Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ruby Kisses

Picked up these beauties today.

My plans for them are simple; freeze for future use.
That is I'm freezing as many of them as can avoid meeting their end in my berry stained mouth.
Most of the frozen berries will end up as smoothies, some of them will become deliciously tart syrup for ebelskivers, and a few lucky berries I will devote to a pet project of mine.
Once, at a block party, I had a piece of raspberry rhubarb pie. It was heaven wrapped in pastry. Though, I have to say, I find it difficult to imagine any other kind of heaven. I suppose a pastry free heaven could exsist, but I don't think I'd have the faith necessary to get there. No, for me, heaven could never be complete without a flaky, golden crust.
Excuse me and my pasty lust, I'll get back to the subject at hand.
I haven't as yet been able to find a recipe for raspberry rhubarb pie. Last time the memory of the block party pie presented itself I satisfied myself with strawberry rhubarb. This time, I'll accept no substitutes and I'll not depend upon existing recipes. If I can't find one, I'll make up my own!
Now, Please excuse me, I've got berries waiting for me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bad News

I learned today that the annual neighborhood Halloween carnival is no more.
I'm feeling rather crestfallen but I'm clinging to hope that I'll be able to find another event where our family costuming effort will be appreciated.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Progress Report

Halloween is fast approaching and I've been a bit side tracked, what with our New One and all. I'm going to have to buckle down, I'm afraid.
Here's our progress so far;

This heap and hoop are my elephant.
It's actually much more than a heap, but that could be a post of it's own so I'll hold off on the details for now.

Here we have the fabrics for Tiny's suit and my Sufferagette uniform.
The charcoal flannel (top left)is Tiny's, the china silk (top right) is lining for us both, and the remaining wool is for me.

I am in love with that wool, the thing is though, I don't want to use it for my costume like I'd intended. I thought the texture and the extra colors woven through would add dimension to the finished product but now that I look at it again, I think they'll actually detract.
A nice, heavy broadcloth is what I need for Winnifred Banks, I'd like a pair of trousers from the wool, or a pencil skirt, or a winter coat,...ahh possibilities.

For George Banks, we purchased a Blqack Suit from Savers. We are still looking for a vest, a punched out bowler, and an inside out umbrella. To finish things off, I'll be making over the collar on one of The Mr's white dress shirts to suit the period.
Meanwhile, The Mr himself has been hard at work on Mr Banks' whiskers. When the time comes, he'll discard the goatee and manicure the remaining mustache appropriately.

After I'd taken ten or so photos of his lower face, he gave me this look. He either wanted me to stop, or he was chagrined that I hadn't waited a few minutes for him to shave and spiff things up before I photographed his facial hair.

I'm having some poor luck with Baby Girl's Jane dress. I didn't think it would be difficult to find a sky blue tone on tone striped sateen, but I was wrong. I may have to take more creative liberties with her costume than I'd intended to do, simply because the materials are not available for replication.
Hopefully I'll make more marked progress in the week to come and report back with a completed project or two.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Natures candy in my hand

Please excuse the lack of words. I'm sort on those at the moment. Coherent ones anyway.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pen Pals

