Maine or bust!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Moved!

I got a bit tired of the lack of functionality here on Blogger/Blogspot, so I moved my blog over to Wordpress! You can now find Blue Ceramic Mug over here! Don't forget to update your bookmarks or RSS feeds!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Decompressing from vacation...

I was away in Chicago the last week and a half. It was lovely, but stressful. You see, I drove my own car (a 2006 Chevy Aveo) instead of the ex's larger, more comfortable car (2005 Toyota Corolla CE). I normally take his car on road trips because it's more comfortable for the kids, and we can fit more crap into it. But my car needed its brakes replaced, and car parts are WAY cheaper stateside, especially when you have a handy mechanically-inclined boyfriend who is willing to do labor for sexual favors ;)

We ordered the brakes. Then he took a peek under the car because it was making a weird grinding sound - which I told him about back in March! Said my struts were finished, and the sway-bar links didn't look too good either. So we trekked out to Autozone to get parts. He and his best friend got the struts and links replaced, but the grinding noise continued. The brakes never arrived, and when we checked online, it appeared that RockAuto.com never even registered the order I watched him place with my own two eyes. *sigh* So off to Autozone again for parts. Brake pads and rotors replaced, the wheel bearings seemed fine, but the grinding noise and extreme vibration continued. So... the car stayed in Chicago, and we came home :(  At this point, it's likely that something in the drive shaft is to blame, since it doesn't seem to be the wheels or suspension. That's a bit more complicated (and expensive) to fix. So I kind of feel like I'm left with this:


Poor Rob was so concerned that I'd have trouble at work (and to be fair, my boss scheduled what looked like a very important meeting for me on Monday afternoon) so he actually drove through the night on Sunday night to get me to work for the meeting - and to get Skye to her one-week CSI camp on time. He spent most of yesterday sleeping at my house while I was at work, and then last night he took off to drive back home. That's roughly 28 hours of driving in a 36-hour period. Two hours after he left last night, I discovered that the 401 through Toronto looked like this:


*ahem* slight freak-out there, since Rob was halfway between my house and THAT. I did finally manage to reach him and tell him to detour or turn back. He detoured onto the 407 and that was fine since it's a bit elevated and was somewhat removed from the extensive flooding going on in the GTA. Ask me if I managed to sleep a wink until he was safely out the other side of this though!

We did have some fun in Chicago though. I filled his freezer with most of the usual suspects. He got a batch of seafood pasta sauce (which I sadly ruined half of by forgetting to turn the stove off after serving it for dinner - this, kids, is why we don't cook while sedated); a batch of spaghetti sauce, probably my best ever; a batch of chili which was also pretty tasty; a lasagna (again, my best yet) and some matzo ball soup. I need to remember to adjust the amount of matzo meal if I use club soda instead of water, because half my matzo balls disintegrated into the soup, but it was pretty good nonetheless. We had matzo ball soup and lasagna for lunch the day Steve came to help Rob with the car :) The freezer is now well filled and I'm looking forward to my next visit being spent entirely outside of the kitchen!

We ate at Pizzaria Due (the original home of deep dish pizza!). We went to Illinois Beach State Park, which is a few miles from Rob's house:


I don't mind telling you that the water was so damn cold that I only made it in about half-way up my calves and I couldn't feel my legs anymore. Skye actually got all the way in the water! Nuts.

We also went here:


That would be the Field Museum of Natural History. It was a lot of fun. We only got to see about 1/4 of the museum, but it was well worth it, and we will go back to see more another time!

We were there for nine days, so what all else did we do? We worked on the car. ARGH. Next time I bring the kids, I'm going to work up a tentative schedule so we can get more fun stuff in and less hemming and hawing around the house trying to figure out what we're going to do that day ;)

So now that we've had all this fun and stress, I think it's time to relax a bit, regroup and slowly start getting things in order again. To get out of the rut of stressed, poorly planned travel, I'm going to start concentrating on getting to Maine :) I've mentioned the deal Rob made with me about going to Kennebunkport if I reach a certain weight. In the coming days and weeks, there will be further discussion of this. But for now, I will simply mention that it's 659km to the resort from my house ;) Stay tuned!

If you are so inclined, feel free to share a nightmare travel story in the comments! I have a few more I will probably type up in the near future. I VERY BRIEFLY met with a friend while in Chicago that I hadn't seen for a couple of years, and he reminded me of my very worst trip ever. :) Thanks, Steven!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bleh...

I've been away for almost two weeks again, but I haven't had much energy for blogging lately. First a rather lengthy battle with strep throat, and then fun with a lymph node infection. I slept a lot. And had two different types of antibiotics. My stomach is still trying to get back on track.

Last weekend, Kari and I made some strawberry rhubarb jam and some plain strawberry jam, both from the Bernardin Guide to Home Canning book (circa 2009 I think?). I didn't use nearly as much sugar as the recipes called for, nor did I take any pictures. I was pretty wiped out by the time we got around to the jam-making, and I just wanted to get it done and go home.

I'm trying to get my place cleaned up a bit (both at home and at work) in preparation for the nine days I'll be away starting on Friday. I think I'm going to have an early bedtime tonight so I can rest up in preparation for the long drive! We're going to spend 9 days in Chicago with Rob (sadly, without his boy, who will be fishing with his grandparents in Canada.) So far, there are plans to visit the Field Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute, and possibly the Shedd Aquarium.

Yes, this means we're going to miss Canada Day.

Knitting has been going fairly well - the vanilla socks and the crocheted baby blanket are THIS CLOSE to being done (I have a tiny bit of foot left to knit and the toe decreases on the sock, and I'm within a couple of rows of binding off on the baby blanket). I'm bringing a few long-standing projects to Chicago with me, although I can't guarantee how much knitting time I'm going to get.

Right now, I feel like a nap.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Jammin'...


So today, I trucked half my kitchen over to my friend Kari's house, and we got to jammin'. The plan was to make a batch of black cherry jam for Rob, since it's his favorite and the kids and I are going down there at the end of the month for a visit. I couldn't, however, find the big bag of cherries I know I froze last summer. I found a huge bag with just a few cherries in the bottom. I'm thinking that my kids have perhaps been sampling the cherries since I tossed them in there. So what to do? Well, I found these in my fridge:


Cherries... blueberries... they could go together, right? And so they did.


Sooooo good! And then, because it's not really worth it to drag EVERYTHING over to someone else's house for one batch, we made some kiwi daiquiri jam too.



And now, now I have this:


Both recipes, by the way, were adapted out of the Bernardin Home Canning Guide.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

And we're back in action!

Damn, son. Strep throat sucks. I'm on day three of antibiotics and it still feels like someone is jabbing something blunt into the roof of my mouth with considerable pressure *sigh* It'll get better :)

I've been itching to make some jam or pickles or SOMETHING, but I need to sort out my kitchen before I can start canning for the summer. I want my new stove, dammit, and I need to de-clutter the apartment so I can have the damn thing brought up. I also just want less STUFF in my house. I've come up with an idea or two to ensure that the yarn will no longer be taking over my house and will all be safely packed away, so now I just need to implement that! Especially since Marisa at Food In Jars just posted what looks like an excellent Fennel Relish recipe!

Rob is going to build me a spice rack (from Shanty 2 Chic blog) for the kitchen and I'm very excited about that! Maybe he and the boy can work on it while we're there in a few weeks! I'm also pretty excited because he told us to bring bike helmets! He hit a police auction last weekend and bought ... um... well, a LOT of bikes. He cuts them up and then builds recumbent bicycles with the parts, but he has a few that are in good enough shape to refurbish and give away, so we'll be riding some of those until he figures out where to donate them.

This is one of his bikes!
Our little balcony garden at Kari's house is going gangbusters. There are blooms on all the tomato plants, the strawberries have already started producing (I'm assuming they're tasty... those were for Kari) and I'm actually looking at the basil, thinking to myself, maybe it's time to try pesto again! I need to pick up some tomato cages, because the poor things will fall over once all those flowers turn into tiny tomatoes. The rhubarb has even rallied from the injury my daughter dealt it (she accidentally broke off one of the three stalks it started out with). Fortunately, the house plants I bought are all very low-maintenance and are tolerating my neglect quite well. The jade is flourishing, my philodendron is still going gangbusters, the wandering Jew is still pretty, sparkly and purple, and the aloe vera just has a bit of browning on the end of one spike.

