Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Pooh Variant 3/30/2006
The inlaws arrived around 9 last night.

The kids were ecstatic when there came the knock at the door. I'm glad I let them all stay up late. It was worth it for the extra hour of fun last night.

Part of said fun was watching the kids cream us at Chicken Cha Cha Cha

(I've recommended this game before, and I'll do it again. It's a fun little well-produced memory game with beautiful pieces, and somehow, the kids ALWAYS win)

But what had the kids in stitches last night was the fact that Ken had just received the Expansion Set for the game. Yes, if a game with chickens plucking each other's tail feathers is fun, how much MORE fun would it be if the chickens could also POOP on each other.

Oh yes, hear my children squeal with glee as they say "I'm jumping over the poo" or 'I'm pooping right here" and not get reprimanded for using a 'bathroom word' at the kitchen table.

As they were playing, I said "So, Ken, this is Expansion #2, right?"

He looked up, "Um, no. I think this is the only... oh DUH" and we started laughing like hyenas along with the kids, who didn't seem to have a clue why we suddenly found the game as amusing as they did.

We managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat at the last minute. Seriously, my house looked like a bomb went off in it until only a few hours before the inlaws arrived. My own fault. I could've started things way earlier, but I'm Queen of Procrastination, and when you throw in a lovely full-day migraine, and kids' schedules, and friends who need "Just this ONE last thing", you get a woman frantic with 5 hours until the Mother In Law lands.

I don't know why I do this to myself, because we have SUCH a great time when the house is tidy and zen-like. I wonder if I'll EVER lose this "must put things off until I'm up against a nearly unsurmountable deadline, and then work like a madwoman" compulsion.

Skip's class is heading up to the MOMA today. It's Vincent vanGogh's birthday, I think. Too bad the Museum doesn't have any of his works.

I stupidly told the Field Trip Mom that I could drive back-up, if some emergency came up. Why? Argh! I emailed her last night, saying "I've not heard anything. I'm assuming you've got everything under control" only to hear back with a "oh, let's be safe rather than sorry. Be at the school at 9am". Argh! This is the same mom that pestered me endlessly one night because her daughter couldn't sleep, thinking she'd been voted "Shortest in the Class".

Why didn't I just keep my head down?

My friend Lisa The New Knitter brought me some yarn the other day. She'd bought it to make a scarf, but it was turning out to be awful to work with as a novice. It's gorgeous yarn (and pricey! $15/ball) but the feathers are so soft that they seem to glom onto themselves and turn the yarn into a big giant knot.

I watched a show on the Dall Sheep of the Yukon, and knit that yarn up into a long, long, LONG (that ball had great yardage!) skinny scarf on Tuesday evening.

Yesterday at Bible Study I handed the scarf off to her, and felt rather heroic.

Now, back to the little green Snake Sweater.

Ken printed our Giants Game tickets off on the computer. Yes, we live in a modern age, but I still find that rather fascinating.

We'll be heading up to The City to watch the game on Sunday afternoon. Skip's choir will be singing the national anthem, and this will be my first time (in the 3 years he's done it) to actually watch him do it in person. This is the reason that the grandparents have driven down from Canada.

I just hope the rain stops.

I had the most unsettling dream last night.

In my dream, I swallowed my toothbrush. And then it got stuck in my small intestine, and ulcerated it, and the doctors were keeping an eye on me to see if I could contort to make the thing pass, or if I was going to have to have laproscopic surgery to remove the thing.

Since I've woken up, I keep having these tummy rumbles and I want to palpate and see if I've got the lump.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


ANT-agonism. 3/25/2006
Face it. You all want my life. You all want my hobby. But most of all...

You all want my PETS!

This is where they come from:

And this is where they're gathering. I think they're plotting as to how to take over the house (if they haven't already done so) See how they're all antennae-to-antennae? They're whispering about me. I can tell.

Doukhobors Mock Me

Doukhobors Mock Me 3/25/2006
I was out at Mollie Stones the other day, trolling for things to make for supper.

