning. Fun knit! I loved almost every minute of it, except for maybe that last nubby, which made my hands cramp up something fierce. No, I can't lie, I liked that, too. It made me feel alive. ALIVE! (Caffeine on board, can you tell?) Anyway, it's a big mother, compared to that chapstick there, so we won't be using it for an ornament like I originally planned. I may list it on Etsy. I can't decide. The kids love it though, so maybe I shan't. Hmm.

Oh, PS, this was also made with Artyarns, in their ultramerino flavor. I've had this yarn for ages and have made several projects out of it. A little goes a long way! Now this, this yarn, I love. It's divine.


Speaking of my Etsy shop, I got a bug up my rear in the middle of the night, after I finished tidying up, to do some crafting. I got a bunch of bottle caps from various people, intending to do crafts with my Daisy troop with them, but (a) I don't think we will anymore and (b) I was given a LOT more than I needed at the time, so I've been looking at them and looking at them, wondering what I'd do with them all. Magnets! And thumbtacks! That's what I made, just looking around my craft room and grabbing this, that an' the other. The one above is from the last batch.  I really like it, and if they don't sell, fine by me! I'll just use them myself.


I think these turned out really cool.  Kinda wish I had a cork bulletin board, to stick the tacks on and use... Guess I have another project to add to my (crazy long) list of... projects.


I love these, too!! I think they turned out super cute, and I only wish I had more flowers to make more of these guys. Well, anyway, it was a fast and fun project and satisfied my little bout of midnight mania. And I only burned myself once on the high-temp glue gun. Note to self: Restock low-temp glue sticks!

Hey, I just made a coupon code for you blog readers: If you would like to order from my Etsy shop, get free shipping with your order! Use code SSA0311 and have yourself a little gift on me. Thanks!


As for us, we're going to be missing our military homeschool co-op classes for the third time today in, like, six weeks. Kind of ridick, but it can't be helped. I signed up for this field trip to hear the Virginia Symphony Orchestra long before the co-op started, so that'll be nice. Think I can get away with wearing a sweatshirt to the concert? I don't feel like changing.


Sunday Stealing: The 5,000 Q Meme, Part II


Link up here if you're playing along today!

26. Who has done something today to show they care about you?

Right now, Hubby is out getting me a Diet Coke refill at the 7-11 down the road, even though he really didn't want to go out again. Not for the first time today...

27. Do you have a lot to learn?

Oh, definitely. Don't we all?

28. If you could learn how to do three things just by wishing and not by working what would they be?

I'd be a master gardener, a financial wizard, and an expert seamstress. And I'd pretty much be starting at Ground Zero with all those things, so it'd be a giant leap forward.

29. Which do you remember the longest: what other people say, what other people do or how other people make you feel?

I'd have to say it's a tie between what other people say and how that makes me feel. They're pretty closely related, aren't they?

30. What are the key ingredients to having a good relationship?

Communication, commiseration, compromise... and chocolate.

31. What 3 things do you want to do before you die?

Dive the Great Barrier Reef, design a fabulous knitted piece, and see all my grandchildren.

32. What three things would you want to die to avoid doing?

Watching another one of my children die (at any age), and that's pretty much it except for something really gross like having sex with a blood relative! (ew, ew, ew)

33. Is there a cause you believe in more than any other cause?

I have a few, but environmentalism trumps them all.

34. What does each decade make you think of:

I'm not sure which way to go with this question, so I'm going to interpret it thusly:

70s - bell bottoms, my birth, the beginning

80s - my favorite music!! Mom dying

90s - college, U-Miami, coming of age

00s - First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a few babies in a baby carriage

10s - Finding our way as a family...

35. Which decade do you feel the most special connection to and why?

I'm definitely an 80s baby, but the 00s were pretty great in that I met the true love of my life and made four people with him! (Which flies in the face of that whole "environmentalism" thing, but, well, yeah...)

36. What is your favorite oldie/classic rock song?

I'll have to think about this for a bit. Bohemian Rhapsody?

37. What country do you live in and who is the leader of that country?

USA! Barrack Obama (and yes, I like him, so pbbbttthh)

If you could say any sentence to the current leader of your country what would it be?

"Do your best to do what's right."

38. What's your favorite TV channel to watch in the middle of the night?

We don't have TV service. But my go-to TV channel when we're in a hotel, like right now, is HGTV. I find it very inspiring.

39. What Disney villain are you the most like and why?

Uhh... Captain Hook. I love being asea but am envious of those who can fly.  And I have a sidekick named Smee, a hook for a hand, and a hungry croc after me all the time. I don't know.

40. Have you ever been a girl scout/boy scout?

Yes, I was a Brownie in elementary school, and I'm a Girl Scout again now that I lead my youngest's troop.

41. If you were traveling to another continent would you rather fly or take a boat?

Oh, wouldn't a transAtlantic cruise be the most romantic, wonderful thing? I've already flown to Europe; next time I'd love to go by ship.

42. Why is the sky blue during the day and black at night?

Because it reflects the natural light, and there isn't any at night.

43. What does your name mean?

Something like sweet, dark honey...? Feel free to look it up if you care more than I do.

44. Would you rather explore the deeps of the ocean or outer space?

Oh, gosh. Tough decision! I'd have to go with space, though. How amazing that would be.

45. Word association

What is the first word that comes to mind when you see the word:























46. If you could meet any person in the world who is dead who would you want it to be?

My son. I'm dying to know if he's 8 years old or a baby, out there.

47. What if you could meet anyone who is alive?

I would say Eric Clapton, but I'd probably pass out if I did. So maybe Obama.

48. Is there a movie that you love so much you could watch it everyday?

Grease or Dirty Dancing or Napolean Dynamite ...

49. You are going to be stuck alone in an elevator for a week. What do you bring to do?

Uh, like an axe or something to hack my way out of there! I could not deal!!! But if it was solid steel, I guess I better bring some needles and yarn, and a pillow and some good sleeping pills, so I could sleep through the misery.

50. Have you ever saved someone's life or had your life saved?

When I was born, I had a heart defect so severe that it was thought I wouldn't survive. They wanted to life-flight me to NYC. My mom chose to save me through prayer, instead. I didn't have any medical intervention, and here I am.


Saturday 9: A Long December


Link up here if you played along with Sam!

1. Looking back at it now, how were your holidays and your time on New Year's Eve?

I don't know, that was three months ago. Who cares anymore? Nothing bad happened, so that's good.

2. Do you have any unusual collections?

I don't think I collect anything that few other people do: Fancy schmancy yarns, spoons, shot glasses, magnets, keychains... although I've kind of dropped that last one. Hubs collects antique fishing reels, which is cool.

3. If you could train a machine to do one thing for you whenever you wanted, what would you have it do?

Clean my house, duh!!

4. What is one thing that makes you cry?

My kids growing up too fast...

