Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Strange Days

On Monday, school was canceled due to ice.  On Tuesday, it was 70 degrees.  Kevin came home early and we took a walk downtown while we waited for Daphne's bus.  We went by Shoes (the coffee shop) to read the signs on the windows.  It closed down mysteriously right after Christmas.  The windows are covered with butcher paper, and pieces of paper with nonsensical rants are posted in random spots.  There are allusions to re-opening, but it's all so crazy that I'm suspicious.

Daphne came home yesterday with a bad headache, which was disappointing because I was hoping she could play outside.  Today, it is rainy and warm, threatening to storm.  Friday, it might snow again.

The kids in Daphne's class keep getting sick.  So I keep getting sick.  First, it was the pink eye.  Then, it was this bad cold that wasn't quite the flu.  Luckily, we have not gotten the evil stomach thing I keep hearing about.  But I'll take all these things.  It's just part of the deal.  I can handle it.  However, there IS one thing I CAN'T handle.  It is the only thing that ever for a second sets me teetering on the edge of "Let's Just Home-School" Cliff.  And THAT is the threat of lice.  Pink eye?  Fine.  Flu?  Bring it on.  But please for the love of all that is good in this world, don't let her bring home the lice.

Kevin's sister is a 4th grade teacher on Long Island, and someone brought the lice into her classroom.  I think they were contained, thank goodness, before they got on her.  Kevin's mom subsequently sent me an email about some special rosemary Fairy Tale shampoo that is supposed to help keep them away.  I ordered some immediately.  It arrived yesterday.  It will be used.  Soon.  This is a no lice zone.  Do you know how many stuffed animals we have??!!  Ugh.

Kevin's same sister, along with her husband and two sons, participated recently in Ride the NYC Subway in Your Underpants Day.  Isn't that funny?  Now THAT takes guts.  Especially in January.  Definitely something I would never do A) because I am way too modest, and B) because there is no way I'm sitting on subway seats with no pants on.  Imagine the germs!!!  I bet my nephews thought it was pretty fun though.  That's something you can do with little boys, but that becomes kinda questionable with little girls.  At any given moment, there is a certain percentage of weirdos on the NYC subway, so bringing your little girl on there in her undies doesn't seem like a good idea.

At the very top of this post is the beginning of the first sleeve of my owl sweater.  My goal is to be able to wear it on the first cool day of Fall 2013.  So, I am going to sign off now and knit for a few minutes before Daphne comes home.  Let's hope she is ailment- (and critter-) free!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Screeching Halt

I guess there can be such a thing as TOO slow.  Because what usually happens when I slow way down and let myself relax too much is that I get sick.  This time, I really didn't stand a chance, because Daphne got sick.  In this picture below, she was already starting to feel bad, but it didn't stop us from having a great time at the American Girl Cafe with Grandma and Molly:

The food was expensive, but actually pretty good - much better than I was expecting.  The service was great, and the experience was worth the price.  Those American Girl people know what they're doing.  I wish I could come up with such a genius idea.

When we got home, Daphne rapidly declined into something very flu-like.  It wasn't fun.  But luckily, it was quick, and she only missed one day of school.

Then, I got sick.  Gradually.  I would feel sort of yucky one day, then be fine, then feel terrible, then completely normal, and finally on Friday afternoon, I lost the fight.  Saturday morning I felt OK enough to make my dad's birthday cake and go out to lunch, but by the time we got home I was miserable again.
Sunday I just gave up and stayed in bed.  All day.  Kevin even brought me breakfast because he is awesome.

Today, I am still congested, but feeling much much better.  Functional, at least.  School is canceled due to rain (?!).  I guess maybe it's icy?  But they go to school in TEXAS with weather worse than this, so I don't quite get it.  So, Daphne's home, and I'm catching up on laundry and blogs and so forth.

Since I last posted, I have read FOUR WHOLE NOVELS.  That's how slow things have been.  And I loved every minute of that.  Reading makes me happy, even when I'm sick.

Daphne has done some painting:

And she got to play in the snow, even though it wasn't the good kind of snowman making snow.  She still had fun.