Imagine my shock and delight to find, in the frozen dessert section, a big pack of "Uncle [somebody]'s Vareniki" (I've forgotten the actual name, but I do remember thinking "Now THERE is a good Mennonite name!" I think on the back of the package it said something like "Made from a handed down recipe, by hand, by the [insert good Menno name, like "Peters" or "Wiebe"] family" It'd been SO LONG since I'd found a source for yummy pierogies, and I wasn't gonna let the slightly-too-small size of these little pierogies (so he wants to call his mini-pierogies "Vareniki"? Who am I to argue. Bring on the sour cream!) deter me.

I was sold.

It'd been SO long since I'd had good authentic pierogies, that I just snatched that package up. Yeah, they were a little on the small side. And I was trying to figure out why they'd been hidden back in a corner of the frozen dessert aisle, but I wasn't gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

I took those bad boys home, and, with my mouth already watering, got ready to make Ken and I a good pierogie feast like we hadn't really seen since we left Canada.

Boil the water.

Fry the onions.

Open the package.

Look curiously at a small container of frozen dark pink sauce. Set said container aside. Don't have a clue what that is.

Boil the baby-pierogies until they float. Carefully transfer them to the caramelizing onions, frying in butter.

Ken walks into the kitchen, sniffing the luxurious smells of frying onions, etc.

Him: Hey! You found pierogies? (He looks in the pan) They're a bit small, though. Sort of look more like vareniki...

Me: Yeah. They're vareniki. But don't they look yummy.

Him: Hmmm. Back in my Waterloo (one of his alma maters, deep in the heart of Mennonite Ontario) days, we'd have vareniki at the farmers' market, but they were always served with sweet sauce and powdered sugar.

Me: (as realization starts to dawn) Um, so maybe that's why I found them in the frozen dessert aisle?

Go ahead, all you Mennonites and Doukobors and Hutterites. Laugh.

Laugh at the Menno wannabe. Laugh as I tell you that I made us choke down those sweet little morsels, all covered in onions and sour cream.

But you better believe that the NEXT time I make vareniki, I won't be cutting any onions.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Kick start!

Kick Start. Now with 50% more cookie editing 3/24/2006
I've been in a dry spell.

I come here a million times, open a window, and then think "what? I've got nothing"

I need a kick start, or something. At least, some way to ease back into writing that doesn't need a photo-prompt.

But then again...

I was knitting last night, watching TV. Something about the Great Lakes. I kept humming "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". And then I was cold, so I made a cup of tea. Lovely white Earl Grey, Jj, just in case you were curious. Had it on the coffee table in front of me, and had a grand old time. Finished it up, and then got distracted, and didn't take my dirty cup to the kitchen before I headed to bed. (nothing new here. Lately, I've turned into the Anti-Housekeeper. That's gotta change, and soon)

And I think I may have just found the motivation.

I woke up this morning to find THIS waiting for me on the coffee table.

Let's zoom in for a closer look...

Oh Jim! Ji-i-i-i-mmmmmm!
I do believe I need a little Ant Killing Action.

At least they're not in my kitchen...

Cold comfort.

Dear County Court Jury Commissioner:

While I'm flattered that you keep insisting on sending me Jury Summonses, I must, once again, regretfully decline. I'm not a citizen, you see. I wasn't a citizen the first time I got one of these things, and I'm only now in a position that I could start the Citizenship Process, if that was something that was right for our family. I'm sure you're just so eager to have me serve, and I promise that once I'm a citizen, I'd be happy to take on that responsibility, but sending me a summons several times a year does seem pointless at this time, and is not going to speed up the process appreciably.

Although I appreciate this proof that one doesn't have to be a registered voter to be summoned. I'm sure that my (American Citizen) friends who have been paranoid about voting because they were sure that THAT would be the trigger that would have them serving in Jury Hell for the rest of their natural life will be happy to hear that they can indeed register to vote without fear.

Your Landed Immigrant Friend
Kemma Parker

My inlaws arrive in 5 days.

Can I have a collective "eek!", please?

I don't think I've EVER been this unprepared for their arrival. I've let the place go. I've taken on too many other things, and I've given in to Sloth.

Maybe I'll get in gear today.

As a wee incentive, I've got a dozen people coming over tonight. That'll at least get the downstairs public areas tidied. And a bathroom or two sparkly.

At least, I hope so.

And because one should never ONLY have ant photos in an entry:

Kelly's latest play-date.

First, they made cookies.

