Archive - February 2010

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Wishful Thinking
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You’re Welcome!
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Hiking
4
Happy Fat Choy!
5
Five Minute Bread
6
Mad About the Mouse
7
Seasonal

Wishful Thinking

You know what I’d like?

A Day to Do Nothing.  A day not to have to worry about anyone or anything, no cooking, no cleaning, no teaching.  A day with no agenda.  I’d like a whole day to just do what I want to do, without feeling like I need to get something accomplished with my free time.  I’d like a day without “I really should…” going through my head.  Not the kind of day when you look back and are frustrated because nothing got done, but a day with no guilt.

And you know what else I’d like?

Right after my Do Nothing Day, I’d like a Highly Efficient Day.  Again without the cooking or teaching, but I’d have a long list of to-do’s that I’d accomplish.  All those little things that pile up because other, more important things get in the way.  I’d like to unpack those last two boxes and tidy up the office, move some furniture around, tackle the linen closet and…

Alas, it’s all wishful thinking.

You’re Welcome!

Let it be known that on August 7, 2007 I wrote the following on my blog:

“Yesterday was the hottest day in DC in eight years. You know why, don’t you?

Because I hate summer and I live in DC. As soon as I leave, temperatures will plummet and snowfall will break centuries old records. It happens everywhere I live. ”

And leave I did and the snowing commenced.  As far as I can tell, it’s still snowing there.

My super powers are awesome, aren’t they?

Hiking

We’ve got lots of hiking trails here in the Rocky Mountains.  There are two located less than 5 minutes away from our house. But this post has absolutely nothing to do with them!

Nope, this is about the Irish Hiking Scarf and matching Irish Hiking Hat I made for Philip.

Remember the pink cabled beret I made last year?  Well, I’d never knit cables before, so I wanted something simple to learn and practice on.  So I started the Irish Hiking Scarf.  Once I figured out that cables are not nearly has difficult as they seem, I put the scarf away and made my hat.

I knit a bunch of other things after that, then finally returned to the scarf in October-ish.  I finished it quickly, then started a matching hat.  The hat also only took a couple of weeks, which amounts to maybe 6 hours of total knitting time.

But I was never able to get a picture of either of them because by the time Philip got home from work wearing them, it was dark.  But the other day he was home around lunch time and I made him model his knit wear.

Behold!

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The cool thing about the hat is that the cabled band is double thickness so it keeps your ears nice and toasty!

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The pattern for the scarf can be found here for free: Irish Hiking Scarf The matching hat pattern is also free and is found here:  Irish Hiking Hat

Happy Fat Choy!

Well, would you look at that!  Today is both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year. Lots of red to go around, firecrackers, hearts, candy and lion dancers.  Party like it’s 1999!

It’s the Year of the Tiger, which is Boo’s year, which means he’s turning 12 this year.  (If that doesn’t strike the fear of God into you, I don’t know what will.) Some of the characteristics of a Tiger are:

Tigers do not find worth in power or money. They will be completely honest about how they feel and expect the same of you. On the other hand, they seek approval from peers and family. Generally, because of their charming personalities Tigers are well liked. Often, failing at a given task or being unproductive in his personal or professional life can cause a Tiger to experience a depression. Criticism from loved ones can also generate this type of Tiger reaction. Still, like all felines, Tigers always land on their feet, ready for their next act in life, pursuing it with unyielding energy and hunting it infallibly.

Tigers are also incorrigibly competitive – they simply cannot pass up a challenge, especially when honor is at stake, or they are protecting those they love. Tigers are unpredictable and it would be unwise to underestimate their reactions. They may appear cool, but they have the Big Cat’s instincts to pounce at a moment’s warning. Natural leaders, they have a strong sense of their own dignity, and if they find themselves in the ranks, they can be stubborn and obstinate. In positions of power they can be difficult though stimulating bosses. Tigers are intelligent, alert, and farsighted. They have their fingers on the pulse. Good strategists and tacticians, they often have a hidden agenda. As long as they do not risk their luck too often, and keep their restless nature under control, their tactics usually pay off in life.

You can read the rest here: Chinese Horoscopes-The Tiger

We tried to get Chinese food for dinner, but our favorite restaurant had gone out of business and by the time we’d figured it out, it was getting late and we just hauled out the left-overs.  Not exactly festive, ethnic or romantic, but what can you do?

Meanwhile, we’ve been hooked on the Olympics.  I’ve been enjoying the skiing in  particular because I’ve actually skied the slopes of Whistler, where the competition is being held.  Of course, I stayed off the black diamond runs unless I was skiing with my dad.  He had a habit of accidentally stumbling on those expert hills.  Looking back, I wonder how accidental it really was.