5. What do you love to do on the weekend?

Having adventures with my family

6. Do you and your family get along?

My immediately family, that Hubs and I created? Yes, swimmingly. We like being around each other. I know a lot of people who can't wait to send their kids to school or here or there or whatever, but I don't. I actually enjoy being around my kids! (Which is not to say that I don't enjoy a nice break now and then; like that too!)

7. Have you ever gotten kicked out of somewhere? If yes, do tell.

Not that I can recall, but there's this little story that Hubs and I love to tell each other sometimes: In that brief two months between meeting and marrying, we were in a convenience store in Lower Alabama (aka The Florida Panhandle) and kissing. The clerk scolded us, saying, "This here's a public place! You need to find a un-public place!" Cracked us up.

8. Who do you normally turn to when you need to complain about something?

Definitely my better half. He hears it all. Poor guy. I'm bad about addressing insult or injury with the person who caused it, so I bottle it up and save my bitching for him.

9. What is the last thing you ordered on-line?

I ordered what I thought was an OtterBox for my iPhone from a seller on eBay, for super cheap. When it arrived the other day, it became immediately apparent why it was so cheap: it was a really crappy knock-off! I was pissed.

And that, my friends, is that.



Saying Goodbye To Grandpa

{Note: I changed the title of this post from the original idea, "Buried Treasure," as tongue-in-cheek didn't seem quite right this time.}

Rob got a few days off of work for my grandpa's funeral, so we headed up there on Wednesday morning.

By "there," I mean Connecticut, even though the services were scheduled for the following day in Teaneck, New Jersey.  Our hotel was in CT, because, tacky though it may be, I took a mystery shop to pay for our lodging. I mean, it was an unplanned, un-budgeted-for trip, so if I could get someone else to foot the bill, then by golly, I would do it.

So, we went to Connecticut.

The trip up took longer than it should have, because we had to make numerous stops for various potty breaks and things. I can't remember if someone (or ones) had an upset tummy or just what, but it seemed like we stopped more than went.



After we passed Newark, we were right near Leonia, where Grandma and Grandpa lived throughout my childhood. I spent many days there as a kid, so we quickly decided to take a detour through the old neighborhood to show the kids where I spent some of my happiest times. They lived in 20C, which is the bottom right unit in the photo, there. Their door was the farthest on the right, which meant the doors were out of ABCD order. That always drove me nuts! 

I ran all over the place once we got there, excitedly showing my children where Grandma always parked her big, maroon "boat" of a car, and where Grandpa had always parked his blue work van, and the dumpsters that hadn't moved an inch, and the room where Stacey and I slept, and so much else. The memories just came pouring out of me, almost faster than I could speak them. When I say that these were the happiest days of my youth, here at this small condominium village in Jersey, I'm not exaggerating. I loved going there, I loved being there, and I loved returning.


The kids had a blast there, for the 20 or so minutes we stayed, anyway. They jumped in puddles, listened for the faint sound of the ice cream truck that barreled through there when I was a kid, and peeked in the holes in the sidewalk for froggies, just like Stacey and I used to do. Jack summed it up nicely for me when we were walking back to the car; I can't remember now exactly what he said, but it was something like, "This looks like such a fun place to grow up!"

After we piled back into Penelope (our Honda Odyssey), we drove 'round the corner into Englewood, NJ, to see the warehouse where Grandpa worked so hard for so many decades. He installed industrial laundry units for Tingue Brown, though my dad or uncle could explain his exact function better than I could. He took us there many times, when he had work to do in the evenings, and the two of us basically spent the time running around and asking a hundred times, "What's this? What does that do? What's this for?" The warehouse in Englewood closed down about nine years ago, but I did see some places that I remembered along the way.

While we were en route to Connecticut, I found out that an obituary hadn't been placed in the paper for Grandpa. After hearing this and talking to my dad and Rob for a minute, I called the funeral director back and dictated an obit to him for the Bergen (County) Record. I wanted to make sure that everyone from Grandpa's life in New Jersey would know of his passing, and though it was only going to be published the morning of his funeral, give them a chance to make it to the services if they were able. You can see the obituary here.

I didn't know I was going to drive straight through New York City to get to our hotel in CT, which was stupid of me, but I didn't look. I just trust Sue, my GPS, and drive on with confidence. So I got a little quaky in my boots when I was taking the George Washington Bridge, but at the same time, I was excited as all-get-out to be doing it! I have spent a great deal of time in The City That Never Sleeps, but I have never, ever driven in it myself. Lo and behold, we survived!

We finally made it to our hotel, where we had a nice stay and did the mystery shop stuff I had to do. I had planned to stay up all night so that I wouldn't miss our early departure and, thus, Grandpa's entire funeral, but my heavy lids got the better of me and I climbed into the big, comfy bed.

I slept like the just. The just plain tired.

And I slept on, through the 0500 wake-up call, and my 0530 alarm, and all the sleep-snoozes that followed. Finally, at 0726, I opened my peepers and noted that I had wanted to be on the road to Jersey exactly four minutes after that. "WAKE UP! EVERYONE, WAKE UP!! WE'RE LATE, WE GOTTA GOOOOOO!" I shouted. The room was all hustle and bustle after that. I dressed up the kids in their funereal finest, got myself into my own black frock, and watched as Rob donned his dress blues out of respect for my grandpa's Navy stint in The Great War. I zipped down to do the portions of the mystery shop I could only do in the morning, and we were back in the car in record time.

Just in time to sit in traffic. The whole of Connecticut, it seemed, was headed into NYC to go to work at the same time. In an hour and a half, we moved about five miles. I prayed my most fervent prayer that either Penelope would sprout wings or, somehow, some way, traffic would move and we wouldn't miss Grandpa's entire service.

My prayer was answered.

Beep beep beep beep went my phone, in the Morse code-like text sound I have reserved for my Uncle Chris. He sent word that they had moved the service back an hour, to 1100 from 1000, to give my cousin Melissa and us plenty of time to arrive. Words can not express the elation I felt when I read that! It wasn't the exact thing I had prayed for, but as Rob said, God was conserving energy: Rather than perform 50,000 small miracles for all the vehicles on the road, He was performing just the one we needed that morning.

When we got to the funeral home, amidst dozens of questions from the kids about the body, the hearse, funeral parlors in general, and so forth, the girls and I had approximately zero time to greet anyone before the fabulous director, Kurt, showed us the way into the (very nice) ladies room. Stacey came around the corner to greet us, but I blasted out, "Gotta go!" to her and left her waiting outside.

When we came out, of course, there were hugs and kisses and tears all around. She showed us into the room where Grandpa lay in his open casket, and I saw him for the first time since I got word of his death six days earlier. My nose is burning with the tears forming now, as I think of it. He should not be in that box. He should have been around for another 50 years. He loved life, he loved his kids and grandkids and great-grandkids, and he had a lot more joy to spread.