(*edit* some of you wondered about that vertical cookie sheet. Well, the story is that I had already asked them to say cheese, and focused when Kelly's friend decided to 'show her cookies off to their best advantage' and hoisted the sheet. The reason that Kelly is looking at her and not me is because those cookies are actually in the PROCESS of all sliding off the cookie sheet and onto the floor. And really, the sheet isn't completely vertical. It's probably sitting at 75 degrees, but still easily steep enough to launch the cookie dough)

Then, they got rewarded while the cookies were baking.

And then they had a love fest, because they were SUCH GREAT BAKERS and SUCH GREAT FRIENDS.
(or maybe it was just that they were having a sugar rush)

Monday, March 20, 2006

26/52 ABC *E*

26/52 ABC *F* 3/20/2006
Where have I been?


F is for....


Behold, the bunnyhug. I wish the pocket showed up a little better. I should've had Kelly put her hands in it.

I probably should've taken a moment to clear up the clutter behind her, too. Oh well. At least I've got a record.


F is also for...



Fricken' Frack! Is that a loose end that I FORGOT to weave in?
I guess I'm not so finished after all.

Oh well. I didn't want to start on the Next Big Thing tonight, anyways.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Typhoid Skippy

Typhoid Skippy 3/14/2006
There are 5 kids running around inside my house right now.

And Ken is working from home.

Of course, I am in avoidance-mode, and so am writing an entry. Heh.

Skip's conference was this afternoon.

I'll get to that in a moment, but when we were coming onto campus for the meeting, I ran into another mom from the 5th Grade.

Turns out that there were ELEVEN kids in his class today. And NINE in the other class.

The class is over 50, total.

Lots of kids coming home from Outdoor Ed Week with some sort of sick. Sixty percent absent rate.

*looks around sheepishly*

I wonder... Skip was looking BETTER when he came home than when he went away. I wonder if he's Typhoid Skippy.

I went with my friend Lisa on a knitting field trip this morning.

I've never been to The Knitters' Studio in Menlo Park before.

It's a pretty nice place. Pricey in the extreme, but they were having a 40% off Overstock Clearance sale, so that brought the prices out of the stratosphere. Somewhat.

Did I show restraint? Did I walk away?

Well, not really. Though I did show restraint.

I snagged 2 skeins of Noro Fuji. It's a cotton/wool blend. I have no idea what to do with it, but it was purdy.

I found it online for $7.95. TKS sold it for $9.95, but it was part of their 40% off overstock sale, so that made it a bit more of a bargain.

And then there were skeins of Noro Lily. Two different color-ways.

I'm going to try my hand at entrelac knitting with these.

And then Nate picked out some Crystal Palace "Splash" that looked like a parrot flying through the rainforest, so I had to have that, too. Of course, he completely mangled the ball, so I was morally "forced" to buy it, right?

Lisa has already finished her first project, and is moving onto a blanket. The folks at TKS were very kind to her, and helped her out a lot. I think we'll go back again.

But our next "field trip" will be to Creative Hands, my own fave LYS. I've got a membership card that gets me discounts, you know. I've gotta get my money's worth on that thing. And besides, they'll be moving closer to my place soon, and I've got my fingers crossed that they'll be having an inventory clearance sale, so they don't have to move as much stuff when they change locations next month.

How many days of Lent have passed?

I still haven't gone to the Paint By Numbers site. It's been close a couple of times, though.

Kelly has a little friend over.

Nate has a little friend over.

Skip is currently hiding on the couch with his head in his hands. Exhausted much? He's spent a good amount of time playing an impromptu made-up game of "Here comes the monster" which had all four of the youngsters in stitches. He's gonna make a great dad some day, but he's gotta learn how to pace himself.

I distracted the girls with a little 'chore' of cleaning Gentle's cage. Of course, the little boys had to get in the act, and then Gentle went missing, so I had to shoo everyone out of the room before she got stepped on by four zealous "rescuers".

So now Nate and Dan are playing construction in his room, and Kelly and Gina are getting ready to play "camouflage hide-and-seek". Kelly's got a leopard print gym leotard that's the same pattern as the pillows on our family room couch, and she thinks she's just a regular chameleon when she wears that, and then lays under the pillows. She's trying to get Gina to wear another of her leotards, so they can be 'matching', but there's only one leopard leotard.

Gracious. I just now realized how close those words are. It just didn't look at ALL right, Leopard, and Leotard side by side.

