Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pre-November Rambling

Tomorrow is the first day of November, which means that 30 Days of Thankfulness kicks off in just a few short hours. Before that starts, I'll just fill you in on a few tidbits...

Karl and I forgot to carve our jack-o-lanterns. We just have two pumpkins sitting on the stoop. I like to think it's the rustic look.

I made an awesome, extremely easy curry soup this morning in the pressure cooker. And I'm going to try a rabbit recipe in the pressure cooker later this week. If I can get my hands on a rabbit, that is... I've got plans to visit a rabbitry tomorrow.

Guess who is working hard on a humongous project that is due tomorrow. Guess who should have had it done weeks ago. That would be me. Karl woke up this morning and I was sitting in bed, proofreading, and all he could say was, "It's seven a.m."

I'm hoping to paint the living room next weekend. Green. I'd also like to paint the hallway and kitchen, install new bedroom lights, paint the kitchen cabinets, change the drawer pulls, install a new kitchen floor, and get rid of that hideous flourescent light above the sink. Is that too much for one weekend?

We tried the dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe's yesterday... a coworker had been raving about them, and when there's raving about food, it's usually only a matter of time till I have to try it. Well, let me tell you, these are worth the rave. And worth the trip to TJ's. Fortunately, we took them to Karl's brother and sister-in-law's house, and we left the container there.

I'm reading Sophie Kinsella's new book, Mini Shopaholic. So fun.

Tonight is trick-or-treating! Hopefully we'll get more visitors than last year, when we just got one...

Did I ever tell you about our childhood neighbor who used to put a huge cauldron in her yard and float a baby doll in it for Halloween? I spent at least the first eight years of my life convinced she was a cannibal.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


You should be jealous. You should be very, very jealous.

I got to host a Rainbow Fairies party today. We made magic wands, listened to songs from the Cinderella soundtrack, read chapters from a couple of books (India the Moonstone Fairy and Goldie the Sunshine Fairy, if you must know), and made Fairy Frames.

What's a Fairy Frame?

I'll show you...

Gold matboard (purchased for next-to-nothing in the "seconds" department at an art supply warehouse) plus index cards plus photos plus magic markers... so fun. The kids brought their own photos, so they each got to decide what they would be the fairy of. We had a slug fairy, a thunder fairy, and several giraffe fairies. Oh, and of course a book fairy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesdays Rule

Tuesdays are my favorite day at work.

I start out with two storytimes, then have some time do work in my office, and I cap things off with my 'tween knitting group.

Toddler storytime is the best way ever to start the day. The kids are so thrilled to be there... love it. I get a lot of Hi, Miss Amanda-s and Where's the meteorologist?-s. The meteorologist is my Muppet Whatnot. He comes to every storytime and talks about the weather and other things. Today he was silly and wore a gold wig (it was his Halloween costume).

And 'tween knitting, while sometimes wild, is very very fun. The best part is the beginning, because everyone is so excited to see each other and show off what they've been working on during the week. I've got 14 knitters (I had to cap the class), ages 8-12, and they really are amazing. Scarves, hats, dishcloths... one girl made a pumpkin a couple of weeks ago. No pattern; she just made a pumpkin. And someone is making a hat with a friend's name knitted into it, in a different color. I'm psyched to have a little show at the end of our ten weeks.

Okay... gotta go do some of that office work I mentioned. I hope you're having a happy Tuesday, too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Get Carded

With all the talk about cards lately, I'd like to share an idea. I do this all the time, with varied reactions.

Buy a card for someone. Put a post-it note on the front of the envelope. Write the person's name on that post-it note. Put another post-it note inside the card. Write your message on that post-it (you might actually need more than one). This way, the recipient can just remove the post-it notes and reuse the card. So practical.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trudging through Grudges

At yoga recently, my teacher said something that really stuck with me. She said, "Breathe out all of your harsh feelings and grudges... I don't know exactly what a grudge is, but it sounds painful. It sounds like something I don't want in my body." And I thought, She is speaking straight to me.

We celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary a month ago, and I have an ugly secret to share. It was a lovely anniversary, and I adore thinking about our special day, but you would not believe how many of the memories are grudge-ridden. Here are a couple of prime examples (don't judge me; I'm usually not this petty):

  • Some friends of mine got married five years ago. For their wedding, I skipped my grad school graduation and rode the Greyhound for 17 hours each way. Not only did they not come to my wedding; they didn't even send a card.

  • We got married in a barn, and someone, who shall remain nameless, asked me what she should wear. I suggested she wear a dress that she had worn to a wedding two years prior. "Oh, no," she said, "I couldn't. That's a nice dress. It's a really, really nice dress."

Those seventeen-hours-on-a-bus-while-my-Masters-degree-graduation-goes-on-without-me people weren't the only ones not to send a card. I could probably rattle off a list right now, off the top of my head, of people who didn't take four minutes to write a card and stick it in the mail. I know folks are busy, but come on. A scribbled message on the back of an old grocery receipt would have even done the job.

