Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Preparations

Chipsters! The once a year cookie recipe, involving a hammer and an alternately greased and frozen glass. When I turned on the cuisinart, the lights flickered. These cookies are intense and awesome and they usually last around 20 minutes at our house. I don't think anyone walks by the cookie jar without eating one

Those are gingerbread men in the background. Mmm... not everyone likes traditional gingerbread- super spicy and dark. But it is one of my favorite things about this time of year.

That's a doll quilt in progress, to go with Olive and a new bed on Christmas morning. I put the binding on while watching The Fifth Element. Nothing like those traditional Christmas movies to bring home the true meaning of the season.

Here are some more of my last minute zipper pouches stuffed with nail polish and dollar store manicure supplies for the tweens in my life. The dots have an orange dot lining, and the pears have a green dot lining. I first tried to make a pouch for Zoe our of the silk pajamas her Grandma bought her in China when she was a baby, but I learned my lesson- I am definitely not good enough for silk yet. Someday maybe I will try to sew with silk again, but not anytime soon. Wow. That sucked. Chase can be a witness to my sewing rage.

And here's the Woodland Elf hat from the Amy Karol book, for a fairy obsessed niece. this was fun to make once I decided to totally ignore how my brain said a hat should be put together, and just follow the pattern. This was addictive though. I am fighting the compulsion to make like 17 more.

And lastly, a quilted patchwork scarf for my mom that I made this morning. Honestly it turned out kind of weird. But the linen is definitely her style, and I think she'll like it. I hope she'll like it, because since she's my mom, she's going to tell me she loves it, and she'll wear it around and tell people I made it, even if she hates it more than any other item of clothing she's ever owned.

And now we're off to Beaumont for a quick pre-Christmas visit. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone, and I'm also looking forward to coming back to Austin and having a very low-key Christmas morning at home. Well, as low-key as we can be, with screaming children and a retarded dog with awful indigestion.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Crafting

Most of my crafting these days has to remain on the down low, but since two of my main crafting recipients are among the majority of humans who don't read this blog, I feel safe sharing one of Jane's Christmas gifts:

Meet Olive, as she is dubbed in the Wee Wonderfuls pattern. I guess Jane will call her whatever she wants. I'll be squeezing some time into the next few days (I'm guessing between 12 and 1 AM) to make Olive a matching quilt, and we're planning on rehabbing the doll bed Wren never played with, that's been sitting disassembled under out bed since the move from LA. So Janey will get a doll, a blanket and a bed. She consistently turns everything else into these items, wrapping up and putting to bed cell phones, balls, and by accident, the occasional actual doll.

This is the usual fate of dolls in our house. Wren has never been much of a playing-with-dolls type kid. Apparently she prefers to dress up in as many tutus as possible and throw all her dolls in the air, in some bizarre dance routine.

Anyway, I had fun making Olive, and if her future is abuse and neglect, I can live with that. The pattern was pretty easy to follow, and mostly unintimidating. There are some kind of surreal moments in sewing a doll- following instructions that to me sound very silence of the lambs- "attach hand skin to arm and repeat..." and so on. It puts the notions in the basket.

I know, but guys, I'm tired. Give me a break. Notions. HA! I'm off to bed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

deconstructed sweater (sort of)

In honor of my completion of this never ending semester, I made myself a scarf. I have loved this one scarf for a few months, but since the family's entire clothing budget for a month can't go to one superfluous accessory for Kate (what a shame), I have transferred covetousness to inspiration, and recycled an old sweater.

I bought that sweater at Savers (I love you Savers) and have worn it maybe twice. So I didn't feel bad cutting it up. And this was a perfect chance to finally learn how to use my overlock stitch for sewing knits, which I have been kind of terrified of doing. I didn't really know how to do it, but is still worked out okay, and maybe I will be less intimidated next time.

Anyway! New scarf! And it has a little pocket! Hurray!

Done with School!

One Semester to Go!

And then a practicum. But still- I'm so close!

In celebration of the fact that I do not have to think about libraries until mid January (except in the context of paying my always pricey fines) here are some pictures!