Speaking of being a little slow on the uptake...

We've been in this house for nearly 6 years. Shortly after moving in, we painted the bannisters white, moving away from the 'drab dark brown'. Nearly instantly, I realized the error of my ways, as those shiny white bannisters showed EVERY mark, EVERY smudge, and EVERY dust-mote (not to mention EVERY blood smear... but that's another story)

Anyways, so, for the last 5+ years, whenever I've wanted to clean the railings, I've gone up and down the stairs with the cloth and the cleaner. And then, to get the OUTSIDE of the railing, I've gotten up on a chair, or some other precarious perch, to reach up and wipe down the outer baseboard.

Last week, (oh, please, someone mop up the stupid paint that's dripping off my fingertips) I realized... for the FIRST TIME EVER, that I could actually reach OVER the railing, and reach the outer baseboard, turning my 10 minute "Oh, do I REALLY have to do this now?" task into a thing of seconds.

I feel like a Tard with a capital RE.

Bunnyhug update:

T minus three days, I think.

I've cast off the front neckline, and am mostly done the right shoulder shaping on the front. Just the left shoulder, and then the hoodie to knit and attach.

Incentive: I really want to get motoring on some entrelac knitting next week.

If only I could get this excited about cleaning my house, or paying my bills.

Friday, March 10, 2006

March in California?

March in California 3/10/2006
What month is this?

Where do I live again?

Yes, those are MY pansies.

And yes, that is SNOW on them.

My lawn. My snow.

I let Kelly stay up until nearly 10pm, just so she could go outside and play around in the snow.

I'd post the photo of my neighbour's car covered in snow, but it's horribly out of focus. And I nearly killed myself crossing the road to take the picture. Other neighbours, who own convertible sports cars, apparently can't drive worth beans in the snow.

Which, considering the area, makes perfect sense.

The last time this region saw snow was a month before Kelly was born. Christmas 1999. And that was just a few flakes that didn't stick to the ground.

I picked Skip up from his Outdoor Education experience this afternoon.

He looked like death warmed over. But he had a smile on his face. He said it was mostly fun, but the food sucked. And he was FREEZING. Turns out, they'd had a snowball fight one morning after breakfast. Yes, it was THAT cold.

He begged for a sushi lunch, and I obliged.

And then he came home and got violently ill.

I guess that means he won't be singing in tomorrow's concert.

I need to take photos of Kelly's bunnyhug. It's SO close to being done. I bet I finish the front while watching NUMB3RS tonight.

Monday, March 06, 2006

26/52 ABC *E*

26/52 ABC *E* 3/6/2006
Remembering the origins of this series: (taken from a now-favoritized entry in aya's diary)


  • The photo must be taken BY you, or have you IN it. No grabbing photos online, or from others. That would be cheating. And possibly stealing.
  • Post your entries using a title along the lines of : 26/52 ABCs - A (I think I'm going to set up a chapter for this)It can be posted anytime within the 2 week period, so don't think you have to do it on the first day. No pressure.
  • Have fun, be creative. We're gonna have to be, especially for X, lol. You can play around with your pics as much as you want on photoshop, paintshop pro, etc. The base just needs to be a photo by you or with you in it, and with the weekly letter in it.
  • You can write a blurb to go with the photo, but it's not necessary. I mean, if you post a picture of corn, you don't have to say "C is for Corn", we'll get it. But if you post a picture of a fireplace with a fire roaring, and snow falling outside, we may not get that "C is for cozy", ya know? But, give us the benefit of the doubt, we're kind of smart. Sometimes.
  • Feel free to urge your other Faves to do this.

And here's my next one in the series:

E is for...

This picture was taken about two seconds before that elephant raised her tail all the way, and let fly with a stream of about fifty gallons of piddle. The kids were FASCINATED! And of course, once you've peed, you may as well clear out the bowels, too. Oh man, it was ALL the kids would talk about ALL the way home from the zoo. (taken at Kelly's school trip to the zoo, last October)

And E is for.....

Anyone...? Anyone...? Buehler...? Buehler...?

OK, it's a trick question. E is for Engraulis mordax. The northern anchovy.

And E is for EXPEDITION (this morning)

And E is for...




(last weekend. JUST before the rains hit. Hard)

Off he goes!

