30 November, 2008

Santa Has a Blog!

Who knew!?  Yes, the Claus Chronicles is out there.  Ran across it today when small D. was researching time zones and Santa delivery tracking for a school assignment.  It looks pretty funny, actually...

Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo 2008. That snuck right up on me. I still find it hard to believe I've made it every day.  Wooohoooooo!

29 November, 2008

Great Quote

I saw this quote today in a Ravelry forum. This one's for you, sweetie DH! Isn't it great?

“Sovereign ingredient for a happy marriage: Pay cash or do without. Interest charges not only eat up a household budget; awareness of debt eats up domestic felicity.”

Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973

We're doing OK - my little car is back from its tune-up and repairness. One little part remains to be replaced, but DH has Ebayed it and will be sticking it in place this week. Meanwhile, the Awesome Mechanic has done some tricky bypass of said part, so the car won't just...stall. Cool.

I've even thought of a good Christmas present for the Great Gift Swap - can't mention here as potential giftee in-laws may be reading, but hope you'll like it!

28 November, 2008


My friend Susie's brother David didn't survive the emergency surgery yesterday. Please, keep her and all of David's family and friends in your thoughts at this heartbreaking time.

27 November, 2008

Healing Thoughts and Prayers Needed

My friend Susie's brother, who's named David, was very badly injured at the start of this month. He had made some good progress in the hospital, but now infection has set in and things are quite serious. If you're a praying person, please say a prayer for him and his family, or send healing wishes. They can use all the good thoughts you can spare.

Today is American Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful that our little family is here and healthy, and able to celebrate the holiday, even if the kids don't like anything except the pumpkin pie.

26 November, 2008

Scary, Scary Numbers

Spent my day with stomach upset and TV watching...not much to share with you, Gentle Readers, except this horrifying thought, from an article David showed me:

The current Credit Crisis bailout is now the largest outlay In American history.

Jim Bianco of Bianco Research crunched the inflation adjusted numbers.
The bailout has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion
TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

25 November, 2008


It's mighty cold here in Norfolk this week. Cold wind, cold rain, cold hail, even that snow on Sunday.  Makes me thankful for heat, thankful for down comforters, thankful for woolen socks, and thankful most of all for a warm spouse at home. It's a good thing I'm practicing the thankfulness, with Thanksgiving jsut around the corner. We expats have to do our thing without benefit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or a jillion football games.  Just turkey, pumpkin pie, and each other.  [Actually, I think that's nicer...]

24 November, 2008

Completely Random. Also, Happy...

First off, happy.  David is home, and off work for the next long little while - see his blog for details.  It's a good thing.  We may even have a date or two in there, as well as some great days together.

On to randomness.  Haven't been knitting in days and days, and I realize it's because I have been avoiding the Mystery Socks.  Love the wool, loved the cuffs, love the ankle pattern.  Don't love continuing the pattern on the top of the foot, for a couple of reasons.  I don't like bulk over my instep, and I reaaaally don't like having to think about a pattern for half a round and then knit plain, for row upon row.  Solution therefore is to rip back to the heel, and reknit the foot in plain stockinette, so I have the joy of the pretty pattern up top and the comfort of plain vanilla along the foot. 

Smart, no?  I plan to do this tonight, while David and I watch an episode of Life together.

More randomness...still loving the audiobook of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  I'm through disc 8 of 11 now, listening only in the car.  My rhetorical question is this:  If you were an author, and you put in a character who was also your namesake, would you make her the incredibly annoying, rather dull, superhumanly nice character?  Why?  Especially when it's rather obvious that you are a student of human nature, and you DON'T really think the best of everyone, or else you never would have written the book.  Ahem.

23 November, 2008

Off Tenterhooks

I'm off tenterhooks because David is HOME!!  I was on tenterhooks (how I love that phrase) all morning, from the time I was woken up by a phone call (first plane delayed by three hours, please call all affected families) and looked out the window to see snow.

Scrooge that I am, I was not happy about the snow.  Nor was I happy about the freezing rain that fell for an hour.  When it changed to big white fluffy flakes, the children could not resist going out to enjoy it and try a few snow angels.  I spent the time inside, worrying about whether it would let up enough so I could get up the hill and out of the village.

