Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Monday, December 03, 2012

December holidays are here again

Which means I'm bringing the music and the hand-made chocolates. You bring the cookies and the mulled cider.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Introducing...The Joker!



Ingredients: white tux with tails, dyed purple; yellow waistcoat; green tie; dark purple shirt, black shoes; green wig; orange marigold boutonniere; makeup.

Inspiration: The Joker from Lego Batman.

This was NOT a thrifty costume, though it began that way. The purple jacket I originally ordered for $16.00 was not going to arrive until December.

Here's a nice big version:





Friday, October 12, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Banned books I own

 List of the top banned books from 2000-2009, courtesy of the American Library Association:

The ones I own (or my son owns) are bolded

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak

25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier

28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney

30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold
Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard

63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor

67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George

92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Resolution report

I haven't done one of these in a while, but I thought I'd tell you what Muffin Man brought for lunch today.

Inspired by last night's taco dinner, at which he complained that there was not enough guacamole (a previously disdained food), he asked if he could bring guacamole and chips for lunch. Who am I to turn down a request for vegetables?

So, Mr. Spock mixed the spices while I smooshed the avocado. MM's lunch bag contained guacamole, fritos, juice, and a z-bar for snack.

My boy's palate is expanding. Woot!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just a brief note about Awesome High School Friend, his Awesome Wife, and their Awesome Children

You remember how, two years ago, Muffin Man was Aang for Halloween?

Same costume as for ChiCon. Different make-up technique on the arrow.

Yeah, well, that same Halloween, Awesome High School Friend's Awesome Daughter was Katara in a costume made by Awesome High School Friend's Awesome Wife.

That week, Awesome High School Friend and I started making plans to get our kids together for a play date. It took a little doing, what with the different time zones and all, but we finally made it happen.

ChiCon. Best. Play date. EVER.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering

Today the sky is as blue as it was 11 years ago. I've written about that day many times, but the truth is that I remember it most on days like today, when the sky is blue and cloudless and the air has that taste of Fall.

On days like today, I look up at the contrails left by the planes flying hither and yon and I remember the emptiness of the sky that day and the days after.

I look at the contrails and I remember the smoke rising from where the towers had been that day and the days after.

I look at the contrails and I remember.



Monday, September 10, 2012

Brief Bullets of Labor Day Weekend

  • Muffin Man is awesome and has an award to prove it.
  •  
     
  • We met someone who is also awesome and has TWO awards to prove it.
  •  
  • I met up with an awesome high school friend, his awesome wife, and their two awesome kids. 
  •  
    Steam Punk meets Air Punk, picture courtesy my awesome high school friend. Steam Punk outfits by his awesome wife.
     
  • I met John Scalzi. And Neil Gaiman. John Scalzi was the one I got all tongue-tied and nervous about.
  •  
  • I listened to Gardner Dozois, George R.R. Martin, Mike Resnick, Joe Haldeman, and Robert Silverberg tell stories of WorldCons past. And it was...AWESOME.
  •  
     
     
  • And then we came home, and I did mundane things like being on TV and getting my ear repierced. How was your Summer vacation?



Thursday, August 23, 2012

His first assignment

Today was Open House at my son's school for kids to meet their teachers. My son's teacher this year is Mr. TallKindFormerThirdGradeTeacher (not his real name), a gentleman my son knows and likes but didn't have as a teacher himself (he had Ms. Marvelock).

Mr. TallKindFormerThirdGradeTeacher gave the kids an assignment. Below are Mr. Spock's pictures of the intructions


and here's what Muffin Man wrote:


Excuse me, while I go be verklempt on my own for a little while. It looks like I might be raising a mensch.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Do you like my hat?

This is the hat I've talked about before.


And this is the one I wore to Walt Disney World long ago. Alas, it got hopelessly crushed on the way back.


Muffin Man wore it best.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Blame it on Amalah

Amalah got this living in my head 24/7.