Off he goes 3/6/2006
Skip is off to Outdoor Ed with his classmates this morning.

After a weekend of fever, he seems to have rebounded ENOUGH for me to shove extra stuff into his duffle bag, slap his daypack on his back, and say 'Don't let the door hit you on the way out.'

A weekend of fever?

Why yes. He was sick ALL weekend.

He seemed to perk up a bit on Saturday morning. His fever was down into the 99's, so when I left for Dress Rehearsal at 9 Saturday morning, I thought "oh, he'll take it easy today, and that fever of yesterday will be just a dim memory".

When I got home (at nearly 5pm! eek!) he was playing "Doom: The Boardgame" with Ken, and looking mostly perky (though that might have been because Ken made him have a shower before he played any games), but by 7pm, he was ready for bed again.

And Sunday, while he looked perky(ish) at breakfast, by the time we got to church, he was sagging, and when I touched his forehead, he was pretty hot. He spent the service draped across my lap, while I scratched his (hot) back with my (cold) fingers, and then we zoomed home where he went straight to bed (after popping a few kiddie tylenol to bring the fever down). At dinner yesterday, he seemed back to normal, although he does the wounded animal thing pretty convincingly (when he wants to do something that might be precluded if he's sick), where he LOOKS fine, but you just don't know. And I had no trouble putting him to bed early last night.

This morning, even with the extra sleep, it was pretty hard to get him out of bed, but when I said the magic words: "Outdoor Ed", he perked up, and got dressed without any fuss. His fever's gone, but I think he's still recuperating. He looked pretty subdued at the school this morning at drop-off, but he was grinning as he put his duffle bag in the line up, and started milling around with his buddies.

I hope he has a great time.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tour's back on

Tour's back on 3/4/2006
So I screwed up my courage yesterday, and I marched down to the Chorus Office, and I tried to sort out why we hadn't gotten any of the tour mailings.

Apparently, everything was getting sent. We're on all the appropriate lists. Things were mailed. We just didn't receive them. It's like some cosmic confluence of factors, conspiring to make me nuts. Because of course, this is compounded on the fact that there was a glitch in the automatic bill-pay from my credit card, and Skip's tuition hadn't been coming out the last 5 months. Hello, hit me upside the head with another bill. Thanks.

The office manager is a wonderful woman. She knows EVERYONE by name, and knows all the boys, even though she's not involved in the music end at all. She immediately tried to put me at ease about the glitch, but, of course, what do I do when I'm uneasy? Especially when I'm uneasy, and someone is trying to put me at ease? Especially when I'm UBER-uneasy about the finance end, and the manager is thinking that I'm just nervous (and perhaps a bit neurotic?) about sending my son, the youngest ever to be promoted so quickly to the Concert Choir, away on his own for a week to Montana.

Why, I cry.

Thanks for asking.

Which of course makes me look even MORE neurotic than she thought I was, even though I'm *NOT* neurotic, I just am incapable of stopping the tears from flowing when I'm nervous, and don't want to bring up the topic of money.

But finally the topic of money comes up, and I manage to compose myself enough to say that we can't be spending ALL of our non-earmarked income for ONE activity for ONE of our children.

There. I've put it out there.

I've confessed that we're not the wealthy money-buckets that she thought we were.

And it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

But now the guilt starts seeping in.

"Oh, we have financial aid in place for families just like yours. I don't want to offend you, because some people are very proud about accepting help..."

And the fact remains that we're not proud at all. We're honest. When the financial aid form says "I can/cannot afford $1300", in all honestly, we HAVE to circle "can", because, let's face it. If a sudden expense came up that we HAD to pay, and it was $1300, we'd find the money, ergo, we CAN afford it. We could easily take out a loan, or we could put it on the Line of Credit, [or heck, we could dump it on my credit card, the one that was issued to me when I honestly said that my income was ZERO, so they sent me a card with a credit limit high enough to buy a car.]

And I tried to make that clear. That we COULD afford it if we HAD to, but we didn't want to tell the kids that we weren't going to be doing A, B, C, and D, because Skip's concert tour was a requirement of his joining the Chorus. (Double whoopsie: When I asked if the tour was optional, I was informed that I'd SIGNED a contract saying that the Singing Year Commitment included Camp and Tour. Crap! I remember signing that, too.)