Wrennel swinging- sorry it's blurry. I love this picture. It's one of those rare photos where it feels like you can really see what she's like. Such a funny wonderful person.

It's hard to take a non-blurry picture these days. Our kids are all over the place. This is going to be a really fun Christmas. I need to get my act together, now that I'm out of school, and finish (or start...) making their Christmas presents. Jane, of course, will rather play with wrapping paper and boxes, but oh well.

At one of the bagillion McDonald's stops on the way home. This one had water pooled inside the playscape, so there were lots of wet knees, socks and bottoms when we got back on the road. Overall, a thirteen hour roadtrip with 4 kids is roughly as hellish as you'd think, but it went as well as it could, under the circumstances. As Sarah said, "This is a success because I didn't say anything unforgivable to a family member, and I don't have to do it again for a year." So yeah. It went well.

As I post this, Wren is in the bathroom, playing a mournful tune on the harmonica while pooping. It's pretty awesome. I imagine this is the kind of disclosure that Wren will find in a google cache at 15, and use as justification for running away to join the circus, but oh well. Really though, probably every kid in her high school will already have so much embarrassing/incriminating stuff on the internet at that point that it will be a non-issue. I hope.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Long May She Wave

Well that was a bit of a blogging hiatus there. Our lives have been pretty insane for the last week or so, and Chase and I are worn out.

A bright spot is that our immediate family is healthy- I probably don't have strep. And Ramona does not have paralyzing bacterial meningitis, so thank goodness for that. I am, however, day-dreaming about hospital stays again, which is never a good sign. Really I am dreaming more about our upcoming visit to LA. Even if we end up sitting at the airport in Salt Lake City for 48 hours, it will still be wonderful to just sit. And talk to Chase. And eat yogurt covered pretzels from the airport stand. I can't thank my mom enough for driving up here to babysit for the weekend. I think it will be the first time we've ever left Jane overnight. I feel the normal amount of worry and guilt I think, but also I am really loving the idea of not waking up at 5:30 to screeching and/or bed wetting for at least two mornings in a row. Sorry mom.

Jane is really just the screamingist baby in town. It's not so much sad screaming, as just every day sort of talky-screaming. Velociraptor screeching. I love her so much but I just wish there was a way to teach the concept of "inside voices" to a 15 month old.

In other news I have read the entire archive in the last few days, and am currently trying to decide between a web design class or an online retrieval class for my last semester. NERD.

And speaking of comics- this is my favorite thing I've seen lately. I can't remember if I linked to it before, but I'm still thinking about it so I might as well still be talking about it. Chase and I are similar in this way. When our life is complicated or hard, we get super dreamy and antsy. Happily, our antsy dreams so far always include each other.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Making Cookies

Kate: Wren, please don't do that again!
Wren: What, Mama?
Kate: Please don't lick the balls of cookie dough before you put them on the cookie sheet
Wren: But I'm cleaning them! They need to be cleaned off!

Just FYI, in case someone offers you cookies at our house. Be warned.

Monday, November 24, 2008


In between homework (which I really should be doing) and packing for the trip, and all sorts of other things significantly more important, I have been trying to squeeze in some Christmas and birthday crafting. If you expect to be on my Christmas list, you should probably either look away, or practice a surprised face for Christmas morning.

The project I am most proud of I actually forgot to take a picture of, because I finished it about 30 seconds before we were out the door to the birthday party of the recipient. Finally, a zipper pouch. I know- not very exciting. But I have lived for years in zipper terror, and the awesome zipper foot on my sewing machine, along with this wonderful tutorial, finally convinced me to give it a try, and it was GREAT. I want to put zippers on everything now. If we had ANY money I would be buying zippers. Chase, when I was saying things like this yesterday, looked at me completely bewildered, "Um, hon...when you were sewing it sounded like you HATED it and you were miserable and it was the worst thing that had ever happened to you...?" Yeah well then I figured it out. So let's just embrace the zipper love.

Next up on the list is this embroidery:

It's going to be the outside of a little rice bag, sort of like this one for my grandmother's birthday. She's in town this week, so I'm hurrying to finish before we go to MS.

