30 January, 2008

A Meme; No Tagging Necessary

Just out of curiosity, I had to try this meme, when Lynn posted it.

1. Go to the current book you're reading.
2. Go to Page 161.
3. Copy down the 5th sentence.

The family, rather taken aback, agreed, and then, somewhat suspiciously, asked me what I wanted.

That's from My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. I'm reading the Corfu Trilogy right now, which is a collection of all three books he wrote about his family's years in Corfu. Wonderful, wonderful books.

The sentence is from passage where clever Gerry has worked out a way to get exactly the boy-naturalist supplies he wants for his birthday by targeting the wish lists.

29 January, 2008

Saint Wanda, and Watercolour Class: Week Three

First, note that my streak of daily blogging lives on (I did blog yesterday at the HealthSpa blog).

Second, I am indebted to my new hero, Wanda of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In the space of 8 minutes of the phone, she noted my lost license in case of identity theft, took all my details, and generated a replacement license thingie (photoless but legal) that is mailing out today, and is good until 2012. Hey, a photoless license is bound to look better anyway.

She totally rocked my world, and potentially saved my bacon because I must appear in court (with a license of some sort) at the end of February to face my speeding charge. I, Maria Andretti of the Leaden Foot, was caught in a speed trap on the way to base. Sigh. I was wrong. So wrong. Seriously, I've been pretty darn careful about speeding since I have been here.

Moving on to item the third, we began a Norfolk landscape today. Working from photos of the Hunstanton cliffs at low tide, I produced this. We will work on them more next week, adding details and finishing various things, like the rocky gravelly bit along the bottom of the cliffs.

What I like about this picture so far: the sky came out really well and I think the tops of the cliffs (chalky part) are going to really be good. The sand is a good color mix, and I think the carrstone boulders look nice and seaweedy.

What I don't like: The horrible, horrible shade of blue I used in my little pools (and the patch of ocean, for that matter). I think the water is really blotchy as well. I am really not pleased with the carrstone portion of the cliffs - it should be paler, almost a reddish pink and brown. I can't make it lighter now that it's on.
It's an interesting scene to work on and I think if I paint it again (and again), I'll get the coloring better.

27 January, 2008

Back, and Back in Action...

Our trip to Cadbury World couldn't have gone better. We had an awesome time, spending about 5 hours there, and the trip home was as smooth as the trip out, which is to say...like buttah!

Yes, chocolate was consumed. No, I did not rip my head off for ease of pouring candy down my gullet. I did take some pics of the kids at various points, but a few fun areas were off limits for photos. I will post them once they're uploaded, but for now, I'm just patting myself on the back for a road trip well done, and for unpacking the very same evening we returned. Whoo hoo!

26 January, 2008

Quick Post

In case I don't get back online today, we're headed for the Wonderful World of Chocolate here. Should be fun, and I am pretty sure I can restrain myself from inhaling the entire place. Pretty sure.

25 January, 2008

24 January, 2008

Morning Kaffee Klatsch

Today I had to set up for and "host" our spouses' group monthly morning coffee. It's a very informal gathering but there's still prep time involved.

I managed to get everyone sorted out and to school at this end, and get set up in our meeting room down at the base in good time. A fine time was had by all (I hope). Certainly, I had an energizing morning. We had some new faces, one soon-to-be-departing person, and lots of chat with everyone.

I forgot to eat a decent breakfast beforehand, but managed OK. Thank goodness I brought fruit along - that's proved to be very popular on the snack table.

Lovely image from this quilting site.

23 January, 2008

Comments, and All That...

Thank you, Gentle Commenters, for all the nice words about my "art" yesterday. You make me feel special. Almost as good for the self-esteem as hanging out with Mr. Rogers.

Toni left a comment about another post [my salt rant] that has me thinking. I blogged about it on my other blog, but I'm seriously contemplating her suggestion of a month without processed foods. Just have to wrap my head around portion control a bit more firmly, before I give up the ready meal crutch.

22 January, 2008

Watercolours: Week Two

I am love, love, loving this class. Today's work was about tones, and this is the exercise we did. It's a Lake District landscape, working from a black and white photograph.

I learned a lot about tones/gradations of color. Still fumbling with the painting of water. Wouldn't you think it would be easier to paint water with watercolour? For me, not so much!