Then, alleluia, around noon, the sun came out and things started slushing up.  We made it down to base in ample time, and David was only the teensiest bit behind the announced time. 

He is here. He is home. He is safe. My cup runneth over.

22 November, 2008

Hey, It's Tomorrow!

Here I thought I was getting in a double post today, but really I'm posting for tomorrow already.  Today. Whatever - it's late. Or early.

So....Twilight. Sparkly chaste vampire love and all that.  Yes, I totally AM going to see this movie as soon as possible. And I shall immensely enjoy myself.  Even though I'm a grown-up. Shut up.  Heh.

However, despite my affection for the characters, I still found this Go Fug Yourself post hilarious.  Even grungy, that Cedric Diggory/Edward Robert Pattinson fellow is still awfully pretty, don't you think?

21 November, 2008


Doesn't that sound fun? Knittingfrau is planning a little Scrooge knitting (knitting something fabulous for one's self in the holiday season). If I had the yarn pictured in her post, I'd be making something for myself, too! Go have a peek.

I'm not a holiday knitter, in any event. I think it's hard to find someone who appreciates handknits. In addition, some people equate "handmade" with "cheap" unless it's a craft they are intimately involved with themselves.

Lily FeverBean is feeling better. No fever since yesterday late afternoon. Now she and David have matching coughs. How lovely! Just in time to welcome Daddy home in a couple of days, too...

[note - edited this because it didn't pass the “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”  test.]

20 November, 2008

Day Three of FeverGirl, plus Bonus Funny!!

Just as the title says, Lily Bean was home for the third day in a row because she was still running a temperature at 3 this morning.  Medicated that away, but she was definitely blossoming with a great cough by this morning.  So no school.  Unfortunately, I had unavoidable errands on base, so she had to endure two long car rides, but all was OK.  A couple of naps, even, so you know she wasn't at her best.

No fever since around 3 PM today, so one hopes we're back into normal "cold" territory again.

Sorry I haven't got any knitting to share with you;  I haven't picked it up all week!  However, I do have a funny bit about the decline of maths instruction over the years.  Enjoy...

The Evolution of British Maths Teaching

1. Teaching Maths In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or £80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2010

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of £20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers. )

19 November, 2008

Black Boxes and Kind Thoughts

Lily's "polly" (poorly, as she pronounces it) again today, so we are once more housebound for the day. No big deal, really  - she's still got a fever, but is less wan than yesterday, so I expect she'll be feeling much better tomorrow.

Black Boxes - check out the widget to the right here. If you click on Decide, it gives you a series of choices and then you can click on a blog it thinks you might like.  Useless, but fun.

Kind Thoughts - while surfing blogs this morning, I came across a line in a comment that didn't really have much at all to do with the original post, but had a lot to do with what I was thinking. Here it is:

.... the sign over the phone read: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” and hung there for 12 years.
That's a continuing struggle for me, to keep  from saying unkind or judgmental things about other people.  The quote above's quite simple, but it packs a punch.  How much better could I be if I subjected everything I say to those tests?

18 November, 2008

Love Letters

Have you ever gotten a love letter? The best feeling in the world. I'd like to share mine with you. My husband - he's a lovely, loving, warm, wonderful dude and I thank God every day for having him in my life. "I think we'll keep him," to paraphrase the horrible old Geritol ads.

Google Ancient Rome

Have you see this?  Google Earth has created a virtual ancient Rome.  Seems like a great tool for school lessons, among other things.

Another slow day at Casa Knit Farm.  Lil's got a little fever.  She seems otherwise pretty sparky, but given the rash of sick kids at school, I'm keeping her home today.  My babysitting friend is still willing to come tonight, unless the Bean feels worse, so I will still be going to the grant workshop tonight, in hopes of finding out how to get lots of lovely money for the preschool.

Otherwise, the day's a bit derailed.  Ah, well...

17 November, 2008

Feeling Logey But Still I Bring Gifts...

