Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve pie

Dash & Rosie helped make a lovely pizza-pie this evening. This was
Dash's first foray into pizza-making and he loved it! Monkeyrotica made
the wonderful crust by hand, then they added sauce, olives, browned
sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, and two kinds of cheese (provolone and
mozzarella). Soooo tasty!

Also, Dash is modeling his new haircut. He trimmed a few locks off the
top on his own, and it was necessary for me to give him a serious cut
to even it out. I managed to trim it dry, with shears! He freaked out at
the clipper--too noisy & hurty. I think he looks quite handsome.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have a bird in my office!


Weegee the Senegal parrot was shrieking up a storm in his bedroom-cage upstairs. Once I brought him into the office with me, he became completely chill. He just wants to be near his flock (i.e. me), you know? Purely instinctual behavior.

I just made an appointment for him for a well-bird visit at a local avian vet. Unfortunately, the closest "local" vet is 45 minutes away, not far from my office. Maybe they would board him while I worked? Finding an avian vet or one that treats exotics is troublesome—we had a fabulous vet for years (since 1990) who relocated to Pennsylvania in 2005. Since then, Weegee's records have been shuffled to three different vets.

We haven't been to Dr. Stahl's office before, I'll let you know how it goes. From their website, http://www.seavs.com it looks like they have some pretty interesting and committed staff, all with bizarre exotic-animal collections of their own.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Everybody loves ice cream!

Rosie and Dash eat mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cones with the Os! Yummy.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ballerina doll! Finished.

She's felt with some ribbon, beads & embroidery. Rosie has already claimed her. I was planning on making more and giving as gifts, but other handmade gifts (commissions) took precedence! I still hope to make more. She's sweet.

I published a how-to step by step series of photographs and commentary on my new craft blog. Go check it out!

Playing off our Xmas dinner

Again, Rosie and I are burning off energy at a park, all by ourselves. It's not even that cold out! Are people inside playing Wii virtual playground instead?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feast of Lights: flashback

Back when my dad worked at the National Labs, many of his coworkers came from all over the globe. Highly educated engineers, physicists, and scientists from Germany, Poland, China, India, or Russia all found important work to do in their fields alongside Americans from across the country. No matter their religion, when December came around in the '70s, there was an office Christmas Party, complete with Santas everywhere, angels and reindeer, and songs about glorifying the savior's birth. Christianity was assumed, but if you were Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim you came to the party anyway, because you were expected to or just to celebrate the spirit of the season (and there was free food!). In the time before political correctness, expecting a nod toward any non-Christian religion at a mainstream office party was too much to hope for.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, my sister M. and I featured regularly in the singing at the ANL Xmas parties. We dutifully learned our songs in elementary school chorus class to prepare for the annual Christmas choral program. We were pretty good! Our little eight- and six-year-old voices were sweet and earnest. One year at his office party, my dad asked us to sing our favorite Christmas carol. After a brief conference (in which I argued for my favorite, a beautiful song in a haunting minor key), we sang this lovely song:

I remember Mama lighting the Menorah,
Then covering her head she'd start to pray.
When Papa finished reading from the Torah,
 
Mama, smiling down on me, would say:

May your days and nights
Be a feast of lights
The eternal flame, may it glow in you,
And the Holy One,
May He know in you
only love.

May the light of peace
Shine and never cease
And the glow of wisdom illumine in you
May you never hate, though it's human to
May you know love.


May you go through life
With your head up to the sky
May you never walk in shame
In sight of the light of the One
Who has no name
This I wish for you.

May your days and nights
Be a feast of lights
Have a warmth for all of humanity
For without it, life is but vanity
May you have love.

May you have faith, and
May you have strength, and
May the Lord grant
Your life will have length
May it be sweet but strong 


May your days and nights  
Be a feast of lights
Your whole life long. 



(There are more verses, but the Internets fail me for locating them. Update: third verse contributed by Anonymous! Thanks! 2nd Update: More verses added by additional anonymous readers! Again, many thanks.)

Of all the many unsuspecting, long-suffering Jewish coworkers at the Christmas party? There was not a dry eye.