I have no pictures because I am a bad blogger. I swear, at some point, I will get the hang of this! (and maybe then, I'll start getting some traffic LOL) Just for a twist, let's get some feedback. What's your favorite houseplant and why?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sorry! Sorry...

I know it's been a while, but cut me some slack. I have these little buggers taking up residence in my throat:

That would be strep throat. I am uncomfortable, I haven't been able to eat solids since Saturday, and I'm in a fuck of a lot of pain and sleeping a lot. I am currently surviving on Danactive yogurt drinks, soy pudding and the odd piece of bread I mangle until it's soggy. I will report back if I manage to kill the dreaded plushy. If it kills me first, well... I'm sure my mom will miss me :P 

Monday, May 27, 2013

My weekend...

I really need to start bringing the camera with me when Rob and I have a fun weekend together :) I don't know how many people who actually read this blog are familiar with long-distance relationships, but distance sucks. Don't let anybody tell you differently. We even got to cheat another night onto our weekend, because Rob left earlier than he normally does and got here late Friday night rather than late Saturday morning! I sent him home about four hours ago, and it really, truly sucks to know that I'm going home to an empty apartment tonight. I know it's not REALLY empty... the two kids will be there, as will the two demons *ahem* I mean cats.

So to cheer myself up from the fact that I'll have an empty bed tonight and nobody to kiss me when I wake up in the morning, you all get to hear about our fantastic weekend! On Saturday, Rob and I went for a walk here:


This is the Shirley's Bay walking trail (this is obviously not my picture, since the leaves don't change in May around here). It's trail # 10 in either the NCC's list of walking trails or Ontario's list. We only did the small one-km loop, since the ground was uneven and kind of boggy in places. Next time, I think we'll hit the 4km loop and see how we do :) We made a quick dinner at home and then we picked up the kids and went to see this:


If you get the chance, see it. It was awesome :) If only the ass who was sitting behind me hadn't felt the need to keep bashing my seat back with his feet through the whole movie. Yes, I said something to him. Several times. The last time, his girlfriend/wife/female companion actually punched him and told him he was being a jerk. Didn't stop him. Ugh. But the movie? AWESOME. So worth it. And now I kind of hope that Iron Man will be relegated to Avengers movies, because I don't think they can top the trilogy as it stands (and I hope they won't try). Thing of beauty :)

Sunday, Rob got the kids to help him move some furniture around - I'd been trying to do this for weeks. He asks them once, and they hop to it. I don't get it. *sigh* But then, we went to my mom's, and we did some of this:


Folks, this was the first time I managed to ride a bike in 20 years. Okay, I wasn't on a two-wheeler. My mom has a trike:


Looks just like that one, except it's got a huge basket on the back that my dad put on for her. She let me ride it! Dudes, first time on a bike in 20 years. I went 2.5 MILES. And I kept a decent pace (I was the slowest rider, so they made me lead, since I'm the only one who knows the neighborhood around my mom's house). I was shocked and amazed that I was even capable of doing it. I think Rob was a bit shocked too :) He's always said he wants to be able to ride with me, and this was the first time. It was pretty fantastic, even with the kids along ;)

Then we went to the driving range and Rob did some of this:


He's always wanted to learn to play golf, and my ENTIRE family (except me, of course), plays. So my aunt offered to take him to the driving range and give him some pointers. He smacked 75 balls all on his own, and was actually doing pretty well by the end of the bucket. I stood by admiringly and hoped they wouldn't ask me to hit any, because I'm pretty sure I'll suck at it. The kids were off playing mini-putt with my parents on that side of the facility. Everybody had a fair bit of fun, we got some outside activity time, and we all slept REALLY well last night.

This morning, Rob and I drove to my office together (that's where we parked his car) and we had breakfast at a local dive before he headed off into the sunset (10am sunset, that is). Tonight is the last class in the Introduction to Judaism class. I have my final meeting with the rabbi this evening, and I'm a bit nervous. Let's hope the answer I give him tonight is acceptable and I get to continue on with the conversion process!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fixation

I'm sitting here in my office looking out the window at an absolute downpour under an ugly black sky. LOVE it. This is my weather. I love watching the rain and hearing it drown out all other sound on a busy street. I love seeing the cars turn on their lights and see the streetlights come on in the middle of the day.

I don't know if you know this about me, but I tend to fixate on things. I'll do/eat/listen to/want/crave it until I'm sick of it, and then I'll move on to something else. I do this with music, books, knitting, exercise, plants, etc. It's the one running theme in my life. What's Lynne's fixation this week? So what IS Lynne fixating on this week? Right this moment, it's these things.


Longan berries (also known as Dragon Eyes or longan fruit). They're like lychees but a bit more transparent and with a slightly milder, more mushroomy flavor. Don't let my weird taste buds dissuade you. These are DELICIOUS. I've been prepping a few to bring in my lunch every day, and I can't get enough of them. I bought a bunch of them at the grocery store on a whim, because I didn't know what they were or how to eat them (I do that rather often, actually). All you have to do is peel off the papery skin (use a knife, and watch your fingers) and dispose of the pit, which looks like a blueberry! These would be awesome in a martini, or at least I assume they would be - I can't have martinis, so I can't find out. Someone check for me?

Knitting-wise, it's Project Linus blankets. I'm crocheting granny square blankets for them and knitting hats for Halos of Hope to bring to Chicago with me for Stitches Midwest. It's not like I don't have enough on the needles... I'm just determined to get a few more done. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. I don't even LIKE granny square blankets.

Bentos!!!! Mine aren't quite this fancy. But I really LOVE the idea of little portions of things all packed together to make an awesome lunch/dinner/whatever. This week for my lunches at work, I've been all about the bentos. I made a big pot of quinoa/bulghur, and so far I've had that with fried tofu and NY strip steak (had half on Tuesday, the other half today), a bit of fruit (strawberries & longan berries), steamed veggies (carrots, broccoli & cauliflower), yogurt and other little bits and pieces. I'm out of steak now, so tomorrow might be boiled shrimp. 


And this song. Yes. I'm stuck on Michael Bublé lately. Get over it. I defy anyone to feel bad during this song. It is the most happy, bouncy breakup song I have ever heard, and I love it! (try to contain your gagging during the kissy scene at the beginning - I have trouble). It just makes me want to get up and dance :)

Borrowed from http://opendooryoga.bc.ca/feb-11-yoga-in-the-news/rusty-the-yoga-elephant/
And of course, yoga. I've been DYING for yoga. I tried to do some in my kitchen the other day, but the nylon-covered exercise mat I purchased wasn't the greatest idea I ever had (it slid out from under me during the first sun salutation position!). Unless I can convince my kids to go with me (and pay for 3 participants - yikes), I'm stuck with finding a class that runs on Sunday mornings. I need yoga! And blocks. I can't find the bloody blocks ANYWHERE. If you've seen them hanging out in a store anywhere, let me know, because I'd like to buy a couple (mobility-challenged, so they really help for getting down into floor poses and then back up again LOL). 

Oh.... and these guys:


I don't care how badly they played last night (actually, they didn't... Pittsburgh just skated circles around us), they're still my boys and I love them!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring days...

It's been a busy long weekend! Hope everyone had a safe and happy May 2-4 (even though the 24th is tomorrow...) On Saturday, Kari and I headed out to go to Temple, but there was a Bar Mitzvah going on, so we quietly ducked out. I don't mind sitting through them once in a while - especially if I know the child or the family, but in this case, we were packed into a lobby of over a hundred people I didn't recognize, and these things tend to be LONG. So off we went to Wool Tyme instead. I was good! I didn't buy yarn! I bought a few ergonomic Prym crochet hooks (dirt cheap), a tape measure and some beeswax votive candles. Then we had Pho for lunch (YUM) and headed off to Sue's to record the podcast.