Once again, I was presented with the option of Financial Aid. I think she was worried that I was going to just say "We can't afford it, so we're pulling Skip out of the Choir" because she started saying how impressed they all were with Skip's musicianship, and how bright he was, bla bla bla. I've gotta say, she said all the right things. I've not been hearing much good news about Skip, lately. Perhaps folks just think that his brilliance is implied, or something. Anyways...

Then she said the magic words: "You're not alone. There are a number of families taking advantage of this program. Why, some families have been hit extra hard by the costs of PRIVATE SCHOOL...."

ding ding ding ding ding

You mean that PRIVATE SCHOOL EXPENSES are considered a hardship? Private School doesn't even figure on our horizon, it's such an unattainable luxury right now. If folks are sending their kids to posh chi-chi private schools, and ALSO applying for financial aid, you can bet your left butt cheek that I'm going to be all over that 'scholarship program' like white on rice.

So Skip's going to be going on tour.

Montana, here he comes.

And we'll be paying a fraction of the expenses. Hopefully. I still have to fill out the forms.

They were EAGER to grant me an extension to fill out all the forms.

And now, knowing that I won't be out $1300 that I don't have, I'm eager to fill them out.

(ooh, and maybe, with the money we save on this, I can take a little side-trip to small-town Big Sky Country to learn how to dye yarn from the master)

I'm really glad that I didn't give up yarn-buying for Lent.

This uber-soft shetland worsted is going to become a little lace-edged baby blanket for my friend Shelley, who's having a boy in June.

And while buying that little cloud-soft bit of loveliness, I discovered that my newly-found favourite yarn store is moving at the end of the month....


Still not close enough to walk to (but nothing is, from our house), but it'll be in OurTown, now, instead of nearly two cities south.


And they asked me how my Knitting Olympics experience went.

I kind of wish I'd printed this out, so I could've whipped my gold medal out of my wallet. And it doesn't have a hole in the middle, either.

Speaking of knitting.

The sleeves are done on Kelly's bunnyhug. I'm about 3 inches done on the sweater-back, too. I think it's time to put the kids to bed, and knit like a maniac in front of the TV.

Yesterday, Lisa took to knitting like a fish to water. She's a natural born knitter. I gave her some mint green Jaeger Merino DK, and some blue/grey/green/cream variegated of the same yarn. She's well on her way to making a preemie-sized baby hat, as a memento for the ectopic baby that they lost. And there will be plenty of yarn left over to make a real newborn-sized hat for when they have a full-term success story.

Skip's class leaves for Outdoor Ed on Monday morning.

What was he doing yesterday? Taking last-minute notes at school? Discussing packing strategies with his teacher? Planning out the hikes and beach trips that will be happening?

Why no, he was languishing on the couch, making dying-animal sounds, while his temperature spiked to nearly 103.

Children's Tylenol, how I love thee.

He seems to have made a rebound today. He still looks like death warmed over, but that might be just his response to being told to have a shower. We just finished packing his duffle bag. You can be sure I checked it three times to make sure the orange towel was packed.

Our choir is performing in Palo Alto tomorrow afternoon.

I *SWEAR* every concert, I say the same thing "this is the WORST-prepared I've EVER been for a concert!" but this time, I mean it.

*stamps foot*

Honestly, I had SUCH high hopes for myself. I was going to bring the music home, and put it on the piano, and practice my lines. I was going to know the scores backwards and forwards, and I was going to have the words all committed to memory. Even the German words!

In actual fact, I brought my music out exactly ONE time.

I suck.

But people won't be looking at me.

They'll all be looking at the full-of-herself contralto soloist. The one that keeps dragging the tempo down, down, DOWN, while she drags out her little swoopy "Qui tolis..." until everyone around her is silently praying "Miserere"

(little Choral Humour there)

I will do a better job of publicizing our May concert. We're doing Fern Hill, and it sounds like it'll be pretty fun. And if you make the trip, I'll comp you a ticket if you let me know in advance that you're coming

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Tour Talk and Nicknames

I got the Boys Chorus newsletter in the email last Friday. It comes twice a month. Gives us updates on what's going on with the choir, what concerts are coming up, quotes from reviews of the chorus, that sort of stuff.

