Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Hymn

We sang this hymn today in church. It was traditionally part of the New Year's Eve service in years past (we no longer have that service). Anyway, the words are good, real good, so I thought I would share them:

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.

Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they.

Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and He is on the throne.

It is enough: earth's struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to heaven's perfect peace.
Edward H. Bickersteth, 1875

To all my readers, I wish you a Very Happy 2007.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our new "pet"

You may recall that I have this dream of raising Alpacas as a family business with my children. Well, my folks gave me my very first Alpaca for Christmas. I've decided to name her "Felice". I had thought of calling her "Fleece Navidad" but thought that might be a little too corny. She is a very good "pet," since no one has to clean up after or feed her and she is only about a fifth the size of a live one. At least her fleece is real and oh, so soft!


Monday, December 25, 2006

The Night Before Christmas, I was stirring...

I had a really lovely day, Christmas Eve. I was blessed to share a good portion of the day in the company of some close friends at my kitchen table over some brunch. Perhaps the two cups of coffee I drank with my Bavarian Cream Puff as evening approached are why I am awake right now. Or perhaps it is because my bedroom is aglow with the Christmas lights outside and so I don't have the usual degree of darkness which I prefer for sleeping. Maybe it's the little tiny Prettiness who is sleeping in the very center of my bed, perpendicular to me, feet poking my side. Or maybe I just can not quiet my mind. Too many sugar plums dancing.

So instead of lying in bed awake, I decided to get up, have a little snack and read a chapter or two from Andree Seu's, Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. I just read the essay entitled, "Omega Point, What are we working for?" and thought particularly of two brothers I know. For them and the rest of you, I want to share this excerpt. I found it quite meaningful and heartening as well. The essay begins:

Sometimes, in mid-footfall, I get confused: am I rushing about my work so that I can eat, or am I eating so that I can work? All this striving, where does it tend to, where is the payoff, the "meaning"? "All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; ...All the toil of man is for his mouth, yet his appetite is not satisfied" (Ecclesiastes 1:7; 6:7). Thus the intellectual pursuit of fractions of seconds at traffic lights, or while removing lint from the dryer lint trap. And then I submerge again beneath the surface of thought into the vortex of quotidian events. Till next time.

All this was grievous to me until I considered...
A man in the Russian Gulag had had enough. He decided he'd carried his last stone from pile A to pile B for his tormentors in this Sisyphean farce. He laid himself down to await execution by shovel blade. Just then a fellow prisoner sidled up and, wordless, traced the shape of a cross in the dust; walked away. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn then gathered himself together and scooped up another rock- this time knowing why.
The rest is history.
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation," quoth Henry David Thoreau. But I know a better quote: Malcolm Muggeridge said the happiest person in the world is the woman who sweeps out her house to the glory of God. She is not aware of the grievousness of her days because she has transcended them with knowledge; she has "overcome" and will receive the hidden manna and also a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to her (Revelation 2:17).

... "Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Scene 1: Willy Loman, working for Willy Loman, walks in, stage right, carrying two large sample cases: The Death of a Salesman.
Or imagine: Willy Loman, working for Jesus now, walks in, stage right, carrying two large sample cases: new play.

The whole collection of essays is definitely worth reading, and it's quite a small book, unfortunately, but it is meaty. While I have nothing more to add to her words, I will leave you with this seasonal message:

"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
(Luke 2:14)

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ta Da!

The dress that had been consuming all my free time and creative energies (hence no new posts) is finished and much to my great satisfaction, also was an apparent hit at the Christmas party. Merci bien! MK, for letting me put these up! You rook mahvelous!

Okay, so about the dress. MK was inspired to have one similar to one she saw at Anthropologie. I developed a pattern, made a mock-up and once I established a good fit, we decided to raise the waistline a bit in front and remove the skirt gathers at center front to make it more flattering. The fashion fabric is a white taffeta flocked with black velveteen and the sash is black cotton velveteen cut on the bias and hand stitched in place. I underlined the fashion fabric of the bodice with white silk organza to give it more structure and less transparency in the white areas. The bodice is also supported with boning along all the seam lines except center back where there is an "invisible" black zipper. The dress is fully lined in white to maintain the "whiteness" of the taffeta. Because I was working with a limited amount of fabric that MK had purchased prior to the designing of the dress, I chose to add a black point d'esprit petticoat layer to give the dress a little more length and oomph. I'm especially proud of the motif matching I was able to achieve considering the limited yardage and a few fabric flaws I had to work around.
MK purchased the shrug and then doctored it up a bit with her crochet genius. She also made her beautiful choker and handbag! I expect this won't be the last time we combine our creative talents...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Juror #0

A few weeks ago I received notice that I had been selected for jury duty. And I know it's my civic duty and all that, but really, it's completely impractical for me at this point in my life. I filled out the form with my reasons why I couldn't do it (single-homeschooling-mom of 3 and jury duty would disrupt my children's education and providing childcare for them would be very difficult for me, etc), and today I was relieved to see that I have been excused......this time.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

fire and ice cream




Your Icecream Flavour is...Neopolitan!
You aren't satisfied with just one flavor. They say variety is the spice of life and this shines through in your Ice cream of choice! Just don't eat all the chocolate and leave the strawberry and vanilla behind!
What is your Icecream Flavour?

Find out at Go Quiz

Monday, December 04, 2006

girls in white dresses with pink satin sashes

I actually made three of these little white eyelet dresses for the grand daughters of my neighbor for a family photo op. If my own daughter wasn't so particular about what she wears, I'd make her one too.

My most current project is a retro inspired cocktail dress for my dear friend MK. I'm hoping she'll let me post the finished results here. I'm making good progress with it, and it's a good thing since she'll be wearing it to a party on 16 December.

Also I have the hankering to make loads of p.j.'s which are another favorite garment of mine to make. They are quick and fun to wear. I found some extremely delicious fabric at WalMart (of all places) for a buck a yard! If I get my rear in gear and get them photographed before I ship them off and give them as presents, I will also post them here.

My sons have expressed an interest in learning how to sew, so I have begun to teach them the basics. They made some robes (with help) from fleece fabric they picked out.

Ebay bug

My sister likes shopping on ebay. I have on occasion tracked items and looked at prices and then become overwhelmed and just went to the store to find what I needed. But today I made my first ebay purchase. The boys and I have been watching some lego star wars minifigures and sets that they would like to add to their growing collection. I've lost several bids so far, and last night I thought I had lost, but today I was given a "second chance offer". Apparently the seller actually had two of the same set and offered it to me also as the second highest bidder. So I bought it, and K still thinks I lost so he will be pleasantly surprised when he opens the Emperor Palpatine and throne seat. The set we are most anxious about "winning" is the new and hard to get X-wing fighter with six minifigures: Leia, Chewy, Han, Luke, Antilles, and R2. I tried to order it from and it is backordered until April. Which means it wouldn't even be on time for K's birthday.

This whole concept of "winning" (buying) and "losing" (not buying) is an interesting twist to shopping. It makes a game of shopping, and I can see how it becomes highly addictive and expensive. It's amazing what some people will pay for a 2 inch high piece of plastic, and by "some people" I mean myself.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to make a Joyella

5 parts friendliness

5 parts self-sufficiency

5 parts leadership
Add to a cocktail shaker and mix vigorously. Top it off with a sprinkle of fitness and enjoy!


Personality cocktail

"Sprinkle of fitness"? Yeah, right.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Back to the blogging board

I've just updated to the newest version of blogger and now I've noticed all my custumized elements have evaporated into cyberspace. I'm tweaking and tuning, so please be patient because I'm already overloaded with other non-computerish tasks to do the next few weeks. For some odd reason I can't get my comments with Haloscan to work here, so I'm back to blogger for now...