Stacey went up with the five of us. Her girls weren't ready to handle a funeral yet, but my kids were as inquisitive as usual. They asked us a billion questions. Through our tears, Aunt Stacey and I chuckled and answered everything. "Why is he so cold? Why is his skin hard? Why are you putting pistachios (Stacey) and a wiffle ball (me) in there? Why does he have a flag and a cross pin on his suit? Why are his glasses in his pocket? Why why why why why?" I didn't mind. I hope no one else did, either.

He didn't look exactly right to me, but then, they never really do, do they? His nose seemed too pointy and his nostrils were flared, as if he was smelling something he didn't like. I couldn't really get past that. But he was handsome. He still had a full head of hair and all his teeth, and he was proud of that. I sent him some Listerine in a recent package, and he chided me jokingly, asking why it wasn't Scope and telling me the bottle was too heavy for his tired, sore hands to lift. When he died, I couldn't help but wonder how much of that mouthwash was left, and wonder if it would go to waste. Stupid brain, thinking such silly thoughts.

I had briefly greeted Uncle Chris before stepping up to the casket, but I visited with him again after. And my mom's cousin, Ken, who had commented here on the post about Grandpa's death. I had read the comment on my iPhone on the way up there, and it made me happy to know that Grandpa had been Ken's (or Kenny, as my dad had always referred to him) favorite uncle, and my mom his favorite cousin. The two of them were so much alike, so happy and cheerful and quick to share their smiles.

The service itself was sparsely attended, as Grandpa's living family members and friends were few in number, but those of us who were there loved him greatly. We were maybe a dozen in number. I was pleased that the minister from their church, who knew both Grandma and Grandpa so well, was the officiant. He shared several anecdotes about both of them, and I enjoyed listening to him speak so tenderly about the grandparents I loved so well. He said that G&G invited him and his then-wife to dinner at a certain restaurant many times, and it was on the way to one such visit that Grandpa was driving his Grandpa way. The minister chuckled to remember that Grandma asked Grandpa, "Are you sure the car is in gear, Art? I could walk there faster." We all giggled, too. The service he gave was nice, and I felt good about it.

The procession to the cemetery was led first, of course, by the hearse, and then by Uncle Chris. Stacey trailed him, and then me, and then Melissa, and then everyone else. Despite our flashers and slow speed on the highway, the procession was broken many times by rude or ignorant drivers. Stacey's husband irately flashed the bird to one such driver, to my great amusement. That's New York for ya! Somehow, we all made it to the grave site in one piece, and Kurt directed us around a giant mausoleum and told us where to park.

The burial was as lovely as one can be, as the Navy Honor Guard was on hand to play "Taps" on the bugle and present the flag to Uncle Chris. I was very touched by all of that. Rob saluted the entire time, which is his duty in uniform, of course, but I was touched by that, too. He, himself, used to be in the Honor Guard, so he was very familiar with the whole process and told me beforehand what to expect and afterhand (why isn't that a word?) what was different that he had been trained. We all placed roses on Grandpa's casket, and after I placed a kiss on my hand and touched the coffin, Chloë and Sophia did the same. That made me laugh inwardly; I should have known they'd do that.

We said our good-byes at the grave to Ken and the other attendees, and then Chris, my two cousins Laura and Melissa, Melissa's husband, Stacey and her family, and my whole family made our way up the hill to visit my mother's grave. She had been buried there almost 27 years earlier, and I hadn't been to visit since the summer of '99. Stacey hadn't been since she was a kid, and Chris hadn't been in ages either, so we couldn't find poor Mom at first! I kept thinking, "We should ask Grandpa where she is, he would know!"

We fanned out and finally, Chris shouted out to the rest of us that she was found. Her stone has a built-in, pull-out vase, and as we had all taken red and white carnations from the arrangement that Chris had gotten for Grandpa, we tried to yank that vase out of the headstone to be filled. It was impossible; all the men gave it a go, and some of the women did, too. Rob realized it was a futile effort, as it had been pointed out several times that it was bent funny, so he ran off to get some cemetery workers to fix it. One came back with him, and he wielded a tool (don't ask me what it was) to get it unstuck. It took a lot of work, but finally, the vase came free. We all cheered and happily placed our carnations in my mother's vase. The kids took it upon themselves to arrange the flowers, and while no one would pay for their work, we all enjoyed seeing them do it. It was agreed by all then, much to my relief, that our children had provided a needed comic relief to the day's proceedings, and they were glad they were there. Phew!

(I know this is getting so long, but I need to tell all about it. It helps.)

We talked about my mom a little, and then as a group, we bid her adieu. But not before Sophia found an earthwork burrowing into its little earthworm hole at the head of her plot, and "rescued" it. None of us could convince her to let the poor creature go, so in the end, her daddy agreed to put it in a cup, with some dirt and water, and take it home to Virginia with us. I have no idea now what has become of that poor critter!

Jack had asked me a hundred times when we were going to see Grandpa's coffin actually lowered into the ground, so when I saw that Kurt was still standing there, I called out and asked him when it would be done. He told me that he would have it done as soon as we all left. Thinking of Jack, I quickly asked, "Can we not watch?" He asked if we would like to, and, thinking of everyone else's feelings (I do manage that sometimes), I inquired if anyone else would like to see, too. Everyone did! So we all gathered around Grandpa's coffin - sometimes a bit too close for Kurt's comfort - as the workers lowered him, hand-over-hand, into the ground. His final resting place was just above Grandma's. We all peeked into the hole, with Kurt in the background pleading with us not to get too close. I don't think anyone listened. There he was, down there, with roses all over, along with the cross-shaped ashes that the minister had placed there earlier.

I was supposed to have a lunch mystery shop in Manhattan that day, but I decided to stay with my family after all. I was feelin' the love. I suggested the Leonia pizzeria where Grandma and Grandpa took us at least once every visit, but Uncle Chris nixed that as he had just dined there the night before. When Grandma died, Grandpa had eaten there almost every night, and he was close with the owners and many of the regulars. I was surprised none of them were able to come to his funeral, but such is life. In the end, we all gathered at a local diner.


Melissa and Etan were fasting for Esther, before Purim, as they are Jewish, so they did not come in and eat with us. I had never met Etan before, and I found him to be quite wonderful. She married well. He's cute to boot, and isn't she gorgeous? She's my middle cousin. Laura is Chris' youngest, and Stefanie, who was not able to make it up from Florida, is the oldest. We said good-bye to Melissa, and the photogenic pair agreed to a quick pose for me. These two will be making beautiful babies someday soon, I hope!


The rest of us ate heartily and listened to Uncle Chris tell about all of the shenanigans he had put his parents through as a teenager and young adult. He was quite the hellion, to hear him tell it! I'm embarrassed to say, my kids were also being quite the hellions throughout our meal. They had been on their best behavior for Grandpa, so I guess it finally wore off and they just couldn't do it any more for the rest of us. Aunt Stacey sat closer to them than we did, though, and she had absolutely no problem "handling it." She often tells me, though, when I share the latest from Sophia, "I would sell that child if she were mine!" 

