Sunday, November 30, 2008

Random Bullets of Holy Guacamole It's Been Five Days

  • Finished one sock for MM, have the sneaking suspicion that there will not be enough yarn to finish the second sock. MM's feet have gotten fireplacing huge. 7 & 1/2 inches from heel to toe.
  • Also finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to MM (he read the first chapter and a half on his own, but "you read faster than I do, Mommy"). Finished it at MIL's house on Friday, watched the movie coming back in the train.
  • Started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets to MM, and read 10 chapters on the train yesterday. We've just finished chapter 15, Aragog. MM guessed out who the dead victim from the attacks 50 years ago was!
  • MIL cooks a damned good Thanksgiving feast. And SIL makes a fantastic corn casserole (I got the recipe!). And did I mention my MIL's homemade pumpkin cheesecake? Oh. My. God.
  • If you're heading to anywhere Amtrak goes, just take it. The sleeper down was fantastic. What a great way to spend 11 hours traveling. Word to the wise, if you get a sleeper compartment, you also get your dinner included. And the dining car has great food.
  • Coming back, the sleeper was sold out so we took a day train and it took...all day. But no problem, as it gave us more time to read and watch movies (see points above).
  • The snack car is not equal to the dining car.
  • Don't let the snack car attendant put the heated hot dog on top of a Snickers bar.
  • Fantasia goes a lot faster when you fast-forward over the narrator.
  • Dancing hippos never stop being funny.
  • They're even funnier if you've just watched Madagascar.
  • Most useful purchase this trip: a head-phone-jack splitter so that I could hear the movies too!
How was your Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The problem with socks

Is that you must knit two of them.

Not just one. Not one-and-a-half. Two. They come in pairs, they are rather insistent that way. Like mittens.

This is why I like hats.

But I have some extra yarn left over from the secret mission socks and I'm knitting more socks. For MM because he's got the smallest feet in the house and therefore I am less likely to run out of yarn mid-sock.

The good thing about kids socks is that they're small and eminently portable. The perfect size to bring to lunch with friends.

To the Powers That Be at the cafeteria at ThreeMilesFromHome

  1. It makes sense when selling discounted refills on coffee if you buy the environmentally friendly refillable cup, to actually charge less than what you normally sell the coffee for.
  2. The point of an on-site cafeteria is to tempt workers to eat on-site so that they take shorter lunch breaks. This is undermined if you charge retail prices for your food. Seriously, what's with the $6.00 burger? Considering that it's a quarter-mile walk to get to you in the first place, you might wanna reduce your prices.
  3. Also, your oatmeal is too watery
  4. And where are the Boston Creme Donuts? Bring back the Boston Creme Donuts!!!
  5. Why are you charging $1.50 for the same size bottle of Coke that I can get from the vending machine right next to your door for a buck?
  6. And finally, they're called steamer trays for a reason. They're not called lukewarm trays.

MM's adventures in cake baking

He already knew
  • how to read the directions
  • how to crack eggs
  • how to turn on the mixer
He learned
  • 1 1/3 != 11/3
  • why we crack eggs in a separate bowl
  • how to get egg shell out of the egg bowl
  • he's strong enough to hold the mixer himself (with two hands)
  • patience

He ate

  • a piece of cake the size of his head

Monday, November 24, 2008

Reader's choice

What do I post next?

a) More one-sentence synopses of Georgette Heyer?
b) One-sentence synopses of Dick Francis?
c) MM's adventures in cake-baking?
d) Questions for the Powers That Be at ThreeMilesFromHome's cafeteria?
e) Other (fill in the blank)

Things I can knit in a day

A hat!

Black Lion Brand Homespun yarn (acrylic/poly blend). US size 10 dps.

Pattern adapted from this one (MM likes his hats on the plain side and he has a small, round head, so I went with a basic 2X2 rib and didn't do as many rows)

Cast on 72 stitches, join up dps (no twisting!). {P1; K2; P1} for 30 rows.

Decrease as follows (odd rows are as KT gives them, even rows are my own notation):
Row 1 - {K2tog; P1; K2; P2; K2; P1; SSK} six times (60 sts remain)
Row 2 - {K1; P1; K2; P2; K2; P1; K1} to end
Row 3 - {K2tog; K2; P2; K2; SSK} six times (48 sts remain)
Row 4 - {K3; P2; K3} to end
Row 5 - {K2tog; K1; P2; K1; SSK} six times (36 sts remain)
Row 6 - {K2; P2; K2} to end
Row 7 - {K2tog; P2; SSK} six times (24 sts remain)
Row 8 - {K1; P2; K1} to end
Row 9 - {K2tog; SSK} six times (12 sts remain)
Row 10 - Knit to end
Row 11 - K2tog six times.
Cut yarn, leaving long tail, and cinch through remaining live stitches.
Pull through and weave in ends.