These are great because (minus embroidery) they are really fast, and actually useful. You can put it in the microwave (if you use natural fabrics) for a minute, and have a hot pad, or in the freezer, obviously, for a cold pillow. I love them, and someday, I will make one to KEEP.

Next up, leggings for Wren.

She has been so patient waiting for these. She picked the yarn out weeks ago, and has to watch Jane in her stripey leggings all the time. Oh the misery. So I am trying to get these done but ARGH, the finicky little color changes, the tiny needles, I do not love them. Maybe a stocking stuffer? I think these needles are the only ones tiny enough for carry-on, so maybe I can take them on the trip next month. Poor Wren, so neglected. No stripey leggings anytime soon.

And then the truly fast:

These are little felt CD cases for the annual family mix CD, otherwise known as 'we're too poor to buy you a present Merry Christmas!!!'

And last (and also sort of least) this quilt:

which I need to finish binding and quilting. The baby recipient isn't due until Spring, so this one is on the bottom of the list. Obviously any lingering shred of perfectionism has been beaten completely into submission with that one. If I do actually finish it. I may not be able to handle that puckering and have to start over. Ugh.

I have other things that don't qualify as Works in Progress because I am actually, insanely, finished with them. Thank goodness for This American Life, which really powers me through garter stitch knitting, the most boring of all hand crafts. Not to give too much away, folks, but this is going to be a very arm-warmey Christmas. So if you were hesitating over whether or not to buy all those 3/4 length shirts because your wrists might get cold- GO AHEAD. BUY THEM ALL. I'm just here to help.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


What we're talking about:

- Whether we feel sick because dinner was too greasy, or because we've finally gotten the stomach flu from Chase's parents...

- Why Totoro lives in a big "camper" tree

- How to not twist stitches on double pointed needles. I'm going to go with "I meant for it to all kind of go sideways like that. It's hypnotic."

- Who picked up Ramona's poop the last time

- How cute Wren is when she sings the songs (with dance moves) from her little Thanksgiving play at school. "Here is my Arrow/Here is my bow, When I go hunting, here me shout/ Hey! You Turkeys! You better watch out!) And then she goes "nom nom nom," to indicate that she is eating a delicious turkey. I think this is her unique contribution, and not something the other kids will be doing. (Please, parent-brain, remember to put batteries in the flip before the school play.)

- If we should try to re-do the kitchen countertops this weekend, or wait until after Christmas

- If I've done my homework yet (NO GET OFF MY BACK GEEEEEEEEEEEZ!!!!!!!!!!)

- If the kids need a bath tonight (YES. Yes they do.)

- How all the arrangements in the Methodist hymnal are geared for singing, not playing on a Rhodes. Also how I might not make it through winter if I hear "In the Bleak Midwinter" a few more times.

- If the washing machine is breaking (possibly), and what we will do if it breaks (become nudists).

- How cute L is! AH! I want to smoosh her! and chew on her feet! (not in a threatening way. Babies like that, right?).

- What we're making for dinner for Chase's parents. (probably carrot/sweet potato soup)

- How awesome this weather is! SO AWESOME! What should we do outside today!?! hike? bike? Oh fine let's fold laundry on the couch while we watch My Neighbor Totoro. AGAIN.

MNT turns out not to be the best "babysitting TV" because Wren loves it so much, and is soooooo excited by everything that happens that she HAS TO SHARE it with you. She runs into the kitchen with updates every 4 or 5 seconds- "There's a little one, and a bigger one, and a HUGE one!" And of course someone has to be on hand for skipping the penultimate chapter in the movie, the only moments of real tension, which Wren DOES NOT WANT. She also needs someone to skip the part where Totoro sneezes. I completely understand that feeling, of wanting your friend to watch and enjoy your favorite movie. I told her she would get to show it to her cousins over Thanksgiving and that is all she is talking about now. How they will all watch it together and then they will sleep in a big bed! together! with her cousins! AHHH!!!!

The pigtails, of course, are also a result of MNT mania. Mei wears pigtails in the movie and so Wren asks for them everyday now. Her teachers are probably used to the 3-4 year old despotic personal grooming/outfitting extremes. Wren has been pretty true to her overall laid back disposition in this way, but sometimes she puts her foot down, and it's not really important enough to me to fight about. So sure you can wear rainbow tights and pigtails every day this month, what do I care?

