Thursday, February 26, 2009

6th file, 6th photo

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I'm so glad it wasn't some dud picture that I shouldn't have even uploaded! But it's this one, from November of 2005, a Halloween shot of my knight (almost seven) and my puppy dog (three). I was probably grumping and bossing them about, hustling them into the photo before we had to race off to school's All Hallow's Eve Walk, which starts promptly and which Dear Husband is always heavily involved with, so he is not at home stuffing people into costumes, making sure there is something healthy in their bellies before all that sugar, locating the special item that is essential for the costume but somehow misplaced, and fixing the face paint that smudged.

That is probably more disclosure than you were looking for. I could have just said it was a peaceful moment before our lovely school ritual of a dusky walk in the enchanted forest.

I was tagged by Skip the Chips for the 6th of the 6th, and I think, now that I am doing it that APA tagged me a LONG time ago to do something similar, and there it is, I forgot until just now. So the way it works is you locate your 6th folder of photos and post the 6th picture you find in there, tag 6 bloggers, and then link back to this post here, where I am tagging you:

Make It Smirk, Totally Smitten Mama, Miss Smith at Home, Pink Crow Stirrings, Philigry, and Tollipop.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not a Small Amount of Snow

Those of you with children in school may appreciate the fact that a snow day yesterday, after the week of Anti-Vacation that I had, was not very welcome. We had a great day anyway, just not the day that I thought I might have had. We got dumped upon, old-school style with SO much heavy snow. This was the snow, in the amounts, from my childhood, the kind of snow that is almost as tall as you are when you are small. And the piles from the plow are as tall as an adult. Really, it was kind of magical. I showed you one picture yesterday, but here are some more.
The view out of my kitchen window
Sad old chicken fence, laden with snow.
Small red hat bobbing above the whiteness.
This chicken is to show you just how high the snow is,
like mid-thigh on a medium-sized woman.

After doing bits and pieces of my schoolwork in those rare peaceful moments when the children were playing harmoniously (they HAVE been together almost constantly for over a week), and after working up a sweat shoveling some more, I decided to pack it in and make cinnamon rolls. The recipe can be found here, and I made it pretty much verbatim except with a little whole wheat flour for the illusion of better healthiness. Partly I wanted the aromatherapy, because there is a weird smell in our dining room that may or may not be a dead mouse under the house. The inspiration for the rolls may have come from Tollipop.

They tasted pretty amazing.
And today, everyone was back where we all were supposed to be, namely work and school. And as a bonus, we are healthy, well, and a two-parent household again.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Calvin Coolidge and his unusual boat name

Remember my new favorite old book that I have been using in some recent ATCs? They come from this wonderful treasure trove, The American Heritage Book of Fish Cookery (1980), full of black and white photos of fisherpeople with excellent captions and weird-sounding recipes. I see there's a used one on Amazon for 59 cents, if you fall in love with it from this post. How can I cut up a book, you ask? Well, if no one has checked it out from the library in 8 years, why not turn it into something people WILL look at?

For example, that lady above in her apron is brandishing a fish that is in the process of eating another fish. The caption calls her Granny Turner, of Bear Island, Ontario.
And here is our 30th president (1926-1929), Calvin Coolidge, described as "one of our most enthusiastic presidential anglers" by this source:
And here's a close-up of the name of his jaunty vessel:
(For those of you reading from outside the US, those two words have Other Connotations here. Did they have the same connotations back then? That would be interesting.)

And check out these hotties, described as "...the lean, hard men who put out after bluefish were notorious for being just as strong, wild and quick tempered as the fish they sought..." Yum.
We also have these lovely ladies in their hats, preparing a fish breakfast on the West Branch of the Penobscot, here in Maine in 1885:
Finally, here is Edward Llewellen with his 425 pound giant sea bass, caught off of Catalina Island in California in 1903:
Here is what it's like today, with snow blanketing our window screens:
The shoveling down to the chicken house was heavy and wet and up to Jonas's waist, he reports.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Art at Your Library

Rockport Public Library is venturing into Year 2 with art! Today we had an ATC Make-and-Swap with needle-felted and embellished cards, with the wonderful Robinsunne and a few talented artists, young and younger.
Our combined efforts at the end of the afternoon, above.

In case you haven't experienced the wonders of needle-felting, it's a dry felting technique using these really vicious barbed needles that help to stick the fibers to each other, making felt with no water or mess (only the occasional poke and loud words). The results with 3D objects are amazing, but here we were today, having fun with it in 2D form also.
That's a sponge, which helps against poking yourself with the felting needles.
That red bird makes me glad.

Beads, shiny metallic papers from chocolate wrappers, paper bits, and even those weird plastic domes that protect pills in their foil wrappers... Don't you love this?
Do you see that guy in the lower left? With the yellow eyebrows?