This has been a weird month with all the sick, and days off from school, and strange weather.  I am ready to speed things up again ever-so-slightly.  I have projects I want to start and others I need to finish.  For now, it's back to laundry, though. Piles and piles of laundry.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Continued Slow

Friday, I had lunch with friends and started knitting an owl sweater sleeve.

This weekend, we played outside.  Daphne lost another tooth.  I finished my book about Slow.

We went to see a production of Mary Poppins at the Tally Ho.  We ate butter chicken, went out for pizza, and played board games.

Yesterday, I made a cake.

Loving the slow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Opposite Day

This morning, Daphne woke up and told us that some kid in her class said Wednesday is opposite day.  Then she bid us "hello," said "I hate you," gave us a hug and got on the bus.  I'm not a fan of opposite day.  It's too confusing.

I had my own problems this morning anyway, because today was Laser Procedure to Cure My Retina Day.  I didn't sleep well.  I woke up a lot, and had weird dreams about cooking pork chops with the Kratt Brothers.  When I told Daphne about it, she said it would have been even more weird if they had a dream about cooking pork chops with me.  A valid point.

I put on my Buddy the Elf shirt and did a lot of deep breathing before my appointment, and took along my owl sweater to work on in the waiting room.  I have to say that the knitting really helped me to calm down.  I was really nervous.  Not so much about the laser, but about the fact that there would be some sort of device attached to me whose job it was to keep my eye open, which is very Clockwork Orange-y and totally freaks me out.

Finally after about an hour of waiting and knitting, I was in the doctor's chair about to begin the procedure when he couldn't get the light in his machine to shine where he wanted it to shine.  He called in a tech, who called in another tech, who called in another doctor, but nobody could figure out what to do.  Things were said like "What does THIS thing do?" and at one point they actually got out the instruction manual.  This did not give me a lot of confidence in this group of people.  I had to laugh to keep from crying, and I practically had to hold Kevin back because, being an engineer, he wanted to jump in and fix it himself.  There were four people trying to work on that machine, plus another so-called expert on the phone.  No luck.  So, I had to reschedule the procedure for NEXT week.  Kev missed the whole morning of work, and now will have to miss another day next week to take me back.  And this is not exactly the best time for him to be missing work.  We decided to go out to lunch.  I guess these things just happen when it's Opposite Day.  Nothing you can do about it.

Good news is, there were no pokey needles today, I got some knitting done, and I got to have lunch with Kev (lobster bisque!).  We NEVER get to have lunch together.  So it wasn't a total waste. 

Hello for now!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Slow Music

For Christmas, my brother gave me a CD by The Lumineers, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite CDs. This song is appropriately called "Slow it Down." It's a live version of my favorite song on the CD. Ironically, in the video, they Speed it Up a little at the end of the song, but that's OK I guess. If you have about four minutes, sit still and listen to it.

PS. I think I am going to steal the tambourine/kick drum guy's schtick for The Smitty's. I could totally do that. There is a much lower chance of screwing that up than a fiddle solo. Kev can be the singer with the cool hat.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Slow Weekend

I am liking all this Slow business.  I left the house only once over the weekend, and it was to walk to a BBQ place down the street.  The rest of the weekend was spent mostly in pajamas.  On Saturday, Kev and I made cheese (details here) and I assembled lasagna.  My brother recently gave me a MacBook, which is awesome because I can now listen to Pandora while I cook.  So I spent a long time in the kitchen listening to good music and making good slow real food.  We did a little tidying up, Kev took down the Christmas tree, and Daphne played with Christmas toys.  Sunday we played some music, made Easy Bake Oven Whoopie Pies, sat around and read books, and had a leisurely dinner (the lasagna).  I no longer feel like a hamster.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Go Slow and Say No