I hope everyone elses' lives are consumed with such non-essential, boring, and relatively non-stressful questions. Hurray for a drama-less month!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Table

We are approaching the end of the semester and I am increasingly overwhelmed by homework. Attempting to study at home with the girls leads to frustration, disappointment, and a very sharp tone of voice when answering questions.

I know it's a cliche about three year olds, but YES, THERE IS SUCH A THING AS A STUPID QUESTION. I hear eleventy bajillion stupid questions a day. Not so much stupid even, as just completely unanswerable. No "why is the sky blue?" types. These are just random jumbles of words- grammatically, physically, existentially unanswerable. In fact, I think these might be the kind of questions godparents were invented for. I was thinking Jamie would come in useful during Wren's "hair band rebellion and/or ethics theology rebellion" phase(s), and Kelly obviously will be the pinch-hitter for all calligraphy/90s pop culture/U.S. Presidential history type emergencies. But I realize I have been neglecting a valuable delegating opportunity in my parenting, and the next time Wren asks something like:

"Why is the chair high enough?" or
"Why are cars high up when they're sick?" or
"Are we on a roller coaster?"

just for instance.

We will be popping that little nugget into an envelope bound for the UK or Houston. THANKS GUYS!

Don't worry David and Meredith. Your day will come. I am sure Jane is thinking up some doozies right now, as she is at this moment cramming a stuffed dog, wrapped in Chase's shirt, into a tiny metal case, to drag behind her, while doing what sounds like Lamaze breathing. She is a strange and delightful little person, whose favorite things right now are:

eating, preferably bananas, but also pretty much anything else
playing with whatever her sister is playing with
wrapping up her "babies" in "blankets" and rocking and humming to them
petting the dog
being OUTSIDE and running around
drinking water constantly
and snuggling. She is really the snuggliest baby girl. Her snuggling is not any easier on the recipient now than it was when I wrote about it a few months ago. Still face-crushingly intense.

We will be leaving in a week or so for our Thanksgiving trip to Mississippi, and after that Christmas comes SO FAST. I am behind on Christmas present crafting, but I can't even think about it until I finish my homework. This blog is a procrastination sinkhole, but sometimes you just have to think about something other than Turabian bibliographies, you know? But I should get back to it. Or at least make some more coffee, which is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pumpkin Hat (better late than never)

I actually did finish this pumpkin hat before Halloween, in enough time for Wren to wear it to school for orange day (alternately titled 'the day vengeful spirits rise from their unrestful graves and flow through the world, seeking souls to devour' TM). Anyway, ORANGE DAY went really well, and Wren was -okay- with wearing her pumpkin hat although not thrilled.

Since then it's been pretty impossible to talk her into it. I don't know why she doesn't like it, the yarn is not itchy, it's cute, and she seems really into pumpkins in most other circumstances. I've even tried reverse psychology, and the dreaded sibling strategy ("well if you don't like it maybe JANE will want to wear it how do you like that huh? HUH?") It's pretty transparent though, since Jane is guaranteed to immediately rip anything from her head, including hair if it gets in the way of dislodging foreign objects like clips, headbands or pumpkin hats. And I was actually really careful about sizing this for Wren- I ripped back many previous attempts that were slightly too big or small, so really it fits no one else. BUMMER.

She was paid for this (admittedly crappy) photo shoot in rationed Halloween candy. In spite of careful rationing (HA), we're down to the 'Mounds' folks. Luckily Wren is too deprived to know that 'Mounds' are the crappy candy, and is thrilled with pretty much anything that will melt enough for her to lick chocolate off her fingers. Unfortunately, I'm not willing to bribe her in candy for hat-wearing in general, so this was a one time deal. If you know a three/four year old in need of a pumpkin hat, I'd be interested in talking about a trade. I will trade you for:

- the next season of BSG
- pay my library fines (the amount will not be disclosed until agreement)
- babysitting
- Titos vodka (we're out)
- someone to 'break' into my house and steal all the musical instruments and toys that make noise. Make it look good and I will keep you in vegetable/fruit themed hats for a lifetime.