Hi, Gentle Readers...I ended up taking a "sick day" today.  Woke up with a narsty tummy, and after I got Lily to school  I came home, cancelled plans for today, and stayed on the couch with The Great Escape.

Feeling a bit better, but just tired, now. Lily and I are watching Valiant (a cartoon about WWII homing pigeons), and David's at Cubs (wonderful neighbor driving again).  Once I get Lily to bed, and David comes home, I will soon be in bed myself.

However, I do have a little something for you, especially if you're a Doctor Who fan.  There's a link to the Children in Need Doctor Who preview here.  Enjoy!  We did.

16 November, 2008

And So It Begins....

Nothing starts off the holiday season like a quick viewing of a Rankin-Bass production. Ahhh, the stop-motion animation of my youth. Loved 'em all, except for the Little Drummer Boy, fo some reason. We're watching Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town right now...

You know what would be great? A Wallace and Gromit Christmas film. That'd be awesome.

15 November, 2008

Saturday, Scattered Day - Some of Everything

Today's been a pretty good day so far.  We headed to base early because I wanted to meet a friend at the Christmas Bazaar, via a stop at the mailroom where a package was waiting (yarn and little girl clothes...  thanks, Jill - you rock!). The Bazaar was sort of Meh, but the kids enjoyed themselves and got to go on a couple of rides. I had fun spending a bit of time with Chrissie and browsing around, even if there was nothing that shrieked Buy Me.

Kids are watching Ratatouille (thank you, library, for free video rental) and I am catching up on blogs. After bedtime, I'll be collating some stuff I've written down and collected and getting my Sunday School lesson ready for tomorrow. Oh, and the house is still pretty clean.  Good times!!

Link of the Day - Feminist Mormon Housewives. The title alone makes this blog worth a visit.  The group of bloggers here talk about anything and everything, and the viewpoints are all over the map.  Many times, the discussion happening in the comments can be even more interesting than the blog posts.

14 November, 2008

How Did I Miss This?

A new on-line knitting magazine? Goody!! This is only the second issue of Twist. Isn't that cover sweater gorgeous?

Friday Links to Make You Laugh

I confess it - I have read Twilight.  My niece brought Twilight along this summer and I picked it up and inhaled it.  In fact, I've now read the whole series (thanks, Afton!). It's cheesy, but it's fun - chaste, angsty teen vampires and the klutzy, angsty girl who loves them. Oh, and her werewolf best bud.  Anyhoo, the movie opens soon, and someone's done a hilarious trailer spoof.  Funny, but a thousand times funnier if you've actually read the book.

Continuing the funny theme, have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live synchronized swimming mockumentary? Harry Shearer and Martin Short are two synchronized swimming brothers, one of whom can't swim very well.  Hilarious, although I can't find a link (darn copyrights!).  Anyway, my point is that synchronized swimming is a rich comedy mine, and these guys do a great job finding the funny at their talent show.

Happy Friday, everyone - I have umpteen things to do today, among them cooking a vegetarian meal tonight to bring to a family tomorrow. First, however, I think I'll have a late breakfast!

13 November, 2008

Teh Audiobook, It Is a Good Thing.

Last month, I borrowed the audiobook of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  from the library. Read by Douglas Adams himself, it's been the ultimate in drive-time entertainment. Today, I chose something completely different: Pride and Prejudice by the great Jane Austen.  Eleven CDs worth of Jane Austen is a LOT of Jane Austen, but so worth it.   

Now when I tootle back and forth to base, an hour each way, I'm really having fun.  Too bad I can't knit and drive at the same time...

Stretching a Dollar

Today, I'm totally interested in this blog. A couple decided to try and live for one month, spending jsut one dollar per day per person for food, and this is their story.  I can't wait to read more later, after I do the school run, the base run, and dinner :)

12 November, 2008

A Clear Space

Thinking about clearing clutter and what do I read but this great post from Alison at This Wasn't In the Plan.  What happens when your craft area is cluttered?  When it's clean?   Check it out!

This post really spoke to me because the Knitting House is currently the Everything Left from the Preschool Boot Sale Collection House.  And that's not conducive to knitting there. Or even getting in as far as the couch.

