Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and to say I am thankful for all my friends out here in the blogosphere. I have much to be thankful for, with faith, family, friends, and health topping the list.

I recently had a "restoring my faith in humanity" incident and thought it might be a good one to share this holiday. I inherited my father's house and sold it in the spring. When we closed on the house, the lawyer wasn't sure how to split the property taxes, so they were just split in half with the instructions to buyer and seller (me) to check our taxes and contact each other about any discrepancy. I was pretty sure I was over paying, but I was so happy to sell the house, I didn't want to bicker. A few weeks ago, one of the buyers contacted me to tell me she would be sending the check for what I overpaid. I knew they seemed like nice, honest people, and they really are. The wife called me and chatted with me about the changes taking place in that neighborhood and what changes they had made in the house. She invited me to call any time I am over that way and come by to see the house. I do hope to see it one day soon. Anyway, I love knowing there are "just good people" in the world. It's another reason to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming Attractions: Anastasia has tagged me, and I am challenging myself to think of seven things even Mel doesn't know about me! So check back for that ;)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Wife

I just finished reading The Wife by Meg Wolitzer. You may remember that I didn't think much of another book by Wolitzer (The Ten-Year Nap), but I enjoyed The Wife. I do find her writing a bit slow, but still, I would recommend it. It's also a pretty quick read (a little over two hundred pages). The book flap mentions a surprise that I guessed pretty early on, but even being pretty sure of this "surprise," I found the book interesting and thoughtfully written. I even think I saw some literary tools in it (like character names that reveal character traits). The wife in The Wife is Joan who has been married to the famous novelist, Joe, for thirty something years. The couple have many other "novelist couple" friends, and it seems that being the wife of a novelist is a career unto itself. I believe they were newlyweds in the early 1960's, just to give a time frame, and all the novelist husbands are philanderers to say the least. It is an interesting look at the differences between comfort and contentment, love and need. I remember in high school a question that went around, "Do you love me because you need me, or need me because you love me?" A word of warning: it may make you a bit of a man-hater (at least while you are reading). My newly-wed friend was planning to take this book with her on her honeymoon as we have book club the week after she returns. I sincerely hope she only reads it on the plane, maybe only on the way home!

It was serendipitous that I was reading this book right when this post was written by Anastasia discussing raising sons and the division of labor between genders. In The Wife, and, it seems, also in life, boys and the men they become are given a bit of a pass from certain duties or rules just because they are male. Why is that? Do women prop this up with our seemingly unending guilt? You know, mommy-guilt, wife-guilt, professional-guilt, house-keeping-guilt, contributing to society-guilt, I could go on... like a blister in the sun, but I need to go play some indoor basketball with my boys.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wedding Weekend Wrap-up

Before I tell a bit about the weekend, let me first tell you what I am doing right now: having some hot chocolate while some muffins cook in the oven (just from a mix, not from scratch or anything), W is napping, H is at school, and I am enjoying myself :) Love it! It's turned quite cold today. I am not much of a cold weather girl.

So, I will start my weekend run-down with Friday lunch time. H and I met Mel and her husband for lunch at a favorite local pizza place. First on the agenda was giving Mel and her husband this...

I knitted it! I've been keeping my knitting skills (which are still limited) a secret, because I really wanted to surprise them. Since they are Clemson fans and are not finding out the baby's gender, I decided to use Clemson colors. This little hat is easy because you don't have to knit in the round; it's just a flat piece that is seamed. For some reason, at first, "knitting in the round" sounded so scary to me, but after reading about it and talking to the gal at the yarn shop, I'm ready to try it on a new project (maybe a hat for H). This little hat was my second project. My first was this scarf.

The first picture shows the detail of the edges and ends. I didn't block it, so when I wear it, it looks like the second picture (all rolled up). I felt like it was a bit too wide, which is why I let it roll up rather than blocking it, so it would lie flat. Knitting is a bit addictive (at least for me). I really want to sew more, but knitting is more portable and requires less prep work. I can knit while sitting on the floor with the boys :)

So, we enjoyed our pizza lunch. I didn't get to eat as much as I would have liked, but that's probably because I was too busy chatting! Mel brought two of her latest sewing projects so I could check them out. You can check out her projects here. She's a more talented sewer than me, for sure.

Saturday was the bridal brunch bright and early! It was very nice, and the bride made us all tear up with a heart-felt speech. Each attendee got a great cookbook, bread basket, and hand-sewn cloth to go in our bread baskets! I thought the bread basket and cloths were a great idea. We also wrote on quilt squares that the bride's aunt is making into a quilted wall-hanging for the bride.
The wedding was at 5:00, and I ended up wearing a light blue sweater and long black skirt. It seemed appropriate and in line with what others were wearing. Both grandmothers were baby-sitting which allowed me to relax about as much as I can when I'm not with the boys. The reception allowed me to catch up with some friends, but we stayed out too late (I'm scared to tell the time because everyone will laugh at just how early it really was). Still, it was too late for me, because I spent all day Sunday wishing I could cuddle up with a blanket on the couch and watch football. I finally did get a nap Sunday afternoon and then hustled to CVS to use my 25% off coupon. My tiredness carried over to Monday, but I seem to be back to my usual self today. I'm sure there's much more to tell, but I need to get moving. This post may have started with hot chocolate and muffins in the morning, but now it's almost dark out.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shopping Daze

The couple I helped host a shower for a few weeks back is getting married this weekend. So, I spent some time shopping on Wednesday. It was not fun. I do not like to shop for clothes or spend money on clothes (except for comfortable jeans or shirts, you know the things that I will really wear and get my money's worth). The wedding is at 5:00, so I've struggled with how dressy my clothing should be. After all the time I spent looking, I'm starting to think I'll just go with a skirt and sweater I already have. I did find one pair of jeans (at Old Navy, no less, can you believe it?) and also a pair of khaki corduroys (also at ON). Yeeha! I haven't had khaki cords that fit since my first child was born! So this is why I haven't had much chance to write here or comment or even read my favorite blogs. I do hope to have a good time at the wedding as several of my long time friends will be there, as well as the women from my book club. When I say good time, I really mean, talking, chatting, catching up with people I love!