In other news, I have recently inherited a vintage, customizable dress form. I was so eager to try it, I nearly got myself stuck inside it's metal meshlike cage. It's meant to be put on, with help, and molded to one's shape, I of course, tried it on alone and found myself in a potentially very embarrassing predicament. But with persistence (and brief panic) I was able to shrug it back off.

Monday, November 27, 2006

4 Tagged (again)

MaryKate tagged me on this one, and I do believe I've done it before, but for those of you who are new or forgetful I'll give it another go.

Things You May Not Have Known About Me:
Four jobs I've had in my life:

  1. nanny/ day care
  2. school librarian
  3. art teacher
  4. freelance seamstress/custom clothier
Four movies I would (and do) watch over and over:
  1. Amelie
  2. Anne of Green Gables
  3. Pride and Prejudice
  4. It's a Wonderful Life
Four places I have lived:
  1. Baltimore, MD
  2. Timonium, MD
  3. The Philippines
  4. Chantilly, VA
Four TV shows I love (or would love) to watch:
  1. Gilmore Girls
  2. Smallville
  3. Numb3rs
  4. (I don't really watch t.v. so I don't even know what the shows are anymore....the 3 listed above are favorites from the past couple years, but I'm sure there are better, more interesting programs that I'll never see since I don't have cable and will have forgotten about them by the time the roll out on dvd.)
Four Places I have been on Vacation:
  1. Estes Park, CO
  2. Les 7 Laux, France
  3. The Netherlands
  4. North Carolina beaches
Four of my favorite foods:
  1. waffles
  2. most non-pudding related desserts especially if chocolate, fruit or nuts are involved
  3. roasted meat and potatoes
  4. cheese fondue
Four of my favorite books (a bit redundant from a previous quiz, but hey):
  1. The Bible, God (and others)
  2. Lord of the Rings, Tolkein
  3. The Chronicles of Narnia, Lewis
  4. Harry Potter, Rowling
I'm not passing this one on, since it's come around quite a bit in the blogosphere. Rest easy all you blog-friends :D

*Hey, I'm really excited that the new version of Blogger has a functioning spellcheck! Okay, now I've got no excuses.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Zen Mom

Are You a Slacker Mom?

Your quiz results make you a Zen Mom

How do you do it? Even when explosions are all around, you are able to take a deep cleansing breath and chant your mantra "this too shall pass." You are a calming influence on your kids in a hectic world.

Take this free personality test by Clicking Here>> or going to

That's progress, eh?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Art Glass

We had a field trip to McFadden Art Glass Gallery and Studio today. What fun! Here are some pictures, and check out the website. There will be an open house with live demonstrations and refreshments on November 17th and 18th check out their website for more details. Tim makes all kinds of fabulous glass things. We happened to witness him make an ornament, bowl, pumpkin, flower and a fish today.

I love an opportunity to spread the word about local artists (especially if I think they are talented) and Tim McFadden is also the nephew of a good friend of mine, so I'm happy to give him a little free publicity here at snippets. Also availble, see the website, are classes, make-your-own-workshops, and lots of cool stuff for sale.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Too Much Chocolate

I guess I ate too much chocolate or possibly it's the chocolate covered espresso beans I ate that my sister sent me that are keeping me up, so I thought I'd make a post-birthday post.

I'm thirty-four now. I'll probably not have to tell anyone my age for many months and by then I will have forgotten my age and have to do math. It was a good day. I took us out for breakfast, part of my present to myself to have a hot breakfast without the dirty dishes. Afterward, I drove home the long way to admire the morning sun rays shining through the golden foliage.

This is my most very favorite time of year. Yesterday we were wearing shorts and t-shirts, today it was back to corduroys and jackets. Something about fall makes me contemplative. I've been thinking about a lot of things, feeling somewhat overwhelmed with my life and honestly kind of sad today. I haven't felt sad for months, so I guess I'm due. I fell climbing over a baby gate on Sunday at a birthday party and badly bruised both my kneecaps, and the kids keep bumping them with themselves and various toys and I have forgotten and tried kneeling a few times. Ouch! Physical pain sometimes feels good in the midst of emotional gloominess. It gives me something tangible to be sad about. In the midst of my black and blue knees, I have much that I am thankful for, and it is focusing on these things that helps me to pull out of the shadows.
Today I am thankful for:

  1. text messages that say Happy Birthday
  2. Supercool birthday songs on my voice mail
  3. bacon and french toast
  4. apple pie
  5. Mom
  6. Dad
  7. big sis
  8. big bro
  9. my kids
  10. trees in vibrant hues of gold, crimson, orange
  11. grilled cheese sandwiches
  12. chocolate
  13. emails
  14. birthday wishes
  15. lots of phone calls at dinner time (usually I don't like that)
  16. faithful friends
  17. nasturtiums
  18. a comfortable bed
  19. things to look forward to
  20. the giggles and wiggles of L

I guess I was thinking mostly of tangible blessings, and there are some that just go without saying, like Jesus' saving work on the cross and resurrection, answers to prayers never spoken, and all of God's creation. There are more things but since that's a nice even twenty, I'll stop there.

Thanks friends and loved ones, for making this birthday Happier.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

What's New Pussycat?

L turned 3 on Monday, and I celebrate my 34th birthday today! So wish me a happy birthday or send me some chocolate, the kids aren't sharing their Halloween candy.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Little Pumpkins

Did a little pumpkin carving on Saturday with the kiddos. K and D drew the faces for theirs and I carved them, easier said then done! The littlest one, I designed for L, she loves kitties. My mom told me she saw an article or something where the pumpkins were carved with wood carving tools (like the ones I have from doing wood block cuts and linoleum cuts for printmaking in college), so I dug them out of the closet and gave it a try. I only nearly cut off my finger twice, and only drew blood once, so I consider it a success.
Although you do still need to gut the seeds and goo, the cool thing about using these tools is you don't have to cut all the way through the pumpkin, just skim off some of the outer layer and then the candle glows through when lit inside.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Beater Lickin' Good

Best part of helping mom in the kitchen is getting to lick off the beaters.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Belly Flops and Belly Rolls

I was able to get out for a little fun recreation today. I took Light Rail down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor for Flug Tag today. For those of you unfamiliar (as I was), Flug Tag is an event where people create man-powered flying machines and test their abilities to fly....landing them in the harbor. Some were designed well for flying or at least, gliding down to the water gracefully and others were just fun to watch plummet, flop, or even get hung up on the side of the platform before going down.

Then this evening spent a few hours with some girlfriends learning how to belly dance. Just watch me figure 8, belly roll, chest pop, and shimmy. It was great fun. Our instructor first performed for us a dance where she balanced lit candles on a tray on her head. Later I learned she does the same dance with a sword! Now that would have been cool to see! But the candles were pretty impressive. Not sure when I'll have opportunity to put any of these new learned skills into practice, but it was entertaining and I think that I may have created a few new synapses in my brain because of it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ladies only

At the risk of giving TMI... Instead (?!) of wings and strings (or those horrible belts of the 50s). I just happened upon them today in the Target.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Yesterday L discovered a "lizard" in the living room. I figured she saw one of the plastic toy ones, but she was very excited about her discovery and was urgent that I come see it. So I checked it out and much to my surprise, there was a living salamander on my livingroom floor! It was a slender little black one covered with fuzz and lint from the carpet. How and why did it get inside? I gently picked it up (they are very delicate little amphibians) and set it free outside. It was happy (I assume) to return to the damp earth.