Laguna Gloria

The fountain by the front entrance. Ever exuberant Jane tried to jump in but I grabbed her in time.

HUG! This in one of their favorite games- full force hug, which usually ends up with everyone on the ground and occasionally ends in bruises and tears. STOP HUGGING YOUR SISTER SO HARD! Ah, passive aggressive sibling love. I remember it well.

Happy Jane on the trail. When she wasn't trying to fall into the lake or the fountain, she was going full speed in whatever direction you turned her in. She is a delight completely, but also just a tiny tiny bit exhausting sometimes.

My favorite people, and Ramona of course. She is in the metaphorical dog house this week (we left the real dog house in LA) for something that wasn't entirely her fault. The open bag of birdseed spilled into the pet food bin, and SURPRISE, birdseed is apparently a powerful dog laxative. If this had been the first pre-6:00 AM dog shit cleanup in the last month or so, I might not be holding such a grudge. Sadly however, this was not the first time we opened the bedroom door to a wall of retch inducing stench. WTF Ramona? WHINE! WE WILL LET YOU OUT!

Anyway, good pictures, huh?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Fall is the Best

As I type this I'm listening to a squirrel in the tree next to me take a nut apart. I love fall so much- the sky is perfect blue, the weather is incredible, there's a breeze and crunchy leaves and knowing it's so brief makes it more enjoyable for my melancholy-loving temperament. I spend at least 10 minutes a day trying to convince Chase to play hooky- no luck so far, although we have been going on walks every evening through our dark neighborhood. Smelling fires in people's fireplaces and telling Wren to slow down and stay close for the zillionth time, and also for the zillionth time having my arm nearly pulled from my body when Ramona stops abruptly to sniff JUST THIS precise blade of grass I WILL NOT MOVE until I am finished you worthless human. Such a sweet, biddable dog, who does not hate us at all.

I am indulging myself in my annual fall reading (and biannual homework ignoring) with all my favorite old books. So far I've mostly just been dipping toes in- a few chapters of Sense and Sensibility, -one- of the Narnia books, but also all of the The Blue Sword (one of my very favorite YA books, and the first fantasy book I ever read, if you don't count The Once and Future King (which I don't)). And I Capture the Castle is perfect for the fall. I will probably allow myself one each from my favorite mystery writers, and I'm halfway through the new-ish William Gibson which I like but not nearly as much as Pattern Recognition. I read Ender's Game when I was in labor with Jane so that is probably off the list for the foreseeable future, and not really fall reading anyway, and I'm only reading S&S because of the self-imposed decade long break before I can read the rest of the Austen cannon, except probably Emma which I never liked that much anyway. Everyone is so smug. Does anyone have good fall reading recommendations?

I've also been reading some knitting patterns- knitting is an entirely seasonal craft in Texas. And today Soulemama put this one up and AH! Must Make That! Have you seen Jane's chunky little legs lately? They must be covered in stripey leg warmers immediately!

Wren is saying the craziest wackiest things lately- I find little scraps of paper around the house where I've scribbled some insane and hilarious thing she said, but I never put them together, or do anything with them. I should be blogging them here so we won't forget but now of course I can only remember one, from yesterday:

"Jane thinks Rock Obama is a kind of music to dance to."

Okay, hon. And also, of course, everything continues to be Dave's fault.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a Night

Courtesy of Dave

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Weekend in (bad) Pictures

It's blurry, but princesses around here tend to dance -really- fast. Up to the last minute she was going to be Belle, not Snow White, but the Belle dress disappeared and so she was very grown up and decided to have a good time anyway. Excellent avoidance of the "hurting your own feelings" syndrome. I'm also proud of myself for only being a tiny bit bummed that I didn't have time to make Snow White a cape. The Disney princess with the best accessory! No cape! But Wren didn't even know what she was missing.

Why husbands leaving on weekend trips should put their (newly oiled) bikes OUTSIDE. I left Chase a few choice handprints throughout the house. Nothing really demonstrates the superiority of high gloss over eggshell like Jane fingerpainting with bike grease.

