Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Non Alarmist

I do not have a particularly green thumb. My mother can grow anything. She raises champion begonias. She has started raising orchids. From seed. I like to grow things I can eat. If I'm going to get dirty, I want a payout at the end.

I've been having trouble growing rosemary. I am not sure what the problem is. I realize that we are a bit out of the rosemary wintering zone, so it's likely they've just been killed by the cold. This year I decided to try the volume approach. I planted three; one in the back along the porch and two in the front right up against the house. It's south facing, so the brick should keep them warm.

The plant in the back is doing quite well. This one in the front didn't even make it a month.


and after. *sigh* Maybe I should have watered it more. Or at all.

At least the lavender is happy.I was planning to title this post "Rosemary's Dead," or "The Death of Rosemary," but given recent events I decided I didn't want to add to the atmosphere of uncertainty and panic.

I have two FO's to share. First, the most recent BSJ. This one is for Carrie. I am loving this pattern.

I used vintage buttons to finish it.
I also completed a curly scarf for the girl next door, shown here modeled by Little Brewer #1. A very sleepy LB#1. She was at a birthday party the night before. You can see how much fun she had by the state of her shirt. Now that I have children I've learned there is a high correlation between messy self and fun.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A little of this, a little of that

It has been another busy week at Chez Casa de Brewgal. I've been on call at work nearly 24/7 trying to finish the procurements for our research funds. No matter how early we get the paperwork in, it always seems to come down to the last day. We haven't had much money for research in quite a while, so while stressful for me, this work will fund the research team for many years to come. I've found that when you operate at that level of attention and focus for an extended period of time it is very hard to "come down." I've gone a whole day without getting a work phone call and I'm juuuust starting to relax. Just in time to get on a train to go to a conference in New York City!

Little Brewer #1 and I took a drive up to Gettysburg yesterday to check out the Lutheran Home Anniversary Day and visit the Evergreen Cemetery. We went to take photos of my grandparents' grave so that I can upload it to the family tree on Ancestry. When I was on Jury Duty, I spent a lot of time on Ancestry. It was comforting to be able to distract myself finding records on relatives who had not died from multiple gunshot wounds.

No, these are not my grandparents. I just really liked the tombstones and the little Celtic design at the top. Great typeface, though I wouldn't have picked LeVan as a Celtic name.

Whilst in Adams County we stopped by The Mannings to see what was on their discounted rack. They had Tiur on sale, but not low enough that I was temped to buy some. So what do I do? Get a bunch of Aysen Araucania Chilean wool/alpaca/silk blend in the purple+magenta colorway. It seemed a much better deal based on yardage than the Noro. And it's purty! I've decided that whatever I win from the AgFair I'll put back into yarn. This year I got a grand total of $16 from my entries. This yarn? Totally blew out my budget. Whatever! It's purty and soft!

And finally, some knitting content. Here is the second Baby Surprise Jacket, finished with buttons.
Having knitted this twice, I now have a better idea of where the color changes should be. There are only four buttons, because I accidently thought one of the button holes was a dropped stitch and closed it on the way up. It is never a problem having to button one fewer button on a squirming baby.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Week in Review

The Week in Review, in which Brewgal details her experiences of September 8-15, 2008.

Monday: 5:45am -- Brewguy leaves on a jet plane for Los Angeles, where he will help Brother Surfer Guy and wife pack up to move to Walla Walla, Washington. He expects the truck will be mostly packed and ready to go. Sufer Guy and wife live in a 1 bedroom apartment. How much stuff can there be?
Brewgal packs lunches, gets kids to the bus stop and takes the Metro downtown to a conference where she wows the crowd with her riveting presentation on research not yet conducted. She leaves the conference early (4:30) to make sure she is home in time to pick up the little brewers.
4:45 – Brewgal is stuck on a train at Gallery Place behind another broken down train. They are “single tracking” trains at Cleveland Park.
5:15 – Brewgal begins to suspect “single tracking” does not involve finding the trains any actual dates.
5:20 – Brewgal contemplates calling her parents to pick up kids. Realizes that she is stuck on a train IN A TUNNEL and there is no cell phone service. She begins to calculate late fees and wonders if the aftercare takes credit cards.
5:22 – Train starts moving.
5:43 – Train arrives at Twinbrook. Brewgal’s SmartCard refuses to let her out of the station and as a bonus, her hips are crushed by the automatic gate. Discussion with station manager ensues. Brewgal contemplates writing to WMATA and asking them to rename it the IdiotCard.
6:22 – Brewgal arrives at aftercare with 8 minutes to spare. Little Brewer #2 is upset that Mommy has arrived because he was busy playing FoosBall. Brewgal takes deep breaths and tries to remember that Little Brewer #2 is 5.
Evening – Brewgal makes dinner, washes dishes, helps with homework, puts Little Brewers to bed, gets back on email to take care of some work issues.

