Monday, January 31, 2011

Makes My Monday: Cake!

Look at this beautiful cake that I baked and Wasabi Girl decorated.  She took the picture in the cake stand.  Yummy yummy.

Now it's Monday and everyone has gone to school and work and look what I found:

 What to do, what to do?  I really should wash that cake keeper, don't you think?

Anticipating a sweet coffee break makes my Monday.  To see more Monday makers, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Finished for Friday: Baltimore Christmas 2

I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing all of this in a week.  It took a lot of hours.  Guess which materials I ran out of?  Grrrr.  I'm going to hunt around my sewing room to see if I can find them.  I may need to order more.

The candy canes were a lot of fun, they're actually two colors of ric-rac twisted together.  Much easier than trying to applique the separate color bands.

I had a little trouble finishing this, because besides the missing ingredients, I had a helper who parked on my pattern and made it impossible to read.  So helpful.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and show us!  Please link back to me in your post.  Thanks!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tuesday Toonlet: My Oscar Pick

The Nominees

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The Nominees

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Makes My Monday: He did it

My dearest boy, who loves to dance.

Who fights with his sisters over toys

Always up for adventure

Surprisingly supportive

Ready to fearlessly do battle with whatever the world has in store for him.

He did it.

He not only passed his audition to get into American Ballet Theatre's Summer Program, he got a full scholarship. 

It's your moment to shine young man.  Center stage is yours for the taking.  I am so proud I can hardly contain myself.

Makes My Monday is hosted by Cheryl at Twinfatuation.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finished for Friday: Baltimore Christmas 1

This is the first block I've completed in a quilt called "Baltimore Christmas." It's worked in wool applique and it was a bit of a challenge.  It's not perfect, and I have some ideas now about how I'll approach the future blocks in the series.  I'm already 3 blocks behind - this one will keep me busy.

What have you been up to this week?  Leave a comment if you want a visit, and be sure to visit some of the other participants too.  Thanks for joining in!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Awesome Never Stops

It's audition season for ballet company summer programs. I received a calendar from Jungle Boy's ballet teacher, with dates for a dozen different auditions. We're lucky to live near San Francisco because all the big companies take their audition tours through here.

Last Saturday was his first, for a major New York company. We navigated through unfamiliar streets, found parking, and found the host ballet school. It was a cool old building with an old style elevator - complete with attendant to close the grill and guide the car to its floor. I haven't seen one of those in years.

There were long crowded hallways full of young women and parents. The girls were all stripping off sweat pants and uggs and stretching in every imaginable form of extension. Wall to wall limber limbs all around. The parents were nervously shifting around on narrow benches trying to get comfortable and focus on reading magazines.

We turned in his application and photos and I sat down to wait. Jungle Boy ignored all the girls, sat off in a corner, and quietly read his Kindle. Meanwhile, all the girls were getting quite noisy with the chatting and more extreme stretching.

When the audition began, all the dancers went into the studio and we parents started chatting among ourselves. Some had horror stories of auditions. Some were new to the process like me. Although we were excluded from the studio, the door was open and once in a while a few parents would try to look in without being seen.

When the hour and a half was nearly over, my curiosity got the best of me and I went to peek in too. The girls had just been dismissed to put on their pointe shoes and the teacher was marking through the men's combination. All the terms are in French, and I know most of them, so my ears pricked up when the teacher asked for a "double tour." A tour is when a dancer jumps straight up, and spins around. Imagine jumping straight up and spinning twice before you land.

Jungle Boy has, at his best, done one and a half tours. I didn't hear him, but he told me later that he asked the teacher if he could do a single.

"No, I want to see you try a double." I think at that point I stopped breathing. I knew what was up. The combination began.

And he nailed it. The double tour. I nearly screamed.

We'll start hearing audition results in a week or two. Fingers crossed. But even if he doesn't get into any of these programs, he's still my hero. Now I understand why his teacher insisted he do all these auditions. Clearly the experience brings out the best in him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Finished for Friday: The Black Moth

Welcome back to Finished for Friday.  I'm figuring out our routine again now that there are no more Nutcracker rehearsals or gymnastics meets for this season.  I think I got a little too relaxed over vacation - I have to keep checking my calendar to remember when to pick everyone up.

I've put away the last of the Christmas decorations and cooked a lot of nice warm stews and soups to keep everyone warm and cozy during this cold weather.  It's been perfect weather to sit by the fire and read.

The Black Moth is the first Georgette Heyer novel I've read.  She is credited with having invented the historical romance genre.  I picked this as a first read because it's available for the Kindle for under a dollar.  I then found out that this is her first book, written when she was about 17 years old.

The story is a bit of a swashbuckler, featuring a highwayman with a secret identity, kidnappings, Dukes and Earls and the women they love, and of course, an inheritance to claim.  The characters are charming and well described and it is a very impressive first effort.  I can't wait to read more by this author.  Her writing style and attention to period detail made this book hard to put down.

Have a Kindle, or the Kindle app on your computer/phone/ipad/ipod etc?  I recommend this bargain for some mid-winter escapism.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up and leave a comment.  Thanks for playing along!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Makes My Monday: Musical Clothes

I came late to the ipod party.  I've always had a lot of cds and I never saw the need for an ipod until another blogger pointed out that it was a great way to archive an entire collection.  Now that I have one, I don't know how I ever lived without it.

But I've never been a huge fan of those little earbuds.  I tend to put my ipod into a speaker dock.

Look what I found while waiting for a daughter to try on clothes.   A "techno hoodie."  For some reason I find this infinitely more appealing than the omnipresent white cords that attach to everyone's ears.  The ear buds are built into the strings of the hood, and the headphone jack is in the pocket. 