Pie and ice cream, it no phase me. But you got COOKIE!! So share it maybe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

We've got a Ticket To Ride

And it is terrific. Easy to learn, very fun and competitive. If you like Monopoly, you're really going to like Ticket to Ride.

It's even Wil Wheaton approved!



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Everything about this video makes me happy



Eytan and the Embassy, singing Everything Changes. The video made the Guiness Book of Records for having 18 costume changes in 4 minutes.

Can you catch them all?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our summer so far

  1. Vacation Week 
  2. Last week was a one week session at School of Rock: Rock 101 (intros to guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals, drums). Muffin Man learned to play Blitzkrieg Bop on the guitar. Enjoyed keyboard and drums the best, tho.
  3. And now it's the first week of the first session of the Summer at Fairfax Collegiate: Creating 3D Worlds in Alice; and Mobile Robotics with Lego MindStorms.
Also, we've been watching Season One of The Big Bang Theory. Why weren't we watching this before? 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stuck in my head

A friend of mine on Facebook linked to this picture:


















Which reminded me of two posts I wrote a few years ago and got this song stuck in my head:



And now you will also be singing it all day. You're welcome!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Vacation Review and Wrap-up

I was away on vacation last week (sorry no notice, ever since I stopped blogging anonymously, I've stopped giving advance notice on absences).

We went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA and to Hershey Park in Hershey, PA.

We went to Great Wolf Lodge on the recommendation of one of my best friends, whose daughter is one of Muffin Man's best friends, and it. was. AWESOME. The water park alone was terrific, but there was also a game that MM could play that was kind of a scavenger hunt throughout the hotel. MM completed the whole thing and now wants to go back to play the next level (I know, I know). His favorite thing at the water park proper was the Howlin' Tornado, which is basically a heart-attack on a raft. Fortunately, he found some kids his age who were happy to go on it again and again and again...

The rooms and food at Great Wolf Lodge were very good. We stayed in a very basic room, but there are rooms with log cabins in them, which I think would be fun if you've got more than one kid with you. The food was way better (and less expensive) than anything at Disney World. They had a buffet that was not just your standard kid fare.

Our original plan had been to stay at GWL one night, and to go camping the next (ready to go to Colonial Williamsburg the day after that), but GWL gave us a half-price coupon if we extended our stay...and so we did. We'll go camping one weekend in July instead, and we'll visit Colonial Williamsburg then as well. Great Wolf Lodge was just so much fun we didn't want to leave.

So after two full days at GWL, we drove up to Hershey Park to stay at the Hershey Lodge. Hershey Park itself was lots of fun, and the Hershey Gardens are beautiful, especially the butterfly house. If you're going to visit Chocolate World, be aware that only the virtual factory tour is free, everything else costs extra. Hershey doesn't let you visit the actual factory anymore, alas. The Hershey museum is lovely, and takes less than an hour to visit. They have chocolate tastings in the cafe there ($10.00 for six glasses of different kinds of chocolate.) MM's favorite things at HP were the Coal Crusher and the Trailblazer. We started out on the SkyRush, and let me tell you that it was really unpleasant. It goes very very very fast and is kind of painful. We did not go on anything that turns you upside down. The smokehouse has very tasty food.

We were all pretty impressed with how nice a guy Mr. Hershey seemed to have been. If you know for a fact that he was a huge anti-semite, or racist, or whatever, please don't tell me. I'd really rather not know.

On the whole, our family agreed that we would have been happier staying at GWL and maybe visiting Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg while we were there. Next time, that's probably how we'll do it. Hershey was fine, but I think it might make a better day trip from Loudoun than an overnight stay (only a two-hour drive each way), just about the same as to King's Dominion.

Also, I read a ridiculous number of mystery books, most of which I've read before, and Muffin Man and I are reading Little House in the Big Woods, because I won a bet. He's enjoying it very much, I'm pleased to say.