Podcast over, we went to a couple of garden centres and bought some plants. Two roma tomatoes, two golden roma tomatoes, one sandwich tomato plant (I think it's called Sunshine), six cherry tomatoes (YIKES), two bell peppers, one chocolate mint, one rhubarb plant, and a few house plants (I got aloe, jade and wandering Jew) and a bunch of pots and soil. I took a picture of our finished product yesterday (Kari's balcony garden) but I can't get the pictures off the small camera easily, so I'll add it back in tonight after I get home. We added two basil plants to our little garden yesterday when we went to buy more soil. I planted some chives, marjoram, cilantro and parsley in jiffy pellets at home, and once those have sprouted, we'll transplant them to go live with the rest. I also harvested several pounds of rhubarb from my mom's yard (the patch was a bit out-of-control and already bolting and it's not even JUNE!)

Apparently this is what my teeny tiny Wandering Jew will become!

Food - I got ambitious last night and decided to prepare a bento for lunch today. I think a bit more planning will have to go into grocery shopping this week - the pickings were slim :) I made a big pot of quinoa & bulghur with tamarind sauce and a tiny bit of Valentina's thrown in, daikon radish seeds and soy beans. DELISH. I fried up three slices of tofu, cut those into strips, and put that in, with a container of sesame ginger sauce for dipping, added a polish cucumber pickle and some pickled turnip (which I'm discovering I don't like on its own), a little container of longan berries and strawberries, and a peach/passionfruit greek yogurt. Totally awesome. Next time though, I need to make myself a small breakfast bento too so I don't end up noshing on my lunch at 9am. Tomorrow, I may tried some shrimp and broccoli with the quinoa stuff.


Friday, May 17, 2013

A Blank Page...

That's what I'm faced with every time I want to post something on the blog. What am I going to fill it with? Is anybody even going to read it? (yes, I'm a bit paranoid and emo when it comes to the blog.) My dreams have been very fractured and strange lately - moreso than usual. And through them flows a constant parade of my ex-boyfriends and friends long left behind. It's really disturbing sometimes - although it was comforting to note in last night's episodes that I'm no more fond of the jerk from Indiana in dreams than I am I my waking life.

I've also felt somewhat stifled by the "structured" format I adopted previously. So I've decided to shake thing up a bit. There will be a bit of stream-of-consciousness crap at the top here, and then, if I have anything to say about the structured stuff, I will toss that in afterward. I woke up determined that today would be better than the rest of the week had been. I've been getting very frustrated and angry (I was swearing at the spinning wheel last night - loudly) and unpleasant to be around, and that's not who I want to be. So today, only good things are happening and I'm actually being productive and pleasant. And tired. SO freaking tired. I wish I could curl up under my desk (there's room!) and take a nap.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out with Kari and I picked up some Reflections CDs from the drugstore. You know, those displays with a speaker where you can choose which CD you want to hear an excerpt from? I bought three - one was Reiki something or other, one was Spirit Earth and the third was Zen Tranquility (sorry, the Reiki one is in my car!). I bought them to be able to do yoga along to - because yoga without background music is boring. Have I done any yoga? Not yet... but I've been having major yoga URGES, which is a step in the right direction. I will get there. Soon. I hope? I often get urges to get up and go for a walk too - my calves will start pinging (muscle twinges) and aching and I've actually been managing to get myself up off my ass once in a while when that happens now. I'm still a lazy ass, but I'm less of a lazy ass than I *was*, and I like to see that as progress. Sort of.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

An exercise in frustration...

I won't lie. The last couple of days have been extremely frustrating. I started my day off feeling fantastic yesterday. I had this dream. I don't remember the rest of it, but I was with this man. And we were in love. And just before I woke up, we walked along a beach and sat down at the edge of a crumbling concrete bleacher and laid down on the ground. I put my head on his chest, looked up at him and said, "I love you..." The man's face is not familiar to me, but he looked down at me, amused, and said, "I love you too. Are you being adorably romantic right now, or just needy?"

"I don't know," I said. He looked confused. "I just never want this to end..." I explained. And as we kissed, I awoke. In a few minutes of dreaming, I rediscovered my wonder at being in love. It felt amazing. It felt fantastic. I woke up in a great mood that followed me throughout most of the day.

I had Judaism class last night, and it was my third meeting with the Rabbi. He seemed a bit standoffish and I was very uncomfortable. I tried explaining that I had clearly had some preconceived notions before our last meeting, and I wasn't sure what he expected of me. He said he needed clarification. I answered his questions as best I could, and then he asked one I couldn't answer. "What do you expect will change if you convert to Judaism?" Well.... I can't really know, can I, never having been Jewish before. But that wasn't what he wanted to hear. And I was frustrated and tearful and afraid that I would not be allowed to convert, that I wouldn't be allowed to join the cool kids' table (I'm using a joke for effect here, I don't think that becoming Jewish will make me one of the "cool kids").

So then I had to go back to class, unable to keep the tears at bay, and try to muddle through Hebrew class while thoughts churned in my head. What do I expect will change? What am I expecting conversion to do for me? I was raised Roman Catholic. French Roman Catholic. I was an altar girl, I was in all the youth groups, I was pretty involved. And then I discovered some things about the Roman Catholic Church that I didn't agree with. We won't go into that, but I ended up leaving the Church. And I felt that a piece of me had been lost. I felt as though a piece of my identity before God was missing. I have searched long and hard for that missing piece, and I believe I have found it in Judaism. That's what I expect will change, I suppose. I will once again become a whole being before God. I was not born Jewish, but it is who I have become - it is the path I have chosen to follow - and I would like that to be acknowledged by becoming a Bat Mitzvah.

I apologize for all the religious discussion. I normally keep my beliefs pretty close to the vest, and I don't like to subject others to them (or be subjected to other people's beliefs), but this issue has caused me much consternation over the last few days and I needed to get my thoughts in order. And writing them out seemed like the best way to do that.

Today, I actually got quite a bit done at work - considerably more than I had anticipated. I left to do groceries with a small, developing headache that, by the time I had reached the grocery store, had turned into a raging migraine, complete with upset stomach and aural vision. Joy. It's gone now, but didn't do much for my mood earlier. Poor Zachary brought the spinning wheel up from the car and it fell apart on him as he walked through the back door. I panicked and yelled at him, and he got quite upset about it, winning me the Mom of the Year award *sigh* We did get it all put back together (gotta love eccentric antiques), and it works. I couldn't figure out how to tie a leader cord onto the second bobbin, and Kari actually made me a video to show how to do it, but I couldn't get the laptop to play sound, and I was getting more and more irritated... Until I took a step back, cleared my head, and looked down. And this is what I saw:


That right there is an entire bobbin of my very own handspun. It's ugly and uneven and overspun in some places and underspun in others, and it's nowhere near perfect or even usable, but it's mine. I made it and I love it :) And now I'm going to bed with a smile on my face. Hopefully Rob's sitting on a concrete bleacher by the beach waiting for me!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Revelation...

So I'm getting ready for my spinning class (not that kind of spinning, Rob...) and I made myself "dinner for breakfast" - NY Strip loin steak and fiddleheads. I had some laundry going, I was knitting on a sock, and messing around on the computer, so I wasn't focusing much on eating. After half the steak and a few fiddleheads, I noticed I wasn't really hungry anymore. But I KEPT. EATING. I ate most of the steak and about 3/4 of the fiddleheads before really cluing into the fact that HEY DUMBASS, YOU'RE NOT HUNGRY! WHY ARE YOU EATING?

I think I have a tendency to prepare way more food than I need to be eating - and in many cases, way more than I'm hungry for. And then? Then I don't want to have to deal with the leftovers, so I just keep eating it until it's gone.

Today, I ate more than I should have because I didn't want to put it away and because I wasn't paying attention to my food or my body. I pushed the plate away, but it was still sitting in front of me while I did other things. I REALLY wasn't hungry anymore, and I actually feel kind of overly full now, so I picked the plate up, walked into the kitchen, put some plastic wrap over the plate and stuck it in the fridge. This small thing, this tiny thing that most people take for granted, was a HUGE step for me. I can't tell you the last time I put leftovers in the fridge. It's just not something I'm conditioned to do.

