Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Gateway

With "March Madness" going on there hasn't been a lot of new television for me to watch while knitting.  So I've been reading a little bit more.  And I got to thinking:  I love it when books lead to more books.

For example, I read a book two years ago called "The House at the End of Hope Street," by Menna Van Praag. It was a total random find at the library, and I loved it so very much that I recommended it to all of my friends. Now I'm about halfway through her newest "The Dress Shop of Dreams" and I'm finding her sophomore effort spellbinding as well.  Books don't often suck me in and make me late to work anymore.  That was the case today, though and I totally didn't mind.

Another recent random library find:  "My Year with Eleanor" by Noelle Hancock.  Not the best book on the planet, but I did like it.  And without it I never would've picked up Eleanor Roosevelt's autobiography.  What a fascinating woman!

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Pioneer Girl"

I got an email from Amazon the other day and literally squealed with copy of "Pioneer Girl:  The Annotated Biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder" is on its way!!!!

This book was published just last year and the first printing went like hotcakes. I'll bet the second printing goes quickly, too.

I've been a fan of Little House on the Prairie (the books, not the TV show) for as long as I can remember.  I've read and re-read them so many times in childhood and adulthood that I know a lot of the material by heart.  I have all of my books and the only time I'm "sad" that I have two boys is when I'm reminded that they have no interest in reading them with me.  (That's what grand-daughters will be for someday, I hope!)  I've read many an article about the "story behind the story," whether Laura and Almanzo's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, "ghost-wrote" the books, etc.  I've even checked out the cookbook from the library to see if I was interested in making the "vanity cakes" from Little House on Plum Creek or the apples n onions from Farmer Boy.  Probably the only thing I haven't done is someday plan a vacation around the U.S., seeing the "Laura Sites" in Mansfield, Missouri, De Smet North Dakota and Lake Pepin, Minnesota.  (there are others but the names are escaping me.)  But for now, I'm going to bask in my "All Things Laura" fandom geekiness and stalk my mailbox.  Woohoo!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Fun Stuff!

Big things this week.

First--this guy went to kindergarten screening.  In his own words when I picked him up from preschool, "Mom, I'm half excited and half terrified."  Poor kid was worried they were going to ask him things that he didn't know.  It went well, and it still amazes me how two kids with the same parents can be so completely different.  No anxiety, just "OK, let's go!" when the teacher came to take him to the classroom.  This is really bittersweet, sending the "baby" to kindergarten.  Which is surprising as well, considering I dreaded sending the big kid.  This just feels natural.

And then last night was "date night with this handsome fella.  The school puts on a "Boys night" every year, this year was a dance and a comedy show.  We grabbed a quick dinner at the Golden Arches and headed over.  The dance was what one would expect with a bunch of boys ranging in age from kindergarten to fifth grade:  little kids dancing with their moms, middle kids hanging around with their friends, and the bigger kids causing a ruckus.  Still, we had a good night and I love this time with Will.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Bathroom Reno Chronicles

This weekend was like starring in our own episode of "Renovation Realities" on the DIY network!  Brian and I enjoy watching this show and laughing over some of the unfortunate (and often self-created) incidents while people renovate their kitchens.  (Usually a kitchen, sometimes a bathroom but not really much else)  We however, do NOT like being that couple.

Scene:  a master bathroom.

Budget:  A little, not a lot.  Luckily there's no big plans, just ripping out white beadboard that clashes with the rest of the woodwork, painting, etc.  Oh, and changing out a light over the sink AND getting rid of the godawful vanity top.  I've hated it since we bought the house, it's a light tan (fake) marble and just....ugly.  Previous work:  Brian replaced the exhaust fan to a quieter model so I wouldn't wake up at the crack of dawn with him when he went to shower.

Time Frame:  unlike the crazy couples on the show, we don't have a deadline.  The bathroom is going to be workable the entire time (minus a shower or two on the weekends.)  Neither of us is using vacation time to make this happen.

First weekend:  trim comes down like a dream.  Only to discover that there's no WALL behind the toilet.  So the rest of the weekend is gobbled up in un-installing the toilet, and then drywalling, patching, mudding and sanding the wall.

The following weekend is all about the light that needs to be replaced.  We chose a pretty brushed nickel model, which Brian quickly gets hooked up.  And then takes down....because the medicine cabinet doors are brushing against the fixture.  Another trip to Home Depot, re-wiring, more patching.  The end result is great, ta-daa!

This past weekend is vanity replacement time!  Fun times were not had.  Thankful again there's no TV camera footage of the issues and foul language.  The kids are tired, cranky and craving attention.  Hubby's tired, grouchy and made three trips to Home Depot.  Thanks to daylight savings time and HD closing at 7pm on Sundays, we had no sink overnight.  Better than no toilet, right?  So we're looking to unwind over a hot meal and Sunday night TV.  Only no one's defrosted the chicken, and we're making do with sausage.  Finally I just fed the tired kids some leftovers and we settle in for the evening with Rizzoli and Isles.  Only to get woken up at 5:30 from our poor old pup, and it's off again to the races.

Next up is painting, and then I THINK we'll be ready for curtains, framed art and rugs.  I'm looking forward to posting a photo of the finished bathroom in all its glory!  And finding this post later on and laughing at it with Brian.  We'll get there.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Glimpse into the Future

I'm currently in a McDonald's with Will.  We have a standing tradition of getting milkshakes before his therapy appointment.  It started out as a way to get him to not dread going and now it's just time for him and I to spend time alone. 

Not today.  Today a kid his age called him over and wanted him to play.  At first Will said he was having a shake with his Mom.  I finally said "go ahead, Bud."  He looked happy, hanging out and talking about Skylanders.  In a minute I'm going to call him over and say it's time to hit the road.

This is a little glimpse into the future, isn't it?  Me sitting on my own and the kids taking off with their friends.  It's both freeing and bittersweet.  For the first few years you feel like you are tethered to your kids and NEVER going to get a moment alone.  Now that it's happening and I can't help but feel a little misty-eyed. 

Next time I'll bring my knitting bag.  He's not quite yet at the stage where his Mom's mere presence in public is embarrassing.  Even then, I'll still bring it!

Dreams are Weird

I'm in prison.  Sitting on top of a cafeteria-style table, in a room with other women, all wearing the same jumpsuit as me.  You'd think I'd feel anxious, but I don't because I have my childhood best friend sitting next to me.  I don't even know what I'm doing time for, but I know that I'll be here for four months.  Less for good behavior.  Thinking of four months kind of like a semester at college instead of missing my family like crazy. Just push through and though the days will feel long, four months will go by quickly.

Oh dreams....There are times that whatever I was watching on TV invades my subconscious, but I haven't been watching Orange is the New Black or anything.  The night before I dreamt that we sold our old house to Brian's aunt and uncle in New Jersey.  They flipped it from this tiny cottage to a gorgeous home and then rent it out, but not before giving us a tour.  It was quite vibrant, like I was really there!  

But the absolute worst is the stress dreams.  I've had a repetitive one since college:  I'm working at McDonald's.  I'm making burgers in the back, I'm taking orders up front and I'm running the drive-thru and I'm all alone.  And then three buses pull in and everyone wants burgers and fries and they want them NOW.  When I wake up from that one, with my heart pounding, it's an instant sign that I've taken on too much and need to dial it back.  Oh, you crazy, all-knowing subconscious!