Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Remembering ...

Today I used the phrase "I've bullied older women then you!" And meant it. Which sent me down a long reminiscing path.

It always amazes me how I am "the boss" to people older then me. That I'm in a position to say to someone "I'm ordering you to go home and get well." (Or something even stronger but along those lines.)

I've pushed women twice my age (figuratively) out the door and into a doctor's office. Or worse. How did I get this authority? And why do they listen to me? I'm young enough to be their child ... or grandchild in a couple of cases.

But boy I'm glad they do.

Last week we lost our dear Ginzie. She worked at Manhattan Center from it's founding until about 2 years ago when she fell ill and could not return. At the time of her retirement, she was the most senior paraprofessional in New York City. She loved the kids she worked with and they loved her in return. Same with the staff.

I learned so much from Ginzie.

I learned ... to always say good morning. And mean it.

I learned ... to always ask nicely. And say Thank you. (o.k., I knew this one, she just reinforced it.)

I learned ... that to be a good person is the highest goal one can achieve. To do for others is a good thing (yup, already knew this one but you can never learn it too often). To celebrate with your friends. To share their sadness as well as their joy. To suck it up and know when to say you are sorry. And mean it.

None of these lessons were taught with words, just with actions.

I never got used to being asked if she could take half and hour to go to mass on a holy day of obligation. But I started making sure that someone walked her to the church and back.

I never got used to her not being there any more ... and I never will.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Poke, Poke ...

There's been some poking going on here today.

We went fabric shopping today at City Quilter (I needed to make pillow cases for the couch pillows) and Little Squid became entranced with the needle felting kits. So ... I bought him one. No, it was not a Squid.

It was ...

A Penguin!

Which, after Squidette saw how quickly it was made ...

was joined by a second penguin!

And ... a Squid! Of his own design.
I think I have an addict on my hands. He now wants to try his hand at a dolphin and an elephant. My fiber stash is in danger ...

Squidette, meanwhile, made some more progress on her quilt after acquiring an edging and backing fabric. She intends to finish it this weekend.

Me? I did some work while they were all at a violin recital rehearsal. These socks? I finished them a couple of days ago. The top one shows the true color. The bottom one shows just how badly I screwed up the pattern at one point.
They've been keeping my feet toasty warm all day but were made very large with the idea that I would full them in the washer and have extra warm socks for riding. I think that for now I will wear them as it and hand wash until they get accidentally felted by Maria. Meanwhile, another pair is in the works.

Yarn is home spun corriedale. 48 stitches around on size 2 lace-addi turbos. Which get really cold when you knit with them outdoors in 30 or so degree weather.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Black Ice

No, this is not a cautionary tale. No accidents or near accidents occurred. Just a statement of how much my husband cares. He warned me twice -- that's once this morning and again before I came home -- about the dangers of black ice.

Isn't he sweet?

I was very careful and rode the streets to work this morning. I came back via Central Park and saw some brief glimpses of lovely, iced over, lawns. Brief glimpses because I really was all about watching for black ice and rode VERY carefully. My rides were challenging because the first was before the sun rose and the second was well after it had set. Even with a headlight, the shadows make for tricky riding. Potholes almost jump out at you after dark.

Yes, I'm working lots of hours. Much has to be done before the end of the month.

That said, today was probably the only day I'm riding this week. Tomorrow will be warmer but I have to drive for other reasons. It is supposed to rain / snow on Wednesday and then the temps are supposed to plunge into the teens.

I'm not riding in that. Nope. Not that crazy.

I didn't think that I had gotten chilled on either ride today but it took a fairly long time for me to get really warm again so I guess I did get kind of cold. I also got really hot. Then I got cold and clammy. Ick! Just as I think I figure out how many layers to wear at what temperatures, the wind chill messes with it all.

I wore just enough layers to feel comfortable riding uptown (though my fingers were starting to complain about 10 blocks before the end of the ride) and shed a layer coming home. At which point I over heated. Blah!

Oh well. Just as I figure it out, spring will arrive with it's own set of challenges. At least I'll be able to knit during yard duty. These freezing temps are messing with my output. I get only a round or two done before I have to grab my mittens and hand warmers.

Enough babble. Time for sleep.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Working Out at Work

Since mid-October I have spent most Saturdays at work. Turns out that my new job is in the same building the Boro-wide band uses and, coincidentally enough, both of my children are in the band. So, while Mike was in charge of drop off, followed by marketing, last year (Squidette made her own way home), I have taken over the drop off and, now, retrieval duties of both children.

Notice that marketing was dropped.

I don't actually retrieve the kids as much as wander down from my office at the appropriate time and return home with them in the car. Since I am a nice gal, I also drop off another band member who lives on our route.

This means that I am spending 5 or so additional hours at work each week. And am spending most of them in physical activity.

Most weeks I've spent the time working on cleaning up and organizing a book room. This is in an attempt to get a handle on what books we have and what we need and also, to get some organization where it is sorely lacking. Book room work requires much lifting and climbing. I figure I'm getting my weight lifting done. Hey, text books are NOT light!