This post has not been sponsored in any way. Our family received no compensation from either Great Wolf Lodge or Hershey, and aside from taking GWL up on their special deal to extend our stay, we paid full freight for our whole holiday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In case you're wondering...

The real-life name of Posh Place is BeanTree Learning. Muffin Man has gone there for over six years, and will be there again for a few weeks this Summer. I can't say enough good things about their pre-school, pre-K, and Kindergarten programs. And their after-school program is also terrific, with time for homework and reading, as well as playing outside and messing about with Lego.

Six and a half years later, I could have written this post yesterday. They take child care seriously.

If you live in Loudoun or western Fairfax and you're looking for a daycare program for your child, infant through 5th grade, you can not do better than BeanTree Learning. But don't take MY word for it:

Portrait of a happy camper
Muffin Man gives it two BAWKS up.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A post to make you jealous about my lunch

Yesterday, when I got home from work, Mr. Spock and Muffin Man were in the kitchen and the house smelled terrific.

"What are you making?" I asked.

"MEATBALLS!" MM said quite proudly. "Did you know that meatballs are basically all the ingredients for veal cutlet, only you mush it all together?*"

"It smells fantastic. Can I help with anything?"

"No, we have this covered," he said nonchalantly. "You could set the table though, and you're going to have to clear the table ALL BY YOURSELF because you're the only one not cooking."

"That's the rule, all right."

So we had the most delicious and beautiful Swedish meatballs I have ever had in my life, served with noodles and Brussels sprouts.

And we're all having them again for lunch today.


*Muffin Man was in charge of measuring and post-egg-addition mixing. Mr. Spock rolled one meatball as a model, and MM did the remaining 35.
MS did all the heat-related activity since there were four things going on at once. And I am a bad, bad blogger because I forgot to take any pictures.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sixteen

Palms by Doorbell Queen
Palms, a photo by Doorbell Queen on Flickr.

16 years ago today, Mr. Spock and I got married.

11 years ago today, we celebrated our anniversary by taking this picture.

I love you, Mr. Spock. I love our life together, and I love our son.

Happy Anniversary.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Maurice Sendak Died

Here is James Gandolfini reading In the Night Kitchen at the 92nd Street Y on Maurice Sendak's 80th birthday:



In the Night Kitchen is often challenged or banned, but it is one of my favorite books of all time.

Monday, May 07, 2012

What I've been reading, OMG I love my Kindle edition

The latest books in several series came out, and I got 'em that very day sent to my lovely lovely Kindle,

  • Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch, which had less Aunt Dimity than usual, but more of the Village, and I think is one of the best entries in this long-running and delightfully cozy series. If you haven't read any of the books yet, start with Aunt Dimity's Death.
  • I was super thrilled with the latest books by Margaret Maron and Dana Stabenow, two of my favorite contemporary Mystery authors both had a similar idea: they each write two series and they had the detectives from both series meet and work together! I was particularly happy with how Maron brought together Judge Deborah Knott and Lt. Sigrid Harald in Three Day Town. She hadn't written about Sigrid in a long time, but she was able to interact while still being true to their characters. Stabenow has Sgt. Liam Campbell hire Kate Shugak in Restless in the Grave to investigate a sensitive case that may or may not be murder. Such fun to read while she points up the similarities in their lives.
  •  The newest book in the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, Deadlocked, is good, but not the best in the series. I get the feeling that Harris needs to take a break from these characters so that she can come back to them fresh.
  • Insurgent, the sequel to Veronica Roth's dystopian young adult novel, Divergent, came out last week. And it is very good, though less strong than her first book. Very sincere, written in the first-person present, which can be jarring at times, but definitely worth a read.
  • Out of the Deep I Cry, the latest in the Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne series by Julia Spencer-Fleming, satisfyingly solves two mysteries at once. One from the present, and one from the Prohibition Era past. Includes a reminder of why vaccinations are important.