But I'm not looking for sympathy. Our wedding was TWO YEARS ago. My yoga teacher is exactly right... grudges are painful, and I don't want them in my body. It's not nice that someone didn't send a card, and yes, a lot of hurtful (or potentially hurtful- I don't have to bruise so darn easily) things were said, done, or not done. But a lot of really wonderful, generous surprises were poured out on us, too. Really lots and lots. Distances were traveled; special gifts just for us were thought up, put together, wrapped up, and delivered; we were blessed with so much laughter and love.

So... uh... how do I get rid of the grudges? Better go to yoga again, pronto, and do some more breathing.

p.s. Andrea D., if you are reading this, I'm really sorry that all I sent you for your wedding was a Baby-Sitters Club book! In my defense, I didn't know at the time how important wedding presents are, and I had about 75 cents to my name, but I could have at least come up with an old grocery receipt... I hope I havent caused you a grudge all these years!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Overheard Ridiculousness

ESPN was broadcasting the game live, so all of the famous ESPN-ers were there, including Erin Andrews. When the two guys in front of us saw her, the conversation went something like this:

"Hey! There's Erin Andrews!"
"E-RIN! AN-DREWS!!!" (yelling)
"Man, she's hot."
"She's okay. But she's kind of fat."
"Ya, I guess you're right. She's got a chunky butt."

What I wanted to do was interrupt them and point out that the thing on Erin's butt wasn't fat; it was a microphone. And that she is basically a supermodel. But instead, I took the time to snap a picture of the guys, just so you could all have a little glimpse at the people who were commenting on how fat Erin Andrews is.

And just for the record...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bucky Rocks the Hiz-ouse

Karl and I went to the UW football game on Saturday against Ohio State. Ohio was ranked #1... but that was before they took on the Badgers.
I had never been to a real football game until Karl and I started dating. And let me tell you, they are totally fun. I don't really even understand football, but I love seeing all of the fans (especially the student section), the cheerleaders, and the band. Oh, and the Bucky mascot, of course.

At the beginning of the game, the band and cheerleaders all line up to welcome the team onto the field. There's so much energy in the stadium!

The moment the Badgers won, the crowd went completely wild. Everyone rushed onto the field, despite the announcer's warnings: (totally deadpan voice) "Please remove yourself from the playing field." It was so fun to be on the field celebrating with everyone.
Don't worry, the goalposts didn't break. Apparently the stadium is equipped with unbreakable ones because this type of scene isn't exactly rare...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ten on Ten in Twenty-Ten: October

At the end of every weekend, I have a "take to work" pile by the door... I scored that little stack of books on the top at a recent book sale, and they are going in the mail to a sweet friend whose son who is a building enthusiast!

This tower (which I found on the side of the road) is great for holding part of my yarn stash. And I love that old sewing machine... just can't bring myself to get rid of it.

Looking for the perfect yarn...

This is one of my favorite features in our house: a little cabinet in the kitchen. It's perfect for tea and coffee, and it has that cute little shelf underneath! There isn't usually money on that shelf, just so you know.

Isn't this little toy TV the cutest? It's normal to have random kids' toys as decorations, right? Especially when you don't have any kids...

Just a little meal planning... I'm in love with cookbooks.

This is seriously how my husband charges his phone.

A batch of Andi's Great Pumpkin Cookies (and accompanying glass of apple cider). Yum!

A peek into the oven: pumpkin cookies baking, sweet potato burrito filling roasting. I was totally proud because I made sixteen burritos, and I froze 14 of them for easy dinners later on.

We had to sample them for dinner, though! Slow cooker full of potato-leek soup in the background.

Can you believe I cooked all of that in one day? Sweet potato burritos (thank goodness for the pressure cooker for dry beans), pumpkin cookies, and potato-leek soup... plus I chopped up a squash for a recipe I'm making on Tuesday night. The recipe is from Better Homes and Gardens, which makes me feel even more wife-ish and awesome... no offense to you women's libbers out there. I'm one of you, really I am. Oh and also I went to work for six hours. Take that, Martha Stewart!

On an unrelated note, congratulations to Erin, who won the Whole Lotta Give-Away! Erin, your cards will be in the mail this week!

Happy Ten-Ten-Ten!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ehlert Alert!

There are a lot of great things about living in Madison. One of those great things is getting to rub elbows with authors and illustrators and other famous people who visit. Last week, I went to a reception where none other than Lois Ehlert was present. You know Lois Ehlert- I'm sure you do. Color Zoo, Leaf Man, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom... you totally know her. She actually lives in Milwaukee, which is maybe an hour and a half away, but she came to Madison for this reception and a lecture that followed. At the reception, she pulled a winner for our quilt raffle... You can see the Ehlert-inspired leaf quilt right behind her.

The lecture was given by Susan Patron, Newbery Award-winning author of The Higher Power of Lucky. I didn't take any pictures because Susan was standing behind a podium most of the time, and no one really wants to see that. But still she was fabulous. She read aloud a little excerpt from the yet-to-be-published third book in the Lucky series. I just love listening to authors read aloud. They know exactly how the words are supposed to sound.