Friday, January 30, 2009

Your turn

As for my 365 days of grace thing, I'm out. Things pretty much minorly suck around here today on so many fronts that I've stopped counting, and I can't come up with one good thing, much less five. Even Liza quotes, which are normally a virtual mine of funny, are either not memorable or almost brought me to tears, so that's not working for me.

So, what are your five good things for today? Maybe some of them will rub off on me.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


1. The grocery store employee who helped me find a parking spot that was clear enough for me to make it into without getting stuck, and who actually shoveled away the slush behind my car while I was in the store so that I'd definitely make it out. Dude, you rock, and I called the store to tell your manager, so I hope there's a little extra in your check this month.

2. The following conversation:
J: "So, are you and Sybil going to go to that roleplaying game at M's house on Valentine's Day?"
G: "No, there are plenty of other things I'd rather do if you're watching the kid for me."
J: "Why don't you ladies go have a nice romantic dinner somewhere? It would be fun watching how everyone reacted to that."
G: "Yeah, but all the good places are already reserved."
J: "You could take a votive candle with you to Jimmy John's."
G: "Um .... no."

3. "My favorite colors have switched to black and gold, not pink and purple, because I saw it in a book and it looked like a better combination."

4. The strangely compelling bacon, egg, and cheese bagels at McDonald's.

5. Meeting a friend for coffee on a day when both of us have had it with our kids.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


1. Jason made it home from Texas today, despite the bad weather and the horrible roads and the flight delays.
2. It takes a sign this big to fit all of the candle's on the "birthday cake" Liza and I made for Jason.

3. The sun coming out on the 12" of snow we got today.

4. When the flannel sheets get put on the bed for the first time each fall.

5. Finding new blogs to read.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


1. Putting away so much stuff that I can see (part of) the top of my sewing table again.

2. Laying on the couch reading an entire book in one sitting.

3. Turning leftover sliced strawberries into strawberry milkshakes.

4. "Silly mommy! You're playing a trick on me!"

5. When I balance the checkbook and pay all the bills in my inbox, and I don't get four more in the mail later that day.

Great! Not so great...

Great! -

Not so great (pretty crappy, actually) -

I think I'll head to our library on Feb. 9th and check out a wheelbarrow full of kids' books, just in case.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yeah, genius, there are ways to fix that

Liza has had a cold for the past few days (hence the new quote on the masthead), and she's grown progressively more clingy over time, even as her cold seems to be getting better. We've gone from "let's snuggle on the couch" every few hours, to "I WANT TO CUDDLE!!!!!!" screamed anytime I'm doing anything other than moving at top speed. Meals have been especially bad, because after listening to her whining for 10 minutes while I fix the food and watching her wolfing down whatever she deigns to eat off her own plate, I get about two minutes of peace to eat my own meal before she starts attempting to climb into my lap at the table.

I've been indulging her - she's been sick, after all - but I passed my limit on cuddle extortion about 3pm yesterday. This morning as we were cuddling on the couch for like the fourteenth time today, I got exasperated.

"Look, I like cuddling with you and everything, but can you tell me why you have to beg for cuddles 1500 times a day?"

"Um, um, um ... I'm cold."

"Yeah, well, it's 19 degrees outside, and you're running around the house in just a bikini top and a mermaid tail. Maybe we could cuddle less and you could put on more clothes?"

"Oh, okay." She climbs down off my lap and heads for her room.

When she comes back a few minutes later, she is wearing wool socks ... and a bikini top and a mermaid tail. sigh



1. Having to restock the legwarmers ... again!

2. Following my daughter as she skips at top speed through the grocery store. Even better - watching her skip in place when I have her wait for me. It looks like the whitest hip-hop move you've ever seen.

3. Strawberry shortcake for breakfast.

4. "Mommy, get up! I made you a bowl of cereal for breakfast!" And there wasn't even (much) cereal on the floor around the bowl, either.

5. The window has stopped leaking. The wall has started leaking (and growing mold), but I'm not supposed to mention that in the list, am I?

