January 2004

Jan 30 — Grocery shopping in the morning, with a stop at Einstein Brothers for a nice breakfast of bagels and cream cheese. Henry’s such a good helper! Then I lay around the rest of the day, built a couple of K’Nex modles with Henry, cooked for the guys, worked on pinning and basting my skirt. Henry and Dan are playing with Dan’s new midi-keyboard thingy… Recording and sampling Henry’s voice, testing out all the various sounds etc.

Dan and I watched “O Brother Where Art Thou” tonight and really enjoyed it! It seemed a lot better the second time. It took me a couple of years to get used to the music but now I love it. I wish the soundtrack included the version of “I’ll Fly Away” that was in the movie. The slide guitar in the “main” version of “Man of Constant Sorrow” is so cool! Clooney is kind of annoying but I could watch John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson all day long.

Jan 29 — Woke up before it was light, ugh. Lay around a while, got up, and created a set of knitting needles for Henry and some hair-sticks for me out of a 3/16″ dowel. I cut the needles 8″ long, sharpened the ends, sanded them with very fine sandpaper, rubbed them well with waxed paper, then buffed them on a cloth. Then I made some polymer clay knobs for the ends, baked them, and glued them on. Presto, a nice set of boy-size knitting needles for Henry’s knitting project. They should be much easier for him to handle than my long flexible needles. I made three, btw, so in case one gets stepped on or mislaid he’ll still be able to knit :)

Then I watched three episodes of Star Trek and picked out the seams of a pair of jeans that will soon be a skirt. I know you youngsters call it “Star Trek: TOS” but to me it is and always will be Star Trek. The real thing. First episode was “Court Martial”, a sort of average episode. Then “The Naked Time” which I think is somewhat better than average. Love that “itchy” music when the virus spreads. Also there’s a Kirk/Spock fistfight which is entertaining, and Uhura gets to take the helm for a while. Then “The Galileo Seven” which is ok… but not a great one. Quit picking on Spock, everyone, he’s your COMMANDING OFFICER for the mission! Do what he says and shut up about it. Oh, wait, then there wouldn’t be an episode.

We went to homeschooler park day this afternoon, which was lovely. Henry ran around with the kids for two hours playing an elaborate army game, the one they play every week, and I knitted a glove for Dan. Then we went to gymnastics, then to Sal’s so I could teach a student and help my dad. Long, but nice, day!

Jan 28 — I got my sample glove done enough so Dan could try it on, and I see what I need to change to make the real ones fit perfectly. So I bought some nice green yarn on my break tonight so I can start the real ones soon.

Jan 27 — I did a ton of housework this morning and kind of got worn out but the kitchen is very clean and so are the bathrooms and I even straightened out the bedroom and living room somewhat. Made a new pair of stretchy pants for Henry (white, so he can be Link from the Zelda games) and started fingerless gloves for Dan because his hands are always so cold in the morning while he’s working. We watched Monday’s new Antiques Roadshow tonight! Oh how I love that show.

Jan 26 — Made a new apron out of some old blue calico that was lying around. It’s nothing special so I’m not adding it to my crafts page, but I had fun making it! I started a new book, “Devil May Care” by Sheri McInnis, and so far so good.

Jan 25 — We re-arranged the furniture. Man what a job. We moved the 8′ Henry-and-Kara computer table and my sewing table over near the sliding door, where Dan’s desk used to be, and we moved the Dan desk into what’s supposed to be the dining area where the Henry-and-Kara table used to be, and we brought the other 8′ table out of the bedroom (YAY!) and into the dining area so Dan has a nice corner work area now! And I have natural light for sewing. And all the garbage got cleaned out of some areas where garbage was piled, yay :) And some things even got thrown out!