KT added some great curly cues to the top, but as I said, MM takes his hats with no nonsense*, so I didn't add them. The decreases came out great. I highly recommend KT's method!

*MM changed his mind about the nonsense, but his nonsense of choice is a big ol' poofy pom-pom. Done!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Posts from the deep....

I found this one sitting there in Drafts from April 1st.

Working title was "I'm probably going to hell"

So...Lego Star Wars. We've finished the first set (eps 1 - 3) and are now working our way through the second set (eps 4 - 6). House rules are no screen time if MM gets a strike at school.


Guess who has gotten maybe three strikes since we got the PS2 two months ago? Guess who stops whining immediately if we threaten no screen time?


Weekdays, we play one chapter after school. Weekends, we'll play one chapter in the morning and one in the afternoon.


MM is no couch potato, btw, he acts as though it's a Wii - jumping, dodging from side-to-side. It's truely adorable to watch.


Plus he's figuring out lots of puzzles.


I feel like a


And that's where it ended. I don't remember what I felt I was, judging from the working title, it had to have been something with no redeeming social value. I wonder what it was.

False Colours

Twins!

Need I say more?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Venetia

Ah....Venetia.

26 years old, no one she knows gets her sense of humor and her only eligible suitor is "worthy" and a dead bore.

Along comes "The Wicked Baron", Damarel. He's got a scandalous past, but he always laughs at her jokes, and never asks what she means by them. He doesn't expect her to have friendly feelings towards her late unlamented father. He respects her horse-mad, book-worm younger brother and doesn't treat him like he's made of glass just because he's got a short leg.

So what's the problem? That's what Venetia would like to know...

I don't recommend the edition I linked to up at the top. It's a Harlequin and has advertising in the middle, which causes the spine to break and the pages to fall out. Get this one from Amazon.co.uk instead.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Y is for children yelling because they are so happy

And Z is for children running around and acting zany.

Yes, MM was both Y and Z, the only child in his class to have two roles.

And the turkey luncheon was pretty tasty.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And since Susan brought it up

The Grand Sophy*!! Holy guacamole, is this ever a good book. Sophy comes to stay with her cousins who are, most of them, getting into scrapes both romantical and financial. Sophy, who has reputation for being meddlesome, dives right in and straightens everything out in an outrageously direct way.

This one should be read in a room with a skylight upon which the rain is steadily drumming.

Next up: Venetia.

*This edition, from Amazon.co.uk, is the one I have.

The Two Exceptions

An Infamous Army and Royal Escape. I got bored in the fourth chapter and stopped reading.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why I love Georgette Heyer

I was first introduced to Georgette Heyer through Frederica, which is a regency novel. Later, when I'd read all she'd written, I realized that I'd actually read some of her mysteries one summer when I was staying with my grandparents in a rented vacation house on Long Island. Duplicate Death and Why Shoot A Butler, among others. I read Ngaio Marsh for the first time that same summer.



With only two exceptions, all of Georgette Heyer's books are delightful. Her mysteries are well-plotted and cozy confections. She is practically unsurpassed for rainy-day-nice-hot-pot-of-tea reading. Seriously, if you are faced with a gloomy weekend, you could not do better than to curl up with one of Heyer's mysteries and a box of mallomars and just dive in.



But today I'm going to talk about Frederica. Frederica is the eldest sister of a family of five. Their father has died and left them without much money. Someone has rented their (mortgage encumbered) estate so the family moves to London for "the Season" to bring Frederica's younger sister (a "diamond of the first water") out. Meanwhile, their distant relation, Lord Alverstoke is bored to tears and looking for a way to annoy his miserly sister who wants him to host a ball for her plain eldest daughter. When he and Frederica meet, he realizes that he now has the perfect plan to infuriate his sister. Soon, the formerly bored Lord Alverstoke finds himself hauling Frederica's family out of scrapes and...

Well, you'd better read the rest yourself.

Reminder to self

When drawn into the debate about whether or not to have a second hospital in our county, remember to let folks know that CountyToOurEast charges for ambulance rides, and our county doesn't.

Also, tell what the debate looks like from a Park Slope native's perspective. I grew up 4 blocks from a hospital. My best friends lived half-a-block from that hospital. The neighborhood high school was one block from the hospital. Hospitals nearby are good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

And finally

This post over at Daily Kos reminded me of some lunchtime silliness the Mystery family indulged in yesterday.

I noticed that the restaurant we were in served Bahama Mamas, so I asked, "If our President-elect ordered one of those, would it be Obama's Bahama Mama?"

"Or perhaps if he ordered it with his breakfast-in-bed, it would be a pajama'd Obama's Bahama Mama."

"If he ordered one for his sleeping Andean pack animal, it would be an Obama's pajama'd llama's Bahama Mama."

"If the Andean pack animal choked on it, it would be Obama's pajama'd llama's Bahama Mama trauma."

"And finally, if a play were written about it, it would be Obama's pajama'd llama's Bahama Mama trauma drama."