21 January, 2008


It feels like I haven't stopped moving all day...dinner's over, though, and we're in the home stretch to the bedtime hour.

I got a lot of miscellaneous errands done, and had lunch and a spot of shopping with my buddy Chrissie (waves!). I'll blog one of my purchases another time, when I have good light to work with.

Meanwhile, a little foody musing. What is UP with salt in prepared foods, and why oh why must the makers be so heavy-handed with salt? I've leaned heavily on the ready meal in the past couple of weeks, and the offerings range from terrific (the new Tesco Light Choices, with much less fat and sodium) to deeply, deeply disappointing (tonight's Tesco Steam Meal - salmon, potatoes, and veg).

The meal itself wasn't bad, actually, although the broccoli couldn't stand up to all the cooking time. However, it contained 1300-odd mg of sodium, and tasted like someone had up-ended a salt shaker over it.

What has Susie learned from this, Gentle Readers? Apart from "Cook-your-own, already!" ? Look at the sodium information, too, when picking a food. Wow, it only took me 40-odd years to come to grips with that. I'm a quick study, I am.

20 January, 2008

As Promised

Here's a picture of the Telly-watching Scarf, just after adding the second ball of wool. See that thin band of red? That's not where the first ball ran out; it actually faded right back to the golden shade for about an inch of knitting, so it was very easy to add in ball number two. Looking good, I think. I just love these colors - so warm, and welcoming. I like the random size of the striping as well.

19 January, 2008


There hasn't been much knitting here at the KnitFarm this past week. I've still got the warmer-colored one-row scarf on my needles, but not much progress. Today, the plan is to watch a DVD with the kids, so I'll be knitting then. Once I get this done, I may pick up one of my many languishing UFOs, but I rather think I'll be moving on to another simple project instead.

I've got the perfect yarn for the French Market Bag from Knitty - it's a speckled spicy colored wool, with jolts of blue, but it's too busy for anything wearable. I think felting will blend the speckliness (is that even a word?) nicely.

Once I start it, I'll post a picture of the yarn.

18 January, 2008

Friday, O Friday!

Made it to the end of the week...a little crazy this morning but all is calm now. I've got a birthday party to schlep the kiddies to this afternoon, and then we're appointment-free for the next couple of days. Here's to weekends, and recharging.

17 January, 2008

Movie Meme

In the absence of a life-related post today, I offer this. Really kinda cool. Courtesy of Annalea at The Passionate Mind.

Here is a list of the Top 100 Films of All Time. So, here's what I've seen . . .

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. The Godfather
3. Casablanca (1942)
4. Raging Bull (1980)
5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
6. Gone with the Wind (1939)
7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
8. Schindler’s List (1993)
9. Vertigo (1958)
10. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
11. City Lights (1931)
12. The Searchers (1956)
13. Star Wars (1977)
14. Psycho (1960)
15. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
16. 2001 : A Space Odyssey (1968)
17. The Graduate (1967)
18. The General (1927)
19. On the Waterfront (1954)
20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
21. Chinatown (1974)
22. Some Like It Hot (1959)
23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
24. E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)
25. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
27. High Noon (1952)
28. All About Eve (1950)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
32. The Godfather Part II (1974)
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
35. Annie Hall (1977)
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
40. The Sound of Music (1965)
41. King Kong (1933)
42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45. Shane (1953)
46. It Happened One Night (1934)
47.A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
48. Rear Window (1954)
49. Intolerance (1916)
50. Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
51. West Side Story (1961)
52. Taxi Driver (1976)
53. Deer Hunter, The (1978)
54. M*A*S*H (1970)
55. North by Northwest (1959)
56. Jaws (1975)
57. Rocky (1976)
58. The Gold Rush (1925)
59. Nashville (1975)
60. Duck Soup (1933)
61. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
62. American Graffiti (1973)
63. Cabaret (1972)
64. Network (1976)
65. The African Queen (1951)
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
68. Unforgiven (1992)
69. Tootsie (1982)
70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
74. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
75. In the Heat of the Night (1967)
76. Forrest Gump (1994)
77. All the President’s Men (1976)
78. Modern Times (1936)
79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
80. The Apartment (1960)
81. Spartacus (1960)
82. Sunrise (1927)
83. Titanic (1997)
84. Easy Rider (1969)
85. A Night at the Opera (1935)
86. Platoon (1986)
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999)
90. Swing Time (1936)
91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
92. Goodfellas (1990)
93. The French Connection (1971)
94. Pulp Fiction (1994)
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
96. Do the Right Thing (1989)
97. Blade Runner (1982)
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99. Toy Story (1995)
100. Ben-Hur (1959)