Happy Belated Chanukah, Merry Christmas, or whichever holiday you celebrate this season. May you know love.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Office Christmas Parties Past

This past Sunday, Monkeyrotica and I took Rosie and Dash to a Christmas party at our friend Kathryn's apartment. She served Jul Glögg, a traditional Swedish Christmas punch, and the guests trimmed the tree. Or, to be more accurate, my kids (they were the only under-20 contingent) decorated the bottom half of the tree by themselves and several other guests added ornaments to the upper half. We had a lovely time, catching up with friends we haven't seen in forever, like Ed (been staying on the down-low), or Carri and William (down from NYC). The glögg was tasty, but I preferred the champagne cocktails; Monkey, can you get that recipe from Fritz?

Even though the setting was nothing like Christmas parties from my childhood, it nevertheless felt familiar. I remember holiday parties with my dad's coworkers, all researchers and scientists at Argonne National Labs, where my sister and I were virtually the only kids there. The parties would be very casual and open-ended. We would be mingling with intellectual adults, listening in and attempting to keep up with their conversations (my, aren't your children precocious, Jim!), playing pool (there was always a billiards table), sampling from the buffet, and there would always be the singing!

Back then, it was the '70s and folk music was king, but today I don't know anyone who brings a guitar to a party and gets everyone to sing along, do you? At those parties, a couple of those scientists would bring along lyric sheet copies (mimeographed?), start strumming away, and we would all carol our hearts out. M. and I were fair singers at the time (or at least our parents liked to volunteer us) and occasionally we would sing a duet of a favorite tune we'd learned in grade school for the group.

Ok, there wasn't any singing at Fritz and Kathryn's party, but just the same, the kids were the entertainment, with an audience of adults watching them, carefully, with focus and enthusiasm, perform a creative task well. They were complimented on what a good job they were doing, hanging those tiny, delicate ornaments, and how well behaved they were! I'll see if I can get some photos of K & F's tree and post later! It looked gorgeous!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dance video added!

Since my post about the Winter Dance performance is well below the fold now, here is a quick link so you can view the video that I (finally) posted! Enjoy!

Oh, and I'm in the back row, center.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clemyjontri park

We have this whole park to ourselves today!


Rosie & I just got back from a mid-day boat ride in D.C. So we stopped at this fabulous park to burn some energy before she heads into my office with me. On to office party #3! This one should be nicer though, an intimate potluck with coworkers & a secret santa gift exchange.

UPDATE: Actually, if you were following my tweets from Thursday afternoon, you learned that we were not entirely alone! While Rosie was frolicking around the lovely, empty park, three teenaged boys (at least 16, as they drove themselves there and were all much taller than little-me) arrived. At first I thought they might have brought a younger friend, but no, they were jumping and swinging and whooping it up around the sized-for-elementary-schoolers equipment themselves.

All of us were leaving at the same time and as they were getting in their car (emblazoned with a Gonzaga HS sticker), I overheard one of them tell the other two, "This park is awesome! I'm totally coming back."

You know, I feel exactly the same way. Clemyjontri rocks!

How far does Santa need to go to get here?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I want my Friday evening date-night back.

So, last Friday. The kids had a great time! They spent the eventing at Auntie M's new house where she has set up an entire room for them. Their special room-at-auntie's is outfitted with sleeping bags, new toys, games, craft supplies, and books. I picked them up at around 11 p.m. Friday night and they were sweet and sleepy—Thank you Auntie M, for taking care of Rosie & Dash! I piled them in the car and headed home and all were abed before midnight.

Auntie M was babysitting so that Monkeyrotica and I could attend a party. Mr. Monkey's car battery was dead, so he spent his day thusly:
5:30 a.m. leave the house for dealership to beat Beltway traffic.
7:00 a.m. dealership opens, wait for hours on end, listening to gawdawful Xmas tunes
12:00 p.m. leave dealership and spend a few hrs grocery shopping among foul-smelling denizens of NoVA, head home to pack up car with kid-entertainment items
4:00 p.m. pick up son, pick up daughter, travel the Beltway for 90 minutes.
5:30 p.m. obtain food for offspring, drop them at Auntie M's, spend 45 mins in tollroad traffic
6:15 p.m. pickup wife, inform her that going to a party is the last thing he wants to do after driving around in traffic since 5:30 a.m.; wife ignores Mr. Monkey, she looks party-fabulous and ready for fun!

[UPDATE: I had to add here, that there are no photos of this event. It's my own fault, as I couldn't find our camera anywhere that morning. I texted Monkey before he left the house and asked him if he knew where the camera was. He replied yes, he did know. There you go.]