Imagine my surprise when, on Friday, I read "And a big thanks to all the parents who got their TOUR PAPERWORK into the office, and payments made by YESTERDAY'S DEADLINE"


I *thought* Skip was a part of that tour.

I *thought* that we might be getting a bit of information about the tour.

I *thought* we might be in the loop.

I *thought* that because this would be Skip's first year in the Touring Choir, they'd make sure that we had everything we needed ahead of time.

I immediately called up the Office. We'd received NOTHING about the tour. No information. No forms. No payment schedule. No nothing.

"Oh, you mean you didn't get the Tour Information mailing that was sent out in November?"

Um, I didn't know about a mailing. How would I know if I did NOT get it?

"And you didn't get the Payment Schedule and Scholarship information that was sent out in January?"

Um, ditto.

"Oh look, you're not on the list to receive the mailings. That would be why. We seem to have a bit of a breakdown that will need to be fixed. Too bad that you also missed the February First deadline for financial assistance. That'll be THIRTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS, please"

Um. Don't. Think. So.

It kills me that we'd even be considered for "financial assistance", but when you're dealing with a peer-group that comes from Old Money and Dot-Com-Millionaireness, "financial assistance" covers everything south of "Both my parents are doctors and lawyers, and I've got a trust fund from my Oil Baron grandfather". Also, we've really got to sit back and decide if we want over ten percent of our non-allocated income to go to this ONE activity of ONE of our children.

I'm heading into the office in 14 minutes. Latest rumour is that this tour is NOT optional, but REQUIRED. And quite frankly, the last thing that Skip wants is for us to drop $1300 on something that he's not particularly keen on doing.

This could be the turning point in his singing "career". Of course, we won't be TELLING him that this is an option. If given his druthers, he'd do NOTHING outside of attending school (let's not even get into whether or not he's actually mentally THERE when he's even AT school...) and lazing around the house. So Ken and I are rather delicately tip-toeing around the issue of whether or not the Tour will even happen.

Nate came up to me the other day to tell me that he knew what his nickname was.

"Yes, mom. I have a nickname. It's JOHNSON"

Um... what?

I've given up Pant By Numbers for Lent. I like the idea of denial of self, and if I have to make a "deal with God" to do it, well, that's just a little extra impetus, isn't it?

The extra time I'm freeing up should help me get my feet back under me as a homemaker.

Of course, that's assuming that I don't just fill up the hours with that luscious purple sweater I'm knitting for Kelly.

Did I mention that I've finished one sleeve, and am half done the second?

The book I'm knitting it out of is due back at the library next Wednesday. I'd better get busy.

Maybe I should've given up knitting for Lent, too...

Blankie is going to have a new home.

My friend Lisa just went through a devastating ectopic pregnancy.

It was their first child.

Like us, they have no local family here, and we've spent a lot of time together these last few days. I let her know that we've lost four pregnancies, and I think it has given her comfort to know that she's not going through it alone, and that there is someone out there (me) that has a bit closer of an idea of what she's feeling. Of course, I feel like a big old charlatan when I say "I know what it feels like", because I'm saying it having come out the other end, with three kids, after all was said and done.

Tomorrow, Lisa is coming over, and I'm going to teach her how to knit.

Last Friday, I'd told her that when my friend Maggie lost her baby (in the second trimester, to Trisomy 17), she took up knitting, found the ugliest ball of brown yarn, and knit a scarf. Maggie told me that it was her Mourning Scarf, and that every time she knit a stitch, she'd think about the child she lost, and mourn. And when she finished knitting, and bound off, that scarf would hold the grief, and she would move on. She wasn't an incredibly fast knitter, and I think she was quite done with all the stages of grief by the time she cast off the last stitch.

Lisa liked that idea, and wants to knit something baby-themed. I don't know if it'll be so much a morning item, as a remembrance item, but I'm game to get going on it with her.

She wanted to wait a while, because, she said, she needed to find a store, and buy needles and look at yarn, and figure out what to buy.


Surely she jests!

I told her to just come on by. She can go through my stash, and we'll find something suitable.

And when she leaves, I'm going to give Blankie to her. A little cashmere hug for her to hold onto while she's sad, and to cover their baby, when, hopefully, it arrives some time next year.

I need someone to spray me with Migraine-B-Gone. Sheesh.

And if I could also get shot with Period-B-Gone, too, that'd be just ducky.