After lunch, everyone waited out in the parking lot while I bought "a few things" (more like 20) from the bakery section of the Coach House. I just can't resist some good pastry, what can I say? At last, it was time to ease on down the road, so we bid farewell to my sister and brother-in-law, my nieces, and my uncle and cousin. We may never all be together in one spot again. But who knows?



The trip home also took much longer than it should have, because we made many and frequent stops for no good reason other than it seemed none of us was in any rush to be home. On this stop along the Jersey Turnpike, I found a Carvel, which Grandpa loved with a passion (everyone who knew him knew about his love for ice cream and especially Carvel), so I quickly conferred with Rob and decided that a sundae in his memory was in order. I had a bite or two, myself. I mean, it was for the old man...

On another stop, I was in a long line to pay for a Diet Coke and stuff, when I started listening to the conversation going on at the counter. The customer, a frustrated Gringo trying to buy some lottery tickets, was arguing with the heavily-accented Latina behind the counter. I took note of all the other patrons in the queue and decided that none of them spoke Spanish, so I gathered up all my nerve and stepped up to offer my assistance. I told the gent that I was quite rusty, and that I NEVER played the lottery, but I could try to help. He told me what he wanted, and I translated for him to the cashier. She nodded, repeated, and punched the buttons. To my immense relief, we got it right, and the man was happy. Then he handed me two dollars and said, "Get your millions, girlfriend!" as he walked away. So I bought two tickets, with everyone in line behind us egging me on, and gave them to Rob. We didn't win anything, but it would have been a good story if we had!

So, anyway, that was that. Grandpa is gone. Even though I saw it with my own two eyes, it's still hard to believe it. I keep having, "I should call Grandpa and tell him abc or xyz" thoughts, which are jarring. Rob keeps assuring me that they are completely normal. I know they are, but it still makes me cry. I just wasn't ready yet to say good-bye. It's never a good time, I know, but I really wasn't ready. 

With love and sadness and my whole heart, and until I see you both again, Grandma and Grandpa, rest in peace.


Sunday Stealing: The 5,000 Q Meme, Part One

Sunday Stealing 

Link up here if you're late with this one, too!

1. Who are you?

Oh, really? You felt like starting me off with an easy one, huh? I am: Melanie, 34, stay-home, homeschooling mother of three living children, and deeply grieving mother of an angel baby. I am a Navy wife, a sister, daughter, and niece. I like to knit and do other crafts, read, sing, and be silly as much as possible. I'm addicted to my computer and Diet Coke. I try my hardest to be a good person, and it hurts me deeply when I stumble. I am a child of God.

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?

I am intelligent enough to understand anything you want to tell me, so don't believe that I am not; however, I may choose not to try if I am uninterested in the topic. I hate to be misinterpreted or misunderstood, with a passion. If you need help, I will do my utmost to help you.

3. When you aren't memes like this one what are you doing?

Memes like that one?

4. List your classes in school from the ones you like the most to the ones you like the least (or if you are out of school, think of the classes you did like and didn't like at the time).

Sciences were my forte, along with Math. I always did well with English and Spanish. History was not my strong suit; I especially hate learning about war. I loved Art and Music, but Technology class didn't always hold my interest.

5. What is your biggest goal for this year?

I haven't really ranked my goals for the year, but one thing I want to do is make the switch from knitting entirely for charity to knitting for my living kids, my husband and other loved ones - and myself!

6. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

Somewhere warm, with my family. That's all I care about.

7. What stage of life are you in right now?

I haven't gone through menopause yet, if that's what you want to know.

8. Are you more child-like or childish?

I can be a bit of both on occasion, but I'm definitely more child-like, like my mom and grandpa.

9. What is the last thing you said out loud?

"Aww, poor little ladybug!"

10. What song comes closest to how you feel about your life right now?

"Satisfied," combined with "Morning Song," by Jewel

11. Have you ever taken martial arts classes?

No. I would, though. I remember being about five years old and waiting in the hallway with my sister, while my parents took their first and last karate class. About 3/4 of the way through the class, my mom came bolting out of the class and flew past us. Dad rushed out right behind her, and we were inquiring what happened. "Mom peed her pants doing a kick!" he said. They never went back.

12. Does your life tend to get better or worse or does it just stay the same?

There are little and big ups and downs, just like anyone else's life, I suppose.

13. Does time really heal all wounds?

No, it does not. My mom died when I was 7 years old, and the pain still cuts me quite deeply.

14. How do you handle a rainy day?

If it's only a light rain, we'll pull on our boots and go jump in the puddles! Otherwise, we try to make other (indoor) plans. When we were kids and visiting my grandparents, Sis and I always knew we'd be headed to the movie theater if it was a rainy day.

15. Which is worse...losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?

Definitely losing your luggage - that suuuuuucks. Especially if it's on the way there.

16. How is (or was) your relationship with your parents?

With my mom, it was wonderful. She was the perfect mother, if ever there was one. I have her on a bit of a pedestal in my mind, it's true, but she really was lovely to us. I get along well with my dad, although he doesn't entirely understand me. I'm not his clone, and he doesn't always like that.

17. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?

I can tune out with the best of 'em, but I'm usually paying attention.

18. What is the truest thing that you know?

God is love.

19. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a marine biologist, always. And briefly, I was.

20. Have you ever been given a second chance?

Thankfully, yes.

21. Are you more of a giver or a taker?

I try to be more of a giver, but I do love the way my husband babies me, I confess.

22. Do you make your decisions with an open heart/mind?

I can be pretty darn stubborn, admittedly, and when I want to do something, I usually leap right in and go for it. It's hard to talk me out of a decision. When I can't make up my mind, then yes, I weigh everything.

23. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?

My first c-section, with Chloë. Oh, God. The second and third hurt as well, but each one was easier than the last. That first time, I was in agony. And the first nurse that came in to check my incision practically karate-chopped my belly. I still have homicidal thoughts about that [woman].

24. What is the most emotionally painful thing that has ever happened to you?

I have a lot of emotional baggage, which my regular readers know, but nothing touches holding my baby boy in my arms while he breathed his last.

25. Who have you hugged today?

All three of my kids. Hubs has given me a nice embrace or two, as well.

More next week...!


Saturday 9: You Were Meant For Me


The link is here, in case you're playing along late like me!

1. Have you ever felt that you were “made” for someone or some purpose?

Yes, sure. My husband and I have long believed that God led us to each other and that we belong together. Our marriage has been, at times, tumultuous, but I wouldn't know what to do without him.

2. What do you do when you have a problem that you can't do anything about it?

I talk to my husband. And then my dad, and sometimes my sister.  My dad always has advice for me. Sometimes I even follow it.

3. If marijuana were to be legalized, do you think it should be taxed?

This isn't something I've ever given pause to consider. I suppose it will be, anyway, except for those using it for medical reasons.

4. What is one thing you should never do on a first date?

Shit your pants.