I've also read several non-series books:
  • 7th Sigma by Steven Gould - very richly written YA novel about the future old west when a species of metal eating bug makes it impossible for people to use technology in the infested areas.
  • I generally love Walter Jon Williams' work, but The Fourth Wall was a difficult read for me. The main character is deeply unpleasant. But it is worth powering through it, because the story is imaginative, intricate, and the unpleasantness of the main character is crucial to the story. Nonetheless, it wasn't a book I think I'll read again anytime soon. Unlike his House of Shards, which I've read several times since I first found it in college.
  • And I don't remember if I told you all about One Thousand White Women. It's an historical novel about an historical event that never occured. Written in diary form, it is fascinating, engrossing, and believable. 
  • Also, Reginald Hill died recently, and I've been reading and re-reading everything he ever wrote. I can't recommend his work enough. The Woodcutter is his latest, and it was awesome.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Outfit Blogging

Today I'm wearing this blouse (but mine is black with beige trimming) over a beige tank.


It is paired with a black, beige, and white floral skirt. I am also wearing black knitted tights and these shoes

Etienne Aigner shoes


I think the outfit works, but haven't had any confirmation of that, so could be really, really wrong.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Uncanny Resemblance

People often remark on Muffin Man's resemblance to me or Mr. Spock.

But then they will ask, "Where did he get the dark brown eyes? Where did he get the curls?"



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cousin Muszka 1964 - 2012

My cousin died Monday night in Paris after a long and valiant struggle with cancer.

Born September 18, 1964, in Paris, Cousin Muszka (family nickname, I didn't make it up) glowed with life.

Muszka (left), at 2 months old, meeting my sister (center) for the first time. Her  mother (right) supervises. My sister is 14 months old in this picture.
She had wonderful almost-black curls, dark brown eyes, and deep dimples. Her laughter was infectious. She was fluent in at least 3 languages, spoke French with a Parisian accent, and English with a Brooklyn accent. It was hilarious to hear her talking to her mom going back and forth between French and English in the same sentence.

Muszka at play. I don't know when or where this picture was taken.
Whenever she came to visit, she and my sister were inseparable. They were as close as two people who are usually separated by an ocean could be.
Muszka and my sister, probably in March of 1969, when I was born.
I don't remember being jealous of their closeness at all, but I do remember wishing I were older and could be like them.
Passover, 1972. From left: Me, my sister, Muszka.
Passover weekend 1972. Back porch of my mom's house. From left: Muszka, my sister, me.
Muszka often came for long visits in the Summer, and for shorter ones in the Winter. It was like having another sister, one who lived far away sometimes.
Summer of 1978. We are on the porch of a house on Fisher Beach in Cape Cod. From Left, Muszka, my sister, me.
Muszka on a winter visit. My sister's room.

Muszka was a professor of American History at a University in Paris. She was highly regarded in her field. She has a beautiful, smart, wonderful 14-year-old daughter (I couldn't find a picture of the two of them together this morning).

I believe this is from my grandma's 80th birthday party. From left: Grandma, Muszka, my aunt (her mom).
She leaves behind an empty space.
July 1989. My sister's wedding. 

I will miss her so much.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hold your Dose.

I hab a siduz idfecshud. Id is dod pleazadt. For two dayz, I had a headache thad pushed by eyeballz oud of by head.

By doctor recobbedded irrigading with a Dedi Pod, becoz for wad thig, siduz idfecshud's are usually caused by a viruz, add for adother thig, the illdess I god three yearz ago cad cob back if I use addibiodics.

Dow, I am dot a persod who likes wadder up by dose. Id fact, I really hade id. But id turds oud thad using a Dedi Pod reduces the pressure on your siduzes. Who dew? I ab sdill sduffy, but id izd't az bad az id wuz, add by eyeballs are coddedt to sday where they belogg.


Monday, April 09, 2012

A fairy tale.