Tuesday: Morning – Repeat of Monday (lunches, school bus, Metro, downtown).
Brewguy calls to say they are still packing the truck.
Evening – Repeat of Monday, without the stuck train. Brewguy calls to say the truck is larger than he expected (22 feet long) and that neither Surfer Guy or wife want to drive it. Brewguy will be driving the truck all the way to Washington state. They make it as far as Lost Hills, CA that day (about 3 hours north of Los Angeles). I sense the name is an omen and christen their group “The Donner Party.”
Brewgal once again is on email late at night trying to fix work issues that arose while she was at the conference. Brewgal is counting the days (15) until her research team partner comes back from maternity leave.

Wednesday: Little Brewer #2 agrees to buy lunch at school, so only one lunch to pack. Brewguy calls to say they are headed for Winnemucca, Nevada and that he is feeling bulky. He says he has been “hanging with the truckers.” Brewgal fears that a John Deere baseball cap may have been procured.
Brewgal sneaks in a few rows on Carrie’s Baby Surprise Jacket.

Thursday: Brewguy calls from Boy’s Burgers in Parma Idaho. Says they are 1 hour from Boise and should make it to Milton-Freewater that evening. His voice has developed a twang and “howdy” was uttered at least once.
Brewgal spends most of Thursday in meetings. Dinner consists of cheese toasties and fruit.

Friday: Brewguy and Surfer Guy unload the truck and drive it to Pasco for return. The Pasco airport is understandably suspicious about a large truck idling in front of the terminal. Brewguy is not arrested.
Brewgal breaks the house rules and allows dinner in front of the TV.

Saturday: Brewgal drives Little Brewer #2 to soccer practice. Upon arrival, she is chastised by the Keepers of the Soccer List that she does not know the coach or team to which LB#2 is assigned. This is notwithstanding the fact that the KSL have an actual list they could consult to answer this question, which is why they are called the KSL. Brewgal resists the urge to tell the KSL to bite me. After lunch, Brewgal drops LB#2 at a friend’s birthday party and takes Little Brewer #1 to the paint store to pick out paint samples for the foyer because Brewgal is tired of waiting for Godot to make up his mind about color. After the paint store, we go to Vie de France for croissants and Orangina, followed by a trip to the thrift store. Brewgal finds 3 partial balls of what she is sure is Nashua Wooly Stripes (enough for another BSJ) and 3 yards of super retro cool Danish fabric. Brewgal discovers Showtime is having a free preview and allows dinner in front of the TV (again) in order to watch Pirates of the Carribean: At World’s End. Brewgal reconsiders the wisdom of this choice about 10 minutes into the film.
Brewguy visits wineries.

Sunday: Brewgal finds out her great Aunt Margaret passed away yesterday in York, NY. She contemplates going to the funeral but cannot because Brewguy is still away. Brewgal sends thoughtful prayers to family. Brewgal drags the crew into work to complete her technical review of contracts that need to be procured by September 19. Like time and the tides, the end of the fiscal year waits for no one. She gives the Little Brewers $1 each to buy whatever they like from the vending machine. They both choose Sour Patch Kids. Blech. At home later, Brewgal manages to knit 8 rows on the BSJ in progress.
Brewguy gets up at 5am to drive to Portland to catch flight back to Baltimore.

Monday: 1 am. Brewguy returns bearing gifts. The routine begins anew.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Children change your life in many ways. I can no longer stay up past 10pm. My house is filled with plastic toys. I get fabulous morning hugs.

Having children has interfered with my movie viewing habits. I used to see movies all the time. Between being too tired to find babysitting and "that's not appropriate for you," my movie viewing has taken a nosedive. The last movie I saw in the theater was Wall-E. A delightful film (I love Pixar!), but not the intellectual fare I used to watch. Or as my DH says, "no car chases." Ahem.

Yesterday I found Amelie on Ovation. I didn't even know we got Ovation. Apparently there are many channels higher on the TV dial than BBC America (264) and Bravo (273). Heh. I said "dial" in reference to TV channels. How retro is that?

So anyway, I've wanted to see this movie for many years. I sat on the couch with my glass of wine (it is a French movie, after all), and watched Amelie. I got a full hour in without interruption. After that, the kids and DH joined me. The questions started almost immediately.

"Why is she sad?" She is thinking about her Dad.
"What's that?" What is what? Can you be more specific?
"What's going to happen next?" I don't know sweetie, I haven't ever seen this film.
"Why did that happen?" This question was in response to the scene where Amelie dissolves into a puddle of water when she lets Nino walk out of the bar without speaking to him. At this point I had to shrug my shoulders in Gallic fashion and say, It's French.

I SO want to go back to Paris now!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

IQ tests for fun and profit

Let me channel Richard Dawson: "Non-scientific survey says..."


Your score: 156
Top 5% of Population

People scoring at this level are genius or near genius.

Cool! I'm smarter than Tom Cruise!