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2015.03.24

March 24, 2015

Last week was St Patricks’ Day, which is a big party of a day to many (if not most) Bostonians.  Since it is also Evacuation Day, schools within Suffolk County are closed, as are many businesses.  We live a stone’s throw into the next county, so we didn’t have the day off.  And in point of fact my partying days are mostly over.

Nonetheless the boys like theme days of any sort.  They wore green shirts to school, and we had Shamrock Shakes for dessert.

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I *may* have had a Guinness.  Or two.

In the knitting department, we have some babies joining our family circle in the summer (boy-girl twins! Woohoo!).  I ordered and have received a big box of yarn.  Knitting will begin shortly, but in the meantime I started what will ultimately be a long term project.

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It’s a variation on the very contagious mitered-square blanket.  I have this thing where I can’t organize colors randomly, so I’m working the squares in a log-cabin configuration, changing yarns at each corner.

Each square is taking about 45 minutes.  I’m working this exclusively on the weekends, and giving weeknights over to the baby knitting.  I have just realized that I will run out of yarn scraps long before the blanket is big enough to be a usable piece, and am now trying to figure out what that means.  Do I buy sock yarn earmarked for this?  And if I do, do they all need to be identical, or coordinating, or can they be completely random?

Delicious ambiguity.  I love it.

2015.03.17

March 17, 2015

March has been pretty eventful for us so far.

There was a citywide third grade art exhibit held at the mall, complete with Alistair’s work.  His school’s theme was ‘spring flowers’, and they used tissue paper, pastels and pencils.

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Pretty awesome.

This past weekend was the annual Running of the Leprechauns 5k.  We participated for the first time – Larry and Alistair mostly walked, but I ran it.

 

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Before we started I told Alistair, “You can go at your own pace the whole time.  It doesn’t matter how fast you go or how long it takes you to finish, it’s most important that you finish.  Oh, and no matter how tired you are, you have to run over the finish line.”

Fifty-six minutes later they came around the corner, and sure enough, as soon as he saw the banner he booked it.

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He is super proud of himself.  And I’m super-proud of him.

2015.03.03

March 3, 2015

For the past month or so the third grade at Alistair’s school has been working on a great project.  They called it the Wax Museum.  Each student selected a historical or famous person from a list, and spent time researching the person – not just what made them noteworthy, but also their early childhood, things they were interested in, and what we can learn from them today.  Then they had to pull together a costume, complete with a prop, and be ready for the big presentation.

Alistair got Paul Revere.

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I don’t think I’m bragging when I say he looks pretty darned authentic.  Considering the only thing we bought was the felt to make the hat, I’m pretty impressed with our resourcefulness.

On the day of the Wax Museum, each child had to present the facts about their person on demand – depending on which ‘button’ a visitor selected, each child had to present the fact about their person.  Some classes read their facts from index cards, others had the cards nearby for inspiration, but Alistair’s class did it all from memory.

Here’s my boy:

 

2015.02.24

February 24, 2015

Last week was school vacation in these parts.  Given the amount of snow days we’ve had this month, having a week off wasn’t the novelty it usually is.

The kids were shuffled from pillar to post as usual, although I was able to take a couple of days off to hang out with them.  On Friday we went to see the SpongeBob Movie, for instance.

On Saturday we ventured into town to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum.  We had prepped Alistair beforehand, so he knew about the mansion’s backstory, and the theft, and the empty frames still hanging on the walls.  He was duly impressed.

The Gardner happens to be my all-time favorite museum.  I love the way there’s no real rhyme or reason to the collection, how it so closely mirrors the average person’s house – the “I like this, so I’m getting it” philosophy, writ large and absolutely crammed into a house.  But on this visit, I could not tear my eyes away from the courtyard.  It was so sunny and so green and so very lush.  It gave me a spark of hope that this winter might actually end eventually.

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It was nearly 50 degrees on Sunday.  I went for a very sloppy, very slushy, very slow run in the morning, and after lunch Larry decided to check on the gutters.

If you live in a warm climate you may not know this, but snow and rain trapped in gutters will freeze, and could back up onto your roof, into your attic, and generally ruin your day.  People try all number of home remedies to avoid this, including stuffing pantyhose with ice melt and tossing them onto the roof, or creating ice melt patties.  Our gutters are midway up the side of the house, so we can lean out the upstairs windows and pour ice melt or rock salt down into the gutters, in hopes that they will tag-team with the sun and keep the water running.   Sometimes it’s enough, sometimes – particularly when the bottom two feet of downspout is covered in snow – it doesn’t.   We shovel the snow away as best we can, but sometimes it’s already too late.