I’m by no means an expert skier.  And I hate moguls.  But I actually look amazingly like those mogul skiers, except that they are in perfect control, executing each move with the precision that comes from years of training.  I, on the other hand, am completely out of control and wildly flinging myself down the mountain in an effort to just stay alive long enough to get some hot chocolate.  You know how those racers raise their arms in victory at the end of a successful run?  I look exactly like that too, at the end of a mogul hill.  Except I’m screaming, “aaaaaaaaah!”

I haven’t skied in years.

On another Olympian note, one of our parishioners is at the Olympics as part of the US Hockey team.  I’m not sure if he’s a coach or a player.

After watching coverage of the poor luger from Georgia, I told my children, “Now you know why I won’t let you sled on ice.”  They nodded solemnly and said, “Good point.”

As we were watching the Opening Ceremonies, when the Chinese team marched in Boo said, “Hey, that guy that looks like Daddy!”  I said, “Dude, they ALL look like Daddy.”  To which Pumpkin Girl replied, “It’s like a whole parade of our relatives!”

And totally unrelated to the Olympics, Valentine’s Day or Chinese New Year…

Sometimes I screen my calls, especially during school time or when I’m in the middle of a computer game blogging.  But the other day my caller ID said “St. Francis of Assisi.”  I thought I’d better answer that one.

Five Minute Bread

I love homemade bread!  Actually, I love all carbs, but that’s another story.

We used to make  bread in the bread machine all the time.  Philip was actually quite good at it and made a yummy cinnamon bread that the two of us could finish off in a day or two.  That was before we had children.  Now we’d have to share was those little vultures.

Alas, our homemade bread-making days came to an end when I was pregnant with Pumpkin Girl and the very smell of baking bread made me ill.  I get a Super Sensor Nose when I’m pregnant – I once walked by a store display of Easter chocolate and could smell the chocolate right through the boxes.  So that was the end of the bread making.

We never really got back into it after my nose returned to normal.  With 2 little kids I just never found the time.  The bread machine was given away at some point and we made due with store bought.

I keep wanting to get back to it, but just never did.  Then after a vague conversation with my mom about a starter dough in the fridge that isn’t really sourdough and a chance blog post – I realized I’d stumbled on my answer.

Why didn’t anyone tell me about Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day! Apparently the book has been around for a while and I just totally missed the boat.  It really is as easy as it sounds, with no fancy equipment or hard to find ingredients. Not even any kneading!  I even mixed the dough by hand with ease.

Here’s my first loaf:

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Kind of small, but I attribute that to living at high altitude. Sort of funny shaped, too, but that was my fault. As small as it looks, the whole loaf easily fed our family of five. (We had it with spaghetti, not as sandwiches.)  We had 2 slices left over, which didn’t last the night. (I won’t mention the little piggy who at the last slices as dessert. ahem)  I went to the authors’ blog and found a couple of very easy adjustments to make for the higher altitude.

I made another loaf a couple of days later from the same batch of dough.  I shaped it better, but I can’t show you because we scarfed it down before I could take a picture.  But it was just as yummy as the first loaf.

I can’t believe it – I’m back in homemade bread heaven!

Mad About the Mouse

We’re a little crazy for Disney around here.  That’s putting it mildly.

It seems that everywhere you look in our house, you can find that iconic Mouse in red, black and yellow.

rsz_dsc02313On the floor near the boys’ room.

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rsz_dsc02330In the kitchen.

mickey-watchOn my wrist.

So that after awhile, we start seeing Mickey everywhere!

mickey-carDoesn’t this car look suspiciously familiar?  Go ahead, scroll up to my watch…and back to the car.  You see it, too!

I’d say we need help, but we refuse to admit that we have a problem.

But if you’d like to stage an intervention, may I suggest holding it at the Disneyland Hotel?

(And let’s not even mention what’s going on in the bathroom…)
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Seasonal

I first encountered the phrase “seasons of life” a few years ago.  Before then it just wasn’t something used by the people I knew.  Maybe it’s a regional thing.  But once I heard it, I liked how nicely it fit with so many things.

In many ways, it gave me permission to prioritize my life in a way that would best suit my family. For example, I have been a Girl Scout leader for three straight years.  Pumpkin Girl really likes me being a leader and I like it, too.  But now, in this season of my life, I need a break.  I need to focus on other things.  It is OK for me not to be a GS leader (I say to myself) because what Pumpkin needs from me right now is to be a ballet mom.  (That’s like a soccer mom, but you know, with miniature ballerinas with buns and pink tights in the back of the minivan, not sweaty soccer players.)

Sometimes life seasons are long, other seasons are short.

Funny enough, blogging seems to be seasonal for me, too.  I’d love to be one of those bloggers who blog daily (or more!), but that never seems to work out for me.  I don’t know where my time goes every day – it’s like I wake up, eat lunch, then go to bed.  The days fly by.  It just hasn’t been a season for blogging lately.  I haven’t even gotten around to changing my blog header to one more…seasonally appropriate.

But the good news is, I feel a change of seasons coming on…

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