Once upon a time two days ago, a wicked mother offered to go with her good and handsome son to buy a new two-wheeled steed for him to ride upon while slaying dragons in the surrounding kingdom. The wicked mother thought that this offer would be welcomed by her good and handsome son because her son had, in the past, frequently expressed a desire for a new steed as his old steed had merely been a pony that was given away a while ago to a smaller neighboring principality.

Imagine the wicked mother's surprise when her good and handsome son said that he did not want a new two-wheeled steed, he'd never wanted a two-wheeled steed, "no, and you can't make me".

Well.

So the wicked mother proved her wickedness by asking her good and handsome son if he were "really really sure? We have time to go do it today, we have time for you to learn how to ride a real two-wheeled steed this weekend (one without two small extra wheels), your two best doughty knights have steeds and would like to go riding with you".

"No".

"Okay, well, if you change your mind that's fine, but we may not be able to go tomorrow, though we would have time to practice if you already had one."

"No."

"Okay, are you really sure?"

"Yes. WHY ARE YOU GIVING ME SUCH A HARD TIME ABOUT THIS. I ALREADY TOLD YOU NO."

"Okay."

....
....
....
....

Long about sunset, that evening two days ago, the wicked mother's good and handsome son told his mother that he had changed his mind, that he would, in fact, like a two-wheeled steed after all.

Whereupon his wicked mother said, very well, and his kindly father asked what had changed the good and handsome son's mind. "Nothing".

Whereat the wicked mother wanted to rip her own ears off, but merely said, "very well. You hurt my feelings earlier today by shouting at me, but I will get you a steed anyway because I said I would if you changed your mind. We may not be able to go tomorrow, but we will try."

And thus the wicked mother, the kindly father, and the good and handsome son went on a quest on Easter Sunday to find a steed worthy of the good and handsome son.

The first store they went to, a toy store, had some fine steeds at low prices, but the front brakes on all of them were somewhat sticky, and showed why the steeds were not priced higher.

They then went to three other stores dedicated to outdoor sports (and particularly two-wheeled steeds) that were all closed for Easter Sunday.

Upon arriving back home without a new steed, the wicked mother said to her good and handsome son, "I am about to give you a hard time, because I want you to learn a lesson. Why were all those stores closed today?"

"Because it's Easter"

"Was it Easter yesterday?"

"No."

"What have you learned?"

"That I really need to think hard before I say no to something I probably really want."

And they all lived happily ever after, because the wicked mother did not slay her good and handsome son and eat him for Easter Dinner.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Persistence

This is a story about a project Muffin Man was assigned for Social Studies.

He had to create a time-line of events leading up to the Revolutionary War that:
  1. Must include at least 2 sentences about each event.
  2. Must include the date(s) of the event
  3. Must be clearly placed in order of events.
  4. Must be incorporated in a picture, collage, or diorama using a Revolutionary Theme.
  5. Must be neatly done
  6. Must show thought (can not look like it was done at the last minute)

Muffin Man had a month in which to do this project. He selected his events and planned what he wanted to incorporate into his illustration before we went to Puerto Rico, and got his teacher to sign off on those things...and then he forgot all about it until the Friday before the Monday that it was due.

When I picked him up from after school that day, he was SOBBING. "I'll never be able to get it done! I'll get an F!!

"No you won't. You have all weekend to work on it. I guarantee that you are not the only kid in your class who forgot about it and left it to the last minute. Daddy and I will help you with it. And if you work hard on it, I know that you won't get an F. You may not get an A, but you are smart, creative, and resourceful. You can do a good job."

His original idea had been to hand-draw a battle scene, with the time-line in clouds of smoke from cannons. I suggested that, instead of hand-drawing, he do a collage. He took that idea, and ran with it. He typed up the events in the time line. Mr. Spock helped find appropriate pictures on the internet. I helped cut out. Muffin Man did the layout (and we took this picture so that we could remember the placement), and we all helped glue. It took most of the weekend, but he got it done.