This week, however, I gave my abs a workout instead. It was totally unintentional.

On Thursday, my Principal and I put together a visual representation of the school program. This involved writing every class out on half a colored index card (a different color for each period) and then stapling it to a bulletin board.

We have 39 teachers and they each teach 5 classes.

On Friday I was fine. On Saturday, when I repeated the action multiple times, as we changed the program, I felt it in my abs.

Apparently stapling above one's shoulders works the ab muscles.

Who knew?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Fused Biofuel

As you may know, I tend to have problems in the kitchen. Mike has periodically banned me from said room but always rescinded the ban when he realized that the counters were not going to clean themselves.

When I move into hyper mode I tend to shove food into my mouth. That food will be whatever is handy at the moment so it can be either healthy or unhealthy. I tend to keep snacks at work that are in between. Healthy when eaten in moderation, unhealthy when eaten to excess. Things like peanuts, whole wheat pretzels, craisins, chocolate covered raisins ... That's what prompted my latest culinary disaster.

I decided to make popcorn.

Not the prepackaged, chemically laden stuff that you stick in the microwave but plain, barely salted popcorn. And I was using our handy dandy microwave popper. And I asked Mike how long to microwave it for.

See what happened?

Need I say more.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Crafting Over the Break

The break was not totally about going and seeing. There was some crafting going on.

Dumbo had another hat-ectomy. His hat attachment system (snap tape) was removed and replaced with buttons. Each new hat (made by Squidette) had two holes-worth of button elastic sewn into the bottom. They are not easy to put on but it does, indeed, work.

Then there were my experiments with HotSnapz wear.
First was the ear-flap hat. Double knit, it includes earlaps that are open on one side to allow the insertion of activated HotSnapz.
With the HotSnapz in place they act more as cheek warmers but were, apparently, a huge help as we crossed the Manhattan Bridge in below freezing temperatures.

Then there are the Footwarmer Slippers. Also double knit (after the cuff), they include a pocket for a HotSnapZ.
The one on the right has a HatSnapZ in it. (Please ignore the hairy legs.)
As you can see, they have the Little Squid seal of approval.
Yes, I ran out of green near the second toe.

Last on tap, my shopping bag. Initially I took out the sewing machine to go over all of the seams on our grocery bags. After a close examination, they all got a bit smaller as I worked my repair magic. Knowing that eventually they will be too small to be worth using, I grabbed some stash fabric (I have a small fabric stash) and, copying the bags that we love so much, set out to make one.
I even made an attached stuff sack but the thicker cotton does not fit in the bag. This bag is larger then the ones we have but it is doing a good job so far.

There was some more crafting, including attaching a border of squares to the woven blanket and some dye sampling. Mike has finally settled on a pattern for his next sweater so it is up to me to dye, spin and knit it.

Tomorrow ... back to work.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

On Thin Ice

Really! O.k., maybe not that thin.

After trying their hand (feet?) on the synthetic rink at Natural History, the Squidlings decided that they needed some real ice time.

So, off to The Pond it was. At 8:00 a.m.

Because I'm a nut, that's why.

Two hours later we turned around and came home.

Why no pictures of me? Because I'm the one with the camera! Oh, and I didn't skate. I sat inside knitting and listening to an audio book.
And Mike? He ran errands.

So why was I there? Just in case someone got a boo boo.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Sea, Air, Space and Squid

Already this week we've visited a couple of major tourist attractions and a minor one. Today we trekked off to see an old friend who had absent for the last 18 months. Back before her renovation, we'd visit the Intrepid once a year or so, walking up along the river to spend an hour or so among the planes and such.

Almost two years ago they closed her for renovations. Usually, when a museum undergoes a renovation, the structure remains in place. Not this one.

In order to rehabilitate the Intrepid, they first had to tow it to dry dock. The towing was supposed to be pro forma but they ran into snags when the propellers stuck in the mud. Ultimately, they did unstick her and off she went.

Now she's returned and better then ever. A fresh coat of paint, some shining up and reallocation of the exhibit space and our old friend is back with us.

We joined Mike's sister and her family at the Intrepid and immediately headed up to the flight deck. The planes on top have also been cleaned up. The stealth fighter was so clean that we could not even see it!

Just joking, here it is.

The kids tried out every model, switch and button that there was to try,

climbed a cargo net (except Squidette)

and hoped in and out of as many vehicles as were available.
They sat on a torpedo,
and lay in a space capsule.

I think it's safe to say that a good time was had by all.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Our Favorite Museum

Continuing our stint as tourists in our own city, we ventured out today to the American Museum of Natural History, our very favorite NYC attraction.

We touched bases with old friends,

and made some new ones.
Gawked at the Origami,
and had some lunch.
Spied a stegosaurus,
and skated on plastic.
In 20 degree temps. Burr!
And then we saw this.
Smack in the middle of the street. 8th Avenue at 26th Street if anyone cares.

Tomorrow ... planes, trains and automobiles. Or not.