Best of all, I got to meet a blogging neighbor from the midcoast, who blogs at Skip the Chips! It's always so crazy to me that the friends I find online could actually, physically be near to me. When you check out her blog, make sure you read the post about 10 indoor things to do with your kids (OK, you southern hemisphere folks, don't gloat because you have gorgeous summer right now, just bookmark this post for later!). I also loved the post I just read about great art supplies to have on hand with kids...And oh, yeah, she's also a hedgehog fan (another shared interest) who just visited Alewives Fabrics for the first time because she read about it here.
The Prince and the Pea? Stacking beanbags in the children's room to read on a perch, it's Sylvan!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pieces of Me: Student

don't look too closely, the keyboard is dirty

I finished my undergraduate work (at very long began in 1993 about 5 colleges ago and before kids) in December and hopped on board with my graduate studies in Library and Information Science in January. I am attending San Jose State University via my computer here in Maine and the commute is really great.

I have two classes this semester, though one of them feels like two classes by itself, about information and how we find things. What I hate is group work, because as much as you already hated group work live and in person, group work virtually is even worse. Thankfully, my group is very motivated and on top of things. Still, it's stressful. Another thing I hate is textbooks that require translation sentence-by-sentence to know that actually, I already know what they are talking about and I have personal experience in the real world with the concept, but it took me a few minutes to make that connection because of the Academic Way the authors have written it.

What I love is learning. Always and everything. Forever. I like reading. I like making connections with things I do in the library where I work, or things I could do. I like writing compare and contrast papers. I like meeting virtual colleagues online and getting to know them through their writing and posts. I am curious, and new ideas and technology intrigue me. I like constructing arguments and doing research. I like quiet study.
roses from my brother

What's hard is that I went away this week and the work was still there, yet with none of my usual structure for doing it. And I am single-parenting. And my mom has dial-up, so I had to find high-speed wireless daily. Wah, wah, wah. Well, all I am saying is that it has been hard lately. I found myself just a little jealous of my brother's friends who are students full-time, no kids, jobs, spouses, etc. I mean, I like all of these other parts of my life, don't get me wrong. It was just momentary wistfulness.
Here is what I am not doing when I am being a student: laundry. I wash it throughout the week, but then it sits and waits to be folded, in a growing mountain in the corner of my bedroom. I am also not doing much housework, sewing, or exercising, all of which give me a certain amount of balance and pleasure.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

The boys came home with their beautiful Valentine's folders from school today. School has a policy about handmade Valentines only, which I love. Here are some of my Valentine ATCs---don't forget to snuggle your loved ones today!

And thanks to Carol for pointing out this amazing design-your-own fabric site, Spoonflower! Just when I think my brain is overfull of the best creative things I could possibly dream up to do in this lifetime...Another great one comes along and somehow my brain doesn't explode.
One thing more that I love: APA's latest bag! Find a gorgeous photo here. Her colors and fabric choices are always a knock-out! She is bold, that one, and I admire her for it. Alewives Girl, do you have this pattern at my favorite fabric shop?
The material on this ATC is from my new favorite, recently-weeded book from Rockport Public Library, entitled: The American Heritage Book of Fish Cookery. Really weird and old sorts of recipes and excellent quotes and black and white photos of fish and fisherpeople. Like a person holding a fish eating another fish. Or a person holding a fish that is 450 pounds. I promise to take some pictures to show you before I cut the whole thing up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Celebration, then Sickness

ATC Valentine: "So---That's where that guy eats!"

Warm strawberries for a sick boy.

Well I have been the Mama trenches these past days, home with a sick Sylvan. We have read off and on(sometimes from My Father's Dragon, one of my all-time favorite read-alouds), listened to Mary Poppins on CD twice (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious on repeat for awhile, because it brought a smile), one tiny puzzle, lots of coaxing to keep drinking fluids, some auditory hallucinations on his part, putting up towels to cover the windows and taking them down, re-supplying the sick table with books, washing mud off the toy tractor treads so they could be brought in and driven on a sick lap, etc. Thanks be to my loving partner who knows how much I need sleep to function, and let me sleep by myself in the guest bed last night.
What I've been knitting, while being with the sick one.

A gingko leaf bookmark and present.

So, before all this, last weekend I had my birthday. And it was lovely. The perfect sort of day filled with family, a few very special folks, and a lot of crafting.
We weren't that many in number, but we certainly made quite a bit of mess. We had a fabric ATC table and a collage ATC table in the next room.
One of us made a special ATC for Maine's senator, Susan Collins.

The theme was Valentine's Day, could you guess? (And if you need still more Valentine's inspiration after this post, check out Tollipop who is offering a Valentine's freebie! Adorable.)
We ate cake twice.
There was this, a cake appetizer: gingerbread muffins with whipped cream and crystallized ginger.
And later we ate this,
Old-Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake from Cook's Illustrated (March/April 2006) frosted with my mom's own recipe for peppermint frosting (crushed up peppermint dust added to white frosting), which gives such a pretty pink color.
The cake was perfect and moist.
Is it any wonder we didn't have much appetite for the lovely birthday dinner? Which thankfully was all prepped and ready to be eaten the very next day. Yay for a crafternoon birthday party!