Go me :)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hey... is this thing on?

Sorry about that. I fully intended on blogging before we left for Maryland, and I flubbed it.

The girls and I left bright and early Friday morning to head for MDSW. It's a long drive. Not as long as the drive to Chicago, but pretty long, nonetheless! There was road trip food (we're becoming masters at this), there was music, there was caffeine. Our hotel was quiet, clean, and FULL of MDSW attendees - as we were checking in, we met knitters :D

Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Waffle House (okay food, way dirty restaurant though - there was a PUDDLE in the kitchen that servers and cooks kept stepping in and tracking all over the damn place - hork!) and then we headed to the fairgrounds. The Howard County fairgrounds in West Friendship, MD are located in such a picturesque neighborhood, we could hardly stand it. It took every bit of willpower we had not to pool our money and buy a nearby property that was for sale. I'm being facetious... there was no way we could afford a property there! The tiny one we saw right across from the fairground entrance was $400,000 ;)

We dropped our camp chair and yoga mat off at Hoar Base Camp and off we went to peruse the vendor booths! Fortunately, Cloverhill was one of the earlier vendors we came across, but even so, they were almost entirely out of the one-pound Three Irish Girls bundles we were looking for. I snagged one that's all gorgeous reds - four skeins of sock yarn and two mini-skeins of what looks like sport weight. SO pretty!



I also picked up a skein of Wild Hare Fiber Studio Pinnacle sock yarn in black, grey and hot pink :) I had put Rob's sock in the naughty corner - oh, let's face it, I frogged it again - and I needed sock yarn to start a sock, so the black and pink got elected!


I also managed to pick up a 4-oz bump of superwash BFL from Bullen's Wullens (who don't yet have a website... o.O) that is so soft and wonderful and I'm in love with it (and it was $10!). Pics to follow once I get home tonight and upload them.



I bought the fiber because.... Drum roll please.... I have acquired a spinning wheel :D My friend Denise sort of has a bit of a hobby of buying used wheels, drum carders, etc., fixing them up and reselling them. So when she got her hands on this beauty, she offered to sell it to me, knowing that I was looking but that my budget was very limited:


That right there is a Haldane Shetland wheel (Denise was about to give it a coat of Dutch wood oil so the band is off and it looks a bit wonky). I got it for pennies, and I pick it up to bring it home tomorrow! I am SOOOO excited!!! Now I just need to take a spinning class, since I've never spun before. Now maybe I'll be able to help the girls get on with the fleece I bought them last year! Millie is still sitting in Sue's craft room in the corner because nobody has the heart to keep working on her - Kari used the drum carder she borrowed from a friend of ours to process a bit of it, but there's SO much left. It's kind of insane.

I also picked up a bunch of little odds and ends (including some really pretty little apple-sized bumps of colored fiber, cookie cutters, and some other little unique items) as a prize care package for people who met us at the festival and had their pictures taken with Sue and Kari. If you met with us and took a picture, go over to the Two Tangled Skeins group on Ravelry and post them for your chance to win!

There was a podcasters' meetup on Saturday afternoon, and I sat there winding my skein of black & pink yarn into a ball and casting on the sock... and apparently burning to a crisp, which did not become apparent until many hours later. Kari went out after we got back to the hotel for the night to get some aloe because Sue and I had both burned ourselves silly. We missed the LSG meetup at the Diamondback Tavern in Ellicott City because we were all too wiped out to be personable. The drive home on Sunday was pretty brutal because we were all still really tired, and starting to get cranky about the lack of sleep, but we made it :)

Next up is Stitches Midwest, but that's not until the beginning of August, so there will be a lot more going on between now and then. Right now, I'm attempting to initiate a purge of my home because there's wayyyyy too much crap in there right now. I may take Kari up on her offer to help some time this week ;)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Quiet afternoon

I'm alone in the office, and I got a ridiculous amount of shit done so far today, so I'm taking a minute to blog ;)

Fitness - I'm loving having the treadmill operational again. Unfortunately, this has coincided with warmer weather outside (meaning sweltering hot in the apartment) so I've been doing more walking outside and other things. I've been trying to figure out how to make my kitchen big enough to do yoga in. I have almost enough space... this morning I was futzing around the back room - the one where the treadmill lives - and suddenly had an apostrophe! (cookie for the reference) The back room is TOTALLY big enough to do yoga in! It's carpeted, but that's okay. I bought myself a thick exercise mat at Walmart the other day, and I'll put my yoga mat on top of that and I'll be golden! I even bought some nice mellow yoga-doing music :) I'm tempted to bring my yoga mat to Maryland this weekend, but I'm sharing the car with two other people, so I have to pack light.

Knitting - TADA!!!!! I finished the fingerless mitts! I haven't taken a picture of them yet, but they're done, ends woven in and all! That's only my fifth finished project for 2013. *sigh* I restarted Rob's socks as soon as the second mitt was off the needles, and then goofed around row 6. So I'm putting them in time-out until my brain realigns with my fingers and I am able to knit on DPNs again *sigh* Work has been progressing on the Strawberries and Cream top. Once we're back from Maryland, I'll have to put it on two needles so Skye can try it on. I may try to cast Rob's socks on again tonight or tomorrow, since I'll need Maryland knitting. Oh, and did I mention that Sue, Kari and I are taking Two Tangled Skeins to MARYLAND SHEEP AND WOOL FESTIVAL? That's right! We're leaving Friday morning, and we'll be recording an episode of the show at the hotel! I'm SO EXCITED!!!!! If you're there and happen to see us wandering around, come on over and say hi! We have buttons :)

Food - not much to say, other than to squee over these bacon "mats" we tried to cook on Saturday after recording the show.


Ours needed to cook at a higher temperature than we used, so I'll try again this week. They're meant to be road-trip food ;) I'm also in charge of lunch meats and sammiches. Tomorrow, I need to bake some muffins and pick up a loaf of bread for the PB&Js. Sue has bought veggies to snack on, some dried fruits and snack foods, and Kari is making us cinnamon buns for breakfast and a few other bits and bobs. We usually pack all our food to avoid eating out. We know how to road-trip ;)

School - Not much to say. I have Judaism class tonight, and I'm looking forward to going home afterward. It always seems to be on the night before I have a class that I can't fall asleep no matter what I do.

Everything else - I am absolutely fascinated with my pretty hot pink nails right now (Essence Color & Go in Ultimate Pink - cause apparently I'm a stealth girly girl). I discovered last weekend that I'm a coward and can no longer ride a two-wheeled bike. (I was terrified, and I only coasted about 10 feet). *sigh* To be fair, the last time I rode a bike that wasn't attached to a stand in a gym was when Zachary was ... um... three? I'm pathetic. Thankfully, I have a boyfriend who likes to build custom bikes in his spare time and he has a plan. I'm not sure what the plan is yet, but I'm optimistic! I hope I gave someone a bacon urge with that pic up there, because I definitely gave myself one!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WOOT! 12,000 page views :)

Now if only I could cultivate a few more followers / commenters!

Fitness - OMG I missed my treadmill! Last night, I was feeling lazy. Skye and I had been to the mall for my optometrist appointment (good news, blood sugar is controlled enough that my vision has improved back to what it was before, and I do NOT need new glasses!) and I had stepped wrong and hurt my left ankle. I didn't think I'd be moving again that night, but when I was talking to Rob on the phone after dinner, it felt okay, and he was kind of shaming me, so I hopped on the treadmill and did my 30 minutes! HOLY HELL, it's hot in my back room. The landlord hasn't turned the heat down yet, and the window is placed in such an odd location that I get no air circulation back there. I'm going to have to buy a fan :)

So I was reading the latest Martha Stewart Living the other day, and there was a short article about a resort I found interesting (in Maine). I sent a link to Rob after poking around on their site for a bit, and he was really interested in going as well, so he decided to challenge me. When I hit 240lbs, he will take me to this place in Maine for a romantic getaway :) So if you were wondering what the ticker at the top of the page was for, that's it.