Look out world.  I'm going to be listening to Mahler while I do my grocery shopping.  Because I'm cool like that.

To see more happy thoughts for Monday, visit Cheryl at Twinfatuation.  Better still - play along and find something to smile about to start the week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finished for Friday: Snowflakes

I decided to try my hand at crocheting some snowflakes.  Here are my attempts using different size hooks.  They're not perfectly blocked - I need to work on that.  Also, what you don't see in this picture are my first few attempts where I totally messed up.  Now I think I could make this particular flake in my sleep.  I'm ready to try some more.

I found a great blog with a lot of free snowflake patterns called Snowcatcher.  Whether or not you crochet, you should see her beautiful nature photography.

What have you been up to this week?  Link up, leave a comment, and visit the other participants.  Thanks for playing along!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Are You Up For a Challenge?

I've been scouring the web this past week looking for reading challenges that I can try.  I've found a few and maybe you would like to join me.  Click on the buttons below to see the source blogs, or find your own - there's a good list of current challenges at A Novel Challenge

The 2011 e-book challenge is hosted by The Ladybug Reads and requires reading from 3-100 e-books.  I know I wont get to 100, but I'm pretty sure I'll read more than three.

Since I love big fat novels of historical fiction, I'm joining the Georgette Heyer Reading Challenge hosted by All Things Historical Fiction.  I picked up the first book from Amazon for $0.99, which works for me!  If any of you have read her works, I would love your opinions on which of her books I should read.  Minimum is 3 this year.

Reading Extensively is hosting a "Page to Screen" reading challenge.  Simply read 5 or more books that have been adapted to movies or television shows.  Optionally watch those movies after reading the books.  Sounds like fun!  Did you know the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie is based on a book?

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

The Book Vixen is hosting the "Outdo Yourself" reading challenge.  This one simply asks that you read more books than you did last year.  Since I read all my books on my Kindle last year, it shouldn't be too hard for me to figure out how many that was.  This is a good challenge for everyone.

That's all I'm going to commit to right now.  There are a few more that overlap - challenges to read public domain books and free books. There is a fun challenge to read a whole series of P.G. Wodehouse books.  I'm still thinking about that one.

Let me know if you're joining in on any of these.  And send me recommendations if you know good books that fit these categories.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why I Might Love You

Today I read a disturbing piece with the title "Why I Might Hate You."  It was published anonymously, and I wont link up to it.  It made me decide to unsubscribe from that website on facebook.  They are doing an interesting experiment allowing anonymous posts, but any title like that is not something I want to see on my facebook wall.  That's my happy place.

It made me think about the nature of anonymous posting.  Most readers of my blog do not know my real name.  I am attempting to allow my children some privacy from present and future googling.  There are (what I think are) adorable pictures of them when they were very small.  I try not to post any pictures that may be potentially embarrassing but that's in the eye of the beholder.  I try to tell our family stories with love.

The post I read today made me remember that while I write alone, what I write can reach many many people I will never meet.  So let me just say it right now:

I might love you.

If you read my blog and don't roll your eyes, I might love you.
If you're fat or thin or struggling or sick or sad, I might love you.
If you're the same political party I am, or on the other side, I might love you.
If you watch TV all day or turn it off like I do, I might love you.

If you comment, I love you.

If you talk on the phone or worse, text while driving, I am concerned for you and the people on the road with you.  I might still love you.  I would like the chance to try to convince you to change this habit.

If you post a picture of my daughter on some strange website and I end up getting thousands of hits on that picture so that I have to take it down, I hate you.

Are we clear?

Hate is a big word.  Use it carefully.  "Anonymous" is a big cloak.  It also must be used carefully.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ort Report

This is my 2010 jar of orts.  An ort is the little scrap of thread left on the end of the needle when you finish stitching.  It's a term that means "scrap".  Also in my jar are extra little beads, bands from floss, and a lot of used dull needles.

It's so fun to look at the strata and think of all the projects I completed last year.  That pile of scraps represents a lot of hours of work.

It's time to empty it out and start again.  If you want to play along, sign up with Daffycat.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What I Learned from Vacation Alone

Everyone comes home tomorrow.  Wasabi Girl will be back from her adventure in the snow at Lake Tahoe.  It was -9 degrees up there!  

My husband and Jungle Boy will drive back from their adventure in a cabin in the woods.  According to Jungle Boy, they got up at 5am every morning to stake out a spot on the river in the cold and rain.  The best part?  The steelhead are "catch and release" on that river.  What's the point???  I am completely free of any jealousy about that trip.  When last we spoke (I think my husband found cell phone coverage by climbing a tree) they hadn't caught anything.

Drama Girl has spent the week in Los Angeles with her aunt and uncle.  They've been shopping, celebrity hunting, and hanging out.  Her hair is a new color - with my blessing.  I'll ask her if I can post pictures.  It's not a color usually found in hair. 

I can tell from their phone calls that each kid has had an exhilarating week of semi-independence.   No mom to tell them to pick up their socks.  No dull routine.  No music practice.  Plenty of new things to see and experience.  I couldn't be happier for them.

I'm inclined to think, though, that I had the best vacation of all.  A week in a quiet house.  No nagging.  No driving all over the place.  No cooking elaborate meals and shoveling laundry.  Just me and the cats.  I sewed and read and napped.  I played on the wii and finished off the Christmas pie.  I listened to my music.

I can't stand it any more.  They need to come home now.  Don't tell them I said that.

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