I used to write letters like crazy. Before I learned about e-mail I had a number of pen pals. After I learned about e-mail I had even more, though I guess those were "key-board pals" or something. Somewhere along the line though, I stopped that too. Those are what I refer to as "the dark years" of my life. Well, not really, they were actually very good years. I did miss the letter writing though, when I thought of it.
Now, blogging has taken the place of correspondence for me. It's not quite the same. I don't have the thrill of checking the mail box, but since my mail box isn't sitting proudly on a post in front of my house I don't miss that as much. It gives me an outlet for the monologue I keep up with myself in my head all day, describing my life to myself helps me find the beauty and the humor in it, and sharing that with others reminds me to appreciate it. That's what I really loved about writing letters, and that's what I do here.
In High School there were a number of boys I wrote letters to. Do you want to know everything about them?
I'll tell you all I know.
My sister was on a mission during my sophomore year of High School. While serving faithfully in Texas she recruited any number of pen pals for me. (in this case, "any number" means three, also I declare this the post of the parenthesis)
The first was named Anthony. He played soccer, I played soccer(badly). He played alto saxophone, I played (past tense) alto saxophone (badly). It was a match made in heaven. Anthony and I exchanged letters weekly, he sent me jewelry (which was a bonus) and I mocked his grammar (which was uncharitable of me and I repent ok, not really I still make fun of his grammar occasional though, I have no right to do it considering my own horrid punctuation. I probably make punctuation enthusiasts cry with my every sentence).
Eventually we stopped writing and then I hijacked his address (which I had memorized) so I could sneak a letter to a friend without her parents suspecting me as the sender. (a story for another time)
The second Texan pen pal came as a complete surprise to me. In this case, my dear sister gave me no warning of coming letters. I checked the mail box on my way to soccer practice, I read the return address (noting it was from Texas...would there be jewelry inside?) and jammed it into my soccer bag with my cleats (I loved those shoes) to read later.
I thought it was weird that Anthony's writing was all tall and loopy instead of scrawled and boyish like usual but what did I know? Maybe he had resolved to refine his penmanship, I'd done that plenty of times. Of course, I am a girl which makes a difference, but who was I to judge?
I read the letter during half time while I sweated profusely and drank as much water as would not make me vomit.
It was then that I figured out it was from an entirely different Texan teenage boy. This teenage Texan was named Ashish and he was not so much Texan as Indian and not so much a pen pal as a stalker. (and Maybe I vomited a little despite my efforts not to drink too much all at once)
Ashish had a creepy long distance crush on me and his attempts to conceal as much in his letters were not met with success. I was afraid to hurt his feelings so I wrote short, forced letters about generic things and sent them along with a cringe.
On Valentines day he sent me one of those cards that are more like a book, the kind my dad gets for my mom with the sappy sentimental message sprawled across all five, thick high quality paper, pages. I guess he sensed that it would make me uncomfortable to receive such an ill-chosen valentine and so he had his sister sign it along with him (which didn't help)
I finally stopped returning Ashish's letters when he decided to go on a mission himself. He wrote that he would soon be reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Provo UT and wouldn't I come there and meet him?
No I would not.
Even if it weren't against the rules (which it is) and even if he had not drawn my portrait (copied from a photo my sister had) and written my name repeatedly in a cloud around his rendering of my face (which he did) I would not have gone to meet him.
Ugh, just thinking about it gives me the creeps.
The third Pen Pal I gained through my sister missionary service was a much shorter lived paper relationship. Bo was the nephew of my sisters companion I wrote to my sister regularly and it followed, that I wrote to her companion also. The companion and I became friends and she wanted to set me up with her nephew but since I loved in Utah and he in California, it was an exchange of letters that resulted.
Bo was not so much a letter writer. In the one letter he sent he did little more than ask for my phone number. He then called me (yeah, me? talk on the phone? not so much) and here is how the conversation went.
Bo- So, do you have a boyfriend?
Me- no
Bo- Why not?
Me- ...Well, I guess I'd just rather date different people.
Bo- So you get around a lot then?
Me- NotreallybutIshouldbegoingnicetotalktoyoubye.
It was obvious that Bo and I were made and meant for one another. It's a pity that we were never able to meet.

There you have it. The paper dating of my youth.
Are you enchanted?
Looking for a pen pal?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I haven't accomplished much the past few days. Not in a measurable sense anyway.
I've been busy figuring out my life and how it works with our new one.
I've figured out how to work on the computer with her.

But that's only one small thing. There's plenty left to figure.
I'm wondering if we'll get to keep her and figuring out whether that is what I really want. I recognize the blessing it would be to be given that choice. Still, I can't help but mourn the loss of my little family of four.
It sounds awful, I know.
As good as a new reality may be, isn't it ok to be sorry about the end of the old one?
Then again, maybe this isn't the end of my former reality. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a call saying they've found a place for this new one and I'll be back where I was 3 days ago.
I'm trying to let myself love her and still maintain a safety net for my heart.
I don't think that will work though.
If this is going to be a good experience for any of us I'm going to have to risk breaking my heart.
It hurts.

Monday, September 15, 2008


We've got a new one at our house.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It's here

The best Sunday of the year. Today is the Primary program. The glorious service in which the children, even the tinys, each have a turn to lisp a word or two into the mic, and, to the delight of the congregation, sing the songs they've been learning all year.
Oh how I love to watch the shining little faces, and the scowling little faces as they sing. I love the ones who can't help but to bunch their eyebrows together and lift them as high as their foreheads will allow as they sing which makes them look inexplicably worried.
This is what I call "the concerned boy face" I call it that because generally speaking, girls tend to notice the look on their own faces at a much earlier age and smooth their foreheads into more relaxed expressions as they sing. Boys on the other hand, often carry the concerned face along with them into High School choir and beyond.
There's just one part of the event that I don't like. That is when as I'm singing along, (part of my duties as a primary teacher) and I catch a glimpse of one little one or another, all scrubbed and combed and beaming in his or her Sunday best and bearing witness of the eternal truths contained in the song. This is when the unpleasantness begins. My voice get's stopped up in my throat, unwilling to continue the melody. I mouth the words and glance nervously around, hoping no one will notice my surge of emotion. Luckily, it stops at my throat most times, leaving my eyes dry and unaffected.
I repent the times I teased my mother for these kinds of displays. I see now that they are unavoidable.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Morning conversation

Me- I'm going to go eat breakfast
Baby Girl- I didn't have a second yet
Me- You didn't?
Baby Girl- No, and I really need a second breakfast.
Me- Are you a hobbit?
Baby Girl- Yes I am a rabbit and I need a second breakfast.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beware my lazer eye beams!

