Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Here is another telling photograph. It's a photo of a small failure. This is my meeting for the Pesticide Free Everett group. No one came. Just me and my knitting. The second reason it's a failure: I was going to treat myself to a latte, instead of grabbing my wallet, I grabbed my camera.

I need to come up with a new strategy. I hung flyer's and sent emails about about this meeting, apparently, that does not work in this town. I need to do the opposite, go to other people's meetings to gather support. Still, I've got several devoted volunteers, and I know we'll have a successful work weekend and the city has agreed to make my neighborhood park pesticide free, so I've got a good start. This was just a small bump in the road. If you've had a roadblock recently, just keep going on. Every stumbling block is a stepping stone, right!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour

We took part in the Earth Hour this weekend, turned off the lights from 8:30 - 9:30 on saturday night. It was fun to use candles and interact without the noise of TV and blaring lights. Many of our neighbors had their lights on so I guess word didn't get out that much. Or complete apathy. Take your pick. Here's a link for more information.

Tea Party Demise

I can be fairly certain that Emily Post never had to utter these words. Here's a recent tea party in pictures and my commentary:


"Don't pull her ear."

"Okay, thank you."

"Okay, you don't need to kiss her."

"That's enough."

Food break. The one moment of bliss. I had baked blueberry scones.

"Please stay in your chair."

"That's nice, but we are done."

Sunday, March 29, 2009


This is a very telling photo. During E's naps, I try to get Butters to be crafty and work on his fine motor skills (bare with me). It's our time to do something special together, so we try new things and I always lean towards crafts-painting and coloring and hoping he'll learn in the process.

It takes longer to clean it up than the time he spends doing the craft, and I usually end up, let's just say- slightly edgy. Here is paint mixed with corn starch on cardboard, he ended up pouring it out, he liked mixing it and making colors. After 5 minutes, he decided to turn a book into a car and pretend to fix it.

This is glue and paint on foil. It lasted longer, we painted with our friend. But it quickly became finger paint which puts me on edge, "don't touch anything but the paper!" I stayed cool, I let him have fun, we ended up painting, drum roll, a CAR.

I have to face the facts, he does not want to be painter.


There have been some changes around here, first up, the dog is bordering on 'obese.' I took him to the vet for a check up and you should have heard the things they said, "TWENTY POUNDS heavier than last time." He is now 100 pounds even. We feel bad. I used to take him to the dog park a few times a week, but it was winter, a second baby, the second baby eats table food and half of it ends up on the floor in dog territory, things were crazy last year and the dog suffered. We are turning things around, I took him to the dog park that night and we started running together. The two of us will get in shape together. I jogged last Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and again today. I have knots in the place my calves used to be.

So, back to the vet. They kept saying things like, "We tried to do x (I'll spare you the tmi) but he's so overweight it wasn't easy," and "I'm prescribing an overweight dog food, it's $65 a bag." I thought, "I know how to save money AND help the dog loose weight-feed him less." I know, I know, I'm totally kidding. We are going to try running and cut out the treats and see how we do. Both of us!

Friday, March 27, 2009


That wasn't my book list, I would have had many more female authors, more people of color and more controversy.

These need to be added:

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston (best love story ever)
Monkey Wrench Gang by Abbey
The Jungle by Sinclair
Wuthering Heights by Bronte
House of Spirits by Isabella Allende
All the Barbara Kingsolver Books

That's all I can think of for now, feel free to comment with your favorite books. Anything to get us reading!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Read Me

I read this list on a blog I read, and decided to copy it and put in my answers. I looked at the site and couldn't find this list, but did find more good books I want to read.

I read every night, around a book a week. For every 3 trashy fiction books I read one non-fiction. Lately, I read mostly female authors. I'm prejudice.

The Big Read (http://www.neabigread.org/) said that, on average, adults have only read six books on this list. So ... copy this list, remove my yeses and nos. Don't forget to include a total.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen - Yes, every year.

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien – Yes

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - YES

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling – YES

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee - YES

6 The Bible – Parts.

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte - YES

8 1984 - George Orwell - YES

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman -

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens - Yes

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott - No, I need to!

12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy – YES

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller – On my To Read list.