In other news, life has accelerated and it's been difficult to keep up the posts. Generally speaking, things are good, but very busy. I am behind on many mundane things like laundry (what's new here?) and dusting. Schooling is going well. Although as it is for many home school moms, it's always a challenge to accomplish everything I hope to in a day. I was reminded yesterday at a homeschool baseball game (K and D had their very first baseball playing experience and loved it) by one of the other moms about priorities. She was sharing how she gets stressed seeing the trees instead of the forest. She said her husband asks her, "Do the kids love Jesus? are they learning His word?" And while my kids have never actually said, "Mommy, I love Jesus," they remind me when I forget to read the Bible chapter in the morning. Another friend shared with our group at WOW yesterday about how hard it is to see the fruits of her labors as mother. That sometimes we don't see the evidence of our work until twenty years down the road when the kids have moved out and are competant adults. I think that often as stay-at-home mothers our noses are too close to the big picture. We need to take a few steps back to gain a more complete perspective. Do our children love God? Are they learning His Word? and Are we being the examples we should be to our children that they can witness God's love through Christ in our actions?

Yesterday, my daughter told me I am her hero. And while this filled me with motherly pride, it also reinforced my desire to be the mother she needs me to be (pointing her to the Ultimate Hero). It isn't an easy job, but it certainly is a worthwhile one.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Disposable II

It looks like I'm not the only one concerned about the disposable mentality of our culture. MK from Ganap! has put this bug in my ear. Interesting remarks by artistists, artisans, and regular consumer folk.

After reading chapter 4: Filling our lives with things, from "Temptations Women Face", I have been thinking more on this topic. As a general rule, I have pretty much given up on mall shopping, unless I need something from a specific store only found in the mall (or I want to see something I saw online in person), because years ago I discovered that the mall shopping mentality breeds discontentment. I'm not much of a shopper anyway. But I've noticed that my kids lives are being filled with junk. Junky toys and crappy gadgets. When M and I first started our family we wanted to keep a simple toy policy: nothing that makes noises, requires batteries, or is associated with a television show. We instead provided our boys with blocks and other wooden toys and lots of books...but the junk started rolling in around K's 3rd birthday. The thing is, they love their junky stuff. L collects it in bags and totes it all over the house. Dumping and refilling is a daily ritual for her.

The real problem I'm finding is in maintaining balance. How to appreciate what we have, to enjoy it, take care of it, and not constantly wish for more, bigger, better things. To see and enjoy cool toys or beautifully made home goods (or fabrics *sigh*) and not feel the nagging urge to possess them. I'm trying to instill the concept of giving with my children. When the toys seem to get to be too much, or when they say they are bored, I know it's time to whittle down our collection. Sometimes I box up stuff and put it out of sight for a while, but other times we just give it all away. One concept I agreed with that author Mary Ellen Ashcroft brings out in chapter 4, was about how giving (not selling) helps to promote contentment. She writes, " Giving shatters our sense that what we have is our own. Generosity flows out, greed pulls in."

But another approach is to just resist the urge to by cheap crappy stuff in the first place. Dollar stores and "Mart" stores prey on our desire for lots of stuff for very few dollars. I admit that one of my sons' favorite toys came from the Dollar Tree. It's a set of plastic tropical frogs. They haven't broken (they are nearly indestructible) and they use them in so many kinds of play, even painting them with their own designs. But for the most part that kind of stuff doesn't last a week, let alone a day, and what does that teach our children? It was easier saying no to stupid, impulse buys like these when I wasn't a single mom. But now (as I assume is the case for M, by all the junk the kids bring home with them) it is harder to say no, because somewhere deep inside I think I can make up for their loss of a father with buying them stuff.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More fashion show pictures here, and this one has a sightly better shot of me in my dress.

Monday, October 02, 2006

VIP Exclusive Fashion Show

I was in D.C. Friday night attending my very first, live fashion show. Watch the previous one here . Three local designers were showcasing their fall lines: Saeyoung Vu, Unsung, and Kimberly Kouture. A friend of mine has an in with the CEO of VIP Exclusive and so, not only were we front row to the fashion show, we also had passes to the exclusive upstairs party room. This all sounds a bit more glamorous than it really was, but I did see a lot of really cool dresses on really fierce looking models.

I couldn't turn off my dress-maker's eye as I noticed ill-fitting garments and unbalanced hemlines. The clothes were obviously not made for the models sporting them. Something only a custom clothier would notice. One poor dear had a "wardrobe malfunction" as her strapless gown plummeted below her breast on one side. Fortunately she was wearing a similarly colored strapless bra underneath (phew!). I also noticed a dress with spaghetti straps tied together with ribbon in the back and a skirt that was all hooched up and puckered because the booty inside it was too much for it to handle. It made me realize why models are expected to be a certain size to best display a design...and yet I was also glad to see less than perfect female bodies strutting the cat walk.

I came away from the show with a bunch of questions, of which my friend got an earful, but he didn't know the answers. Another cool thing about the evening is that there may be potential opportunities for networking in the fashion biz...we shall see.

Oh, I wore a new dress I made to the affair (see me sitting on the far left? more pics here), I will try to post one later this week.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Women on Wednesday (WOW) is an opportunity at my church for women to come together for a time of fellowship, praise and learning. There is usually a potpourri of classes that meet for about an hour and a half after our time altogether. This semester I have joined the class reading the book "Temptations Women Face: Honest Talk About Jealousy, Anger, Sex, Money, Food, Pride" by Mary Ellen Ashcroft. I'm still sorting out my thoughts on this book and the chapters I've read thus far. I wonder where is the line between pride as sin and pride as knowing we've done well and acknowledging it? I was reminded of this recently when in a conversation with a certain narcissist, I tried to take credit for how well the kids are doing. In conversation with other people (friends and family mostly) I usually remember to point any success I'm having with them back to the Lord. But I realized after the fact that I still have a residual urge to gain his approval and recognition for a tough job under tough circumstances. If I don't let go of that, I will always be disappointed with such conversations. Soli Deo Gloria....To God alone be the Glory.

SDG - Soli Deo Gloria

J S Bach appended these initials at the end of each of his Cantatas scores.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Inquiring Minds Like Mine

....want to know what happened to the huge spider that was in the bathtub last night, and couldn't seem to find it's way out? I was too tired and it was too late to get the "death vac" out, so I squirted it with some bug spray, thinking it would sedate it or something. This morning when I got up and peeked in, it was nowhere to be found. I can only hope it crawled down the drain and got stuck...Did I mention it was gargantuan?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Renfest

I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival on Saturday. And despite the gloomy, misty weather, it didn't put a damper on the day. As you can see, I dressed up for the occasion...I ended up making the outfit even though I set out to borrow one from a friend. I restyled an old fashioned cotton nightgown with eyelet trim into a peasant blouse and petticoat, gathered some calico into a skirt and finally found a use for the one yard of ultra suede someone gave me. It made a perfect vest. Even though I prefer the higher Renaissance fashions of lords and ladies, I think the peasant/bar maiden look suits me fine (and it's much less labor intensive to construct).

