Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Dude's got a Car!

Dear Mom.

The Buddy got his own car.

Let me say that again. The Young Man's best buddy has a car.
You can NOT imagine the frenzied level of excitement that the Buddy's car has generated.

Buddy arrives and gives the horn a quick tap... just to let us know he is here, you know.
As Buddy hops out of the car, and I rush out the door to capture this momentous occasion on film  er   digits  oh whatever.... he spouts off details that only matter to boys- the year, the make, the mileage..... and then he pops the HOOD.

Now, I am pretty sure that the Young Man has NO IDEA what they are looking at, but they both point at stuff and admire the engine area.
I comment on the 'looks almost brand new' condition of the car and Buddy proudly tells me the classic "Old Lady who only Drove it to Church" story. In this case, considering the cars age and low mileage, it may actually be true.

The Young Man and Buddy take a spin around the cul-de-sac and share a celebratory bag of Cheetos.

Until April, when The Buddy has had his driver's license long enough to legally drive with another minor without an adult present, the car will be a glorified play pen parked in the driveway with the two friends tucked inside.

"How long are they gonna stay out there?" asked the Young Lady.
"A long time," I told her. "Don't worry about it. It is good."

A short time later, the Young Man raced in asking for one of these relics from the past. Something that suddenly got a whole lot more cool....



Friday, November 27, 2009


Dear Mom,
For some of us (me) it is about the leftovers.
For some of us it is about the nap after dinner.

And for some of us it is all about the pie.

Or maybe I should say the Whipped Cream on the pie.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Bonnie Jo

Golda is thankful that she's not a turkey!
Love, Bonnie Jo

Happy Thanksgiving


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

An Etiquette Lesson

Dear Mom,

The Young Lady's teacher(s) deserve recognition for their efforts in teaching important life skills to their students. Today was the highly anticipated Etiquette Lunch. Or the Elegant Lunch if you ask the Young Lady.
The students were taught basic manners and how to set a table (apparently the fact that my kids are asked to help set the table every night makes this house an anomaly). The students were required to dress up - no jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts allowed. The Young Lady fussed with her clothes and hair this morning, planned her outfit ahead of time and borrowed a pair of my "dangly" earrings.

Definitely the most significant, worrisome and talked about part of the entire event was not about which fork to use or waiting until everyone is seated before eating. No, what had the entire group worried was this:  The boys escorted the girls from classroom to lunch room, and helped them with their chairs.
One might imagine that they were being paired up for life, such was the concern about escorts. The Young Lady's theory that they would be paired according to height proved incorrect when she was escorted by a boy about her shoulder height. Young Lady had to sort of lean over to make her arm fit into his. I wish I had my camera ready when she walked in, took a half step back and pointed down at the top of his head while giving me the "can you believe this" look.
She did enjoy herself, though, and I was impressed by all the well mannered ladies and gentlemen. As I served the potato casseroles and sweet potatoes, I heard a clear bunch of No Thank Yous.
I know that learning the Gettysburg Address and giving a report on Lewis and Clark's journey to the Pacific are good things to know, but the things the students learned for today's luncheon are making them all better people for every day.


Been there! Packages mailed, stamps purchased and cards addressed and ready to be mailed!!! WOOT WOOT!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I did it!

Dear Mom,
I had an epiphany of sorts at my last spinning class on Saturday. Alice's advice to not look at what I was doing and trust my fingers and to think a slow, rhythmic "tick-tock" as I treadled away were the things I needed to correct my mistakes and create some decent yarn.


I made some pretty yarn!! Not perfect, but pretty good. Way better than I had hoped.

Tabby Tree Weaver has an open spin on the first Sunday of every month, which will allow me to get some good advice, more practice, and try out different wheels as ....... are you ready for this?..... as I save my money and decide which wheel I want.  Never did I think I would be a spinner some day, but the thought really excites me. Alice also showed me a way to spin off the fleece I was given without spending way too much money to have it processed.  WOOHOOO!!!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Good Idea

Dear Mom,

I found this good idea somewhere on the internet. I can't take credit for it and it is one of those "why didn't I think of that????" ideas. I am loving it so much that in the spirit of the season, I will share it with you.

Got fabric scraps?.....yep, I know you do.

Got ribbon?.....yep, that too!

 These are fabric gift bags, made using leftover fabrics that were too pretty to throw away and in quantities that begged to be used for something else. The fabric has been sitting in a trunk in the yarn/sewing/guest room waiting to be something special.
A straight cut or two, a couple of quick seams and some pinking shears to the top edge and a gift bag is born. Add some coordinating ribbon and the gift is wrapped. No paper to cut, tape and watch wrinkle and tear.  Bags made to fit the gift and an excellent use of things on hand.