Knitting - I've been half-heartedly poking at the fingerless mitts the last few days. I haven't really had any knitting time, so there's not much to report. I did manage to do one pattern repeat of the Strawberries and Cream (formerly Super Seekrit Test Knit), so at least that was something. There will be much more knitting in anticipation of Maryland! We leave in less than two weeks!

Food - Not much to report. I did falter last night and order pizza... but I'll admit that was motivated by my inability to get within 3 feet of my kitchen sink or counter. When the treadmill guy came last week, I told the kids to clear everything out of the back room. So they moved it all - five feet away to the floor in front of the kitchen sink *sigh* We just haven't been home long enough to really tackle the kitchen, so that's the plan tonight. I need to be able to move around the kitchen (such as it is) in order to be able to cook. I really wanted to make soup last night and couldn't. I also need to move one of the wall units that used to live in the back room into the kitchen to hold pots, pans and appliances (and get rid of the old kitchen table, since I now have the new one). Organization!


School - nothing new to report, other than I'm LOVING the more intense Hebrew classes!

Everything else - We reached 12,000 page views last night! Not bad, for a sporadic blogger with no traffic ;) I already mentioned the eventual trip to Maine. I've talked about Maryland, and Rob and I are also planning a trip to Hudson Valley, NY with the kids this summer, so I'm psyched about that! Skye starts her swimming class next week, so that's when Zachary and I will start going to the gym :) I'm really looking forward to his first time! Now if only the laundry fairy would visit my house...


Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'm pooped!

Fitness - I have a newly functioning treadmill, so I did use it today! YAY! I did half an hour, and it reminded me why I only use the manual setting. I did "Hill walk" and the thing immediately jumped to 3.5mph. HOLY CROW. I can't walk that fast. I just about died LOL I ended up switching over to the manual setting for the remainder of the walk after the first ten minutes or so. My calves hurt now :) There was also some baby and toddler wrangling earlier today (more about that later) so I imagine I'll be a bit sore tomorrow. The kids and I had a great day though :)

Knitting - I started another hexipuff, and noticed I was missing two of the earlier ones. Not sure where they are, but I should find them when I clean my room. I've gotten to the point on Laura's Ribbed Mitts where I need to separate the thumb out. I was pretty tired when I got to that point last night at knit night, so I put it aside. Today, I've been working on the super secret test knit (which is now a pattern for purchase on Ravelry), and I've made a fair bit of progress. Unfortunately, after the designer put the pattern out for purchase... *sigh* BUT! Now I have pictures :) This is what I have on the needles right now:

The ubiquitous hexipuffs! - The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits

Skye's sweater - the Cable Rib Pullover by Karen TenDyke in Bernat Handicrafter Cotton.

The Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman in Lang Jawoll 4-ply.

The Spiral Scarf (from a tutorial) by Staci Perry in Noro Maiko.

The test knit! - Strawberries and Cream by Amora Designs. in Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Twists.

Laura's Ribbed Mitts by Carrie Barraco in Estelle Cadenza. Apparently, they match my couch.
The spiral scarf may be tossed, since my son's cat seems to love munching on the Noro. I don't know why. She's never done this to any other yarn I've brought into the house. If I leave an actual ball of anything else out, she'll chase it until I have a massive spiderweb, but this one? She hoards it behind or under furniture, and SUCKS on it. I don't know if they dipped the yarn in tuna or if catnip is one of the main ingredients in the dye they used or what, but she LOVES this stuff and will actually tear through bags to get a ball of it out. She ruined one ball completely, so I may just toss the whole thing. It's god-awful stuff to knit with anyway *sigh*

Food - I didn't think I was going to have much to say on this subject, but then my kids started badgering me for dinner tonight and OMG. I discovered something awesome. I had one small eye of round steak thawed (I meant to eat it last night and didn't), I had a package of naan in the fridge, I had some other odds and ends, so I ended up making this (sorry, we ate it all before I could take pictures):

Butter Chicken Naan Pizzas:

3 naan
6 Tbsp Butter Chicken sauce (we used KFI)
1 8oz eye of round steak, cooked and diced
1 cup broccoli florets, steamed (next time, I'd use cauliflower)
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella or mild cheddar cheese

Spread 2 Tbsp of sauce on each naan. Top each with 1/3 of the steak cubes and broccoli florets, and then sprinkle with cheese. Broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. NOM.

My daughter is not a huge fan of butter chicken sauce, so I made hers with PC Chipotle salsa :)

School - Nothing new to say.

Everything else - Today was AWESOME! Today I went to the sugar bush with my kids, parents, brother & family, all the aunts and uncles, and some family friends. We go to Domaine de l'ange gardien in Ange Gardien, Quebec. The food is amazing - it was hard to behave myself this morning, but I did push the plate away after one small helping of everything because I truly wasn't hungry anymore. If nothing else, go for the "oreilles de crisse"... the best translation I can come up with for these is super-crispy fried bacon. I limited myself to two small pieces today, and I was very proud of myself. So the toddler wrangling... well, my sister-in-law recently had surgery, and she can't pick up either of her kids for a few weeks, and my brother was busy wrangling the baby, so I ended up running after my nephew (who is 2 1/2 and full of energy) a lot today. The kids got some maple toffee on a stick, my mom got her oreilles de crisse, and we all had a really good time :) I had such a good time that I had to have a nap when I got home (well, that and six hours' of sleep last night...). We've kind of taken it easy the rest of the day, and now I'm ready for bed. Goodnight!

Friday, April 19, 2013

WE HAVE A TREADMILL!!!

Fitness - I'm sitting in my livingroom waiting for the treadmill technician to show up (my appointment was for first thing this morning - it's now 13:00...). Yes, after ONE phone call with the other store, my parts magically appeared out of thin air. The tech was supposed to be here at 9 this morning. Will he show up? I'm taking bets ;) I've had to call the store three times and I'm still not sure he'll show up before I leave for Temple tonight. But the parts are here. In this country! Remind me that when I'm ready to buy my recumbent bike, I am buying it from ANYONE other than these guys. HEY! He showed up :D Miracles will never cease :) He's in the back working on it while I finish typing this up!

Knitting - I have a confession to make... I did not unpick those four rows of my fingerless mitt. I haven't touched anything except hexipuffs in the last week. Now granted, I did stuff a finished one and knit two more of those, but even then, there hasn't been much knitting time this week. I've been too busy and stressed out with school finishing and work stuff. I have, however, started having lustful fantasies about spinning wheels... 

Food - Ongoing struggle, but overall, I've been behaving. I've also been logging on loseit.com, so that's something. I bought a fennel bulb this week and a bottle of citrus salad dressing. I am so looking forward to a fennel salad! (Also got some gorgeous Boston lettuce and some lovely asparagus!) Add a ridiculous number of strawberries - they were on sale - and blueberries, some bananas, CACTUS PEARS (my favorite! also on sale) and the *shudder* grapples my daughter insisted on... there's a lot of produce in the house right now LOL Grapples are disgusting and whoever invented them should surrender themselves for punishment. A grapple is an apple that is supposed to taste like grapes. But it doesn't taste like REAL grapes. It tastes like that fake chemical "grape" flavor that is in everything purple. They smell like those grape scented markers we had as kids. DISGUSTING. And my daughter LOVES them. They're an occasional treat though, because four apples cost me five bucks. (Fricking fracking gold-plated smelly apples!)

School - It is OVER. I wrote my final exam on Tuesday and the boring-ass Documentation and Terminology class is FINISHED. I love the prof, really, he's awesome. But there's only so much interest you can infuse into that subject. In Judaism class, we started our second Hebrew textbooks this week, and it's awesome. WORD MEANINGS! CONTEXT! GRAMMAR!!!!!! I am loving this class :) We had a very thought-provoking discussion on the concept of justice and forgiveness. If you can find a copy of Simon Wiesenthal's book, The Sunflower, read it! I am not taking a class for the spring semester. I need a break. 