This year it was already too late, so Larry had to get up on the ladder with an ice pick and a watering can full of rock salt.

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I am relieved to report that his teetering on a metal ladder propped on seven feet of snow was uneventful.

Oh, and the gutters are clear.

For now.

2015.02.17

February 17, 2015

So yeah, we got another blizzard this weekend – that’s the second one this year, which apparently has never happened in Boston.  Big whoop.

We are collectively so over it.  We’re at 98 inches for the winter.  So far.  We’ve had snow on the ground as late as April here, so none of us believes this is the end.  However, we’re all hoping for a few days of above-freezing temperatures so some of these snowbanks can, if not melt away, at least condense themselves a bit.

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To add insult to injury, we’ve had subzero temperatures since Friday, although I think today is supposed to get to a balmy 20.  The kids have had no interest in playing outside whatsoever.

So I’ve been racking my brain and Pinterest to find things to do inside.  Yesterday we tried painted snow.

Essentially to set up paper on a tray, with a rack of some sort above it, and you pile snow on the rack then paint it.

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As the snow melts the paint drips onto the paper.

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Unfortunately, the trays also collect the water, so the papers just turned into cloudy messes rather than the abstract impressionistic gems we were hoping for.

Next time I’ll put the paper on a rack in the tray.  Maybe we’ll do it today.  It’s not like we’re running short on snow.

2015.02.13

February 13, 2015

In spring 2013 our guild took a bus trip to Webs.  Among a satchel of other things I bought a bag and a half of yarn with the idea of making the Hourglass sweater.

By the time I actually got around to knitting a pullover it was July 2014 and I was smitten by the Licorice Whip.  Which is what I cast on.

Sometime in the early fall I finished knitting the body, and put it into time out while I worked on my Christmas knitting.  And then a quick shawlette as a treat for finishing my Christmas knitting.

Finally in January I picked it back up with a grim determination to finish it before starting something else.

I bound off the second sleeve last Friday night and made Larry take a “before blocking” photo Saturday morning:

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Then away to the tub it went, for a nice soak.  Given the weather we’re having it wasn’t dry until Monday evening.

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(Please ignore the state of my hair and skin by Monday, we’d just gotten another 18 inches of snow that day and I’d been working at home, managing the boys, and keeping up with the shoveling throughout).

But about the sweater – what a difference blocking makes.  Everything has just relaxed, you know?  I might unpick the bottom hem and redo it with a stretchier bind-off.

I’ve got a pair of socks on the go now, and after that, who knows?

2015.02.09

February 9, 2015

 

Have you heard about this new bulletproof coffee fad that’s sweeping the nation?

Basically you use grass-fed unsalted butter instead of your usual cream/milk/half and half of choice.  Supposedly it lengthens and regulates the energy boost your coffee provides, as well as boost your fat-burning enzymes or whatever.

I like coffee, and I like Irish butter, so I figured why not give it a whirl.

 

 


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That first sip was something of a leap of faith after seeing the pat of butter floating on top, but in all truth, once it’s melted it doesn’t taste very different from my usual half and half.  Larry is in charge of weekday morning coffee, and I don’t see him catering to this particular whim of mine, but I’ve been drinking this on weekends and it’s no big thing.  As to whether it fulfills all the claims, who knows?

More snow was in the forecast (in fact, it started snowing Saturday afternoon and here we are Monday at 11, and it’s still going strong), so it was clear to me that we needed a family project.

I drew inspiration from the kitchen table.

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It was my grandmother’s table; she gave it to us when we bought the house.  As a little girl I learned how to make pasta sitting at this table.  She would make trays upon trays of ravioli, and make fettucine, penne and gnocchi from the scraps.  She passed away when Alistair was four.  As the only girl, and one of only three grandchildren, I had my choice of all her belongings, but the table was all I ever wanted.

Anyway, I figured it was high time to share the pasta legacy with the boys – with the tech component of the pasta attachment to our stand mixer.

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One thing I will do differently next time, is fan the noodles out a little better.  They stuck together as they dried overnight, and while they were still delicious when we ate them for Sunday dinner, they weren’t your standard-issue spaghetti strands.

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So yeah, it’s still snowing.  Larry bought me a pair of running Yaktrax for Christmas, and I’m happy to say I’ve been putting them to good use.

 

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As for the snow totals, as of 7am this morning we were up to 66″ on the season.  60 of it has come in the last two weeks.  Here’s a scale graphic, for the purposes of perspective.

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