Pumpkin Jane was slightly cuter than bike grease Jane. Sadly she only got candy corn, and Wren got the good stuff. She loved trick-or-treating with her cousins- and roving hoards of kids. People rented smoke machines and stuff for their yards. This seems insane to me. Little kids are largely unimpressed by atmospheric moodiness.

If Chase had to go out of town, the weekend after Halloween was not a bad choice. I got first pick of the candy. However, so far our house has been like whatever county that is in Indiana as far as NOT RECOGNIZING THE TIME CHANGE. I don't know if Chase would agree that he's better than me at parenting early in the morning, but he would probably agree that I am a much much nicer person when I get 8 hours of sleep. Preferably 10 and I've been known to take 12 when I can get it.

And lastly, my first attempt at making a pre-fold cloth diaper into a fitted diaper, with velcro tabs. It turned out okay, and fits Jane just fine, but overall the verdict for work/time vs. payoff is kind of meh. I know it would go faster a second time, so I may try it again, if we end up using this diaper a lot. It's easier to have more fitteds, in case, God willing, we ever have a babysitter again, because people tend to have some trouble understanding the snappi. And the Kissaluvs we have are fine but waaaay too expensive for us to buy any more of. I guess you could use this same pattern with some PUL and make an all-in-one, but I've never been convinced those were that awesome. Anyone use them? Are they worth it?

I wanted to use this project to try out the serging stitch on my new machine but I was not crazy about it. Other than taking FOREVER and using up tons of thread, it also looked super crappy and messy. I'm sure I'm just doing it wrong, but since naptime was about to be over at that point, I switched to blanket stitch to finish it. I hope it holds up in the wash.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Unfortunately the pumpkin you see here is no longer with us. It got moldy really fast. Wren keeps asking where her "sick pumpkin" went. Um... to the dumpster, hon.

I hope everyone will have fun on Halloween. I let Wren watch her first -slightly- spooky movie, and she is totally in love. She cannot tell us enough about the cat bus. Tonight we will put on some sort of costumes and go somewhere- we haven't really made up our minds. Whatever we do will be low key, since Chase is headed out of town tomorrow for a long weekend.

The girls and I plan to survive on stockpiled pumpkin seeds.

JK. I don't even like pumpkin seeds. I will be eating all the Halloween candy of course. The girls can have bananas or something.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

End of Summer

I can't believe these are pictures from a few days ago- It was 35 degrees here last night. No more playing outside in just a diaper for you, Jane.

Finger-painting quickly becomes full-body painting around here, leading immediately to clothes, appliances, and furniture painting, once we come inside.

That particular work of art went to Grandma, but I'm saving most of the roll of butcher paper for wrapping Christmas gifts in a few months. This fall seems to be racing by, but I guess fall really always does that. It's exacerbated this time by my school deadlines. Nothing gives me a stomachache like a group project. Ugh. I guess a group project involving math would truly be the worst, but a group project on Texas TEK standards for elementary education is also a bummer. At least now I know for sure I DO NOT want to be a school librarian.

And to brighten your morning, an awesome comic:

Hark, A Vagrant!

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Morning at the Creek

Wren was a little resistant to the life jacket, but she was too interested in everything else to put up much of a fight. Who but my dad can produce assorted life jackets in all sizes from somewhere in his "shop" at a moment's notice?

After paddling (and motoring) around the full creek for a bit we found a bit of sand bar not underwater.

A baby cypress and some knees poking up out of the water.

Chase, boy scouting out, on the sandbar.

Sticking toes in cold water, and a glimpse of nearly-naked Wren, who started shedding layers as soon as she got out of the canoe.

Wren, pre-shedding. She had a blast finding mussels and building castles. I really hope next summer we make time to camp at the creek. Some of my favorite memories are waking up in the mornings when it was still misty, to my dad making coffee on the campfire. He would walk us down to the water to look at all tracks the animals had made in the night. It was magical, to see where a raccoon had washed a mussel on top of the castle I'd made the day before. You can still see where watermelon plants are growing in the spot where we always spit our watermelon seeds.