53 out of 100. More than I expected to have seen.
Consider yourself tagged if you want to be. Just copy, paste & bold the ones you've seen. (Then leave me a comment so I can go see what your score is. ;o)

16 January, 2008

A Sunny Day

A sunny day, a walk outside, lots of little jobs taken care of inside, laundry sorted, dinner in the works...I think today's definitely a very good day.

About to get even better, when Torchwood series two premieres tonight at 9:00. Captain Jack Harkness. Mmmm. Excellent.

15 January, 2008

My Morning At Watercolour School

A report by Susie.

I started out on a grand note by ... forgetting to go! Fortunately, a phone call to me (happily picking up a birthday gift in Lynn, and planning where to head next) saved the day. I swooped home and grabbed my supplies and got there in time to dash out my color wheel. I didn't even miss the coffee break. Normally, I would have been mortified to the point of tears, but for some reason, I was very zen and cheerful about it, and even took the ribbing from the instructor with ease.

Wanna see my stick figures from today? Suuuuure, you do. This was our exercise: a little sky, some cloud, irrigation canals, a ploughed field. It was actually good fun, although I'm not thrilled with my perspective, or how heavy-handed I was with the paints in the sky, in particular.

The instructor is terrific, and I am so pleased I signed up for this course!

14 January, 2008

Another Good Day

Today, I got everything done on my list, except eating breakfast (oops, better write it on my list). Had a good morning chatting and crafting with Chrissie, got my on-base errands run, and even did some laundry in the bargain.

David went to his new Cubs meeting and had a lovely time. He made this boat, with a friend. It came second in the races they held, so I guess it's seaworthy. Will have to test it in our bath.

Lily and I spent the wait at the library for the most part, and she slept on my lap in the car as well. It's juuuust short enough a meeting to make it a hassle to drive home and back.

13 January, 2008


Hey...remember that FitDay I was loving so much last year? [See the sidebar for link.] I just logged my food for the day thus far, and I am patting myself on the back. Just a little bit. I hadn't logged in food since the end of July, although I did put in my weight a couple of times as it crawled upward.

I feel like I did something good for myself today.

12 January, 2008

A Little Laugh

After a long, sleepless, anxious sort of night, and a downer of a morning, I am giving myself a pep talk and heading out with the kids.

This would cheer anyone up. It's the Chopping Broccoli song from Saturday Night Live of the 90s. The link is the official network one, and it won't work if you're not in the US, so you'll have to Google it. Trust me. Funny.

11 January, 2008

Long Week...

Somehow, the week has been a good one, a busy one, but as I head into Friday afternoon, I feel like it's been Just. Too. Long. I'm ready for bed. I'm ready for the weekend. I imagine I may need a coffee to make it through to bedtime. That's OK.

How about you all? How's your week been?

10 January, 2008

10-minute Tidy

Not so much, actually. More like a 90-minute tidy. This afternoon, I tackled David's room, with his help. We cleared out two shelves of beloved but too-simple books (Magic Treehouse, Time Warp Trio, etc. - saving for Lily to read soon), and that made space for all the books that had been carpeting his floor. Once they were shelved, we reached the toy layer. Once that was shelved, D's room became a terrific playtime oasis again.

Well, Miss Lily saw the magic happening, and demanded we tidy her room. I took before pictures in hers (below), so you can see the difference.

Now, to keep it all this way. What's needed next is a MASSIVE de-toyification in both rooms. I'll tackle this when they're at school. My plan - remove 30-50% of all toys, bag them and put in shed. If anything is missed, we can bring it back in. If not, I take them to the charity shop in a month or two. There's sooo much stuff in each child's room right now, they just can't figure out what to play with.

Parenting Challenges in 2008

Wow. I just checked in on The Not Quite Crunchy Parent, which is a lovely and interesting blog. The author has posted her parenting goals for 2008. I embrace Every. Single. One. What a great lady. What a great list. Here's an excerpt, but you should go check out her post. Again, wow.