Here's where a series of weird, annoying things happen in which steam blows hard and heavy out of Mr. Monkey's ears. We get to the party at the appointed time, check in, but the bars don't open until 7. We check our coats. A fire alarm blares and we are directed to leave, so we uncheck our coats and go outside for 20 minutes. By the time we get back in and re-check the coats, the bar is not quite open and we really need drinks. waaaait...Bar Open! A friend orders a Southern Comfort from the hotel lobby bar. The bartender doesn't know what that is (or a few subsequent drink orders) so we all order vodka tonics, just because she knows that one (don't bartenders need to be licensed?). We sit for a while, because the ballroom doesn't open until 8, but boredom sinks in and we wander the lobby. Since Monkey and I arrived in separate cars, neither of us plan to drink heavily.

At 8 p.m. we are all allowed to enter the ballroom, a.k.a. the refrigerator. All the ladies promptly don their date's jackets. I find a seat, then reach for my condensation-beaded water glass which shoots out of my fingers and sprays water and ice all over the table. No servers in sight. There are a few speeches and lots of clapping. 9 p.m. comes and goes as some servers start mysteriously arranging and rearranging trays around the room. A D.J. starts spinning some holiday music. Monkey continues to clench until Dave Brubek's Take Five plays, which relaxes him a small bit.

At 9:30, a server comes to our table with a tureen of soup. Did I mention that our place settings have no bowls? No mind, she pours fishy-smelling soup into the charger plates. I ask, "Excuse me, what kind of soup is this? My husband has a shellfish allergy." The server answers, "Soup? Yes." Another server comes to take the soup-on-plates away, as others are bustling around with bowls. Monkey doesn't get to eat the lobster bisque. There's a mildly funny interlude in which Monkey gives her back his bowl several times and she keeps handing him fresh bowls of bisque. "I can't eat this!" and "Severe shellfish allergy!" are not in her vocabulary. There is no beverage service (if you need a drink of any kind, you must leave the ballroom and find the bar out in the lobby).

9:45, the salad course is served: mixed greens, with strawberries and candied walnuts (if you're lucky—one person at our table only got the greens). We wait, and wait, and make awkward conversation about how hungry everyone is and how nobody thought we had to wait until 10 p.m. to eat on a Friday. One tablemate threatens to leave and get food at McDonald's if the main course doesn't show up soon. At 10:10, covered platters are spotted, emerging from the catering area.

10:15 p.m. Our surf and turf plates arrive! The two jumbo prawns feature grandly atop every item underneath. Oh, wait. Monkey can't eat them either. Suxxorz!! Ignoring the flames pouring out of Monkey's ears, I sacrifice my mini-mignon filet, take his prawns and we scuttle out of the ballroom as soon as we are full.

Bust. At least we didn't pay for a sitter? Next time Monkeyrotica tells me that he really, really wants to go home and that going out will suck, I promise to be a better listener.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Studio holiday program, featuring Nylonthread!

This is my second year with the dance studio that I joined shortly after enrolling Rosie (and discovering that they had adult classes). Every year there are two performances: the main recital in June that is a grand 4-hour production (1.5 hrs for children's classes, 20 minute intermission, and 1.5 hrs for teen/adult classes) with participation from all of the 50+ classes in the studio, and the holiday program that shows just a select few dances (8, this year) from the advanced classes. (woot! I'm advanced!)



Dance video up! Enjoy!!

My class practices the modern style of dance, which is fluid, athletic, and has basis in ballet and jazz styles. I love it. The instructor is the solo owner and choreographer, but uses assistants from the advanced classes to help wrangle the youngest dancers. While there are many ballet, jazz, and tap classes throughout the week, there is only one modern, so I feel that I'm in an elite group (I don't like to be part of the horde). There are six students, Mary, Maddie, Gabi, Emma, Michelle, and myself, with only two teenagers in the group—the rest of us are 30–50-somethings with kids of our own.

Gabi was telling me just before our performance that a relative of hers was shaming her a bit for taking dance classes! She was hearing, "Aren't you a little old for that?" and, "It's a bit undignified to be dancing around at your age, don't you think?" Ugh. We are having so much fun! I fully support having fun. Pooh-pooh to all those pooh-poohers. I'll have to admit that I feel old going to DJ dance clubs these days, since they're populated by kids almost 20 years younger than me, but in a dance class for adults? I'm in my element. (I'm also having just as much fun in step aerobics.)