Today I stared daggers into the soul of an incompetent cashier at Lowe's. She was literally shaking, which made me feel sort of bad but no less angry.
I had a very simple return. A bag of items I'd decided not to use. Nothing was damaged, no packages or labels of any kind were missing or tampered with. I had a receipt. It should have been a ten minute transaction at the most.
Here's the thing, I don't have a hot temper. Last time I lost my temper with another grown person was seven years ago(roommates argh). I can pretty easily process anger and tune it to the appropriate level for the cause.
I also have had enough experience on the other side of the cash register to make me more than understanding when there's a glitch in the system.
Today the glitch was the cashier. It was obvious to me why the transaction wasn't going through the way she wanted it too, but she couldn't see it.
I am itching to type out all of the details but that would benefit no one, you'd be bored, I'd be angry again and that poor woman would probably feel the wounds I inflicted on her soul with my eye daggers begin to fester.
She said to me "this (the receipt) is the Bible, and the computer is never wrong, so I don't know what the problem could be" I knew what the problem was.
In the end she was unable to give me a full refund. She patched together two thirds of my money in a series of ill conceived transactions and finally gave me the bundle of receipts and the remaining items and told me to take it back to a different location and try again.
I knew I'd never get a full refund if I left the store at that point but I had no choice. Baby Girl's dance class would be over in five minutes and it is a 20 minute drive to get there. I ran through a list in my head of friends who I could call and ask to pick her up but I don't know the dance teacher's address, just how to get there. It's a messy drive, lots of turns with even more available wrong turns and I don't even know the names of any of the streets. So, I had to leave.
I'm not taking her advice to go to a different location though. I'm going back to the same store where I will tell the manager all the particulars of our exchange in a last feeble attempt to get my refund. I hope it's not enough to get the poor woman fired, I would feel badly about that. Still, the whole affair was ridiculous and needs to be set right so to the manager I will go.

Ballet style

Baby Girl started ballet again last week. Turns out she only has one pair of tights that fit currently. Look How awesome.

The red tights were a hand me down from her aunt, The Mr's older sister. My mother in law found them while cleaning out her house and now they are my girl's.
I tell you what, they don't make tights the way they used to.

This is what she gave me when I asked for another pose. She's a natural.

"Now take one with me smiling," she directed.

I guess I'm lucky she has a leotard that matches the early eighties red tights. We'll just disregard the fact that it's a gymnastics leotard not meant to be worn with tights at all.
She's cute even if she's a bit garish. Just the same, I think I'll go buy her some tights in a more subdued shade.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The Mr is at a meeting this evening. About 2 seconds after he walked out the door Tiny ran gleefully toward me (I was laying on the sofa) and thwacked his hard little head into the bridge of my nose with as much force as a 25 pound child is capable of exerting.
He now has a bridge-of-my-nose-shaped bruise above his right eye and I have a headache so intense I took some of the mammoth ibuprofen I have left over from bearing him.
Now, how to make myself work under the circumstances.
I've got an elephant to build.

A disapointment

So, I made this top.

I'm not sure what I was thinking. I do not like empire waisted tops with fluttery skirts. I started out thinking about this tunic and how I could make it more me. I thought of adding pin tucks and buttons to the yoke and then I apparently got distracted and did this instead.
It's the skirt I'm most opposed to, so much width in the hip region can't possibly be flattering. I really think I slept through half the process of making this.
I do like the doleman sleeve with the little lacy edge

I also like the pretty pink buttons and pintucks

Another problem came in with my fabric selection. This was part of my favorite set of sheets (they were the softest sheets ever) that recently wore out.
The top sheet, especially the edges of it, was still is really good condition and I liked the idea of the soft white with the pink buttons.
The problem came in when I realized how squidgy (that's a technical term) the fabric was. Squidginess is generally not a problem with woven cottons, but I could not for the life of me get this cut on grain. That's why the neck stands out from the body like that.
I couldn't cut a good straight bias either so when I used the not-quite-bias to bind the neck it made that mess. It doesn't bother me so much when it's on. Having a body in it helps hide the crookedness of the whole thing. On a hanger though, or worse, lying flat, it is a nightmare.