11 November, 2008

More On Decluttering

This one's for Kay, and Lynn, and anyone else who wants to know what works when decluttering.  I looked at this list and almost everything on it worked for me when I got rid of things first time around...

15 Great Decluttering Tips

In fact, the whole web site looks good!

Clutter - I Haz It and I Hatez It

Here's a theory for you:  fatigue, sadness, disappointment, and anger lead to clutter, which leads to more negative feelings, which generate more clutter, etc.    Clutter's been on my mind a lot lately, and I had the chance to talk about it today with a friend over lunch.  We each committed to decluttering a bag of clothes and a bag of papers this week, and that felt like a good first step.

I've been feeling for a while that the clutter is overwhelming me again.  The house generally looks pretty good, although I can't say that about this week. (Don't, please don't, knock on my door tonight!  The kitchen is dire.)  Anyway, even when the house is looking good, the cabinets, closets, and storage areas are hiding a TON of clutter.  Being fortunate enough to have lots of storage space, I've fallen into the habit of using it to stash stuff, not organize it.

Tired?  Just bung that batch of papers and flyers into a bag and toss it in the cupboard.  After a while, the cupboards get pretty full, and you don't know what is where.

Three years ago, almost exactly, I found Flylady and really "got" it.  Her systems got me motivated to unpack a whole houseful of moving boxes, and toss two thirds of what I unpacked. For about a year, I was really on top of things and the clutter was at a bare minimum. Since then, I've kept many of her routines for daily housekeeping but neglected the decluttering aspect. 

Now, the clutter's gotten everywhere, especially inside my head. I feel overwhelmed at the thought of it.  At the same time, I want to be enthusiastic about tossing stuff again.  Looking back at my blog posts, I found the story about 100 things and the man who's trying to pare down his possessions to the extreme.  That sounds really good right now.

Any thoughts, Gentle Readers?  Tried and true tips for decluttering?

Veterans' Day; Cat in a Box

Remembrance Day, or Veterans' Day, whatever you like to call it - today is the "11th day of the 11th month." Are you wearing your poppy? British knitters have been selling a pattern for a knitted poppy to raise money for the Royal British Legion. Great idea!

For a completely random, funny link: my sister sent me the link to this crazy cat who loves boxes. Thanks, dear heart! Very fun to watch. Cracked the kids up!

10 November, 2008

Pure Joy, Linky Love, and Christmas Pictures

Pure joy would be finding "Lost Camera" so that thinking about "Broken Camera of Doom" isn't quite so painful.  Now to charge Prodigal Camera...

Linky love is this post at  Small Notebook.    Simplify or use what you have?  What's the better choice? Is there a better choice?  When is one more desirable than the other?

Christmas pictures - wish us luck. The Good Photographer is in residence at the preschool this afternoon, so I'll be taking the kids home from school, gussying them up and heading over there in hopes of a worthy Christmas card shot.

That is all.  Hope you are having a wonderful day, wherever you may be.

09 November, 2008

Doctor Who Scarf or Blanket?

This morning  I had an e-mail from a friend (and sometime knitter - hi, Angie!) asking for yarn recommendations for a Doctor Who scarf, a la the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor.

Well, I've never really given a lot of thought to making a Doctor Who scarf, so I headed to Ravelry, where I found a plethora of patterns and pictures of finished scarves, complete with yarns used.  Beautiful stuff!!  I also discovered that there's an amazing website out there by Chris Brimelow, who has done patterns for all the different versions of the scarf worn by the Doctor in various seasons.  Just browsing the pages makes me sort of want to knit my own, even though the thought of knitting yards and yards of garter stitch makes me a bit queasy.  It would make great telly-knitting, though.

Then, the thought occurred to me - what about a Doctor's Scarf Baby Blanket, or even Grownup Blanket? A quick Google search tells me there's not one out there, at least not at first "hit." Two ways you could do this, or three, that leap immediately to mind.