1. Breathe deep before responding
2. Ask questions- engage in conversation - listen
3. Limit junk food
4. Fight the media monster
5. Watch for inappropriate playmates…and language
6. Work harder on healthy food
7. Let go – relinquish control; Encourage independence
8. Provide structure
9. Read, read, read
10. Play – games I don’t like or understand but he does
11. Learn about what interests him – be able to discuss them
12. Limit “no” – try for “let’s discuss”
13. Say “I love you”; “That’s great”, “good job”

Always Learning

This morning I signed up for a course in watercolour painting. Tuesday morning sessions, beginning next week. I've wanted to take some painting lessons for a long time, so this is quite exciting for me. The instructor, John Hughes, has some pictures here.

09 January, 2008

Fibery Goodness, and a Prize for Me!

Today was my lucky day. First, a little background. I entered one of Kris' contests a few days back (she ran a week of contests in honor of her husband's birthday!), and my trivia girl mind helped me win!

So when I picked up mail today, my prize yarn awaited me, with this cute notecard and some tea (herbal, for the knitting mellow mojo). It actually arrived in my mailbox yesterday but I didn't get down to pick it up then.

Thanks, Kris - the charcoal and chocolatey tones will be great in socks. I'm picturing another pair of plain stockinette with the ripply garter top from these Broadripple socks. The ripple gives my sock a reason to stay up without the squeeze of ribbing.

Here's the yarn - isn't it cute? My camera is NOT cooperating with the poor lighting tonight...everything should be a warmer, brighter shade. The bluey-pink notebook/binder is watermelon pink, if that helps you to visualize.

But that wasn't all the luck. The laceweight and patterns that I ordered from Sonny and Shear (Kris's shop) just arrived today. The wool is Seacoast handpainted merino laceweight in the Sahara colorway. So soft. Soooo pretty.

This slightly blurry picture (no flash) shows the true colors of the skein. I want to marry this skein, just a little bit. Is that very wrong of me?

The two patterns pictured are FiberTrends designs. I'm thinking the Leaf Lace for this yarn would be a good fit. What do you think out there?

Great service from Sonny and Shear, from start to incredibly fast delivery, and the wool? The wool looks and feels amazing. I can't wait for my Addi Lace needles to arrive so I can start playing with it!

08 January, 2008

There's Coffee...

and then there's Too Much Coffee. Check out Mark Malkoff's website. He visited all the New York City Starbucks in one day. All 171 of them. The video documentary is about 10 minutes long, and very funny.

Mr. Malkoff is presently living MY dream life for a week - he's gotten permission to live at an IKEA while his apartment is being fumigated.

[Edited to add the link, above. Thanks, Lynn!]

Of Knitting, and Other Crafts

The title is TheKnitFarm, after all. So let's talk a little knitting right off the bat. Here, I present a Finished Object. Here's that super-simple One-row Scarf. I used ALL the rest of the Noro Kureyon and am really chuffed with the result. The scarf's long enough to fold and wrap, ever so chicly. It is probably 7 feet long. This picture shows the colors really well.

I do need to figure out the timer on my camera, as the kids are not reliable photographers. And they're a bit short to model this for me.

Here are some things the kids got up to this weekend.

The parrot: I like it, it was fun enough, but it brings up "creativity issues" for me. David spent some time noodling around with this Chad Valley mini-mosaic set (vintage 60's, 2 pounds at a boot sale, and OOOOOH-so-much-the-choking-hazard; good thing the children are beyond that age). Being a person of order and structure, and dare we say perfectionism, he was determined to make the picture on the box rather than going free-form.

I think I would do well to throw away the box for this and some other crafts we have, since D often limits himself to pictured items. He has a good time, but gets frustrated if it's not "just like the instructions." Not so great for working the imaginative and creative juices. Thoughts, gentle readers? How to you encourage messiness and randomness in art? Or do I go with his preference for order? He's been this way since he began fiddling with paint or crayon or clay, and it's the same with building blocks or Lincoln logs.

This next craft project is Lily's - glitter paint and lots of it. She had a great time swirling it on, and I am a bit reminded of a butterfly. I like the swirling colors against the brown paper. They remind me very much of the yarn, which is Wendy Fusion in Allspice.

While I wait for my Addi Lace needles to arrive, I'm sticking with dead simple, and casting on another One-row Scarf, using this yarn. I think the colors look fantastic in the ball, and I hope they'll work well in a scarf.