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare – (Only what I had to read in high school)

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier - Yes

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien - Yes

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks -

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger - YES

19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger -

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot-

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell -

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald - YES

23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens-

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy -

25 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - YES

26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky -

28. Missing!

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll -

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame -

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - YES

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens - Yes

33 The Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis -

34 Emma - Jane Austen - YES

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen - YES

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - YES

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -

38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres-

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Yes

40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne –

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell -YES

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - Yes

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving - Yes

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins -

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery -

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy -

48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - YES

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding - YES

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan - No but I'm reading "Saturday"

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel - Yes

52 Dune - Frank Herbert-

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons -

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen - YES

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth -

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens - Yes

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley - YES

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon - Yes

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez -

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck – Yes

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov -

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt -

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold – I think

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas -

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac - Yes

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy -

68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding -

69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie -

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville -

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - Yes

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker -

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett -

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson -

75 Ulysses - James Joyce -

76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath - Yes

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome -

78 Germinal - Emile Zola -

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray -

80 Possession - AS Byatt-

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens -Yes

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell -

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker -YES

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro -

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - Yes

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry -

87 Charlotte's Web - EB White - YES

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton –

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad -

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupe –

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks -

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams -

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole -

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute -

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas -

98 Hamlet – Shakespeare – YES
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl - Yes

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo - Yes, every word!

42%, not bad.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We Heart Visitors

My friend from San Fran visited late last week. We went to the Zoo (briefly), the Olympic Sculpture Park (fabulous) and Whidbey Island (sunny!), just to name a few.

I also bribed the kids with cupcakes from Cupcake Royale, we sacrificed naps and a lemonade fell to the floor at a fancy restaurant and I was grumpy after driving in traffic at 4 pm. But, it's good to be pushed out of your comfort level to discover new things, see how much your kids can tolerate (a glass store with 2 kids and no leashes!) and have fun in the process. Besides, we love having friends sleep over! Have a great weekend.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Curse on Berkeley

Dear Berkeley,

I love dogs but I don't like you. At the dog park, I put my knitting down for a second to pick up poop (would you have brought it with you?) and you decided it would look better at the other side of the park. You grabbed it and ran while the skein it was attached to went bop bop bopping along behind you through the dirt and sand. Not just any dirt and sand-dog park dirt and sand. Your owner stopped you and yet you tried again and jumped up on me and grabbed my hand knitted-in-progress-sweater and I yelled. I'll admit it, a little too loud. "NOOOOOOO!"

Your owner shocked me. Not that I expected him to say, "Is that Merino?" Or, "Let me buy you some replacement yarn, I am so sorry." But when all he said was, "It does kinda look like a toy." I was silent and stunned. Not because I agreed but because I was giving him the Mom Face that I give my almost 4 year old: the Incredulous Face.

Exhibit A.

It still feels dirty when I touch it and I had dirt falling out of my knitting bag for days. DAYS!

I will remember, there are no bad dogs. Only bad owners. Berkeley's dad, my new Dog Park Nemesis.

Lazy Sunday

The kids and I made popovers from a Mollie Katzen recipe book for preschoolers (love her!). Easy recipe-paint butter on a muffin tin. Whisk 2 eggs, a cup of milk, a cup of flour and some salt. Bake for 30 mins. They were a hit. The kids also made 'soup' in the sink. A wild concoction of Italian seasoning, soap and toothpicks.

Tinker Toys ended up in my coffee. I didn't even blink, just kept drinking. Luckily, they were plastic and not the wood ones. Next to my favorite cup is my Bog Jacket I'm working on. It's too big for traveling at this point and I need to start a smaller project, this will stay in the house from now on.

We had a lazy day; cleaning and cooking, visiting the library and playing in boxes. Kids always ended playing with the box! Ice cubes in the bath tub are also cheap and easy! Can you tell I've been cutting corners lately? Every good mom needs a library card, sprinkles or chocolate chips in the pantry and band aids in your purse!
At the knitting night I used to go to, I once spoke at length with a librarian about children's education. She told me the best way to help kids succeed-read to them. It's no secrete and it's simple, she told me. We read to both kids, individually, at bedtime and I often grab books throughout the day. This is about the third time DH read this book to Butters! DH suggested trying a different one, Butters replied, "But I LOVE this one." You can't argue with that! Note: the expert Tinker Toy Wall-E robot in the corner and crazy hair on the boy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snow Day

Afternoon play started with a swing. I know, I know, she looks like the kid from Christmas Story but it was beginning to dip below 30!