Thanks Dad.

Thanks also for turning the canoe around for Pearl. It's true, she shouldn't have been standing so close to the edge when we hit that log. And I'm glad you "taught her a lesson" on canoe etiquette- when you fall out you have to swim home. Nonetheless, I'm also glad you scooped her out again. In spite of the fact that I still smell a little bit like wet terrified dog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Blog Problem

Unbelievably, I actually have a backlog of posts right now, that I just can't get to post.

Right this minute I'm on my third cup of coffee, Wren is still shirtless and Jane is bottomless, (I like symmetry?) we are not packed for our trip this weekend, I haven't worked out pet sitting for Ramona, and I haven't worked on my group project for library school. So fixing the blog problem (whatever it is) is not going to happen soon.

This aspect of blogging was much easier when I could just yell in the direction of Dave's room- "No more cookies until you fix my blog." There are many things about communal living that I truly miss.

So to make up for the lack of all those magical wonderful work of art posts just languishing in the wings, here's a look at some delicious gingerbread:

Yes my food photography still needs a lot of work. Feel free to sign me up for a photography class, folks.

And tonight we're off to visit my family in Beaumont. I am looking forward to a canoe trip with my dad, and to seeing my BF4E Kelly (and giving her two enormous rubbermaid tubs full of maternity and baby clothes). If folk wisdom holds true, I will be pregnant within a week of giving away my last baby items.

So, just in case, I may hold onto a few of my faves...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Story in Pictures

Presumably, this is the moment at which the (probably abused) poorly minded elephant spies the unguarded beer can in the cup holder of the stroller.

Here, in a line pile-up, he seizes his chance, and stretches his truly unbelievably long trunk into the group of slack-jawed yokels pressed up against the fence. (This is also the moment at which Chase has a heart attack because he sees the trunk reach into a stroller- luckily empty. He was pretty sure we'd be spending our mortgage money on therapy, for a minute there, though).

Here is his moment of pay-off, shoving the ice cold beverage, still in its aluminum can, into his gaping maw. Go Elephant! I have seen the size of his butt, and so I'm not really worried for his safety in digesting/passing this. I'm happy he's having probably the only happy moment of his life since he got his tusks taken off after the mauling incident accompanying his last brush with alcohol.

Here he begins, oh so casually, to turn back into line, probably eying the easily distracted leaders with their cattle prods. Who can blame those guys, though, really? Not much education or respect for animal rights in the Renaissance, from what I understand. Also, the super gay outfits for all the minimum wage workers at the fesitval are a special form of stripping away dignity.

My favorite part of this last picture is the lady on the far left- "All Ya'll gotta look at this elephant! He done ATE that lady's BEER!! YEE-HAW!" This is the point at which the SUPER AWESOME AND SMART (read: douchebag) crowds began trying to lure the elephant over and pour beer down his trunk. It's also the point at which I began, in some part of me I'm not proud of, to hope I would witness a mauling. Or at least a thrashing.

No such luck. We wandered away to the King's Swing, ye old snow cone stand (or apparently ye olde bee-stingery) and then on towards the exits. The whole thing was so bizarre- this incredible opportunity- an awe inspiring moment- to be so close to such an enormous and incredible animal. And then this sadness that the only reason I'm so close is because this animal has such a terrible life. Sometimes people can just be so disappointing, you know?

Anyway, Wren had a blast.

Sketchy Arm, etc.

I thought you all might like a rundown of a half day's worth of links from Chase. If you talk to Chase on the computer, you know his eerie skill with finding strange things. This covers one conversation, from around 9 am to noon.

First some youtube:
Grab the Hand may be my favorite, but there's also another effort closer to my heart, as it deals with librarianship.

And of course Chase's long love of Bjork, predating even the swan outfit, was represented this morning. It's true Bjork, we shouldn't let poets lie to us. (I guarantee you Chase will give me crap for not putting the umlaut on her name).

And another of Chase's great loves- dachsunds.

Thanks for sharing, HON. He prefaced that link with a quote: "This is a first. We've never had to put out an alert before on willy spread, chocolate-flavoured or otherwise."