07 January, 2008

Monday - Not the Worst Day Ever!

A good day, overall. I had a nice visit with Chrissie, planned the Great Laundry and Exercise Mission for Wednesday, and had a beautiful drive home. It's been windy and grey, but as I drove, the light was silver and so bright. It was punctuated with the widest rainbow I've seen in ages. I must start keeping the camera in my bag so I can capture neat moments like that. The kids and I had an early dinner out, and once they were fed and cheery, we sped through Tesco picking up more bread and a bunch of fruit and veg.

I've found a really interesting blog through the post-a-day in 2008 movement. The blog is called "thirty-four words: a year of people who have touched my life" and as an exercise in writing, and thought, it is very interesting. Check her out here.

Feeling a big out-ge-wiped tonight; I was dizzy for a moment as I came in the door with the kids, so I think I will sit and take it easy with a cup of tea now.


How we all feel, lying here under the covers on a cold and grey Monday morning...sadly, we must head out of our warm little den into the wild. Hope your Mondays are easy.

06 January, 2008

The Fun, It Never Ends.

Such excitement around here on David's birthday. That's right - how do we celebrate when he's not around to help? A little vacuuming, some laundry, clearing up the dining room, did I mention a little vacuuming, even putting away some Christmas decorations. I know you all wish you could such glamorous lives...what can I say? It's all about the fabulous here at Chez Us. Happy birthday, my love.

Thanks to The Museum of Mid-Century Illustration for the awesome picture...

05 January, 2008

A Little Bit in Love, and a LOT in Love

I'm a little bit in love. OK, I'm utterly enchanted with this blog. It's Yarnstorm, and her photographs and writings about food and craft are so very lovely. Perhaps I am the last in the world to find her, but wow. My head is spinning with colors and textures. Slowly working my way through the archived posts. Definitely worth an extended browse, that blog.

I am also utterly in love with this guy. Gentle Readers, it's David's birthday tomorrow and he's much much much older than I (all of a month, even). I wish more than anything that he would be here, and not in the desert, for his birthday. Failing that, maybe we can cheer him up a bit. If you read this, would you leave a Happy Birthday sort of comment on his blog? I'm sure he'd appreciate it!

Thank you so very much, and all that...

A Side Effect of Deployment

For me, when D. is gone, one of the worst things is insomnia. Me, the one who loves to sleep, who can nap at the drop of a hat, who can drink coffee at 9 PM and be asleep by 9:15 PM. I just can't get to sleep easily. It's 1 AM, I know I'll be a bear in the morning, the kids will suffer, but I just can't make my eyes close.

I don't know if it's classic insomnia, so much as loneliness. After the kids go to sleep, I need to fill my head with something other than solitude. Checking Google Reader blog subscriptions, watching movies, knitting sometimes, eating too often, reading a beloved old book...all of these are more tempting than sleep. Unfortunately, cleaning or laundry are not inviting replacements for sleep, or I'd be living in Martha Stewart Land right now instead of Toy Explosion Book Scattered Land.

Just had to share that with y'all, Gentle Readers. Maybe now I can sleep.

04 January, 2008

A Blog from World War I?

This is amazing. It's a link to a blog that posts the correspondence of an English soldier of the Great War, Harry Lamin, 90 years to the day after he wrote it. A descendant of his created and publishes the blog. Go back through the archives, which begin with the autumn on 2006. Neat stuff...

03 January, 2008

It's Getting Scary in There.

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

This cartoon says it all, really.

More Posty Goodness

I should probably pace myself, but this review of the events of 2007 was too good not to share right away.

So funny. So silly. Thanks to Imaginary Binky for the link. And isn't that a grand blog name?

Ahhhh.....Monday. I mean, Thursday.

The kids have returned to school, and I am sitting down with a cup of coffee to enjoy the stillness.

Yesterday was a good day. Let us not speak of the Great CarSick Lily Incident, which necessitated a stop at an uberTesco to reclothe her. I learned my lesson, and will start keeping spare clothes in the boot again. It was great to ride out with Chrissie as navigator, and chat along the M1 and various other roads. The Hobbycraft store in Stevenage was immense, and I brought home hundreds of popsicle sticks, foam stickers, paint, a mummy kit, and a few other fun bits. You name it, they had it in the kids' craft section. Yarn? Not so much. No sock yarn. No laceweight. Lots of bulky or worsted weight in interesting blends and textures, for that funky hat or whatever. Just not yarn that really spoke to me.