Sunday, January 25, 2009


1. Realizing very early in a project - before wasting too much time on it - that it's just not going to work out.

2. Strawberry shortcake (the dessert, not the cartoon)

3. When taking the kid out of the polyester football jersey and polarfleece hoodie drops her temperature by more than 1 degree F.

4. Watching television shows I only nominally care about - more brainpower left over for my knitting that way.

5. Passing on to my daughter the robot game* my father used to play with me.

* Lay on the floor on your back and stick an arm or leg up in the air. The kid has to try to get all of your legs and arms flat on the floor, but every time she pushes one down, you pop a different one up. Weird robot noises are optional, but greatly appreciated. Endlessly entertaining for kids, as long as you don't mind an occasional knee to the eyeball when the kid is climbing all over you. Kids like to be the robot, too, as long as the adult keeps up a running commentary from the point of view of The Worst Robot Repair Person Ever.


1. Cornbread.

2. The rabbit at the pet store that hopped right over to Liza and wanted to be picked up and cuddled.

3. The piece of "trash" that Liza picked up from the floor of the pet store - it was actually my (expensive sapphire) earring that had fallen out without me noticing.

4. "Daddy, go away. Mommy and I are knitting right now."

5. The anticipation of waiting for a package that should be coming in the mail.

Friday, January 23, 2009

What a difference a buttonhole makes

Ack! The cuteness of legwarmers turned into armwarmers by making a thumbhole on the side! Thanks to Happy Girl for the modeling ... her nails are much nicer looking than mine, and let's not discuss what those stripes would have looked like on my, um, muscular forearms.


1. Homemade chicken soup when you're feeling not-so-hot. Or caring for someone who is feeling not-so-hot.

2. Had to restock the legwarmers because the studio sold out in less than a week.

3. Turning a heel on a hand-knit sock. It seems like magic no matter how many times I do it.

4. White noise machine.

5. Puffs Plus.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


1. According to the lab results, Zach is aggressively healthy, at least physically. He's crazy as a loon when it comes to drinking water obsessively from anyplace other than his water dish, but apparently there's no physiological reason for that. It's just the crazies.

2. I finished my yummy cashmere cowl and I love it!

3. It warmed up enough today that the squirrels finally came out again, and the one that visits our back porch came by while I was near the back door. He did a dive off the railing into the 18" of snow on the deck, which completely covered him until he poked his head up and shook all the loose stuff off. Cutest thing ever done by a tree rat.

4. Mindless sewing done on days when mindlessness is necessary and appreciated.

5. Knowing that, no matter how bad the leak in our window/wall/roof/gutter/siding is (two gallons collected in containers on my windowsill last night! Huzzah!), fixing it will not send us into foreclosure or anything. Might postpone that trip to Disney we've been planning, but that's not tragic.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


1. Zach's preliminary test indicates that it's unlikely he has diabetes, despite his weight loss and obsession with drinking out of every water source except his water bowl. Hooray for (probably) not having to give him insulin for the rest of his life!

2. With no prompting from me, the vet called Zach "Mr. Grumpypants," referring to my cat's extremely vocal hatred of veterinarians and anaesthesia and shots and needles and waking up and cars and overnight fasting and oh god the horror of it all.

3. Jason did not fall off the ladder while attempting to use an ice pick to remove the 6" tall ice dam that's causing the leaking around our bedroom window. Still have the ice dam, and the husband, in one piece.

4. Breaking off 4' long icicles and handing them to Liza, who just about falls over from the weight. Good times, good times.

5. Playful Parenting. I'm only 1/4 of the way through it, but the techniques make a lot of sense and seem to mesh pretty well with some of what we're already doing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

18/365 - Illustrated edition

1. First black cherries in a long, long time.

2. First cat drawing, which includes helpful "CTAS" label in case there was any confusion about what it is.

3. The spot of super-soft fur Zach has behind each ear.

4. The feeling I get when I open up my etsy site and find a new sale.

5. The "handy" yarn holder my dad made for me after I made an offhand remark about needing one over the holidays. Dude, you rock.

Also, today has sucked in a multitude of ways, including but not limited to the water that's dripping into our bedroom from the top of the window frame which makes a splish sound every 0.75 seconds no matter how many towels we put on the windowsill. Stupid freaking snow that never ever ever leaves. But I still managed to come up with five things, so apparently life isn't all sucky. Just mostly.