Jan 24 — This evening Dan declared that he wanted to take me clothes shopping! So we drove through the rain (!) to the Mall, and I got an adorable little pajama set at Victoria’s Secret — mint green tiny drawstring shorts with little cherries printed on them, and a matching mint green tank top. And then from the sale rack at The Gap I got a pair of black capris and some really neat orange pants… hard to describe. But anyway they were only $10 each! Super-bargain! I was a little bit startled by the sizing, though. The capris are 1s and the orange pants are loose-fitting 2s. Umm… I thought I wore at least a 4 and probably a 6. Is this that resizing-because-americans-are-fat thing I heard about? I pulled a pair of mushroom-colored velveteen jeans off the rack, size 8, thinking, hey maybe they’ll be just a little loose… well you could have fit 2.5 of me in them. Crazy. If you know anything about dressmaking, you’ll know that if you’re an 8 in today’s patterns, you’re probably a 12 or 16 in vintage patterns. Which means that I wear off-the-rack size one, and vintage pattern size 16. I think that’s funny.

On our way back to the car we passed through the pots and pans in Robinsons, and we got a lovely huge T-Fal pan to replace our ancient, peeling, grocery-store frying pan. In the store we weren’t sure if it was bigger than our old pan, but we knew it was nicer. When we got home we compared them and it’s much bigger. So I can cook more pancakes at once, heheh :) We had fun shopping!

Tonight I finished my knitted hot-water bottle cover (which I will post over in crafts asap) and we watched a pretty-good old movie called “Smile” about a 1975-or-so beauty pageant. Very nice day!

Jan 23 — Happy Birthday Beautiful Mother! We hope you have fun on the mountain!

I taught Henry to knit today, and he picked it up pretty fast. I was surprised. He’s working on a little garter-stitch scarf :) I told him not to worry about the little mistakes, to just keep knitting and enjoy himself. He told me yesterday that he wished he had spiky hair, and I said he could if we just bought some gel, and he got ALL excited and could not rest until he had some gel of his very own. I think one of his super-heroes, megaman maybe, has spiky hair. So spiky hair is very important. Tonight at Karate he got his blue-belt-with-a-black-stripe that signifies that he’s in the Black Belt Club! He’s very proud and is all prepared to set a good example in class. They did the second kata (I can’t spell it, sorry) and he did quite well. He and Dan went biking again in the afternoon and had a lot of fun together!

I’m still working on the hot water bottle cover, and will be done tomorrow I think. I have SO many projects boiling around in my head! I want to sew a great messenger-style bag with lots of pockets, and I have an idea for a crazy sort of bag with thrift-store LPs for its sides (last night in bed I think I figured out the logistics of lining it), and I bought some extremely pretty blue flowered rayon for some capris, so I need to make a pattern for those, and I have cloth for a new pair of Stretchy Pants for Henry, and and and… :)

Jan 22 — Took Henry to the local Homeschooler Park Day this afternoon and we both had a great time. He found some nice kids to play with and I sat with the moms and knitted. The weather was perfectly lovely, too. And then we went to his gymnastics class, and then over to House of Parents to make Dad’s dinner and teach a piano student who, I guess, forgot to come. Oh well, these things happen. Got photos from my friend Ute in Germany and her kids are so beautiful! Thanks Ute — I’ll write soon, I really will :) Spent _far_ too much time at craftster.org today. A good forum is a wonderful and addictive thing.

Jan 21 –Grocery shopping in the morning (Henry helped and Dan carried everything up) and then piano students all afternoon. Everyone did so well today! I really like my job, yay. How many people can honestly say that? Of course I teach very, very part time… It’s hard work and I’m sure I’d get burned out if I taught full-time. I’ve been hanging out at craftster.org lately. What a great site! I started in the knitting section, and then made my way though some of the clothing and bags and purses. I still have TONS of posts to read and I’ve found so many inspiring ideas! I really want to sew a messenger bag soon. I started knitting a cover for our red rubber hot water bottle last night, using gray and blue worsted in fair isle patterns! It’s going to be nice and cozy.

Jan 20 — Hobbit sock post is up on my crafts page! Thanks, Henry, for letting me borrow your camera and for taking the nice overhead shot :) Mom and Dad gave me a silent ionizer/air purifier thing and I set it up and it’s cleaning the air in our bedroom! Soooo cool!