The Clouds of the Revolutionary War

His teacher gave him a 100.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Before


White walls, bed in center of room. Cozy, yes, but not as cozy as it could be.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One of the best birthdays ever

Mr. Spock made an awesome card for me -- completely professional looking.

Muffin Man made that animated card -- 700 frames.

Mr. Spock made a delicious chocolate cake from scratch, and it was a thing of beauty too.

I had lobster for lunch, and standing rib roast for dinner.

And Mr. Spock gave me exactly what I wanted for a present, a working radio in my car.

Birthdays just do not get any better than that.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My son got excited and made something for me



The best part is that he made it using something that his dad got excited and made. Yepper. A hand-made animation made with hand-made animation software.

Monday, February 27, 2012

We're back!


We found lots of sea glass, and engaged in cousin worship. The picture above is of my 15-year-old nephew, my 18-year-old niece, and my 10-year-old son being ridiculous on the beach.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The way it works

In order to wash one's hair, one must:

  1. Get all of ones hair wet, not just get all of one hair wet.
  2. Apply shampoo to ones entire head of hair.
  3. Rinse one's hair thoroughly.
It's not rocket science.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Housekeeping

Some of the links in my blogroll will vanish. This is not because I don't read them, I do, but they are more appropriate to Doorbell Queen, so that's where they will reside.

Links to blogs that haven't updated in over 6 months will move to the "Gone Quiet" section.

If you've got a blog that I don't link to here or at DBQ, let me know!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

What Muffin Man will be doing for Summer Vacation

  • One week in a music day camp, testing out the drums.
  • Two weeks doing computer graphics and Lego robotics
  • Two more weeks doing Lego Robotics
  • Two weeks doing I don't know what yet. Maybe we'll go away somewhere?
  • Two weeks creating video games, and doing more Lego Robotics.
What? He LIKES Lego Robotics. And they're all very different TYPES of Lego Robotics. They all have very different GOALS.

Yes. I will keep telling myself that.

Plus, he has a Lego Robotics kit and it's good for him to get as much practice programming it as possible.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

DOUBLE DIGITS!

Muffin Man is 10 today. TEN.  

TEN!!

Holy guacamole.

He once was this tiny little thing:


And then he was a little boy:


And then he was a bigger boy:


And now he's this Big Kid:


I love this boy sooooo much.

Happy birthday, my Muffin Man.

Monday, January 30, 2012

How many different shapes do Lego come in?

This is not a rhetorical question. Our dining room table was taken over this weekend by a project of mammoth proportions: sorting the Lego. The Lego was sorted by shape only.


By Sunday night, about 1/3 of Muffin Man's Legos were sorted into compartmentalized boxes. Twenty-five compartmentalized boxes, with a minimum of 17 compartments each. Some items were doubled up. Oh, and the thick 2x4 bricks and their baby siblings, the thick 2x2 bricks each had their own box.

So I've got a bone to pick with the Lego Corporation. I mean, look at this picture, and that's just wheels and axles. WHEELS AND AXLES. They take up a whole box on their own.

When I was a kid, you had the 2x4 bricks, the 2x2 bricks, two kinds of window, 2 kinds of door, a brick that was about the length of a Lincoln Log, and two different slanted bricks for roofs, and a very large (comparatively) green piece that was a floor or grass, depending on how big you built your house. That was it.

I'm not complaining that there is more variety now, but over 425 different types feels like a bit of overkill. And that doesn't count Mind Storms.

On the other hand, it's worth it to see Muffin Man create a Mondrian Moon Buggy.




Monday, January 23, 2012

Blogging for Choice

This was really supposed to happen yesterday, but yesterday I was working for Choice in a different way (the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia C3 Board met).

Today I'm going to blog for Choice by asking all my pro-Choice readers in the MD-VA-DC region to buy a ticket to this Thursday's Roe v. Wade Anniversary Dinner.