5. If someone (at gunpoint) forced you to receive a portrait tattoo of someone, who would it be?

Well, I guess that would be up to them, wouldn't it? I mean, I wouldn't have to be forced too hard to have a portrait done of someone I love, like my kids or Hubs, but I really wouldn't love to have Hitler immortalized on my skin.

6. Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

Only time will tell.

7. Anything fabulous happen to you last night?

I went to an overnight lock-in at a local YMCA with my older daughter for Girl Scouts. She had a lot of fun, and it was nice to get some time together, just the two of us (well, and 100 other Girl Scouts).

8. For a few years in a row, you receive a nice tax refund: do you make an adjustment with your payroll deduction so they’ll take less, or do you leave it that way so that you can continue to receive the big check every spring?

I know it's smarter to change the payroll deduction, but we seem to do better with the big check. So I guess we'll leave it that way.

9. When was the last time you had butterflies in your stomach?

On Thursday morning. We laid my grandpa to rest that day. Approaching the funeral home, I had them.


For The Love Of Knitting

2011-03 (Mar)

I made this for my friend's daughter. The baby was born, I think, on Christmas Eve, and I cast on for this sweater (Elizabeth Zimmermann's February Baby Sweater on 2 Needles) within the week. However, you may have realized, we're never home, and I have no free time (or at least, I don't always make good use of it)! So I just finished it today. Or was it last night? I forget; it's all blent together now.

Hopefully, knowing my friend, the baby is still quite small and will fit this for months to come. Unfortunately, they live in Miami, and this is ultramerino by Artyarns, so... you do the math. Keepsake? Heirloom? Hey. I make the sweaters, not the decisions.

I should go pack, but I'm dragging my feet on it. We're leaving for my grandpa's funeral tomorrow morning. The funeral's on Thursday morning in New Jersey, but our hotel tomorrow night is just over an hour away in Connecticut. If I've ever been to CT, I'm not aware of it. But my grandpa grew up there, so it seems appropriate.

I'm hanging in here. You know how it is. One minute you're fine, and the next minute you're snotting all over your husband's shirt with bleary red eyeballs and a crying headache.  But I'm okay. I'm not over-dosing or cutting my wrists or anything like that, which is good. And I'm looking forward to visiting my mom's grave, which is at the same cemetery where Grandma and, soon, Grandpa are/will be buried. I haven't been there in over a decade.

I have no clever way to end this post, so I'm just going to stop.


2011 Blue & Gold


Almost a month ago, Jack's Cub Scout pack had the annual Blue & Gold, which is their big birthday party for Scouts. Most of my pictures didn't turn out well (it was before I got my new Nikon!), so I'll only be able to share a few here. As you can see, cupcakes are a big hit with my boy! He's got the bush baby eyes going on there!


Sophia never met a cupcake she didn't like, either.


Here's Jack being called up by the Cubmaster to get his Pinewood Derby patch.


Awesome patch! I'm all about the patches. Love them.


Does this look good to you? It does not to me. This was Rob's plate. The theme for this year's Blue & Gold was "Heritage," because they have been working on learning where their ancestors came from and such. Everyone was supposed to bring a food to represent their heritage. Rob took a little bit of everything - he's not picky! Jack is Bohemian on Rob's mom's side, so we had intended to make and bring a Houska (sweet bread) to the event, but it didn't turn out. I had to run by the grocery store and get a challah and an Italian bread to sub for them. Is that sacrilege? I hope not!


The little guy with the yellow kerchief was Jack. He's so teeny and cute! ♥ The boys were called up to play a Jeopardy-like game against each other for prizes. Jack got his questions wrong. He didn't care a lick, either, that they were things he should've known! Der!


That was about all there was to it, at least as long as we stayed. I think it continued and we left early because I wasn't feeling well, but we were there for most of it.

I'll post more later; it's "catch up" night for me, obviously!


Sunday Stealing: The Burnt Toast Meme, Part 2


Link up here if you're stealing today!

17. Who would you like to show up at your door to say they love you?

Ha. I'm glad you didn't ask me this xx number of years ago. Only my husband. Only him, please...

18. Last furry thing you touched?

Teehee. I'll give you a hint. It was on said husband...

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?

Nothing that wasn't prescribed to me!

20. Do you miss film or does digital work for you?

I love digital. Love.

21. Favorite age you have been so far?

Five was pretty good, but I'm liking 34, too.

22. Your worst enemy?

Personally, I don't think I have any "enemies." If I do, they're not on my radar, so they must be insignificant.

23. What is your current desktop picture?

This: 041

from the fondue event here at the resort on Friday night. But I change it all. the. time.

24. What was the last thing you said that was funny?

Taken out of context, it's probably not, so i'm not even going to bother trying to remember!

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?

Fly! I have always dreamed I could fly.

26. Who can't you say “no” to?

I have a hard time saying no to anyone who asks me to take something on. I'm stretched pretty thin right now. Something's gotta give.

27. The last song you bought or downloaded?

"Bad," by Michael Jackson. Oh yeah, I'm kickin' it old school.

28. What time of day were you born?

I really don't know. I know it was a Wednesday, though.

29. What’s your favorite number? Why?

64 has been my favorite number my whole life, since I was a really little kid, and I don't know why.

30. Where did you live in 1987?

Central New York. In a big house on a hill.

31. Are you jealous of anyone?

I try not to be, but sure, I am. Chicks with smokin' bods and people with endless resources, for one. Well, two.

32. Is anyone jealous of you?

They ought not to be.

33. It's been almost a decade. Where were you when 9/11 happened?

In the hospital. My firstborn was delivered by emergency c-section four days earlier. She was in the NICU, and I was recovering. I got released later that day. I'll never forget that day.

Have a great week, y'all!



Saturday 9: St. Patrick's Day


Link up here if you played along this week!

1. St. Patrick's Day is March 17th (Thursday). Do you celebrate and wear green? Drink Green Beer? Ignore it?

I pretty much ignore it. I'm not Irish, I don't like beer, and I am not a party girl.

2. If a leprechaun told you that you could have any amount of money from his pot of gold but it had to be a specified amount for a specified item, how much would you ask for and what would it be for?

$50 Million for a trust fund. Haha. No good? Then half that, for world travel.

3. One of the symbols of St. Patrick's Day is the leprechaun. Name a celebrity that you think would look good as a leprechaun. Name a celebrity that would look ridiculous as a leprechaun. Is there any one celebrity that would make a really scary leprechaun?

I refuse to answer this question on the basis that it's stupid.

4. For a prize of $1,000,000,000 you are challenged to make yourself a costume for a St. Patricks Day party. The ONLY rules are that you aren't allow to use clothing and it has to be green. Using anything other than clothing, describe your costume to us using ANYTHING else in the house.

I'm not enjoying this quiz so much. Maybe I will skip this question, too.

 5. What day of the week is your busiest? Tell us about your schedule.

They're all busy, but right now Thursdays are busiest. We have our military homeschool co-op from 9-1, and Scouts at 4. We're always, always on the go, though. "Homeschool" and "stay-home mom" do NOT mean we just sit in the house all day, fo' sho'!