Jan 19 — Finished those Hobbit socks before bedtime! Photo soon. Dan and Henry took an 8-mile bike ride this afternoon and had a great time together, while I stayed home in the quiet! I love my family so much but it is nice to have the apartment to myself for a few hours now and then :) Every night Dan lets me play Stuntcar Extreme (a.k.a. race-car-game) on his new Zodiac. I beat the first level and won all the cars, and now I’m working on the second level. To win one guy’s car I had to do a lap on the “Ring Of Fire” track in less than 24 seconds… and last night I did it! I won a good car, too. I hate the Rollercoaster track, but I’m good at all the others. It’s a really great game.

Henry loves a little Bach minuet in g minor, so I taught him the right-hand part of the first 8 measures. It’s too tricky for him to simply memorize right away so he has to look at the music, which is good for him. He can do it pretty well and he has such excellent rhythm. He feels those eighth notes and we don’t even need to count them. He sets his keyboard to “pipe organ” and I play the left-hand part along with him and it sounds great!

Jan 18 — We went down to Balboa Park to see the SD Junior Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet, which was wonderful. Those kids are amazing! Then we picked up Henry, got dinner, and came home. I did almost all the driving so I’m pretty tired now. It was a very good day :)

Jan 17 — Sewed, finished knitting a Hobbit Sock, went down to Value Craft for elastic and picked up a ball of gray yarn — planning to knit a hot-water-bottle cover with it and some leftover blue yarn.

Jan 16 — Dan updated his book blog today with a nice long post about Dragonflight. Henry had a bike ride with Sal in the morning and another ride with Dan in the afternoon, then an hour-long karate class — so I imagine he’ll sleep well tonight. I modified my t-shirt underwear pattern again and made another pair this morning and they fit perfectly! Modifications are complete! I knitted the toes of Henry’s hobbit socks, but after some trying-on sessions we both decided that they’ll really be too uncomfortable to wear. So he helped me rip back the individual toes and I’ll make a regular sock-toe instead. Oh Dan showed me the hilarious slashdot posting regarding putting a man back on the moon. I laughed until the tears ran down my face. Be warned, the language is, um, salty: Kennedy vs. NASA. Keep scrolling down the page. Some of the later comments are pretty good too :)

Jan 15 — Scheduled an appointment with the Sensei to discuss Henry joining the Black Belt Club at his dojo. Henry’s very very eager so I hope it works out. He’s been taking karate for over two years now; he loves it and we’re very happy with the school, the Goju Karate Center in Carlsbad. I’m downloading “drivers” for my new scanner for my windows box… except HP doesn’t offer just the drivers for download — you have to get an entire enormous software package. It’s taking 40 minutes to download on our broadband so I feel sorry for anyone with dialup. Gripe, gripe, gripe :) I’m still feeling a little better every day. Yesterday I had enough ambition to take a little walk around the apartment complex. I walked moderately briskly for about 12 minutes and it felt nice. I was a little tired afterwards but not very much. I’ve also noticed that my enthusiasm for all my many hobbies and interests is returning! I have a big pile of discarded t-shirts to transform into underwear, and I’ve just knit a new pair of socks for Henry and have started some nifty Hobbit Feet socks for him too! I got the eyelash yarn under control. He tried them on today and is delighted! Photos soon.

Jan 14 — You may have noticed the two perma-links at the top of my main page — one for Lileks’s Daily Bleat which everyone should read, and another for The Android’s Library. The Android’s Library is Dan’s new book-blog, and I think it’s great! I like the layout and the plan and his reviews. He doesn’t have a lot of reviews up yet but give him some time :)

Jan 13 — Nice weather so I hung the blankets on the balcony railing to air, washed the sheets and pillowcases, and fluffed up the featherbed. Other than that I had a nice lazy morning, then taught a couple of students in the afternoon. For dinner tonight I made myself this lovely delicious pile of onion, garlic, green pepper, eggplant, and tomato, all sauteed up in some olive oil. Mmmmmmmmmm. Started working on the foot-part of Henry’s hobbit socks, and ran into a little trouble with the eyelash yarn. When I work in stockinette stitch, the hairy part ends up on the wrong side of the fabric — the inside of the sock! Why why why. I guess I’ll post a question on one of the crafty forums.