Monday, January 19, 2009


1. The quiet that descends on the house after the last party guest leaves.

2. "Oh, you don't want to go down in the basement, Sydney, it's full of cat hair and I haven't vacuumed in weeks." "Why haven't you vacuumed?" "Because I'm lazy. It says so right on my license plate."

3. Cheesy greasy Mexican food.

4. The surprising warmth of felted wool mittens.

5. Liza jumping up and down because tomorrow Obama becomes our president.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


1. Waking up at a friend's house to 4" of new snow on the ground, and knowing that I'm not the one who has to suit up and deal with the snowblower before breakfast.

2. Putting cookie frosting and sprinkles on homemade sugar cookies. It may taste like ass (haven't tried one yet), but it looks so cute.

3. Reading a book about the developmental stages of a typical four-year-old, and finding out that my manic, hysterical, sobbing, independent, whip-smart child is normal and should be encouraged.

4. Liza reading road signs as we drive past them on the highway at 65 mph.

5. Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi.


1. When I put something in the washer to felt it, then forget about it, and remember it in time to pull it out and it's just the right size.

2. Also, felting? Fun. Knitting socks that are close to two feet long before felting is just silly-looking.

3. Rhubarb.

4. Winning a game when I wasn't really paying attention while playing it.

5. Snuggling up with Liza in bed and feeling her go from completely rigid with tension to as pliable as a lump of putty over the course of about 90 seconds. Apparently, I'm a stress reliever.

Friday, January 16, 2009


1. The feeling you get when you finally do something you've been putting off, and it isn't nearly as boring/bad/painful/whatever as you'd feared.

2. Hearing Liza address her new BFF (the girl she met at the play area at the mall, when they ran headfirst into each other and fell down, laughing hysterically) as, "Where are you, my little friend?"

3. Watching steam rise from the small part of the waterfall on the river that's not frozen yet.

4. Taking a 20-minute nap on the couch under a blanket I crocheted. The warm cat curled up on my stomach was a nice touch, too.

5. The satisfaction of dumping out a vacuum cleaner tank full of cat hair, dust mites, sequins, and various forms of breakfast cereal, all of which has accumulated since last Friday. So long, suckers!


1. Stepping outside my comfort range when crafting.

2. Toll House place-and-bake cookies. Let's face it, they're better than (my) homemade, with a lot less cleanup.

3. Way too much time spent on ravelry looking for patterns for yarn I don't have yet.

4. When the person I've been going back and forth with about a Craig's List posting finally comes and pays for the cabinet, freeing up another square foot of floor space in my garage.

5. Sunshine after a week of snow. Sure, it's 1F outside, but at least it's a cheerful 1F.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

funny, funny

scuba scuba

Slogan you'll probably never see in a brochure

Kia Rondo - the perfect winter car for people who like to pray frequently while driving!

I think there may be a special edition with a rosary and St. Christopher's medal embedded right in the steering wheel, designed for days like today when steering and stopping were more suggestions than commands, if you know what I mean. It wasn't just me sliding around out there, but it does seem like this car is more touchy than our previous cars.

Oh, well - I needed a little excitement in my life anyway.


1. My daughter's rendition of Istanbul (Not Constantinople), in which "Istanbul" and "Constantinople" are virtually the only recognizable words.

2. And the fact that the longer she sings, the more mixed-up the verses of the song get ("every gal in Constantinople ... was once New Amsterdam").

3. The digital photo frame I just bought, which is going to let us actually SEE all the awesome photos I've printed out and stuck into albums that nobody ever looks at. Imagine that. Also, it was on sale for half off the regular price, and it plays videos, too, so I can force the Jehovah's Witnesses to watch Liza crawl for the first time.

4. The sound sharp scissors make when cutting through fabric.

5. The kind of snow that makes crunchy squeaks when you walk on it.

Bonus for today: Snowblowers. Next to microwaves and computers, quite possibly the best invention of our time. Because I'd be hospitalized and/or insane by now if I had to actually shovel our driveway twice a day every day for the past, oh, it seems like forever but it's probably only been a week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


1. Me: "Do you want to watch a DVD or do a craft?" Liza: "Do a craft! It's more fun!"

2. "Mommy, I love to read! Can we do more lessons now? How about tomorrow? Please?"