6. No matter what's going on in your life, what always makes you smile?

When my kids are happy, I'm happy.

7. Of all the clothes you own, what do you feel most comfortable wearing, and why?

I like jeans and a tank top right now. Simple, easy (since I have lots of both) and cute!

8. On what television show—either past or present—would you like to make to make a guest appearance, and what role would you play?

I'd love to sing on Glee! I'm not even a Gleek... but I like to sing. :)

9. What else is on your mind? Go ahead and rant.

I can't rant about what I feel like ranting about here, so I've been doing that in person to my family members. I guess not a whole lot on my mind right now, other than mystery shop stuff, homeschooling, and my grandpa dying (Friday).

Anyway, happy weekend,



Objet d'Art

My grandfather, Arthur H. Ohlmann, passed away early this morning at the age of 84. He was going to be 85 in June.

He went into the hospital about a week ago. I told a friend that I expected him to remain there for a week. However, I did expect him to go home again, back to the assisted living center. I didn't expect him to spend his final days there at all.

I found out at around 0445 today, via text message from his son - my uncle, my mother's brother - that he was gone. I think my exact words were, "What! Oh, my God! What?! Oh, my GOD!" because the last thing I thought was that he would die without me calling one last time to say good-bye, or being there to hold his hand, or looking upon his frail face with love and adoration... 

Yeah. I'm in shock, I'm certain. I know that the time will come for me to fall apart, like my sister did when I immediately called to tell her, but I haven't yet. I can feel it coming, but so far I've been mostly stoic. Which is entirely uncharacteristic of normally-overly-emotional me, so I know I'm just holding it in until I'm ready to process and deal with it. 

I feel guilty. The last three or four times I tried to call him at the hospital, there was no answer. I just attributed it to him being asleep, or busy with a nurse, or just plain not in the mood to reach over and pick up the phone. I didn't know that the last time I talked to him would have been days ago, for just a few minutes, with me telling him I'd call him back in a little while because the nurse was in there.

On the other hand, I feel good. He got the letter I sent him, the open one that I published here, and he cherished it. He said he wanted to be buried with it. It made him cry happy tears to know that Stacey and I loved him as thoroughly as we did, and he even said he thought about sending it to the newspaper to be published. So, he knew. He knew that he was loved with our whole hearts.

He was a good man. The very best man I ever knew. A model of a man. He rarely had an unkind or angry word for anyone. I never in my life heard him swear. The worst he ever said, when he was REALLY upset, was, "What the Sam Hill?!" He never drank alcohol. Ever. He went out of his way to be helpful, to be cheerful, to be kind. He was sweet.

My grandpa grew up in Connecticut, but he lived first in the Bronx, and later in New Jersey, with my grandmother. Grandma's buried in Jersey, and he'll be with her. Forever. On Monday, March 7th, it would have been something like their 63rd wedding anniversary. He mentioned that on Sunday. He never forgot. He always remembered my birthday, too. He liked to tell me about when I was a little kid - really little - how I'd call him up and remind of when my birthday was. Not that he needed it, because that's the kind of guy he was.

We were going to go and visit him this summer. I've been doing these resort shops all over the Eastern half of this country, and I was going to try and line up a bunch of them in a row in Florida, so I could go and visit him and make sure the kids had a good experience with him, too. The last time we saw him was in January, 2007, when they were 1, 3, and 5. Not old enough to remember how fantastic he was. They had a great time jumping on his bed, though. I'm so sad that we didn't make it down there in time for one last visit. He wanted to see me like I am now, much thinner and healthier, and he didn't get that.

I was going to take him out for a feast of lobster and shrimp and crab - whatever he wanted. He really wanted a lobster dinner, and I had promised it to him. Too late for that now, too.

It's like my heart is broken but it hasn't shattered yet. It's still being held together by memories, I guess, and I have plenty of those to cherish. I thank God for every day He gave me with my grandpa, and I thank Him for keeping him now. He's with my grandma, my mother, and my son - and his own firstborn, as well. I suspect he's overjoyed to be reunited with all of them. I suppose they are just as happy to have him around, too.

Oh, that guy. That funny, silly, old coot. I'm going to miss him like crazy. I already do.


Aloha Friday


Link up here if you're questioning us this week!

My question for you is:

What size ring do you wear?



I just got my rings back today after having them sized down from an 8 to a 6. (But I should've gone down to at least a 5½; they're still a bit loose.) I'm so excited to be "married" again!

What about you?

Have a great weekend, y'all.


Tesla II


My friend C has a pet African Gray parrot. Recently, she commissioned me to make a crocheted version of Tesla. I haven't done a lot of amigurumi, and I couldn't find any patterns for an African Gray, so I had to "wing" it (heh heh...sorry). Here are the results! I sent Tesla II to C recently, and she seems happy with her. So, I'm happy, too.

[Click picture collage to embiggerate.]


I Stand Corrected.

Regarding my recent order of Claudia Hand Painted fingering yarn, from The Loopy Ewe:

I didn't get this.

I got this.

Here 'tis:


[Photo taken by me, on my lap, with a Fuji something-or-other]

I like it. I'm satisfied. It's called "Campfire," and since camp is in our future, that's probably why I picked it. I'm not so tricky to figure out. At least, if I'm the one doing the figgerin'.

And I got a little present:



In your first five orders from The Loopy Ewe, you get a present. I think this is my third-order present? I received a TLE stitch marker (cutest!), and wee fiber samples.  After five, one becomes a Loopy Groupie, with its own benefits, of which I am not yet privy... simply because I have't taken the time to find out, I am sure. (I since have.) I will be sure to let you know when I have achieved Groupie status. Since my two-year yarn diet is apparently over, I'm sure it won't be long.

Also, Sheri, the savvy business woman behind TLE, sent me a hand-written note saying she enjoyed our visit earlier in the week. To say I am impressed with this shop is an understatement. They know what they're doing, and I'm hooked.

(Get it? Maybe? Kinda? Hooked...crochet...oh, never mind.)


P.S. Who wants to hear more about our trip to Missouri? Raise your hands. Higher. Now jump up and down and squeal. Okay. Be patient, and ye shall be rewarded.

Proud Mama Keeps On Braggin'


The first thing in this Scout-heavy Saturday was the Stop Hunger Now project at the church where our two Girl Scout troops meet.  Chloë, Sophia and I headed over there first thing in the morning and stood around for a while until we figured out what we were supposed to be doing. And then, I think, we and the (fellow Scout) team we were on were a force to be reckoned with!  For three hours, we scooped rice, TVP and dried veggies, and measured, weighed, and vacuum-sealed. We went as fast as we could. In the end, I think the church-goers and we put together more than 30,000 bags of food for the world's hungry. It was an awesome, humbling experience.