Jan 12 — Decided to do some grocery shopping this morning, instead of waiting for Dan to drive me after he was done with work. Henry and I started with a lovely breakfast at Einstein Brothers (courtesy of the gift-card that Mom gave us) and then did the Stater Brothers shopping, the the Trader Joe’s shopping. Henry’s so helpful — I can send him anywhere in the store to find anything and he’ll come back with it, almost every time. It was nice to be out in the morning. The weather has been perfect lately, sunny but not hot, with that pleasant wintery (for SoCal) feel and smell in the air. Matthew picked Henry up after we were done shopping, and I came home. Dan unloaded the car for me, and then I spent several hours just resting on the couch and puttering around. When he was done with work we went out again, this time for the Atkins bars that he likes from yet another store, then to Michael’s so I could pick out some yarn for my Hobbit Foot Sock project, then to the library! Ahhhhhh the library. Got a good stack of books. Home again, made dinner, watched Jeopardy and the Antiques Roadshow. Oh I do love the Antiques Roadshow. Then bed, and started “Good Faith” by Jane Smiley. I read her “Moo” years ago and enjoyed it, and “Good Faith” so far is great.

Jan 11 — Played “Hobbit” on the gamecube with Henry, and took him down to the playground to practice riding his new bike. He found a little girl to play with and had a fine time while I read “Drinking the Rain” which was excellent. I am really enjoying my Zire 71 even more now that I have an SD card large enough to hold a variety of mp3s. Using PocketTunes, if I turn the DB Boost up to 3x (loud enough to hear over the noise of my rattley old car) we can plug my car speakers into the headphone jack and have music even when I forget my cd player. And I have a “bedtime” playlist with some of my favorite TMBG and a few other soothing tunes. I turn the volume down quite low so I have to concentrate to hear the music, and I think it helps me sleep. PocketTunes lets you set it to turn off after a certain number of minutes, so I don’t have to worry about turning it off or killing my battery before the alarm goes off in the morning!

Jan 10 — Henry and I went on our special outing that we had planned for a Christmas present! We caught the 9:40am Coaster from Carlsbad Village Station, had a nice ride, and got downtown in about an hour. The Santa Fe station is so beautifully old. We looked at a map of downtown and decided we could catch the #7 bus to Balboa Park, so we walked a couple blocks down Broadway and there was a bus stop. A pleasant old man told us the #7 would be fine and that our Coaster tickets would be good for the bus, too. So it came along pretty soon and we hopped on. Took only a few minutes to get to Balboa Park, and we got off at the stop across from the Pepper Grove Playground.

Henry had a burning ambition to swing on the swings so he did that, and played for an hour or so, and then we walked across the parking lot to the Rueben H. Fleet Science Center. Bought admission tickets to the Gallery (the fun stuff) and had a little snack in the cafe. Then went in, and had a great time looking at and playing with the exhibits. They had a little build-it-yourself arch bridge that Henry loved, and a neat “weightless” mirror, and a tornado generator, and all sorts of great stuff. We took a lot of photos with Henry’s camera but haven’t unloaded them yet. Maybe tomorrow. And I bought Henry a little model space shuttle at the gift shop, which thrilled him to no end as we usually don’t buy anything when we go to the museums.

After a while we walked over to the carousel and bought tickets (6/$9) and had three rides together :) Wonderful fun! The same nice gentleman who ran the carousel when I was a kid is still running it. We rode the Cats, the Roosters, and the Zebras. Then we walked over near the zoo and rode the mini-train once, and then went into the zoo. It was only an hour before they close the gates so we strolled right in — ah the joy of membership! I was very hungry so Henry led me right to a nice cafe where I had a tasty, freshly-made sandwich. The counter-guy was super-nice. (that cafe is to the right, through a gift-shop when you first enter the zoo). Then we went over and said “hi” to the Orangutans and Guenons, and Henry climbed on some poles, little monkey.