3. When the "voice" of a child's book sounds exactly like it was written by my daughter (The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster).

4. A sesame-seed bagel, toasted, buttered, with extra sharp cheddar cheese slices melted on top of the cut edges.

5. The scene in Run, Fat Boy, Run where Hank Azaria is having a serious discussion with Simon Pegg while Hank is toweling off in the gym and applying "refreshing" powder to his privates. I was howling the whole time.

Monday, January 12, 2009


1. When Liza's preschool teachers tell me that they would recommend that I put her in the "advanced" pre-K/not-quite-kindergarten class next year instead of the regular class for 4-year-olds ... except her birthday is a few months after the cutoff date. Whew - that's one fewer decision to make.

2. Looking at the "DO SOON" section of my desk and seeing only one or two things, some of which are gift cards I need to spend.

3. Jason has given me the green light to go ahead and plan a trip to Disneyworld around Liza's birthday.

4. Nutella.

5. Battlestar Galactica is back starting Friday!


1. Watching half a dozen girls in princess dresses at a birthday party spontaneously start a game of Ring Around the Rosy, with no adult prompting or interference.

2. Dealing with Gimpy the Squirrel last winter wasn't any fun, but it makes for a really funny story to tell at parties.

3. Planet Earth

4. Jason has finally come around to my way of thinking, which is this: if there aren't any other decent snacks in the house, that already-open bag of chocolate chips in the pantry will do in a pinch.

5. Knitting for myself, especially with the loooooovely cashmere/silk laceweight yarn I bought myself to celebrate the end of the sock madness.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dear Township: plow our street already

It's been snowing pretty steadily since yesterday, and the almost complete lack of wind meant that everything came straight down and stayed where it fell. It's a much easier-dealt-with snowfall than the nasty swirly drifting ones, as at least you know pretty much what depth you're going to be shoveling or blowing for the whole driveway. Plus, it looks cool.

Behold, the marshmallow effect:

Don't believe me about the lack of wind? Here's Liza's disc swing, which moves if you breathe heavily nearby:
I've been up since around 8am, and while the streets were obviously plowed sometime overnight, nobody's done squat with them as the snow piled up all day today. There are up to 8" of snow in parts of our street, even in the areas that were "plowed" last night. The mailman apparently drives some sort of all-terrain assault vehicle, because he managed to bust through about 18" of snow along the sides of the road so that we could all get our useless catalogs today.

When I was out dealing with the snowfall for the second time today, I decided to make life a little easier for the mailman by clearing away the worst of the snow on the street near our box. Can't you tell? (also, here's a bonus view of the tunnel-like path to our side of the box):

Sometime around lunch the temperature went up a degree or two, just enough that some of the stuff on the exposed areas started to thaw a bit, which is how we ended up with The Icicles Of Doom hanging over our back door:

I'm just itching to reach out and break one off, but I know if I open the back door a foot of snow is going to collapse on the hardwood floor, and that's just not an acceptable tradeoff.


1. Having appropriate clothing and equipment to deal with a 12" snowfall without suffering from a heart attack, a hernia, or frostbite.

2. It's 31 degrees outside, I'm wearing a sweater and wool socks to stay warm inside the house, and my daughter is comfortable running around in a swimsuit playing "diving."

3. Liza finally made the "th" sound at the beginning of "this," "that," and "they," three of the sight words that were giving her trouble. I'd really love to get rid of "dis," "dat," and "day" as soon as possible, preferably last week.

4. Starting and finishing a crocheted scarf on the same night.

5. Biscuits split in half, slathered with butter, sprinkled liberally with brown sugar and cinnamon, and run under the broiler until the sugar starts to melt. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


1. Calling the doctor to get an appointment about a non-pressing issue, and having them tell you to be there in half an hour.

2. The look of maniacal glee on my doctor's face as he comes after me with a scalpel to trim the corns that have suddenly developed on both of my feet. Seriously, he enjoys his work a little too much sometimes, but he cracks me up.