The elderly lady who was on our team, along with her dear husband, made a point of finding out my girls' names, and mine. She told me on several separate occasions what a pleasure they were to work with, what lovely manners they had, and how hard they worked. I was very proud. Both of them stuck to it for the duration and never complained. They had a job to do, and they did it. Chloë enjoyed it so well, she asked if we could do it again next year. But of course!


Chloë's troop leader's two younger daughters were there (the younger of whom is one of my Daisies, the older a fellow Junior), along with another Junior from their troop. They posed for a quick picture after the hard work, and then Troop Leader brought us all home. It was a great, great start to the day for us girls.


Meanwhile, at another nearby church, this handsome young lad was waiting with his daddy for the District-level Pinewood Derby race, for Cub Scouts. He had taken First Place in his Den and (I think but keep forgetting) Second in the Pack, so it was on to the Districts for Jack today. Unfortunately, the girls and I were busy with the hunger project, so we weren't there to cheer on our favorite Little Buddy, but we were with him in spirit. And check it out:


A picture speaks a thousand words, eh?


That's right, baby!! Woohoo, go Jack!!!!


After the boys rushed home from the District race - which wasn't entirely over yet, because they had to be back at 2 PM for the Finals (and it was already about noon) - we all went over to our Girl Scout cookie chair's house to pick up the goods for our booth sale at a somewhat distant grocery store. Sophia and Jack sat in the van and watched movies with Daddy while Chloë and I ran the booth. And that girl can SELL some cookies!!! She is a natural-born cookie saleswoman. It doesn't hurt that many people find her too cute to resist, but she really does not rely on that. Her booth manners are impeccable, and her charm is undeniable. She sold a ton of cookies compared to what we expected!


As soon as our reinforcements arrived to the booth, I counted down the inventory and took off with my crew. We made it back to the District Finals with ONE minute to spare. Whew!!! When we walked in, there was a chorus of, "There he is! He made it!" all around the room.  I was so relieved he didn't have to forfeit, even though he had already advanced to the Council-level race by virtue of placing in the finals.

The finals were fast and furious, and they were over before I knew what hit me! Jack kept rubbing off the graphite that his daddy had just put on the car, and that may have had something to do with his 11th-of-15 place finish. No worries. They'll have time to tinker with it before the Council race, and anyway, he was already happy to have gotten a third trophy for the 2011 race.



We're gotta need a bigger mantel!

After Districts ended, we raced back across town to recover the cookies and funds from the booth I'd earlier abandoned, because I needed to do inventory again and because I needed the cookies for tomorrow's booth with Sophia. There, I discovered that I'd goofed on the beginning inventory for the second shift who replaced us, writing down the numbers we SOLD instead of what we had LEFT. Oops. I explained to the dad there that it was a hectic day, but I also admitted I'd be lying if I said I wasn't always this scatter-brained!

After we got home, Chloë and I spent the next umpteen hours delivering all the cookies she and Sophia had sold, and we got more orders in the process. My GPS wasn't picking up a signal, and I got lost for well over an hour. That wasn't fun. Quite not fun. But we made it home alive and look, here I've lived to tell the tale.

And tomorrow, we begin again.


For Monday, because it starts with "M," Chloë has requested we study all "M" things: Math, Music, and ... "Muppets?" I suggested. No. Maps. Silly Mommy.


Sunday Stealing: The Burnt Toast Meme

Sunday Stealing 

Link up here if you're playing along this week. Cheers to all us thieves!

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

"Hmm... I'm not so sure this new haircut is working for me after all..."

2. How much cash do you have on you?

Can I answer that question after I turn in all my Girl Scout cookie money, please??

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?

Four more poor whore(s)

4. Favorite planet?

Jupiter! I love that big ol' thang.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?

Our troop cookie mom! And the 1st through 10th, too. Hehe...

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?

I have an iPhone and can't for the life of me figure out how to put custom ring tones on there without paying a fortune (or even with), so I guess it would be the motorcycle one, 'cause it means Hubs is calling. ♥

7. What shirt are you wearing?

I don't know, it's green, and chances are it's from Old Navy.

8. Do you label yourself?

No, they don't stick well.

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?

Crocs. I admit it, I'm a major Crocs girl. Soooooo comfy. Not sexy, but comfort wins in the foot department for me.

10. Bright or Dark Room?

Depends. What are we doing, and who's watching? ;)

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?


12. What does your watch look like?

Right now, I'm wearing my Great Aunt Amy's silver- and gold-tone Bill Blass. I inherited it via my dad. The battery was dead and the band was broken, so I JUST had both replaced on... Wednesday, maybe? I love it now!

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?

If I had to be perfectly honest, I would say I was probably harvesting crops on Farmville. Hey now. We all have our stupid thing.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?

It was from my uncle, asking me to tell my sister that my gramps is in the hospital. :(

15. Where is your nearest 7-11?

It's an 11-minute round trip from here, including refilling the Diet Coke jug and paying for it. At least, in the middle of the night. And there are about eleventeen more just past that.)

16. What's a word that you say a lot?

Really. Really??? I say it a lot when I'm driving. It's better than some of the words it's replacing. Really.


The Loopy Ewe

This past week, my family went to Missouri for a work-cation. Rob's mom and brother live in central MO, so we extended our trip to be able to spend some good QT with them, and we also made it a point to visit The Loopy Ewe in St. Louis. TLE is a wonderful yarn shop there, and although it conducts the vast majority of its business online (which I have done several times), there is also a well-equipped storefront for locals and visitors. More will come later about the rest of our MO trip, but since several of y'all have been chomping at the bit to see what yarn deliciousness I picked up at Loopy, I'm going to work backwards and share this piece of our trip first! 

The Loopy Ewe

Initially, I had a disappointment as our expected tax refund didn't come in before we left home, so I didn't expect to be able to shop there at all. And then, when it did come in mid-visit with Mom, I learned they weren't open the day I wanted to visit: this past Monday! The owner, Sheri, accepts appointments, but that day was her birthday, so I was very grateful when she decided to open up her store to me on Monday afternoon after all. Thank you, Sheri!


I had my camera at the ready when Chloë, my own personal Loopy Elf, and I entered the store on Monday afternoon. I didn't know exactly what the store would look like on the inside, but it was much bigger (and cuter!) than I expected. Here's my first view. Look! Yarns!


'Round the corner, there were sock yarns upon sock yarns, the mainstay of TLE's business. Each was prettier and softer than the last; Chloë and I did a lot of petting, and a lot more "ooh" and "ahhing."


There was a whole wall of Cascade 220 worsted wool in every shade imaginable; this is just a fraction of it! I needed a wider-angle lens to capture the whole thing, but such was not available to me, so you get just a glimpse. 


After Chloë and I finished our rather mad-dash shopping spree (since it was a regular stock-and-ship day for Sheri and the Loopy Elves, and I didn't want to be in their way for too long), I begged a picture with the Birthday Girl. She HATES pictures, but she relented and bent down for a snap with the kiddo and me. Sheri's muy tall and towers about a foot over me, so she probably wasn't very comfortable here, but she's gorgeous! She really shouldn't hate being photographed so much, as lovely and statuesque as she is.