At about 3:50 we caught a cab from the line-up near the zoo entrance and went back to the train station to catch the 4:22 back to Carlsbad. Got there in plenty of time (we’d bought our return tickets in the morning — I highly advise doing this, as the ticket machines don’t always work properly and there’s quite a jam of people just before train-time) The train was a bit crowded on the way home, and we shared seats with a nice family of five — mom, dad, two little girls and a sleepy toddler boy. Henry and Madelyn got on famously and played I Spy until the family got off the train at Encinitas. I knitted Henry’s second sock and finished it except for weaving the toe. And then soon our stop came up and we picked up our car and came home! It was a truly wonderful day.

In completely unrelated news, my favorite song lately is “Certain People I Could Name” by They Might Be Giants. I will give you an url to the lyrics, and I’m sure you can find the song on limewire or somewhere. If you like it, buy the album: Long Tall Weekend. It has many wonderful songs such as “Older”, “Operators are Standing By”, and “Rat Patrol”. Support good artists!

Jan 09 — Henry and I went over to Sal’s to spend some time with Kathy before she flies home to KY tomorrow. We’ve really enjoyed seeing her, and Henry adores her. Henry was a little tired so we lay around in Dad’s room and watched Finding Nemo all together. Not a bad movie. Then Henry perked up a bit and we went to the park for a while — Kathy and I pushed him on the swings and admired him when he jumped off. Also he performed some gymnastics on the grass. Fun afternoon :) Then I took him to Karate, and then we came home. I started a new pair of socks for him the other day, using cheap-o 80% acrylic/20% wool yarn, and got one finished today during the movie and the leg and heel of the next done during Karate.

Jan 08 — Cleaned under the kitchen sink, as instructed by the flylady. It took less than 5 minutes, I think! Yay me. Took Henry to gymnastics and then continued on to teach a student. We’ve had the TiVo record Jeopardy for us lately, and that’s fun to watch together after I get H to bed in the evenings. Oh forgot to mention that the season premiere of Antiques Roadshow was on the other night! What a huge treat! They replaced Dan Elias (Android Dan) with a chirpy blonde woman… she’s ok but a little too “cute” for my taste. Maybe she’ll calm down a little in later episodes.

Jan 07 — Got another 11 hours of sleep, yay. Felt well enough, for the first time since October, to drive myself to work instead of making Dan drive me. Went ok, was just averagely tired at the end of the day. Although I’m feeling better, it’s a bit depressing to know that _probably_ the drugs aren’t actually fixing my ailment, but suppressing it. There’s a small chance the Graves Disease will go into remission so I’m hoping for that. But oh well — as Dan says, I won’t ever have to go back to feeling as awful as I did for the last few months of 2003, no matter what, and that’s good. And I can enjoy feeling better.

I sewed another pair of stretchy pants for Henry this morning and he’s so delighted! We bought this red cotton knit a while ago for $.99/yard and got three pairs of pants out of it, good deal. I don’t know where his clothes go. They seem to simply disappear off the face of the earth. He needs socks desperately. Started knitting a new pair and will buy a pack of cotton ones asap, poor kid.

I tried to read the 5th Harry Potter book, I really did. Couldn’t do it. Sorry, J.K, I just don’t find that world believable anymore. Sigh. Why, oh why, would a community of wizard-types be so fearfully upset by “underage wizards” practicing a little magic? It’s unfair. Magic is in their blood; it seems unreasonable that they can’t do magic when they’re not in school. How are they supposed to practice? I know the author devised this to create conflict, but there had to be a better, more believable, way.