Well, I thought it was hilarious

I have no will-power

I finished the series.

Now I'm looking at my Amazon wishlist and wondering...do I buy The Host now or hope someone gets it for me for Christmas?

And how do I wait until May for the next Charlaine Harris?

Thursday, November 20, 11:00

ThreeMilesFromHome's Thanksgiving Potluck and....

MM's class play on The Thanksgiving Alphabet. MM will be "Y".
I can't wait to see what "Y" has to do with Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More victory parties than you can shake a stick at

Boy, does it feel good to be with so many people who feel good.

One of MM's sitters is getting her citizenship next year. She asked me for some Obama memorabilia. She couldn't vote in this election, but she sure wanted to.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Costco has failed me, advice needed

What's my next stop for inexpensive all-cotton high-cut und3rs? Target? JCPenney?

Also, does anyone know how to keep kneesocks from becoming tourniquets?

Also, to cut or not to cut (my hair), that is the question. My home team likes the hair long, but I'm thinking it's going to be a staticky, staying-wet-and-cold-all-day, pain in the ass for the winter.

What say you?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

If you like Stephanie Meyer you will like

Robin McKinley (Sunshine has a lot in common with this series)
Charlaine Harris
Peter Dickinson (Eve, King & Joker) (also, he's married to Robin McKinley)


I bought New Moon. It's official, I'm addicted.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I know one or another of you told me

About Stephanie Meyer, but DAMN!!! Why didn't anyone TELL me about Stephanie Meyer?

Question: do I now buy the whole rest of the series at once? Or do I pretend like I have will power and buy them one at a time?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/11

It always strikes me as odd that my county's schools don't close on this day, that the many defense contractors I've worked for don't close on this day. That this state, with the largest military cemetary in the country, doesn't observe Veteran's Day nearly as visibly as my native state does.

Throughout the last 6 years, there has not been a day that goes by without my thinking of the people who are wearing the uniform of our nation, fighting our wars. I hope that they come home safely. And for those that have returned, and for their families, and for the families of those who have not returned, and for the families of those who will never return, I give my thanks, my respect, and my hope that we do better by you.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Lesson learned

Don't hold a political victory party in a sports bar. The speeches compete with the sound for the football games and the sports fans cheer in the wrong places.

There were a TON of Obamaniacs there, though.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's not all chocolate and buttercups

So many others have already talked about this, more eloquently than I ever could and more personally...

Just as many Webb voters in Virginia also voted for the horrible anti-gay marriage amendment two years ago, many Obama voters in Florida, California, and Arizona voted for similar bans.

How could they? How could people simultaneously vote for a man whose focus is on bringing us all together and vote for Jim Crow?

I am also disappointed that Arkansas banned adoptions by unmarried couples but more people voted AGAINST this ban than voted FOR Obama.

All I can offer as a hopeful thought is this: young voters, both Democrat and Republican voted overwhelmingly against these bans. And Connecticut voted for equality. And what S said.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Props also to my mom and to you

My mom lives in NY, as y'all know. She made calls to PA and OH every day and went down to PA to register voters. I'm so proud!

I'm proud to know all of you, too. Proud of the work you all did and the votes you all cast. You inspired me with the things you wrote. There are many of you who I kept in my thoughts all day yesterday -- including one who voted for McCain but who will be helped enormously by the proposed healthcare policies of Obama.

I hope those proposals become reality.

Hugs and kisses

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

WE WON!!!!!

The precinct I ran.
The district MS is the Supervisor of.
Our county.
Our State.


The whole ball of wax.


I feel like I'm made of champagne. Happiness is just bubbling out of me. I love that all the work we did, the walking and the calling and the sample-balloting really showed.

Today...

Last night 100,000 people showed up for Obama in Manassas.

This morning the line was already out the door and around the corner and around the other corner when I got to the polls at 0530.

Most people on that line wanted the Democratic sample ballot.

I've had enough staff all day to be able to take two quick breaks.

The Republicans finally sent more people. They're all standing clumped up near the door. My folks are spread out in the parking lot. We're not missing a single person.

General observation: Democrats vote early in the morning and are willing to wait on line. Republicans vote in the middle of the morning.

It's only rained a little bit, I hope it stays dry for the rest of the day.

My feet hurt, but I'm pumped!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Alaska and Arizona have our guy within the margin of error.

I don't believe it. I just don't believe it. I no longer believe any polls. They must all be wrong and we are going to lose.

I need another door to knock. I'm chewing my fingers to pieces.

Is it Wednesday yet?


GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I. Am. Walked. Out.

I have knocked my last door. 80 plus today...I don't KNOW how many yesterday...maybe 90? I don't care.

I am tired.

Tired.

Obama had better win, is all I'm sayin'.

I'll be coordinating nearby precinct so I'll be there from 5:30 in the fireplacing morning until the polls close.

He'd better win.