Hack and Slash were by far the best act going on. I laughed so hard my face ached afterwards... the artisians were, as usual, inspiring and the smells of food were fantastic. I was provided with the most thorough picnic ever which, because of the wet conditions and forgotten blanket, became a tailgate lunch for two. I was a little overwhelmed with all the variety, but it was all tasty and the company wasn't bad either. ;)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I think part of the reason I don't read as much as I'd like to is, when I get into a really, I mean really good book, I don't want it to end. The same is true for movies, and yet going in I know in roughly two hours (three if I'm lucky) it will have ended. It makes me a little sad, even if the endings are happy, jubilant or triumphant, because I become so absorbed into that world with those people it's almost like losing new friends. I felt this way with Wonderfalls. The show had one season (that I know of on DVD), a three disk series, approximately twelve hours, that I devoured in a matter of two weeks or less. Fortunately, the girl does get the boy in the last episode.

Speaking of which, I never before enjoyed watching people kiss in movies or television, but I have lately... hmmm. I used to think it was lame that older, single women, widows and "old maids" would watch romantic movies to live vicariously through the characters... I'm hoping it's more so a result of my liking the particular characters in Wonderfalls and wanting them to end up together that was generating such a response.

Unlike some of my avid reader friends, I'm not as satisfied rereading the books (or replaying the shows) until I've pretty much forgotten them. A big part of the enjoyment for me is the surprise of what is yet to come.

Get this video and more at

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friends of friends

Lately it seems I owe thanks to certain friends for connecting me to new friends. This is the way friendship should work, I think, a tangled web (no pun intended) of relationships. One friend in particular has connected me with several good people, kindred spirits even, for which I am ever grateful. This same person was the one who first introduced me to the blogosphere. In his latest post, there is a link to a very concise, informative, podcast interview with Salimah Perkins which I'd link here myself, but I can't seem to find the proper url. I've added her blog, Baltimore Chronicles, to my blogroll, because she's a real writer and a personal friend of a friend...let's keep the web spinning.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I read that during the time of WWII when people became more frugal with everything, that this hurt the fashion industry (among other industries) quite a bit. Unlike today, when people can buy cheaply made inexpensive clothes, things were made to last. That wasn't the problem so much as the fact that because people were paring down, they couldn't afford to buy new, nicely crafted, more expensive garments that last. And so the Americans of this generation learned to mend and darn. Actually, I think people have been mending and darning for thousands of years prior, but perhaps the war hit at the time of the birth of disposable things, and so Americans went back to mending and darning. I think that for the people of this frugal generation, the idea of mending and darning and saving and reusing was a hard one to give up. For some of them they continue with these old ways, even to absurdity.

People who mend and darn and reuse and remake are odd, eccentric even. I should know because I'm one of them. We look at things and determine their worth based on their potential. But there is certainly a point at which you say, this needs to be replaced. I'm a firm believer in giving old things a second life. I'm often taking old garments apart and remaking them, or using the fabric from something to make another thing. But this only works when the integrity of the material is still in tact.

I recently had a client ask me to mend a bed sheet. This bed sheet in particular was one that I had "mended" about five years ago. She had me cut it down the middle and sew the outside selvage edges into a center seam. "That way I can get more wear out of it, since it was wearing thin in the middle," she told me. Well it was work at a time when I needed it, so I did it, although I think it is completely ridiculous to put seams in bedsheets. I don't care how nice the cotton is (or in this case was). This same sheet came back to me a few weeks ago, ripped in several places and with a whole piece missing. It was even patched back together wrong by some amateur. Fabrics wear out. They dry rot. They become thread bare. I did my best with the sheet, it looked awful and terribly uncomfortable. One firm tug on the sheet over a rough toenail and "rrrrriiiiiiiippppp" it'll be in shreds once again.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Today I learned that the Greek word for hospitality is directly translated "love of strangers". Isn't that cool? Well, today I was on the receiving end of that concept as my sister's friend from Georgia (whom I've never met) invited me to attend a cookout she was having while visiting nearby. How could I resist the offer to come to a beautiful farm in the country complete with a pond, swimming pool, hot tub, and trampoline? It seemed an appropriate way to spend the afternoon with the children, so I accepted and got to meet Julie's friends and their friends. We all had a really nice time. I'm not sure why, but it didn't even feel weird coming to a party where I knew absolutely no one. Perhaps it was because I've invited strangers to parties myself.

Two Memorial Days ago, I invited Everett, a man I met online from a divorce support chat room, to my Bible Study group's bbq at my home. He's a truck driver, and his tractor trailer had broken down in Baltimore leaving him stranded in a hotel room with his dog. He mentioned this in the chat room and my ears perked up at the word "Baltimore" so I chatted with him a little bit more. His truck took much longer than expected to be repaired and he had been in town for nearly a week when Memorial Day was approaching. I can't really explain it, I think it was God, but it was strongly impressed upon my heart to invite this stranger to my home for the bbq. I prayed about it, because I wasn't sure how "safe" he was and I didn't know much about him, but all I can say is that it felt like the right thing to do, and so I did it. My friend Anne, happened to bring her sister along and she and Everett hit it off immediately, they've been together ever since. Last month I learned they are engaged to be married!

I love this story, and I finally had a reason to share it with all of you...I guess the moral is love a stranger and you may change their life. Or perhaps the moral is trust your gut instinct, well at least that's what my therapist kept telling me to do, so I finally tried it and it turned out pretty well.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

9 questions book meme

MaryKate tagged me. I'm not a huge reader. I like books and once I get into a good one, I have a lot of trouble putting it down, I actually become a little obsessed with finishing it. So maybe that's why I don't always have one that I'm reading (for pleasure that is). I wasn't terribly excited to do this meme, since I haven't read all the great books yet....eventually I'll get to them. That's what I love most about the classical education I'm giving my kids.

  1. One book that changed your life? As a person: Codependent No More by Melody Beattie. As a woman: A return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit. As a Christian: Knowing with the Heart by Roy Clouser.
  2. One book you have read more than once? The Chronicles of Narnia and countless other children's books that are on our shelves.
  3. One book you would want on a desert island? The Bible, that way I'd actually read it cover to cover (or The Brother's Karamozov -I've started that one a few times but never been able to get "into" it and everyone has such great things to say about it.)
  4. One book that made you cry? (Just one?) Goodbye Jeanine by Joyce Sackett made me cry more than any other book I've read, but for obvious reasons.
  5. One book that made you laugh? Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophia Kinsella.
  6. One book you wish had been written? A very practical divorce handbook/survival guide.
  7. One book you wish had never had been written? Same as #6.
  8. One book you are currently reading? The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer
  9. One book you have been meaning to read? Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards (for about 10 years now)

I am supposed to tag 5 people but I think all the bloggers I know have done this here are a few people who don't blog but are avid readers and maybe they could post their answers in comments? Mom, Julie, Inge, (and Tif if she ever actually read my blog)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On the mend

Thanks for all the well-wishes...the antibiotics are doing their job and I'm much improved. I spent the past couple of days in a log cabin with my children my two x-sils (ex-sisters-in-law) and their children at Sandy Cove. We had a really nice time swimming, playing mini-golf, exploring the grounds, monkeying around on the playground, etc. Today while packing and cleaning up to head home, L locked my keys in my minivan. Just Monday, the boys had asked me if I had ever locked my keys in the car before, and I proudly said, "No, I have never locked my keys in the car before." Now I'm not superstitious, I don't knock on wood, but isn't that a strange coincidence? My "sisters" were great though, and helped me get the help I needed to get on the road (my phone and wallet were in the car too). By the time the tow truck driver arrived to jimmy the lock, I was no longer feeling stressed.