I was so excited about this that I "wrapped" 5 gifts yesterday! I am feeling so far ahead of where I usually am at this time of year that I am clearly in denial about some critical holiday something or other. ...... Like last year when we forgot to make cookies for Santa and remembered when we were at church on Christmas Eve. We decided that Santa might be ready for a break from cookies and milk and maybe we would leave him a beer and peanuts instead. Gotta do whatcha gotta do.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It must be a sign

Dear Mom,

So I break down and buy more roving to get some more practice on the spinning wheel.

I was thinking that I should be really, really sure about my lack of spinning skills before class next week.

I am NOT IMPROVING. I may even be worse.

While picking up after myself, and in total disgust,  I took a closer look at the paper band that was around the roving. Which is when I see this, a clear message from the fiber universe.....


Monday, November 16, 2009

Spun Out

Dear Mom,

I have used up all the practice stuff they sent home with me.

I am still spinning bleeeeeeeeeeeeeppppp.

I don't know how to correct my mistakeS.

Do I go buy more roving and keep practicing, or do I stick that spinning wheel in the time-out corner and ignore it until I leave for class next Saturday?

I ask myself after my required two spool's worth of what is basically an insult to yarn everywhere.....Wasn't I perfectly happy buying yarn all these years?

Why, yes! Yes. I was.

Sending off my dirty bag o' wool to be processed is looking better and better.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Spinning Class

Dear Mom,
Does that post title fool you into thinking I took an exercise class? no? Well, I was pedalling both feet to keep a wheel moving. It was a spinning wheel, not a bicycle, though, and if my heart rate elevated it was from stress and frustration, not from any physical exertion.
Saturday afternoon was spent in my first spinning class, in hopes that I would learn how to turn all that raw fleece into yarn. Sending it off to be processed is sounding better and better.
Not that spinning wasn't fun. It was. I think. It was also harder than it looks, requiring a coordination of both hands AND both feet that I found challenging. Think the "rub your stomach/pat your head" trick. The effort had me questioning the fact that I had even been able to drive myself to class. Just like anything, it will take practice to get good. And loads of time to get that fleece spun into enough yarn to actually have enough to do something with.

Here you see the total of my efforts during the 2 hour class:

I can't even claim full credit for what you see because the instructor plied our yarn for us in hopes that we would be inspired by our efforts enough to continue. Two hours. TWO. HOURS. For something I can knit up in about 15 minutes.

We were sent home with borrowed spinning wheels and homework. We are to return to class next Saturday with two full spools.
With the Young Lady's help (she carefully prepped and staged the roving so I had fewer spinning stops and starts), I spent the greater part of my Saturday night spinning and filled up one spool.

Consistency is an issue.

As if I needed to point that out.

I have new respect for the beautiful hand spun yarns I have purchased.

Today, after a night of dreaming about spinning yarn, I plan on tending to my knitting. I need the confidence boost.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When Everything was Special

Dear Mom,
Back in the day, or I guess the 'day' for me being the 70's, when there were 4 or maybe 5 channels on the television depending on the reception and whether the PBS station was coming in or not, it seems that everything was SPECIAL. The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special, the Andy Williams Christmas Special, and of course, The ABC After School Special.

Nowadays there are hundreds of channels and nothing is special.

I've been looking on the internet for a particular episode of the After School Special, and I can find what I imagine is every After School Special ever made. Except for the one I want. I remember that After School Specials were events. But now when I skim through the list of episodes and read the synopses, I am wondering why. I was a bit shocked at the subject matter of some of the specials. It seems like they dealt with some real depressing topics, and I count my blessings because, fortunately for us, some of the topics were about as foreign as the antics and ugly behavior of The Housewives of Whatever County and The Kardashians. We didn't have best Friends who were Stoned, a Mom Who Hit Us, and a brother who thought it would be cool to be a Teen Dad.

Besides the one special with Lance Kerwin and Pa Ingalls where the boy turned into a gold medal marathon runner because he wet the bed and his cruel mother put his sheets out on the clothesline and he needed to run home faster than the bus to get the sheets off the line before the kids on the bus saw them and learned about his secret -and why are the Moms on those shows always so mean?- besides that special (which maybe it wasn't even an after school special now that I think about it) I can really remember only one After School Special. One line from that special that has stayed with our family for more than 30 years, and it is the one After School Special that I cannot find:
The Amazing Cosmic Awareness of Duffy Moon.

Whenever I am on overload and need to give myself a little pep talk, the words etched 30+ years deep into my brain and the image of Duffy Moon with his eyes crossed and his cheeks puffed out come to me and I hear are the words Duffy said to himself. "You can do it, Duffy Moon!"

So, when this morning I gave you a brief rundown of the Christmas knitting and the exciting new magazine knitting deadline along with the selfish knitting I've been doing for me you said just the words I needed to hear.

"You can do it, Duffy Moon!"