Had a lovely walk along the river and ponds at the base of our street.

The kids held hands and Butters told E he loved her. She beams when he holds her hand and stares up at him. If he ran, she ran. She also did her own thing-collecting rocks and picking up sticks. They grow up so fast. We identified tracks in the snow and made many of our own.

Here is Butters watching the birds in the trees.
We came home after over an hour of walking, the sun was setting, our noses were red and dinner was ready thanks to a busy Daddy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

In Like a Lion

We got around 5 inches of snow today! We had friends over to swing in the snow, make a snowperson and eat the snow (but not the yellow stuff).

Butters also entertains himself by spinning his cars at high speeds on the 'wood' floor.

The baby sometimes cheers him on.

I entertained myself with knitting a brioche hat - in the round! Some used to think this couldn't be done. It's a wonderfully addictive stitch to learn. I saw Liane's hat and made one for my husband. He loves it! Frog Tree Merino, the softest wool you can buy. I was so proud of my little family everyone had a hand knitted hat to keep them warm. This year, I'll work on mittens for all of us.

Making funny faces is also a good past time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sunshine and Rain

Some sunshine, in case you are getting snow in March like we did today! It didn't stick and we are having amazing light right now, gray clouds with bright sunlight shining on the valley, illuminating the trees.
We had a great week, Butters has been busy making Tinker Toy robots and everyday is a happy one for E, she's getting a 13th tooth, her left top canine.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ups and Downs

We've been having a few rough patches with all the illnesses and grouchiness, but it's worth celebrating that February, the longest short month is over and we are welcoming the spring and summer. My kids bring me joy and laughter every day but sometimes (too much lately) they can bring out the worst in me. Still, it's more up than down. Oh sh*t, I think I might be the Rush Limbaugh of Moms! At least they'll know my craziness and not a stranger's.

These pics are ones Daddy took, making Baby E laugh. They aren't the most becoming photos of her, but they sure make me smile. The year between age one and two is truly magical. She's such a hoot!

Madrona-Holy Mohair

Warning, this post is all about yarn and knitting, if you like to skim the knitted parts of the blog, you can stop reading now.

My Christmas present to myself-a weekend at Madrona. Two years ago I tried to go and took a class with the Yarn Harlot. I ended up getting knocked up and drove an hour and a half by myself at 7 am with no caffeine and morning sickness. This year, I spent months thinking about it, got my classes, did my homework-and I got the flu. I was miserable but I made it. I also won a door prize and got to pick from a bin of yarn, patterns, books, and other booty. I grabbed the handspun Mongolian cashmere that retails for $165 (60 yards) quicker than you can yell, "Holy Mohair!"

The drive allowed me to finish up a sweater for Butters. He picked the colors. This is a Zimmermann pullover with color work I saw and tried to re-create. I won't make him wear the hat and sweater together. The hat barely fits and the sweater will be perfect next year, which is good as today it was nearly 60 out. He was excited when I showed him, he watched me knit it but I saved the final product for a special day. He wanted to wear it to school. He put it on and said, "It itches." We took it off.

I purchased yarn at Madrona as well. They have an amazing market place with local stuff and yarn you can't get anywhere else. I was given an amount to spend. I may have gone a tad over budget. Pictured is a ball of wide stripping sock yarn, the cashmere, some hand painted local loot from Lopez Island.....
.... and some amazing fiber from Blue Moon. Coordinating sock yarn and a merino/silk blend called LSS-a handpainted blend and a solid. I'm thinking a V neck sweater but I probably won't be brave enough to wear matching hand knitted socks. Teal is my new purple for knitting. It's veeeeeery soft.
I think I have enough yarn now. If I added up the time to knit all the yarn I have and calculate how much time I actually have to knit, I'm probably set for my retirement, which is more than most can say right now in this country.