Everything Else - not really much else going on. I booked the cabin for our vacation in the Catskills, I got my car back, and the girls and I are making plans for Maryland. TWO WEEKS!!!! two weeks from now I will be driving by Utica on my way to West Friendship, MD for the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival! SO excited!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's a funny story...

So on Monday, my red "check battery" light came on. I phoned Rob up (he's my own personal Car Guy) and asked him what up. He said, "Turn around, go to Jeff's and get his car. YOU DO NOT DRIVE THE CAR WITH THE CHECK BATTERY LIGHT ON. um... Well, I was almost all the way to temple for Judaism class, so I figured I'd drive the car to Jeff's afterward and grab his car before going home. So that's what I did. I drove the Toyota around yesterday, and then picked my car up this morning to drive it to the garage.

I get the kids off to school (there was some drama, but that's part of having teenagers), and headed off. Waiting to turn left onto the inter-provincial bridge. Waiting... idling.... suddenly the orange "check engine" light comes on and the car starts to shudder... oh no. Not now. Please?

*stall*

The alternator had officially died. IN the left-hand turn lane. In the middle of morning rush-hour traffic. Oh God...

Of course, since the alternator died, there's no electricity to power small silly things like, oh, say LIGHTS? Like those emergency flashers you turn on to indicate that your car has broken down. You know, silly little unnecessary things like that. So I got out of the car, opened the hood (to show that the car was broken down) and called roadside assistance (and the local news radio station so people would know to avoid the bridge). In the first five minutes, it became apparent that most people were not paying attention, so I opened the driver's side door (which would be more visible from behind the car than the hood would be) and waited.

In the 95 minutes I waited for the tow truck, I shit you not, over sixty cars pulled right up to my back bumper (I wasn't at the light, I was a good ways back in the turn lane) and started honking at me. Mostly driven by little old blue-haired ladies (yes, I kept track). One, driving a BMW, got very irate and spent somewhere between five and ten minutes honking incessantly and screaming at me from her driver's seat. I motioned to the hood and the open door. I motioned for her to go around me, but no sir, she was NOT leaving that turning lane for love or money, and she just kept screaming and swearing at me. It probably didn't help that this struck me as absolutely hilarious and I was laughing hysterically.

One guy, stopped while going around me by a red light, rolled down his window and kept motioning for me to do the same. I kind of shrugged at him. My car has power windows. No electricity, no windows! He kept yelling at me to put my blinkers on. NO ELECTRICITY, I'd yell back. "EMERGENCY FLASHER, CALISSE!" he finally screamed in broken English. "PAS DE JUS!" I yelled back. He started swearing at me :) One policeman I've had the misfortune to deal with in the past drove by FIVE FREAKING TIMES and didn't stop once. I think he recognized me. This also struck me as hilariously funny and I'd giggle whenever I saw him drive past, studiously avoiding me.

Three kind souls stopped and asked if I needed assistance. Out of roughly a thousand that passed me by. Not terrible odds. This, however, is why I will always maintain my roadside assistance subscription. Totally worth the price of admission, and I don't have to get my hands dirty :)


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Middle of the night rambling...

It's 2:30 am... I've been sick as a dog the last few days, and I came home to get to bed early, slept a few hours, woke up for a bit, slept for a few more hours, and now I'm wide awake in the middle of the night. It won't last long, it never does. But for right now, I figured I'd pop on and share some of the remainder of my week.

Fitness - I'll confess that I haven't been too on-the-ball since I've been sick. I've been trying to walk a bit, but considering that I get light-headed and winded from walking to the bathroom, I haven't done much. I do have great plans to try doing yoga in my kitchen. Once I can breathe again and my brain is no longer primarily composed of mucous. Nice lady at the other store was at least able to tell me that my parts have shipped from somewhere in Europe. There is no ETA. And so I continue waiting. I've been lazy on the Yoga Body Diet thing, also blaming the sick factor. I will try to do better though!

Knitting - Not fully back in the swing of things yet, but I'm getting there. I finally bit the bullet and had Sue try Rob's sock on. She couldn't even get the cuff over her heel. I figured it looked kind of small, but I kept hoping I could keep knitting. No such luck. I frogged it today and I'm going to try it again on larger needles (2.5mm), but those are currently occupied in my Laura's Ribbed Mitts. So I've made a bit of a push to finish those. I'm at the second set of thumb increases and five rows in, I realize I did something wrong at the beginning of this set so I'm going to have to tink back 5 rows *sigh* This is what I get for trying to knit while exhausted and without glasses. But really, I'm in the home stretch. And the first mitt made an appearance on tonight's Two Tangled Skeins podcast! I should be able to finish it tomorrow.

Food - I've sort of been forcing myself to eat the last couple of days, because I'm not terribly hungry, but I haven't been forcing myself to eat the healthiest stuff either. Today was particularly bad and I'm not very proud of myself. But tomorrow is another day, right?

School - Tomorrow is also going to be final project day. I have studying to do, I have the project to finish, and once that's done, I can start thinking about the second book report for the Judaism class. We've started working on grammar and usage and actual word meanings in Hebrew class, which is AWESOME.

Everything else - I think I miss Rob most when I'm sick, not because I want to be taken care of, but because I feel much safer and happier when he's lying in bed next to me and I miss that feeling a lot when I'm sick. I'm supposed to take my nephew to his swimming class tomorrow, and since he's not quite three, I'm supposed to get in the water with him. This could be interesting... I have not worn a bathing suit in public for a very long time, and I'm not thrilled about this. (I'm taking him because his mom had surgery this week and his dad will be busy taking care of his baby sister.) Gonna have to suck it up though. My SIL has lost a lot of weight in preparation for this surgery and I'm really proud of her. I'm also envious and a bit bummed. I keep telling myself that if I had a stronger (more immediately present) support system, I'd be doing better at this, but the truth is that I can't rely on anyone but myself to get there. Rob can support and help all he wants, but until I get to a point where this is going to happen, I'm going to keep disappointing myself (and him).

My boss brought in an organizational specialist to help me at work because I've been having trouble getting things under control there. I had a great talk with her on Friday, and I'm very optimistic about working with her. I confessed to her that I was just as disorganized and lost in my personal life as I am at work, and she was very positive about it all, saying that the techniques she was going to teach me for functioning better at work would spill over into my personal life too and I would see a marked improvement there too. I've felt a little more in control with the Yoga Body book's techniques as well, so I'm starting to feel like maybe I can be a normal, functioning adult like everybody else! I am beginning to achieve a small measure of balance :)



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

And we're back!

Fitness - No word on the treadmill. I don't expect any. I have gone to another store in the same chain to see if I can get some answers. The other store's representative, upon hearing the issue, said he'd have the store manager call me back rather than try to deal with the service department, since three and a half months was a ridiculously long time to wait for parts. FINALLY. Someone gets that it's not NORMAL for things to take this long. :D

Here's the current six-month plan:


I've been on a downward spiral and I am disgusted with myself. The fact that it's shark week hasn't helped. I had to do some pretty rapid walking yesterday to get to a gov't office before they closed, and it just about killed me.

Goals:
Walk at least 20 minutes every day, even if it's indoors at the mall.
April 9-30
May 1-31
June 1-30
July 1-31
August 1-31
September 1-30

Drinking at least 4 cups hot water (I'm trying the Yoga Body Diet book to a certain extent).
April 9-30
May 1-31
June 1-30
July 1-31
August 1-31
September 1-30

Go at least 3 days per week without having some kind of sugar or "treat" (because right now, it's a daily habit).