Yes, I can. So just know that if you see me sitting with my knitting at hand, my eyes crossed and my cheeks puffed out, I am giving myself a little pep talk. And hopefully I will not be the subject matter of a future After School Special written by my kids: "My Mom Knit Herself a Straight Jacket"!   ( edited- I mean strait jacket..... back to the knitting- kim)


Monday, November 9, 2009

Nature Walk

Dear Mom,
We went on a nature walk this weekend.  Our neighborhood is quite loverly this time of year.  The promise of quiet.  And earthy smells.  And wildlife. . . . .

A favorite tree . . . .

A magical castle hidden among the trees . . .

The thrilling freedom of outdoors . . .

The thrill of the unknown . . . .and what is waiting on the other side . . . .

We walked until our legs were tired and our tongues were hanging out of our mouths!

Enjoy the beauty around you this day, too!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Homeless Squirrel

Dear Mom,
Yesterday afternoon, I opened up the mini-barn to get out a rake.  I couldn't believe my eyes...there was an enormous cache of walnuts in the loft!  A squirrel tried to hide them inside a clay pigeon box, of all places.  I noticed when I was uploading the photo that the box says, "The ingestion of clay targets by livestock or pets may result in severe illness or death".  Alrighty then.

I carefully pulled the box down, all the while wondering if a squirrel would jump out at me.

The box was crammed full of walnuts.  No squirrel.  You know I am not fond of the red squirrels.  They are naughty and destructive.  They are fine if they stay away from my stuff.   The problem is, they are always getting into my stuff!  Look at what else the squirrel did.  He constructed a motel between the chain saw and the Havahart traps!

Needless to say, Mr. Squirrel has been evicted.   I baited the Havahart trap, but he has not returned.  (I could have relocated him to a park where he would have an endless supply of bird seed, compliments of the Hamilton County Parks Department.)  And so he remains homeless. And I don't feel one bit sorry for him.
Bonnie Jo

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Proudly Presenting....

Dear Mom,
CarolWho'sHouseGotStruckbyLightning finished her parka and wore her work of  art today.

She appliqued wool flowers and really made this coat her own.

I am proud to show it off for her!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Toppled Socks

Dear Mom,
It looks like the January 2010 issue of Creative Knitting magazine is on the newsstands. If you click on that link and scroll down you will see that my Toppled Socks design is in this issue. You can click on the sock picture to get a better look. Toppled is an easy, good-for-a-beginner sock. The sock knits up fairly quickly and has become my basic, go-to sock pattern.
This is the issue that I got to watch a bit of the photo shoot, so it will be fun to see how the actual magazine shots look and to compare them wth the amateur photos I took.


Dear Mom,
The children had a holiday yesterday due to Election Day.  Our schools are used for the voting polls so the district doesn't like to mix business with pleasure.
We put on boots and warm clothes and we went to one of my favorite places, Keehner Park.  Keehner Park is the most peaceful place.  We spent 2 1/2 hours walking the creek and saw only one other person.  I always feel like Keehner Park was made just for me.  A Wendy Treasure.  Keehner Park is magical.  My children talk [nicely!] with each other and the help each other!  They climb, explore, dig.  We have caught bull frogs, snakes and salamanders at Keehner Park.  We discovered a baby deer, still too new to leave her nest!!  We found a vine once and we all used it to swing across the creek!  We find fossils and tree branches that look like animals.  It is quite the holiday.

We also stopped at a farm on our way home and bought 10 pounds of Jonathan Apples.  Guess what we had for dinner?!  We all hunkered in and worked to bake my apple crisp (from Governor Orr--remember my yummy recipe?!)!!  We also baked an apple crisp for the neighbor and I suspect warm apple crisp may have been their dinner, too.
Happy beautiful fall holiday!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mrs. Tweedy

Dear Mom,
Last weekend I was reading Merrilymarylee's blog post about a past visit to the Children's Museum. I was flooded with memories.
The Indianapolis Children's Museum is a wonderful place. It is also one of those things that I am NOT SORRY that my kids have outgrown. I've done my time there and I am done.
My last trip there was as a second grade field trip chaperone. I learned long before this trip that if at all possible, MEET THE BUS at the destination. I drove myself to the museum. The parents all gathered, fresh faced, and received our group assignments and itineraries. Immediately things are not looking good. My group of three has the Young Lady, a quiet boy and The Class Trouble Maker. Honestly, the Trouble Maker could have been in a group of one and still given his chaperone a run for her money. I cannot tell you how many times he wandered off, how many times I enlisted the help of the Young Lady and Quiet Boy to look for him, how many times I just flat turned my back on the 2 good kids to go searching for Trouble Maker. And we hadn't even had our lunch break yet.
When we gathered for our sack lunches, I was wishing I packed more caffeine. Or a margarita. Not even pretending to be pleasant anymore, I bluntly told the teacher (who, by the way, had assigned no children to herself) that I had lost the Trouble Maker several times already and that perhaps I needed some back up. Teacher gives me one of those smiles that says "yeah well good luck with that" and tells me she will see what she can do. Mom, you should be proud that you raised a lady, because right about then a whole lot of bad words wanted to come out of my mouth and I didn't let them.
Obviously, all ended well and I got my group loaded back onto the bus at the end of the day. I got into the sweet haven of my car, looked into the rear view mirror and saw this looking back at me:

Mrs. Tweedy
Chicken Run

Mrs. Tweedy made another appearance on the 4th grade overnight trip. The Fourth grade trip to visit some of Indiana's historical sights in southern Indiana is a big deal and I was fortunate to have been selected as one of the chaperones. I do not regret having this memory to share with the Young Lady. My Hero got to go when the Young Man was a 4th grader, so we all had a chance to experience the trip.
This was a well organized, run like clock work, two very full days of activity. It was exhausting. At the end of our long first day, we were efficiently checked in to our hotel and given our room assignments. Bedtimes and lights out were part of the Chaperone Instruction Packet, along with our assigned breakfast times. I had to get 3 girls bathed and settled and sleeping. I NEEDED them to get to sleep. So that I could get some sleep.
I was very patient for the first 30 minutes of giggling. Then I gave a gentle reminder of the "big day we have ahead of us tomorrow!" Then a not so nice one where I said "You girls don't want me to be grumpy in the morning" to which the Young Lady pipes up- "YEAH, you guys really  don't want my Mom to be in a bad mood!"
The giggles continued until Mrs. Tweedy got out of bed and stood in the middle of the room for like 20 minutes. She knew that if the girls were only quiet for a little bit that they would soon be asleep. She was right.
Again, we all survived our trip, the kids far less exhausted than the parents.
Mrs. Tweedy and I haven't been on a field trip for 2 years. Can you blame us?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Are Crock Pots Collectible?

Dear Mom,
It wasn't until I borrowed your crock pot over the weekend and saw that crock pots nowadays have more than a Low-High-Off switch that I realized that my work horse of a crock pot is a tad out of  date. Maybe even vintage.


Try to ignore those rust spots. She works just fine and I have no need to replace her. I just felt a bit stunned to have options when I plugged yours in and was ready to begin the slow cooker process. I had a brief moment of self doubt when I saw that yours says SMART POT right there on it. Would I be smart enough for this crock pot? Have no fear, dueling crock pots are plugged in and will be burbling away today, filling my kitchen with good smells.
I am making dinner for The Zucchini Queen and her family (and mine too, while I am at it). ZQ's Mom is having surgery today and dinner was one less thing she would have to think about. I prepared a mini knitting care package for The Zucchini Queen, too. I neglected to take a picture of it before I gave it to her, but I had another good idea. The yarn and pattern are for a scarf- one of Melissa's 12 Knits of Christmas. The scarf is a 2 row pattern. I went ahead and cast on and worked a few rows of the scarf to get it started. I don't normally knit with straight needles, (I prefer circular knitting needles), but in this case I got straights and here is why: As I said, it is a 2 row pattern. With a Sharpie marker, I wrote a #1 on the end of one needle and a #2 on the other. When needle #1 is the empty needle, ZQ is to knit row one of the pattern. And when needle #2 is empty.... well, you get it, right? Now ZQ won't need to be bothered trying to remember which row she is on when she gets distracted or interrupted. And she will have a pretty scarf when she is finished. And hopefully the knitting will ease a little bit of her waiting time today.
Last night I bound off one of the current knitting project, and until I get it blocked and some elastic sewn into the waist,  I won't know if it will be a really great skirt or a tremendous failure. It better be great because I already have the perfect yarn for a cardigan to go with it. I 'll let you know.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Dear Mom,
I'll get you my pretty!!!
And your little dog, too!!!

We had a frightfully fun Halloween night!!  I took off my mask and revealed my true character.  Pipsqueak dressed as my "familiar" (in the words of the Teenager!)  We walked around the neighborhood putting spells on the neighbors that didn't cough up the good candy and we cackled with favorite neighbor friends, too!!  One of our neighbors turns his garage into a haunted house, complete with black light AND strobe light!!  It is the "favorite" house and every year we laugh at all of the screams and giggles coming from their house!!

Part of my witch costume was a pair of knitted socks that I knit in 10 days.  Knee socks!!  I knit them cuff down and sort of came up with the pattern by myself.  [I googled knee socks and couldn't find a pattern that wasn't toe up so if anyone would like a fairly decent cuff down knee sock pattern, please leave a comment or contact me at the email address.]

After the trick-or-treating, we enjoyed time with our neighbors outside around our fire pit.  The kids ran around the cul-de-sac swinging glow sticks over their heads and eating too much candy.  I LOVE Halloween!!!!