Our dance was to "Angels We Have Heard on High" by Mannheim Steamroller, cut to just 120 seconds. (no, I am not making that up and to his credit, Monkeyrotica knew what I was talking about when I referenced it the first time.) Here's the tune on YouTube, with someone's Xmas lights synched to it:

I borrowed an older costume from a dancer who wasn't participating and wound up having to repair it moderately. Costumes are only purchased for the June recital, so we scramble to find alternatives in December. My lovely garb was a black and red leotard with gold trim, a mandarin collar, and flared sleeves, and a side-split, full-length skirt.

So where's the video?!? I know you read the first few lines and have been scrolling around for it! As soon as I get it up, I will add an update with the video, hopefully before the end of the weekend. Truth be told, I haven't viewed it myself. I know I made one fumble near the beginning, but recovered fine and the rest of the dance went well!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dish duty

I somehow let two full days of dishes accumulate in the kitchen. Horrors! Weegee and I are hanging out, enjoying each other's company while I get the dishes out of the way. Woo. Harold Budd is cycling on the iPod and the kids are downstairs with Monkeyrotica, watching Ren and Stimpy.

I actually get a kind of thrill when I come up with ways for Weegee and I to spend quality pet-owner time. He spends so much of his day alone and, quite honestly, comes fifth (including me) in the family hierarchy. Cheers, little bird-guy!

Fabulous Day, Rosie!

Bravo!

This is Rosie's daily behavior report. Her two columns are "Get my work done" and "Be nice to my friends." The rows are all the segments of her school day. Today, she had all "Yes" answers. Fabulous! Keep up the good work.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Thanksgiving Story, as told by a 6-year-old

To end NaBloPoMo 2008 on a good note, I give you this story in pictures, as created by Rosie in her Kindergarten class. Enjoy!





Crapola!! I totally posted remotely yesterday!!

I didn't check my blog yesterday but I did post from my phone, a camera picture of Dash and his new batman costume. No wonder that when I was talking about it to KellyGO this afternoon she was looking at me so blankly.

I swear my phone confirmed the post, but I didn't check the blog page––that has happened once before, so I should have. Whatever.

UPDATE: The post mysteriously showed up, after floating around the ether for over 24 hours. Bizarre.

Happy NaBloPoMo everyone.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hangin out with batboy

Dash and Rosie have been watching episodes of the old-school Adam West
as Batman, so naturally, Dash wanted to dress up in a batman costume.
While I was out shopping with Rosie yesterday, I saw a costume section
in a store. There was a really nice-looking cape right there, so I
picked it up for him. Rosie has a new dress. It's always a good idea to
get something for both kids when you're shopping, anyway, right? So
neither feel left out?

Good parenting or rationalizing, you tell me in the comments. He looks
awfully cute and has been wearing the cape non-stop (bedtime was an
exception) since yesterday.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Girl's day out

Rosie's school is closed, so she and I are taking a train ride into DC.
She has some birthday $ from her grandparents & wants to spend it on
something! Don't worry, we're staying far, far away from black-Friday
mega-sales. I'm looking for a smaller neighborhood gift store. Rosie is
packing her own purse, wallet and MetroCard, so is feeling very grown up
out with me. Good times!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, a harvest festival

Okay, back to my theme; wait what? Oh that's right, Nylonthread had a theme! I know, I know, I've verrry loosely stuck to my theme, assisted by two November birthdays in my house as well as a few well-known holidays. Thanksgiving is no different, really, it's today, we get the day off as a Federal holiday, and it's unavoidable.