So I guess I've got a new top to wear exclusively around the house.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A first for everything

When I was in High School I waitressed at a cowboy themed dinner theater. It was great fun. We wore short denim skirts, ruffled aprons and bandannas. As my own personal touch, I always sported big hair. I love me some big hair. I've got a good story about that but I'll save it for another time.
Anyway, one night there was a rumpus caused when a van that was, I believe, normally parked down by the river showed up in the back of the parking lot. During the course of the evening the man who owned the van was seen out side his van naked as a jaybird. I believe he was hanging out laundry on a near by fence, but I am very likely mistaken. I didn't personally see anything other that the van.
The manager, upon hearing of this stormed right out and confronted the bear-skinned van dweller about the poor choice he'd made in selecting her parking lot to relocate to. She found it her duty to protect us girls from horrors of male nudity though, bless her, she was a spinster herself.
I counted it a blessing that I escaped the sight of the nude hippy. I guess I should have known that someday, fate would make up for that.
This evening we were driving as a family, on our way to my brother in law's house for Sunday dinner. We were stopped at a red light when a motorcycle approached from the other direction and turned right.
Something about the motorcycle and it's driver seemed off to me so I turned my attention to them more fully. It took a second for me to realize what I was seeing.
The driver was a naked man with a well established line distinguishing the tan of his torso and arms from the white of his buttock and legs. On his lap were a pair of neatly folded jeans. THANK HEAVEN FOR THOSE NEATLY FOLDED JEANS!
Incapable of words, I said nothing as I raised my hand and pointed at the motorcycle riding exhibitionist speeding away.
"Was he naked?" asked The Mr.
"Yes" I said, yes he was.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Jolly Holliday

It's coming, the best day of the year. Everything's worked out brilliantly so far. I hope my Halloween luck holds out.
We watched Marry Poppins at my mother in law's house when we were there back in March. I decided then that I was going to be Winnifred Banks for Halloween. I didn't think to ask/coerce/demand that the Mr dress up as George Banks because I'd accepted the fact that he is just not into Halloween and stopped trying to convince him that his disinterest is morally wrong. But do you know what happened? All on his own, with no goading from his beloved wife (I really had given up) he said "I could do Mr. Banks"
And I heard the voices of angels singing.
I mused over using my motherly influence on Baby Girl to see if we could get ourselves a Jane but I decided against it for a couple of reasons.
First of all, last year she wanted to be an elephant, Lizzie the elephant to be exact, and I used my influence to pull for Cinderella. I was fairly confident she'd go back in the elephant direction this year and I was all revved up about making the costume.
Secondly, for me the distinguishing feature of Jane Banks is her hair. Namely the two long ringlets hanging down her back. Baby Girl's hair isn't long enough for that, so I didn't mention Jane.
A few weeks ago while The Mr and I were out on a date Baby Girl watched Marry Poppins at her cousin's house. In the car on the way home she announced, "I want to be Jane for Halloween!"
Even through my joy, I was a tad disappointed, I really had been looking forward to making the elephant I'd been planning in my head since last year, and there was still the ringlet dilemma to consider but the child had spoken. I realized there would be no swaying her from her decision and so I embraced it.
Tiny Boy is still young enough that he is entirely at my mercy as far as Halloween costumes go, so he will of course be Micheal Banks.
Baby Girl watched the film with me again last week as I studied the costumes and she chose the dress Jane wears in the final scene to be her own.
The Mr will also be sporting the look of the final scene. The George Banks of the punched out hat and ravished carnation really is much more agreeable.
I'm the only one who'll be wearing a costume from a different part of the movie. I don't think I could really be Winnifred Banks if I weren't wearing the grey and yellow suffragette uniform.
Here's the best part. I was drowning the regret over my lost opportunity to make an elephant in plans for the Banks family, thinking about what color knee socks Tiny will wear with his knickerbockers and how to style Baby Girl's hair in the place of the long ringlets, but I was still kind of sad about it. Well, last week I ran into my sister in law and nephew at Jo-ann's. They had come to buy fabric for his clown costume but he had announced to his mother that he intended to be an elephant!
The result is, I get to dress my own family as the Banks' and still make the elephant! I am on top of the world.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I was standing in the bathroom absorbed in my thoughts, waiting for Baby Girl to finish on the potty so I could brush her teeth.
Baby Girl was taking a long time turning on the water to wash her hands. My awareness of this cracked my shell of thought. My eyes unglazed and I looked at her to find her toothbrush clasped in her plump, unwashed hand.
As I dealt with my reaction to the grossness of the sight, gasping words like "germs" and "yeugh" she whipped out the scornful tone she's been toying with lately and said "mom, dixie cups kill germs"
If only we had a dixie cup that could save that toothbrush from it's fate in the trashcan.