Jan 06 — Sorry I didn’t complete yesterday’s entry; I felt rotten all day, but I went to bed early, got 11.5 hours of sleep, and felt better today. Kathy’s in town so she accompanied us to Henry’s Karate lesson, which was fun! Went to the doctor and they sucked more blood out of me for testing. Bah. Helped Henry start a bionicle website today, and read him some more of The Hobbit (He’s got the gamecube game and it’s making him want to know the story better. I think it’s funny that he knows LotR backwards and forwards but not The Hobbit.) Made a delicious dinner of fetuccini with sauted fresh garlic and chopped canned roma tomatoes, mmmmmmm. Oh, I found enough blue yarn in a the closet to make another pair of socks for Henry. I haven’t felt well enough to knit in months, so we’ll see if I can get started with some socks.

Jan 05 — I just finished my photos from Monterey page. Enjoy :) More later…

Jan 04 — Kept Henry company in his room while he built a complex Bionicle model — some kind of crab-like creature, pretty cool. Also made him a new pair of stretchy pants and documented the process with his digicam so I can make a how-to page one of these days (it’ll show up on crafts when I get around to it). I did not sleep well so I felt pretty tired all day, but still managed some housework and playing with Henry. Dan’s working on a new blog-type thing and using Moveable Type, so I’m getting a little bit interested in modernizing my blog… yeah I know I’ve said it before but you never know, it might happen someday. I will soon be the last person on the planet who codes her blog by hand. I should have called all my piano students today to remind them about lessons next week and set up all the make-up lessons, UGH. Let’s put it off one more day. Finished “Millie-Molly-Mandy” (wonderful!) and started the most recent Harry Potter book, whatever it’s called. I prefer reading it in print, rather than ebook, because it’s easier to skim the annoyingness and find the PLOT.

Later… Ok we just watched one solid hour of entertaining, non-rerun television. Amazing. First was a rather good new episode of Malcolm in the Middle, better than average, and then this week’s episode of Arrested Development which is a wonderfully funny atypical non-sitcom show that everyone should watch. Just try it next week, Sunday night at 9:30 on Fox, and give it two or three episodes and see if you don’t like it as much as I do. It has a continuing storyline and numerous characters so you’ll feel as if you’re coming in on the middle of something, but you’ll catch up. Fox executives, _please_ let this show continue unchanged! Keep the writers! Don’t add a laugh-track! Just leave it alone; it’s perfect. While I’m on the subject of TV, a little suggestion to all the people in charge — take the ads for other shows off of the bottom of the screen please! Do you have any idea how annoying that is?

Jan 03 — I’m tired. Did two loads of laundry (Dan hauled it back up from the laundry room for me), mopped one bathroom, played with Henry. This evening Dan took us grocery shopping so we have food again, yay. Yeah I guess I’ll go to bed.

Jan 02 — Drove from Buttonwillow to home! It rained and it rained, which was not really a problem until we got to Hell On Earth, I mean Los Angeles. Driving through LA traffic in the rain is not fun. But anyway we made it home just fine, and were glad to see our little birdy again! Henry came home in the evening and told us all about everything he’d been doing. Wonderful boy, I missed him so much. He brought his new Hobbit gamecube game to share and coached me while I played for a bit. Pretty fun. It’s good to be home. We missed Henry, the bird, and the Tivo. After I got Henry to bed we sat around and enjoyed the luxury of pausing a show, skipping commercials, and watching what we want when we want. Oh TiVo we love you. Oh I updated my books page, in case you want to see what I read on vacation. Also working on a page of trip photos but it’s not done yet so you can’t have the url :)

Jan 01 — Woke up pretty late, checked out of Hilton, returned videos (highly recommend “Bend It Like Beckham”), drove through the rain down 101. Such a pretty drive! It’s not Grand Canyon Spectacular or anything, but I enjoy the farms and little towns, each with a McDonalds, a Mobil Gas, and a Denny’s, the happy-looking little groups of cows grazing near the road, and the nothingness between towns. You have to drive for hours from my house to get to any nothing. I like the farm houses in the middle of great fields, with trees planted around them. Lots of nice things to look at along that drive, and the rain made it even prettier. Yeah I’m a little odd :) Drove all the way to Buttonwillow and stopped for the night at the Motel 6, had dinner, and read far too late — finished “Beautiful Bodies” which was wonderful and I could not put it down `til I was done.

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