That was followed by a sort of uplifting story, with a bizarre conversation in the comments.

And then the legendary John Stewart appearance on Crossfire. I couldn't remember if I'd seen it before. Thanks, helpful Chase. It turns out that I'm too big a wimp to actually watch it all the way through. I squirm with awkwardness and have to read a mommy blog for a few minutes before I hit play again.

Then we had a discussion about what kind of person designs their house to look like an enormous um... ladypart. "Please, step through the speculum-- I mean front door."

And that's it, because now it's time to pick Wren up from school, which means the morning of leisurely chat is over. I will add a few last links of my own though, before I head out:

A lovely and sad post up at Sweet Juniper that reminded me of one of Chase's favorite books.

And some truly bizarre and awesome cards/art supplies that I may be putting on Wren's Christmas list. She is all about drawing faces these days.

Ramona is Whining and I Have No Idea Why

I want to share some things I am really liking this fall:

I've loved Moop for a long time, and their addition of another bag to the mix is not going to help me come to a conclusion in my years-in-the-making decision between the market bag and the fraulein bag. But the new one is pretty.

Nikoart- A little stamp shop. I bought the Red Riding Hood set for a friend and it came wrapped in prettiest little blue box with a rainbow ribbon. Craftpudding also has an amazingly cute selection, if you are into stamping, which I am really not, but they are still adorable.

The little blue elf hat I made for Jane turned out so embarrassingly badly that I'm not even going to show a picture. I did a craft book swap many months ago, and I think it's time to ask for my Amy Karol book back because I think there was an actual pattern in there. Hurray for embracing patterns.

And finding non-bank-breaking, non-poisonous, and non-breaking in general alternatives to all our plastic Ikea dishes and cups got easier when Chase remembered that Ten Thousand Villages sometimes has dishes. So now we need to find cups and we'll be set.

Also, I have a coat that I'm happy with. I found it last February at Goodwill, and so really it's only been through half a winter, and it still counts as a new coat. But, but... have you seen this? And this? I am banning myself from the store. Because anything on that page is a big chunk out of the grocery budget, or in some cases the ENTIRE grocery budget. But still. They are lovely.

I am also hoping to make an Advent Calendar for Wren this year- I think she's old enough to have a great time with it, and I'm trying to decide between a candy one, or an ornament one. There are some really great, (and really intense) ideas out there.

If you want, I'd love to hear what you are enjoying this fall...

Homework Break

I have a little breathing space this week, but lately my end-of-semester homework for the MLS has been a bit overwhelming. Chase and I are still having all our hippie commune discussions (this morning Chase asks "How hard do you think it would be to mill your own wood? I mean we'd need to clear the land anyway...") I used that resurgent interest as a jumping off point for my research assignment, and if anyone needs a pretty comprehensive bibliography (including annotations) for resources on sustainable building practices, I am your girl.

By the way, in true hippie fashion, I responded to Chase's question by saying it would be better if we could salvage some milled wood, rather than using resources to make our own. So there.

This is Jane at the Texas Renaissance Festival last weekend. I was taking her picture while Chase and Wren were both trying not to throw up on the weirdly violent version of the teacups. I think it's called "ye olde spinning tankards of mead." That was the first and last ride we rode all day, even though there were other cool ones- giant swings, and llama rides and so on. Wren just wanted to look at all the people in costumes and find out where she could get a princess hat. Chase and I kept wishing we had brought some other friends along. It was a bit isolating, being the only people in a three mile radius who did not want to make wax hands, or respond to vendors in an "English" accent. The turkey legs, though, were worth everything. Truly outstanding.

And there's Wren moping by the bathrooms. I think because I filled up her water bottle before I knew she wanted to do it herself. That was the sign it was time to head home. Not before shooting 10-20 pictures of Mopefest '08 though. We got quite a few disapproving looks for openly mocking her drama queen antics. I'll have to tell you sometime how it feels to have your parenting criticized by adults in hose, velvet doublets, and chain mail, carrying pythons, and pulling their wizarded-out offspring behind them on a wagon.

I'll just go ahead and tell you now- it feels AWESOME.