My other big news is that when I arrived home there were some packages waiting for me (some accessories for...) and a few hours later that big brown truck rumbled up the hill to deliver my new Dell Inspiron! My old computer bit the dust Sunday night, so it couldn't have been better timing. Now I'm learning this new gadget, oh, it can do really cool stuff, like make phone calls and burn cds and play dvds and, and....I'm as giddy as a school girl! The kids are psyched too, because now their games will play at regular speed.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


So, I'm still sick, and since I've become sick and tired of being sick and tired, and pretty sure my body isn't going to conquer whatever it is that is ailing me, I finally went to a doctor. Turns out I've got a whole bunch of -itis : bronchitis, pharangitis, tonsilitis. I've taken the opportunity of being sick and tired to become a bit of a couch potato and have watched lots of movies and television. Last night I spent the evening watching season 1 episodes of Wonderfalls which I greatly enjoyed. I particularly liked the juxtaposition of quirkiness, gen-Y underachievementism, disfunctional family relations, and the subtle transformation of one darkly sarcastic Brown University philosophy grad into a slightly less sarcastic and somwhat caring young woman. The question of destiny is constantly at play as inanimate toy animals and statues become animate and speak to Jaye Tyler telling her to do peculiar things. She finds that when she doesn't listen, bad things happen, although sometimes even good comes from these bad things. When she does the little animals bidding, it works out unexpectedly for some greater good, with usually bizarre results. She's not sure if she is going crazy, if God (or Satan?) is speaking to her directly or if she is just destiny's puppet.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Once upon a time I was an art teacher in a rinky-dink Christian school in Catonsville. I was thrilled to have employment, but overwhelmed by the range of classes I'd be teaching my first year out of college: pre-kindergarden through eighth grade. On top of all this the school had very limited funds, no existing curriculum and the art room was a complete disaster. I soon learned that the previous art teachers had all been packrats hoarding all sorts of useless junk with the thought that it could be made into something. I was up to my ears in an organizational nightmare with very little compensation. The thing that inspired me to return to teach for two more years was the student body. The eighth graders in particular became my pet class. They even invited me along on their end of year trip to chaperon. I was tickled to go, these kids were fun to be around, even if I had to act like a responsible adult in their presence. In fact, the following year, the school just wasn't the same without them. Welllllll, fast forward ten years into the age of myspace, and eighth graders are college graduates now- the same age I was when I taught them, some have married, some have started families and they've tracked me down to invite me to a ten year reunion in the Spring.

Monday, August 14, 2006

2 year blog-birthday

Wow, I've been at this for two years now...over 10,000 visits to this blog so far! Who are all of you people reading about my life?!

I'm happy to say that the original purpose and context for this blog has evolved for the better, although I can not attest that the content has much improved. I had grand ideas of summarizing the high points (or at least the most humorous) over the past two years, but since I'm sicker than a child's kitchen experiment, I will spare myself the trouble. However, if you have a particular favorite entry, I'd love to hear which one it is. Perhaps it'll cheer me into health.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sick in the head

A few weeks ago, my children were sick with headcolds. The majority of symptoms cleared up, but the boys had nagging coughs that plagued them mostly at night. I was feeling kind of smug that I hadn't caught the virus when I heard that M, the children's father, had come down with it right before his beach vacation. But now, my body has finally given up fighting and I am consumed with the sore throat, stuffy head, coughing, sneezing and general malaise. The boys are having a relapse, I guess, since the coughing has worsened and they have had sporadic fevers. I'm sure it didn't help my recovery that I stayed up past midnight watching Alfred Hitchcock's Anatomy of a Murder with Jimmy Stewart. I must have had an "irresistble impulse" which caused this "insanity". It was two hours and forty minutes long, but very good all the way through. Hollywood has definitely lost it's touch, but then again, I'm partial to anything with Stewart or by Hitchcock. I was especailly surprised by the use of such words as "spermogenesis, panties" and "rape" in this film. You just don't hear that kind of mature language in those oldies very often. Oh and here's another reason to check out this old film, Duke Ellington does the entire soundtrack! (And there's a pretty good scene of swing dancers in action too.)

If you have seen Anatomy, I'd love to hear if you thought Manion was really guilty or not.There are still a lot of unanswered questions at the end.

**errata: Anatomy of a Murder is NOT an Alfred Hitchcock film, it was directed by Otto Preminger...I guess I assumed it was so because Netflix had it listed with all my favorite Hitchcock movies as a recommendation. My apologies for the misinformation.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

At table

Now that the boys are getting older and more articulate, we have more conversations and discussions at mealtimes, (that is, instead of just noise). At lunch today D presented an example of typical family discourse. I will try to transcribe it to the best of my recollection:

D: Mommy what is your worst food?
Me: Hmmm, liver, no, anything slimy and bitter
D: What is your worst drink?
Me: (laughing) anything slimy and bitter
D: What is your worst color?
Me: Throw-up color
K: Oh, me too.
D: Mommy, if there was only slimy, bitter things to eat and drink and everything was throw-up color, what would you do? Would you eat and drink or would you die?
Me: I'd die.
D: Yeah, me too.
K: I wouldn't, I'd want to live.
K: But drinks aren't slimy, Mommy.
Me: Raw eggs are slimy.
K: That's not a drink.
Me: Some people crack raw eggs into a glass and drink it.
K: ewwww

I could have steered this conversation into another direction... but half the fun is just seeing where these conversations will go naturally, when they ask the questions.

in the name of science

Just for the sake of scientific curiosity, I know you all are wondering how that bruise is getting on. Well, it's just gettin' perttier and perttier. I bet Target could use it for one of their ads.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saturday blahs

I finished my last beginner level swing dance class on Wednesday. Chuck, my instructor, told me I was "smooth," I believe he meant my dancing. His assistant also told me I was doing really well, that I had good form, etc. But last night, I danced with a maniac, and suffered a fall. I wasn't doing arials folks, he pushed me hard and inadvertantly tripped me with his wild footwork, and I went sailing acrosss the dance floor to the foot of the stage. My injuries consist of a badly bruised and scraped knee, and today, a case of the blahs... He didn't even help me up! The guy did finally (about an hour later) come over and apologized and then asked me to dance again. I politely declined. I resolve to never dance with him again. But what is it with the men out there? Why are some men so self-absorbed they can't tell they've completely missed the mark? Chuck said, in class, that it's the man's job to make the woman look good on the dance floor, especially with swing. How is it a man can trip a woman and not offer her a hand? It makes me mad. I'm angry that there are immature, narcissistic men who don't know how to be a gentleman. I'm angry that I put up with it. Another much older man I danced with told me he wished he could bottle my sense of humor because there were "so many uptight women" at the dance. If only I had told him how uncomfortable a dance partner he was. He was too rough, and yet, since no one else was asking I danced three songs with him, and it wasn't funny anymore.

In all fairness there were a number of "smooth" gentleman that I danced with too, they even taught me a few new steps, but somehow I feel like a magnet to the it because I'm too nice? hmmmmmm

update: Mood has improved today, knee, however looks worse and feels the same, "ouch."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Snowball fight

My friend Gregory suggested that I freeze some snow balls last winter and save them for summer. I've always wanted to do that, but never had. So today we finally pulled a few of them out of the freezer and let them melt all over us outside which inevitably ended in a very short, but wet snow ball shower. We discovered that if you pretend to throw the snow ball once it has begun to melt it sprays your target quite effectively. Thanks Gregory for the fun idea...I'm saving one for you if you ever make it back to Baltimore ;)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

School Supplies

I love school supplies. I especially love brand new school supplies, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, the crispness of pristine composition books, and the sound of a just opened box of crayons. My orders for books, curricula, and other supplies have just been submitted to Rainbow Resource Center and There is a twinge of excitement knowing that in a few weeks packages will be arriving in the mail. This year we are psyched to be studying Medieval times - Renaissance, and Geology and Space. What could be more fun for little boys to study than knights and castles and planets and galaxies? Because we only just finished reading tonight about the fall of the Roman empire, I have decided to begin school the first week of August. I'm hoping that an early start will take some of the pressure off later in the year when we feel the need for an extended holiday.