Traditionally, most of us travel on the third Thursday in November to reunite with family members, share food as a potluck, and eat mass quantities. The thanks part may often get pushed aside in all the giving, which brings me to a piece of this holiday that sometimes needs emphasizing: wherever you are in your life, there are some people out there who helped you along; your parents who raised you, your siblings who supported or challenged you, your friends who enjoy your company and help you when you're in need, your children who give you hope for the future, and lastly, teachers and mentors who have taught you and shown you the way. Give thanks for them all. Whether it's aloud in a pronoucement at your dinner today or a silent prayer, it's important to acknowledge how you got to be the person you are today and thank the people who helped you put the food on your table.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is based solidly in worldwide mid-fall harvest festivals where communities gather together to celebrate the abundance of the growing season by having a communal feast. Americans have wrapped the festival up with a remembrance of a deliverance of English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter of 1620 at Plymouth, Massachusetts. From Wikipedia:
"Teaching the colonists how to farm corn, where and how to catch fish, and how to make other necessary items, [Tisquantum, or Squanto,] was instrumental in the survival of the [Plymouth] settlement for the first two years. Squanto and another guide sent by Massasoit in 1621, Hobomok, also helped Plymouth set up trading posts where the Pilgrims could trade Indians for furs and pay off the cost of establishing the colony. Chief Massasoit later formed a Peace Treaty with the Pilgrims. Upon growing a plentiful harvest in the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gathered with Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit, and ninety other Wampanoag men in a celebration of food and feasting. This celebration is known today as the First Thanksgiving, and is still commemorated annually in downtown Plymouth with a parade and a reenactment. Since 1941, Thanksgiving has been observed as a federal holiday in the United States."
While you have your family and friends around you (and I hope you do!) say a few words about how much you appreciate the lessons you've learned and share the year's abundance. I sure am grateful that my family is nearby and is so incredibly generous with their time and enjoy helping out with the kids. I'm incredibly grateful I have a wonderful support group in my friends--you all are the best & just ask me for help with anything, I'm there. I'm glad I have a great job where I get to use my training and skills for a challenging variety of projects and am respected by my coworkers. Most of all, I'm so thankful for my husband and my kids. They brighten my every day, and inspire everything I do.

Thanks everyone, and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rosie's birthday recap, in photos

Many of Rosie's friends designed and illustrated their own cards!
And they look awesome, check it out.




















Here's the cake I baked, almost destroyed, flipped around, and then covered up broken chasms with vast amounts of frosting. Turned out okay, if I do say so myself!






















Everybody's favorite part of the party: getting all sugared up!! Mmmmmm.






















Now that we're full of sugar, let's all go crazy on Rosie's bed!! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!





















All within screaming distance, but separate enough to relax, the parents hang out in the kitchen. Monkeyrotica, Kelly, and Todd are pictured here.




















Brian and Nestor stay close to the smoked pork shoulder.




















Lovely Liz enjoys some snacks.






















Even Weegee came out to join the party; he was so happy when I brought him out! Weegee used to be our party game before we had kids. We passed him around and showed off his "tricks" which are kind of lame, but funny when you're drunk. He made a new friend in Nestor.




















But, hey, where was Dash? And Thea and Liam? Well, we made the mistake of having movies going during the party and the hypnotic glow was too alluring to some of our little movie-watchers.
















Everybody had a blast!! Thanks friends! It was a great party and I wish you all could have been there.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Four years, process of elimination

I thought I'd try to do the high school meme, and I went and found all these photos of myself from high school and tried to sort it all out. What was my focus? What was I doing? (Enjoy all the '80s hairdos, friends!)

I think I didn't really have much focus; I was involved in so much at the outset, that I can almost define my experience by what was eliminated. When I started high school, I was taking classes in art, drama, band (clarinet), chorus, and piano, and also training in soccer, swim team, dance, and cycling. To her credit, my mom drove us around to all that! I can't imagine driving a child (actually two) to all those activities! My sister had just as much going on—we are close in age, so our parents normally just lumped us together in the same age group for sports.

The first things to go away were the sports. I didn't continue competitively with high school swimming and soccer teams, although I did get my lifeguard certificate and worked at a YMCA for a while as a guard and an aquatics instructor (and yes, with that hair). I did one parade in the marching band and decided that wasn't for me. I'd been in private acting courses throughout middle school, but only performed in one play in high school; I didn't stand out and abandoned it after a few auditions didn't land me any further parts.

What was left? Chorus? I was an alto and not that vocally talented. Piano lessons, which I dropped at age 16, when all the practicing (two hours a day) was hard to maintain with a heavy load of homework and remaining activities, mainly the dancing, clubbing, music, boys, friends, art, and bicycling. I loved, LOVED the dancing! I took jazz dancing lessons at a local ballet studio and was very responsible about making all of my classes; I even went all through the summer sessions. I rode my bicycle to class and adored the instructor, Mrs. Lang. Somehow, all the quitting and abandoning stuff backfired here, though. I chose to continue with dancing, but my parents pulled me out of it, because they thought I wasn't going to the classes.