The other day, I got off the hamster wheel.  Christmas was done.  I sat down by the fireplace (in my FABULOUS new slippers - thanks, Mom and Dad) and read.  I found this book the other day when I was scrolling through the Kindle Daily Deals called "In Praise of Slowness."  So far, I really like it.  There is a lot of "stating the obvious" in the book, but it's still pretty interesting.  I am completely in favor of slow.  Some people crave the hamster wheel, but not me.  I just somehow always seem to accidentally end up on it, spinning and spinning, especially at Christmas time.  But now that I'm off, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to try to STAY off, and the best strategy for me is to start saying "No" more often.  I do not have to do it ALL.  It is better to just do SOME and do it WELL.  So, that's the goal.  We'll see what happens.  So far, we have nothing on the calendar for any of the Sundays in January.  I would like to keep it that way.  So, please don't ask me to do anything on a Sunday in January, because I will say no.  Sundays in January are now officially reserved for slow.  Slow breakfast, slow coffee, knitting, reading, family time.  Yep.

In other New Year's Resolution news, I am hoping to get back to regularly blogging in the food blog.  I miss doing that.  And I have some really good things to write about.  Maybe I can make that part of Slow Sundays.  I don't know.  But for now, may I show you some of what you have to look forward to if I can keep this resolution?

I think I will start with the cheese....

Thursday, January 03, 2013

And Now it's Time for some Arts and Crafts

Every year, I make Daphne some Christmas pajamas.  This year, I almost didn't get them done.  I made them the day before we left for New York at the expense of packing and cleaning.  But I am glad I made the time for them...they turned out great and Daphne really likes them.  And they fit.  Last year's Christmas PJs are about 3 inches too short now.

This year's themes:  Scottie Dogs and Owls:

When we were at the Roosevelt Estate, I sneaked into the gift shop and got her a little stuffed Fala to go with them.  I think she liked him better than the PJs, but that's OK.

With Fala by the Tree
Daph got a lot of crafty gifts for Christmas.  This little gadget from Santa makes paper beads:

And this is a needlepoint doggie from Aunt Kimmie:

She also got some yarn and knitting needles (not sure I have the patience, but we will give it a try), some American Girl crafts, a potholder loom, a mandala making tool, and some Shrinky Dinks.  We're going to have lots of fun this year!

Meanwhile, I got a cool crafty tool for Christmas with a very exciting and clever name:  The Kinkajou!  It's a bottle cutting tool, which was some guy's invention that got funded on Kickstarter and was only recently put into production.  I think I have one of the first ones ever manufactured.  So cool!

There are SO many possibilities, but I started (with Kev's help) on these Corona bottles because we didn't care if they got ruined.  We made them into two candle holders, but they could as easily have become juice glasses or bud vases:

Then, I cut a pretty blue bottle that I've been saving and used it for a candle too:

It takes about 5 minutes to recycle a bottle and make it into something cool like this.  And then, if I want, I can etch the glass too!  I COULD PUT A BIRD ON IT!  (heehee)

My parents gave me a wool winder and swift so I can wind hanks of yarn easily into balls.  I haven't tried it yet, but I am so excited.  It will be really useful to have.

And - I guess this can be considered sort of crafty - I got a DIY CHEESE KIT!  Two, actually!  One for goat cheese, and one for ricotta and mozzarella. Did I mention we're going to have a lot of fun this year?

Now, I just need to get organized and make time for all this craftiness.  More on that coming up soon...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A Birthday, a Campout, and a Recording Session

Kev's birthday is the day after Christmas.  Not the best day to have a birthday, so we do what we can to make it it's own thing.  This year, he made a list of things he wanted to do.  I think we did most of them.  Daphne started off the day by getting herself dressed in the best outfit ever.

Then she gave her dad a little wooden wall hanging that she and my dad made.  At least one person in the room got a little teary-eyed and had to go blow his nose before there could be any more gifts.

Kev's big gift this year was a kick ass resonator guitar.  Several family members pitched in, and he LOVES it.  It sounds really great and it's pretty, too.  All silver and shiny.  So cool.

For dinner, we trekked down to Falls Church to eat at the Mad Fox Brewery, which was very good.  I am sad to say there was no birthday cake, but Kev didn't mind.  I think he had a pretty good day anyway.

The next night, we decided to camp out by the Christmas tree. So we inflated the air mattress, and Kev and Daphne made shadow puppets on the ceiling, which was more entertaining than you might think.  Daphne and I slept downstairs (with the pack of dogs) and woke up by the tree.  Daph thought this was really cool, and I enjoyed it too.  I think we'll make it a tradition.