Last year was a difficult one, homeschooling only added to the difficulty and stress, but this (academic) year is "brand new with no mistakes in it". I feel free to focus my attentions on more complex tasks and even have the capacity to plan ahead once again. The divorce created a foggy haze over time so that, in the beginning I could see only one day at a time. Eventually, as it lifted, I could look a week or two into the future and schedule things, but more than a month ahead was just inconceivable. Now I'm thinking through the school year, scheming my next birthday party and even anticipating next summer's family reunion and beach vacation (Lord willing). I can hardly comprehend that a year has passed since my trip to Japan, that my baby daughter is now finally potty-trained, that my seven year old son can draw better than some of my former 7th grade students ever could, and that my 5 year old son is writing me letters to tell me about his feelings! So even though I felt like in many ways I didn't accomplish all I had hoped to over the past year, under the circumstances, we did quite well.

While we won't have all the fresh workbooks, colored pencils and crisp texts yet to begin next week, we do have plenty to keep us busy until all the packages arrive.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Twister casualty

Today while shopping I decided to buy a new game for our family. K has been getting into board games and asks daily, if not hourly if I'll play monopoly with him (which I'm already tiring of). So I bought Twister. It's something somewhat active, reinforces cooridination, balance, and skills like color and right and left identification. It's an educational but fun game, and one of my favorites. They were excited to get started as soon as they came back from M's tonight and so, while the oven was heating up for me to put in dinner, we played a quick game. This game ended suddenly when I fell knee first right onto the tip of my left middle finger. Those cartoon depictions of what happens when a finger gets smashed is no exaggeration. Somehow I managed to hold in all the nasty things I wanted to blurt out while clutching my wounded digit in agony. I think all that the kids heard me say was, "Owwwwwwwwwwwwwww owww owwwwowww". I can't type with that finger which is making for beaucoup typos, sorry if I don't catch all of them. The whole underside of the tip is black and blue, but since I just painted my finger nails red the other day, I'm not sure how the nailbed is. I'm sure it's gonna get real purty.
The kids continued to play several more games, and I got the job as "Spinner". Six hours and 2 naprosin later and it's still throbbing.

***Update: After looking up some info on the net and talking to some friends who are experienced with broken fingers, I have concluded that I probably sustained a stable fracture. I don't want to pay $300 for an xray and expert opinion when really the only treatment is to splint it and immobilize it for about 4 weeks. The splint was about $3 at'll be just fine, eventually. And this is my first broken bone EVER.

Monday, July 10, 2006

In stitches

You'd think that since I'm a seamstress, seeing my 7 year old son's knee being stitched together after a bad fall wouldn't faze me. I thought I had a tough constitution when it came to these kinds of things... In high school biology the other girls in my lab group wouldn't do any disecting of the critters. They left all the gorey cutting and removing of organs to me. I found it completely fascinating and wondered on occasion if I had what it takes to be a nurse or doctor or even a veterinarian... So, when Dr. Bala started to poke around in K's knee to determine if it was numb enough to be sutured (it wasn't, by the way and required more anesthetic) ewwww, I started to feel a little queezy. I watched him sew and admired his technique, but as soon as he tied off the fourth and last stitch and snipped the blue thread, I felt the room swooshing. I nearly fainted, which is highly unusual for me.

On top of all that drama, I couldn't find the insurance card, forgot my cell phone, forgot my wallet, forgot my checkbook... I did have my purse with me, which was full of useless junk. I happened to take out my wallet at home to check for the insurance card and forgot to put it back in. My phone had been charging but was finished, and my checkbook usually resides in my bag, but for some reason it had taken a brief vacation. Several years ago, all this unpreparedness might have sent me into a mild panic attack, but I guess I've learned somewhere along the line that it isn't the end of the world when you forget those important things, it's just a complete nuisance.

K was a soldier through it all (after the initial high-pitched screams resulting from his painful fall and the sight of his own blood). I think he enjoyed (and is still enjoying) all the special attention.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Memorial Gardens

On Saturday I went to the grave site of my late sister. I hadn’t been there in at least 10 or 12 years. It was a tough visit, but I got to tell her some things that were on my mind lately, and just cry and sit a while. It’s a beautiful place. I’m still glad I chose the plot near the pond, not that it matters to her very much, but for me and others to visit it’s really peaceful and lovely. This month marks the 17th anniversary of her death. While there, I realized that I have now lived more of my life without her, than with her. I still miss her.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Kids say the darnedest things...

Today the boys had fevers. They missed their first day of bible camp and were mostly lethargic all day. After the ibuprofen kicked in, they perked up a little before bedtime. I happened to pick up some of their baby books and journals I wrote in during my pregnancies stacked by my bed and took a little stroll down memory lane. D found me doing this and laid himself on my bed next to me, and was interested in the sonogram pictures. Then we came to a picture of my enormous maternal belly and D said I looked like a "big fat man". Nice. He said now I look like a "medium lady". While reading little bits in his book I came to an entry I thought I'd share here.

January 3, 2003 (D is just a few months passed his 2nd birthday.)
This morning while I was still in bed, D came to me saying he wanted to be undressed. He proceded to take all of his clothes off, including his diaper and climbed up on the bed. He looked down and said, "My penis is sort of a snowman!" K came running over to see and said, "Hey, snowman penis!"

At the conclusion of reading this D burst into giggles. I wonder if he will still find this story amusing when he is seventeen? Heh heh.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


I took the kids to our very first drive-in movie last night! I have wanted to go to a drive-in for as long as I can remember. When we first moved to Timonium, when I was about four, there was drive-in theater about a half mile away. I remember driving home at night and passing that giant screen and seeing dracula three stories high right along I-83. My parents never took us, (they probably had good reasons) and several years later it was torn down and a Holiday Inn was built in its stead.

I decided that I wasn't going to wait any longer, and when I saw that Cars was playing it was a perfect opportunity. (What better place to watch a movie about cars, than in a theater designed to watch from your own car?) The children had asked me to take them to see it. Pixar has done it again...another excellent movie that kids and adults can enjoy, with a good moral to the story too. [Ooooooh, and the short animated film which precedes it, "One-man band", is superb!]

Kids under eleven are free at Bengies, and my ticket was $8, not bad. They charge $7 to bring your own food, but I opted for the whole drive in experience and planned on getting our snacks there. The food prices seemed reasonable but it was a hassle carrying everything back to the minivan with the kids. Next time, we'll bring our own and not forget the bug spray! I got a bunch of skeeter bites, but I really enjoyed being outside to watch the movie. It was the best of both worlds: gorgeous nite, great movie, the best company, the perfect date with my munchkins. This is my new favorite way to see a movie.

Bengies Drive-in has been talking of shutting down for a number of years, but they keep coming back. They are celebrating 50 years of running. It's a great family movie experience, a great date opportunity and it's relatively inexpensive considering if you're a night owl, you get three movies for the price of just one! We stayed for part of the second feature "Akeelah and the Bee" which looks like a good one, but it was too late for us to stay for the whole thing.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

family photo

About two months ago, after church one Sunday, I signed up for our family to have our picture taken for the forthcoming pictorial church directory. I must have been so sedated from the sermon that I wasn't thinking straight when I picked the time slot of 4:40pm on this lovely Wednesday afternoon. I guess I was thinking something like, well it'll be after L's nap, so she'll be perky and fresh. Or perhaps none of the morning slots were available, and I didn't want to interrupt naptime, I'm not exactly sure what the reason was. I hope it was a good one...