I filled the gap by going dancing at nightclubs, focusing more on listening to music (industrial/punk/goth/club), buying albums, and going to shows in Chicago. The art part was easy! I expended little effort in classes and whatever I did, the teacher gave me an A. Sometimes I got triple or quadruple As, which was pretty ridiculous—hard to take seriously. I won a couple of competitions with my artwork and participated in art shows. The portfolio I developed really opened doors for college admissions! (BTW, this bizarre tree painting did NOT go in my portfolio, but was fun for display in public.)

Outside of the classwork, my most memorable high school moments were dancing at clubs with boys, wandering around Chicago with boys and friends (I was kinda boy-obsessed and dated a lot), and cycling trips with my family. We went bicycling almost every weekend! We travelled (by car) to go on week-long cycling tours in Vermont, Wisconsin, southern Illinois, Indiana. I
didn't have a car (though plenty of kids did), so bicycling got me where I needed to go.

What did I stick with? If you read my blog, you already know. My apologies for such a rambling post, but it's getting close to the midnight hour here & I've gotta get something up!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Vinoteca

Vinoteca on U Street

Kristin's baby shower brunch, delicious omelettes & grits, plenty of
mimosas, delicious coffee & pastries with friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Festival Friday

I'm pulling a random festival out of my
archives, wait as I blindfold myself, spin
around three times and rest my finger on...

Karttika-Purnima
At the full moon of Karttika (December),
at the end of the rainy season, Jain monks
and nuns abandon their retreats and resume
their wandering life. Before they leave, they
are thanked by their hosts for their company
and religious instructions. The occasion is a
lively one and the people celebrate it with
a Car Festival. A lavishly decorated wooden
vehicle, bearing the image of the Jina, is
pulled by hand through the streets, in the
manner of the Jagannath, accompanied by
a procession of monks and nuns and the
populace. A sermon is delivered in the park
at the end of the journey and an appeal is
made for gifts to support the temples,
hospitals, etc. The procession then returns
to the temple and merry-making follows.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pink Asparagus interviewed me!

As part of her penpals series, Cat at pinkasparag.us has been
interviewing bloggers, so that we all can get to know each other better!
I was featured in the series today.

Go and check out the information we shared at
http://www.tinyurl.com/5kc3md/

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Six year checkup

Rosie had her six year checkup today, which
went very smoothly. She answered all the
doctor's questions herself (he directed them
all at her, with his back to me--OMG, she's
practically a tween!), with the exception of a
few when she needed my feedback. We talked
about chores and allowances withe helpful
answers; he highly recommends chores and
NOT tying allowances or cash reimbursement
to chores whatsoever. Children should
contribute to their household out of a sense
of belonging, not an expectation of payment,
like they're the help. I do agree with that
assessment.

Her basic specs, for those of you keeping track:
Height: 45.5 ins, 70th percentile
Weight: 50 lbs, 75th percentile
Vision: 20/25 (with my new contacts acquired
yesterday, I could read for two lines below
where she stopped)
Hearing: perfect (although very tiny bees could
live comfortably in that waxy hive)

He advised that I make a separate appointment
to discuss some of the behavior issues that
have arisen since Rosie started Kindergarten.
Since our time had run short and her very
distracting, noisy and boisterous brother was
there, it would be better to have a thorough
chat at a quieter time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bringing warmth to a chilly day

It was actually snowing out today, I $hit you not! I was really not prepared for the frigid winds, mentally anyway; I had a scarf and gloves, but I felt chilled through all my layers while outside. Here's just a little album, a photo reminder of a warmer time. We went camping at the end of the summer, just in the backyard as a trial run for potential future campouts. It went well enough, although we adults were the wimps. Both of us were complaining loudly about our aching backs and may be investing in an air mattress-type thing if we try this again. The kids had a blast!






I have replicated myself.

Right in front of our desk, there is a low table where I have all my beads and jewelry-making materials. Monkeyrotica has a pretty good view of it while he uses the computer. Check out what he captured:



























Well, she's either making something or trying to swipe stuff.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dance performance & what's up

I've kept mum on the dancing front for a
while, I just noticed. To catch you all up,
I'm taking a modern & lyrical dance workshop
Thursday nights and I'm loving it! The other
students are lovely, positive ladies with
no attitude problems and we're just there
to learn and help each other.