I also wanted to be sure to mention the Target re-tote offer (you don't have to have the People magazine they mention). I always have a lot of bags from Target around, so I will definitely take advantage of this and hope to not have so many around and help the environment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Will I Ever...

1) stop talking about that birthday party? Well, maybe soon, but I did want to say that in my craftiness frenzy, I decided to make something for the birthday girl! A headband! I found a fairly simple, quick tutorial here. So, after a few issues with back-stitching that required the use of the seam ripper, I got it looking pretty good.

Good enough to consider making it a part of a gift! Then, I tried it on H's head. (Hey, I needed a toddler-sized head :) He said it was too tight. I got C to take a look, he agreed, too small. Aargh! I had cut the fabric length halfway between the toddler and child size measurements. I could have remedied this with a bigger hair elastic thing, but of course, I don't have any bigger ones on hand. I couldn't make another headband or go shop for a bigger hair elastic thing, because, I like to leave these things to the last minute, you know the morning before the party! Oh well, one of these days, (begin dream sequence music) we'll get invited to another little gal's party, and I'll be on the ball. I'll make a great headband. The little girl will pull out the headband, and say, "It's so pretty," and I'll smile and say, "I made it" while the other moms ooh and aah. Then, they'll tell all their friends, and I'll have an etsy store - huh? Oh where was I? Back to will I ever...

2) buy a new sewing machine? I'm one of those people who cannot make a decision without agonizing over it, rethinking it, changing my mind, bugging those close to me about their opinions, and the like. So after working on the headband, I realized that my aunt was probably correct when she said she'd never liked this old Kenmore because it never did what she wanted it to do. Well, it's not that bad, but I think there could be some feeding issues, particularly when I attempt to back-stitch. Sometimes, it just seems to sit there (i.e., not back up). I still worry some that it may be OE and would like to get my aunt over to check it out. Still, overall, it would probably be best to get a new machine. This one is about 35 years old, and after using a Bernina in sewing classes, I'm just spoiled. Maybe too spoiled to not have an electronic machine. My dilemma is whether to go whole hog and buy a pricey Bernina or get something less expensive until I see whether I really will stick with the sewing. If I do get something less expensive, which one? Trying to make that decision is enough to push me toward the Bernina. I saw one comment on a sewing forum that said "if you bought the Bernina 220 (the machine I used in class), you'd probably never have to buy another sewing machine." Decisions, decisions! I am so not good with decisions! At least, I know what I'll most likely be asking for at Christmas time :)
I put two pictures beside each other! Hooray!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Life Lessons from a Glowstick

At the birthday party H attended this past weekend, they got a bag of favors. One of the favors was a glowstick. One of the children's father turned off the lights briefly for the children to see the glowsticks in action. When the lights came back on, H looked at me and said, "Birthday girl is the best for giving this to me!" He was very impressed with the glowstick. He carried it out to the car, noticing the glow. He kept it right beside him in his car seat on the ride home. He showed it to Daddy and his little brother when he arrived home. He took it in his room at bedtime and placed it on his dresser. I put it on my dresser before I went to sleep. The next morning H asked, "Where is my glowstick?" I gave it to him explaining that it would no longer glow in the dark as they only last so long. He looked at it, took it to the bathroom (where it was dark) to check it out, then came back to me, "Mommy, but I really wish glowsticks would last forever," in a sweet little voice. So, self-help-book-reading mommy that I am, I saw a "teachable moment." I explained that some things that are really fun or beautiful only last for a given period of time: a flower, a perfect-weather day, a yummy snack, so we should really enjoy those types of things when we can, knowing they will soon be gone. This was a good lesson for me as well, right? Live in the moment, put down that iPhone, stop worrying about what you can't change. After all this waxing somewhat poetic, H repeated, "I really wish glowsticks would last forever." I get an A for effort, right?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Overheard at a Birthday Party

Yesterday, I took H to a birthday party for one of his classmates from preschool. While the children were enjoying cake, I heard one of the other moms say to another,

"I didn't realize they are out of school both days next week. My mom is coming to visit, and when I realized they didn't have school, I told her, thank goodness you're coming."

So, here's the thing. I don't feel that way about preschool. AT. ALL. In fact, I feel almost the opposite. Getting H ready and to preschool on time two days a week is much harder than hanging out at home. Trying to get W a good nap before leaving to pick H up again, that's tough. (The mom who was saying this has another little one who I don't think is in preschool or MMO as she looks less than a year old). H's preschool is 9-12. I am usually one of the first folks in line for pick up, because I try to get home in time to get lunch ready at a normal time for everyone. Of course, there's also my germophobia that comes in to play too. I know H is there with all the other children, learning in an environment I can't provide at home, sharing with other children, learning to follow classroom rules and such, but there is always that thought of all those germs. Don't get me wrong. I am so proud of H for learning to go to the potty at school. I love hearing about what he did at school, seeing what he made, but I don't see it as much of a time for me to get things done. While it does provide me with maybe an hour and a half at home while W sleeps, it also requires a lot of getting ready and driving to and fro. It's just interesting to me to know how people in similar situations can view things so differently.