...Completely crazy this afternoon. L began her nap at a decent time of roughly 1:30pm. Our power cut out at about 2 pm, interupting the boys computer time, which prompted the eldest to have a sulky spell since he hadn't had a turn yet. After a call to BGE and a brief wait, the power came back on, the boys finished their game and I folded a gargantuan pile of laundry. L is still sleeping. After the laundry is put away, K asks to play Candyland (my least fave kid game) and I am able to convince him that he is much too old for such childish games..."it says ages 3-6 on it" we proceed to play our very first game of family Scrabble and are completely emersed, when suddenly I remember our errand today and ask, "K, what time is it?"
"4:15, Mommy."
"Shoot, we've got to get our pictures taken!" and I begin the flurry of brushing my hair and checking my make-up and then proceed to wake our sleeping Beauty...We are pottry training again, after a bit of a relapse, so I plop her on her potty seat and she begins to cry, still dazed and half asleep. Then I try to wrestle the unhappy princess into something to wear. She's sitting on the changing table completely naked refusing everything I hold up, even her ever-popular icecream cone t-shirt. (At this point I don't care what she wears as long as it's something. I gave up on the idea of all of us coordinating, that's not really our style anyway.) Then I decide she's going to be unhappy no matter what and wrestle her into a dress and matching panties while she cries and exclaims, "NO DRESS, MOMMY" repeatedly. Her face is red, blotchy and tear-stained. I hold her and she wipes her snotty, teary face on my shirt. Great, now I need a fresh shirt.

It is now 4:30...we will be late getting to church. My mom announces from outside the kitchen window that she has picked a lot of peas, I refill a sippy cup and still have to get everyone in the car.

Somehow we manage to get there only five minutes late. Not bad I'm thinking. L has stopped crying finally but still is blotchy and grouchy. She clutches me and her pink doggy and her sippy cup like a life line.

We are called into a room by a young man with a quirky British accent. I'm thinking, "Is he on drugs or is he just trying to be peppy for the kids?" It was bizzare and I felt a little uncomfortable. After many attempts to get the little Miss to smile, an Elmo doll appeared and seemed to do the trick, but not before a million obnoxious noises and faces were made at her. It's no wonder I look glazed over and annoyed in most of the pictures.

The one we chose but didn't buy, since the smallest "package" was over a hundred bucks, has everyone smiling to some degree. I think the kids look the best, but hey, so what? It's just for the church directory anyway. To remember the insanity I get one free 8x10 print. Oh, yay.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Kitchen!

I apologize for the poor quality of these camera-phone pics...but for now it's all I've got that's fast. Here are a few different views of the kitchen, which to my great delight is now finished (save the glass fronts for two cabinets and the lazy susan for the corner cabinet.) That cute boy in the pictures is my artist/thinker, "K". Notice the ginormous fridge which could've eaten the old one for lunch...and the double oven! I now have twice the baking power than I did out! It's kind of hard to tell, but the walls are now a pale robin's egg blue, referred to by the contractors as "Joyella's surprise". As you may notice, if you've been in my old kitchen, some things are rearranged and the new bar feature is my brainchild. The kids love it, it provides a great place to snack, draw, view the toads stationed there or chat with me as I cook.

All this kitchen goodness was made possible by my dad and mom and of course, The Great Provider of all things. To them I am very thankful...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Multicultural Weekend

My children are away with their father this week while our kitchen is being redone. Having the extra free time has been a little like a mini vacation, even though I have no sink or stove, the food is all packed away, there is dust everywhere, and the contents of my kitchen are stashed in odd places throughout the house. Friday was swinging to big band, Saturday was Mehndi and Bride and Prejudice with the girls, Sunday was pizza, Italian ice and Kung Fu Hustle , and tonight I went to a beginning swing class (to reinforce my freshly learned skills) and stayed for the Latin I class. We learned the Merengue. (Only in America.) I have wanted to take social dance lessons for at least 15 years. It was something M and I often said we should do, but never did.

On Friday night I was given a few helpful hints by a few of my partners. Tonight the instructor's assistant (who was filling in as lead since we had twice as many women as men) told me I follow really well. It is actually quite enjoyable to not lead I am finding, just follow and keep in rhythm. I am finding a good many parallels to partner dancing and relationships. Here are a few, you connect the dots:

1. When dancing don't look down at your feet, look ahead and just feel the movement of your partner to guide you.
2. Don't get too close or you may get stepped on, too far away and you get out of sync.
3. Look into your partners eyes when you take a turn, it keeps you going in the right direction.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I could have danced all night.

Last weekend my friend gave me a flyer for The Friday Night Swing Dance Club and I decided then that was how I wanted to spend my next kid-free Friday night. I invited a fellow I barely know to come with, we had dinner first at the Bayou Blue Cafe (yes it was a date, and no, I'm not posting any of those details here) and then got some directions from a helpful rent-a-cop on the Avenue. However, at dinner I learned that my companion works nights and would have to be off at nine-thirty p.m. (Some detail either he failed to mention earlier, or I had completely forgotten.) We took the one hour swing dance lesson, the instructor had fun pointing out all my stupid mistakes, and I learned that I have alot more to learn! After the lesson, the Crabtowne Big Band kicked up the music and the hall at the Boumi Temple was rockin'. Once I saw that it looked like a pretty fun crowd, and not all octogenarians, I decided to stick around even though my date had to leave. I'm so glad I did. I smiled and laughed and danced with numerous partners all of whom dance/lead differently so it was really good practice for me, especially since I learned I have a tendency to try and lead... Being a beginner dancer at this function was humbling, but all of the gents I danced with were so polite and fun and graciously smiled when I screwed up or missed a beat or didn't know the step. One man even taught me how to Fox Trot and another had me twirling to the Hustle. I'm really glad I didn't wear my high heels, extremely glad I used BodyGlide (I highly recommend!) in those places prone to friction, and pleasantly surprised to discover only one blister on the ball of my right foot.

While all this swinging excitement was happening inside, the most awesome thunder/lightening/downpour of a storm was happening outside. When it was time to leave I relished the cool summer(ish) rain barefooted as I slowly made my way out to my car in the lot. (There were several men standing under the awning, skiddish about fetching their cars for their significant others without an umbrella. It's just water guys...what's the big deal? Plus, after getting all hot and sweaty while dancing, what could feel more refreshing?) I put my bag and shoes inside the Green Machine and dawdled in the puddles for a while longer allowing myself to get thoroughly soaked before my ride home. It was superb!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

It is said that you can tell a lot about a woman by the things in her handbag...So here are thirteen items in no particular order from my bag pictured below:
1. cell phone
2. wallet
3. 40% off coupon for Jo-Ann fabrics
4. 2 quick snap cameras (one to be developed but I keep forgetting to drop it off)
5. 1 pack of Orbit sugarfree gum, cinnamint flavor
6. compact sewing kit (it looks like a compact, but it's really a sewing kit-with a mirror)
7. tiny yellow matchbox like car, but smaller
8. almost nude lipstick in leather case with mirror
9. checkbook
10. church bulletin and newsletter
11. my watch (needs to be taken to Smyth for a new battery, which is another errand that I keep forgetting)
12. plastic baggy with 2 tea bags inside
13. cool purple pen I confiscated from the kind man at the photo drop off place the last time I was dropping off film (I offered to give it back after oohing and ahhing over it, and he told me to keep it.)