First, garter stitch on the diagonal, increasing with every row until you're halfway there, and then decreasing your way back down. Just use the shaping from this pattern link, but change colors as for the scarf striping. You could pick your favorite section of the scarf and work those colors.

Second - just straight garter stitch, like the scarf pattern, but about 200 stitches wide for a baby blanket size. Again, choose your favorite section of the scarf and work that, so it won't be 10 or 12 feet long.

Third - knit three strips of scarf, perhaps three different sections from the pattern, about 30 or 45 inches long, depending on whether you want a pram or crib blanket. Then seam them together, side by side.  Obviously, for an adult blanket, you'd want more strips, perhaps six or seven, and longer ones.

Definitely a great GeekBaby gift, I think!

If you decide to give it a go, let me know in the comments! I'd love to know if I inspired anyone...

08 November, 2008

Thanks, Neighbors!

Not much scintillation for ya today.  Last night's Guy Fawkes party was great fun. My massive pot of chili was inhaled, along with another and a vat of soup.  There were a bunch of folks from church, a great big bonfire and three Guys to toss on it (we made one), and a long fireworks display (all the guests contributed a few fireworks).  We had a real fireman and several helpers to run that, and they did a super job.  Lily was literally squealing with delight the whole time.

Tonight, I had just put Lily to bed when I heard some fireworks noise. Looked out the window to see that our neighbors just the other side of the stable were having a party and fireworks.  Gentle Reader, these were near professional quality. I said to small David, they must have spent hundreds of pounds.  I pulled  Lily back downstairs, and we all watched from the dining room window.  What a show!

Again, thanks, neighbors!

07 November, 2008

Bonfires in the Rain; Funny Movie Link

Good morning from not-so-sunny Norfolk!  It's grim and wet today, which bodes ill for the Bonfire Night party we'll be going to.  I need to get some fireworks to take along, and some newspapers to stuff the guy David wants to bring.

I missed the Link O' the Day yesterday - sorry.  Today's link is to Stalking Santa. Just read about this film today. It's a mockumentary about some Santologists trying to prove Santa is real.  The trailer, linked above, cracked me up.  Don't think it would really interest the kids, but looks like a fun and funny one for grownups.

06 November, 2008

Word Verification; Kids' Christmas Party Suggestions?

Cohiptoc.  Tylli.  Dimicapr.  Metubses. Stmene.

I spend too much time wondering about the verification "words."  Wondering - what language does that resemble?  I wonder what it would mean.   Cohiptoc is definitely Aztec, don't you think?

We're just starting to plan for the children's Christmas party to be hosted by our spouses' group.  There tends to be a big crowd, and the kids vary in age from 0 to 13 or so.  Makes it tough to settle on a theme.  More than likely, the party will be in their meeting space; it's got a counter, sink and some minimal food prep areas and then about a dozen tables of varying sizes.  Time - after work, so heading to dinner hour for most kids.

In the past, we've had some games, a visit from Santa, bouncy house (not able to do that in this smaller space), cookie decorating, food and there ya go.

I'm thinking an ornament theme for the crafts.  My new love of the laminator has given me some good ornamenty ideas where the kids can do minimal work but end up with a pretty durable craft.  And there's always popsicle stick Rudolph  - a brilliantly simple craft.

We'll have Santa stop by, maybe a game or two (any ideas? It has to be a game in a small space, so the kids can each have a go. We don't have room for group activities apart from half a dozen kids at a time at craft tables...).

Cookie ornament decorating. Maybe a table where you can write a Santa letter, or do a wordsearch or Christmas quiz page.

I'm wide open to some fresh ideas that I can use for this, or even for a holiday party here at home.

Commenters, I welcome you with open arms!!

05 November, 2008

Sleepless Posting

This doesn't make for eloquence - I hoped to get some sleep after heading to morning craft group to finish up the Laminations of Doom (the zillion pieces of Christmas game that I cut and colored last night while watching election returns).  No such luck. I did finish up the game, but now am waiting on the plumber to return, this time to fix a leaky outdoor tap that's bleeding us dry (waterwise and billwise).