3. Letters from my daughter that feature "double X's and double O's because I love you soooooooo much!"

4. Dill pickle spears from the deli.

5. Having the snowblower start on the first pull ... especially after Jason wrestled with it unsuccessfully for 10 minutes the last time it snowed.

Liza tells a story

"This is the sky, and this is the sun. This is the deck, and the grass. This is a little squirrel hopping along, and see this red stuff over there? That's the squirrel puke. And this brown thing is a butterfly flying along with the puke bucket, and the squirrel puke just swings into the puke bucket.

The End"

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


1. Friends who have a new kitten ... we get the playtime, they get the middle-of-the-night-yowling-because-there-is-a-door-closed-somewhere-in-the-house.

2. Snuggling on the couch with Liza first thing in the morning.

3. Hot cocoa made from scratch, preferably made by my husband while I sit on my butt and do nothing.

4. Watching Liza finally "get" something that's eluded her until today.

5. National Public Radio.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

And a bonus one!

Holy cow, look what happens when you play with bubbles and a camera on a really cold night:

oooooooooooh, where did I put my tripod after the eclipse photos last year?


1. The calm that descends on the house when Liza goes to school. Huzzah for being the only human in the building for two hours!

2. Making a reusable shopping bag from one of Jason's old t-shirts, like fellow Clevey zJayne sells on her site. Only mine ended up looking like a wifebeater bag, which will make me giggle every time I use it.

3. Finishing enough projects in my studio that I can see the tops of my sewing table and cutting table again ... sort of.

4. Exercising enough that according to the Wii Fit, my last BMI fell in the "normal" range for the first time in ages.

5. My 2009 calendar from playnature's etsy shop. I love his photo mandalas.

Monday, January 05, 2009

4/365 - the photographic edition

1. Eating lunch with this dude five feet away (through our patio door) the whole time.

2. Seriously, how cute are the rolls of fat? And the fact that he was willing to turn his back on two people and two cats watching him from a couple feet away?
3. Going "grocery shopping" with a list she's written herself (as I tell her which letter to write next). On today's list: tomato, butter, waffle.

4. The silence that descends on the house when she's presented with glitter glue and a tub of sequins. Thank you, craft gods.

5. Have I mentioned the winter sun? We're all loving it.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


1. Wearing new clothes for the first time and getting a compliment on them.
2. Finishing a project that took longer than you thought it would or should.
3. Sitting next to my husband's french fries and not even being tempted to snitch one (well, except for the one I snitched before he got to the table).
4. The picture of me I had taken at Glamour Shots in college. For approximately 10 minutes, I was a hottie.

Saturday, January 03, 2009


1. The two or three days each month when I feel very creative and full of ideas.
2. "Look, Mommy - I can read this book all by myself!"
3. Sleeping in on Saturday (thanks J!).
4. Friends who are finally home from Christmas vacation.
5. Green & Black's 70% cocoa dark chocolate.

Friday, January 02, 2009


From Schmutzie, via Leta Joy:

1. Sitting on the couch in the winter sunshine (in Cleveland).
2. The satisfaction of a just-vacuumed-and-mopped house.
3. Making something that fits the intended recipient.
4. Cludging together three patterns and a couple random ideas and coming up with a finished object that actually looks like I thought it should.
5. Special K with Red Berries

Ain't I cute?

Let's not discuss how many shots it took to get a decent one, shall we? And somebody give me bonus points for not even considering trying to edit out the crow's feet.

I probably should have put on some makeup before I started shooting, but I didn't want to get any on the mittens or hat. Okay, actually I didn't think about it, but the first excuse sounds better, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Well, I hadn't thought of that, but sure

At dinner tonight we were talking about different activities we could do to get more exercise, things like walking around the block, or playing with the Wii Fit, or going swimming. I asked Liza if she could think of anything else we could do together to exercise, and her response was great: "We could do sequin crafts - REALLY FAST!"

I almost snorted hot cocoa out of my nose, which would have been unfortunate. Delighted with this response, Liza has been trying to come up with ever more nonsensical suggestions: we could build a back door really fast! we could play with stickers really fast! Um, yeah. Not funny, babe, but thanks for trying!