bonus items: swatch of fabric from bag I made for mom, car keys, 2 old shopping lists, a receipt, and a check to deposit.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Voici mon handbag

This bag I made for myself, to try out an idea...I bought the Parisian themed fabric while in Japan, thinking I would make something to go with my bathroom theme...then decided it would make a great bag! Notice the hot pink lining for pizzaz.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Mama's got a brand new bag

I made this for my Mama for her Mother's Day gift. I'm horrible at documenting my work, but the very knowledge of the fact that there are some people reading this who like to see my projects sometimes reminds me to take a photo (even if it's just a crappy one on my phone cam). This bag features a zipper, one strap and two interior pockets, one of which is perfect for glasses...all elements that I knew my mom would appreciate in her handbag. She proudly totes it and is a great promoter!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

little dresses for sweet nieces

Top: for Aislinn, a little crinkle cotton knit nightgown with lettuce edging at hem and sleeves.
Bottom: for Ava, a tangerine stripe cotton knit crossover dress with contrasting floral trim at neck. (I intended to do a lettuce edge here too, but this knit didn't have the stretch and recovery for it to look nice.)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

First Fruits

The garden is coming along quite nicely. So far we have planted lettuces, sugar snap peas, two varieties of tomatoes, basil, a pepper plant, various beautiful herbs, and the strawberry bed is really looking promising this year (for the first time ever!) I have covered the bed with net tulle to keep out the birds and chipmunks, so perhaps this year I'll be able to make some jam. I checked yesterday and should have picked the five that were nearly ripe, because the rainy weather caused some of them to prematurely rot. Oh well. These two will be shared among the children.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Baa Ram Ewe

What fun can be had at a sheep and wool festival? Well, if you are a color and texture loving person like MK (MK's summary of the festival is here ) and me, you'd have loads of fun petting delicious skeins of yarns and bundles of rovings (pictured), fingering woven, knitted and crocheted textiles, admiring skillfully crafted spinning wheels and looms, and patting angora bunnies, goats, sheep, llamas and my favorite, alpacas! There were a pair being sold for $1500, and it was sure tempting...(I think I've mentioned here that is one of my dreams, to have an alpaca farm. I am doubtful of it actualizing, but it still remains an interest.) I saw so many beautiful colors and patterns, my eyes could scarcely drink them in, and choosing my favorite yarn would be impossible. The two skeins I came home with, however, are a gorgeous deep, dark varigated purple/black/indigo wool/camel blend. This fiber "blooms" when washed and tumbled without heat, which means the fibers open up and get very, very soft almost like felting. It is my intention to make a shawl, poncho or some kind of wrap for myself...I'll try to remember to post it when it is ever finished.

Dating myself?

Last week I had coffee with my cousin at Donna's and liked the waiter so much, I decided to return this weekend...Well, the food there is really good and the location is pretty too. I have never eaten at a restaurant alone before. It's been one of the things to do on my list of things do to now that I'm single. I'm not sure if sitting at the bar to eat counts as dining alone, but I've got to start somewhere. The bartender was really nice, and since I was the only one keeping him company (even though it was an insanely busy night there) we made pleasant conversation. I also got to see some of the behind the scenes stuff which was fun too. Like the worn out waitress who had the table of 15+ people who had a bill of over $300! She said she didn't even know how many were at the table, they kept coming and going. The disappearance of the white wine "special" and the impailing of the bartender's hand on the snapped stem of a wine glass. (I saw three glasses break while sitting there.) I was able to keep an eye on my favorite waiter too, but wasn't feeling bold enough for anything beyond that. After my delicious roast beef sandwich and pinot noir, I took myself duckpin bowling. I'm a horrible bowler, in fact, for the first few rounds I accidently was hitting the reset button instead of the clear lane button (so that lowered my score a bit). I bowled two games at 77 the first and 66 the second, I couldn't even break 100! And these were duckpins people! I think the swirling colored lights and strobe effects for rock'n bowl were impairing my performance... then I ended the evening with Inge and Greg playing some games and talking until the wee small hours of the morning. (Thanks again you two for putting me up! or was it putting up with me?)

Next morning at the Christian Life and Witness class, I sat next to my friend Nancy and when it was over, she remarked, "You're a fun date. No pressure at the end either." I have to agree, I was a fun date. I'll have to do it again sometime.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Semper ubi sub ubi*

I guess she was punchy after having been up until 8:45pm while the kids attended DC4K and I attended DivorceCare tonight. I had the children change into their pjs in the car before we headed home, in hopes that one or all the children might doze off during the thirty minute car ride. I even told the boys to keep their voices quiet, so L could fall asleep. But before we had even pulled onto I-70 she was grabbing shoes off the seat next to her, flinging them behind her whith a flourish, and laughing hilariously. The boys didn't find this very funny, since they both got hit with sneakers. When she ran out of shoes she started hurtling their shirts and pants back at them, and laughing with the most evil flair. Finally, all that was left were the underpants, and she grabbed and flung them too, while hollaring "Underwayah! Underwayah! Underwayah! Ha Ha Ha Ha." I couldn't fight it any longer, I was concentrating so hard on stifling my laughter, that I missed my exit and had to back track a bit to get to I-695. Needless to say, no one fell asleep on the way home.

*"Semper ubi sub ubi" is a little play on Latin words meaning: Always where under where. It makes little sense on paper, but when spoken, kids learning Latin find this phrase very amusing.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Loving the Netflix!

I started my free trial offer of Netflix last week. (I watched Office Space last week, totally hilarious btw!) What a great idea! This is so much better than schlepping three kids into the Blockbuster only to have them argue and complain about the movies I suggest and having their heads filled with all sorts of suggestions from movie covers and posters. I'm super exited to be getting the first dvd of season 1 of THE MUPPETS! It should be arriving tomorrow...I'm not sure who will enjoy it more, me or the children. Netflix also has a huge selection of obscure movies too, like 321 Penguins episodes and old movies I've been looking all over for such as Hot Lead, Cold Feet. Best of all no late fees!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Joyellabunny wishes you a happy Lord's Day!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Al Fresco

We only have one bathroom in our cute little abode. Oftentimes it happens that two or three of us need to "go" at the same time, which is a source of minor frustration for the boys especially. The other day while I was having my turn in the lav, I heard an impatient knocking from D. Instead of waiting a mere two minutes, he "went" right out the kitchen door. I guess that Prettiness was impressed by this skill of relieving oneself in the open air, so she also tried it. Unfortunately this was her first attempt at peeing while squatting and made quite a mess. Just about an half hour ago, without telling me she needed to go, she slipped out the kitchen door and had another "go".... this is a difficult skill to teach a two-year-old, and even I am not 100% accurate but that may be due to lack of practice (it's been a while since I've been camping). Perhaps I should just put her little potty outside during the nice weather.

Simply gorgeous weather today, by the way. It reached the upper 80's and was sunny with the perfect amount of breeze. I would have gotten up early and enjoyed more of the day outside, but I spent a late night catching up with MK until 1:30 am. I did manage to get to the park and walk three miles this morning. Then I had to catch up on the sewing work I've procrastinated all week long. But really it's been an enjoyable day. Tomorrow's forcast: back to the 60's. Gotta love the weather in Baltimore, if you don't like it, just wait five minutes. A week and a half ago, it snowed!

*The lovely cluster of red tulips is blooming right outside the wonderful fence my dad built last year to protect my garden from the very hungry white tail deer that like to graze here.