We also got photographed via their webcam gallery for the store site. Can you find us here?

All right, all right, so you want to know what I bought already, huh?  Why, of course, let me show the selves:

AY (2)

For the Sagebrush Shrug that I want to make myself, I chose three skeins of Artyarns' Beaded Silk. Oh, it is beyond beautiful. I'm a huge fan of Artyarns, and though I've used several of their other lines before, I still wanted to try this one. I can't get enough of it. Delicious. Like to see a closer-up?

AY (3)

Does that not just look scrumptious? Mmm. Take a nibble.


For the Meret (Mystery Beret; RavLink) that I'm going to make myself, I chose Araucania Panguipulli. She's a tweedy little thing, and my hope is that she'll be just perfect for this project.


This dress is going to look so HOT on me. I mean, it better, because it's going to be a LOT of work. Oh, my. I can't wait to get started, though I have to finish other projects first! I originally wanted Madeline Tosh DK (former Worsted) yarn for this, but it wasn't available in colors I wanted. Kind of unbelieveably, since it's rather a mainstay of LYS' business, I've never used Cascade 220, so I decided to make the switch then and there. I saved myself beaucoup bucks in the process, too, which meant I could pick up a few more unplanned goodies!


I found this copper-colored yarn by Prism on the clearance rack, and I bought it simply because it came from St. Petersburg, Florida, where Rob and I got married (twice, no less!) So it's now "the wedding yarn," and I'm going to make something for him with it. But what? I'm thinking scarf, but I'm not, uh, married to the idea. Heh.

Rab (5)

Here's the next five balls of yarn I bought. Do you think those colors look good together? I hope so, because I do. I think I'm going to make a patchwork quilt-like blanket with this good stuff. What is it?

Rab (3) 

It's Rowan by Amy Butler Belle Organic DK, and it's just delightful. Go on, give it a squeeze. I have a book, X# of Squares to knit, and I'm going to work on one or two here and there when I get a chance. Then I'll stitch the squares together and voilà! Blankie!


Ah, so I did get some Madeline Tosh sock yarn, after all. Chloë helped me choose this luscious color. Mmm. Socks. I will have me some socks. Hopefully something dizzyingly intricate that makes me throw my needles down in frustration 10 times in an hour. That's just the sort of project I like!


I really didn't need this yarn, but it sort of screamed, "Take me home!" and leapt into my bag. How do you say no to nearly 900 yards (!!) of Alpaca with a Twist Fino in such a delightful, light shade of blue? Well, you don't, that's how. I don't have the first clue what I'm going to do with a single yard of that yarn. I'll have to think on it and pet it a while, and one day, it will speak to me.

  Sock Blockers

For all the socks I plan on knitting this year, I had to get some of these red (love red!) sock blockers. In small, of course. I have itty-bitty feeties. 


Sheri decided that Chloë needed a Loopy Ewe of her own for a take-away gift, and of course I had to warn Curls that she might want to hide it before Mommy decided to abscond with it! I'm still searching for that guy...

So all-in-all, it was a fab trip, and I took pictures right away during lunch so that I would have them to look at for the whole drive home while they were packed away in the back of the van. And that I did.

If you're going to visit The Loopy Ewe, either online or in person (do! oh yes, do!), please tell them I sent you. I might get a little goody if you do. And that would be terrific. Hee. (Plus, you get goodies in your orders, too!)

Another thing I learned: when your purchases at TLE total over $250, they give you a $25 credit for your next order! What! Sweet! I did not know that. So my credit was waiting for me when we got home on Tuesday night, and the first thing I did was snap up some of this:



which is Claudia Hand-Painted in the Circus Dancer colorway. At least, I think I chose CD, but maybe I didn't? In any event, I'll find out soon and let you know. 

Thanks for reading about my yarn-ventures, and stay tuned for more tonight about the rest of our trip to Missouri!


Saturday 9: Medicate


Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

1. Do you take a lot of medication?

If you're a person who doesn't take ANY, you might thing I take a lot, but compared to what I used to have to take, no. I take about six pills per night, every night. I'm not a very nice person without them, so... I do.

2. Name one of your flaws and tell us about it.

I have a foul mouth. People who don't know me too well might be surprised, because I tend to be quiet and shy and mousy with new people. Once I really get to know you (and like you), the "mouth" comes out, and I curse like a sailor. I try not to, I really do, but it's very hard to stop.

3. Have you ever won first place? If yes, tell us about your victory!

I have for academic competitions, but that's boring to most people. The most recent "first place" victory in our household was son Jack's for the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby, for his Wolf pack. I forget what place he took for the overall pack, but I think it was Second? So, he's going to the District races tomorrow morning, and we're hoping for another trophy. Go, Jack!!!!

4. Who is the last person to make you smile? What was happening?

My oldest daughter, Chloë, who tonight was helping me go through the big bag of stuff I got on super-duper-clearance at Claire's Boutique. She was helping me decide whether to put each item away for her birthday in September, her sister's birthday in April, or their homeschooling "treasure box." A lot of things, she gave to Sophia's pile, because she said, "She'll like that a lot," or, "That would make her really happy." Whenever my kids argue, I tell them they need to be, "Nice, kind, sweet, and loving," and I thought Chloë's actions fit the bill. I smiled both inwardly and outwardly!

5. Describe a time when you should have tried harder.

All the time. Let's see... When I was yelling back at Chloë, earlier in the day, when she had a fit over a simple request I made to help Sophia pick up her stuffed animals. She was screaming and stomping around, and I imitated her instead of responding calmly. I should have tried harder to rationalize with her, instead of stooping to 9yo level, even though I was doing it to make a point ("see how silly you look?"). It never works!

6. What are you best at?

Over-thinking situations, dwelling on things for long after they have been forgotten by everyone else, and fretting. I do that like a champ!!! Let me know if you need a super-awesome worry-wart.

7. If someone was going to make a movie or TV show about your life, who would play you and why?

Sandy Bullock would probably work out for me. She plays my kind of airheaded intellectual well. I am definitely the absent-minded professor type! Plus she's adorable. Am I saying I am adorable? You decide.

8. Name 3 things that you think are strange.

One: The fact that I married a white guy, given my predilection for black men. Hey, it's the honest truth. And no, Dad, I didn't do it to make you happy. I actually love this guy with my whole heart.

Two: People who give up smoking during pregnancy (although, kudos to them for doing it, since I have known many who didn't) and then go right back after the baby's born. Whaaaa??? Why?!!

Three: Putting ketchup on eggs. Or macaroni and cheese. Or pretty much anything but hamburgers and fries. Weird. And grossssssssss.

9. What is one lesson you have learned in the past 12 months?

To be very careful when I take my meds: I usually look at each one to make sure what it is, but last night, I didn't. And I ended up taking one of my husband's sleeping pills by mistake! It knocked me out for over 14 hours. Suck!

Happy weekend, folks!