That's quite all right - I consoled myself with a trip through the laceweight "aisles" at the on-line shop, Sunny and Shear. I got some SeaCoast Merino Lace, and the Spinner's Lace shawl and Leaf Lace Shawl patterns on this page. Might I just add that the customer service from this store ROCKS!? I had an issue getting my address to enter correctly, and Kris figured it out, phoned me, and fixed it supah-fast. Fabulous.

I had more good customer service yesterday, when I emailed SchoolLink about a defective binding in a book we got for David for this birthday. Really quick response, new copy dropped in first class mail, and new copy WAITING on DOORSTEP when I got home from the school run this morning. Kudos there to the wonderful Royal Mail first class service, as well.

SchoolLink is a terrific company, something like Scholastic in the states, but with books for adults in their flyers as well. They are part of The Book People, I believe. New books are much, much less expensive through them than through the brick and mortar stores. And 10% of what you pay goes to the school of your choice - that would be Sandringham and West Newton, West Newton, UK, if you place an order, Gentle Readers.

Rosie, a blogger with local ties, tipped me off to a King's Lynn used bookstore that has a children's section as well. As soon as I sort the house into order, I'm taking myself downtown for a good long browse there.

Well, I've finished that cup of coffee. Off to find a sweater to wear, pick up my knitting, and take an hour more of silence, neat. Have a fantastic day in this brand new year.

02 January, 2008

Today's Field Trip

This morning we are headed to Stevenage, the home of the nearest Hobbycraft superstore. I hear good things about this place, and I think we'll find some cool craft supplies for the kids, as well as for me. Wish me luck waking them up to make the drive, though...our schedule is completely wigged out after staying up New Year's Eve.

01 January, 2008

Day One

For some, it's Day One of Blog365 - check it out at http://blog365.ning.com/ for the complete rules. Me, I've joined too, although I calculate my chances of flameout at approximately 101%.

This morning, we all slept in until 10:30. Ahhh, decadence, even if it was decadence with an extra two little warm bodies in the bed. David made it to midnight, although it was tough going there at the end. Lily conked out with a little more than an hour to go. All the Loony Tune Golden Collection cartoons in the world couldn't keep her eyes open.

I toasted the new year with cheap sparkling, D. with milk; we watched the BBC's showing of the London fireworks; and then we headed up to sleep.

I hope 2008 will bring many good times for our family - vacations with all four of us, fun with friends. I also hope to take baby steps toward healthier living all year. And boy howdy, I hope to do some killer knitting.

I have to say the Tut exhibit was (for me) a great disappointment because the mask, that golden Tut mask that is the iconic image of Tutankhamen, was not on display. Smaller versions, toppers for the jars that held organs, etc. were in the exhibit, but not the biggie. You'd never know from the posters, which are giant images of the mask. Had I to do it over again, I don't know if we would have gone, or done the British Museum's Egypt section instead. For me, it was all about seeing the mask, so I'm underwhelmed. The kids didn't have that same expectation, and they seemed to think it was all pretty cool.

We will go see the BM's Egypt section anyway, on another trip. There's enough in that museum to occupy a family for months of field trips.

Meeting up with my friend Michele, and her two boys, was the highlight of the holidays, for me. Michele, you are eerily, fantastically unchanged in appearance from our high school days. Where's that picture of Dorian Gray? As beautiful and smart as always, it's a joy to know her on adult terms. I'd post a picture but the ones of Michele and I have camera blur. David enjoyed spending time with the boys, especially her younger, who is the same age. Lily felt a bit shy, but seemed happy to hang about with everyone.

We had an awesome day out at Kew Gardens, where the weather gods cooperated to make it feel like spring. The greenhouses, and unexpected marine display, were great. The kids spent some quality time playing inside, as well, in the very nice indoor playzone.

All around, it was a terrific weekend, and we even got a daylight picture with the TARDIS (our hotel was a block away). I will post that one! Being home is a bit of a let-down, coming back to a post-Christmas house, and thinking about school and housework and all of that. I think I'd feel perkier if I weren't fighting some sudden stomach unpleasantness tonight. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Edited to add - is it me, or do I totally have long, gorilla arms in this photo?