Same as last year, there is a holiday performance
with all the advanced classes have a short
choreographed number to demonstrate to
the rest of the studio. All the parents are there,
there are snacks, and it's crowded and hot.

Wanna come? Rosie, my mom & sister came
to watch me last year with my jazz class; this
year, my modern class has a two-minute combo
to perform and we're learning it on Monday nights.
Got that? I'm dancing on Mondays and Thursdays,
Rosie dances ballet on Saturdays, we're throwing
Rosie's birthday party this Saturday afternoon,
and I'm going to a baby shower on Sunday.

Also, I've got two doctor's appointments tomorrow,
both kids have doctor's appointments on Wednesday
and I'm not sure how I'm going to fit any work in
(and I have major deadlines, Hi Ben!). Somehow
I'm open Friday evening. Guess I'll be cleaning.

You know, Monkeyrotica should go out and do
something fun on Friday! He always stays in and
stews in his own juices. Need to air that mess out,
Monkey. Anybody taking out the Monkey?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nighttime ritual

After two books, I tuck Rosie and Dash in (yes, they are still co-sleeping and we have had NO night-time visits from Dash in weeks; I'll be hunting the Internet for reasons why this is ill-advised and get back to you all), read two books, and then sing three songs. The books are always different, unless we are on a roll with one for a while, but the songs are always the same three:


1. "Jingle Bells" This is at Dash's request. Why, you might ask? Jingle Bells isn't a lullaby. I say, that depends on how you sing it. But the tune is a favorite because the first word of the lyrics is "Dashing." Go figure.
2. "I See the Moon" What? That's a nursery rhyme, not a song, I hear you thinking. I came up with a tune for it a while back and I'm sticking to it.
3. "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" Well, once you sing a song about the moon, you've got to give the stars some props, too.

Good night to you all, and sweet dreams!
XOXO, Nylonthread

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dancing in my fabulous dress!

I loved, loved, LOVED dancing with Monkeyrotica and other dear friends at Karen & Bryce's wedding. Mark Zimin DJ'ed, and I just had the best time ever, dancing to Mousetrap music. I'm wearing the dress that Monkey bought me for our wedding anniversary last month. Isn't it gorgeous?

Oh, heck, I was just beside myself at how awesome it was to be out in downtown DC, in the evening, dining and dancing with my beloved peeps. Monkey had to drag me out of there; I wanted to dance all night.

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's in your fridge?

No cream of failure soup for one in here.

Most everything else though, hm? The way Monkeyrotica cooks, it's hard
to keep up with all the food in the fridge to make sure it's eaten
before it gets wasted. We try to label or list leftovers right after we
pack them away, or else they disappear to the back and are forgotten
before the next meal is stored.

Monkey does all the grocery shopping and all the cooking, and is very
skilled at both. I consider myself very lucky that he has the patience
(sometimes one shopping trip will take him to three separate
supermarkets) and the creativity to bring such wonderful meals to the
table! Until I set eyes on the disaster near the sink & over the stove,
and then I still say even louder, "I'm. Very. Lucky!"

I love you, Monkeyrotica! And I promise, those dishes will be done
by...at least tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I want birthday traditions!

Firstly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSIE!!

When I woke up this morning and it dawned on me that it's my little girl's sixth birthday, I wanted to have something special planned. At six, she'll retain memories of this birthday, won't she? If I had given it a little more thought and had some time to spend on it I could have done something like "The Birthday Fairy" that Susan Lieberman suggests in her book, New Traditions:
Lucy tells her family, "While you are sleeping, waiting to wake up to a happy, happy, birthday, all my very good wishes for you give me magical energy to transform your room and deliver birthday presents." Then she brings the magic in the form of many balloons, large signs, streamers, and the child wakes up to a special day with a special breakfast.
Hm. I wish it were that easy to get some magical energy.

Or I could have done what Meg Cox records in The Book of New Family Traditions:
Construct a "balloon tunnel" with helium balloons tied on the stair-rails. When the birthday girl awakes, she must be the first one to slide downstairs and pick up her wrapped present at the bottom.
Okay, got it. Next year will be more about the balloons and lots of 'em.

What I did do for Rosie was to have a birthday card ready with a crisp $5 bill inside (next step is to get on money management with her, and maybe some regular allowances), I gave her a birthday-girl hug, we put birthday-girl ponytails in her hair, she wore a birthday-girl outfit to school and I gave her a special birthday-girl wave. Did you notice that everything here, excepting the card, is a regular-day thing, but calling it out as birthday-special made it so. Really! Maybe won't work at 7 and up, but maybe I'll have something else worked out by then.