Over 60 anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-women statutes were enacted last year. This year, as many or more are being introduced. Please help us save women's lives, help us keep abortion safe, legal, and RARE by buying a ticket, attending the dinner, and working to make every baby that is born a welcomed and wanted Choice.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Knitting

I went to my first local knit night here in Virginia. Lordy, I missed knitting and chatting and knitting. It feels so good!

I'm working on Cloisonne Mittens (a pattern by The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Perl-McPhee). Main color is white, with deep purple, fuchsia (yes, that yarn again!), and turquoise on the wrist band.




Thursday, January 19, 2012

Outfit blogging

Today, in honor of 14 degree F weather, I am wearing LL Bean flannel-lined jeans, thick woolen socks, my nice leather boots (to make everything look work appropriate), a white turtle neck and a lavender cashmere v-necked sweater.

This outfit works for the office and for knit night at Panera.

What are you wearing?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop #PIPA and #SOPA.

I just left a message for Jim Webb asking him to oppose #PIPA and #SOPA. Won't you call him too? 202-224-4024.

If you live outside Virginia, you can find out who to call by asking the Wikipedia for help.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bright

I've been in a bit of a funk lately, and am trying to use garment therapy to pull me out.

Today I'm wearing a deep pink shirt from Land's End (two years ago). It's less purple than fuchsia, more red than salmon. A deep, saturated color.

If I don't feel chipper, at least I look chipper.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Outfit blogging

Today, I'm wearing this sweater
over a white lacy square-necked camisole, with a denim skirt and these tights in red
I can't find the shoes I'm wearing online. Apparently Rockport has given up the heeled practical business black penny loafer in exchange for stuff that is merely pretty but looks wildly uncomfortable.

What are you wearing?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

CFLs are horrible for picture taking

Especially when you're taking that picture with your cell phone.

Case in point: Here is a picture of a nice tweedy yarn:

Yarn. Tweedy. Is actually green.
What colour would you say this yarn is? Judging from the picture, a sort of greyish-blue right?

Wrong. This yarn, in reality, is green. Yes. I'm sure. It's really, truly green. A light spring green, like new growth on a willow tree.

CFLs make liars of cellphone cameras.

Monday, January 09, 2012

You, and I, and Sir Lancelot jump out of the rabbit...

Wooden block castle
Mr. Spock, and Muffin Man, and I took turns adding blocks to this castle. It is made of 67 individual blocks. They were a gift from MakesBooksForGrandkids and SingsLullabyes, and are handmade in the US. This is the starter set.

This set is an example of a high-quality product made domestically. It's also an example of something I maybe wouldn't own if it weren't given to us as a gift. If you have someone in your life who you think would like something like these awesome blocks, won't you consider getting a set for them?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

6 years

Yesterday marked six years to the day that Muffin Man started at Posh Place. He still attends their after-school program, and loves it. DeepVoicedThirdGrader and SheIsNowTallerThanMe, and many of the kids in the picture on this post are still there, too. I recommend them to everybody. I wish every child could have a Posh Place to go to.

Happy Anniversary, Posh Place. You've made a big difference in our family. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Starting the New Year off right

New Year's day was spent getting some hardware sorting boxes from BigBoxHardwareStore (and a rug to cover the speaker cables in the living room, because I was sick of tripping over them), and then helping with Muffin Man with the sorting of the pieces of his brand new Lego Mindstorms NXT set.

Monday, we rearranged the play room, so that he could have a work bench upon which to build a robot to rule the world (Mwahahahahaha!)


Pictured: Most of MM's Legos. There are more scattered throughout the house, but this is the bulk of 'em. That blue bag on the workbench is filled with Minifigs.


Pictured: Just a few of what the bag contains.

Also under the tree this year were a subscription to Lego Master Builder Academy (new kit in the mail every other month) and the Lego Ideas Book .