We've also been working on recording a new PPHPHB Christmas song up in the attic.  Daphne is the lead singer, and I have to say she did a really nice job on this one.  When it's all done, I'll see if there is a way to post it on here somehow.  

The song sounds great already, and MixMaster Kev hasn't even monkeyed around with it yet.  So far, I don't have a part in the song, but I'll probably end up on it somewhere.  If we keep it up, we'll have enough Christmas songs for a whole CD in about 2020! 

Coming up next, arts and crafts, and New Year's Resolutions.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Christmas Cubed

When I was a kid, we always had three Christmases.  First, we'd go to my dad's parents' house on Christmas Eve.  We'd have dinner and go to church (I like Christmas Eve church now, but when you're a kid waiting for presents, it is excruciating), and then back to their house where I'd hide in the back bedroom with my brother and cousins while "Santa" came.  In this case, Santa was my grandma.  She would always say "Ho Ho Ho" in a sort-of-disguised-but-clearly-Mam-ma voice.  Then, we'd open presents and head home to get to bed before the REAL Santa came.

On Christmas morning, we'd open presents at home and have breakfast and play with toys all day.  It was great.

Then, in the late afternoon, we'd head out to my other Grandma's house for Christmas Number Three with my mom's family.  There would be all kinds of food and cookies and cousins and more presents.  Every kid's dream, pretty much.

Even after we moved to Texas when I was 9, we kept close to the same routine, because we'd pack up the family van once school was out, and head to Indiana for the holidays, sometimes in very questionable weather conditions.  It must have been a real pain for my parents to have to drag Christmas across the country every year, but that's what they did.  I don't think my mom would have enjoyed Christmas very much in Texas without her family around.  Christmas is complicated when everyone lives in different places.

Like me, Daphne has three Christmases too.  This year, we mixed it up a little bit and went to New York BEFORE Christmas to see Kev's family.  It was really nice to see everyone and really fun to go down to the city this time.  We had time to do other things too, like take Daphne to the Roosevelt Estate (above), and go to Adam's market to get the best Egg Nog in the world:

Someone - I won't say who - changed around the NOEL angels, as has become a tradition.   Usually, it gets changed to LEON, but this year it was LENO.  Kevin's mom tries to stop these shenanigans by securing the angels with scotch tape (which you can see in the photo), but really, it's SCOTCH TAPE!  She'll have to do better than that.

The kids had fun opening presents and playing outside in the freezing cold on Katie's new pogo stick.  It was good for Daphne to practice, because she asked Santa for one of her own.

We came back to VA on the 23rd, and spent Christmas Eve with my family in Manassas.  There was good food, a good dog, and more gifts.

Poor Scout had to stay in the other room so she wouldn't try to eat things.  She was really good, and I felt sorry for her.  She is a good puppy dog.

Daphne got lots of nice gifts, and so did Kevin and I.  And nobody had to sit through a never-ending church service or hide in the back bedroom to wait for the Ho Ho Ho.  We just got down to business right after dinner.  Daphne couldn't have handled any waiting.

Then, we went home and prepared for Santa.  Daphne and Kev fed the reindeer, we got the cookies ready for Santa, we read the Night Before Christmas, and I gave Daphne this year's new Christmas PJs (which were finished in the nick of time, more on that later). She was up early, and very excited to see if Santa came.

Looks like he made it!

 And he brought Daphne the two things she wanted most:  a pogo stick, and a giant dog:

This one is a husky.  His name is Balto.  He is huge and Daphne loves him.

Then my parents came over for an awesome Christmas breakfast and a few Christmas songs.  A pretty great Christmas Trifecta.

After they left, Daphne played, and I think I went into a Post-Christmas coma, which I am just now sort of starting to come out of.  There is more to share, including Kev's birthday, arts and crafts and fun with new Christmas gadgets, but now, I must go.  We are making New Years Day mussels soon.  Daphne is excited to try them!  We'll see how that goes.

Happy New Year, everyone!