Do yoga and/or go to the gym 3x per week (trying to find a yoga class that will take me and my kids!). I'm going to need to purchase some props for that, so I need to go shopping tonight. I need a block and an extra mat (one mat isn't thick enough for my knees). Belts I have (my kids were in karate for a few years). My son is now old enough to go to the weight room with me, so as long as my daughter can do leisure swim (she's now old enough to do that unsupervised), we can go to the gym together. Yoga's a bit more tricky, because I don't have the floor space for that in my house. I'll figure something out. Maybe the kitchen :)



Knitting - I'm annoyed with just about everything I have on the needles right now. Skye's sweater isn't really a portable project anymore, it's gotten too heavy. I will have to pick it up again soon, because I did promise her. The test knit has become a disaster. There's no freaking WAY this will ever fit a 5 year old. I held it up to a friend's seven-year-old the other day, and it was way too big. Skye will just get another knit top out of it. The Baby Surprise Jacket is just hibernating because I'm at the point where I have to knit the back flap, and for some reason, I always hate that part. The spiral scarf? Well, the yarn is god-awful, I can't keep my son's cat out of it, and the plastic needles are irritating. The fingerless mitt follows me everywhere, but I never take it out. I need to print a new copy of the pattern, and I just haven't gotten around to it (gonna go do that RIGHT now). There. Now that I have a new copy of the pattern, I have no more excuses on that one. I also started Rob's socks on Saturday, and the first one is going well :) I think I'm just in a slump.



Food - I'm actually kind of excited right now. Kari and I went to this produce store near her new apartment (appropriately named Fresh Produce). They have bulk Thai peppers and lemongrass and all kinds of awesome things, so tonight, I am planning on making a pot of Thai chicken asparagus soup! I also bought all the stuff I need to make spaghetti sauce, which will be Wednesday night's project. My mom gave me a ton of ham on Sunday, so I might save half the asparagus tonight to make quiche cups with. I loves me some quiche cups (so do the kids). I have lots, so there shouldn't be a problems! I've started reading Yoga Body Diet. Kari gave it to me in her apartment purge :) I think that between that and South Beach, I should be able to find some balance. In consequence, I've started drinking hot water during the day, and I can already feel a bit of a difference in the way my body reacts. I feel more hydrated and I find it calming (I've always loved herbals teas and found them soothing. I have no idea why I don't drink them more often).

School - I'm nearing the home stretch for my uni class. Next week is the last class. I need to get my butt moving! As for Judaism class, we just got back from Pesach break. Last night's talk was on Yiddish language and culture, and it was fascinating! In Hebrew class, we've started our second textbook. The first book deals solely with learning the aleph-bet. The second book deals with grammar, usage, and root-words. I am LOVING this :)

This is the series of texts we're using.
Everything else - I flew to Chicago to visit Rob over Easter weekend. I helped his mom prepare the Pesach seder, and apparently next year, we're having it at Rob's house and I'm cooking! I'm excited and terrified and THRILLED :) I've always wanted to be able to do stuff like this. I have a bunch of ideas and I want to try to do the haroset differently (wine-free, since I can't eat it otherwise... I made it this year, but with wine in it, I felt SO horrible after the meal and couldn't figure out why. Moron.) The visit was too short, as always, but we're planning a family vacation (with all the kids) to the Catskills this summer. I'm very excited! Kari, Sue and I are heading to Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival the first weekend in May. I will keep everyone posted, because there will be podcasting AT the festival and much fun will be had! I know I keep promising pictures, but I'm lazy. I can't take pictures with my phone and then send them anywhere, and I never bring my camera anywhere. I'll figure something out, I promise!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Treading water...

Surfacing briefly to whine that I'm insanely busy, I don't know when it will end, and I really don't have time to say much more LOL

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Plugging away...

Fitness - I could use a kick in the ass. Rob has been "encouraging" (read: guilting) me to do crunches, bicep curls, and occasional stints on the stair machine, but I really REALLY wish I had my treadmill running. In the interim, I'm doing what I can. Diet still needs a bit of work, because I really do fail at planning.

Knitting - I'm finally starting to make some progress on the super seekrit test knit :) It was frustrating, but I'm just about ready to join in the round. I haven't knit on anything else, because if I'm honest, this is due way too soon and I don't know how I'm going to find time to finish it with all the other shit I have to deal with. But I'll keep going because I'd like to get it at least most of the way done by then.

Food - I really need to learn to plan. Like, have a dozen hard-boiled eggs in the fridge at the beginning of the week, a big pot of couscous or quinoa or whatever with veggies and cheese in it, have the meals planned for the week, etc. Because I'm one of these classic procrastinators who will put literally ANYTHING off until the last possible second, I'm always scrambling to find something to eat, which is how I end up eating so much junk food. Well, for the first time in months, I'm not expected to go anywhere on a Sunday. I roasted a chicken last night (thawed it last Wednesday, so I was afraid it would go off) with some baby potatoes and some beets, so that's dinner tonight taken care of, which leaves me free to make a big pot of quinoa. The last remaining eggs got boiled last night, so I've got some for tomorrow's and Tuesday's breakfast. I think tonight's project before the kids go to bed will be clearing everything out of the refrigerator and keeping only the condiments we use regularly (Fish sauce, you're either being rehomed to a mason jar that will actually FIT in the fridge, or you're going in the trash). I know that almost all the fruit & veg in the fridge is fuzzy *sigh* so there may be a brief trip to the produce store this afternoon to replace some. I also need to catalog what's in the freezers, but that will be a project for another day.

School - ah. Well now we come to the crux of the blog post. The real reason I'm sitting here blogging on a Sunday afternoon. I have an assignment to do for my Documentation and Terminology class that is insufferably tedious and there's a lot to be done. I've had the whole term to work on it, but as mentioned above, I'm a pretty determined procrastinator. It's not that I don't WANT to get it done, I really do. Desperately so. But I can't seem to bring myself to work on it. Today, I worked for an hour before I started doing something else. That something else? Laundry. If I've voluntarily started doing laundry to avoid doing something, that's pretty serious. I need a huge kick in the ass. I wish I knew why I procrastinated, because I really don't like it :(

Everything else - Where do I even start? I have an essay due for my Judaism class, our audit at work is starting on Monday, I have to completely rejig the way we track things since we discovered our database is no longer able to produce accurate results (this is a problem with the actual database since it's from the 1980s and failing rapidly). I have to get my apartment in order because I'm truly sick of living in a pigsty. I need to clean my car out because a friend will be borrowing it while I'm in Chicago. I have to wash and pack clothes for my trip to Chicago. I'm so effing swamped I can barely breathe. And yet I'm sitting here blogging.  Priorities: I haz them.

Priorities by XKCD

Friday, March 15, 2013

Why is it still snowing?

Fitness - Well..... well. This week, I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday which mainly raised more questions than it answered, but that's okay. At least we have a direction to move in now. My body is apparently producing very high amounts of Prolactin. That's the hormone that promotes breast development and milk production. Which would be awesome if I was, y'know, pregnant or breastfeeding. But as I'm neither, it's a bit of a concern, and I have to undergo more tests to see WHY my boobs think I'm feeding someone. My blood sugar was a TINY bit on the high side, so we're going to focus on eating habits and exercise as lifestyle changes to try to bring that back into normal range :) NOTE: I have NOT been diagnosed as diabetic, and my doctor thinks this can easily be solved by diet and exercise, so NOBODY go telling my mom I'm diabetic, got it? :P As for exercise, I'm working on it :)

Knitting - I have been so insanely busy with work, I have knit precisely ONE row on the test knitting project, and that's all I've done since last weekend's knit night. Boo, hiss. I did take pictures, I promise.... I just haven't uploaded them off the camera yet.

Food - Well, I clearly need to make some changes to my eating habits, and part of that is going to be control. I can't control myself with food. At least, not very well. I tried to watch Supersize Me to motivate myself, but I had to turn it off after 10 minutes (the guy pukes out his car window after forcing himself to eat the biggest meal possible). So now the trick is going to be to look at a poster I made myself before I put anything in my mouth. This poster shows a picture of me this past August at my cousin's birthday party. I spent most of the party running around after my nephew (he had just turned 2 - he's fun!) and finally sat down to eat a good while after everyone else was finished. My brother started taking pictures of my cousin's wife holding his new baby - she was sitting right next to me. So in the background of the pictures, you've got fat-ass me sitting there chowing down. I didn't like the picture when he posted it, and I don't like it now. I'm wearing a top that my boyfriend thinks looks sexy on me, but when I look at this picture, I see a blue blimp. Nothing sexy about it. The bottom of the poster is a few before/after pics I saw online of people who had been successful in dropping a significant amount of weigh, to prove that it IS possible. I'm working on it.