Thanks to Grandma Sheila, Rosie had cupcakes to share at school. And the one other tradition that I almost forgot about, but the wall tells the tale that we've kept it up 3 years running: marking out her birthday height. In pencil, on the corner wall outside the basement office. I do Dash's at the same time, just to keep it balanced.

I still have time, although her party date is creeping up. One belief that I would like to instill is that birthdays shouldn't be necessarily all about receiving gifts; I think this will be the year to choose a charity to donate to together and give in her name. I'll start looking up some charities that would be good ones. Do you all have ones that you like for kids?

Do you all have birthday traditions with your kids? Tell me about them in the comments, I want to know!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lexeme Meme

While trolling fellow NaBloPoMo-bloggers' posts, I found KellyGO had done this meme. My Wednesday is ending soon, and I just spent all my writing energy on Facebook (shaking fist at Facebook! why are you so addictive!?!) The rules of this meme are to answer the following questions in just one word and then to pass it on to seven others. If you're reading and looking for posting fodder, consider yourself tagged (I know, lazy about tagging, as usual!).

Where is your cell phone? desk
Where is your significant other? bed
Your hair color? sepia
Your mother? nearby
Your father? same
Your favorite thing? friendship
Your dream last night? evaluation
Your dream/goal? fulfillment
The room you’re in? home-office
Your hobby? jewelry
Your fear? separation
Where do you want to be in 6 years? half-way
Where were you last night? home
What you’re not? salacious
One of your wish-list items? vacation
Where you grew up? suburbs
The last thing you did? write
What are you wearing? pajamas
Your TV? projector
Your pet? parrot
Your computer? Mac
Your mood? chill
Missing someone? Nope
Your car? mini-SUV
Something you’re not wearing? socks
Favorite store? variety
Your summer? lively
Love someone? YES
Your favorite color? celadon
When is the last time you laughed? today (Yes, I kept Kelly's: belly-laugher-comments)
Last time you cried? today (If you didn't cry at this link, you are made of stone.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Planning a birthday party for a 6 year old

Rosie will be six on Thursday. We've been so busy with other family events, entertaining, work, and friends, that I only sent out invitations today. We'll be having her party in our home, same as last year, and I'm taking some lessons I learned from last year's party to heart:

1. We can host 85 people in our house, but that doesn't mean we should.
2. When you have 20 kids in your house under five, you really ought to have structure and planned activites.
3. If you have art as an activity, you need to protect your floors and furniture (and use washable paints)
4. Ask for help. While you're hosting/hostessing, helpers can assist with photography (I love the pics one dad took last year!), helping kids with activites, setting up materials, or keeping track of your own kids (for example, we don't want the birthday girl or boy in tears).
5. Don't let the goody bags get out of hand. One or two items inside is really plenty. I like a mini-notepad and a couple crayons.

This year I'm planning to have a theme (November's all about themes, eh?): Art Party! Rosie fancies herself an artist, and there are plenty of six-year-old friendly activities to set up for art. Here's a few I'm thinking will work.

I'll set up 4 or 5 stations for fingerpainting, chalkboard, clay or playdoh, watercolor (Rosie's favorite!) and then down in the basement, silhouettes! I'm totally excited about this last one! We'll move the screen out of the way and tack paper up on the wall, then I (or a helper) can trace the outline of the child's shadow & then we'll let them fill in the shape. Oh, and cupcake decorating, natch. With prizes for creativity!

If you all have some ideas, post them in the comments. I'd really appreciate your input.

UPDATE: For those of you who are looking for very cheap things to put in goody bags, I just found these $0.60 books of stickers on sale at Dover! There are several other books for the same price; poking around their site is worth it.

Mommy chases me around the beach

I just found this drawing of Rosie's, dated 6/17/08, and remember the event clearly. She caught my expression of anxiety very well! Rosie can sprint, and I learned just how well on our beach trips to Rehoboth. She'd take off down the shoreline and before we knew it, she'd be almost out of sight. I'm so glad my dad & sister were there to watch Dash while I chased Rosie at full speed! I was SO angry at her for taking off without saying anything, but at the same time, I was impressed, thinking, We need to get this girl involved in track events!
 
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