Will send kids to bed early and go early my own self.  I'm absolutely shattered from staying up all night, but it was kinda fun, anyway. Would have been better with David here, and it made me miss my mom.  She never got to vote in a Presidential election, since she just got her citizenship in 2006.  That didn't mean she didn't invest emotionally in every single Presidential race, though.  We had some good times watching CNN :) 

My sister just called - Hi, Annie! - to say: "We won!  We won!  We won!!"  She's pretty giddy, in a good way, as the local candidates she did a bunch of work for have won, and that means good things for their town.  Politics really DOES reach down to the grassroots level, and it does affect us.  And that's pretty cool.

OK. Linky Love for today: This Wasn't In The Plan .  It's a life, frugality, family, and funny sort of blog, and very, very entertaining reading.  Plus the occasional cute kid pics, too!

04 November, 2008

Tuesday Linky

I'm back from my crafty evening (made Christmas games and laminated everything in sight), and now am about to settle on the couch with cocoa and popcorn and SkyNews, or whoever else is showing US election coverage.  I'm seeing headlines on CNN.com about record turnouts!  That's fantastic stuff...

I forgot, again, to post a favorite link today.  This one's been linked here before, but I'm linking again, just because her weekly menu plan is making me hoooongry.  Jenn at Frugal Upstate - neat, neat blog.

I Voted; Now I'm Ready!

I love presidential elections.  Perhaps it's the dweeb in me, but watching election returns is like watching the Superbowl for me, except I actually also get to participate. I generally stay up until the winner is declared. Since the first polls on the East Coast close at midnight my time, I think I may nap a bit first this year!

Sent my absentee ballot in a while back; DH had to download the federal absentee ballot for military folks since we couldn't get his to him in time to get it done and counted.  The bright side there is that I was able to take DH's to school this morning so David's teacher could show the class what an American ballot looks like, and talk about the election a bit.

I hope the results are clear and decisive. I have bad, bad memories of the 2000 election.  Hanging chads, anyone?  I want to know that the people have spoken, that we've chosen a new leader, and that it's final.  Then I am choosing to be happy that the election is over, and I look forward to the new year and a new administration.

03 November, 2008

Link of the Day

I got so excited about Halloween pictures that I forgot to add this.  Today's link is A Year of CrockPotting.  Seriously, 365 days of recipes for your crockpot.  What's not to love?  Except that MY crockpot has decided to stop working.  And it's only 3 years old.  What's up with THAT?  I need a good old-fashioned ugly orange or green crockpot from the 70s.  Those are all still working...they're the Dodge Darts of slow cookery.

Halloween - Part I

The littles attended two fabulous Halloween parties (three if you count last weekend's birthday party for a friend), one at David's workplace and one at church. I helped set up and run both parties, which meant the kids were dragged along hours before each party, too. They were real troupers, and I am proud of their great behavior and ability to keep themselves entertained while I hung banners, and all that jazz.

At party number one, David was a vampire and Lily was Rapunzel. A friend took these photos, and I am so grateful since I didn't even have the Broken Camera of Doom along.

At party number two, David was an even better vampire and Lily was a pretty Bat Princess. Again, no pictures, and I don't know if anyone got any. I may have to do a re-enactment to get pictures of that!

Both parties ended with trunk-or-treat - a bunch of folks park, decorate their trunks, and hand out candy. It's a great way to take them trick or treating in a confined area, and worked really well for church since trick or treat is not the Huge Deal it is in the US. The Littles ended up with more candy than last year, and have been on a nice sugar high since Thursday night. Actually, they're pretty reasonable about consumption, and they've still got a bunch of treats left, unlike me when I was their age.

02 November, 2008

Heat, Humility, and Hot Water

Today, Gentle Readers, I have a little tale for you. And it's even a tale with a lesson...

The Month of No Heating in October went surprisingly well. I did have two detours, when we had guests and I turned up heat for their comfort, but all in all, I think we saved a bunch of money and we didn't suffer for it.