School - As said in my last entry, I went to class this week, I've started working on my big project, but I'm a bit frustrated at my own stupidity where PowerPoint is concerned. But I am working on it! I'm glad I went to class though, because I discovered that the university told the prof he couldn't just NOT have a final exam, so we are having one after all ;) Good to know! Working furiously to finish my book report for Judaism class so I can put the book away and be done with it (and start reading the NEXT one). I am SO looking forward to starting the second Hebrew textbook after Pesach, because this one focuses on word forms, grammar and maybe even some MEANINGS. :D

Everything else - Well, Jeff and the kids came home from Disney last Sunday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, Skye woke up sobbing. I finally asked her if she was upset because she wasn't at Disney anymore, and she hiccupped, "Yeeeeehheeeehheeeeheeeessssss!" :) So there we have it. My daughter wants to live at DisneyWorld. My son? Just wants to live anywhere that isn't Mom's house. Apparently I'm way too strict. It's report card time, and he "forgot" to bring his home last night (whereas his scatterbrained sister had hers front and center - guess who got decent grades?) LOL If someone has a trick to surviving teenagers, I'd love to hear it!

Last night we went to the dollar store so I could pick up some fountain pens - the dollar store at Plateau carries disposable fountain pens with a few refills per pack. They are AWESOME. I've been using the last one I bought at the office, and I love it. So last night I went by and bought ten more LOL (hey, I can't even find a basic BIC pen for a dollar anymore!) Zachary got some art supplies - a couple of canvases, a plastic divided palette, some brushes. Skye got a ring (glass, since her hands tarnish everything else within hours) and some umbrella straws. I don't know... she has her reasons, but that's what she picked. She has a karaoke thing at school tonight, and she is SO excited!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A crazy week!

And it's only Monday!!! Thank you to everyone who commented on the last blog (even if one of you shares a bed with me LOL). I'm actually surprised how many people I don't know read this blog!

Fitness - Frustration. We're just not talking about the treadmill anymore. The treadmill no longer exists. And I may have to get a lawyer. *ahem* I've been wearing my sneakers the last couple of days in the interests of taking a walk when the opportunity arises. Unfortunately, I've been too damn busy with work for the opportunity to arise. I need to get moving. I CRAVE movement. I've been dying to go back to yoga, but I'm too timid to join a class on my own (and I think Jeff might kill me if I take another evening class, so I'll have to either find someone who wants to join a morning class with me, or a weekend one). If any of my Ottawa friends want to join a class with me, let me know! I would LOVE to go! I may actually try to get my daughter involved. She'd love it :)

This is pretty much what I think I look like when I do yoga LOL
Knitting - I'm test-knitting a super-secret pattern for a friend right now, so not much else is getting worked on. I did make a hexipuff out of some sock yarn one of the girls at Knit night gave me (thanks, Chantal!), but that's about it, other than the "if I tell you about it, I have to kill you" project ;)

Food - I watched "Dive" again this week. If you haven't seen this documentary yet, find it and watch it. I've thawed a chicken to roast for the kids this week, and I'm feeling the urge to make spaghetti sauce, so I may buy the fixings for that this week. I tend to eat it with baked potatoes, or squash, or rice or quinoa. I rarely eat pasta (I find it too heavy) but I love the sauce I make. It's very chunky and there are so many yummy things in it!

School - Oh lord... it's been weeks since I've been to my uni class, and I've barely had time to work on the project. Judaism class is going awesome. I'm almost done writing my first book report - if you can find a copy of "Sunflowers" by Simon Wiesenthal, I highly recommend it. We had a Hebrew test tonight, and I aced ;)

Everything else - It's just been an insane couple of weeks at work. I worked most of the weekend, and I've been leaving work late every night just to get this massive project done (it was my fault it wasn't done earlier anyway). Now it's done, so I can concentrate on the audit we're having on Monday *shudder* I need to organize things a bit better at work, and at home, so I can have leisure time where I don't feel guilty, I don't look around in disgust at the mess around me, and I have time to do fun things with the kids. I've been checking out Hidden Harvest, and they have a lot of stuff I'd like to go to (nature hikes and such) but I never have time. I think we need to do a major purge of the entire house (including - gasp! - yarn...). And then we might find it a bit easier to live in such a small space and find things and respect each others' space. I think maybe the spring cleaning bug has hit me! (let's hope?)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Feeling good....

No usual format today, just a list. But first, please listen to this song. Go on, I'll wait.


Something extraordinary happened to me today. I was poking around on Ravelry, and this lady posted a thread. Doesn't matter what it was about, doesn't matter who it was. Basically she was being preachy and judgy and bashing on her daughter, and I tried to play devil's advocate and gently told her that maybe she didn't fully understand the situation and was being premature. She got a bit nasty at the fact that she wasn't receiving a bunch of warm fuzzies, and I said, "Well, dude... look at what your original post sounds like." And her response, I shit you not, this total stranger on the internet said to me, "And how do you sound, you ugly fat bitch? Why don’t you go on a diet?"

I could have gotten upset, I could have crumpled, but if I'm honest, I was tickled PINK about this. It was just so hilariously over-the-top that I sat there and laughed my ASS off until tears were streaming down my face. Person after person sent me private and public messages of support, and I struggled to respond coherently while I was hiccupping with laughter at this poor pathetic woman thinking she was going to hurt me with words that meant *nothing*. They meant nothing because she doesn't know me, doesn't know my life, doesn't know my struggle, and certainly doesn't know my heart. She was just a bitter, angry person lashing out at the first thing she saw. 

I swear, I spent most of the day laughing about this, and my stomach is still a bit crampy from laughing so much (it felt awesome!). So then this evening, I've spent a couple of hours looking up videos on youtube in the hopes of creating the best playlist ever for when I'm walking on the treadmill, doing yoga, or just want to feel awesome about myself. The list is a work in progress, certainly, as I'm sure I will add many songs to it over time, but this is the list as it stands today. That video at the beginning of this post? That's the kicker. Right there. I am feeling GOOD. And I want to keep feeling good. If you're in the mood, jump in on the comments and suggest your own feel-good song. No arguing about questionable musical tastes (heck, there's a Taylor Swift video on my list that I only love because someone did a screaming goat version of it that's HILARIOUS). 

1. Stronger - Kelly Clarkson (I cry like a baby every time I hear this song because it's just that awesome).
2. Raise Your Glass - Pink
3- Firework - Katy Perry (yes, I like Katy Perry! Granted, this is one of like, TWO Katy Perry songs I know LOL)
4- Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and the Waves (the original 80s feel-good song!)
5- Moves Like Jagger - Maroon 5 (seriously.... who doesn't love Mick Jagger?)
6- Alice (Underground) - Avril Lavigne (loved this song since Alice in Wonderland came out!)
7- Haven't Met You Yet - Michael Bublé (I may have a thing for Michael Bublé...)
8- I Knew You Were Trouble - Taylor Swift (seriously, search YouTube for Trouble Goat)
9- Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen (go on, laugh. It's catchy and it makes me feel good!)
10 - Falling for You - Colbie Caillat (great song I discovered during my time at Michaels)
11- Whistle - FloRida (I know, it's terrible, but so damn catchy!)
12 - Gangnam Style - Psy (I LOVES GANGNAM STYLE!)
13 - All Will Be Well - Gabe Dixon Band (you NEED TO LOOK THIS UP. SERIOUSLY. GO.)

I'm kind of tempted to add All By Myself, because this version from Glee is the most hilarious thing ever:


But since the song itself is kind of hilariously depressing on its own, I will not add it to the list (besides which, it's cheating to add a song just because of a 4-second clip of Emma Pillsbury sobbing to it). Something by Adele has to be added, but there's nothing up-tempo enough that isn't mind-numbingly depressing yet. Maybe now that she's a mom. 

So seriously, time to get some comment action around here. What's your favorite feel-good song? :D (PLEASE COMMENT *whine*)