Moving forward to yesterday morning, the day after Halloween, I woke up MORE than ready to wash the hairspray from my own hair and to wash the hairspray and dirt off the kids. I hopped in the shower but it never got more than tepid. Hmmm. All right for me, but not for kids' baths. Left the house for errands, returned, and tried the taps again, and this time the water was downright chilly. I thought the water heater was broken, but then realized that it was everything in the house, when I turned the thermostat up to check. Furnace was ticking along but no heat was coming through.

I'll pause here to ask you, Gentle Reader, what would you do in this situation? If you guessed: call the landlord and arrange for a furnace/plumber guy ASAP, then you'd be quite sensible. I commend you.

If you were not so sensible...in fact if your name were Susie and you were the owner of this blog, you would freak out at the fact that you couldn't fix this problem yourself, and call your husband who's far, far away for work and have some nice hysterics because you don't WANT to call the landlord on the weekend. [You would not be reasonable and consider that the need for heat and hot water in a household with small children trumps Landlord Convenience.]

Yep, that's what I did. I totally freaked out at the thought of having to call for help. Once David talked me off the ledge, I did call and got no answer. Aaaaack!! Then I started calling people from church, in hopes one of the members could maybe take a look. Then I called the landlord back, just in idle hope, and reached his daughter. He and his wife were away this weekend, but Wonderful Daughter took the info, called them, and was at my door 30 minutes later to tell me a plumber was on the way.

Wonderful Plumber came, diagnosed the problem (a broken pump thingie that takes the hot water from the boiler and pushes it through the house), and replaced the part. Just like that. Well, 90 minutes of just like that.

So what was so difficult about that? Nothing, in actual fact. Once I got past my fear and freakout about asking for help, I got it with no questions asked. I find it more than ironic that one of my volunteer roles is as a Key Spouse. In that job, I am there for people who need help, whether it's to provide the help myself, or show them where to look. However, when it comes to asking for help myself, I am hopeless.

Yesterday, I learned that asking for help feels OK. Remembering that I am not supposed to be able to deal with everything might be a wise thing, too. Our mom raised us to rely on ourselves, as much as possible, but I keep forgetting the "as much as possible" part.

Ahh, yes, today's blog recommendation - how about Kris, The Knitting Wannabe? She's no wannabe, and her online yarn shop rocks, too. Most of all, I love reading the day to day life stuff. Today's post (linked above) is about thankfulness, and that's just what I was needing to see, myself.

01 November, 2008

NaBloPoMo; 10,000; Blog of the Day

Happy First Day of November, the Festive Day upon which NaBloPoMo commences.  I'm sure I should bake a cake or something, but instead I'll just be taking candy from my children. Two nights' worth of parties and  trunk or treat has provided them with a nice surplus.

Are you doing NaBloPoMo?  Just click the link if you want to be all official about it, and sign up!

10,000 - yes, 10,000. In the world of micro-blogging, I've hit that amazing number of blog hits. I noticed the StatCounter getting really close, and I watched the numbers obsessively. Until I forgot to. So, now the blog's reached the dizzying hit count of 10,030.   Still, it's a pretty neat moment, knowing that my blathering on has been viewed so many times.   I'd like to thank my Gentle Readers, and all those who arrive through Google Search, especially my fellow Simon's Cat fans. Stay a while, look around, and enjoy your visit!

I've had an idea that should give me some good blog fodder this month.  Every day, unless I forget, I'll be highlighting a blog I read, but may not have linked to.  Please feel free to poke fun at me remind me in the Comments  if I do forget.

In honor of those bloggers who knit, crochet, spin, or weave, I offer this link: Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm.  This is an amazing little operation. They raise sheep and goats, and see shares in the flock's fiber production to be able to afford to give the little guys the best living conditions and care possible.  The customer pays for a share, the money goes toward raising the flock, and at the end of the year, the customer gets a portion of gorgeous wools spun from these happy little animals (spinners can request a Spinner's Share, and keep the fun of making the yarn for themselves).  Their latest news is that they will be starting a flock/fiber cooperative in New York's Hudson Valley soon.

If I sound like a bad advertisement, that's because I'm pitching this to my beloved, in case he's ever stuck for an extravagant gift for me.

Check out the blog (linked on their main page) for frequent incredibly cute animal pictures, like this one: